Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We ALL Scream for Ice Cream!

My kids can't hear their father or I tell them not to color on the walls or beat on one another but they have Superman's hearing powers when it comes to picking up the faint sound of the ice cream truck's Greensleeves playing blocks away. Psycho is a "mild" term for what happens next. They go nuts running and screaming at the top of their little lungs for mommy and daddy to "Come Here!! It's the ice cream truck. HURRY!!!".

When we don't catch the ice cream man, it isn't a pretty sight. On the occasions we do catch him, we have some very happy (and in the end, filthy and sticky) kiddos. Here's the kids on one of the "good" days!

Guess What the Mailman Brought?

How exciting! My Summer Swap package arrived. It was from MommaG who lives in Canada. There were lots of goodies in this package...for the entire family!

I received 2 knit washcloths, 2 boxes of chocolate wafer straws, the most adorable frog wind chime (who has already found a home in my garden), beautiful stitch markers which will be great when I'm knitting with my larger needles, a cute plant stake that has a frog on a watering bucket, 2 skeins of "The Perfect Knit" Glitter Knitting Yarn in a pale blue color, and two skeins of Sidhar Luxury Soft cotton yarn (DK weight) - one in a pale blue and the other in white.

My DH received a key ring and a Canada utility knife.

The kids received their own Canada tote bags which were filled with suckers bearing a pix of the Canadian maple leaf and they each received a crocheted stuffed elephant. One was a "girl" elephant with a pink bow to match her eyes and the other was a "boy" elephant with blue eyes. The kids loved their gifts and have been toting their totes and elephants all about. As for the suckers, I'm TRYING to ration them out...mainly to help make sure I don't end up with kids bouncing off the walls and sucker sticks stuck to everything.

Monday, August 25, 2008

When It Rains...

it pours... We continued to get some good, much needed rains through Saturday. Everything is really greening up for the first time all year. DH's going to have to get the lawnmower working again soon so we can mow for, like the 2nd time this year.

Unfortunately, not all that poured was good. I'd just posted about the passing of an old friend and we received another call Saturday that one of our brothers-in-law had passed suddenly and unexpectedly. It is believed to have been a heart attack but the family requested an autopsy to make sure. This has caught the entire family off guard, obviously. We are waiting to hear from Ray's folks, who flew out yesterday, as to when services will be so that my DH can make arrangements to attend the funeral and be there to support his sister and niece who have endured this sudden and tragic loss.

I can't even begin to imagine what I'd do in their shoes and am so very thankful that, at least today, I don't have to know. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Danny Roy Young 1941-2008

It was 13 years ago that I met Danny Young. I had just started at Greywolf and the guys took me to the Texicalli Grille for lunch, a small, eclectic restaurant Danny owned and ran. That became one of my long time favorite places to eat. Not only were the sandwiches OUT OF THIS WORLD (as were the rest of their dishes) but they made the ultimate "Double Double Chocolate Milkshake" (My mom will attest to that!) and REAL sodas...and THAT wasn't even the highlight of dining there. The BEST part of eating at the Texicalli was getting to visit with Danny.

As if owning the Texicalli weren't enough, Danny was also the long-time unofficial "Mayor of South Austin" and a mighty fine washboard player for the Cornell Hurd Band.

I just got a call awhile ago that, even as I type this, I still don't believe. A man who personified life, energy, happiness and was the type of person that many people could only be in their dreams, passed away Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 67. I am at a loss for words. Austin has lost a truly wonderful part of itself in the passing of Danny.

Photo by Nuevo Anden.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Singing in the Rain

After weeks of being in a drought, we have been blessed today with a GLORIOUS long rain! It has been raining for a couple hours thus far and the sound is just heavenly...I find myself "singing in the rain"!

I know I complain about the drought and 100+ temps and then post pretty pictures of things in my gardens. You're wondering "how bad can it really be?" Well, I'm here to tell you it's all about the magic of digital photography and cropping which allows me to show you only what looks decent...and not show the rest of the plant and other plants all around it in different stages of death. Even my DH has said that people who don't know me and just see my blog probably think I have this beautiful, lush garden that even I would drool over and instead...

This is the hottest summer on record for this area in 80 years. With the heat and drought... Well, let's just say that I'm glad you can't see how all my plants REALLY look every afternoon in the 100+ temps we've been enduring for weeks.

Maybe after all this wonderful rain, things can perk up a little bit and I can take a pix usual highlighting the good parts of what my brown thumb has done versus the distressed and/or dead aspects.

