Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Washout!

Drats.

I'd hoped to have had someone come Friday or this evening to help clear out the backyard beds and really get things back in order. All I need is some muscle attached to a willing back.

Then, 'Pup woke me up this morning, by scratching and tapping on the pillow next to my head. Now, oddly enough, that is indeed the most effective way to awaken me. Arouse my curiosity, and you'll have....well...got me to wake up (now, whut wuz y'all thinkin'?).

The thunder of the storm kept me awake afterwards. It wasn't a single thunderclap, instead, what we heard was a solid wave of sounds growling overhead. Oddly, we didn't see a lot of lightning, but the few times we did, it was obviously reaaaal close... you know. The CrrrrSnap! Cruaaahhhcnnnk, Kaboooomm with the white, eye startling light. And the rain. Y'all. It wasn't rain. It was a dang bucket being poured all over the roof and the yard. The fortunate thing was that the whole hard storm lasted only 30 minutes or so. Even so, my gauge read 2 inches, the little pond filled to overflowing and everything was just generally WET.

Ah well. Maybe tomorrow. It's gotta be tomorrow, or it'll have to wait for a week or more. 'Cause more rain's a'comin'.

A Bit of the Drink Taken

The blogmeet in Kerrville is coming up in just over a month. Any and all are welcome to come, just register at the site on my blog roll. So far, it's a varied, if small group of people, but I have a feeling that it will be a very convivial and interesting experience.

Last year, in Austin, was an experience I'm glad I got to have. I'd have been very sorry to have missed the chance to meet some very nice people. I'm also glad I'd gotten the chance to say thank you to a friend no longer with us. He'll be much missed. He is much missed.

We stayed with 'Pup's parents last year, and missed out on a lot of the wilder celebrations. This year, we're staying at the hotel. I'm hoping to meet even more engaging and delightful people and hear some good music and some good talk.

I don't think it will be as wild as I hear the Helen blogmeets get. I hear that a blogmeet in Helen requires the stamina of much training in the proper imbibing of liquid refreshments. I suspect that a couple of hangover cures wouldn't be out of place either.

Y'all come.

B'n'B's

When 'Pup and I got married, it was high summer in a year of very little rain in the Texas Hill Country. We had an early morning (outside!) wedding, and the shade trees on 'Pup's parent's property were essential. We had a nice, casual, quiet and friendly wedding. All in all, if I had to do it all again, I'd do it the same way.

The only thing I'd do differently would be to find a Bed and Breakfast for us to stay in after the wedding. We went with an affordable, but boring hotel. I think I'd like to try it the "posh" way once or twice. Wouldn't you?

Dollar Posts

I've mentioned before that 'Pup and I are not as "flush" with money as we've been in the past. We're getting by, with the Learning Center job ('Pup has some hours there each week as well) and my teacher retirement. So far, we've not had to cash out any of the retirement accounts. That would cost us almost more money than we'd get out of the deal.

Still, if I want any extra money for...say...blog meets, or my garden, I had to find a way to get some extra money outside of our base budget.

Luckily, I was perusing Craigslist, when I found an ad that asked for bloggers. That's how I was able to sign up and get paid to blog. Most posts only earn me a small amount, but it is a fairly regular endevour. The site is even promising to offer some higher paying assignments.

A Place of My Own

I think I've mentioned my "garden room" just off the master bedroom before. It's not really much of a room, only about 20 feet by 5 feet at the most. However, it's mine...when the cat lets me share the chair. I don't have a good place for my laptop, and there's not really enough room for a full sized desk. We've been looking for a smallish table that can be moved easily. I'm thinking that perhaps we should be looking at some folding tables. That way, I could use the surface to work at and then put the table away when I didn't need it. Luckily, we've a wireless connection, so my laptop isn't tied to one spot. When the weather is nice, I can even take the laptop outside and surf while sitting in the shade.

Water!

Okay, I will admit with no small amount of embarrassment that I am pretty much addicted to filtered and bottled water. 'Pup and I tend to keep a supply of bottled water on hand anyway, 'cause neither of us really wants to go to the grocery store at the last minute before a hurricane and fight over the last gallon of drinking water. We also have a filter on the water coming from the refrigerator door, and I've been known to refill that day's water bottle several times. For one thing, it's cheaper than another bottle and it's cold. On a hot day, that's kinda important. I have also, in the past had a special bottle with a water bottle filter that did a pretty good job of turning tap water from a couple of different city/town water supplies as well. They worked pretty well too.

Face to Face

'Pup has been talking to a lot of recruiters so far. We've posted his resume on a lot of sites and he's even gotten as far as several telephone calls that must have been a screening process. The recruiters have even submitted him for jobs. One recruiter wanted him to take a contract position with a company in the Austin area. That would have been acceptable, as 'Pup's dad lives in that area. One was even in the process of setting up a remote interview via web conferencing, when the job was filled with someone who had been working for that company already.

Someday, someday.

Tick Tock

When I first "retired" from teaching, one of the things I liked about not having to go to work, other than the fact that I wasn't in pain and didn't have to BE in pain, was that I didn't have to schedule my day moment by moment. As a teacher, I had to plan when to teach what and how to fit in which lesson on what day and schedule around students going OUT of class to counceling, "reading recovery", special ed. classes, lunch, recess, library (one of my favorite times of the week)...well. You get the idea. When I started the adult tutoring, and then got the job at the Learning Center, my life became a little more clock regulated again. The difference is that before, I was timing my life with the minute and second hands of a wrist watch. Now, it's more...relaxed. Sort of like going from wrist watches and buzzers to grandfather clocks and chimes. I'm finding I'm liking this.

Check Please!

I had never thought about it much before, but there must be a pretty good market for companies who can handle secure money transfers via both paper and electronic transactions. I wonder if a company that handlesaccounts receivable conversion items would be the kind of company that could use someone like 'Pup? I think it might be worth exploring. It always pays to be willing to explore new avenues.

