Sunday, September 30, 2007

Did You See that Moon?

The moon last night was so least from my vantage point in Austin. I wonder if anyone else besides me looked up into the night sky with a sense of wonder and general happiness at such a beautiful sight. It looked like a bright jewel in the sky. I love nature!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Out Cold

Today I passed out cold. I've never had that happen to me before and still don't have an explanation for it. I'm making an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow. The only thing I can think of that caused me to check out for a minute or two, was the muscle relaxer I took today. I have a prescription for them and have never had any type of issues taking them, but about 30 minutes after taking one today I got extremely dizzy and when I got up to get some water, I crashed to the floor.

I don't remember any of that part. I just remember coming to and my friend Jen was over me shouting my name. That was so bizarre! She said I was out completely for a good minute and was about to call 911 when I woke up. It took me a while to comprehend what had happened to me and I was shocked to find myself flat on my back sprawled out on the floor. I was still very dizzy when I came to and it took me a few minutes to get to my feet and over to the couch. I slept the rest of the day and feel much better now, save the bruising on my face and knees from falling.

That was scary for a while there though. I wonder what the doctor will have to say about it tomorrow. I probably should have gone to the ER but I'm very stubborn about that so no lectures will be necessary from anyone. I will make an appointment to be seen in the am so will update everyone later. For now though I think I'm okay.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Grandmother

This was my grandmother when she was 17 years old(1930). It is rumored in our family that she learned how to play cards from one of Al Capone's "goons". She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and lived there during a time of much gangster upheaval.

Happy Birthday Mom

For some reason I thought I was late telling you happy birthday but then I actually checked a calendar and see that it's tomorrow. So in case I don't talk to you...Happy Birthday!

I took this photo over the weekend at a birthday party for Ben's friend Brom. It took three five year olds a good thirty minutes or more to do any damage to the pinata all this candy fell from. Had we let it go on like that we'd have been there all day, so we ended up taking it down and letting them rip into it with their hands. They had fun. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Went Walking

Maps are cool

Small meadow

Nice was about four inches long!

Barton Creek is Flowing Great right now

My Best Friend

Jen with my cat Lola.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oceans of Tears

Holes canyons wide in my heart
Can't be expressed in words or art
Mountains of sorrow piled miles high
How long must I walk without you before I can say goodbye?

Deserts could turn lush from all the tears fallen
Drowning surely in my own salty ocean
Forests of uncertainty thick in my mind
But not for a love I had to leave behind

Ginny Glasser

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's a Start

I went for about a five mile walk today. It was easy without a 30 pound pack on my back and I did it in two hours. The only hard part was climbing back up the hill of life towards the end of my walk, but even that was entirely doable.

I think I'll walk at the Wild Basin Preserve next...lots of ups and downs on that one. Maybe I'll throw on a heavier pack for old times sake.

My Sister Says This Song Reminds Her of Me

Maybe by Kelly Clarkson

I'm strong
But I break
I'm stubborn
And I make plenty of mistakes
Yeah I'm hard
And life with me is never easy
To figure out, to love
I'm jaded but oh so lovely
All you have to do is hold me
And you'll know and you'll see just how sweet it can be
If you'll trust me, love me, let me
Maybe, maybe

When we're at the same place
When we're on the same road
When it's okay to hold my hand
Without feeling lost
Without all the excuses
When it's just because you love me, you let me, you need me
Then maybe, maybe
All you have to do is hold me
And you'll know and you'll see just how sweet it can be
If you'll trust me, love me, let me
Maybe, maybe

I'm confusing as hell
I'm north and south
And I'll probably never have it all figured out
But what I know is I wasn't meant to walk this world without you
And I promise I'll try
Yeah I'm gonna try to give you every little part of me
Every single detail you missed with your eyes
Then maybe
Maybe, yeah maybe

One day
We'll meet again and you'll need me, you'll see me completely
Every little bit
Oh yeah maybe you'll love me, you'll love me then

I don't want to be tough
And I don't want to be proud
I don't need to be fixed and I certainly don't need to be found
I'm not lost
I need to be loved
I just need to be loved
I just want to be loved by you and I won't stop 'cause I believe
That maybe, yeah maybe
Maybe, yeah maybe

I should know better than to touch the fire twice
But I'm thinking maybe, yeah maybe you might

Maybe, love maybe

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pity Party

Lately I've had nothing much to write about and have been awful about keeping up with my post a day promise to myself. I suppose I could write about the exciting day *sarcasm* I had yesterday cleaning fish tanks. Hmmm, fish tanks don't grab your attention? How about the interesting tale of me vacuuming the house? That doesn't interest you either? Well there's always fascinating intrigue surrounding kitchen Not that either eh?

