Saturday, September 29, 2007

Entertainment Week, Conspicuous Consumption, and Miscellany.

Em's going back to work at the end of next week, so we tried to concentrate on just having fun this week. We caught that Jodie Foster movie and enjoyed it. Drove up to Oklahoma for a day of gaming, and actually came home with more money than we took by some magnitudes for cheapskating gamblers. That was icing on the cake for us, because we just assume that $40.00 each is the price we pay for 9 hours of entertainment there. In the gaming department, I spent $20.00 on a PC game (my first) called "Cradles of Rome". I'd been playing the demo version (to my frustration), No. 3 advised me AGAINST buying this game, and I bought it anyway. No matter how much I try and how much time I throw at it, I haven't been able to get beyond level 3 or 4. The game has 100 levels, so I think I've got the game that'll see me through the rest of my life. lol.

Went out to dinner and a play. "FEED ME!" (giggle)

Em's grandson was selling the DFW Entertainment Passbook through his school, so we had coupons for dinner AND the play. One evening out paid for the book. Thanks again, Steff! We were gonna go to the American Airlines Center last night to listen to some free jazz outdoors, but we did a lot of grocery shopping yesterday and didn't really feel like it AND we couldn't bring any food/drink into the Center. THAT turns "free" into "need to buy a water" after a few hours and I didn't want to buy a water. No.1 gave us some reusable water bottles that she got free at school. Here they are, pictured with my "prize" canteloupe and a few cucumbers from the garden (BOTH volunteers from last year's planting). I'm meeting new neighbors giving away cucumbers lately when my "regular customers" aren't home.

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There's free jazz again Monday evening at UTA; their faculty is playing. Wednesday is "Drinking Liberally" again, and Thursday I'd like to attend a free landscaping class that our city offers. It's all over Friday, as Em goes back to work for two months.

I'm just about out of the "propellant"-sprayed oil (FINALLY...dang, that stuff lasts a long time!). Bob and Judy introduced me to their method last year, and it's definitely more environmentally conscious, so I've ordered one of these for No. 1, No. 2, and myself. It's not as easy to use as the stuff with the propellant, but if you think ahead to "I need to lift the pan so that I spray in a forward motion rather than a downward motion" and "I need to release the pressure on the nozzle when I'm done so the thing doesn't clog" and OF COURSE read the instructions on how the thing is only supposed to be filled HALFWAY or LESS, problems SHOULD be minimal or nonexistent and you never need to buy the "propellant" sprayed oil again. Just wash and refill.

Speaking of washing and refilling, if you're not yet to the point of using vinegar and baking soda for all your cleaning needs (Em still craves commercial glass cleaner), refills exist that are more environmentally friendly. Coupons are also available for those environmentally friendly refills fulfilling my cheapskating requirements.

Last in the conspicuous consumption department for me this week is THIS. My last visit to Illinois included No. 2 and I attending her gym and then stopping by a health bar to get juice. I think (like I can remember that far back) that we both got some protein-laden juice drinks and (in addition) No. 2 got a shot of wheat grass juice. So, I was reading Chile Chews one day and realized that I have wheat berries in my cupboard and could grow my OWN wheatgrass. Really, I'm just envious that Aunt Claire jumps over fences and I've never really thought about jumping over a fence (if I could FIND a fence), but... HEY... I wouldn't mind going bionic, too! So, I'm gonna try some of this juicing, and (by default) Em's gonna try some of this juicing, too. (smile). The dry pulp will go on the compost pile.

Last in the other department today is buying from China. When Lucky (my mom) was alive, she'd cringe at the thought of buying anything that wasn't made in the USA, but it's gotten to the point where it's pretty difficult to buy things made ONLY in the US, so we kindof (if we're channeling our mothers and/or entertain even the slightest jingoism) need to decide what countries we'll support and which ones we won't. I think OXO makes the cutest cooking things, but I refuse to buy their stuff because it's made in China. Yesterday, we went to Albertson's (one of three stores this week) with the thought of buying (for one thing) tilapia. "From China"? An Asian woman (customer in front of me) was the first to mention to the butcher that she didn't want to buy tilapia if it was from China. I was primarily interested in the chicken sale and asked if the chicken had been imported from China, too. The butcher marked down some tilapia (frozen in bags) to the price of the "from China" stuff because "We want you to come back." SHEESH! I forgot I need to separate and rewrap that chicken today. Later...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Who Knew?

