Friday, August 31, 2007

Doin's in the Garden


Here's a picture of the miniature tomato I was telling you about. The whole plant is only about 14 inches high right now.


The amorous amphibians have sung thier love songs again. This time I was smart and lifted the eggs (attached to the hornwort --a floating water plant--) and putting them into the tadpole nursery. If I missed any eggs, at least the hatch out won't be so overwhelming and mess up the water quality.



The white Mandevilla is finally blooming. I think the tomato vines next to it had shaded it too much for blooms.


I took several videos outside. Each is only 15 seconds long. I like this.. I'm going to do it more.......unfortunately........


They're upside down. Anyone got a suggestion of how I can turn'm right side up??
I did get some pictures of the fish swimming, and I don't think they look tooo upside down..sigh.

video

ARGGGHH!!

I don't WANT to spend more money on fixing things in this house. Neither of the bathroom sinks in the two bathrooms are working properly. The master bath is draining sluggishly, and the hall bath won't hold water at all.

The master bath sink is a recurring problem. The best method for getting it to drain is to use hot water and salt. There's got to be some sort of clog down there. When we can afford it, (money, allwwaaayyyss money!!) That sink needs to be replaced anyway. It's one of the few things that were here when I moved in. 'Pup says I seem to be determined to replace the whole house one item at a time. Well...maybe.

I think I'll keep him around though.

Let There Be Light

I hate the lamp on the table by my bed. It's big, takes up too much room, and doesn't really put the light where I need it. And poor 'Pup is forced to put a clamp on light above his head (on the metal headboard) so that he can have some light. What we really want, and have been looking at are some wall mounted lights, preferably on an arm that can swing nearer or farther away as needed. I'd also like one that has a dimmer. The lamp I have now takes up most of the space on the table next to the bed, has a dimmer only because we've put a special chord on it, and has a shade that loves to attract and hold on to dust.

I've looked at Target, as that's where I'd found the lamps I love in my living room... but nothing's caught my eye there. So, looks like I'll be looking online for a bit... humm perhaps Murray Feiss?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rain rain rain

We got just under an inch of rain yesterday. Plus the 2.75 from the day before equals a lot of dang water.

video

I was lucky enough to catch this fellow hanging out on the coleus. This is the first time I've attempted the video part of blogger .........heck... the first time I've tried to download one from my phone (which took the video btw).

Don't just look, listen. In the background, you can hear the cicadas buzzing. That is the sound of summer in the south.

These are some upclose and IN FOCUS pictures of the handsome critter. I think it may be a female, as the males usually have a flap of skin under their chin that they....flash. It's a brightly colored flash and tells other males to back off. Tells people to back off to, if the critter is feeling his oats.
Lovely isn't she?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Garden Notes

Yesterday we got about 2.75 inches of rain, according to my gauge. I wasn't at home while it was raining, I was at work. 'Pup had stopped by there too and his dad called. Seems my esteemed P-i-l was alarmed at the news photos of some flooding in our area.

There's more rain coming from the southeast. Glub glub.

I planted 6 new tomatoes... 1 Minature


( I think it's not supposed to get much bigger!) It already has a little tomato on it. And the tomato isn't the same shape as a cherry tomato would be. It's just a tiny version of a full sized one, shape and porportionally.

Two cherry types, one called Million Dollar and the other Wild Cherry.

In the sunniest part of the back garden (sunny being a relative term here) I've got a Health Kick(pics show it looking a little like a roma), and 2 "Better Boys". We'll see what works best.


On the toadie front, I am seeing little tiny brown things hopping almost everywhere. I'll be sitting or walking, and catch movement out of the corner of my eye, look down and see a toadlet. They're not much bigger than they were when they emerged, but they look...drier. As if their skin had toughened up a little. Those little things can HOP. Their jumps are almost 3 times their body length!

While I was outside, it started raining again. sigh.

OH well. Now for some gratuitous garden pictures.

First, these are for someone who recognizes what they are...


(Gloriosa Rothchildiana)


A curtain of green



A Zebra plant, which resurected itself this year from a root ball. Which I almost threw in the compost heap. The little purple flowers that look like they've been dropped into the plant are the real blossoms of this plant. They're just not what I'd have expected somehow.

Oops getting late and I need to scurry through the rain to work.

Y'all keep on growing, ya'hear?