Well I'm tapped out for now since life has just been wholly blah lately. I need adventure. I wonder what kind of adventure I could mange in the five hours I have before I have to pick up Ben from school...hmmmm not much I'm afraid. This pesky thing called housework and yard work just won't go away. I've not taken any interesting photographs either. I'm bored and boring lately, and probably depressed from lack of exercise. I must force myself to get out and walk around the neighborhood as mundane as that is.

I hate being a "desperate housewife"... it's like being a wounded bird flopping around in a cage with no wings, but for now it's my duty and I'm sure society approves. The rebel in me wants to complain about it heavily though.

When it really comes down to it, things could be way worse. I'm sure there are many women out there who would kill to be in my shoes. I'm sure my dying friend would bitch slap me about now if she could. I guess I really shouldn't complain too much and just shut the fuck up. I apologize world for my bitter post. I have a migraine from hell right now and am still in a crappy mood.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One of These Days...

I miss hiking more than words can describe. I can get out and walk a little on a trail that is close by while Ben is in school, but it's not the same as walking for hours and hours out somewhere away from it all and truly getting that primal connection to nature.

Once Russell graduates I plan to start back packing again. Unfortunately for me though, I need to find a new partner if I'm going to seriously get back into the sport. I have a feeling this won't be an easy task because as far as I'm concerned Thomas was the best of the best. Where ever you are Thomas...I miss you and I hope the new trails you are traveling are treating you right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In a Crappy Mood

I watched too much t.v. yesterday while working on another art project...damn it put me in a foul mood. I was reminded again how fucked up this world is...I need to bury my head back in the sand and not venture too far into that greasy media muck again.

I wish there was a nice mountain near by I can go climb...I need nature.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Good Friends, Good Times

Russell's party was a lot of fun and it was wonderful seeing people I haven't been in contact with in a long while. We have a great group of friends and are fortunate in so many ways. Hopefully after Russell graduates we will be able to socialize again and see our friends on a more regular basis. I don't know how long lived that will be though if we end up moving to Virginia. But that's a long way off yet for me to be agonizing over and it may never materialize...

I know all you foodies out there are dying to know what was on the menu last night. Of course I made everything from scratch which although was hours and hours of hard work, was worth every melt in your mouth bite and I had a great time making it all. More and more I keep asking myself why the heck I'm not catering. So often I've told myself no way could I do it for various reasons, but if I can put together that much food in my own kitchen and it all turn out great, maybe I'm missing the forest through the trees? Ugh, I'll think about that later.

Anyway, here's the party food break down...

I made stuffed mushrooms and stuffed peppers, puff pastries( some had a sweet filling and some had a savory filling), bruschetta, crostinis topped with aioli and avacado, and another version of crostini topped with a blend of cream cheese, asparagus, and Parmesan cheese and baked under the broiler, raspberry chipotle sauce blended with cream cheese to make a sweet spread for crackers, and smoked salmon and dill hors d'ouvres. I also put out a veggie tray consisting of fresh jicama, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and an assortment of marinated olives and sweet peppers with home made ranch dip for dipping, and some Miso dip for the vegans. Oh and I bought a platter of shrimp cocktail, but it wasn't so great in my opinion. I should have bought fresh shrimp and made my own instead. Lesson learned.

Special thanks to Jen for her hard work on the funky but fabulous cake for Russell, and special thanks to our friends who could make it last night. Russell had a memorable birthday!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Russell's Birthday

Tomorrow is Russell's 33rd birthday and I'm throwing a little party for him. My friend Jen came over and we made him an ice cream sandwich cake. Actually Jen did most of the work...I was just the sous chef on this project learning new things along the way. Jen is quite accomplished when it comes to cake making and decorating as she has done it professionally for years and years. So here are some pictures of the whole process of making Russell's cake, which turned out to look a bit like it was Dr. Sues inspired even though it wasn't lol.

Start with home made cookie dough

Spread it out on a baking sheet

Bake until just right

Cut out the shape you want

Cool on wire rack, be sure to snack and drink in the meantime

Cut up icecream

Assemble Layers

Frost as desired with whipped icing

Making cakes is always a messy process...

What happens when you don't have a theme or any idea how you want the cake to look lol! Don't laugh too much it's gonna taste divine.

Big Spider, Little Bird, OH MY!

Did you know that spiders can eat birds? Before yesterday I thought only one kind of spider ate birds...the "bird eating" spider, which is a very large hunting spider in the tarantula family that I think lives in either Africa or South America. I'm not certain which, but yesterday I came to realize that if the spider is big enough and the bird is small enough, anything can happen. This realization came when I saw a hummingbird that appeared to be dead caught in the web of a big yellow garden spider located in a tree directly behind my house in another person's yard. By the way, I think this is the same big yellow spider that used to live in my banana trees but disappeared about a week ago.

