Jul 26, 2009

Saturday

We drove around Galveston Bay and just after sunset we took the Bolivar ferry home. It was too late to see any dolphins. One helpful little boy told us you have to come down in the morning and look port side as he saw five of them surfing off the ferry wake just that morning.

video

Jul 25, 2009

What's new in Bugland

Very late last night a two inch cockroach tried to chew my butt off. Ok, maybe that's not the way it went down but it nearly happened. I was peeing and I grabbed for the toilet paper and as I unrolled it with a wizz a giant cockroach came flinging out and hit my leg at which time if I hadn't just peed I would've peed. It scurried under the step stool and sat there mocking me. I woke Dan up and he got the can of bug killer light and sprayed the thing. It accepted the cocktail happily and asked for another by running at Dan who promptly squished it while I jumped on top of the couch and screamed. Once it was flushed I immediately got online to read everything I could about them. The first thing I googled was "If I saw one roach are there more?" to which the overwhelming answer is "yes" although one reassuring bug expert said that if I saw just one big one - it likely came in from nature, but if I see babies then I'm in trouble.

We are the very first people to live in this apartment, it's brand new and I don't think they install roaches in the bathrooms of brand new buildings, and there's the whole obsession I have with crumbs these days due to the fire ant episode. I carry a handi-vac in my back pocket ready to quick draw the moment a crumb falls from a lip in the vicinity of the apartment. While I double cleaned every crumb from every counter last night, I opened cupboards like I was going to a surprise party for bugs, looking to see if there was any scurrying in dark places with food. I saw none. After I scoured every counter and closed every drain (thanks for the advice DD) I finally went to bed. So, now I will now walk around suspect of every neighbor in the building wondering who may have carried them in. Dan called the office this morning and the exterminator is going to drown my apartment in more poison on Monday. Yay!

Jul 24, 2009

I know how it ends, but I don't care.

One of the first books I pulled off my shelf to carry with me to Texas was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. My parents read it to me at bedtime when I was very young and I've since re-read it again at least a dozen times, the same old hardbound copy. I've seen every movie and TV adaptation, read many annotated versions and really it's a story I adore. I am very excied about this version



If the Video isn't working HERE'S THE LINK.

Jul 23, 2009

Ella Names the Whole Ship & then Some

Fourteen Pirates:
Three Armed Solo
Grump Eyed Pirate
Gun Bob Eye
Shooter Bad Soul
Leader of Darkness Heart
Two Sword Eye
Parrot Treasure Guarder
Tommy the Turtle
Feather Eating Pirate
Mop Wacker Three Thousand
Reaction Cutter Man
Rock Wacker
Gun Shooter
Gun Sworded Man

One Captain:
The Captain of DEATH!

Two Pigs:
Halo & Haley

One Mermaid:
Alena

One Shark:
Benny

11:56 Update: The name of the ship is "DARK DEATH" although Ella assured me it's just probably a rumor to scare visitors away.

Jul 20, 2009

Losing his religion for equality

Another reason I love Jimmy Carter

"...We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women..."

Read the whole text here

Jul 18, 2009

Roller Derby Saturday

Dan and Ella and I are going to see this tonight! I am so excited. If I can't skate at the least I can go see some.














Also, if you are in Northern IL or Southern WI and have a dirty car or just want to support the Stateline Roller Derby Divas today go get your car washed up at Lube Pro's on Prairie Ave. in Beloit, WI 10:00 - 4:00pm. Their next bout is at home in Beloit August 29th 2009.

Support your local derby league!

Jul 13, 2009

Ella's Fairy Fudge Soup
















-A Pinch of Cinnamon
-Medium Much of Brown Sugar
-One Drop of Frosting
-A little Pack of Cake Mix
-One Spray of Flower Smell
-One Tiny Drop of Rainbow Coloring

Mix together with purple mixing and then add the secret ingredient, it is a pinch of Chocolate Sugar.
















Stir it for twenty minutes and bake it for fifty hours over a pretend camp fire. Serve it in a bowl, on a tray, with a glass of grape juice.









It tastes soo good you would wanna eat it for a hundred days but if eat to much you will get a tummy ache and you will have to have huge ginormous drink of water while singing the alphabet to feel better.

Jul 12, 2009

Galveston Bay - Home Video

video

This is the beach that had the sign "Alligator may be present" Thankfully the Alligator was not. The water was as warm as could be until you were in waist deep. We'll go back for sure.

"What matters is that over two thousand people died that day!"

Sign the Petition to Attorney General Eric Holder here.

"July 10, 2009: New York Times article by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter James Risen reveals new evidence that the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan beginning in 2002. The Times reports PHR’s call for the Department of Justice to investigate alleged obstruction of justice by the Bush Administration for shutting down an FBI criminal probe, and at least two other federal investigations, of the alleged Dasht-e-Leili massacre." -PHR Website

Thanks Bitch Ph.D. for the story, pass it on people!

Jul 10, 2009

Don't make Me Turn This Pool Around!

