Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Or maybe Boys and their Toys would be a more appropriate title. On the first day off of their shift (remember 4 days on 4 days off for the hubby and the other CO's on his same shift) the hubby and his partner in crime Rod managed to go muddin somewhat unintentionally. No really. OK well only kinda. It's been raining lately and if you've been around San Antonio you know there are a lot of storm drains. Big big big ones. Very wide with creeks running through them and concrete randomly throughout to stop cars that accidentally get caught up in flood waters (it happens although I'm not sure how) but the reeds have grown so big you can't really see the concrete in some places.

Rod (the hubby's buddy) owns a lifted Tahoe. It needs some work, the 4 wheel drive is broken and it needs a few other things but Rod is a motorcycle mechanic that also does cars so it's a project thing. He's from Georgia so monster trucks to him are a natural thing as is going to play in the storm drain mud after a rain. Which would be all fine and dandy if his 4 wheel drive worked and he could see the concrete things under the brush.

But let me start at the beginning. First off with the disappointment, they didn't any pictures. They didn't want to self incriminate. Yet they told us the whole story. ? Yeah ok. I told them next time to use their cell phone cameras if need be but I want pictures damn it, my readers have expectations right? They went so far as to wash both trucks before we women folk got home. Wussies.

As the story goes (and this is the brief version lest I get the details wrong) the hubby was on his way to Rod's house. Rod told him to just go in (apparently they don't lock their door, odd but ok) and kick it until he got home since he was on his way. So my hubby goes in and kicks it on the couch and after a short time he gets a call from Rod. Seems like Rod saw the creek and the mud and went for it. And got stuck. Fully. Like Could. Not. Get. Out. It took him awhile to admit defeat too. I guess there was one of those concrete things that he didn't see and sure enough he got stuck on it. The admission of defeat did not come lightly either. I guess he now no longer has a reverse, he burned it out. Bummer. Anyway the funny part is that he calls my hubby, asks if he has the Jeep on him (duh he's off of course he's got his Jeep) and he then asks him to come an 'get him'. Doesn't say anything about being stuck in the mud. Men, I swear. The hubby asks where he is and he says to take a right out of the subdivision and look right, ya can't miss him. Yeah look at that truck no you really can't miss that huh?

So began the cluster fook to get the monster truck out of the mud, off the concrete, and up an embankment. The story got long here and I don't remember the details. Suffice to say it took them about 10-15 minutes to get the truck out and the description was funny. I took this picture so you can see the size difference between the two trucks.

I know, I could take better pictures but I only had my cell phone on me so this is what I go, sorry. Don't hate the cell phone, hate the blogger. Anyway, the hubby is on the other side of the creek from the Tahoe and Rod, he asks if he should just drive across it (I'm sure he was a little worried that he'd get stuck too). The water was about as high as the bottom of the doors but that Jeep did exactly as it was built to do and just totted on over that creek like a 3 year old learning to run. Kinda made that monster truck look a little...impotent? Shhh don't tell Rod I said that. They then used Rod's tow line to (eventually) drag that beast on out of the ravine. It couldn't make it up the side by itself, needed the Jeep for that too.

I really wish I was there to watch it. And I'm sure Rod is glad as hell that I wasn't. Oh the comments I could make about the size of his stuck truck. I won't go there now really I won't. But damn it next I'm going to drive his truck out in the mud and get it stranded again on purpose if they don't take pictures. I'm serious about this blogging thing you know.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The green-ish thumb

So the front flower bed. It's looking a bit overly...green though don't you think? I am slightly picky when it comes to the plants I put in my landscape. Well ok picky is kind of a gloss over term, I don't like dead plants in my yard because well, they look ugly right? Also, as much as I love gardening I am not into putting annuals in only to have to rip out their carcasses a few months later. Wasted energy, plus that's what everyone else does in the neighborhood. All of the other yards are very 'tame' and orderly. You might notice my taste may lie a bit less than tame although I still like my yard to look pretty. Oh and lets not forget the other thing, I don't like to buy expensive plants, or rather plants at full price. Too much likelyhood that my money will kick off and die right? So many of my plants are purchased as either bareroot (roses), rhizomes (irises), or bulbs (gladiolas). I also have a lot from our local plant swap I think I've mentioned before. Nothing quite like free plants and lots of new friends that love gardening.

So now that you know the method behind my madness you get a little foresight into what it is I have planned for this little piece of land I have. Keep in mind my nutty builders orientated my house west facing, less than ideal for energy conservation. Also makes it so some spots in the front yard blaze all afternoon during the summer in the sun. Other spots, under the shade of the trees, stay relatively shaded but still, nothing in Texas escapes the heat. This limits the choices I have in flowering plants greatly but it does mean that roses should fare pretty well. Roses are supposed to be full sun loving plants but (you knew there would be a but huh?) when they say full sun they don't mean full Texas sun. Texas sun is a whole different kind of raging hot, similar to that in Vegas only with more humidity. Black Baccara doesn't like sun, she's a full shade kind of gal. The good news is I had 5 other Austins that do love the full sun and can handle the bit of shade that the trees afford sometimes so the garden real estate was nicely handled.

Yes, this hydrangea has yet to fully bloom. If I buy a flower from the store I pick the one that is almost blooming that way the flowers aren't dead within a few days of buying it.

After flitting about on the Garden Web forums I paid attention to what companion plants people were putting with their roses that bloomed at different times so that there would always be something of visual interest from spring through fall. This year it won't have anything in the spring, I planted to late for that. In years to come though I'll only have to do maintenance and it should bloom by itself. All my roses, Black Baccara (a deep red), Jubilee Celebration (a light peach), Souvenir de la Malmaison (a light pink), and Abraham Darby (another light pink) have a spring flush that will be peaking right about this time. Following this I have a hydrangea that should come into bloom. I have only 1 right now since I do not like buying plants at full price that I am not sure will survive the summers here. My mother bought it for me last weekend. Since she rents she doesn't want to plant anything in her garden so she buys me plants that she would normally plant herself so she can enjoy them still. Works for me, I love hydrangeas and I hope it lives!

