The story of a young lady raised in the San Francisco Bay Area who moved to Houston, got married, had 2 boys and moved to a small Southeast Texas town. Read all about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Have You Ever Wondered....

What 9 dozen cookies look like?

There you are. That 108 cookies. From left to right, gingerbread, lemon-berry jamwiches and peanut butter. All made from scratch yesterday. And if I know the Bear's Kindergarten classmates, I won't bring a single one home. Thank goodness!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow! In Southeast Texas?!

Well the weather got colder here. Drastically colder. Tuesday we almost hit 80 degrees. I sent the Bear to Kindergarten in shorts and a T-shirt. Tuesday night it started to get colder. And colder. Yesterday, Wednesday, the weather was cold and wet. I wrapped myself in 2 quilts, sweats, woolly socks, a hoodie & a jacket. The Bug was contend to run around the house in a long sleeve shirt and sweat pants. I still haven't figured out that Law of Thermodynamics. As the day progressed it got colder and then the rain turned to sleet. But the time Husband got home, it was full fledged snow. The boys played in the snow and threw mini-snowballs.
Consider that 3 months ago we were on the road, fleeing from Hurricane Ike. But last night, the damage that is still around was forgotten. What economy? Snow bring a bit of joy to this family. We all slept soundly, under 3 blankets, but soundly. Wonderful snowy dreams. Then I woke up and saw this.And this.
I forgot how quiet and beautiful it is after a snowfall. I know it's not going to last, but the memories will always be there. As well as the knowledge that because it will be in the 50s later today, I will not have to shovel it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Never hit "Reply All"

Recently I got an e-mail from the Alumnae Association at the high school I graduated from. It was for Career Day which I was not planning on attending or participating in due to the fact that I live 2000 miles from the school. But that was just the beginning. In the past 2 days I have gotten something like 40 e-mails all because 1 person hit the "Reply All" button. Most of the ladies have thought the situation funny and a great way of reconnecting. There are those who are wholly annoyed by the entire thing. As for me. I just sit back, read the e-mails, and laugh to myself. And keep far away from the "Replay All" button.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cold, Day 30

I am now approaching the end of my month with this darned cold. Now I'm stuck with this lovely lingering cough. A nice dry hacking cough. That gets worse when I breathe deep. So I'm probably dealing with oxygen deprivation along with the freaking cough. I did go to the doctor today. He said that I have a cold. No really? That's why I'm coughing my lungs out. So he gave me cough pills (non-drowsy!) and anti-biotics. Maybe by this time next week I'll be better. If not, I will sure have fun on the run up to Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Go Vote

My family is political. Not as in extremely vocal about our political beliefs, but political as in my dad works in politics. He has told me about the times he took me to polls as he checked on the locations to make sure all was running smoothly. And I've been to many election day lunches where the adults didn't mind hearing the opinions of a 12 year old. And then there were the political parties where I met different candidates. Those were fun because the candidate would come up and introduce themselves and I would say "OK". But that was California politics.
Down here in Texas things are so much different. It's a red state, where Republicans will win the presidential race. So I haven't seen a great many Obama or McCain ads. Also I live in a county where there are around 45,000 registered voters. So I'm not a "need to get" voter. But I vote.
I vote because I am over 18 years old. I vote because I am a United States Citizen. I vote because I am a mother. But most importantly, I vote because if I don't vote I have no right to complain.
So go vote. That way when things go wrong, you can complain.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Love of Pomegranates

I must say how much I love Fall. I love Halloween & Thanksgiving. When I lived in Rhode Island, I got to enjoy my first honest to goodness leaf changing Fall, followed closely by first real winter, complete with 100 inches of snow. But my favorite part of fall is the fruit. I know it's fall when I see the pomegranates and fresh cranberries in the produce section. I remember my grandmother giving me my first taste of pomegranate seeds. It was the most amazing feeling of squirt and crunch with a wonderful tart sweet taste. Messy yes, but well worth it. It was always a special treat because they were hard to find. Now pomegranates are everywhere. I've seen everything from pomegranate juice and tea to ice cream to soap to candles to lip balm. And I do admit that I have probably tried every single product with pomegranate in it (I have pomegranate perfume), not a year has gone by that I have not bought fresh pomegranates. And in this house I can't buy 1 and be done with it. Every week I need to buy at least 4. We all eat them, including the picky 5 year old Bear. My 2 year old Bug calls them "candy fruit". Just a small family addiction.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sad Day

Well, the puppy belonged to our neighbor two houses down. They didn't realize the puppy wasn't there until this morning when they came back. And now they have left again, with the puppy presumably in the house they aren't staying at. I don't understand their reasoning, but I know that my boys took it fairly well. My Bear understood that the puppy belonged to another little boy and actually was the one to hand the puppy over. Everyday he grows up a little bit more. The Bug was crying for a bit, but his little 2 year old mind has gotten past it. I am in awe over how they react to life's lessons.
My husband says that maybe we'll get another puppy. He only said this to me, well out of range of the boys. I don't know if we will anytime soon. I think it will be a while.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, Part Deux!