Strange Stuff Worth More Than You Imagine. Did You Know About This? Excerpt: "Ambergris (Whale Vomit): I come across an article in the news about whale vomit every few years. A person is walking along the beach and comes across some disgusting blob and for some unexplainable reason has an irresistible notion to pick it up (while I’m sure hundreds of others have walked by it with absolutely no thought of ever touching it). Later they find out it’s whale vomit (also called ambergris) which is a highly sought after ingredient for perfume. If it is good-quality vomit (I have to laugh writing that), the ambergris can be sold for up to $10 per gram, with the finest grades fetching many times more than this."

Hat tip to Dawn C.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Obscenity runs in my family.

My mother was obscene and what she told me was that obscene was the ONLY way to be. I was obscene for many years, and if given the opportunity to go back in time, I'd be obscene for many years again. What's WRONG with some people?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 15, 2007 - National Day of Peace and Protest.

If you're so inclined, look for an activity near you.

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Em's competition for my heart reviews the General Betray Us/Crock report:

Update for Bruce:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bush Trellis; nature lends a helping hand.

We have two bushes in our backyard that get HUGE. We had one (not the one shown, but the same species) cut down to the ground and it grew right back. They take up space that could be used for growing vegetables, but I hadn't thought of them in a positive way until Em asked me what was growing up the side of one this summer. I didn't know at the time, as they were volunteers from last year's planting. NOW, I know, and my plan is to use these bushes (maybe trimmed up a bit) as trellises for heavy-fruited vining plants. Maybe we could shape them into Mickey Mouse heads with cantaloupe earrings?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In other news,

Saturday, September 08, 2007

LOOK, LOOK; See No. 1's "new" car!

Leftside, rightside, inside, outside, backside, frontside, here's No. 1's "new" car:

It's a 1997 Honda Accord EX, sporting 117,000 miles. Our nextdoor neighbor, Bill, (Thank you, Bill!) told us about it being in his "network". He'd told me that it was gold, and it turned out to be silver, but anyone could confuse precious metal colors, right? (smile)

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There it is...across the street! That black hulk in the driveway is the rental car Em's driving while the Mustang is in the shop. It's HUGE, bulky, and we don't know how to work anything, but it was all they had left to rent on the day he went. We went grocery shopping yesterday and couldn't figure out how to open the trunk. Then, on the way home, with the groceries in the back seat, we noticed the "Trunk is open" light was on. SURE! NOW you open up! D'OH!

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The interior is all leather and in perfect condition. It also has what they call a moonroof, but I can't say I know the difference between that and a sunroof.

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If No. 1 still loves the car when she finishes school (2.5 yrs from now), maybe she'll decide to get the car's few warts fixed (as shown in the next few images). Right now, though, I suspect those warts have a little bit to do with why we didn't pay anywhere near the book value.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We took it for an oil change before we let her take it home. Next week, Em will take it away from her while he gets the coolant flushed and the brakes checked.

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It has fancy wheel thingees that No. 1 feared would get stolen. The car guy started to demonstrate how easy these things are to steal using just a screwdriver (insisting, of course, that he knew this by word of mouth only), but he learned that there's a lock in place. That makes it hard to change a tire, but No. 1 doesn't change her own tires anyway.

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She'd removed her CD player from the car that was totaled and put it in this "new" one. She said the sound system is WONDERFUL and that she totally LOVES this car. Bill thought you might love it, No. 1. Thanks again, Bill!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Drinking Liberally.

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Tonight, we're going to "Drinking Liberally" in a town nearby after dinner. Does that bring to mind a picture of a Sot? <-- That's a word No. 1 taught me playing Boggle. I'm pretty sure it means someone who over-drinks. Some parts of the country have "Eating Liberally", and the picture that comes to mind is of over-eaters (like Ekans, for instance). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's not about gluttony, but sharing time with other liberals.

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Gonna bring my camera, so I'll update with any offerings that show promise.

Update: What a great bunch of people! This particular branch (Drinking Liberally Mid-Cities) serves a wide area, IMO. They meet at Esparza's Tequila Factory and Grill, 3314 Harwood Road (just off Hwy. 121) in Bedford, Texas. Esparza's is tucked into a little corner of a strip mall on the South side of Harwood, East of the Tom Thumb. It's kindof far for us to travel (@25 minutes by highway), and my plan is to learn from them how this thing works so we might start a branch closer to home. Todd and Kathleen did an excellent job getting this branch going, so I couldn't ask for better mentors. What I'm gonna need to do, though, is not get so attached to these people that I forget about how far it is to travel and my plan of a branch closer to home. They have a great mix of liberals, and I already look forward to the next meet.