I'm Baaaaaa-yaaaak!

Weee HOO

The Geeks came through! (You were right, Donny, it was the power supply.) It cost, well...it cost. Not as much as a new computer, though, and that's a good thing. The Geeks also checked it for any other problems, and have pronounced the computer to be of sound body and mind... There weren't any virus' or spy thingies. The Geek who fixed the computer seemed impressed at that. I suspect a lot of what he fixes are software related. He commended us on our frequent updates in security and virus protection.

Still, ohhh I looked at the new 'puters. Oh...the laptops. So skinny, light, portable, so snazzy, they made me want to take two or three of them home with me. And OH the new desktops, with 2 G of RAM, and the ability to upgrade to 4 G... and so much beefier hard drives...

OH, and I saw the cutest little micro PC! It is smaller than a paperback book. It was a little more expensive however, at about 1800 dollars.

Someday. Someday. Until then, our faithful HP will do us right.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Day of School

Tomorrow is the first day of school for most Houston area schools. Some local districts actually started last Wednesday, the 22nd. This is the 3rd first day of school that starts without me in a full-time classroom. I have mixed feelings about that.

On the one hand; I always loved the first day of school. The smell of new crayons, Elmer's glue, and the way the teacher grade book smelled the first time it was opened and written in, all meant a new beginning to me. For those few days before school, when I'd be spending all my time either at school arranging and rearranging things, or when I'd be at home or at a store, looking for things to make the classroom special, it was all new. It was all about possibilities, and a myriad of opportunities to make a difference in even one kid's life.

Yah, teachers do it for the love of teaching. It ain't the money.

You become addicted you see. That feeling of being honored with the trust of parents turning over the most precious person in their lives to a stranger, just because I was a teacher, inspired me to love the kids as soon as I met them. Then, teaching...ahh teaching. There is something indescribable about the process of teaching a group of kids do something they couldn't do before. It is a satisfying thing. But the single most intoxicating thing that could happen, the thing that makes all teachers smile, is that moment when the child is just, just, just on the cusp of understanding something, and then...the AhHAH moment occurs. It's like a fire has been kindled inside a student's head. The face changes, the body language becomes more confident, the whole feel of the room changes as first one student catches the idea, and then others. We watch for those moments. They are what we work for, what we get addicted to making happen.

It ain't the money.

That AhHAH moment is when a student's whole world view changes. The excitement of knowing that someone knows something, understands something they hadn't before...it's priceless.

Sigh. I almost wish tomorrow were the first day of school for me.

But, it isn't.

When I started this post, I was planning to present the good things about starting school and then following it with reasons I was just as glad that I wasn't in the game anymore. But now, all I can console myself with is the reminder that I get the AhHAH moments at the tutoring center too.

That's a good thing. And I haven't had to spend a lot of my own money buying the decorations for the room, supplies for the students who, if they bring any supplies at all, will bring them too late for the first week of school...and what are they supposed to do until then, but use what I provided?

But I still miss the smell of new crayons. I think I'll go buy a box or three, just because.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Houston, We Have Pictures

I went to a garage sale yesterday and got a couple of chairs. I also had the good fortune to meet the nice lady running the garage sale. You see, as I was talking to her, I caught a glimpse of her back yard.

What did I spy?
Why, I spied these:
Purty Plumeria. I'd had some and the freeze got it, as it hadn't really established itself well.

And now, I gots me some more a 'dem. Well, three very nice sized pieces, which should have no trouble rooting in no time a'tall.

Well. Dang.

We lost power twice on Thursday afternoon and once Thursday night. After the first power loss, the computer blinked out...and refused to blink back on. It is/was on a surge protector/battery backup, but it seems that it is not going to come back on.

So, yesterday I took it to Best Buy for the Geek Squad to look it over. It's going to take a week just to have the problem diagnosed. A WEEK.

My laptop is dead. Oh, it will come on fitfully, but not with any real conviction. The last time it did come on, I did a frantic back up of as many files and pictures as I could. I don't think I got it all, but I got some. It needs to go in and have a data retrieval performed as well.

I'd be climbing the walls just now, but for the fortuitous fact that 'Pup's been allowed to take home a lap top from work. I'm not sure I'll be able to download many pictures, though 'Pup said whoever had this last didn't seem to worry about leaving some behind. Posting may be a little spotty... but I'm still around.

