Sunday, October 31, 2004

Snowy Posted by Hello

Kerry Posted by Hello

Nostalgia Double Whammy

Ten years ago, I was 26 years old and living on Winton Street in a house I shared with my good friends Ken and Bryce, and our iguana, Chili. I was just starting grad school, and I had various jobs: one at the map store in the mall, and one at a neighborhood elementary school teaching small Mexican children to read (this was my absolute favorite of all the jobs I've ever had, by the way). Bryce was working for a big department store, in charge of "visual." And Ken was in a band called the Old 97's, whose first CD was just coming out. These were intersting times.
I remember going to watch "'Ken's band" at places that aren't there anymore, like Chumley's, when there were about 8 people in the crowd, and 6 of them were playing pool. Then at Naomi's where the audience started to grow. It was exciting when the CD came out, and there was lots of action at our house. There were always people coming over late at night. There were after-the-gig parties at our house with Ken making breakfast tacos at 3 in the morning. One time, I even threw somebody out (which is a shocking thing if you know me). I think it was because it was 4am and this dude was rooting around our fridge yelling at me because we didn't have any onions or something. It wasn't always an easy tension-free living situation, but I can definitely say I learned from the experience.
So, last night I went to the Granada to see the Old 97s play a special 10th-anniversary-of-the-first-CD show. They played Hitchike to Rhome in its entirety, and it was GREAT. I haven't heard them do many of those songs live in a very long time, but it almost felt like no time had passed since the Chumley's days. A lot of time HAS passed though, and a lot has changed. The big difference is that now most of us from the early days are married, a lot of us have kids, and we have a harder time staying up so late these days; and now there are hundreds of screaming fans singing all the words to all the songs. I can't tell you how weird it is to hear people sqeal at the mention of Ken's name. To me, Ken is just a dude who cleans the lizard cage with the soup ladle and plays video games all day and is a good friend that I could probably count on to bail me out of jail if I happened to ever end up there.
Anyway, Congratulations to the Old 97's on their anniversary and for all their success. The show was lots of fun last night, and it made me very sad-happy.
On top of all that, the Granada is also where I spent a great deal of my very most favorite day ever, as Kev and I had our wedding reception there. Last night was the first time I'd been in there since the wedding, and it brought back many memories of the day I felt like the big rock star, with all the attention and cameras and action. We didn't quite pack 'em in like the Old 97's, but everyone seemed to have a pretty good time. And I got to start being married to Kev that day.
So, last night I had double sad-happy nostalgia. It was nice.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Watching the Moon

Last night when I got home from work, the moon was beginning to eclipse. Kev and I got some chairs and sat in the drive-way and watched until the moon was completely in the shadow of the earth. It was cool. The moon was all red. Some of our neighbors came outside to watch it too. It was very quiet and peaceful, and for a while, it almost felt like all was OK in the world. I would have liked to sit there in the drive-way all night long feeling calm and safe and happy.

Apparently, Alvin has been spreading the word to the other snails that our porch is the place to go for a quality dining experience. We had two of his friends on the porch last night, and not wanting to disappoint, I brought them each a big leaf of lettuce, which they got to devouring right away. All of the lettuce and the snails were gone this morning, but I bet they'll be back.

These two events, the snails and eclipse, made for an exciting evening, and I said so. To which Kev replied, "If by exciting, you mean slow, then yeah." Well. Better than TV anyway, I think. And not as hard on the thumbs as playing Atari.

My home-made mushroom soup turned out really good. Kev ate three bowls of it, and afterward said, "Well, that was fabulous." He might as well have given me two thousand dollars and said "go buy some shoes and pants," it made me so happy. If anyone wants to make their own mushroom soup, the recipe is on, and is one of Emeril's soup recipes. We'll be having the left-overs tonight.

Today I saw a Lime-Away commercial. I think that's funny.

I hope you all got to see the eclipse.

I'll end with a fun fact: Michael Keaton used to work on the set of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and often played practical jokes on Mr. Rogers during the taping of the show.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Separated at Birth?

John Kerry and TV Christmas Favorite, the Snow Miser.

This is not a political statement. I just think they look alike.

By the way, Great News! My rash is almost gone, never having assumed the tell-tale bull's-eye pattern associated with Lyme Disease! Looks like I'm in the clear. And for the record, I never said I had arthritis, and I didn't even know what gout was until a few weeks ago when Bobby Hill had it from too much deli food. But thanks for commenting!