One of the baby irises I raised, there are probably 20 or so in ground now and all of them look like this with varying heights of leaves. The pictures below are what some of them should look like. I have no real idea though which ones survived and grew so who knows. There were over 20 rhizomes of different colors purchased...

The iris rhizomes I bought from a place 2 summers ago and only 1 has bloomed (in the pot I had them all in). As I understand they aren't supposed to bloom at all their first year so I was lucky I suppose. I had grand plans for these irises, I actually had a plan figuring in their different heights and colors. Of course all of their labels have been lost and all I have left are green stalks and an Excel spreadsheet of which ones I ordered and the fact that I paid $1.50 for most of them (oh yes, I have a spreadsheet for everything order, makes it easier if I want to reorder something). Most of them are re-bloomers and will go spring trough the summer. We'll see and I don't expect them to do much this year. Most plants get pissed (gardeners like to use the phrase 'stressed', whatever) and will just survive that first year in ground. Anything else and as far as I'm concerned that plant is a total gem.

The gladiolas (Black Surprise) were bulbs on sale for 50% off at Lowes this week. 12 bulbs for $2? I can do that, I don't even need to really dig a real hole for these little gems and at the price I won't get all traumatized if they don't bloom. Again, I don't expect anything the first year anyway so they might just be some forgotten surprise in years to come.

And last but not least, the garden gnome....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coulda shoulda woulda gardening

Did I mention that I love gardening? It's what I've been obsessed with in every waking sunny moment lately. In hind site (the 20/20 kind) I'd have taken before pictures. I wasn't going to do all of this yard work though so really, I didn't know I'd need before pictures. You know how I mentioned that I needed to plant my pot ghetto of 2 years now? This is where most of it has gone in, the front flower bed. We bought a spec home which means the builder put it in hoping someone would buy it rather than someone picking the lot and then making all the choices. They do this a lot at the end of a subdivision, our house was the last built in this part of the subdivision. As such it came with a boat load of stuff that we technically would have paid a lot more for and probably wouldn't have gotten (crown molding, canister lights, 42" cabinets, silestone counter tops, get the idea?) this included something like 30 shrubs added into the front flower bed. Our home was much more landscaped than any of the other houses, including the well established ones. And by well established I mean 5 yrs old, it's a new subdivision.

I can't say that I would have chosen the shrubbery that they did for the house. The 2 columns that border the front door had 2 bushes in front of them. I moved them within a month of moving in and it was by far the smartest choice I ever made. I put them on the 2 exposed sides of the a/c on the other side of the house, the side with no greenery what so ever. Turns out those 2 small bushes are wax myrtles, they will grow to be 15-20 ft trees someday and are presently at least 10 feet high. We wouldn't be able to get to our front door had I left them there. Apparently there is a dwarf form of this plant but I don't seem to have that one. They are super duper durable though and I can totally ignore them and that is an important trait to me. In front of the a/c unit is the perfect place for them, unattractive though they are.

This is Black Baccara, a hybrid tea

This is Teasing Georgia, a David Austin. Even though the colors are not the same can you see the difference in form?

I spent some of last weekend conquering the most important part of my pot ghetto, the rose bushes. Most important of those being the hubby's Black Baccara. It's a hybrid tea and the only hybrid tea I tolerate in my gardens. I am a David Austin fan myself. Austin roses look like a box of tissues that has just busted open. They have an antique look to them and smell DIVINE. Teas are ok, they are what you buy when you buy cut roses. They are what my mother in law grows in her So Cal garden so that is what the hubby is accustomed to. She loves Austins too but her climate is too moist so the buds ball (don't open), brown, and die. I have a no-spray garden, I don't spray for bugs or fungus, and a lot of hybrid teas are disease prone. This is why we both grow what we do, see? There's a method to our gardening madness. The hubby fell in love with a picture I showed him of Black Baccara though so when I found one for sale I bought it. It stayed in my pot ghetto for 1 year so I could figure out what amount of sun it liked (none) and if it would be bug or fungus resistant. It survived so this year it was allowed a spot in ground. Good news, Austins like sun and since this tea doesn't it didn't take up any prime Austin real estate. Did I mention this tea also has no scent whatsoever? Yeah, makes no sense to me either.

This is Heritage, she's an Austin also and her scent can be smelled at least 10 ft away if the wind is blowing right. She has a smaller petal count than Teasing Georgia but she's so lovely it doesn't matter to me. I love these roses. My mother in law bought me an Austin for Mother's Day last year that has my daughter's (and the hubby's grandmother's of course) name. She has yet to produce any blooms of comment but they say it takes 3 years before you can expect anything from a newly planted rose. Plus, as I understand, that particular rose is known as the Diva and will only perform when she damn well pleases. Go figure.

And Blackie again, with her lovely green background

You see that lovely green background to Blackie? That's a Japanese boxwood, they put 5 or 6 of them up in our walk way on the right side facing the street. I have to say I liked these because of their particular shade of green, the new growth being a color I really like. They had gotten a bit big though, I have never trimmed them before but it wasn't annoying to me. Until I put the rose bushes in amongst them. They kinda got in the viewing space and I wanted them to more of a backdrop to the roses. And so in came the hedge trimmers...

Did you also notice the big fat fluffy bushes that are the furthest back? I am no longer a fan of those beasts. I have, at least 3 times, hacked those suckers back because they grow so big they scratch the cars as we drive them into the garage. Those are damn big bushes when we let them grow at will. So while I had those trimmers out I figured I'd take a few feet off of them while I was at it. If you look at the pile of cuttings in the drive way you can see that there's the greener Japanese boxwood on the bottom and the fluffy lighter green mass on top. Just look how much I cut off and they are still big. Someday I might just go nutters and fully hack those suckers back. I doubt I'd could even make a dent in those things.