We'll be able to afford to replace the computer, if we have to, in a few months. It will just mean putting aside a little money at a time.

Oh well...things could be worse. We're okay, both of us are feeling okay. Both of us are employed. We can easily pay the bills, and are paying down our debt (which is at an amount that is uncomfortable for us, but we're gaining on paying it down), and barring any unforeseen disaster, we'll be able to get a really nice computer in a couple of months.

Humm. I just remembered. We have a card reader that reads a variety of sizes of cards. We had to get it so that my laptop could read the camera card and phone cards. If I keep the pictures on the cards, and don't download them into the computer, I might be able to post some pics too!

See? All in all. Things are good.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vegas

One of the chat groups I've been a member of was based on Yahoo. Then, it was moved to another venue, another site. It's a collection of the same people I've been chatting with for about 6 or 7 years now. I think I started talking to them soon after I was married.

The year before last, we'd talked about having a "meet". Several places were mentioned, but at last, Las Vegas was decided upon. Soon after that, we found out 'Pup was downsized from the Huge Bank Of the Northern Hemisphere. Other things happened to others, and it bacame obvious that the meet wouldn't happen.

I'd like to try again to get the group to gather. It isn't often that a chat group stays together for 7 years.

The where? I don't know. Perhaps we'd plan on Las Vegas again, someplace like big hotel, perhaps one like the Flamingo Las Vegas. I'd like to meet some of those people I've been speaking to for so long.

A Comfy Chair

While da Pup types on about using theater chairs as reading chairs, I prefder to spend my time online checking out Star furniture, Century furniture and many of the companies along the Eastern coast. What I need in my bedroom, or better yet in the extra room is a wide, soft, oh so comfortable chair I can use for reading or sleeping. Call it an advantage to be only five foot nothing, I do!

Skin Care

If ever there was a time I needed to research some natural skin care products it is now. My Pup's skin is looking rather poorly and he doesn't help it much always pick'n at it. That of course leads to me pick'n on him. Ah life goes on! Why me? Why not make, err let the Pup start looking on the web for such answers to his problems? primarily because he keeps saying it will all pass. Yeah, right!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Not For the Faint of Heart



Shopping, in Texas, is not for the faint of heart....


Okay, I was here.

This post dedicated to the guy from Joisey, with the GFH....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frog and Toad, They Are A'Growin'...


I believe I've mentioned a time or two,
That I've a tadpole or three.
Well, they're growing into toads,
As you can plainly see.
Little by little,
Day by day,
They're growing legs,
To hop away.


And now they're almost done,




And emerging one by one.
Saturday morning I went out to feed the fish and I usually throw a generous pinch of flakes into the tadpoles too. The little critters are voracious. Scarily voracious in fact.
I looked over at the kiddie pool that had become a tadpole nursery and counted SEVEN tiny toadlets climbing and sitting on the edge of the pool. That's my index finger next to one of the tiny toadies. Saturday evening, I went to feed the fish again, and saw even more.
And still........I've got a LOT of tadpoles.

Cameras

I can not find my digital camera. I'm sure it's around here somewhere, perhaps in the van, but it's not been anywhere I've looked for it. Okay, that would go without saying, as if it had been anyplace I'd looked for it, I'd not still be looking for it.

The digital camera built in my phone is okay, but I really missed my nice Nikon this morning. Why? Well, it's because of the post above this one. I wanted really nice, sharp pictures of those little toadlets... and I only got a couple of really clear ones.

We may be shopping for digital cameras soon.

Shopping

I've not done much shopping online for clothes. Mostly, I prefer to buy some that I can try on, as I'm not exactly your standard sized person. I'm short and wide in a world of clothing designed for tall, thin people.

Still, sometimes, there are possibilities. An online clothing store that tells you how and what to measure and what those measurements mean in terms of sizes, helps the decisions to be made.

Some basic items of clothing, like casual shirts, t-shirts and some comfortable clothing meant (by me) to be worn while gardening doesn't require that I try them on first. I'm old enough to know pretty much what will and won't work on my body and what I'm comfortable wearing.

But shopping in person is still a lot of fun...when it's not a pain in the backside.

What's Cooking?

I am tired of cooking with old pots and pans. Well, to be fair, it's not that they're old, so much as they are...not really good quality. I do have one big, deep frying pan with a lid, that I use a lot. It's nice and heavy and heats evenly. I want a soup pot with some of the same qualities. I'd really like to have a whole set that let me do things like use a pot or pan on the stove top, and then transfer into the oven.