Anyway, I was instantly saddened by the discovery because I really like hummingbirds...I just did a painting of one happily sipping nectar after all, but at the same time I was fascinated too. It's not very common to see such a thing around here and in all my years of nature observation I've never seen a bird caught in a spider's web! I mean this is the kind of stuff you expect to see on National Geographic right? I was just about to head into the house to grab my camera when all of a sudden the bird jerked. It wasn't dead!

The spider wasn't reacting at all. It was just sitting in the center of it's web as if it was waiting. I wondered at this point if the bird had been bitten yet and that was why the spider just sat there appearing to wait, or if the bird had been struggling too much and the spider was waiting for it to tire out before trying to bite it...I had no way of knowing. But the more I watched the more the bird began to struggle and started to cry out. At this point I couldn't stand it anymore and I had to try to rescue the bird. If it was alive, there was hope for it. Thankfully the neighbor was home and he turned out to be super nice. His name is Justin.

I quickly introduced myself explaining to him that my house was behind his, that he had a rather large spider in his back yard, and that the spider was going to eat a bird if we didn't act. I laughed at myself as I was spilling all this because the look on his face was one of sheer terror. I mean how would you react if some nutty hippie girl showed up on your doorstep and went on about giant spiders and little birds and imploring you to do something?

Anyway, he couldn't believe that there was a spider that big in his back yard and he was a little hesitant to go check it out...not sure if he wanted to see for himself or not, after all ignorance can be bliss. And what is it with guys and spiders? I've not come across too many men that think spiders are cool...they all run and go "eeeeeek"!

But Justin granted me access to his back yard. I had my camera with me and wanted to get a photo of the scene before turning to the rescue if that was still possible by this time. When we got close to the web to my relief I could see that the bird was still alive and the spider was exactly where it was before leaving my yard. Justin was in the background freaking out a little once he saw the size of the spider with a real bird in it's web. Who can blame him for doing the little heebie jeebie dance he was doing.

So I asked him if he would mind getting a broom so I could try to get the bird down. He ran into the house and came back out quickly with a broom, all the while exclaiming excitedly "Jeeeeesus that's a huge spider, OMG I can't believe the size of that spider, Ewwww what if we can't rescue the bird?, I've never seen anything like this." etc....

So I carefully looped part of the web that contained the bird around the broom handle and slowly pulled the bird away from the rest of the web...all the while the spider is just sitting there nonplussed. The bird struggled a little more but I finally got it down and lightly set it on the ground. It was really scared...poor little thing...and quite tangled up in sticky web. I had to very gently pull away webbing from it's beak, head, and finally it's wings. Once the bird was free it tried to fly but only fluttered a little at first. I thought maybe it wasn't able to fly and started to process what my next move was gonna be when all of a sudden the bird took off! HURRAY! It flew up into a different tree and out of sight. I could hear Justin in the background exclaiming happily...something about good deeds, etc...but I'm sure the spider saw it differently.

I thanked Justin for letting me intrude on him the way I did and made him promise that he wouldn't kill the spider since I thought it was our "pet" spider we'd been observing a while now. If Justin didn't think I was a nut before, that probably sealed the deal. Oh well. Thankfully he said not to worry because he had no intentions of ever going near it. I told him that if he ever decided he couldn't live with a giant spider in his back yard to let me know and I would happily re-locate it. I didn't tell the poor guy that the spider was a female and apt to make more of her kind soon. We'll just keep that little tidbit to ourselves. ;)

As for the bird I don't know if it lived or not, but I like to think that if it could fly it would be okay. At least I feel better now. I would have been terribly bummed had I not at least tried to do something. I know it's nature's way and all, but I'm a softy at heart and little hummingbirds shouldn't be spider food if you ask me.

The picture quality isn't great I know, and you can barely see the bird, but click on the image and look closely. The bird is located towards the bottom of the picture amongst the leaves. If the spider is 12 'o clock, the bird would be 6 'o clock. And is that an egg sac near the spider's leg?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

For My Niece Elizabeth

Amongst all the hoopla over my neighbor I did manage to finish the painting I did for my niece. It's not my best work, but I am satisfied with how it turned out considering I haven't painted much in years. In any case it means something to me considering how much I loved the hummingbirds when I was in Colorado. I think she'll love it!

Neighbor Update...

So this morning my neighbor comes over and the short story is he apologized. I explained how his actions hurt my feelings and made me feel very disrespected to which he said he fully realized later that it wasn't very respectful of him and he could have handled things much differently. He claimed that he thought he was doing us a favor and was a little shocked when we got upset. He said upon further reflection though, he could see why we got upset. Now whether or not he was just giving me lip service remains to be seen, but I'm good natured about most things and am willing to accept his apology.