Well all of my goblins are asleep, including the 3 (yes I said 3) four legged ones. I, however, cannot rest until I share the joys of our Halloween.
First the costumes. Pre Trick or Treating.

There's the Pirate King and the Jolly Roger. And we already had the sword.

And now the Post Trick or Treating pictures.

Well the Jolly Roger became the Great Pumpkin. After 15 minutes in the skeleton costume, Little Bug decided he didn't like it. Thankfully, I still had last year's costume. And double thanks that he still fit in it. We walked around the block and they got plenty of candy. We weren't so lucky with Trick or Treaters. Only 6 came by the house. Now I have around 4 pounds of candy in the house. If anyone needs a pound and a half of candy corn, just come on over.

By the way, I did mention that I got all 3 four legged creatures down for the night. We got a new puppy this week. It found us on the coldest day this week. After a few day, we finally broke down and said we would keep him. And named him. So joining the motley crew of Mac, the miniature schnauzer, and Tabitha, the calico, we have Bojangles, the mutt.

Aren't they adorable?

Happy Halloween!

This is hands down my favorite holiday. Actually it's tied with Thanksgiving, but I like that holiday for a completely different reason. Back to Halloween. I love that today is the one day of the year that it's acceptable for adults to be like a kid. Kids get to be goofy. I always loved seeing the costumes at school. I remember at my elementary school there would be a contest for best costume. One year my mom made me a hobo clown costume. She didn't go out and buy it from the store, she made it. I can't remember it, but I've seen the pictures, and I will say I looked cute. As I got older I got to be a surgeon, in full scrubs, that won me the best costume award! Thank you, Claudia! My favorite was the year in high school where I dressed as death. I had the black robe with hood and I covered my face in white makeup. The best reaction I had to it was when my history teacher was returning a test or homework or something like that and she saw my face. She jumped back and almost screamed. I had a small knot of satisfaction from that. In college, I was more practical. I wore my high school uniform as a costume. Halloween was fun.
This year I was so excited because my oldest boy was starting Kindergarten and he would get to wear his costume and start his enjoyment of Halloween at school. Then I got the note from the school yesterday saying that costumes were not allowed. They gave no reason. I went to Catholic schools and they always let us wear costumes. What has happened? Is it just because I'm living in South East Texas as opposed to San Francisco? I just saw Good Morning America where they are broadcasting from an elementary school in Orlando, and no one has a costume. It didn't even look like they had decorations. So maybe it's a Southern thing.
I have another theory. The way the world is today I think the schools are trying to keep kids from getting hurt. Emotionally hurt. Yes, it would be crushing to get to school and be the only kid in class without a costume. But what about the kids who want to wear a costume? Who have been begging for weeks to wear a costume to school. What about their emotions?
Well, later today, I'll have pictures of the boys in their before we go Trick or Treating. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lose the Flu, Catch a Cold

Oh, what a fun week I've had. Wednesday I took the boys to get their flu shots, and got one for myself as well. Ten minutes after leaving the doctor's office, I felt like I was going to be sick. I guess I'm just susceptible to the suggestion from my doctor that I might get mild flu-like symptoms. So I feel crummy the rest of Wednesday, which included a trip back to the airport to get my husband after work. Thursday I woke up fine, then came that hit by a truck feeling. But it wasn't the fluey feeling. It was a cold. A nasty cold that took my voice. And is still holding it ransom until I pay it with rest and sleep. Which of course, as a mom of 2 chaos creating boys, I have absolutely no chance of getting. So it's a couple of days of Ricola and Chloraseptic. Maybe I'll be better for Halloween. Or Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Lonely Porch

Last week my neighbor had their house moved out. It was damaged from the storm. A tree crashed into it and split it in two.

You can't see much, because of the aforementioned tree, but you can the front porch.

And here's the front porch this morning. All lonely without it's house. Sitting in the middle of what was the front yard. As of this afternoon, the porch was gone. All that's left to show that there once was a house, is the slab and back stairs.