Good cookware is something 'Pup and I keep promising ourselves. But somehow, other things need paying for first. Oh well, I'm not a gourmet cook, so cheap pans and pots don't offend me...but I do get tired of things sticking when they shouldn't.

I guess if I wanted to start slowly and add one piece at a time, I'd start with a good Dutch oven. I'd like one with a Terracotta lid, as the lid would heat and stay hot, and that would make things more evenly heated. I saw one on the Berndes Cookware site.

Bright, Shiny Things...

I don't wear a lot of jewelry. That doesn't mean I don't like it. I do. I like bright, shiny things. I really like stones with color. Diamonds are nice, and they sparkle very nicely in the sunlight, but I like other stones as well.

One of the things 'Pup and I looked at while we were shopping was the necklaces, mostly costume jewelry. He found several he liked and thought would look nice on me. They would have too. Sigh. I just wish they made them in slightly longer lengths. My neck (what there is of it) is too fat for the normal sized chains.

When I married 'Pup, he wasn't much for buying geegaws and shiny things. He's gotten a little better, as other women he works and worked with have educated him to the importance of being properly accessorized.

Still, I'd rather have one or two really nice things, rather than a lot of not so high quality things. One of the stores I've looked at online is Reeds Jewelers. They've got a really nice dragonfly pin that I really would like to have.

Chairs

'Pup's been having some pains at work. He's narrowing down the cause to the chair he sits in. He feels better when he stands up and walks around, and when he gets into the van, in the HOT van, he feels a lot better. I'm thinking it's a combination of the chair and the two computer screens and the rather effective air conditioning system in the building. His rheumatoid arthritis is causing him almost constant pain.

I think we need to look into some different office furniture, and see if we can't get something that won't make him want to scream with pain.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Accessories

When I met 'Pup, he was driving a truck. It wasn't a bad truck, but it had seen better days. Plus, the air conditioning was getting iffy. And, since my Saturn wasn't big enough for him to ride in at the time, we always had to use his truck to go anywhere.

When we have to get an new vehicle, we've got some options. We could replace my Saturn with another small car, perhaps a hybrid. Or we could get another small truck. A small truck would allow me to take more bags of soil and stuff home. And, getting a ramp would let me carry the scooter without taking it apart.

All in all though, I think I'd rather have the smaller car, and have some auto accessories like a hitch or some luggage racks put on.

Rehabilitation

Perhaps because I knew someone who had a major addiction to alcohol, and another who became addicted to an illicit drug (in the '80's... a neighbor of mine) I am always a little......careful with my pain meds. I don't take them except when I need to and then, sometimes I'll just tough it out. It helps that none of the pain meds I've ever taken have given me the "high" some people describe. The closest I get to it is when I get nauseous and visit my friend john... no fun at all.

My problems are with food. It doesn't cause a "high" either, but sometimes, it gets very hard to resist something you want, and can't have. People who face their addictions and seek drug rehabilitation have my respect.

The INTRAnet

I had reason to look up the term “intranet” recently. I’d heard or read it somewhere before, but hadn’t followed my curiosity. I figured I kinda knew what it was… and it turns out I was right. In general terms anyway, as I’d I figured it was whatever the system was that the companies used to communicate internally.

So, there are a lot of companies that provide intranet software services to businesses. They’re offering a 30 day free trial, will set up the system for you and promise a “seamless integration to all of your enterprise’s back-end systems”. They promise to improve workflow, enhance communication, and provide a One Point Secured Access. They’ll even help set up and manage the company website, as well as the email system within the company.

I wonder if they do windows….

Friday, August 17, 2007

Zoom Zoom!

'Pup and I went shopping today. He needed some new shirts and I needed some new clothes. Somewhere in the last year or so, several fashion styles have changed enough that even I have noticed. So, I updated the wardrobe a little. We'd gone to a store that was having a 75% off sale and I got some pretty things. 'Pup got some very nice new shirts. It's Texas' "tax free weekend". Between the sales and the no tax and a judicious signing up for the store credit card.. which we will pay off and never use again... we paid about 40 cents on the dollar for the new clothes.