Free Trial

There is a free Diet Trial being offered. There is a shipping fee, but for that shipping fee, you will get a seven day free trial. The site says that the number of trials are limited in number, and that they are going fast. I'm pretty sure my doctor wouldn't let me try this, as I'm on a rather complex regimen of rather a lot of prescription pills already. Oh well.

Better Living Through Chemistry?

I wonder just how many people use chemical help for intimacy? It must be a fairly high number, or the companies who make the different products wouldn't be making them. And, since companies depend on repeat buyers, they must be fairly effective. One of the products is called Levitra.

I remember when the first "assist" came on the market, and Ann Landers ran a survey asking women what kind of intimacy they prefered. I wonder what answer a similar survey would get nowadays?
FREEBIE FRIDAYS ARE BACK AT THE MOM'S THATS NUTZ PLACE!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's Blooming?

These are not the "after" pictures I hope to bring soon...but the front yard is looking better now.


The pear tree in the front yard is blooming...pretty sky too, huh?


A cross-vine blooming on the juniper tree. My herb garden perennials are there and the annuals are beginning to be planted.

My front door. The wild onions are blooming and the mint is taking off. The frog gives his usual editorial comment...



Last year, I'd planted pansies around the bougainvillea. This year, the bougainvillea froze down. the little red things coming from the big brown thing are the bougainvillea just beginning to grow from the roots again. I've left a lot of the bigger limbs from last year to use as a trellis for whatever grows.



The hummingbird bush also froze down, but both are coming back from the roots. The yarrow is spreading and I hope it will be blooming soon.


More snapdragons in the iron pot.


Another shot of the front entrance.


Roses blooming.

Roses yet to bloom, but budding up nicely.
The corner from last year's not glorious yet, but there are purple petunias planted under the red geranium in the strawberry pot. The angelonicas are recovering from the roots, and the lemon grass needs a haircut.
The good Sr. M is busy with two jobs to support his family...alas. However, we've found a new person to help out, and I hope to have some real "after" pictures of the backyard next Sunday or Monday.
Happy Springtime.

Engineers are my heroes

The first hero engineer is the young man who installed the scooter lift in the van. he had to do a powerful lot of studying the instructions, and then he had to make a few adjustments and even had to modify some of the parts so that they'd be able to make the lift (built really for a wheelchair) to work for a scooter. Mr. Scott, you're a good man.

Which leads me to the second group(s) of engineers.

Now, I know you're supposed to read the printed materials when you get a new electrical appliance. And I know that this should really be done when the ...appliance is as large and important as my scooter. And..................I did look at them. Really. I skimmed through them, and noted that there was a part about being aware that something called EMI or RFI (kinda like the warnings for those with pacemakers) could affect the control of my scooter.

Well to be honest, I didn't really read this until a few days AFTER I'd been using the scooter. (My bad) I didn't worry too much about it, as I'd already been using my cell phone while sitting on my scooter, and it didn't seem to make much difference.

Still hasn't. I guess I have EMI Shielding to thank for the continueing excellent and helpful and needful and uhmm yah, FUN way I can now go places and do things I hadn't been able to do in SO long.

Thank you again...engineers!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

'Pup's a Surprise

My husband, AKA Da'Pup, is an interesting person. He can be a right old curmudgeon, or he can flirt with any female of any age he encounters. The flirting part is the most constant. His mother told me that he'd been flirting since he was old enough to focus his eyes.

He's started and is now writing on two blogs. One is mostly about good companies and people he/we encounter. He lists names and addresses. He does not accept any payment for this...it's his way of saying thankyou.

The other blog is about our pets...and as he is also a "'Pup", he's there too.

His latest post is about Brain. It is a poem. It is a good poem.

Y'all, go check it out, please.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Wildflowers




Last weekend, 'Pup and I went looking for the wildflowers. We saw the beginnings of the bloom, but it was still too early. Friday, we were luckier... it's still the beginning, but it looks as if it's going to be a very good year.
Indian Paintbrushes and bluebonnets. The red paintbrushes will sometimes throw a sport and you'll find a yellow one, or even white. They've also bred a maroon one. Gig'm Aggies!

Pinks.

I'm not sure what this is yet... I'll be looking it up. It grows on a fairly tall stem, about 8 inches high.

The dewberries are blooming HEAVILY. I'm going to try to go berry picking this year. If we keep getting the right amount of rain, the berries will be large, sweet and deeeelicious.





Pretty, pretties.


Okay, the above are not wild flowers, but they are a very good example of the azaleas that are in bloom now as well. Houston even has an "Azalea Trail" through some of the nicer neighborhoods, and the gardeners in the area seem to compete to see how fantastic the display can get...sort of like Christmas lights...only better.
Y'all have a good spring.
Pictures of my garden later. Things are blooming there too.


OH!!

Hey, this is cool! Not only are there ink pens on the site, but there are other gifts as well. You can get everything from a cooler to a key chain with the name of the company on it. Hummm. Wonder if my family would take some personalized stuff for Christmas next year?

I'd have been pretty happy as a teacher if I'd had something like that for use in my classroom. I had a lot of pens, pencils and other portable supplies walk out of my classroom, one way or another.

Advertising

Last year, 'Pup and I ordered some pencils with the name of the Learning Center I work for, stamped on the pencil. I suggested that it would be even better if we had a pen with the name of the Learning Center stamped on it. Pens would be better, I thought, because the only problem with the pencils was that as they were used... the name disappeared.