I know you are looking at that picture and saying, geez Michelle you think you could add some oh, I dunno, color to that flower bed? The answer is yes but it has qualifiers, nothing is simple in the method to my madness right? So I must go through that story (pictures included, I took them, WOW) in the next post. Promise!

Oh and for those of you who just don't give a rats ass about greenery here's a pic of someone else who doesn't either:

Hope ya'll enjoyed your weekend too!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is how my morning rolls

The right tools for the right job

I know you've all heard about my late/rushed mornings before but this one was particularly ridiculous and I was still able to get to work earlier than I normally do. I don't know how that happened but I wasn't complaining. Usually the alarms go off at 6:05 and the kid comes into my bed on the hubby's empty side and we sleep in until 7. Yes that's right, we don't wake for our alarms we turn them off an tuck in deeper. This only works because I just throw some clothes on to drop off the kid (in the drop off lane) at school then come home, shower and get dressed for work. I wanted to talk to her teacher this morning, they had a field trip today, so I got up like 10 minutes after the alarm went off (leaving the kid in bed to sleep longer) and managed to get myself and her ready in record time. It almost didn't happen though. She disappeared upstairs to get dressed and brush teeth after breakfast and took a wee bit longer than normal up there. I realized why when I went to put sunscreen on her face and she had glittery eye shadow all over her eyes and down her cheeks. Oh joy! Yeah can't trust this kid to get dressed with out throwing in some bling right?

I have the Jeep while the hubby is on shift and I had him put the top up (remember, Jeep top needing to be up + short woman = scary sight) but not the windows, they are zippered on there and I was sure I could do it by myself. OK so I still had enough time to get the kid to school, sunscreened and sparkly, talk to her teacher, then go home and zip on the windows right? Right? Well sure except when I go to drop her off she notices that all the other kids have their Flat Stanley posters with them. She says "Mommy mommy I forgot my poster is due today! GREAT, it's upstairs on the floor of the scrapbook room completely unassembled. This is the San Diego one, the Mumbai is still a work in progress, more on that later, promise. A'ight, I can do this, one Supermom coming right up!

I zip back home, run upstairs, stick all the pictures to the poster board and run it downstairs into the Jeep. Next up windows. Did I mention that I wear my nails long, pretty, and acrylic? Have any of you ever put the plastic windows on a Jeep? It's a tight fit, DAMN tight. I had to use impromptu tools, specifically a screwdriver to shove the corners of the vinyl into appropriate crevices and the hook on a dog leash to pull the zippers. My nails are too long to put my finger through the pull holes of the zippers and you can't just grab onto them because the room available to grab onto them is not sufficient. I wish I could have filmed it, comical as it was. It worked though and I managed to get her poster to her not long after school started and I was at work by 8:30. I was still zinging on an amped high but you know, it worked and the kid had nothing to complain about.

Red letter morning!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rabid carnivores in the spring time

I think I posted before about how my house has a few very small brained squirrels taking up residence. You'll all be happy to know that once we worked in the front yard (that same weekend we noticed their comfyness on our front porch) they decided to leave. For good. I think I have also posted about my dog Roxy, the first dog we adopted (thank god we stopped, too many dogs!) and how she was a stray that had obviously just had puppies. I think being a new momma supporting her babies she found the predator in herself, food only of course, not people. If each of my dogs were dropped in the middle of the woods/city/not our house and had to fend for themselves Roxy would be the only one to last a day. Well she'd last for as long as she needed to, the boys would lay down and die like the drama queens they are. Boys. Oh did I say that out loud?

A side note on the squirrel thing, we have a ton in our subdivision (bunnies and lizards too) but rarely, if not never, do you see them in our backyard. They are in everybody else's backyard, just not ours. It vexes Roxy greatly since she LOVES to play predator and the boy dogs are just not fun sport to her. When I find potted plants knocked over I know some silly lizard has just been either a) run off the property or b) eaten. As long as knocked over pots are the only evidence I find I don't care. Darwinism right?

Sunday afternoon I look out in the backyard and she's sitting in the middle of the yard looking into the sky. Unmoving. Mind you this dog hones in on prey the way a bird dog points. She sees it and Does. Not. Move. unless the prey moves. So there she is staring into the sky and I'm assuming she sees a bird on a branch and wants to eat it. She will pull birds out of the sky, very little evidence is usually left of those encounters. Like a few feathers. I guess birds are good eats. Like I said, no evidence, no harm, no foul. Darwinism.

About 15 minutes later I had to go out and check the grill. I had turned it on and it was time to clean it off with that grill scrubby thingy (yes I'm normally the one bbqing in the household). I go outside and the dogs all go running inside. I look at the grill, grab the scrubby thingy and open the back door to let the dogs back outside. They normally want to be near the person in control of what ever is going on that grill and were so excited to get in they failed to understand that Food Handler was actually on her way out. Not so smart but hey, I understand the logic if not the sense.

Unbeknownst to me, when I had let the dogs inside the object of Roxy's sky adoration had tried to make his escape. Apparently it was a squirrel high up on one of the tree branches and it has come down to make it's way across land and high tail it out of the yard. It, being of the not very smart animal variety, did not realize I was going to let the dogs right back out into the yard. Had I know it was there I wouldn't have. Because as soon as I let those dogs out Roxy went after it.

It managed to avoid Roxy's maw for about 20 feet as I chased her waving the grill scrubby thingy screaming ROXY LEAVE IT in futility. My dogs know the leave it command pretty well but that was so not going to happen with prey in HER YARD. Can you just picture this fiasco? Sorry, did not have the camera on me and no, I didn't even take pictures of the aftermath. She managed to catch the little sucker, shook it to death in about a millisecond. No blood, it just lay there belly up twitching. So gross, I hate it when they twitch. Roxy left it be when she killed it and noticed me shreaking at her. She's very sensitive and doesn't like things being waved at her. Plus she knew it wasn't going anywhere and that is very important to a good predator.