When Ella was a baby we signed up from swim classes at our neighborhood pool mostly because I was bored. You can just lump those lessons in with the other crap I tried to teach Ella that ended up a wash like baby sign language, elimination communication and patience. Turns out it's hard to teach a baby something without living it all the time and even though I'm pretty consistent about something when I decide to do it - turns out I just didn't care so much. I think it may have been all that sleep I was getting clouding my judgement.

Anyway my point is this - I never paid for more swim classes after that one semester. I decided that Ella would learn just like I did one summer at the beach or pool or wherever. Probably even in a few hours one afternoon with her Dad. On Sunday that's exactly what happened - Dan showed her how to swim. It's a very desperate doggy paddle but it's a start and she's able to keep her head above the water. Now we have these long complicated bargaining sessions about being in the deep end without an adult or floaties. You see, I'm happy to sit poolside while she splashes about as many times in the day as she wishes to go out there, but I can't get any decent reading done when she's trying to drown herself and yelling that she CAN swim and I'm yelling for her to put the damn flaoties on.

This all happens in front of at least two other families who's tanned two year olds are doing the back stroke around both of us. But I'll tell you what - bring those same kids to Illinois in January and Ella can out-sled them any day. Because putting on a snow suit and then scarves and hats and gloves and boots and then being able to sit on a piece of plastic and riding it downhill without going into the street or a tree is something we in our family are skilled at. Ella will someday soon be able to give up the goggles and actually put her face in the water, but until then I'm making her wear the floaties. I get the feeling it won't be long.

Up next - gratuitous bikini shot and yes, I really do think I am more tan than I was in IL.

Jul 9, 2009

Good Stuff

Duchess Jane pointed out Bitch PHD's wonderful post about Sarah Palin and it's spot on.

NPR's story about Methland about a small farm town with a meth-amphetamine problem reminds me of something.

My favorite Spinster Aunt from TX made a movie that scared the bejeebles out of me.

My lovely husband gave me a wonderful present, it came in the mail today. It says "i blog (you've been warned)"














There is a movie theatre minutes from me that has menus, waitstaff and tables at the seats. We saw Ice Age III and ate stuffed jalapenos, mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, french fries, mini burgers and deep fried cheese cake bites dipped in chocolate sauce - chased it with $2.00 draft beers and a chocolate milk (for EL.) Um yeah, it pretty much rocked.

Jul 8, 2009

Things Have Gotten Out of Hand

Every key I have has a little plastic box that goes with it for the alarm. My key chain weighs 8 lbs and needs it's own purse, it only has two keys.

I saw a TV program lump together John Lennon, Elvis, Michael Jackson and John F. Kennedy.

Unemployment

Jul 7, 2009

Downtown Aquarium in Houston

We managed to get ourselves dressed and fed and ready by the crack of noon. We drove into the city for an afternoon at the Downtown Aquarium in Houston last weekend. We pulled into parking ($6.00) and found the third spot empty and waiting for us which was wonderful because the temp had already climbed to a sweltering ‘melting any ambition you felt in the air conditioning into a puddle of goo.’ We approached the aquarium and were delighted with the fountains and waterfalls kiddo exclaiming “Wow! I’ve never seen a waterfall off of a building before!” Dan and I stood in line while the spray from the big waterfall rained on us, we were pleased, cooled and excited. We bought the all day adventure pass ($15.99) so we could do everything, ride the train, the carousel, the gondolas, and anything else we hadn’t seem yet.

The aquarium was cool and dark and the fish beautiful. We wandered in and out of the exhibits staring at all the creatures. In comparison, it’s much smaller than the Shedd in Chicago however it didn’t have that aquarium smell. The same smell you experience in a small pet shop. I even commented to Dan about how clean and fresh it was and he agreed. This you’d think wouldn’t matter that much but a good smelling aquarium allows one to linger and let the kid watch the Blue Tangs for as long as she likes without feeling like you’re breathing grossness. It also wasn’t terribly crowded for a Sunday afternoon. We were able to walk right up to the glass at every exhibit and though Kiddo could have she didn’t opt to pet the sting rays or the house shoe crabs.

Next we entered the cool tunnel leading up to the white tigers who upon rounding the corner, we found wrestling on the floor not five feet in front of us behind glass. This was the first time we had a hard time seeing through a group of people so Dan lifted Kiddo high onto his shoulders. They are beautiful tigers and their little apartment behind the glass is immaculate. After a few minutes the crowd thinned and we were able to sit and watch the big cats lounge before heading out into the midway where we hopped onto the carousel without waiting. Kiddo road a lovely little seahorse and I a shark and the breeze from the ride cooled us. We managed to work up quite and appetite and before we rode anything else we decided to walk a little and have some lunch. So I asked and employee where to have lunch, of course he suggested right there but I explained the aquarium was only serving drinks and horderves in their restaurant and we wanted lunch. He pointed towards the Hard Rock Café next door and said there were restaurants that direction.