I'm never really sure how some of my suggestions are looked upon. I've learned just to make the suggestion, and then leave the idea alone. Sooner or later, the idea will either be utilized (often) or ignored (not as often). That's why I was so glad to see one of the pens I thought would be a good idea being used and others passed out.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stuff

I remember my mom getting ready for work. She'd dress in her white nurse uniform, with a crisp white cap, and stout shoes. My sisters and I liked to pretend we were nurses too. We'd "borrow" that cap whenever we could and if we could snag one of her stethoscopes we were playin' happy. 'Course, if my mom FOUND us with either? We were in great danger of needing her medical expertise. I didn't understand until I was older. Those things are dang expensive!

Being Prepared

We've been lucky enough to have a friend help us get our garage back into some sort of order. Before hurricane Rita threatened our sanity, the garage was... a little cluttered, but managable. Then, we had some help clearing the backyard. Quickly.

That was the end of managability. We've still not replaced everything in the back yard, and some of it needs to be thrown away, recycled or given away.

One of the things uncovered by our friend were some collapsable coolers. 'Pup and I carry one of them packed with a first aid kit, another with some tea and a way to heat water, and another with picnic supplies.

They're not unlike the emergency kits that you can order.

Great Heavenly Days

(That's what my grandmother would always say when faced with a surprising event)

I will admit, that a day outside working in the garden leaves me so tired, I'm actually thankful for a day of work in between my days off. Otherwise, I'd be so tired I might do myself some damage, all in the name of a pretty yard.

I might even be tempted to take an energy supplement.

While we're at it...

While we're wishing for a Mouse Vacation, I think we can also hope for a chance to stay at a nc waterfront property. I'd like to have the wherewithall to explore all over the United States, and stay long enough at any one spot to learn what it is like to live in that place. Then, after I'd learned, I'd probably scoot back to Texas. But, you never know!

Seriously, if 'Pup got offered a good enough job, we'd move where we had to move.

M-I-C....

K-E-Y......M. O. U. S. E......

I'm Dreaming of a MOUSE vacation... Oh. Different song that, eh? I'd like a vacation. I can't wait for the blog meet in Kerrville. Maybe next year, we can use a Orlando Vacation Rental and celebrate a new job and new financial stability. Now that I have my scooter, and a skinny hubby, I wanna go do things we never thought we'd be physically able to do.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Diets

'Pup's doing better than he had been. We had a little scare the last 2 weeks or so when the doctor called us and told us that his red blood cell count was so low that he(the doc) considered throwing 'Pup into the hospital and giving him a blood transfusion. This is a big deal because our doc usually does almost anything to avoid giving blood. Baring a major operation or injury, he would rather a patient rebuild his blood supply on his own. He doesn't trust the blood supply.

What happened? Well, 'Pup actually lost weight too fast, and didn't take his supplements as he should have. He's taking them now, and we got the news today that he's doing much better. Doc still wants him in for another CBC to monitor more, and to ensure that 'Pup isn't skipping the protein and B vitamins that help him stay healthy. That's one of the downsides of gastric by-pass. One is at the risk of malnutrition. This is actually 'Pup's second lesson in this, but he is learning.

So, people ask me if I would get a gastric by-pass. I have to answer...no. Re-plumbing an already wonky system (one of the indications that made the neurosurgeon want to hustle me into surgery was a...less than optimal digestive system). I might consider a lap-band, but even that has it's dangers.

The more I read about Hoodia the more interested I am. A wonder pill would be nice to have.

But, I rush into nothing. I'm eating more salads myself and working more in the garden.

Financial Software

Not that I have enough money for it to track, but this financial reporting software looks a lot like what 'Pup used to do for Enormous Bank before Enormous Bank was gobbled up by another Enormous Bank and became Freakin' Huge Bank.

It's what he used to do and would like to do again. 'Pup liked being in a corporate world. It was a comfortable fit for him, gave him structure and enough challenges that he actually liked going in to work.

Catholic Gifts

My mom didn't grow up Catholic, but after completing her nursing training in a Catholic hospital, she converted. My dad didn't.

This meant that, while I went to Catholic kindergarten, I went to Baptist Summer Day Camp. I liked the Catholic school. Mass was fun to attend. I liked the ceremony, and the ritual. Back then, we had little lace head coverings, white gloves and nice dresses.

Now, I'm not Catholic, though I've a sister and her family that is Catholic. They are a happy family and my sister and brother-in-law are some of the nicest people I know. Their daughters are well behaved, and very smart. I'm proud to know them and even prouder to know that I'm related to them.

They collect (y'all...this is a family trait...ALL of us collect SOMETHING) crosses that hang on thier walls. They have many beautiful ones. This Catholic gifts site looks like a good place to look for more.

My Dad's Truck

After enough of his children had graduated high school and moved out of the house, my dad drove a Ford truck. It was what he wanted. He rarely sprung for any fancy options, and always bought the same color when he got a new Ford truck. Sometimes, he'd have had the new truck for several months before some of his kids knew that he'd gotten a new truck. It was hard to tell. Once, it was only when I needed to borrow his truck that I found out he'd bought a new one the year before! And the only way I knew it was new? It had electric windows.

He rarely even had a truck toolbox in the bed of the truck. That came in handy, as I was able to get my school supplies from school in one load because of the extra bed space.

Sounds of Spring

One of the nice things about living in a subdivision of some age (okay, we're in one that was built in the 1980's) is that, unlike the new areas built over land that was essentially stripped of all living things, then replanted in cookie cutter style landscaping, our older area has had a chance to recover somewhat. I have at least 5 kinds of frogs and toad, several kinds of lizards, more bugs than I want sometimes and I even have the little snakes that keep some of the bugs, and less welcome critters.

This results in a less than silent backyard. Especially now that I have a pond. (And the frogs and toads seem to thing it's a major turn on by the way.) There is a constant song of life back there. I like it. I've even made 'Pup stop in the middle of a drive in the dark, back from my mom's house, just to hear the spring and summer song that we can hear on some of the more country roads. 'Course, it can get a leeeetle loud now and again.

But I know that winter is over when I hear living things sing of love and life. I like it.