I managed to get all the dogs in the house with no others getting to the carcass. I then continued my yelling fest and tried to wrangle up the hubby to clean up said carcass. Well I wasn't going to touch it, EW! Of course he never even got to it. We had our usual Sunday evening guests over for dinner and their 14 yr old son had already picked it up and put it in a box. Delighted to no less. EW!

So there ya go. Spring time, squirrels, carnivores and delighted 14 yr old boys with the resulting carcass. This is an average Sunday in my house. When did this happen?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I promised myself I wouldn't do it...again...

Every spring there's some gardening I do. It was most insane the first spring we moved here (spring '07) where I bought no less than 10 bare root roses (mail order, yes they still mailed them to me in the hot months) soaked them, then planted most of them in 5 gallon pots. Some I just plunked in ground after a week of soaking. It was damn hot by then and it was not recommended planting time. For anything much less bare root roses. For all intents and purposes they never should have survived that first summer. They are, presently, about 6 feet high. I have more pictures of them but that's for another post. Today I'm talking about broken promises. To myself no less.

We have a plant swap out here, twice a year. A bunch of us gardening geeks get together and swap cuttings or plants we just don't want anymore. I've done it since the first one that came along after I moved out. I found out about them via Garden Web forums. We have a local (Texas) section and they are the nicest bunch of people. They get very familiar with each other and it's nice to see that kind of neighborly love being delved out across the net. Half my garden is sported by these people, one lady had me over to her house and was just yanking stuff out of the ground and giving to me. Her garden was HUGE and needed to be separated and toned down anyway so it's not like you could even see that she had pulled the stuff for me but it was such an awesome gesture of kindness. Like I said, these people are great.

This past plant swap I didn't go to. That's a first for me but I just can't go and not come back with something. I still have plants unplanted from all the swaps I've been to before! For this reason I didn't go. I went so far as to stay off the forum completely until the date of the swap passed. If I went on there someone would ask where I was at and I'd fold, I just know it. No forum for me, 1 month! And even though the kid wanted to buy the pretty little annuals at Lowes or whatever store we managed to flit past, I refrained. I even managed to plant 4 of the 5 bare root roses that has been sitting in a pot for, oh, almost 2 years now. The ground we have here is not dirt. It's rock. We live on a rock quarry. Planting anything in a 5 gallon pot requires the hunny digging a hole. With a digging bar, an axe, and a few other strange implements of destruction which normally results in severing some sprinkler or cable line. We have mastered the art of repairing sprinkler lines ourselves and fortunately the cable company doesn't charge when they have to come out and fix a line. Mostly because I had them come out and mark the lines when we first moved here and I swear they marked them all wrong.

We have a large front flower bed (amended soil by the builders) though and I decided the roses could go in there. I only killed 1 sprinkler head (screw in, easy fix) and found 1 broken line that I think was not buried deep enough so walking across the ground broke it. So now I only have 1 more rose to plant. This is a monumental spring. I still have about 15 iris I need to get in the ground but those should be simple. Again, I'm just going to put them in the front and that should only take a few minutes. The last rose will probably go in at that point too. Maybe tomorrow...

Regardless I did not want to buy/acquire any more plants until I had all of these into their new home, in the ground. The pot ghetto is getting to me and really, there's just no reason for it. Well other than the fact that the hunny is so not in the 'Let's go dig a hole in the yard!' kind of mood. Ever. Really, this ground sucks to plant in. On the up side the roses grow like gangbusters. I don't amend the soil at all, I just plunk them in.

So what is the problem? I have a thing for a certain flower in my mother in law's garden. She has a massive garden (taken care of by her husband, I love him) with tiers of roses in the front and orchids everywhere else. There are a few other things in between but those are the 2 main residents. Oddly enough the roses that she has are not the kind I like, plus what grows well in San Diego does not do the same in San Antonio. I don't do orchids, too hard to grow. No the plant that I really like of hers she has growing against the side of her garage in back. Actually it engulfs the entire side of her garage. It's a beautiful camelia named Mabel Bryan. It's a candy can stripped flower that blooms like nuts in San Diego. I don't know if it'll survive in my climate though. I planed two very small ones last year and they died. They were small though and I think one of the freezes killed them. Or maybe I just didn't water them enough, who knows. I love gardening but I am still a busy/lazy woman.

I passed up buying one last year, the only size I found it in was a HUGE 25 gallon pot and no amount of bribing would get my hubby to dig a hole for it. Today I went to Lowes and all of their camelias were 50% off. They had one in a 5 gallon pot and I just could not pass it up. So there you go, I broke a promise to myself regarding my gardening. I must get all of these plants in ground before the summer hits or they'll all get toasted. The bad part is I don't want the camelia in the front flower beds. I need it in the back yard where it can grow to it's full potential. Something like 15'-20' high and about 10' wide. Yeah not good for the front flower bed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flat Stanley Update #2, morning commute in Mumbai

I just adore how much fun Summer is having with this project. Let's face it, we never had thins kind of access to stuff when we were kids (Youtube? Hello what?) and I know my kid is not nearly as fascinated with the whole process as Summer and I are. We're dorks and we love it. Here's his latest quest, I don't know how to attach an audio file but if someone else does please let me know. The birds outside the flat sound like the ones they have at the zoo. Very tropical!

Flat Stanley's host had a few late nights of meetings and not a lot of fun stuff going on. But, even the boring day to day life in Bombay is fun and exciting!

* Stanley was invited to the Siddharth's (a co-worker of Summer's) wedding, this weekend in Bombay. Stanley will probably not be in town though, as we plan to travel to Nasik for the weekend. So, you'll see Stanley soon at either a wedding or on a road trip and visiting another city.