Did I mention it's RAINING! Yippee!

Hanging Around

"Mommy! Daddy! Ryan's stuck in the kennel!"

Upon hearing these words I thought the kids were playing in the dog kennel again and for some reason just couldn't get the latch undone. This, however, made no sense to me because they undo the latch all the time. I walk out with my DD to see what "stuck in the kennel" meant to her and as soon as I saw what she meant, I broke into a run to rescue my little guy as he was near the TOP of the 8' kennel with his feet stuck in the fence and was hanging on for dear life upside down.

Apparently my little monkey decided to climb the kennel fence and then couldn't get back down. He was so very scared and upset. We "rescued" him and explained why we don't climb fences. We'll see how long that "experience" sticks with him before he tries that little stunt again. (We've already told/prepared ourselves that he will try it again sometime. Just a question of when.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Skull Stole Pattern Now Available

The Skull Stole pattern is now available! This one is for Jeanie who doesn't already have enough in her Ravelry que to knit. :o) This pattern uses the lace chart I mentioned in my "Ahoy Matey" post earlier this month. I've just counted up the necessary stitches and repeat numbers (of course, if you read my "2+2=3" post you may be a little concerned about my counting abilities) to allow you to knit up this little "jewel" so that all the skulls or skulls & crossbones face the appropriate direction.

You can download via the link provided in this post or by clicking on "Skull Stole" in the Free Patterns section on the sidebar.

Happy knitting, Jeanie and anyone else who wishes to knit this treasure of a stole.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Yeah, I know... those numbers don't add up. THAT was what I encountered when I finally hung my new, totally gorgeous drapery panels in my living room!

Despite measuring and counting everything a million times, I STILL managed to screw up, royally. Finished panel length + 3.5 inches for the top casing and hem + 3.5 inches for the bottom hem. Got the top casing sewn (minus the top ruffle) and had put them up (just so I could feel like I'd finished something even though I still lacked the hem and top ruffle element) and HORROR!!! I realized, once up on the wall that the drapes just barely brush the floor BEFORE the hem has even been done. (and before the ruffle at the top which would raise them even more so they aren't going to be getting that after all which is fine with me).

So my drapes don't get a hem. I MIGHT be able to figure out some way to piece fabric back on that I can then hem up but I screwed up SO bad. My DH said it doesn't matter and not to worry about it. Obviously, after 8 years together he still doesn't know me that well. Not worry about it???

WHAT??? WHERE??? HOW??? I'm SO upset. Simple stinking drapery panel and I completely messed up. Anyway... They look good from a distance. Just don't look at the bottom. Fortunately, the bottoms are hidden behind the couch.

AAAAUUUURRRGHHHHH! What's worse is that it didn't HAVE to be that way... I got a little extra fabric just in case my numbers were off, which after the number of times I calculated it, they shouldn't have been. Shoot me.... Just shoot me now. The ONLY thing I can think is that when I had all that fabric (gobs and gobs) laid out on my cutting board that I miss-marked, somehow, my cut line and when I cut the second panel to match the first...wha-la.

So...the drapes are "done". Just don't look at them closely or your see they have no hem on the bottom... at least until I can figure out a non-hideous solution. Just another day in the life/mind of me.

New Pets

"The kids have some new pets." When I heard my Dad say that to me (while kiddos were up at their Nanny & Granddad's last week), my first thought and my response was sarcastically, "Oh. Ray is just going to LOVE that." "RAY's the one that found them!" was the next thing I heard.

Great... just what we need. WHAT did he find? I mean, we have already two toddlers and often watch a 3rd for some friends. We have two large dogs of our own and often dog-sit Max (another BIG dog). Additionally, we have a few frogs and then our goldfish out in the pond area. How many more feet do we need traipsing around here? Well, apparently eight would be the answer to that.

We've held off naming our TWO new "pets" as we weren't sure they would live, but survive thus far they have so I guess I should introduce them. Still nameless, although the kids are quite busy thinking up possible names, we now have two baby red-eared slider turtles. They are only a couple to three inches across on the widest parts of their shells and have become quite used to us. We have them in a contained habitat right now so they can become acclimated to their new home, which we've read helps prevent them from running away. We have to clean their container often but doing so allowed me to snap a pix to share with you while they were chillin'.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Splash Day

Our church held a Splash Day this Sunday for the kiddos. K-5th graders came to church in their swimming gear and got to play on inflatable water toys during their Sunday School. Since the inflatable toys didn't need to be returned until later in the day, after the 3rd service they opened it up and it was a family picnic/all kids play time.