Esparza's offers (apparently) the Drinking Liberally crowd an entire room off the entrance to their main dining area. There were about 11 people there when we arrived, sitting at two long tables.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket The woman on the right is running for some office in a town that isn't ours. Kathleen said that candidates oftentimes join them, not to speak, but to mingle. We got a U-shape going by moving furniture around after more folks came.

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I wore the shirt you sent me, No. 2. Em cut my hair before we left (BEST.HAIRCUT.EVER!), but I still had enough to hide the shirt if necessary. John and Heather (shown) are students at UTA, and John's a veteran of Drinking Liberally, having attended three different offerings. He thinks Mid-Cities is the best of the three and I can see why. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In other news(bad), a pickup truck hit the Mustang while Em was stopped at a stoplight on the way to take No. 1 to school yesterday. Em wasn't hurt at all, the driver has insurance and admitted it as his fault, so the car will enter the shop today while Em gets a rental.

In other news(good), Bill (nextdoor) found a car for No. 1. It's a 1997 Honda Accord and she could have it as soon as this weekend, putting behind us the madness of chauffeuring her to school and work each day. Life is good!

(Thanks to No. 1 for the pics of Ekans eating on his veranda.)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

American People's Poll on Iraq (AKA Peace Rally) in Fort Worth, Texas.

There was a time when I protested the Vietnam War, marched for Civil Rights, and considered myself an activist. It's just since we've retired that I've picked up the "activist" label and stuck it on my forehead again. SO MANY YEARS passed inbetween! There was work, school (forever the student I was) dogs, child-rearing, gardens, divorce, travel, loss of my dad, Lucky, a move to Texas, loss of Lucky, new marriage, etc.

Feels kinda good, though, to pick it up again. Em's right there with me on whatever I feel I need to do. He's not sayin' he's gonna do it, too; he's just said that he's right there with me on whatever I feel *I* need to do. So, we went together to the American People's Poll on Iraq yesterday. It was a Peace rally held in Fort Worth, Texas.

I packed a lunch for us of tuna salad wraps with grapes and brought a few bottles of water in a small cooler. I still need to buy the reusable water bottles, as I'll not buy bottled water again, but I had a few bottles of water that we also needed to drink and recycle, so it's not yet environmental guilt-time.

'twas a GREAT day for a rally, and we had really good luck getting there and back. We left with just a little more than enough time to drive to the train station to catch the offering that would get us there at 12:30pm, waited through not one, not two, but THREE wrecks on 360 getting to the train station, and caught that train by a hair. Rumor had it that the folks from Texans for Peace someone would meet us at the station at that particular time and walk us over to the Convention Center where the rally was being held, but it looked like that hadn't been shared with the Texans for Peace folks local people in charge of that function. (Thanks for the correction, Alyssa!). Ran into a few folks we'd met before on the way to the rally. Heh. Most of us are too old to remember WHERE we met before, but we can at least recognize familiar faces, if not the names that go with them.

Arriving a little too early for the speakers, we checked out some of the booths:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was Jonesing on some of the offerings, but hadn't brought any money to spend.

We sat ourselves down in some of those chairs that collapse into over-the-shoulder bags that Em had just bought that morning at (hiding head in shame) Walmart! I know; I know. My indoctrination program isn't working on him. In his defense, though, he doesn't ROUTINELY shop at Walmart. He looked the day before for some ant killer, because someone online said that it would free up our kitchen faster than my homemade stuff, at Home Depot. When they didn't have it, he checked at Walmart. Hey, he was out shopping by himself and had nobody to stop him! I guess he saw the chairs at that time. Anyway, we sat down in the shade maybe 200 feet from the podium. We didn't have a view of the podium from where we sat. We had THIS view:

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The view from in front of the podium looked more like THIS:

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So, while we could HEAR what was going on, I walked around to SEE what was going on, and found: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This last one was the group sent to protest the protest.

Apparently, I have a "Loves Sidewalk Fountains" sticker on my forehead that can't be seen when I look in the mirror, because THESE two women approached me, saying that they were gonna go 20 or so feet from where we were sitting to avail themselves of the cooling power of the sidewalk fountains, asking if I'd like to join them. DUH! Of COURSE (Heh!)!

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Those "over the shoulder" chairs absorb water, so when your butt's wet it's gonna stay wet, and when your underpants are soaked, your butt's gonna start to itch. /Just sayin'. We caught the 4pm train home. We had NO obstacles on our way back home, and an easy dinner of garlic/chicken/herb ravioli baked with sauce, spinach, & grated cheese accompanied by refrigerator biscuits, which tasted great! Life is good!