* Stanley plans to work late tonight, so he took his time this morning enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee and newspaper in the flat. Check out the attached audio file to hear what it sounds like sitting at this window.

* Stanley rode to work this morning in his first rickshaw ride! As you can see he was a bit frightened, it's very loud, hot, trafficky, noisy, and the cars and trucks get very very very very close. Stanley stayed safe in the back of the rick tucked away.

You can check out Stanley's adventure in a traffic snarl here (be sure to click HQ to view the video in high-quality playback!).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Flat Stanley Commutes to Work in Mumbai

OK this is what my good friend Summer wrote for the Flat Stanley she took to India for my kid (the title is hers too):

After spending an extra day and night in either San Francisco or Dubai, Flat Stanley arrived in Mumbai, India on Monday morning, April 13th.

To be precise, he was delivered here, to the corporate apartment for ZEDO, Inc. , located in Juhu (Bollywood), in Mumbai, India. He was unpacked, freshened up, and rested as he had some jet lag.

This morning, he:

* drove to work with us in typical Bombay morning traffic
* got some fresh air crossing a bridge over the Andheri (E) Train Station
* checked out a lady and some bright drying laundry on the side of the road
* was greeted by the watchman at the office
* and rested in the lobby of the ZEDO office in Mumbai

Note: Her luggage was lost for a night by the airlines (with Stanley in it). Also, she included the Google Map location/actually the drive to work for the kid. How friggin cool is she? She totally gets this project. Here's each picture for the bullet points. See the car mirror in the 2nd and 3rd pic? I love Summer, she rocks.

She took Flat Stanley to Bollywood. Bollywood! She asked if she could have him for a bit longer (of course) and she is going to take pictures of him in Amitabh Bachchan's house. Yeah I had to Google that name too. And then take a pic of him outside of Shahrukh Khan's house. Flat Stanley does Bollywood baby! Little Miss M's mom is going to think we're totally loopy. The only thing we've watched that's even remotely Bollywood is Bride and Predjudice. I've been told that's not really Bollywood but if ya'll like Pride and Predjudice this movie is hilarious.

My daughter has this nemesis

Stay with me here because this story actually has a purpose (and no, the picture is not the kid's nemesis, that's Flat Stanley). It's kinda back story so you can get the gist of the real story which will come out in my next post. And probably a few more after it because it's cute and well, entertaining. To me at least and well, it's my blog.

We are from a neighborhood without a lot of turn over. One of the bonuses of this is that the kids my daughter went to preschool with are probably, for the most part, going to be with her for awhile. It has it's up sides, we LOVE most of these children and they have great parents too. GREAT parents. There are then the downsides, one or two of the kids are atrocious. Spoiled in an ungodly manner. So much so that neither I nor the Hunny would take care of the child nor really wish it one anyone else. We're pretty relaxed when it comes to others, we don't really care if your kid is a bit wild. They're kids so you know, they only get one chance to be obnoxious and fun kids right? But these ones, no they are not anything anyone wants to sit in a room with.

This one girl that my daughter has been in class with in preschool is in her class this year, she's one of those. She was always in trouble in class, jumping up and down on the cots at nap time, causing all kinds of a ruckus in class. She wasn't in my kid's kinder class but apparently she had a rough time in kinder. This was so not a surprise to us. We had been invited over for dinner when they were class mates in preschool and we got to witness first hand what she was like at home. She said no to her parents a lot and basically did not follow any of their instructions. When they tried to get stern with her she'd balk and sometimes hit them. Oh yeah, this one is a real keeper, let me tell you. We never went back again and we never invited them over to our house. Which, in truth, is sad because we really like the parents. Won't do the kid though. Oh hell no. They are smart people, really really quite. The at home mom has a degree but doesn't need to use it because her husband makes serious cash. Plus they are from England, all their schooling was free. They are Indian, just with British accents. I think there grandparents are in India so they are maybe 1 or 2 generations removed. This comes into play later, bear with me on this ramble.

So their kid, Little Miss M, does not get along with my daughter. At all. They are always tattling on each other or complaining about each other. I'll come home and the kid has this list of stuff the little Miss M has done wrong that day. She's so bad she doesn't even get to sit at the desks like the other kids. She has her own, all by it's lonesome, right next to the teacher's desk. She has to go the principal's for misbehavior all the time. And apparently she's doing much better this year than she did last year. The last I talked to her mom she was going to be testing to go into the gifted program. I don't think she made it into it because she's still in the class with the other kids and doesn't get pulled for advanced anything. Her mom thought she needed to be in the gifted program because she was bored. I think she was bored because she was expected to sit and listen to the teacher. Novel huh? The teacher has been known to tell her that she is not in charge of the class a multitude of times. My god if my kid was getting that lecture there would be little girl head rolling.

Little Miss M likes to have all the attention and be in charge of everything. Not a big surprise considering that she's always been allowed to rule her home. Any other child that either a) does not agree with her little miss highness or b) completely ignores her or c) thwarts her rule by being more important/more popular than her is not on little Miss M's cool list. Needless to say I think my kid breaks all three of those rules with her. They don't get on well. At all. Almost competitive really. I'll be curious to see what becomes of the little Miss M when she gets older. Apparently she makes a lot of the other girls cry on a consistent basis and this can not make her very popular in the long run. It's very much like one of those Disney TV shows where it's all overly dramatic and woe is me but hey, it's the first grade. Just wait until jr high and high school. I suspect it'll only get worse. Oh and even better, her parents have another baby due this summer. We don't think it's going to go over well. Whatcha think?

Alright I'm done with the gossip, now you get to hear why I dragged it across my blog (other than just random amusement for us mothers who have seen it). They have this project in class, I'm sure many of you have heard of it, it's called Flat Stanley. Flat Stanley is a drawing of a boy that the kids mail somewhere to go on an adventure. You can read about the idea here:
Flat Stanley
It was a book originally written in 1964 by Jeff Brown but it turned into a project and I must say, I love the idea.