We, the neighborhood, wonder if they will rebuild. From what was learned in the days after the storm, I doubt it. It seems that Ike wasn't the only storm that blew through that household. What a story that is. Maybe I'll tell you all on another post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dinner, courtesy of the U. S. Government

Well, since I've a dearth of ideas, so I decided to show you the meals the Government passed out to those who lost power and water during Hurricane Ike.

We have Pot Roast with Vegetables, Peanut Butter, Cheese Spread, Crackers, and a Cinnamon Scone. I chose not to eat the PB, Cheez, or Crackers. I ate the Pot Roast w/Veg-alls. Edible. The boys enjoyed eating the PB and Cheez from a tube. The crackers, not so much. Big Kid said they tasted dry. I'll say they looked like cardboard. Then there was the Skone. It looked like a flattened version of the ones I've seen at StarBux. Smelled nice, tasted OK, but dry.
So, as far as food for those who really need it, it was good. However since I have 3 and a half boxes (12 meals in a box) left, either they are going to be saved until the next hurricane (they're good until 2012 and beyond) or they'll be eaten during The Husband's treks to the deer lease.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Quiet

Before Ike came whipping through, there were particular sounds at night. The sounds of frogs croaking, the owl in the tree out back, crickets chirping. In the week I've been back I haven't heard the sounds. I have heard other sounds at night. The sounds of generators for our neighbors to the south. I would hear the generators when I went to bed and then when I would get up before dawn to get the oldest ready for school. Now that the neighbors have their power back, I hear nothing. No frogs. No owls. No crickets. I wonder how long it will be before the animals come back. Of if they come back.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Drive Home

It started well enough. We (the boys, animals & I) left my parents house before 6am on Monday. That afternoon we were in Arizona, approaching Phoenix. I had planned to stop east of Phoenix for the night, to avoid the Phoenix morning traffic. I was feeling good, making great time, when all of sudden, BLAM!Down goes a tire. I'll tell you nothing will freak you out more when the tire on your full packed Suburban blows out in the middle of the Arizona desert. And of course you have 2 under 6 boys, a dog, and cat in the truck as well. Then you realize you don't have the doohickey to get the spare tire out from under the truck.
Well, I called my car insurance people, who sent a guy to change the tire. He didn't have a spare doohickey to get the spare out or a tow truck, so I had to call the insurance again to get a guy with a truck to tow my truck to a 24 tire place. By the time he got to us we had been waiting 2 hours. Then we had to drive and hour west to the tire place. When we got there, the tire guy said he couldn't get the spare out either, but he did have a nice used tire he could put on my rim. So 45 minutes and $60 later, we were back on the road to Phoenix again. At 8:30pm. Almost 4 hours later, and 75 miles west of where I had been.
During my wait for the dual tow guys, I figured that I would not be getting to the hotel I was planning on. After multiple phone calls and many route plannings on my Tom Tom (thanks Sis) I had a new hotel on the west side of Phoenix. Which meant I'd have to go through the Phoenix morning traffic. Oh well, I needed sleep.
I got up early on Tuesday, 5am to be exact. I got the truck loaded, animals loaded, kids loaded, checked out, and started the journey east. Then I heard on the radio that a big rig loaded with carpet strips (the wooden sticks with nails) had overturned near downtown and in my path. I was not going to lose another tire. I had to find a different way through Phoenix. After getting off the freeway the Tom Tom went to work. I got through Phoenix in about an hour, not good, but not horrible.
After that, it was uneventful. Tuesday night we ended up in Fort Stockton, TX. One tip, don't get Chinese food in Fort Stockton, TX. We got through San Antonio at the perfect time. After rush hour. After San Antonio, I can drive home easily. We got home about 2:30pm. I passed out around 9pm, after kiddo baths. I needed sleep. I had to be up at 6am to get Big Kid up for school Thursday.
At least life is getting back to normal.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back Home

It's been a while, but I finally have gotten back to sharing my wonderfully kookie thoughts with anyone who will read them.
First, I know most of you want to see what happened here. So I will put up 2 pictures. First, the before:

As you can see, my fire bugs are enjoying a fire made by the Head Fire Bug. This was the Wednesday night before the storm, so September 10th. We were trying to get the loose stuff on our property burned before the storm, so it wouldn't fly around and cause damage. Plus we figured that the rain would thoroughly extinguish the smoldering pile.
Now the after:
At first, It doesn't look so bad. The majority of trees are still there. Lots of limbs down. We lost about 8 trees. Seven were in the backyard. Our backyard had a lot of shade before the storm. We could see the neighbors on the back of our property, but not very well.
That's the extent of our damage, except for our metal chimney which came off. Oh and the mosquitoes. There are millions, in our yard alone. And my husband sprayed the yard and areas around our decks. I can't even imagine what it would be like with out the spraying.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I want to thank....