I think if I had to live in the city, I'd have to get sound machines just to help me sleep.

Drugs

With as many pain meds that I and 'Pup have been on in the past few years, you can imagine that both of us stop and question ourselves when we take anything. Neither of us ever wants to need an intervention for a prescription drug addiction.

The doctor keeps a close eye on it and us as well, and that is as it should be. We're careful. 'Pup keeps a close record of what and when and why he uses any pain medicine, especially the opoids. I don't take many, because most of my pain is not really helped by the meds I have. I take something only when I'm in enough pain that I can't sleep.

'Pup doesn't always have that luxury. With rheumatoid arthritis, his pain is sometimes unceasing. Even with the meds, he is still in pain.

I Can See......

Not that I really want to see what's in the mirror every morning. I really sometimes...dont. I have even been able to avoid looking in mirrors while washing my hands, brushing my teeth or brushing my hair. The only time I do look in a mirror is to put on my make-up. Blind as I am, taking off my glasses means I can't really see where the make-up is going. I need one of these makeup mirrors.

Just don't ask me to look at all of me at once.

I Wish

A few years ago, we knew a couple who helped us a lot with this house. B. was the one who enclosed the little porch on the back of the master bedroom and turned it into a very nice little garden room. It makes a big difference in the way the bedroom feels. Instead of crowded......okay... it's still crowded... but without it, the bedroom would be claustrophobic.

The other thing they did was redo the master bath. Turns out that all the water on the porch wasn't left over rain, but a slow leak from the bathtub. Good thing B. was a very good carpenter and could do a little plumbing as well. We got the tub enclosure changed to tiles, and a new texture put on the walls. That's where B's wife comes in. She did all the painting. I don't know how she did it. She not only made the painting look easy, she helped me make the decisions on the colors. Several years later, I'm still pleased with the colors and both rooms look new, even now.

They ended up having to move away because they just couldn't make enough money here. They moved back to Missouri and every once in a while, I see them online in Yahoo.

I wish they'd stayed. With all the new houses going in around here, there would be so much work for a talented painter and carpenter.

I wonder if this Painting Franchise would have made the difference?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Dad

My dad was the hardest person in the world (other than my mom) to buy a present for during Christmas or his birthday. His needs were few and his desires mostly fulfilled in days of golf. So, inevitably, I suppose, that’s why the running theme of his gifts for the last 30 years of his life ran to gifts like golf clubs. He also got golf balls, golf books, golf gloves, golf clothes, golf carts, golf towels, golf club covers, cleaners, repair kits and even retrievers for when a ball or three would end up in the water hazard.

I miss my dad. I’d even be willing to watch a golf match with him now.

Breaking Sad News

With all the losses ‘Pup and I have faced the last two years, we have received many kind, healing words and some sympathy gifts. The thoughts behind the gifts were the real gifts. Tuesday, I had to give some sad news to one of Brain Dog’s friends. You see, the meter man would literally RUN between houses, reading the meters as fast as possible so that he could spend some quality time playing soccer with Brain. Then, he would vault over the fence to the neighbor’s house, back on his route, making up lost time.

Shortly before Brain got so bad, he’d had a chance to play with him while we were outside and we told him about Brain’s prognosis. I’d been looking, watching for the meter man since then, so I could tell him what had happened. I’d missed him every month until this one.

After I told him, and said thank you to him for making Brain’s life a little happier, I shook his hand. And he left, walking through the gate.

Wedding Ring

Someday, ‘Pup and I are going to be out of debt. He will have another good job and we’ll be able to save some money, and spend a little too. I’ll be able to indulge in a little retail therapy, both in real life and online. I’ll be able to go to a site like Reeds Jewelers and pick out something shiny and bright for me and perhaps for ‘Pup too. He needs a new wedding ring. After losing so much weight, he can no longer wear his ring. We’re going to either have the ring resized, or perhaps we’ll be able to get another one that resembles the original.

Recovery

I heard tonight that Brittany Spears got out of drug rehabilitation…just a little earlier than most people do. Hummm. Gee. What a surprise.

I do have some sympathy for her, but ‘Pup and I deal with real, physical pain every day, and every night. The medicines the doctor prescribes for us allow us to alleviate it somewhat, but the pain never really goes away. ‘Pup’s pain is worse than mine, as I can sit or lie down and recover. I joke about it, saying that occasionally I have to ‘reboot’ the nerves in my legs and back and that usually does something to lessen the pain.

I just wish that if we ever did have a problem with prescription drug addiction, that we could have a nice place to recover.

A Different KIND of Insurance

Car insurance is one thing. You have to have it to drive a car legally. House insurance you need because...plumbing happens. Really. Take it from me. Plumbing happens. The other thing that happens is …well taxes and death. I carry cancer insurance, and no matter what other things we cut in the budget…that will stay. When ‘Pup and I were working jobs that came with real benefits, we had life insurance too. Now, I guess Death insurance would be more like what we could afford. At a dollar a day, it might not be a bad investment. Too bad you have to die to get it!

Insurance

‘Pup and I have our car and house and life insurance with the same company. We get a price break by having all of them with one insurance company. And, the company has seen us through two “Plumbing Emergencies”, so it’s not too bad. It never hurts to have a place to go to find out if what you’re paying is the least expensive, best deal you can get for the insurance we all need. This is one site where you can get a car insurance quote. Will the price beat what you’re paying now?

Dream Houses

Someday, I want to travel to Italy. And I don’t want to just go as a poor tourist, staying in an inexpensive hotel….no. I want to stay in one of the Villas in Italy. A nice little seaside villa, not too elaborate, only 4 or 5 bedrooms, a pool and a great view of the ocean would suit me just fine. Oh, and a really nice garden wouldn’t hurt either. I wonder if there would be a way to come back with some vegetative souvenirs?