My kid wanted to send her's to her grandmother in San Diego and so we did. But I have a friend, my best friend from high school. She lives 50% of the time in San Francisco and 50% of the time in India, for work. Summer mentioned that she was maybe going to be able to go to Dubai this next trip to India but even if she doesn't I thought it'd be way fun to send another Flat Stanley to India with her so I asked her to take him with. She said she would and so I mailed out another to her a few weeks ago before she left for Mumbai.

Turns out she's like the BEST person to sent Flat Stanley with. She totally gets it and is really having fun with it. Like she asked how long she could keep him for. So for my next post I'll be showing ya'll where Flat Stanley has been for his first few days in India. And why I think little Miss M is going to go green when she sees where our Flat Stanley goes to in India. Yeah, it's all about the little things in elementary school isn't it?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fast and Furious, a review

New model. Original parts.

Have ya'll seen the first one? Faboo I just loved that movie, like I said, I'm a closet grease monkey and can appreciate these things. The second and third one? Waste of time. Didn't even have the same cast in them and without Vin don't even bother talking to me. Waste. O. Time. Now we have the new model original parts, everybody from the first now in the fourth. About time. And do you just love that car in the pic? Yummo, love me some muscle car.

This one has everything in it that you'd expect. Fast illegally modified cars, muscle cars included. Gawd I love me some muscle car. Yeah I know, I'm Asian and should love the imports but really, nah. Don't forget the bad guys, drug dealers, illegal guns, hoochie girls, lots really. Very unrealistic since there were like 200 emaciatedly skinny girls mostly naked in shoddy parts of the city watching illegal car racing. Not one fat chick to be seen. Totally unrealistic. Trust me when I tell you, we got fat chicks in L.A. and they don't hide at home.

The plot line, pretty darn good considering it wasn't anything new and novel. The cars scenes: ROCK. Makes you want to go find yourself some souped up ass hauling car of some sort. It's also one of those movies you want to see on big screen. I watch previews and determine which ones we'll see in the theaters (precious few times we get to go without the kid) and which ones we'll just rent on dvd. This one was determined to be a big screen-er very early on. Oh yeah, fast cars and Vin Diesel? HELLO. I am not into big guys. I am not into big guys with muscles. At all. I like tall lanky men, brunette please. For Vin I make an exception. I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers. Shh don't tell the Hunney I said that. There were tons of skinny ass hotties with fake boobies in the movie anyway so the guilt factor is real low.

They managed to blend it all really well, flesh out the relationships better, and, I love this one, leave it open for a 5th sequel. The only character I didn't like much was Michelle Rodriguez's, she was just too ghetto for my taste. The good news? She's barely in this one. It's a tale of history, revenge, passion rekindled, all with no sex scenes and LOTS of speed demon driving. There's a disclaimer about 'do not try this at home' or rather 'on regular streets'. It comes way late though, like at the end of the credits late. It was my only complaint about the movie, they should have put that disclaimer sometime when people were actually in the theater to see it right?

But that's it. Other than that I think most people who like fast cars and Vin will love it. Just look at the car in that photo. Damn that's a hot car...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Stephanie over at Chocolate and Whine had a post up of things she is loving. It's a good positive step for her, she's been having it rough and sometimes it's hard to see good things when you are wallowing in the bad. Ever notice how much easier it is to wallow in the bad? One of the many bad qualities we have as humans I think.

Anyway she invited us to follow and list the things we are loving. I'm going to go one step further and include my variation on some of the things she listed too...


Damn I had forgotten just what the heat is like in Texas. We've had warm days on and off for the past month at least but they really were just warm days. In the 80's mostly and here that's just spring. We had one day last week where you walked outside and BOOM it hit you like a wall. And I thought "Oh yeah, now that's what I'm talkin' bout!". That's summer in Texas. Lots of people don't like it and I know there are days where it is annoying but it feels good. Like a huge warm bankie and your skin tingles. No I didn't always like the heat but I've lived in the snow belt for a bit and I'll take the sun, even the raging heat, anyday. BTW, for whatever reason (Mother Nature is pms-ing?) it was ass biting cold today damn it.

The smell of spring
The smell of spring in every place I have lived has been different. Maybe that's because the native plants in So Cal, Nor Cal, Metro Washington DC, and Texas are all completely different. Surprised? I didn't think so. Seriously, like big time. Here in the hill country of south central Texas it smells like grape Kool Aid, no lie. It's the Texas Mountain Laurels that are just a wonderful plant that thrives in our desolate climate and still manages to produce these scrumptious flowers that bloom in falls and look like wisteria but smell like grape Kool Aid. I love them. Occasionally you get a whiff of jasmine too, it does well in our area. They are all almost done blooming (as are the Redbuds, gawd I love those blooms), soon it will be the crepe myrtles. They don't have any smell that I know of but they sure do look pretty. Make a huge mess but look pretty in the mean time. They don't do as well here as they do in the true south but they do well enough.

As long as I'm on smells I'll let you know about one of those strange ones I always had a thing for. I don't know if I spent too much time as a vet tech or I'm just odd. Probably both actually, but I love the smell of those corn chip dog feet. Strange much? Yeah. I've loved my dogs throughout my life (tyrannical as they all have been) and when they are content and lying on me on the couch/bed/someplace they are so not allowed to be, they get warm and happy and smell like corn chips. It's their feet, I know it but it's still a happy dog smell so I like it. It's a dog person thing I suppose. BTW, not all dogs have the same smelly feet. I've noticed that german shepherds don't have feet that smell like corn chips. Another reason they are not my preferred breed I suppose. That and the hair, gads.

