Wednesday, April 30, 2008

People have nerve... cont.

Maybe since I'm sick, I'm a little over-sensitive today, but I just came in from setting out my recycling and bringing the trash bin back from the curb. As I am shutting the lid on the trash bin I notice a tied baggy in the bottom. When I pulled the bin closer to the house, there was a little more light and I determined this little baggy was filled with dog crap. Not a problem if this were MY dog's crap, but I have not put baggies of dog crap in my trash bin today. So someone was obviously walking their dog, picked up the poop (which, for that I'm thankful) then decided it was too foul to cart all the way back to their own trash bin, so why not just dump it in my trash bin so I can enjoy the fragrant bouquet as it sits in the bottom of my bin for the next week in 80* weather? I wish I knew who it was so I could return this lovely gesture.

I don't know, it just boils down to the complete lack of respect people have for other people. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I would NEVER toss my dog's shit in someone else's trash bin! I have walked many, many blocks with a reeking bag of poo, after Otis dropped a deuce, until I got home and disposed of it in the proper bin, MY bin. I figure your trash belongs in your bin! Like I said, maybe I'm just being sensitive, I'm tired and sick, and just annoyed as shit with people in general today and that was just the icing on the cake. I probably should just be happy with the fact that they actually cleaned up the poop instead of leaving it for me to step in the next time I mow!

People have such nerve!

My daughter has outgrown her high chair, so I'm wanting to sell it. It's one of the really nice ones, top of the line Peg Perego. I posted the high chair on Craigslist about two days ago and got a response from a woman wanting to know if it was still available and where I was located. So just as a note, on Craigslist, you have to post which part of town you're in, that way people know where they will need to travel to pick up stuff. But I wrote her back to inform her it was still available and to give her the specifics of my location. Then I got an email wondering when was a good time for them to see it as they had to drive from South Austin so they wanted to avoid rush hour. I said I was flexible with my time. Then this morning I get another email from her saying that she spoke with her hubby and they determined that coming up north was just very far with gas prices and all so would I mind meeting them halfway to show them the high chair. You have got to be kidding me! First of all, what is it with S. Austin people, if they have to drive past the damn river they freak out! Secondly, like I am going to load up my kids, interrupt my homeschooling and waste MY gas to drive downtown in the hopes of someone possibly buying this stupid chair? Give me a freakin' break! To buy this high chair new, you would spend $179 + tax, which would be $14.77, totaling $193.77. So let's work this out. It is probably 15-ish miles from there to here, most cars get about 18 mpg, gas is $3.50/ gal. So, a round trip for them would cost approximately $7, which is half what they would pay in tax to by a new high chair. So with the $80 for my chair and the $7 in gas equalling $87, they would technically SAVE about $106 if they would just quit whining, get in the damn car and drive up here!

It still annoys the shit out of me that they would even ask me to meet them halfway! That is why, when I post, I put N. AUSTIN in big, bold letters, so dorkos from S. Austin will know that they are in for a drive if they are interested in what I'm selling. I mean seriously, if they find something they like at IKEA, do they call them and whine that it's too far to drive hoping IKEA will send someone out to meet them halfway. And besides if the tables were turned, and I found an item I liked in S. Austin, I would be fully aware that it was my responsibility to drive down to see it. The nerve of people, I really don't need $80 THAT bad!


Just sitting here, surfing the web, reading blogs, looking at pictures of flowers and butterflies, reading about ways to make my home more "green", looking at beautiful tattoos, reading up on vermiculture and basically watching the time slip through my fingers. It isn't that I'm not motivated to do something else, I just have absolutely no energy. This flu has literally kicked my ass. So here I sit, drinking tea, doing the one thing that doesn't make my poor body ache, wishing my children would take a 6 hour nap so I could get some sleep too! But this is not the case. And as much as I have no energy and no desire, I HAVE to get my ass moving today as we are completely out of groceries. My children haven't seen a vegetable in days, there is no more almond milk for the baby, no more bread, no more eggs, no more juice, no more potatoes, no more cheese and less then a half gallon of regular milk. So, unless I want to feed my kids black beans and mayonnaise for lunch, I have to get to a store today.

The Monkey Man has been happy though, watching movies, playing computer games and eating pumpkin bread every chance he gets. I hardly saw the kids yesterday, after Big Daddy got home, I went directly to bed and stayed there. I did get to see the Piggle's smiling face before she went to bed though, and then she cried for me when she left the room and it broke my heart. I wanted to jump out of bed and go grab her and hug and kiss her, but jumping out of bed was an impossibility and I didn't want to kiss her and contaminate her with my funk. I hope this runs its course soon, I seriously just don't have time for being sick! And I seriously miss hugging and smooching my kiddos!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How to spend your stimulus checks...