I started the shopping. 'Pup was at work. I wouldn't normally go shopping by myself, as usually the cart would be in the van. BUT. I've been able to fit the cart into my Saturn's back seat. I have to take it apart, but it's really easy to do and putting it together is almost easier than taking it apart. Oh. I do LOVE shopping in my cart. I can go anywhere and see everything. In my cart, I don't have to walk directly to what I need and get just that one thing. (Yah, I know. That's the way you MEN shop. Women don't, well usually.)

So, 'Pup was going to join me and while he was on his way, I scooted here, and scooted there, and looked at things like dishes and curtains and things I have no reason to get (for example...chandeliers).

And it was gooooood.

The Outer Banks

I love the beach. When I was younger I camped on the beach and enjoyed doing all the things associated with camping on damp sand. I have a high tolerance for some kinds of physical discomforts.......or at least I used to have a high tolerance. Nowadays, sand in my britches is just less fun than it used to be, for some reason.

I'd love to rent a beautiful home and have some where like the Outer Banks. Oh well... maybe someday.

Oh.......poop

Antibiotics have a bad effect on my system. I've been eating my live cultures... cheese, cottage cheese and those yogurt drinks. Those little bottles are pretty tasty actually. If I don't want breakfast, I can drink one of those and have at least something on my stomach to deal with the meds.

Still......poop happens. And, as I've gotten older... sneezing and coughing has become something of a uhmmmmmmmmm crap shoot as well. I've been dealing with the....excitement...by willpower (of which, I've little) and by some judicious use of the things that the lady astronaut took with her as she drove to see her rival. I hate going into the store though. Ain't got no privacy. Not to worry, some things like tranquility diapers are even available online.

Diet Pills

'Pup's lost a lot of weight this year. Ironically, being back on the job has actually encouraged him to gain a little back, mostly by eating things he shouldn't be eating. He's promising to do better.

Me? It's hard to tell. I think I'm gaining weight, but then again, I'm wearing some clothes I've had for a long time. Then again, some of the clothes I used to wear don't fit as well. Some of it may be time rearranging parts of my body.

My lack of appetite (mostly---I've had my moments of hunger where I actually ate a lot) has had some effect. Just not a lot of effect.

Humph, diet pills....they're out there.

Loans

I remember when I first started teaching. My take home pay was $808.00 a MONTH. I ate a lot of hot dogs that year. I also ate a lot of potatoes, cheap ground beef and chicken. Veggies were whatever canned veggies were on sale. Still, I was able to make it, with only a little help now and then, mostly when my mom bought me some new clothes or my sister found some things that I could use in my class rooms.

I was doing pretty well, by the time my 6th or 7th year of teaching rolled around. Then, I started getting sick. And my insurance sucked the hind tit of a diseased polecat.

I had a huge deductible before anything at all would be reimbursed. I don't remember what it was, but I think it was about $800.00. Between December and April of that one year, I'd been sick (tonsilitis, strep throat, ear infections mostly) that I was very close to making the deductible...on medications alone.

Then, I got sick at the end of the month. I had no more money, and payday was a week away, and I had a prescription to fill for $50.00. I finally had to call my sister for some cash help. She was nice enough to drive it to me. Neither of us wanted to spend any money to get it to me.

I think if a payday loan had been available I might have taken the offer. Getting sick with bad insurance is no fun.

A Wet Thursday

And Friday and Saturday and probably Sunday as well .........and then it will be time for Dean to arrive. Have I mentioned it's been a dampish summer?

How damn........err I mean damp?

Our usual annual average rainfall is about 44 inches a year. We've had a little more than 48 up here in our neck of the woods, and there are parts of Houston that have seen twice as much as we've had. Seriously. East Houston, Southeast Houston........is a very wet place to live these days. They got from 8 to 10 inches today. My rain guage only registered about 3 inches for the day. We may have gotten more, as the guage is not in an optimal place for really gauging rainfall.

Oh well.....we've spent the money already for the plywood and it's cut and ready to install. We do have to figure out how to cover a door that is mostly glass, but I think we've got it figured out. we may be installing a couple of boards to each side of the door, to which we can screw in or attach the hangers we'll need.

We've an engineer friend who helped us out with bringing home the wood and cutting most of it.

We've neighbors who will help put the boards up.

All in all,

We're blessed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's HOT!!

We're under a heat advisory today. The temps are only going up to about 100 degrees, but with the humidity and a sunny day, the heat index is considerably higher.