Needless to say, our kids absolutely loved it. Once we mastered the art of waiting our turn in line there was no stopping them! They had some practice at Groom Day playing on the inflatable water toys so they weren't afraid of anything. Slipping and sliding and climbing on slick air-filled water mountains was second nature to them.

One of the funnier moments from the day involved Ryan and FreezePops. Hadley had one, barely. I had a couple, cause who doesn't like those things. Ryan, however, had I don't know how many. Everytime I blinked he had a different color pop in his hands. Was I losing my mind? Nope. I caught him, after he'd sucked all the juice out of the pop (but leaving behind the frozen part) setting his uneaten pop on the table and walking over to the lady handing out the pops and requesting "one more". After several times of asking for "one more" she and I caught onto his game. We just found it funny.

It was a nice time for the family and a great way to wear out the kids!

Welcome Home

My most wonderful family made it safely home Saturday night from Nanny & Granddad's house. Everyone was WORN out as it was not only a long drive home but they had had a eventful week. In addition to attending Groom Day (and making a HAUL on the parade candy) the kids also attended VBS at my parent's church and kept very busy with projects with their Nanny, including their grass hair people. These little "people" were even funnier than I thought they would be when Mom was telling me about them.

DH called when they were about 30 minutes from home to tell me they were making better time than they'd thought. Yes they were! I was trying to finish the living room drapes and get them up and thought I had an hour left, not 30 minutes. Needless to say, only one drape made it up and even that one isn't finished. At least it gave a little of the effect I wanted though.

All the hard work was worth it for those couple of minutes prior to the kiddos ripping through like a tornado. Both the kids and my DH were pleased with the results, especially my DH who just wanted to crash and having a clean home to do so in was icing on the cake.

I'm SO glad my little family is home. I had forgotten what it was like to step/trip on toys while walking through the house and finding Granddad crackers (aka Cheez-itz) smashed to bits by the toy hammer all over the sofa and...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Design on a Dime" Meets "While You Were Out"

While my family has been out of town this week visiting my folks I've been busy (when not at work) doing some things around the house. Unfortunately, I have yet to get to ANY of the items on my to-do list like cleaning out the kid's toy box and closet, cleaning/re-organizing the office, cleaning our bedroom... I HAVE been doing a few little "While You Were Out" activities. Hopefully, my DH will love them so much he'll ignore the fact that I've not touched laundry or mending. I've still SO much to do and the family comes home on Saturday. I'm SO excited about having them come home but need more time to get things done. Oh well, I'll finish what I can.

What have I been up to, you ask? Well, even if you didn't ask, I'll tell you anyway. If you read my "Mama Mia" post you'll see what I was up to over most of the weekend. On the inside of the house I focused my attention to the living room and kitchen. With the sheetrock up on the one wall that has been bare studs for longer than I'm going to mention, I decided to hang some artwork. Granted, we still have to tape and float, prime and paint all the walls (in living room, dining and kitchen) but even without paint yet, they look great! Oh and I FINALLY decided on the paint color for these three rooms... Aged Amber. It goes so well with the furniture and accessories. I can't wait to get it painted...but I will..for a little longer, anyway.

So, I started out by painting the inside of the front door. When I post before/after pix at some point, you'll see why that was, as Martha Stewart says, "a good thing". I hung some art on a couple of walls, rearranged a couple pieces of furniture & decor, and purchased a TON of fabric for the panel drapes I'm going to sew for the living room window (hope DH doesn't mind I didn't get his input on the drape fabric). I am HOPING to get the drapes done before the family gets home. They are an olive color and are just divine! Even better was that I got the fabric 50% off!!! That is the ONLY way I could have done it and still much less expensive than buying pre-made.

In the kitchen, I cleaned out the cabinet we are using for our pantry and painted the interior white and also cleared the top of all the junk and put some decor up there. I cleaned out the junk drawer (after almost two years, it was past time cause it was junky), cleared the top of the fridge and was able to put some decor up there and I LOVE it! Moved some kitchen cabinet items around as well as some countertop appliances. DH won't be able to find anything for a few days. All that gave me much more workable counter space (and cabinet space).

I've still lots of cleaning to do but I'm very excited about the little progress I've made thus far. We'd been holding off doing things around here cause we bought this fixer-upper with the intention of doing quite a bit of remodeling. Unfortunately, the pocketbook hasn't allowed us to do what we want ... yet... so I'm making the best of things for the time being. With the exception of the drapery fabric (which was 50% off in case I didn't mention that yet. Hee hee) and a little craft paint, everything was stuff we already had stored away. Now THAT's "Design on a Dime".

