Sunday Night

Today was fabulous.  It's the first "normal" Sunday I've had in a couple of months and I can't tell you how awesome it felt.  I made it clear to Ken that I needed a day.  I've been running myself ragged for weeks and have had little to no downtime.  I started my day by sleeping in (and by sleeping in, I only slept until 8 o'clock, but that's late for me lately), I went grocery shopping, took a long walk at the office complex near my old house, vegged out on the front porch with a stack of comics and a beer and nodded off for a short nap.  It really couldn't have been a nicer day.  The weather was amazing.  Sunny skies and ninety degrees without any humidity.  The only downside to the day is that it's going to end and the work week starts up again in the morning.

Yesterday we spent the day with my friends Lynn and Lori.  They haven't been up to see the house yet.  They're only about an hour away (give or take) and they were both free at the same time, so we made plans.  They checked out the house and then we all got in the car and went to Saratoga to go kayaking.  I'd never been and Ken was all gung ho on wanting to do it, so we went.  I was convinced that it was going to be the worst experience of Ken's life, but he had fun, didn't tip himself over and didn't seize up in pain or anything.  It was great.

Late yesterday afternoon I took out to walk like I usually do.  For the last two weeks, it's been pretty unpleasant for me to go out.  I've had little to no desire, but I still push myself to do it.  Yesterday's walk was the first one I've enjoyed in quite a while.  Today's walk, too.  It's quite possible that I've been so fried from work that the last thing I've been wanting to do is walk.  These last two days I've been rested and ready and it's made quite a difference.  I need to get back into the swing of wanting to walk.  I'm still battling my gut.  I should have recovered from Texas by now, but I'm still inching my way towards being where I'm happy.  I fucked things up tonight when I made a big ol' sundae for dessert, but I really wanted it.  I'll feel like shit about myself when I see the profanities the scale throws at me in the morning, but for tonight I'm going to bask in the ice creamy afterglow.

America's Favorite Food Truck Giveaway

Vote for Bettie's Double Decker Cupcake Stand.  You can vote for her ten times a day.  Do it.  She's got the tastiest cupcakes in the area.



It's no secret that I'm one of Tasty Jewelry Diane's biggest fans.  I saw a posting on Facebook tonight about a contest to win a gift certificate to her site and I want to share that info here.  Chick the following link to find out the details on how to win a $25 Tasty Jewelry gift certificate.


I really don't know where all the time is going.  It seems like more than ever that I haven't had ten minutes to just breathe, let alone do all the things I want to do.  I'm working just as much as ever, even though I vowed I was going to pull back a little bit.  Things have just been overwhelmingly busy and the only way to stay slightly less behind is to put in some extra hours.  It's not hard work, just time consuming.  And the money's good.  When I can, I go out and walk for an hour to an hour and a half.  That's usually four or five times a week.  Most nights lately, though, it's really a lot of work to find the motivation to do so.  I'm always glad I did it when I'm done, but just trying to start....  I'm weeks behind on all my tv shows.  Luckily I'm not watching too much right now, but the dvr is getting fuller and fuller.  I need a weekend with nothing going on to just chill out in front of the television.

It occurred to me today that the last five weekends I've not had any time to myself.  Ken's friend Eric was here this past weekend.  The two weekends prior I was in Texas.  The weekend before that my friends George and Steve were here and the weekend before that, friends Eric and Brett were here.  Ken's trying to plan something for this weekend and I don't know if I can take it.  I'm someone who revels in his downtime.  I haven't had downtime in so long, I don't know what I'll do with it.

I'm kind of in a pissy mood tonight.  Ken is being really loud and I'm trying to escape him, but with little luck.  My car, which was just in the shop last Thursday, is back in the shop.  Ken's been driving it all summer since his a/c doesn't work.  Today on the way to work, the check engine light popped on.  Joy.  Now it's back in the shop to be checked out.  You'd think after a $600 repair bill last week that it would be a good long time before it had to go back.  That kind of set me off in this mood.  The fact that Ken's trying to carry a conversation from upstairs with me isn't helping matters.  He's watching a really bad make-over show and really wants me to watch it with him even though it's the last thing I want to do right now.