My front flower bed, going across the front of the house is just about inundated with morning glory vines. Even the mighty mint is being subsumed under the "grows an inch while you watch" morning glories.

I went out this morning to water the potted plants. While the ground is still wet (hey, super saturated soil STAYS wet!) and the plants in the ground haven't needed much water, the potted plants need it regularly. Still, all in all, I think this is only the second or third time I've had to water all this summer. And remember, down here, summer begins in April.

It was more of a chore this time, as the morning glories had also swallowed up the hose caddy. Like this, only even more so:

They'd even grown over part of the hose and was tacking it to the ground!! Just getting the hose free took about half an hour (ok, maybe ten minutes, but we're talking a loooong, hot, humid ten minutes). I had to do a lot of tugging, pulling, snapping of vines, and grunting (okay, so the grunting was optional, but it seemed appropriate at the time). I'm happy to report that I won the battle there and was able to use the hose to good benefit.

I really should know better than to go out, do heavy work in hot weather (90 plus degrees at 10:00), after I've taken my morning diabetic meds but NOT eaten. I've not had much appetite recently...probably the antibiotics.

By the time I came in, I was beginning to bottom out on the blood sugar and was a little dehydrated as well. I came in and 'Pup provided water, some crackers and some talkin' at me. It's working now, I'm feeling better, with just enough headache to remind me NOT to be so stupid next time.

I've got another gloriosa rothchildiana flame lily growing, in a different spot from the first. I'd planted several tubers in different places, trying to see where they'd grow best here in Houston. My conclusion is that they do best where they receive some direct or indirect sun, but are protected with at least some shade during the hottest parts of the day. No blooms on this one yet, but patience is a virtue. I've been able to keep myself to only three or four "BLOOM DANG-IT" moments per day.

I don't know if Toadie won the battle with the worm, but I looked for him the other day, and found him under a plant in the moon flower bed. That's my pinkie in the picture. Toadie is small but resolute. He gets around, or there may be a couple of sibs the same size in the yard. I saw him or one just like him near the compost bed. I'm happy to report that he was sporting a nicely rounded belly, so he must have caught and kept something.


This is about as clear a picture as I could get.

I saw what might have been the beginnings of some leg nubs on some of the larger tadpoles. I'll try to get pictures of them later.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rocks

I wonder if anyone out there remembers the...fad, I suppose, where common pebbles were tumbled with great noise and anticipation, in the hopes that one of the rocks would shine up nice enough to make a ring, necklace or a bracelet. I wanted one of those tumblers, and I wanted one bad.

I never got one. Even with at least three out of five kids begging for one, my parents would not spring for one.

Now, I have seen those rock tumblers again. I've seen them at Walmart and at least one online hobby shop.

I don't remember what we'd have paid for one in the 1970's, but I suspect it was close, in terms of spending power, to what they go for now.

I now understand why we never got one. But I still have a little kid inside me that picks up rocks and wonder what they'd look like all polished up.

I like rocks.

Computer Desk Dreams

Another of the things that I have on my wish list for when we're out of debt is a new laptop. I miss my laptop. 'Pup and I were very happy being a two computer family. Now that we're down to one...sometimes we have to wait on one another to finish whatever the other is doing.

I'm still looking for just the right desk for me too. That purchase will be even later than the laptop, (hey we must have priorities after all) but it will be made. I'm still looking at Bush furniture.

Though, it might be the only thing "bush" like that I would allow in my house.

LIGHTS

The street light nearest our house is...eccentric. Sometimes it works and sometimes (often!) it doesn't. 'Pup and I had been looking for some outside lights to put near the front door, and at least two for the backyard. Now that 'Pup's bringing in a decent income, we're a little closer to picking up the plans we've had. We're not there yet, as two years and some health issues led to some credit card debt. Not crippling debt, and we're able to stay on top of it and are paying it down as fast as possible...but it makes us pause.

But dreams are free. I like the Quoizel HC8409 model for both the front and back yard. Though, to be honest, there are several of the quoizel lighting options that have caught my eye.

