Saturday, December 29, 2007

Not Much Going On

It's been a lazy past couple of days. I'll probably spend time today getting my house ready for a party because we are having friends over for a New Year's Eve potluck. This house cleaning stuff never ends! I had it so clean before the troops came into town and now it's just one big mess again. It's so hard to keep up with it when the house is to full capacity and everyone is using dishes, leaving stuff lying around, etc...

After the new year and when things quiet down, I plan on getting back to my art work and back to hiking and backpacking. I should have a couple of partners lined up by then and will be ready to hit the trails! I can't wait to try out my new gear and it will be so sweet being outdoors away from city life. I'm terribly out of shape but hope to quickly regain what I've lost stamina wise. We'll see how it goes.

I'm in week three of my new anti-depressants and think I'm starting to feel subtle changes in my attitude and motivation levels. I just went up in dosage though and am experiencing some sleep problems. I'm hopeful that will level out after I'm accustomed to the higher dose and then all will be normal again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Pictures

We had a wonderful time yesterday and I was so pleased to have all my children with me. My girls are getting so grown up and more beautiful every time I see them. They are both on the A/B honor roll and doing well. Unfortunately they didn't get to spend Christmas morning with us, but they did get to the house around 2pm so I had most of the day with them. They are staying in town with me all week too so that is cool.

I got gear this year of course and can't wait to get out on the trails to try it all out. I told my husband not to buy me the Trangia camp stove I was looking at before I decided to make my own stove, but I guess he wasn't paying attention cause he bought it anyway. Oh well it's a cute little thing and will be very useful on car camping trips and besides, one can never have too many stoves. I think it's more weight than I want to carry for backpacking so will stick with my plan to make a stove for that purpose.

I got Russell a bunch of clothes, a new book light, and a new computer game. Ben got some really cool toys and we all played with them most of the day yesterday. I made us Panang for dinner, which was really part of my Christmas present to the girls since they are both Panang fanatics. It was nice to break away from the traditional Christmas food this year. Although I did make a huge brunch with all the traditional dishes. Jen and Gilbert and their two kids came over and while the kids played and had a fantastic time, the adults drank mimosas(champagne and O.J.) which is always one of my favorite Christmas morning drinks, and had a great time visiting.

Mouse Trap...a classic.

The Marble Run...turned out to be a huge favorite

Ben's new basketball goal. He likes it!

Russell putting together connect four.

Ben loves the tree! He was so excited. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Gift!

It's just too easy. I know no one outside of family will know what this means. It's a traditional thing every Christmas for us and I usually win. The point is to be the first one to say or convey the words "Christmas Eve Gift" on Christmas eve to get an early gift.

One year my brother snuck over to my house in the middle of the night and wrote "Christmas Eve Gift!" in huge letters all over my car door. He knew I'd be in it early the next morning on Christmas eve and would see it first thing. That was a good one. After that I didn't let much get by me and have usually gotten everyone else first. It's just one of those silly family traditions but we have fun with it.

Here's Your Shot Dear...

Heh heh, this is actually part of the anti icky poo kit that came in the mail. I've been using this to inject the solution into the carpet pad where the cats decided to make a litter box. Those damn cats. I set up an extra litter box and have closed off the treated area, so that'll fix 'em.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Sister Sends Me Bling!

A package came in the mail the other day. I didn't know at the time it was from my sister until I opened it though, which got me in a little trouble because I wasn't supposed to open it until Christmas! But oh well I got one early this year ;). She says there is still another package coming, but I've been made to promise I won't open it until Christmas.

I wish Christmas day would hurry up and get here. I can't wait for everyone to open their presents from me. I love giving presents!

It's a little too big for my ring finger...

But fits great on my middle finger...please excuse the my photo taking ability has been shitty lately. It's probably the camera! ;) And btw, I wear a size six ring if anyone else cares to send me bling...;)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This One's for You Sean

I am about to give a huge product endorsement because I have found the best stuff in the world(I'm convinced it's the best anyway), for removing terrible pet messes from places where they shouldn't be...such as carpets, furniture, etc...

Sean the reason I mention you is because I know you have incontinent cats, so you will totally benefit from this stuff. The name is hilarious but it's a seriously great product. Anyone who owns pets should have it in stock! It's called Anti-Icky Poo.

Mom you would greatly benefit from this product as well. It truly is amazing stuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deck the Halls cont.

The quality of the pictures is lousy I know...sorry about that. I was in a hurry and didn't pay much attention to lighting.

Mom and Lynn, you should remember some of these ornaments because they used to grace GM and GD's tree.
I hung the gingerbread cookies I decorated from our mantle.

Ben's gingerbread house

Monday, December 17, 2007

Deck the Halls

Tonight Russell and Ben hung ornaments on our tree while I sat back and supervised. I bought a new artificial tree this year since our old one was looking pretty sad and was too small. The new one is 7 feet tall and looks really nice. I bet it will be no fun trying to get it back in it's box though when the time comes. Oh well, for now I'll just enjoy it's lit up twinkly beauty. There are some special ornaments on the tree and it's fun to see them every year.

We all decorated another gingerbread house tonight and pretty much let Ben do most of the work. There is candy randomly stuck all over the thing! I'll get a picture tomorrow...
We have no special plans this year. It is going to be a very laid back Christmas thank goodness. In fact it would be awesome to be camping out on Christmas, but I'm sure I'm the only one that would think so. ;)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ben's Art Work

Ben has never been one to draw. While all his friends were busy drawing smiley faces, people, and houses, he just scribbled. But now that he is in school and is required to draw, his artistic side is finally emerging...not to mention he is using more than one color. Before it was always green that he chose and nothing else. I'm so proud! :)

This is an earlier drawing showing that he is just starting to break out of the scribble stage

And this is the latest picture he brought home from school. We asked what the "Jmate" meant, and he said that's not a "J" but a check mark, so it's check mate. Why he put check mate on there is a mystery. He just laughs and says he doesn't know. Kids are so silly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Mutilation Saga Continues

Remember the incident with my neighbor where he hacked up my plant? Well ever since that happened my beautiful Agave has never been the same. Each day it seemed to decline more and more until one morning I walked out and it was completely ruined.