Many of you will be getting your "stimulus" check in the mail soon. What a lovely thing, free money from the government! But how do I spend this lovely free money in a way that would truly stimulate the American economy? Let's see, go on a major shopping spree and buy the family new clothes and such at Wal-Mart or Target? Nope, that would only stimulate the Chinese economy. How about buying a new computer?!? Nope, that would stimulate India's economy, but not ours. How about filling up our cars with gas? Nope, that would go straight to the Middle East. Maybe a down payment for a new car? Nope that would only stimulate the Japanese economy. Oh, oh... what about groceries? Stocking my pantry surely has to boost the economy right? Nope, but it would do good for Central America (or maybe France if you bought cheese and champagne). How about just buying a bunch of silly little trivial things, party supplies or maybe silk flowers or cheesy little MP3 players for the kids? Oh wait, that's Taiwan.

Well shit, how do I spend this check in order to truly boost our American economy?

After some hard research and some suggestions by pretty savvy women, I say... go hit the yard sales! At least that way, every cent you spend is going directly into the pocket of your fellow Americans. Now there's something you can bank on. (And it would make my grandmothers proud!)

Isn't it ironic?

I was so sore when I went to bed last night, I could hardly believe it! I knew I did some heavy lifting and ALOT of shoveling, but I couldn't imagine I would be as sore as I was. Well... as it turns out, not only did I move massive amounts of dirt yesterday, but I somehow managed to come down with the flu! At around 1 am, I woke up in cold sweats with a fever, sore throat and horrible body aches. I can hardly move my wrists and ankles today they are so sore! Needless to say, hauling the rest of that dirt will have to wait a day or two! Springtime flu is a bitch!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Raised bed update...

Today I had 32 cubic feet of topsoil dumped in my driveway. $65 for some guy to have the soil company dump soil into the back of his truck, drive 4 miles to my house, and flip a switch that causes the truck bed to dump the dirt on my driveway. So basically I paid someone $65 to do a whole lotta nothin'! Who do you think actually had to shovel the dirt into a wheelbarrow and haul it to the backyard? Yep, me and the Big Daddy. And I can tell you, my arms are so weak feeling right now I can hardly type! Although it is after 10 pm, I am seriously thinking of sliding into a hot tub for half an hour to hopefully nip that soreness in the bud! I may not be able to move tomorrow and I still have probably 14 cubic feet left to move! Holy crap!

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?!?!

So, what I'm about to discuss is nothing new, I've heard about this kind of stupid crap for years, but everytime I hear about it, it just pisses me off even more. There was a shark attack in California. The shark attacked a swimmer, severed his legs and he bled to death on the beach. Now there is a huge search for this shark, so they can kill it. And this is where I get pissed off. Do I think it's horrible that this man had his life cut short while he was out enjoying a swim? Of course, loss of life sucks. Do I think they need to be hunting down and killing said shark? Absolutely not! This animal was doing what this animal does, it was feeding on whatever prey happened to be in its vicinity at the time. You think a shark has the capability to look and say, "Oh shit, that's a human, I better not eat him, they don't like it when we eat them!" This is a highly specialized predator, searching for prey in ITS environment! Once we set foot inside the ocean, we are NOT on our turf anymore, henceforth we must realize that by entering the ocean we are entering ourselves into the food chain! How can we blame a top predator for going after an easy meal?

And besides, do we not go into their environment and hunt them? Turnabout is fair play people. If we can go out and hunt them to damn near extinction and pollute their environment, why do we get so pissed off when one them takes one of us out? Believe me, even with all reported shark attacks each year, I am sure that number is less than one boat's shark catch in one week. You don't see them sending search parties on land looking for the fishermen that wiped out all their buddies. And if that isn't bad enough, what about us? We get so outraged that a wild animal kills a human, yet we hardly bat an eye at all the killing that is happening in Iraq and Darfur and all over the world. So it's OK for us to kill other humans in the name of religion, oil, politics, whatever, but DAMN that shark for eating that swimmer guy! We need to blast his scaly ass out of the Pacific!

It is just another blatant misuse of human power on this planet. Instead of trying to understand and peacefully co-exist with other species, we have deemed that we have the right to kill and plunder as we please, not at all holding ourselves to the standards we expect wild animals to adhere by. Absolute righteous human bullshit if you ask me. And like the old bumper sticker says, "The more I know humans, the more I like my dog!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It was a moonlit night

The moon was absolutely gorgeous the other night and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a cool photo or two. Here's one of my best shots. It is kind of an eerie picture but I dig it!

Slowly but surely...