The Jeep

Again, I'm following Stephanie's lead on this, just with opposite taste. She loves her Corolla, I had to choose between a Corolla and the Jeep when I was buying the car. I tried to love the Corolla, really I did. I owned a 4 Runner and I think Toyotas are fabulous cars. The Corolla just did not do it for me at all. That drivers seat was the most uncomfortable seat I've ever felt in a car (I used to own a 1960 something International Scout so that is saying something no?) and it had no guts what so ever. I just could not go from a six-er to a four banger. I tried but no, I couldn't give up the power. I learned to drive in a truck, had a car for my teen years and it was a cute little car for a little teen girl. After that I had maybe 1 more car and then went back to trucks. None were 6 cylinders though. I didn't move into a 6 until I bought my first automatic in 2002 or so. Again, a truck. I didn't like the hubby's first Jeep, I was too pregnant and it is not made for short pregnant people. Oh lordy no.
I am not pregnant now so I have the pleasure of starting off on the right foot in my relationship with our new Jeep. Now mind you what I love most about the Jeep is not necessarily the Jeep itself. It's the Jeep courtesy. Everybody waves at you when you are in the Jeep. They start up conversations with the kid when she's in the back and the top is down. It's so cute and really fun. When other people in Jeeps (CJ's, not the hard top version either) pass you they always wave or give you a high 5 from a distance. It's like belonging to a club. Like owning a cool car rather than a minivan. It's so not the mom car I should be driving. For that alone I love it.

Going to grown up movies with my Hunney mid day
We don't get to do it often, we normally go with the kid because well, she's our kid and she's normally with us. My mother decided she wanted to spend this Saturday with her so the Hunny and I got a chance to go see grown up movies. It was Fast and the Furious, I have a thing for cars ya know. Given half a chance I'd be a grease monkey and I'd be a damn good one too. It was good and we loved the adult outside time together. I'll review it for ya'll soon, promise. It was good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Cowboy Angel

A blogging girlfriend of mine, Kim from Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets, has posted lately of a tragedy in her close world. A young friend of theirs has passed. A husband, father, friend, cowboy and she is doing something to help out his wife and sons. A fundraiser, a donation of sorts to the family. Kim has created a beautiful glass pendant that comes with a poem written by A Cowboys Wife to commemorate him and his life. She calls it A Cowboys Halo and the pictures are of the front and back.

I just love this pendant, it's made of glass so I can actually wear it. FYI I am allergic to metal, it's a terribly annoying allergy that makes it impossible for me to wear earrings and most jewelry, oh and belt buckles too. This though, I can wear. Plus it's just beautiful and while I did not know Brad I know that his family needs all the love and support they can get at this point in their lives. I danced with death when I had my aneurysm and the support my family got from our friends was incredible. Our friend Candace gathered up all of the parents and got donations from them for food and gift cards for my hubby and kid while I was in the hospital and I tell you what, we could not have survived with out them.

For this I am posting her help for her friends on my blog too, getting the word out there. I encourage you to do the same, pass the link along to anyone you think might be willing to help. The pendant and poem is selling for $20 and Kim has the link on her blog. I'd do the link-y thing if I were computer savvy but alas, it's beyond me.

I finally went there

I avoided it for a good long time but it was on sale so I figured it was now or never. If you haven't noticed (and I don't know how you couldn't) I don't do anything to the pictures I post. It's not because I don't want to, it's more a lazy point. I'll take pictures, I used to even download the pictures. Now I just pass the camera to the hubby and have him upload them to his Photobucket account so I can access them on any computer in the house. I.E. I can sit on the couch with the laptop like the lazy ass I am and post from the reclining position. I know, it's bad.

The laptop I use is a wee little 15" Dell from, 2002? It's old. It has no memory, like 512 maybe? Not enough to put Adobe on, too big. The poor thing is going to kick off and die at any moment. It's battery doesn't last 5 minutes when unplugged so it's a laptop but it's permanently plugged in so not very 'portable'. Kinda sad excuse for a laptop but it's my fav. I love it to death and I will cry when it dies. Trust me, you'll hear it from whatever far reaches you are at when the time comes.

So Costco had a coupon last week, $30 off Adobe Elements. I have always known I need to eventually make the big leap form no picture modification whatsoever to whatever the hell it is people do to make their pictures look pretty. OK not really but damn it everyone else is doing it right? I actually mentioned to the hubby, not 1 day before I saw the coupon, that I would like to get it for my birthday (it's in May, one must plan ahead if one wants to get prezzies that one likes). When I saw the coupon it was like, oh hell just get it now because damn, $30 off? Hell yeah! I'm a girl, it was a sale, it had to be.

I've owned it for a week now. It's still in it's box, downstairs even. I told you I'm lazy. There is a reason though, I can't figure out what computer I want to put it on. We have 2 desktops upstairs. "Mine" and "His" and they each serve their own purposes. Mine was hand built by me, it has no speakers so no one uses it. The kid and the hubby play games and that requires sound so they use his Dell. I use the laptop. My desktop is mainly there for storage of photos because that's where I used to download them all. I should really just get a 1T or 2T portable hard drive and download all of those pics huh? You'd think I'd just go with installing it on that computer but there's a catch. The hubby wants a newer computer to run the newer computer games that his Dell is too old and slow to support. I will then transfer all of those photos to the Dell.

See the dilemma? If I put the Photoshop on the Dell I won't have much access to it until the hubby moves up to a nicer pooter. He doesn't get one of those until he gets a new job with a 'real' paycheck.

I tell you what. When I get this thing on a computer I'll let ya'll know. Then you can totally make fun of me for having a Photoshop 3 versions out of date. Deal? Yup, this is me, get used to it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I know I've talked about the old hood before

but there are just some times when you see something and it all comes back at you. I posted awhile back, ok maybe it was just this past February, about the old hood. It was, however, more of a criticism of how it isn't all that. That wasn't entirely true, it's kinda all that. Sometimes. I was on Facebook and an old classmate of mine, like really old, like elementary school old, like what omg almost 30 years ago old. Yeah I know, I am just that old. He had posted a steam of like 35 pictures of my old hood. And when I say hood I mean exactly where I grew up. Like I have baby pictures of me in the sand and on the jettys there.