Now I don't have proof, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say this plant has been the victim of weed killer. I suspect the neighbor of course because I know for a fact he is a big fan of the stuff. I certainly wouldn't put it past him to finish what he started in a more stealthy manner.
In any case, I am really sad this plant never had the chance to bloom. :(

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another Six Miler on the Greenbelt

Sunday's walk was with another one of the meetup groups I joined. This was a more enjoyable hike because less people showed up. Here are the pics:

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Diners Beware!

I've absolutely had it with restaurants in Austin! I have now gotten food poisoning twice in the past two weeks from eating out and am pretty pissed off about it. Do these restaurants not realize that they can kill people with bad food? It's inexcusable! If you can't serve fresh clean food you have absolutely no fucking business owning a restaurant. Needless to say I'm not going to eat out for a while.


Russell is done with his Master's program!! Now all he has to do is go and find a kick ass job. Go get 'em honey! Hook 'em horns!

Our Graduate

Friday, December 07, 2007

This is the Stove Design I'm Gonna Make First

It's called a Super Cat

I think these little stoves are awesome. This design is probably the simplest out there and good for a first home made stove I think. If it works great I may not need to move to a different design but we'll see. I am pleased with myself that I'm making my own and can't wait to try it out in the back country. Of course I'll have to do a few test runs here at home first. :)

Short Hike

I decided to go take a little walk today out at the Wild Basin Preserve here in Austin. It's a very short easy hike but too noisy! I hate road sounds when I'm trying to connect with nature but I have to take what I can get during the week since my time is limited.

Some pics from today:

These red grasses are nice

Fun little bridge

I think this is my favorite picture from the walk

I love how this pic turned out too. The color really pops with the greys in the background

And of course we all know how much I love waterfalls

One would think I was out in the wilderness today looking at this shot

Moss is cool. Such a gorgeous color green...

A tiny waterfall

I love reflections in water

Scar on the land...heh yeah you can tell I just finished reading Monkey Wrench Gang

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Finally Some of those Gingerbread Pics I've Been Promising...

The gingerbread party was a total hit this year. Thirty or so people showed up over the course of the evening and many cute houses were made. I won't get too lengthy about the party details but suffice it to say everyone was having a good time and got very creative with their gingerbread projects.

My igloo turned out pretty cool and was one of the party favorites as was Jen's house. If any of you decide to start your own annual tradition of gingerbread making let me know. I have now attended two of these events at Jen's, and because I've helped make the dough, roll it out, cut out house parts and cookies, learned the secrets of making perfect royal icing, and baked up lots of cookies, I feel I have a grip on how this all works.

I love rolling out cookie dough...there is something calming about it.

pre-baking...sorry I don't have any pictures of these decorated...I think they got eaten too quick!

My igloo. I was going to put a sign in the pond that says "Ice Fishing Rental", but I ran out of time. The round part of the igloo was done by taking a large flat piece of dough and covering a bowl with it then baking. The entrance was then attached. I love how it looks like it has snow piled on it.

Other houses were made by various guests at the party.

This one is so has a little car in the driveway!

Amber and Elliott worked on this one together.

I don't remember who made this one, but I love how they put the little heart on it for a door.

I wanted to post a pic of Jen's house but I never got a good photograph of it unfortunately. She did an awesome job though and the whole thing was covered completely in candy. I had many other pictures to share too, but for some reason can't find them. I sure hope they didn't get deleted accidentally because there were some great shots in that group of all the candy we bought and the aftermath of the kitchen mess when we were done making dough, icing, etc...

Ha! The kitchen wasn't the only thing that was a mess...Jen and I were both pretty thoroughly covered from head to toe in sugary icing and flour. I wish someone had thought to take a pic of us.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Monkey Wrench Gang

Well I finally got around to reading it and finished it today. I thought it was a really great read and couldn't put it down. I loved the characters,(Especially Hayduke), and always found myself rooting for them, even though they were supposedly the bad guys...I guess it depends on who you ask.

Read the reviews here at amazon if you wish to know more details, but basically the book is about a group of industrial saboteurs who wreak havoc in the American Southwest trying to protect the last frontiers of wilderness that industry threatens to take over.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sorry No Pics Yet of Gingerbread Making

I was going to get that done today, but instead I got very distracted and spent most of my day researching gear...specifically stoves...for backpacking. At first I was going to buy a stove, but now I think I'll just make my own. It looks easy enough and will be very inexpensive. I'm pretty excited about this little project actually and will post pictures of my stove after I've made it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Being Lazy

Today I'm having a lazy streak and don't feel like processing all the pictures I took at the gingerbread party Sat night. But I will try to get to it tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned there are a ton of pictures. My gingerbread igloo turned out cute!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday's Group Hike

Hi all. I went to the group hike as planned and had an ok time. I don't care to hike in large groups much but this is how I'm going to meet others who share my passion. I'm hoping to find a few good dependable people that I can call on from time to time for hiking and such.

About 15 people showed up and it was an easy walk. I carried a day pack weighing about 10lbs and we only walked for five miles. Despite how easy it seemed at the time, I woke up really stiff this morning. Guess I have a little ways to go to get back into shape. Here are the pictures:

Hikers meet up in the parking area of the trailhead entrance

And away we go...

Sculpture Falls I believe

Fall Color on a misty day

The trail

More Limestone

Under an Oak