More Houses

So, what’s the polar opposite of NC? Well, after careful thought and a little google action, I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s Las Vegas Real Estate. Instead of tall trees, there are tall buildings. I’d never heard or read the phrase “The Manhattanization of Las Vegas”. It refers to the fact that there are an increasing number of high-rise condominiums being built in the city. The “Vertical Lifestyle”, it is called. I think I prefer a lifestyle somewhat more horizontal, as I suspect my house note is probably less than what the maid service would cost there. On the other hand, there are certain things that might be interesting as a vacation option if I were to win a few million dollars.

Houses

Sometimes, you just have to wonder. For example, there is a town in North Carolina named Cary. Its homes look a lot like the ones being built nearby. They are large, grand and expensive. They are also set on some beautiful land. The site that let me look at the Cary NC Real Estate has another page to it. It has some interesting things to say about Cary as a town. I wonder what is so wrong about being a bedroom community? Okay, I live in one and I could tell you about that, but I won’t. Still and all, it’s a pretty area.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rain RAIN

I was just outside, the sky is clearing, the air is cool.......there are mosquito hawks bumbling around and I suspect mosquitoes won't be far behind.

We had a kick ass thunderstorm line come through yesterday. Some parts of the area got upwards of 5 to 6 inches with hail and even a small tornado.

From my gauge we got at least 3 and 1/2, though I suspect it's closer to 4 1/2 inches of rain. The pond overflowed, meaning a lot of the duck weed got skimmed off, and the water is much clearer. I got a chance to see which fish had wintered over and it looks like the ones I liked best.......the 'skeeter eaters, survived just fine. I think several of the goldfish we'd bought when they were about a half inch long are about an inch long now. Life is good in the Pond..

Things are squishy outside. I got some weeding done, and will go and clean up the weeds on the walk later. The cannas are sending up new leaves and look healthy enough. My white mandavilla froze down to ground level, but the thick layer of leaves kept the root alive and it's already sending up a new vine.

The rose bushes up front are putting on a lot of new leaves and I think they'll have a good bloom out in a couple/three weeks or so.

This storm was the kind we often get in the spring. So, whatever today's date is...Here. IT. IS. (un)OFFICIALLY SPRING!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who'da Thunk?

My 'Pup seems to have a slightly poetic bend in his soul. Who'da thunk it?

Please, go check it out!

Give him some comments... he's working on being a positive person and looking less at thunderclouds and more for the rainbows.

Speaking of rainbows... we had a LOT of rain today. Parts of our area got upwards of 5 inches, which caused the usual flooding troubles in the usual parts of the city.

Y'all. If you ever relocate to Houston...do not buy a house in any subdivision or neighborhood called "Friendswood"...just take my word on this.

Looks like the rest of the week might be better and I'll be able to go out tomorrow morning and see what I can do without sinking to my knees in mud. If I'm gonna sink to my knees......errr. Humm. Never mind, ain't goin' there.

I'm hoping the next weekend or so will be a good time to go scouting for wild flowers. They might be a little late this year, we'll just have to see.

:0) Y'all think happy thoughts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Happy Blog Birthday to me....

Actually. I missed it.

Doh!

Oh well...

I'm now Three Marches old. A lot of things have happened in those three years, some good, some bad. Mostly...good.

My first March. I had a green and glowing garden. We'd had a pretty warm winter and no freezes after January. The yard was a pretty, pretty place.

MY second March. We'd just had another very good winter. I still had the good Sr. Medina to help me. Things were looking so good!>/li>

Now, my thrird March. Groan. Not a good winter. Spring will be a little late this year. Things can only look up from here. It's always darkest before the dawn. One step forward...wait. Not as positive. Uhmmm OH. It cain't get no worse, right?

BWAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Pay Per Post

As I've said before, I didn't start out this blog to earn any money. I never even thought I'd have anyone other than my family who'd even want to look in occasionally. Ironically, I think my family are the ones who NEVER seem to "look in"...

When I was reading Kellie a couple of weeks ago, she'd started doing Pay Per Post to earn some money. It looked like a good idea for me. 'Pup is still looking for a job. Tomorrow is a job fair, y'all think good thoughts.

When I went to the site I signed up and then...didn't do anything for a little while. I think I was trying to figure it all out!

Now? Y'all this could be very good for anyone out there in a position to need a little money. They have a lot of different topics, and you choose the ones you want to write about. Some of the posts pay as little as $6.00, but even more pay $10, $15 and all the way up to $100 and even $1000 dollars. The higher your site ranks, (in viewers, google hits, length of existence), more and higher paying topics you can choose to post about.

So far, I qualify for only the "lower paying posts". But those posts can pay up to $45 and $50 dollars, and that's not bad for a little finger exercise. There will also be some posts with "review my post" buttons. If you should choose to review the posts, you'll be paid $7.50 and so will I.

The Pay Per Post site has a lot to offer it. There are a large variety of topics, paying fair prices for your words, and there are more and more of the posts that are offering higher and higher rates.

Even if you don't review mine, please go review Kellie's posts. I need spending money. She needs money to support her children.

I hope the Pay Per Posts give her the independence she needs. It's good to have hope. It's even better to give it.




blog marketing

Monday, March 12, 2007

Garden Progress

'Pup and I got a lot done on Friday. We got the leaves chopped up, most of the yard mowed.. and it already needs done again!! I got the tomatoes planted and even some more of the sugar snap peas. We've started to straighten up the back yard and it's beginning to look a little bit familiar.

Sigh, we'd gotten spoiled by the past two winters, where we'd gotten almost no freeze days and only a light bit of frost. This year, it was a little more challenging. Not only was the weather worse, we no longer had the weekly services of Sr. Medina to help us with the heavier things... and to get our butts in gear even when we didn't feel like it... Never underestimate the value of knowing that you're paying someone to do some work, so you'd better have the projects lined up!