I am sure I have regaled you all with tales of my hideous and horrendous backyard. The fire-ant infested, barren, dog shitter! Well I have come to a point in my life where I just can't stand it anymore! If I don't get this backyard to a somewhat habitable space I'm gonna freak the hell out! We have been spending more time out back since we got the trampoline. We have dusted off the patio furniture and have been doing a good job at keeping on top of the lawn mowing. But FINALLY last weekend I made a couple of big advancements in my quest for backyard serenity! Big Daddy and I tackled an 8' X 4' raised garden that is hopefully going to be filled with soil this weekend and planted during the next week. I'm not going too crazy, just some tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and simple stuff like that. I want to make sure I can actually cultivate something so I don't get discouraged! I also got busy and planted two little boxes of herbs, and yes, I am sure I over planted the boxes as many of these herbs will get big, but I figured I had to start somewhere and I will pinch stuff off or transplant as needed, but I just NEEDED to start the process. I will handle growth as it happens. I will also need to get a good little book on cooking with fresh herbs. I occasionally buy fresh herbs at the store, but have never grown them and used them. I am looking forward to not only the adventures in gardening this summer, but the culinary adventures that are sure to follow! And I am so happy to at least see SOMETHING productive happening in my shitbox of a backyard!

Raised bed... no dirt yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My mistake...

I was so excited to go camping up at Dino Valley and I was thrilled to see the dino sculptures that I thought were present in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. They are the same type of dinos, but after some more detailed searching I have determined that the dinos in Pee-Wee's movie are not the ones at Dino Valley! They are actually known as the Cabezon Dinosaurs and they reside in Cabezon, CA next to the Big Wheel Inn. They were built by a gentleman who made sculptures for Knott's Berry Farm back in the 60's. So, DAMN IT! I am now going to have to take a trip at some point in my life to see those stupid dinosaurs! When I saw all the Dino Valley stuff and saw a T-Rex with an Apatosaurus, I just figured those HAD to be the ones, that and the fact that Pee-Wee was making his way to the basement at the Alamo, so giant, lifesize statues of dinos in Texas made sense. But alas... I was wrong! At least in Cabezon, I can crawl up into the Apatosaurus belly and buy souvenirs! There's something to be said for that.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A few more Dino Valley pics!

A front footprint of a large sauropod, most likely the 30-50 ft. long Pleurocoelus.

This photo contains two prints, the larger being a back footprint and the smaller print is probably a front foot of the Pleurocoelus. Both of these photos were taken in an area where there was believed to be a chase involving the slow-moving Pleurocoelus and the faster and very hungry Acrocanthosaurus. Exciting stuff!

This is just an awesome old, dead tree. I love shape and form of old trees and couldn't resist taking the photo of what must have been a majestic tree in its day.

More Dino Valley Pics!

A basking turtle. This was a big 'ol dude!

Another shot of the beautiful Paluxy River.

Therapod footprint on one of the rock shelves. SOOO COOL! They have determined these are most likely the prints from a 2-legged carnosaur called Acrocanthosaurus.

Another theropod footprint. They say there are a third category of prints that are much rarer, probably belonging to Iguanodon, but I never found any of those. :-(

Here is the Monkey Man's foot in a theropod print!

Camping at Dinosaur Valley

Here is our little campsite, aaaawww!

This is our RAGING campfire, it was damn near a bonfire, we had to REALLY keep an eye on the kids! But that is what happens when you get two grown men, large amounts of wood and fire accelerant together!

Here is the apatosaurus sculpture, granted, apatosaurus did not roam this area, but what the hell, he was donated to the park in the 70's, I think.

This is T-Rex, he also was not present in this area, but yet again was donated to the park in 1970. However historically inaccurate, the kids thought they were cool!

The beautiful Paluxy River. You can see the rock shelf in the shallows, it is these shelves that you are able to find most of the dinosaur footprints!

Back from camping... we survived!

I guess I would have to say for our very first camping trip, we did a pretty good job! I never in a million years would have guessed how hard camping is. It is definitely something that has a learning curve! And honestly, trying to keep track of a toddler in the woods is a chore even for an hour hike much less a three day excursion! We managed to pitch the tent with very little effort, my two kiddos went to the campsite next to us and visited while we set up camp so that was extremely helpful. I did all of the main cooking at home before we left, so other than grilling a tenderloin, making sausage and eggs for breakfast and roasting some brats over the open fire, food was easy and the S'mores were great! We shared our campsite with another family who have 2 children the same ages as ours and the other site next to us also had a toddler, so we were able to keep all the littles fairly contained and we knew that at least 3 pairs of eyes were on them at all times.