We walked a block and found the Hard Rock Café and some fancier places, I glanced at them as we strolled past and saw one had $45.00 entrees listed on the menu posted on the glass. Though I would’ve like sushi, Kiddo was calling for macaroni and cheese so we resigned ourselves to the Hard Rock discovering it was loud even at lunch. This is when I considered the fact that I might be old and fought back the urge to say to our very nice server “Cripes sonny! Is it always this loud in here? Can’t we turn this rock noise down so we can get a word in edgewise?” I didn’t, instead I bopped along munching nachos to “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers, who proclaimed they’d walk 500 miles feeling old. After recharging we headed back to the aquarium to ride the Gondolas and train.

The Gondola ride was a bit of a wait, and since I wasn’t expecting to be outside so much I began to worry for Kiddo’s skin. I didn’t smear her up with sunscreen that morning expecting we’d be mostly indoors, so I stood between her fair skin and the sun and the three minutes it took to get us boarded felt like ten. It was neat to reach the top and see out over the highway and try to guess what each building was, and again we liked the breeze the ride offered. It’s an opportune place to take pictures with the city as a backdrop. We almost left at this point and then Dan reading the map of the park realized we hadn’t seen the sharks yet and the way to do that was to stand in the long line for the train. I groaned, but we cued up and stood there dripping sweat waiting our turn and thankful to at least be in the shade for the wait. It turned out to be worth it, we rode into a little air conditioned tunnel and watched gobs of sharks swim over and next to us. Cameras snapped and when we’d had our memory cards full, the little train chugged on back where the kids next to the fountain squirted us in fun with water.














Upon Kiddo’s request we did one more trip through the aquarium revisiting the fish we liked best and discovering an African Grey who delivered a hearty wolf whistle at Kiddo garnering him the title of her “favorite animal at the aquarium bedsides the white tigers.” I liked the jelly fish, I could sit and watch them all day laze about the water. We were also able to meet the Eurasian Eagle Owl that resides there and the staff answered some hard questions about why the owl was big and had so many feathers from my five year old. Perhaps when Kiddo is older I’ll send her to one of the summer camps and she can feed the tigers and learn about animal rescue one of the many occupations she insists she will do (next to cowgirl, actress and helicopter mechanic.)

Jul 6, 2009

Extra

We have an abundance of time these days. I didn't think it would impact us so much to have a dishwasher and a garbage disposal and a washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms and bathrooms. It's also quite astonishing how easily one can save time by using a chopper/blender instead of hand cutting a thing. My old kitchen didn't have any counter tops or any outlets and so plugging in any appliances beyond the toaster, coffee pot and the radio was a bigger chore than just getting out a knife and chopping a tomato. Ella and I rattle around the apartment until we can take it no more at which time we visit the pool. I read and Ella swims until we get hungry and lately I've been using the gym more and more. I'm doing 3.5 miles in 25 minutes. What do people do when they have a maintenance free place to live and modern conveniences? Get this, I can vacuum the entire place in 10 minutes. I used to joke that I needed a riding lawn mower (I mean vacuum) at the church. All this extra time feels purely frivolous especially in comparison to the frantic packing and cleaning I did the month before. I think it may be time to get the paints out.

Jul 5, 2009

4th of July Fireworks in Kemah, TX

Matthew McConaughey owns a condo in a high rise on the other side of the lake from me. I've decided to start shopping for groceries in that direction, down by the Hippie Connection Smoke Shop (not even kidding.) Dan pointed out the place on the way to Kemah boardwalk - where we went last night for fireworks. Kemah has a population of about 2,000, all these little bed and breakfasts, a ton of docks, little shops, condos and houses on the beach. It was a little like going to Navy Pier only on a smaller scale and mixed with Key West. We ate at Joe's Crab Shack and then wandered out into the midway and the carnival area to watch the fireworks. Everyone had the same idea.

The fireworks were pretty good and they had music that went with them just like Rockford, though there were considerably more
country songs included here and our viewing spot wasn't as good as we're used to, but it was our first try and we'll get better at it in the next few years as we figure out where to go and where to sit. It finally cooled off after the fireworks as we exited the mob. Earlier in the day we had record setting heat and wearing a skirt and a tank top I still had sweat rolling down my spine all day. I was in awe of some ladies wearing blue jeans and a full face of makeup under a mop of perfectly straightened shiny hair falling over their shoulders and not even breaking a sweat. Perhaps that's how it is if you are from a place hotter than here.

After the fireworks, on the way to the car we found a cute little Italian place where we sat on the back balcony and drank two rounds of beer and Shirley Temples while we waited for the traffic to lighten up. We caught more fireworks to the south from the restaurant balcony before we went down the steps and found our truck. We finally made it home about midnight exhausted and pink with sun where we fell into bed. Also I'd just like to say this again - Matthew McConaughey.










































Jul 3, 2009

Verizon

Dear Verizon, You suck. That is all. Signed, Jenny