Today's good mood blog is sponsored by the home-made cream of mushroom soup and corn fritters I am going to have for dinner in a couple of hours, and by the time I spent today with Albert the Dog.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Well, I am thus far not too terribly happy with the way my day is going. This is unfortunate and unexpected, as I had a great weekend. Yesterday after church, Kev and I went to breakfast at Ziziki's in Travis Walk. They have a fabulous breakfast buffet of interesting foods beyond your typical sausages and eggs and whatnot. They have awesome mushrooms, lots of feta cheese, some kind of tasty spinach/phyllo things, and more. We sat in their lovely courtyard which has lots of vines and a fountain. It was nice.
After breakfast, we went home and I spent most of the day on the couch making a sock monkey from a kit that Kev gave me for my birthday. It isn't finished, but you can bet I'll post its picture when it is!
So, everything appeared to be going well.
This morning, I got up, and took my walk as usual, and was looking forward to my weekly visit to Central Market. But as I was about to get in the shower, I noticed that the insect bite I had gotten the day before was developing a rash around it. We looked up spider bite rashes on the internet, and after searching and googling around a bit, I have decided that either I have a very harmless weird spider bite, or I have Lyme disease. Well, it's hard to have a good day and keep a positive outlook when you may have Lyme Disease. I decided to see how it looks tomorrow before I call the doctor. I don't think my insurance will pay for me to go in there and have a doctor tell me I have a harmless weird spider bite.
So I went to Central Market and figured this would cheer me up, but today for some reason they were playing Sting and smooth jazz instead of the usual Stan Getz and Sarah Vaughn and such. And they were also out of mushrooms, which is unheard of. "We're waiting for the truck." This would not be a big deal, except that mushroom soup plays a predominant role in my meal plan for the week.
At least they weren't out of coffee, and they had pecan diamond samples at the pastry counter.
Now I am at work, and one of my kids no-showed, so I have been working on my sock monkey's tail and ears. I feel better.
So here is my advise to you:
If you are having a bad Monday and you think you might have Lyme Disease, stuff a sock monkey tail and maybe everything else will work out OK.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Donde esta los banos? Posted by Hello

Pumpkins on Parade

This afternoon, Kev and I went to the annual pumpkin carving party. This year, it was hosted by our friends Rob and Michelle. It was fun, as usual, and we got to see people that we like a lot, but don't get to see very often. This year, there were lots of kids running around, and most of them didn't seem the least bit interested in the carving of the pumpkins which was all being done by the grown-ups. Maybe kids today think such things are boring compared to video games, so they don't have the attention span for the intricate art of pumpkin carving. Or maybe they were distracted by all the fun things to climb on in Rob and Michelle's back yard. I loved pumpkin carving time when I was a kid. My dad always did the generic triangle eyes and nose, and zig-zaggy mouth, but it was great.
This party has been an annual event for several years now. My past pumpkins have included Charlie Brown, Bert from Sesame Street, my cat Archie, Paul Stanley from KISS, and a couple of generic faces with triangle eyes and noses and zig-zaggy mouths. This year, Kev and I decided to do the ladies' and men's restroom symbols. Kinda dorky, but they turned out good. They'll never last until Halloween though. They'll be rotten in no time and go straight to the compost pile, where maybe Pancho the back yard 'Possum will discover them and have a delightful meal.
Rob and Michelle are funny because they have a Bush/Cheney AND a Kerry/Edwards sign in their yard. And I am sure they are just the sort of good citizens who will recycle those signs after the election.
Tomorrow, I have roasted pumpkin seeds to look forward to! Posted by Hello

Hey Pancho!

This is Pancho, our back yard 'possum. Every night he tries to get under our house by scratching at the aluminum panel by our foundation. Kev keeps chasing him away, but he always comes back. He is very feisty, and even hissed at Kev. I am not allowed to feed him, but I really want to. I worry about the wildlife in our yard. We would like to find someone who will come to get him and release him into the woods over by the lake, but I am afraid if we call someone, they will exterminate him.

Opossums are marsupials, in fact the only marsupials in North America! They have pouches, like kangaroos. They are mostly nocturnal, and they come out at night to look for fruit, insects, and carrion. They have sharp teeth and claws, and are excellent climbers.

I am also happy to report the discovery of a few Ruby-Crowned Kinglets in our back garden. This was a new bird for my list, which is always cause for a little excitement in the world of Tara. I am hoping they will stay for the winter. They are very small and figity, and very cute.

I thought of another famous Squippie you may know: former President Jimmy Carter. He is a nice good man who cares about people and the world.

Enjoy your weekend...maybe you'll see some wildlife in your own yard if you pay attention for a few minutes!
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Rated "N" for negativity.