So that is that, and really the best outcome I could hope for under the circumstances. I won't be pressing any charges against him because I don't wish to bring grief into their lives...the world has enough of that as it is. They are an older couple and maybe if they witness first hand how nice and forgiving atheists can really be...and that we are just regular folks like everyone else, they'll soften their views a bit. One can hope anyway...

Funny how as an atheist I'm having to teach Christians how to be... well more Christian...LOL! Oh the irony. Oh and as for the's actually a succulent! :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Mutilation

My so called neighbor two houses over from me decided day before yesterday to come onto my property and chop up one of my agave cactus without one word to me or any thought as to how I might feel about it. I'm quite angry about it and rightly so and wonder how they would feel if I decided one day to come into their yard and destroy something of theirs. I would never do such a thing because I have morals and I know right from wrong...but apparently they missed that lesson in life.

It wasn't an act of kindness or neighborly caring that drove this man to mutilate my poor agave, it was an act of a bigot who holds nothing but disdain for us because we believe differently from him. He is a Christian(the kind that gives Christianity a bad name) and we are atheists. In his mind he has all the justification he needs to break the law by not only trespassing, but to vandalize as well, because we don't matter as far as he is concerned. He views us as the lowest of the low and we don't deserve to be treated with respect.

Anyone who knows us can say without hesitation that we are good caring people, but for the past several years this neighbor and his wife have treated us differently since the day they realized we didn't believe in their god. I get dirty looks from them on a regular basis, and any time I wave and smile at them they turn their backs and ignore me. Not only do they treat us differently, but so do the neighbors on either side of them. I hate living in this neighborhood because of people like them. It's too conservative, too bigoted, and not a kind environment by any means for a liberal atheist, but I'm stuck with it and have to try to make the best of it.

This evening Russell went over to their house to inquire about the cactus because I asked him to. I was too angry to do so and knew I probably wouldn't give atheists a good name either. Russell didn't quite believe me when I told him that I knew who did it and why I thought so. It was very obvious to me who did it, but Russell thought I was being a little overly dramatic and jumping to conclusions because he hadn't been subject to their attitude the way I have over the past several years. I've mentioned to him in the past that I thought our neighbors were being unfriendly to us because they knew we were atheists but he didn't put too much stock into my gut feelings until tonight...

He went over there to politely and diplomatically inquire about the cactus and immediately realized he was in hostile territory. The neighbor's wife told him several times how we made her sick...she didn't like the bumper stickers on our car...that made her very sick, she didn't like how our yard made her sick, and it made her sick how the neighbor between us had a hard time selling their house because of our bumper stickers and yard.

Let me be clear, there isn't anything wrong with our yard. I pay someone to come mow and edge weekly. It may not look as beautiful as the hateful neighbor's yard, but they are both retired with no small children or teenagers to look after and devote most of their time to their yard. If they are so sickened by my yard, why did he make my cactus such an eyesore? What is the purpose of making my yard look bad?

And as far as the bumper stickers go, this is supposed to be a free country we live in. It's not like they have foul language on them or anything, but even if they did, we'd have a right to display them. One sticker says "Freedom From Religion" but you'd think it said "kill kittens" or something equally terrible the way they reacted over it. If it weren't for people like them, there would be no need for bumper stickers that display a free thinker's sentiments. Maybe I should go get a new anti religious bumper sticker and put it on my car...give those nasty neighbors something to REALLY be sick about. I'm kidding of course. I think as angry as I am over this, I should turn the other cheek so to speak and show them how nice people behave. Thoughts anyone?

Monday, September 03, 2007

My World Today

I've spent the afternoon painting and taking pictures.

Monarch Chrysalis. These are so enchanting! I love finding them in my yard and I'm taking one up to Ben's classroom tomorrow so the kids can learn about them and release the monarch when it hatches out. Should be a great educational experience for his classmates.

At first I thought it was a bumble bee, but then it landed finally and I was able to get a better look. It's another Robber fly...a really BIG one too. It looked to be about one and a half inches long! It appears to have a false eye. Interesting how it really does look like a bumble bee when it's in flight. These things are so alien looking!

I'm painting this for my niece and will probably finish it this evening. I love to paint. I found a few of my old pieces from years and years ago that were never finished and am going to start on them next. I'm so excited to be painting again!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fierce Battle

I learned from my sister that two bull elks were fighting and one killed the other by goring it and spilling it's guts. When the slain elk fell, the victor's antlers were pinned and it couldn't get away from the dead elk. The men had to rescue the living bull elk by sawing some of the points off on the dead elk's antlers to detangle the two. Here is a pick before freeing the living elk...the quality is awful but you get the idea...this is the stuff of National Geographic!