As I was driving to Abilene on Thursday, I saw 2 different convoys of emergency personnel heading towards the Houston area. On Sunday as I was heading to Albuquerque by way of Lubbock, I saw power crews headed towards the ravaged areas. These sights made me cry. Not because I was afraid for what had happened to my home, but because these men and women are leaving the security of their homes and families to help people they have never met in situations that are extremely dangerous and uncomfortable. Thank you. I can not say that enough. You are the people who don't want fame or glory, you want to help. You are the people that most of us strive to be. So from this one woman, mother & wife, I say thank you.

Oh What Fun

As most of you know, my family is OK. My husband stayed with his older son & his girlfriend (his son's girlfriend, not my husband's) in the Northwest part of Houston. They rode out the storm in a sturdy brick building, and when they looked outside Saturday morning, the worst damage they saw was huge tree limbs on the ground. On, in fact, fell where my stepson's girlfriend usually parks her car. The night before the storm hit, it was decided to move her car to a safer locations. Thank God for that. Saturday afternoon they went out to our property to see if our home was still there. It was, but there were lots of trees down, blocking the driveway and a few fell in the backyard as well, one within inches of our storage shed. At least they were trees we were going to take down since they didn't look like they could stand up to a strong storm. Ironic. Our neighbors weren't as lucky. A huge tree came down and, according to my husband, split their mobile home in two. They had left before I did, so I don't know if they know yet.
As for the kiddos, animals and I, we are in Sacramento, staying with my sister. After talking to my husband on Saturday, with early estimates on the power being restored at 2 to 4 weeks, it would be a good idea to find a more permanent place to stay. My sister flew to Albuquerque Sunday morning and I drove there to pick her up and continue on to Flagstaff. Monday we drove from Flagstaff to Sacramento. And now I'm exhausted. I'd say I'll never do that again, but I know I'll have to drive back as soon as power is restored.
So as of right now, Husband, Kids and Animals safe. Wife is frazzled. House is OK. I really am glad that we have survived undamaged.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time to Go

I woke up this morning knowing I was going to evacuate to Abilene with boys this morning. It made it more helpful that Carl's school canceled classes for today & tomorrow. I just thought I'd leave a bit later than I know I will. The news greeted me with a storm path that had shifted to the east, again, and parts of Houston under mandatory evacuation. I now know why they make it sound scary. Because it is scary. I'm officially scared. I guess at least I'll see a new part of the state.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Hurricane is like a Dentist

Ike's starting to look like a basketball player. Fakes left, goes right. Or something like that. Monday the forecast looked as if it was going to hit Corpus Christi. Phew! Yesterday, the track was changed to include a Northward turn before hitting land. But when? I'm sure today I'll be hunkered down in front of the Weather Channel watching every single move by this storm. Of course, I've got everything together so I can get out fast. I hate the waiting. It's like sitting in the waiting room of a dentist. You're already tense about being there, then you hear the sounds, those awful sounds. Then the imagination sets in. I'm already cringing. I guess it's going to be a long 12-24 hours.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Another storm

Again another tropical storm is poised to hit the Gulf Coast. Ike, even though it's far away over Cuba right now, has caused my husband to figure out where I will be taking the boys & animals. He's got a very detailed evacuation route that completely avoids the major roads, and hopefully the other 2 million people who might be leaving as well. "It will be fun, you can see all the town squares and small towns along the way." Yeah, just what I want to do while fleeing a Category 3 or 4 Hurricane is visit a museum dedicated to red cream soda or see the world's largest pecan. I just want to get to a motel with cable TV and a pool, far enough away that I won't be hit by 125+ mph storms. My husband won't be with us though. He's not going to be like our neighbors and stay home ("Ain't no storm gonna hit here.") but he's going to be at his Government job, and most likely will flown out if it gets really bad. But I get the boys, dog and cat on a "fun-filled" road trip. I think I need a Hurricane.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Neverending Song

OK, this morning I've done my typical Saturday morning stuff: clean the litter box, take the trash to the curb, roast coffee, see when I'll have to really prepare for the next storm. Well, this morning I've had a song stuck in my head. The song from "The Neverending Story". I haven't seen or thought of that movie in months. Now I can't get the song or pictures of the flying dragon out of my head. I have the DVD (actually a double DVD, with both movies in it) but I figure that it will be on TV soon. That always seems to happen. I start thinking of an obscure movie and it's on TV. Weird. Now I just have start thinking of "Xanadu" and I'll have a great week.