Saturday, we went to work, and then after work, we went to another tutor's house. He's an engineering student (young! single! cute! good future! kind and all round good guy!--that's for anyone who might wanna know more about the gent) and has been installing the scooter lift in the van. It's taken us so long to get it put in because we had to wait for a) the weather to cooperate b) family crises to settle and c)...well. The young man DOES have a life!

It ended up eating up 4 of his Saturdays as it was. This young man is a marvel. Unflappable, he has a wicked sense of humor and can put up with 'Pup's humor too. We'd thought to have him come up to our house, at his request, but the first time we'd scheduled a good time to get together...'Pup's mom died.

After that, we just went to his house. It's actually his mom and dad's town home that they are renovating. They were good enough to allow us to steal their son's time and to use their tools. I don't think we'd have had the right tools for the job as it was, anyway. At one point, it was 'Pup, the tutor friend and his father all standing around and discussing what and how to fiddle with which to get it to work how and with what method/tool. Engineers. I just love'm.

I can now get the scooter in and out of the van on my own if need be. That is a great gift of independence, and I thank our friend, the kind lady who gave us the lift and I thank God for bringing it all together.

Sunday, well. We meant well, but we didn't get as much done in the back yard as we'd planned. 'Pup was feeling poorly for most of the day, and I was movin' kinda slowwwwww. Still, I was able to trim up the canna, clear away some leaves and pot up a couple of new plants and re pot a couple more.

This morning, well... for one thing, I was asleep. Losing that hour has got me messed up. I hate the transition! Oh well.......at the same time I was sleeping, all hades was breaking out weather-wise! Our little NW corner of the area didn't get as much rain as other areas (I've nicknamed the area I live in "Sahara Flats" for a reason), nor did we get the worst storms. All that happened for me was I got a nice long sleep in, and when I woke up, the storms were over, the sky was clearing and it wasn't too hot or too humid for me to go outside and get a little more done.

I got the hibiscus cut back, and surprisingly, it had already begun to put on new leaves on many parts of the bare wood. I still cut it back hard. It had gotten a little leggy and thick and needed thinning out. And, it really does do better blooming on new growth.

Tomorrow morning, assuming it's not storming again, I want to attack parts of the front yard. There was enough rain to make the weeding and bed cleaning a little easier, so I'm gonna grab the opportunity as it presents itself. I'm going to try to plant some different kinds of sunflowers this year. Some I will plant up against the front of the house, in the front bed. Others, more miniature varieties, I'm going to put in pots. I was able to get some petunias for the bougainvillea bed, and after I whack it back down to nothing (hoping to stimulate some major growth) I'll plant some flowers around the base of the bougainvillea. By the time it gets really hot, I'm hoping the bougainvillea will provide just enough shade to protect the flowers. The little day lilies have been presenting new leaf growth and I may have to thin some of the clumps and fill in more of the circle.

You know.... reading that? I'm already tired! Oh well... Spring must come and I will want a nice garden!!

A Travel Site Review

This Hotel Reservations site is looking for bloggers to review its services and give input on its rates, discounts and ease of use.

So, I looked.

To test the site, I requested quotes and hotels from a couple of towns that I know, to see how the hotels I have stayed in rank in their rate quotes.

The results were mixed. For larger or more popular cities, there were many options from which to choose, and the quoted rates were slightly lower than even the AAA discount 'Pup and I use. For smaller cities, such as the town/area my parents live in... there were no results in the city itself. There were a good number of hotels withing about 100 miles of there in Houston and Galveston, but none for the city itself. Now, this is a county seat. There are several hotel/motels in the city, including several of the chain hotels.

The site is very easy to use. All my questions of "now, where is that function" and "how do I get to..." were easy to answer. I was able to search several cities quickly and easily.

My review? A pretty good site for booking in larger or more popular tourist spots. It does give you a pretty good overview of the better and more reasonably priced places to stay. I also liked the information given about what destinations were close to each hotel/motel.

Email for Bloggers

I started this blog to please myself. That I've made friends and contacts from doing what pleases me is an added bonus. And now, this blog may even be an opportunity to help bridge the gap between what I (and 'Pup) can bring home right now...and what is required to go out.

There is a free blog email service called Zookoda that gives a blogger an opportunity to find, keep and inform readers of new content. Returning readers equals more traffic, meaning that your blog rises in value as both a forum and as a possible revenue source. It is an email marketing link.

Registration for bloggers to this service is free. You are provided with code that allows readers to subscribe to your blog. Their subscription garners them timely notification that your blog has published a new post. The subscription option ensures that only people who WANT to be contacted with information about your blog are emailed.

There is even a way to opt out of this service if it turns out not to be a good match for your blog and it's readers. I find this to be one of the more attractive features, as I always appreciate a back door.

So, I've signed up, and there will be a button appearing soon on my sidebar. If you'd like to participate, feel free.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Garden Blog!



OH, Yah.

This is a gardening blog.


It's been a while since it's LOOKED like one. That changes today.

We started on getting the yard back in order. There's a lot of work to be done.

We concentrated on this end of the backyard. This project is going to take several long days of remediation and rehabilitation. Oh well, I need the exercise. So does 'Pup.

'Pup went over the compost pile with the lawn mower. It pulverized the material quite nicely. We're going to be begging for grass clippings this summer and hope to have some very nice compost by the end of summer.



I cleared the raised beds of the protecting leaf mulch and old plants. Alas, even my geriatric tomatoes didn't make it through the coldest night. It got down to about 28 F or so, and even the coverings didn't help. Pots are harder to protect than plants in the ground.




The side yard got bit hard this winter. Those dried brown sticks used to be 4 1/2 foot tall hibiscus. Oh well, I'd wanted to prune them down hard this spring anyway. They bloom better on new growth.

Even the varigated ginger was burned a bit by the frost. I'll tidy them up and they'll grow just fine. In fact, since they'll not be shaded as much by the hibiscus, I might get better blooms from them this year.