Shoes

'Pup's been walking more when he can. The thing that stops him often is pain. Some of the pain is from arthritis, but I think some of it might be the fact that he doesn't really have a good pair of walking shoes. Even when he went to the gym, he was wearing his loafers. And they weren't exactly Air Jordan shoes. He needs some, and I think we'll be getting him proper shoes. I think it will make more of a difference than he thinks. Now, if I could just walk with him... but then, there's always my scooter.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Epic Struggles Written Small Upon the World


The tadpoles are doing well. There are all sizes of them in the water. I've not seen any legs yet, but I'll keep watching.
I've been asked how I am able to post more than 4 pictures in one post. I dunno. Maybe my pictures are smaller in terms of pixels? At any rate, I'm not complaining...

I spotted the little toad who lives in, and now around, the moon flower bed. I think it's that toadlet. It's the right size for it to be.

I wish I'd had my good camera to take pictures with this morning, but I'd only grabbed my cell phone.


Now, look closely at that picture above. You can just make out a long worm sticking out of the toads mouth. The little toadlet was struggling to get that worm inside, while the worm... had other plans.

It's a little hard to see little Toadie, as its camouflage is almost perfect. I wish I could have videoed this little toad. It was working so hard to survive as a very small thing in a very large world.
It wasn't easy to see Toadie. I had to take 10 or so pictures just to get this one as clear as it is up there. I wish I'd had time to watch the whole battle, but it was getting late and I had to go to work. I'm telling you. This job stuff is cramping my gardening mojo.

Some things are getting a little over grown. I like overgrown.

Oh well, some things are automatic now, like the morning sun as seen through elephant ears.
And more morning light dancing with the caladiums.

Real Estate

Looks like after a several year booming market in real estate, things are changing. Not that our house was ever really prime marketable material, as it's too small and unassuming for the families looking for a big house that looks good...

I still like my larger yard. Gots lots more room to plant things, you see...

When it comes to the housing boom, 'Pup and I have been determined outsiders. We don't plan to move. I just wish that the "value" of our house would stop going up at the same time that property taxes are going up.

We've been meaning to apply to have our taxes frozen, as we should be able to do because of my disability status. Now might be the time. Or... should we wait, to see if the market value goes down?

Decisions, decisions.

Aegis

The recent news about Aegis laying off people here in Houston has hit home with us. Aegis is a company 'Pup applied to, several times. We even know someone who had worked there in the past (and we weren't sure if he still was!) and we worried about him. Turns out, he'd been there to hear a message from Aegis management that, while things were tight just then, Houston wouldn't be affected and everything would be just fine and please keep working. Sound familiar?

cough--ENRON--cough

So now, there are a lot of people out of work, and their insurance dies at the end of this week. No Cobra. No severance. Just...nothing.

Imagine going to work in the morning, and suddenly being told that now, you don't really exist...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pictures



I was going to have more pictures. but. It. IS. Raining. AGAIN.


These are some of the tadpoles currently in the little wading pool by the pond. After it filled up during a rainstorm, some of the...amorous amphibians made it a love nest. Eh... They seem to be doing fine, and I'm beginning to see a few of the tiny toadlets as I walk into the yard. I almost got a picture of one, but it was hopping faster than my cell phone camera could focus.


Yes, K, it is torenia. I love them, as they tolerate shady places and still bloom profusely. I've even had them reseed themselves in past years.




I only got a chance to snap a quick picture of the first moon flower opening this evening. There are a couple of other buds that promise to open tonight or tomorrow. I've also got hyacinth bean growing there. It's put on a lot of leaves, but no blooms yet. I don't think it's gotten all the sun it needs. I don't mind, as I'm hoping that in October or November when the leaves on the ash trees fall, the vines will be there in the fall to bloom gloriously.


Go here to see the hyacinth bean flowers.. they're close to the end of the post, but it's a good post.

Bunkmates

Growing up, I was the oldest of five kids. I have two brothers and two sisters. Our house had three bedrooms. It was the norm in those days, the only time any of my friends would have had their own rooms would have been if they were the only kid or the only kid of that sex.

That means I shared a room with my two sisters. We managed by using bunk beds. I always had the top bed.

I liked it up there. It was just about the only space that was mine, and only mine. The best part though, was that the top bunk was just the same height as the window in our room. I could lean over and see outside whenever I wanted to. And somehow, I've NO idea how, my cat, D.C. figured out that if he got up on the window sill next to my bed, and meowed loudly, he had a way to get into the house. He took advantage of that happy chance two to three times a day and night, right up until the time we moved.