Friday, September 05, 2008

'Tis the Season....

Well I'm tired from watching the speeches the past few nights. I will say that Sarah Palin rocks. Am I repeating myself? I probably am, but I really don't care. John McCain was OK, but then from what I have seen he does better with a think on your toes environment. I'd rather have a President who can think on his toes than a President who needs to ask 20 people what kind of tie he should wear.
And now the debates will begin. And the television ads. And the phone calls. And direct mail. I don't expect much here, deep in the heart of a Red State, but then I've already made up my mind.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

We've Survived

Granted I won't be driving East on I-10 for a few days, but the family survived the storm. Now my husband is starting to watch Ike. I told him that as soon as that storm get vicious, the media will start the Ike Turner references. So now we uncover the windows, put the chairs back on the deck and crack open a few of the water bottles we got.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Waiting & Watching

Down here in the Gulf Coast of Texas, the hurricane season is almost as important as the football season. Almost. Now that there is a big ol' cane in the Gulf, the front porch prognosticators are talking about where and when it might hit, as well as the storms of days gone by.
Growing up in California, I remember the earthquake drills we would have in school. (spoken with Sister Margaret's Irish lilt) "Students, when you hear the siren, please duck under your desks and cover your heads. As soon as the second siren sounds, please, quietly, proceed to the inner wall and line up in an orderly fashion and I will lead you outside." It always sounded so orderly and calm. Then when the Loma Prieta Quake hit on October 17, 1989, I realized there was no way to be orderly and calm in an earthquake. At least I had no idea it was going to happen that day.
Now living here on the Gulf Coast I get to watch days of forcast predictions. If I went to store right now, I would not find a single bottle of water. Gas prices are up 20 cents in the past 36 hours. Hotels are overbooked. Our house is on the edge of the "cone of uncertainty" and I'm ready to pack the Suburban and head North. My husband, who has lived here all his life and was here for Alicia in 1983, tells me it will be fine, nothing more than a bit of wind and rain will hit us, he says. I can see him on the front porch talking with all the others. (spoken in a soft Texas twang) "Why I remember in '08, when Gustav hit, my wife had our truck all packed and ready to go. She's a Yankee, ya see. From California. And then we barely got 5 inches."
Yeah, well at least this Yankee can handle an earthquake. Even if she's curled in a ball under her desk, like Sister Margaret told her to.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Love John McCain!

It's no surprise that I'm a Republican. I come from a family of Republicans. Despite living in the San Francisco Bay Area, amongst some of the most liberal Democrats that exist in the country, I stuck to my guns and registered Republican when I was 18. Then I moved to Texas. Not North or Central Texas where the Liberals are starting to get footholds, but Southeast Texas, where they are so Conservative that I seem like a Liberal.
Now to the point of this post. I was already going to vote for John McCain this year. Unlike most of my friends that I grew up with, I just couldn't get on the Obama bandwagon. I've spent the past week watching bits and pieces of the Democrat National Convention thinking that they must have trained medical staff on hand for all the dislocated shoulders, for those who pat themselves on the back because they nominated a black man to be president. We won't even mention the fact that he has no foreign policy experience. At least he sells himself well.
Then came this morning. I've been playing the "Who Will McCain Pick" game like most of the country. When my husband I were watching the news this morning, he asked me who Sarah Palin was. I was astounded and elated that she was picked by John McCain to run with him. She is strong and dedicated. She is freakin' awesome!
I just became much more excited for our country.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh the ideas my sister has...

And I know how much she's going to love being the topic of a blog post. Just mere moments after I sent the link out announcing my blog, she said I must be bored and that I need to put my young one in the Mother's Day Out at the local church so I could then see a movie. I told her that I would now be starting the "Steph is Bored" Fund and would she like to contribute. I assured her that we would soon be having a fundraiser with acrobats and white tigers and all the fancy hors d'oeuvres you can eat. As long as no one uses a knife and fork, I think it's tax deductable.

Finishing the first week of Kindergarten

My oldest son started Kindergarten on Monday. I was at work, so it was up to my husband to get him ready for school. My husband wanted to bring him to the school instead of letting him ride the bus. Our son has wanted to ride on a school bus since he was 2 years old and saw his brother (my stepson) take the bus to school. So it was Daddy sentimentalism vs. a very determined 5 year old. Now who do you think won that battle?