In other news, when I was in Texas, I had Freddy teach me to make lasagna.  Tonight I made my inaugural lasagna.  I wasn't hungry, so I didn't have any, but Ken says it was a complete success.  He was "critiquing" the way I was making it (i.e. telling me I'm doing it wrong), but I was just following the way I was taught.  After eating it, he apologized and told me Freddy knew what he was doing.  Ha!

I've been having a love affair with Frank Turner this week.  I don't know why, but I've been listening to his entire catalog all week.  I think he's pretty fucking amazing.  Reminds me somewhat of Billy Bragg. 

I'm also trying to simplify my social networking life.  I cancelled my Twitter account since I haven't used it in months.  I started paring down my Facebook friends list.  Got through the list once and cut the easy ones.  Need to got though it again and see what I can do.  I'm building a list of criteria for why I'm keeping some and cutting others.  I just need to find a good block to time to go through it again.  I want to get it below 200 people.  I'm most of the way there.  I was at 340 or so.  We'll see.

I bought Mario Kart for the Wii and finally got a good chance to play it last night.  And I had a blast.  Ken, on the other hand, bitched and complained about it the whole time we were playing.  To be honest, he was starting to piss me off and take some of the fun out of it for me.  He apologized tonight for it and that made me feel better.  If you've got this game, email me and we can exchange console and licence numbers and race online.  I suck at it right now, but I plan on finding time to get better.



I was supposed to throw these pictures up on Friday night, but I didn't get the chance.  Ken's friend Eric is visiting for the weekend and he arrived Friday night.  Everyone is still asleep right now and that's the perfect time for some quiet solo time.

These first two pictures were taken just before the start of the musical Annie in the park.  Top picture is me with the beautiful Diane and the bottom shot is me with the equally beautiful Gregg.  I was so glad to get to see them both again.  

The boys.  Nathan and Adrian.  Nathan's doing what he does best.  Being adorable.  If you look closely at Adrian's forehead, he's got the Avatar, The Last Airbender tattoo on it.  This is his Avatar pose.

Trust me, these are words I lived by.

Ribs, ribs, and more ribs.  

This is the place I got the ribs at.  Out back is a river full of turtles.  It was crazy.

Freddy needed to do a little bit of school work, so he took me to the coffee shop near his house where he studies.  It was late and the place was hopping.  There was only one open table and it was near that guy at the bar.  When we walked in, his screen was on a website of guys in their underwear, which I found amusing.  A little while after we settled down, he got on his phone and we discovered that he doesn't understand the concept of INDOOR VOICE.  For the next half hour (or more), he described every medical issue he had wrong with him. It was actually kind of funny.

Freddy took me to a place called Lulu's in San Antonio for breakfast.  The ginormous cinnamon roll has been calling his name, over and over and over again.  

You can't see the plate with Freddy's toast on it, but this is a proper seven-plate breakfast for two, don't you think?

And this is how large I felt after licking the last of my plates clean.

One of the two new pairs of Converse All-Stars I picked up while in Texas.  

After breakfast at Lulu's, Freddy took me to visit his favorite mission in San Antonio.  Mission San Jose.  The place was beautiful.  The next couple of pictures are from there as well.

This last shot really amuses me.  All that cactus just growing randomly on top of a building.  

This is a cheese filled, bacon wrapped, deep fried hot dog covered in slaw.  It is quite possibly the most amazing hot dog I've ever had in my life.  It's from a place in downtown Austin called Frank.  We met up with two of Freddy's friends, Kay and Darla, for lunch.  It was the first time I met Darla, who is an absolute doll.  And this was the only time I got to spend with Kay this trip.  Reason to get back down there again, right?

Yo, gimme a push pop, yo.

Grainy picture taken at Rain, a place we paid multiple trips to.