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ahoy Matey!

My Surprise Theme Swap partner, Jes from San Diego, received the package I sent to her and I think she liked it!
I'd learned that she loved pirate stuff and one of her favorite colors was light blue (and that she gardens a little!), so a "treasure chest" I would make for her.

Unfortunately, after much scouring of the internet, I couldn't find anything I really liked that would work in Southern CA. Similar to here in Austin, there is little need for massively bulky chunky items as we just don't get that many extremely cold days typically. Unlike here in Austin, though, San Diego does get some cooler evenings. With that in mind, and not being able to find what I wanted, I took a lace chart of some skulls and crossbones and figured out how many/how much was needed to make a Skull Stole (one where all the skulls would be facing the correct way). If you would like, I invite you to download a copy of this pattern and knit up this little treasure for yourself.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the swatch I knit as it was pretty cool, even though I, personally, am not a big "skull" fan. Anyway, I finally got everything together and sent to her. Besides her intro letter, "treasure map" (aka pattern), gold coins and jewels, and "pearl" stitch markers (including a precious "black pearl" marker), I sent the most scrumptious yarn that was ever so difficult to part with. Jes didn't want any wool yarn so I found a couple of skeins (just enough for the stole) of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud yarn in Horizon.

Although I went over budget on this package and was worried a few times about the package coming together, I was very pleased with it and hope that Jes enjoys knitting up her treasure!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Living the Single Life

...for the week. DH took the children up north to spend the week with Nanny & Granddad. I wanted to go as well but had to stay and work. Bummer, I know. Not to fear however, as I've got a "to-do" list of projects a mile long and know that, even with all this "free" time, I'll still not get them all done.

The first night they were gone was Friday night. Hubby called me about 8:30 so I could tell the kiddos goodnight "before [I] hit the town". Pathetically, I was already in my jammies and watching really bad 80s movies on the tube. That little fact gave my DH quite a chuckle. Both Saturday and Sunday nights were pretty much the same. No wild woman least not out and about wild. As for what I've been up to here around the house...keep watch in future posts!

I do miss my babies, but knowing they are having LOTS of fun with Nanny & Granddad makes it all better. They are going to VBS there in Groom this week and my DH is helping my dad with some "requires help" projects at the building he's renovating downtown.

The ONE Plant...

..that I didn't put the "Liquid Fence" on last night was, of course, destroyed by the dogs come this morning. Urg. Fortunately, I think I was able to salvage enough of it..... we'll see.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mama Mia

"Here I go again"...getting MORE plants.

What a WONDERFUL Saturday I had!!! With Ray and the kid's out of town my friend Naomi took me out for the day. We had a fantastic Vietnamese lunch at Sea Dragon. Our conversations on foods we've eaten and/or will never eat led to hot vin lo (which is a soft boiled duck egg containing a partially developed duck embryo. I KNOW... YICKY!! So Naomi is telling me about this dish she heard of and I'm not believing her so she asks our waiter when he comes by about it. Not only did he confirm that this "delicacy" was, in fact, a real dish but he'd eaten some just the night before! Webster's dictionary defines delicacy as 1. Luxuriousness 2. Indulgence 3. Something pleasing to eat that is considered rare and luxurious. I define delicacy and stuff you are NOT supposed to eat.

With our bellies full, we hit the 10-75% off sale at Red Barn Nursery and both stocked up with some fabulous plants.. I know... JUST what we needed - more plants...LOTS more plants. It was SO fun!

I glanced at my watch to see that we were going to have to boogie if we were going to catch the matinee showing of "Mama Mia", a movie both our husbands had NO desire to see (I've NO idea why). I'd never been to the Alamo Drafthouse for a movie. What FUN! And the movie ROCKED!!! All the actors did a fabulous job and this movie has already received the ranking of being an all time fave (along side "The Princess Bride" and "Drop Dead Fred"). The only "bad" part was during the end credits when my corneas were burned out. There are just some things Remington Steele/James Bond shouldn't wear. LOL! Seriously, it was a GREAT, laugh so long and so hard that you cry movie! See it... see it again.

After the movie, we made one more stop for plant shopping and then buzzed out to Naomi's for a bit where I got a couple more wonderful plants!!

On my way home, I stopped by some friend's house and got a couple plants from Rose! Needless to say, I've got plants coming out my ears now... and I'm loving it! Now I've gotta get them all planted, so I better run!