We were able to have great campfires both nights, which was especially necessary the first night and first morning as it was COLD! I am SO glad we opted for the 25* F sleeping bags! I did sleep like shit though because I spent the entire night worrying whether or not the kids were warm enough. They say it got down to something like 38* F the first night, BRRRRRR! But Saturday was gorgeous and we ran around taking in the sights of Dinosaur Valley. There is just something quite awe-inspiring to actually be walking along a site that has the dino footprints, thinking here you are MILLIONS of years later walking in the same spot that they did! So cool! I did get a little chuckle as we were driving on the road to the actual park because we passed the Creation Evidence Museum. We didn't have the opportunity to stop in for a looksy, but to be honest, I didn't want to take the chance of being exposed to some weird mind-warping ray that might have wiped away all of our sensibilities of the world around us! I did read about it when I came home though and from what I understand their main research is to prove that man and dinosaurs co-existed thus proving the creationist viewpoint, I'm a little confused on the particulars, but by all means check out their site if you're at all interested in that type of stuff:

Anyhoo... the dino footprints were amazing, the scenery was beautiful, the company was great, the food was awesome (like I had any doubt there, I so rock!) and we had a great time. The only downside was when the Monkey Man woke up at 1am Sunday morning puking his guts out in the tent from eating too much shit at everyone's campsites! I think he may need to learn how to tell people "No thank you." But how can I fault him, I mean seriously, when you're 6 and someone is offering you chips and marshmallows and cookies and crackers and granola bars and candy and watermelon, how can you possibly resist? Especially when the junkier stuff he very rarely gets at home! I just hope he learned his lesson and will keep his eating habits in check the next time we group camp somewhere.

Well, that is the highlights of our trip. I will have pics in the next post so I can label them and whatnot. We had a blast though, but I am still in the midst of dealing with stinky, campfire-smelling laundry! UGH!

It's that buggy time of year again!

I have come to love the spring and summer in Central Texas. There are so many interesting critters, even in my own little suburban yard. I have found many sweet, little anole lizards over the last couple of weeks, one of which has two tails! I don't know if he is an actual mutant, or if he lost part of his tail at one time and it grew back two, I tend to think the latter. Either way, I see him frequently and am fond of him! My neighbor kids were out last week and came across this wonderful moth. It was very lethargic, so I don't know if it was recently out of the cocoon or if it was close to dying, but it let me pic it up to get a better look at it and take some photos. My son said the markings looked like that of a snow leopard, what a great observation! After a little bit of research, I have discovered that this is called a Giant Leopard Moth. Now I don't know if you remember, and this was probably from the now defunct "Living, Surviving, Seeking" blog, I had captured a fuzzy, black caterpillar last year, I think we called him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Anyway, that caterpillar is what turns into this beautiful moth, I have included a pic of Fuzzy from last year. Who knows, maybe this moth was Fuzzy himself! How cool would that be? So we are kicking off what will hopefully be a wonderful season of discovery in my own little yard!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

And the adventure begins...

I don't remember if I've mentioned that we are going on a camping trip this weekend to Dinosaur Valley State Park. We have spent weeks getting all the essentials together, you know, buying sleeping bags and lanterns, borrowing a cookstove, making sure we have proper utensils to stab and incinerate marshmallows! This will be our first camping trip since kids have been in the picture and I can tell you already, there is SO MUCH CRAP TO THINK OF! Am I packing enough food and water, do I have some things for them to do, will they be warm enough (temps are supposed to get into the mid-40's at night), do they have little water shoes to go wading in the creek (after all that's where the best dino prints are), do we have enough beer to keep us sane?!? So I am excited and worried and stressed all at the same time! I'm sure once we get the car all packed and I know all this stuff will actually fit into my car, I'll be fine. But for today, I will be in the kitchen prepping food. All of my fellow campers (this is a group camping event with my homeschooler group) tell me I need to be packing Pop-Tarts and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the whole trip. This just goes against every fiber of my being. Just because I'm camping and out in nature does not mean I can't enjoy a decent meal with my family for 3 days! So I have my menu planned as such:

Eggs and sausage for breakfast Sat. and Sun.
Grilled pork tenderloin and potato salad for dinner one night
Brats and potato salad the next night
Lunches consisting of chicken tortellini pesto salad for one day
Chicken salad with apples, grapes and cilantro for the next day
Healthy snacks of fruit and homemade pumpkin bread
Fresh loaf of pumpernickel to have along with dinners and breakfast

Yes, I admit it, I am a TOTAL food snob! And I refuse to pump my kids full of processed, boxed foods all weekend. All my other friends think I'm loony, but how many do you think will end up at my campsite wondering what smells so good?!? I will have a full report and hopefully some photos to post on Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!