Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday 3rd Yungin!!

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday 3rd yungin, Happy Birthday to you!
I tried adding pictures, but I can't seem to get it to work. I'll try to edit later....
Happy birthday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays and Blog Changes for 2008.

Happy Holidays, Y'all!

Made some changes to the blog this week. New year is coming soon, so I'm thinking about what I spent my time on in 2007 and how I want to change that for 2008 (First change involves clickable photos on the right side of the posts. If you do NOT see Photobucket on a wave over a photo, give it a click; you might like (or not) what you find there.). Second change involves disassociating myself from some of the environmentalists who, IMO, have been highly influenced by Peak Oil activists. I'm not "into" the doomer scenario; had enough exposure to that with Y2k and noticed that the doomers from Y2k simply switched hats and moved on to the next doomer scenario when Y2k turned out to not result in their wildest dreams come true.

I have been and will be continuing to look into gardening ideas, including vertical gardening ideas that can be implemented for a song with no skills. Heh.

I'm trying to encourage No. 2 and # 3 to take part more in the blog this year (if their time permits) to pull in a more diverse direction (if diverse can be classified as a direction) of fun stuff.

As part of a resolution to cook less and have more fun, Em and I are leaving tomorrow for 4 days in Northern Nevada (to gamble) :-).

While I'm gone, I encourage y'all to check out the following videos:

Starting with Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff (21 minutes)>, move on, when you have the time, to a series of videos (hat tip to Delta Lady) which explain how the media influenced us to want more through the years. Each video is one hour long, so plan accordingly.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Almost forgot: No. 1 got 2 As and 2Bs, so her scholarship is renewed for another term. PHEW!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We've got gas...natural gas...the OTHER kind.

If you haven't been following the news on The Barnett Shale Formation, you might be unaware of the largest natural gas find in the U.S.

"enough to supply all gas-heated homes in the U.S. for more than five years..."

We hadn't paid much attention ourselves until a gas exploration company set up a town hall meeting in our neighborhood. We weren't able to attend the meeting due to prior commitments, but representatives from the company made the effort to contact us individually. Last night we signed.

This doesn't mean that gas drilling equipment will go up on our lawn or that we'll be another Real McCoy story. The drilling equipment will go up on the other side of I20 and we'll get maybe $35 to $200/month IF gas is found in our collective piece of the formation. The signing bonus will pay our natural gas bill for an entire year. Not bad for doing NOTHING.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Fall Vacation...The Cliff Notes.

Had a really, really SUPER FUN vacation in Illinois around Thanksgiving. No. 2 and I spent several days together just doing stuff that No. 2 needed to do. Her work and school schedules don't stop just because Texas Mama comes to town, ya know.

After a few days, No. 2 dropped me off at the home of my good friends, Jud and Bob. I'd gotten tickets for a concert near their home, but I needed to help chop vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner if I was to expect them to attend.

Bob and I slaved away in the kitchen while Jud slept. I exaggerate only SLIGHTLY, despite her objections. Heh.

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Had a really great dinner at the home of Bob's dad and got to see Jud's family, as well.

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Said farewell to my old friends with dinner at Davidson's.

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Jen M squeezed in some time for me that evening, too: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Then, it was back to No. 2's place to spend the weekend with #3 and Heather while No. 2 and her roommate went off to a wedding. They acquainted me with Wii. We played tennis, bowled, and a few other things. My favorite was bowling, although my thighs hurt for 3 days afterward.

My last day in No. 2's world, we went to Ikea's. We love to poke around at that store and there isn't an Ikea store anywhere near us here (Closest is Plano). As per usual, we ate lunch there, with No. 2 getting the Swedish meatballs and me the salmon. I think we have another tradition going on with lunch and a poke at Ikea's. I bought four more cloth shopping bags there. I absolutely LOVE their cloth shopping bags. They're larger than normal, accommodate heavy items readily, and have long shoulder straps ... all for the low price of $1.99. I'd purchased one of Jewel's cloth bags during a shopping trip when I first arrived (for $1.00) and use it for produce shopping. She dropped me at the Metra Station before she left for school and I spent the last night of my trip at HI Chicago.

HI Chicago had an outing on my last night in town ... to Smoke Daddy's BBQ place/jazz bar. I joined 13 others who took the elevated train there for dinner. Two of the 13 were guides from the hostel. The fun I'd been having with friends and family now extended to fun with strangers, and I spent my last day downtown with one of the folks I met that night, showing him the sites of Chicago. Good times... good times.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fall Planting.

My latest experiments in life include an attempt at being more of a locavore. Combining the crayola diet with cheapskating lent itself to growing stuff right here. We planted a few things before I left for a vacation in Illinois: blueberries and blackberries, respectively, for instance.

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The blueberries need a mulch of pine tree needles and my old friend, Jud, came up with the perfect cheapskating idea for getting those. "Wait until your neighbors throw away their Christmas trees and snip off some branches." D'Oh!

We still have some raspberry bushes to plant, but we got the peach trees planted yesterday. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That was WORK, as the holes needed to be pretty deep and wide. Em helped me and that little job pretty much drained both of us. We'll probably get the raspberry bushes planted this week; even have a hole all ready for ONE of them. They didn't arrive until after I got to Chicago, though, so they can still stand a little more acclimating to the local climate. There's a lot to be said for acclimation, IMO. For instance, we're still HERE:

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Chicago last week was more like HERE:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We still have highs in the 60s, 70s, and even 80s. Drops in temperature into the 40s have us turning on the heat. [Em turned the heat on while I was in Chicago, set to 74 degrees, and we still felt cold!] Sorry, Crunchie! Fortunately, the heat doesn't turn on often. Moved the rubber tree back inside. You might remember how pathetic it looked before spending this summer outside, but here's a reminder:

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It's back inside now (after a long internal debate on whether or not I wanted to let it be an outside rubber tree planted in the ground). I'll revisit that thought next year.
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I'm easing my way into post-vacation life this week. No. 1 came with Dave for a Boggle yesterday, so it's a very good thing we got the peach trees planted beforehand.

Made my last purchases of "Made in China" goods before vacation. Hadn't even noticed where the stuff was made before I bought it, but decided that "enuf is enough" after noticing. We don't celebrate Christmas, but No. 3 has a birthday on December 23, so he'll be the test case for whether Americans still make decent stuff, I suppose. Let me know, No. 3!