I miss that cat. He was ornery, battle scarred and hated everyone in the world but me.

Art in Unexpected Places

'Pup and I like to go driving around the area to see what we can see. We've been doing less of it lately because of gas prices, but when we can, we go driving.

One of the things we've been seeing is a bunch of metal art decorating ranch entryways and even houses. The art itself is in the form of outline pictures of things like coyotes, cactus and cowboys. Some of the art is in what is cut away. They are like metal murals. The metal I'm talking about isn't snippable tin, noooo. These art pieces are made out of metal--sometimes as much as an inch or more thick. They make good gates. They could only have been made with plasma cutting tools. A regular welder's torch would never be able to make some of the precise cuts we've seen.

Songs

My niece likes certain musical artists. They are not always the ones I like, but hey, we're from different generations. I never got to go to concerts when I was a teen, as the tickets would have been a strain, and we lived in a small town, far away from most of the venues of the bands I'd have wanted to see and hear.

Someday soon, I want to buy concert tickets to a show she wants to go to, and go with her.

HDTV Dreams

I've been dreaming of someday getting a HDTV. For years now, I've watched as the prices went down from "astronomically OUCHE" to "hummm oooo" The dream is still a dream, but someday, someday...

I want a big screen TV with all the bells and whistles, including an entertainment center. And that might be possible, maybe next year. See, there's this Houston furniture store called Gallery Furniture. The store itself is huge and is stuffed to the gills with furniture that is immediately available (no back order slips! is a mantra there). The website includes a virtual tour of the store. It's kinda neat.

And that big TV would require a nice big entertainment center, preferably one with places to put CD's and DVD's. I looked around their web site and found this:




In effect, we'd have a small home theater thing going on in the living room. I like the lines on this center, and the fact that it has both drawers and cabinets with glass doors. It would suit me I think, just fine.

What is 'Pup's take on this you ask? Well, I've not discussed it seriously with him yet, but since he reads this blog I suspect he may bring it up on his own. Don't you just love blogging? I don't think he'll fuss about the choice of the center, as I'm sure we'll discuss it for a long time. We're like that. Talking is a good thing around here. It reaches the level of entertainment at times.

Both of us miss cable. We loved the food channel, and history channel and I miss the old movies. But what we both want to see is the National Geographic specials in HD. Yah, I know, we're geeky that way

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Same old, same old.

Not much new to report this week. My pond has three bazillion tadpoles. I've taken to dipping out the pond water and tadpoles by the bucketfull and emptying it on the compost heap. I've even got a wading pool that had filled up with water (rain water) and had eggs laid in it. Some of the pond tadpoles have been transfered to there.

The tadpoles make it hard to keep the nitrite and nitrate levels down. That's why I'm trying to reduce the sheer volume of them in the pond. So far, so good.

If they all make froglets.. I'm going to be knee deep in peepers.

So far this summer, I've gotten to watch a little toadlet grow from pinkie finger nail size to about an inch high and long. It's just now beginning to take on the adult mottled look of a toad. He must like living in that raised bed, under the moon flowers, and have gotten enough food and shelter. I look for him every morning. Sometimes I spot him and sometimes not.

The moon flowers are opening up more and more often, sometimes 5 and 6 a night. I think I've got a couple of seed pods developing from the blossoms, so I'm looking forward to planting them again. If I can get home before full night fall with the good digital camera, I'll take another picture and post it.

The only other update is to say that they've not caught the critters who stole my wallet yet, but the charges will be aggravated assault and robbery. Those critters better run. They're old enough and big enough that I suspect they'd be upgraded from juvie to adult for this.

'Pup's made it a point to just drive by the house now and again... He hopes it's making them nervous. At any rate, most of the cars that HAD been parked in front of that house have suddenly found different places to park. I wish we'd thought to get licence plate numbers... but hindsight is 20/20.. and we didn't.

The summer is winding down, and it feels as if we've really only had a very long drawn out spring. We've had a couple of hot days, but mostly, we've been below average for temps and WAAY above average for rainfall.

School's starting soon....

It still feels odd not to be looking at a classroom to decorate, projects to plan, inservices to attend. But I don't really miss those things. Well....okay....I do miss shopping at the teacher supply store and looking for new school clothes. That was fun. The first day of school is fun too.

But I'm happy working part time, especially since 'Pup's got his full time job.

Be well all,