Like most large cities there are neighborhoods in San Diego that are each very distinct. Since I had never been anywhere else as a child I did not know how wonderful and unique Ocean Beach was (we all call it OB, there's a bunch of different beach communities in San Diego). Ocean Beach is very small, it's the upper west side of a peninsula that is part of San Diego. If you have ever driven interstate 10 west it turns into interstate 8. The very very end of interstate 8 is where OB begins. And not far off from that is where you'd hit the Pacific Ocean. I'm talking like 6 blocks and then it's ocean. Back in the 70's it was a kinda of hippie place, the co op that existed back then that my mom and I stocked shelves at to earn groceries still exists but it's sleek now. Not the funky patchuli and wood place worked by stinky dread locked hippes that I remember. It is home to San Diego's last head shop, The Black. The owner actually lived 2 houses down from us for awhile when I was a kid. OB is so hippie that in 2001 Starbucks rented space there to open a store and it was seriously protested. Seriously. It didn't work though but then again neither did most of that hippie crap from the 60's and 70's. Go figure.

What I remember though is being a child of a college student and a working dad and everyone hung out and smoked pot. All the time. I didn't know parental types did anything else to enjoy themselves. All this kid-centric stuff we do out here in suburbia? None of that. The back yard bbq's served brownies that we kids couldn't eat. It was different but none of us kids knew it was different because we didn't know anything else right? I had forgotten how poor we were too until another elementary school classmate reminded me. He was talking about how he'd spend the day collection cans and it would get him enough money to buy dinner. And I thought, damn we were really poor weren't we? Ah well, you can't control your childhood of days past.

The up side was OB really was an amazing place and we had available to us some absolutely beautiful places to enjoy.

This is the OB pier, the longest pier in San Diego. This is the north side of the pier, all of OB's beaches are north of this pier.

This is the view of the south side of the pier, the tide pools reside here if you are there at low tide. I really have got to take the kid here someday, tide pools are awesome.

See here, this is further in the tide pools...

All those lovely crevices hide a variety of life form, see...

As you move further south in the terrain becomes cliffs, Sunset Cliffs to be specific. Not all are accessible by walking down from the pier. Sometimes you have to scale the cliffs. These areas have wonderful surf spots and beaches that are unknown to tourists and can only be reached because someone was nice enough to tie a rope to a big big rock that you could use to repel down the side of a rock formation. Yeah I know, just ready to hop down one of these cliffs aren't ya? It's worth it though, these places are lovely.
Here's a little blurb that explains the names of these little 'beaches':
Garbage Beach at Ladera Street is named for the large amounts of odiferous kelp among its rocks. Built-in stairs lead down the cliff to this beach. Beware; the descent is very steep. Two other beaches — No Surf Beach (Hill and Froud Streets on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard) and New Break Beach (south of Point Loma Nazarene College) — have no identified route leading down to the water’s edge. Trails to these beaches exist, but finding them can be challenging.
Challenging, hah, you should try it when you're dragging a 3 yr old and all of the crap one brings to the beach with said nugget. Precarious at best.

No place is without it's faults, growing up in OB was obscure at best. I just saw these photos and I swear it all cam back to me. We lived a 15 minute walk from this beach. I spent most of my childhood on this beach while my mom surfed, this beach could entertain me for hours. Good thing too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tech-ing with Dad

The night before a day at the paintball field is usually spent
1) Gathering all needed accoutrement, both clothing and marker related, to make the day worth going. You forget your air tank, batteries, knee pads or cleats and forget it, you might as well turn around and go home. Forget your mask? Why did you even bother getting in the car? When we lived in San Diego our home field (the ones our friends own) was in Ramona. A 45 minute drive out to the middle of NOWHERE. You for get something you didn't even bother driving home. You just hung out with people and socialized because by the time you drove home the day was over so you might as well make some friends. We are 'seasoned' enough players that we no longer (normally) make big mistakes like forgetting our masks or cleats. Airtanks, well we have extras. And 2)The night before, after everything else has been packed up or set out, is then spent tech-ing the markers. Our paintball markers are electro, they kick ass but are also very sensitive and need occasional tweaking.

Our paintball markers of choice are AKA, mine is a red Featherlight Viking, his is a gray Excal. Mine even has a name, she's Valerian. His has been broken for going on 3 years now. We have a friend who is a higher lever of marker tech than the hubby is. The Excal has programming issues of some sort, in other words it's not some mechanical problem we can fix. On Saturday I finally got the hubby to re-assemble the Excal and I sent it on to California to get tuned up. Yay! That was the only thing keeping me from sending that marker off for 3 years. It's been in pieces and the wires would break if I just stuck it in a box like that. Our friend will fix it up nice though and it'll be awesome. The hubby had been using an 06 Angel Speed for the past year or so. He used Valerian 2 Saturdays ago (yes, I let him use my marker, yes I stayed home and watched the children for 2 Saturdays in a row) and has decided that it's time to go back to AKA. I suspect Valerian will be seeing a lot more field time which is good. Lord knows I won't be using her anymore. Brain surgery + paintball = bad.

So now when the hubby sits to work on his paintball stuff with tools the kid has figured out she can disassemble her toys with the same tools. They must have sat at that dining room table for 2 hours tech-ing. Please note, that is a lovely dining room table that has probably been used, 5 times in 3 years. Maybe. We have a breakfast nook with a table that seats 4. 5 if we drag in one of the tables from the dining room. As far as I'm concerned tech-ing on it is great, it's almost useful. I don't know about ya'll but with the advent of the breakfast nook I think we've made formal dining rooms a redundancy. Father-daughter tech bonding time? Makes the dining room worth it.

OH! I promised a picture of the kid without all of her front teeth. How do they eat!?