My pots of lilies are coming up again. This is the third year for them, and I'm very pleased. I'm going to be looking for some more bags of the bulbs. They do so well in the side yard, I'm looking forward to the blooms.


Oh, the monster plant is eating trees now too.

This lovely budding vine is for Livey. She gave me a pink jasmine last spring. This year, I'm going to enjoy the blooms.



Finally, and on a high note...this lovely lavender lantana is one of my 25 cent rescues. It's not just beautiful... it has a lovely scent as well. It surprised me, as most lantanas smell a bit sharp, if they have any scent at all. This one is very gentle and sweet. I think it's going to be one of my favorite plants.

I got a little done in the front yard too, as I planted some herbs I'd bought today and a couple of weeks ago. I had to plant them in the dark, as my energy level was flagging a little towards the end of the day and rested a little longer than I'd planned. 'Pup helped by bringing me some flashlights.

Yes. I lay in my (herb) bed in the dark and planted herbs. By flashlight.

Y'all enjoy Spring. I think it's going to be a lovely one.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Chuckles' Anniversary

We got Chuckie the dog just about a year ago. We actually got him on 'Pup's mom's birthday, March 17th. He's come a long way since that first night he was in the house. He's learned to trust us. And he seems to have bonded with us. He's not as pretty as Brain was, he's not as smart as Brain, but he does have his good points.

He's a very affectionate guy, and he wants to please. He's a very good traveler, which is just as well, since he gets a little anxious when left at home.

He addresses this anxiety by chewing. He chews just about anything you give him, and many things we DON'T. Like, my shoes. And plastic containers. And rawhide chews. And last week...my library book.

Of all the thousand or so books in our house, he HAD to choose to CHEW MY LIBRARY BOOK! A HARDCOVER library book! We took it in today to pay for it. When I told the lady what had happened she asked if he'd ever eaten another book. Well, no, he hadn't...exactly. He had chewed a phone directory a little though...

Luckily, the library gives amnesty for the first book. A pattern of eaten books would mean I couldn't borrow anymore books. GRRRRR. I didn't leave the book down where the dog could get it. At least, I don't think so. Damn. And it's not like we don't provide the dog with plenty of rawhide chew toys. He even has a stuffed alligator he brings to bed with him. Yah, this dog has us shopping for a lot of dog supplies.

Oh, well. He's a high maintenance puppy and is now getting to spend a lot more time OUTSIDE. Outside AWAY from my shoes and the books and the trash cans and whatever else will fit between his nice, sharp, white teeth.

This banishment doesn't make the cat all that happy, as we lock her IN when we lock him OUT.

Lady Spitfire's liking the outdoors now. Lots of birdies to stalk. OH!, and we think she might actually have caught one. Maybe. See, we were in the bedroom watching television when we heard a commotion in the hallway. I turned my head too late to catch sight of anything except a blur. 'Pup, however, rather bemusedly said something about Spitty going down the hall on two legs.

I pictured two side legs...thinking she'd been taking the corner a bit quick.

I was wrong. 'Pup told me that she'd been on her two HIND legs going down the hall, with her forelegs stretched out above her head.

I'm going to give you a moment to process that picture in your head.

We got up and went into the office, where Spitty had been heading in such a hurry. She was up on the daybed, and staring intently at the curtain rod. There, perched on and clinging desperately to the rod, was a little bird. It seemed a little...stunned by the recent events.

Tell the truth? So were we.

After a few moments of thoughtful silence, we decided the poor critter needed rescuing. As we did, we tried to figure out just how the bird had gotten in the house.

As 'Pup found a small box and reached up to knock the bird into it we wondered. The chimney? Through the doggy door? Had we let it in? The bird went into the box without a struggle. It must have been scared stiff. 'Pup clapped a lid on the box and hurried to release the bird outside. It flew off quickly. Very quickly.

Meanwhile, Spitty was still staring at the spot where the bird had been. She seemed a little disappointed that her bird was gone. And a little puzzled. (Y'all she's pretty...but she's no genius.)

The best guess we have for how it got into the house is that, somehow, Spitty either chased it into the doggie door flap, or perhaps caught the bird and carried it in. She'd been far too little when we'd gotten her for her to have ever learned about how to actually kill her prey.

Come to think of it, I wonder who was more surprised about the whole thing, Spitty, us or the bird?

Water, Water Everywhere..

But not a drop fit to drink. I don't like Houston tap water. The water in our subdivision used to be pretty good, but with all the recent construction, we've been required to give up "our" well and go to surface water. The taste difference is there...especially when most of what you drink is either water or unsweetened things made with water. 'Pup has to drink about 100 ounces of water daily, and he preferes either filtered water or bottled water as well. Our 'fridge has a built in filter and that's good, but somehow, the 'fridge just doesn't fit into the van. So, we buy a lot of bottled water.

There's got to be a cheaper way. Maybe portable water filters would work?

Mind Boings

'Pup's been applying to a lot of positions that have different travel requirements. Some have no travel, some are "minimal" (minimal compared to what??) and some have up to 25% travel.

Until this recent weight loss, 'Pup would have refused to travel on an airplane. Odd preference, considering he was in the Air Force (Vietnam era) and was (briefly) an air traffic controller. Come to think of it...maybe that's why. Sometimes it's easier to do something if you don't know just how easily something can go wrong.

Maybe Video Conferencing isn't such a bad idea.

Sofas

One of the first things 'Pup and I bought together was a new couch and two armchairs. I like our couch. It is upholstered in blue denim and has worn very well for seven years. Given the choice again, though? I think I'd have looked harder at sleeper sofas. That's easy to say now, though, because I've tried out the mattresses on some of the new sleepers and they're not bad. PiL has two sofas that fold out into full sized beds. They're not bad. Good thing, as that's where we sleep when we're visiting there!

bedrooms

When I was a little girl, my two sisters and I shared one bedroom, and my two brothers shared the other "kid's" bedroom. For a while, I shared a double bed with one sister. Not optimal people. Not optimal. Then, we got bunk beds. I got the top. I liked it up there.