I can't remember the name of the place this was from.  It was Dos something or other.  Freddy dug out the bikes and we peddled it here for a wood fired beef taco.  So damn good.  And guilt free because we rode bikes to get there.  Burned all those calories off before ingesting them.  It was the first time I'd ridden a bike in years.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  I need to get a bike again.

After lunch, it was off to the frozen yogurt place across the street.  This was avocado flavored frozen yogurt.  I've been having a love affair with avocados lately, but the thought of this scared the pee pee out of me.  Until I tried it.  It was so damn good.  I was hoping we'd get a chance to go back later in the week for more, but it just didn't happen.

Another activity I haven't done in years.  Bowling.  I enjoy it, so I don't know why we don't go more.  Freddy is his bowling best.

And a bobble Jesus for luck.

For a while there, I was being beaten by a four and a six year old.  Not good.  Not good at all.  And so close to breaking 100.

A sign from the Christmas themed bar Lala's.  It's a dive with a ton of charm.

A repeat from last year.  This is the Don Juan from Juan In A Million.  It looks small, but believe me, it's not.  I got two, but couldn't eat them both.  I had my second one for lunch.

Lots and lots.

A place known for it's tacos and I get the pancakes.

I couldn't justify spending $58 on a joke pillow, no matter how much I wanted it.  Instead, I spent $1 and got a Mr. T pin.

Illegal photograph.  Illegal photograph.  We were "spoken" to by the "nice" salesgirl about taking pictures in this store.  I don't recall the name of the place though.  But remember, no photography allowed.

The first night in Austin and I got to have a Mighty Cone and I was happy.  Until I whipped out my phone to take a picture of both my cone and the actual place only to find the phone had passed on.  Luckily I was back and could get a picture.  This was one of my favorite stops last year and again this year.  And I was really excited a couple of months ago to see it featured on the Food Network.

Austin is a really pretty city.  Next time I should try and take more pictures of it.

This is a Boston Cream Pie flavored snow cone thingie.  I don't think they're called snow cones at this place.  It doesn't do them justice.  It was the perfect answer to the heat.

Last day of school and Adrian is doing the Cha Cha Slide at the end of the year talent show.  He's so damn cute.

Daddy, Poppa, Bug and Bear, waiting on our damn burgers!

Inappropriateness and a Gowalla coupon.  Need I say more?

Hell In Keller.  Best beer name ever.

Very candid shot.

I could tell you the scandalous news she's telling me, but I'd have to kill you.

Poppa is all dressed up and ready to rock the house with 80s superstar Tiffany!!

I love that hat and so does Adrian.  So much so that he wore it out to dinner that night.  For real.

Nathan is not having me at this moment.  We're in the jeep and he just woke up from a quickie nap.  Freddy and Adrian are out of the jeep waiting for this guy to show up so he can get his wallet back.  We found and returned two wallets while I was in Austin.  Anyway, Nathan wants to get out and I said no and then started taking his picture.  He failed to find the humor in it.  I wonder why.  This is my favorite picture of all my Austin ones, hands down.

The saddest picture of them all.  Flying away.


Settling Back In

I've been home from vacation for four or five days now and I hate that it's starting to feel even longer than it is.  I've been on the go since the plane landed and I'm afraid I'm undoing all the good I did for myself while I was away.  As I've said before, I've been pushing myself really hard with work, with the new house, with exercise... With every aspect of my life.  It got to be too much and I really needed a break.  I had no intention of going anywhere until December when we go on our next cruise.  I've been hesitant to spend money since buying the new house because I'm still not sure where we are financially.  There's still stuff we need to do and to have done to the house.  Once we're all up to speed on that stuff I'll feel better.  But a few weeks ago Ken asked me if I was planning on doing anything, like going back to Austin.  He was trying to schedule work for the house, visits from friends and all that jazz. Until he brought it up, it really didn't cross my mind as a possibility.  Then the wheels started turning, I contacted Freddy and it seems like within twenty-four hours, I had a vacation schedule set and plane tickets.  And very little time to think about anything because the trip was coming up quick.  I could justify this vacation in my head because my two major expenses didn't exist.  My plane fare was $10.  Ken and I have a Southwest Airlines Visa and we earn plane tickets.  It costs $10 to turn in the miles for actual airfare.  My second major expense was hotel.  Fortunately, I have my own room at Chez Freddy, so that was covered.  

I originally planned to just spend a week in Austin.  Last year I think I spent 12 days and I didn't want to inconvenience my hosts as much this year.  Both my arrival and departure dates were not available with the free tickets (it's what I get for booking so closely to the trip), but a day before and a day after those dates were available.  So rather than 12 days this year, my trip was a rather short 10 days.  But what a great 10 days.  I landed in Texas right around lunch time, so one of the first things I got to do was eat.  I really wanted to try to control myself this year.  Last year I ate everything in site.  I didn't want a replay of that.  I've worked so hard to try to find some self-control, I wanted to keep it.  And it worked for me.  It really did.  Over that first meal.  After that, the eating habits of fat Walt emerged and I'm still trying to make them go away.  

Freddy is an amazing planner.  It's a talent I just don't have and it's one that I will never have.  Luckily I have Ken for all of that.  I was asked if there was anything on my "must do" list.  I had a thing or two, but not very much.  I needed to visit the Converse Outlet (which I only found out about after getting home last year!), I wanted to go to Toy Joy, I wanted to see my friends Diane and Gregg and I think that was about it.  There might have been one other thing on the list, but it's escaping me.  Wait.  It was a trip to Austin Books.  Otherwise, I just wanted to hang out with the family.  I missed them all a lot.  It didn't really hit me how much until I was in their presence again. Seeing Freddy at the airport for the first time, or Jed at his work or picking the boys up from school.  I get stupid ass emotional over stuff.  I tried to keep it inside, but I know I didn't always succeed.  

Before leaving for vacation, I made sure I had my phone and my regular camera.  I was hoping to take 1000s of pictures again this year.  But somehow it didn't quite happen.  I think maybe because I took so many last year that it didn't seem necessary this year.  I never even took the camera out of my backpack.  I used my cell phone and only took about 100 pictures or so.  Still a lot, but not at the same time.  I kind of regret not getting a few more pics.

At dinner the first night I had my first real negative thing happen.  We were at the Mighty Cone and I wanted to snap a picture of not only the trailer, but also the food.  That's when I realized my iPhone was completely and utterly dead.  And I had a slight panic.  It was my lifeline to everyone I know and most importantly, my lifeline to home.  That night we scheduled a trip to the Apple Store and by lunchtime, I had a new phone.  I was relieved, but still panicked because I had no contact info in the phone.  But once I got over it, it was really liberating.  I was on vacation and away from everyone!

The week was so much fun.  I ate a lot.  We went to a place in San Antonio where they have cinnamon buns bigger than my head.  We went to an old Mission.  I ate some more.  We went tubing.  I drank. I got all caught up on Project Runway (which I'm now behind on).  We went bar hopping. I ate.  I got to bond with the boys even more this year than last.  We went bike riding.  I foursquared and gowalla'd up a storm.  We got to see Annie.  I got to see a couple people I met last summer again.  I really, really had an amazing time.  

The day I had to leave was tough.  I hate saying goodbye.  And like I said before, I get stupid emotional.  I think I managed to keep myself together pretty well (for me, at least).  I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry a few times on the trip home.  Because I did.

I was going to post some pictures here with this tonight, but I'm sleepy and need to get to bed.  I'll do that tomorrow night.

It was really hard to write a straight forward blog post rather than a love letter to my Austin family.  Because again, I get way too emotional and sentimental.  And they already know how hard I them all.



I'm not ignoring my blog, it's just that I've had no time at all to post.  I just got home from one of the best vacations I've ever had and within minutes of getting back jumped right back into the daily grind.  Work is insanely busy and I'm already overdoing it.  Fun.  I will catch up shortly.  I just need to catch my breath.  Until then, here's a grainy pic from a night of being overserved in Austin.