I wish they'd had loft/desk beds for kids furniture back then.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Purty Flowers











Not, alas, my own... I did get bit again, but what's done is done. Tomorrow, 'Pup and I will have time, and good weather to do some work in the front yard. We'll clean some beds, trim some frost bit bushes and feed, trim, spray and otherwise tend to the roses. If we have time and energy, we'll even go to get some (cheap) flowers for annuals.

I'd like to get another rose too. Red this time.

I want some vigorous tomato plants...'cause we've got the raised beds for them now.

'Til then, my friend Val sent some pictures she took at an Orchid/Chihuly show here that she and her sister were attending the very day she got the call about her husband being involved in that nasty 50 car pile up. Well....at least that day STARTED well for her.

She's going to take her pretty baby to the butterfly show next...and that reminds me! I can go to see the museums and butterfly exhibit here in Houston. 'Cause I gots me some trans-port-ta-shun! Scoot, scoot, scoot!

OH! Her husband's doing quite well by the way. He's into a "boot" and is able to go back to teaching (university prof) full time today. Val is doing better too. There is some good evidence that the gamma ray surgery on her tumor was effective. She's still got some limited sight, but the doctor claims it's getting better....SHE of course, looking at the world from the opposite direction, isn't too sure.

Still and all...not bad news for a sunny day here in Houston. (temps in the 70's and sunny today and tomorrow)

New Careers

‘Pup's job search is still proceeding. There are a lot of jobs out there, but what one company calls a business systems analyst is not necessarily what any other company calls the function ‘Pup can perform. The real problem is that some of the central software programs being used are proprietary, and if you don’t work for a company using that software, you’d not have had much chance to learn the software…and if you don’t know the software, you can’t get a job at that company. Heads hurt’n yet?

Sigh, with all the mergers going on, I guess Financial Consolidation Software is the kind Pup might to have to try to become familiar with first.

To HD or Not to HD....

Well…it’s not really a question just now. One of the things I’ve wanted since I saw one was an HD TV. We were waiting for them to come down in price. No Way were we going to pay several thousands of dollars for a system that had not been out long enough to really standardize the technology. We were waiting for the right time. I’d hoped this year would be the right time. Sigh.

Why bring this up now? Well...Channel 8 (our local PBS) is having one of it's fundraisers. One of the shows it was broadcasting was the computer generated animated music videos. Oh, those things is purty. And OH do I want to see one on an HD wide screen!

I guess I’ll just have to do my retail therapy online…without my credit card. Humm who knew there were so many kinds of HDMI cable thingies?

Pain, Oh, Pain!

I hate you. You STINK! I wish I could wash you away in the sink! **

‘Pup’s been feeling poorly. (See below). Part of the results of the low calcium, iron and potassium is that his body’s not been producing enough red blood cells. Anemic doesn’t even start to describe it. Even someone with a Norwegian momma should be that white. So, the doctor wants to take him off his pain pills too, as they’re a bit…unsafe to take long term.

He’s on a slow regimen to replace his (opoid)(addictive) pain pill with Tramadol . It’s slowly working up to a good sustainable level of pain relief. Hopefully by the blogmeet, he’ll be energetic and mostly pain-free.

**(With apologies to poet Jack Prelutsky and his poem “Homework” from the book: New Kid on the Block)

An Illness in the Family

‘Pup’s been ill the last couple of weeks. He’d not been eating properly, nor had he been taking the vitamin supplements that he should have. He’s been losing weight, too quickly. Diet Supplements could not have been as effective as not eating enough protein and too many carbs.

Not to worry though. All that weight he lost too fast? I found it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I swiped this meme from Guyk.

Best of all, he might be coming to the blogmeet in Kerrville in May.



You Are 96% Texas

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. This ain't your first rodeo!


What? You're surprised at my score? I think they left a few questions out, like:
  • You could ride just about any horse you ever met before you could drive a car. (true!)
  • One or more of your relatives owns or has owned an oil well. (my dad's dad for one)
  • You know the difference between an oil derrick and a pump. (well........duh!)
  • At least one grandparent on each side worked in, around or for an oil company. (both sides, mom's dad was a roustabout, her mother and both brothers worked for a major oil company that used to be based in Corpus Christ)
  • You seem to share a lot of relatives with Jeff Foxworthy. (there's no doubt, some of them are rednecks, oh yes... they are.)
  • The women in your family own measuring cups but don't use them for anything much. (my great grandma was once asked if she didn't need a "cup" while she was mixing up a batch of cornbread. Her answer was, "Why? I'm not thirsty yet.")
  • You know that barbecue has nothing to do with hamburgers or hot dogs.
  • You know that proper chili has. no. beans.
  • You have dated or wanted to date a guy with a permanent white circle on his back pocket from his snuff can. (okay.......I'll give on this one........yeeeeeuuck... the butts were cute... but the mouths were foul)
  • The women in your family have been known to dip snuff. (great grandma again... she was a pistol)
  • You know what a dance hall is and have spent time in several. (And that's all I gotta say 'bout that)
  • You can do a Two Step, the Cotton-eyed-joe and the Chicken dance. (see above)
  • You measure trips between towns in how long it takes to get there... ( I'm an hour and a half from my mom's house, three from PiL, 6 from Dallas, about 5 hours from Corpus and 14 hours from Lubbock.)
  • All carbonated sweet drinks are "Cokes", unless they're "Dr. Pepper". (and you luuuvs you some D.P.)
  • You know the proper pronunciation of "pecan".

And the last and most important:

  • Given the choice, you'd rather live in Texas.