I would like to apologize in advance, but I need to rant.

This morning, I didn't really enjoy my walk. Partly because it is once again soupy outside. What happened to fall? It is a real drag to sweat on an October morning. Plus there was trash everywhere. Mostly of the fast food container/wrapper variety. Why can't people hang on the their crap and throw it away when they get home? Is it because they don't want their cars to smell of fast food? I've got news for you: It's going to smell anyway from eating greasy old fries in your car, chief! Stop making my neigborhood your personal dumpster. Plus I am sick of looking at all the political signs that are uglying up all the yards. Some of these signs are HUGE. One house had at least 10 signs in front. What is the point? Do you think I am going to decide who to vote for based on your sign? Hmmm, I think I'll vote for FROST. My neighbors seem to think he/she is OK. Man, oh man. I think people just like to advertise their political leanings. Hey, look at me, I'm a Democrat/Republican/Communist! I have been told that some of these signs are for the sake of name recognition, so when people go to the polls, and there are a bunch of people running for judge, they'll pick someone whose name is familiar. This may work for small local elections, although maybe this is a sign that voters are very uninformed, but then why all the Bush and Kerry signs? If you are picking a president because you saw his name on a sign, then we have serious problems. And what happens to all these signs after the election? I'll bet they don't get recycled. Straight to a landfill is my guess. What an incredible waste and an eye-sore at that. Anyway. maybe one of you out there know of a worthwhile reason for all the signs. If so, I am willing to listen to it. Lay it on me, man.
Then, I came over here to my parents house to work, and was greeted with, "Did you know that a vote for Kerry is a vote for partial-birth abortions?" (Deep, heavy sigh). I am so freaking sick and tired of election. My parents, who by the way have no idea who I would vote for, think I am the evil because I don't think GWB is the greatest guy since Jesus. And there is no point trying to have a rational discussion with them about the pros and cons of BOTH candidates. They won't hear a word of it. It's so frustrating. I heard my mom after I left the room say,"Why does she care so much about the environment" and then something about 'liberals" and then "but when it's your own daughter..." and then I heard my dad say," she'll see the error of her ways" or something like that. (My dad is a low-talker...hard to hear). UGH. Two more weeks of this, and then the aftermath, which will either be gloating or constant lamenting about how the end of the world is nigh upon us, depending on the outcome.

Yesterday I was really down, because I came to the conclusion that I am medium. I am sorta OK at lots of things, like cooking, and music, and my job, etc, but I'm not really good at anything. It was a depressing realization. Kev said I am not a medium wife, and I have to admit it made me feel better even though he HAS to say stuff like that. Then I made a really good dinner and felt even better. And we finished our salsa song and it sounds really good, especially thanks to Mixmaster K, so things aren't all bad. But it's been a tough couple of days.

I am NOT going to let any of this affect my groove. And I promise a more positive blog next time around. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

An open letter to the youth of America

For the love of God, won't you PLEASE pull up your pants?

A Very HousePants Weekend

The band has been in full swing this weekend, as Christmas is approaching and our sophomore effort is as of yet incomplete. We'd like to have at least 7 or 8 songs on this one, but so far we only have five. It's been a busy year. But this weekend we have been working on a song that we might just finish this afternoon if all goes well. It is a sort of Santana-like salsa song with a little bit of Chris Isaak thrown in and a flute part that is reminiscent of Eric-Burden-Spill-the-Wine. It has been fun to record, and there has been very little fighting amongst the band. My parts are bongos, guiro, Jamaican shaker, tambourine, cowbell, and tin whistle (if I can pull it off). Kev is doing piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, and mandolin, and maybe the samba whistle he got for Christmas last year. The working song title is "otre parte" named after a bar on Ross Avenue, but that could change. It's possible that our neighbors hate us. But we are having fun.

We have definitely one and possibly two opossums living in our back yard, or at least hanging out there at night. The other night our back door flew open in the middle of the night (even though it was locked!), and after I got up to close it, I couldn't go back to sleep, so I came up with lots of theories about doors that open mysteriously in the night. Kev sat up when it happened, but didn't remember it the next morning. So at this point, I could blog about my alien theory, but I was told that people probably already think I am weird for having a snail for a friend, etc., and should maybe not blog about alien theories. Sorry! Anyway, I don't think it was the opossums that opened the door.

Also this weekend, I ambitiously cooked spaghetti and meatballs with toasted goat cheese rounds and a spinach salad with strawberries and pecans. I give the whole meal a B. My sauce was missing something. But it was fun anyway having a nice meal. After dinner we sat on the porch and were visited by a twig boy hippie with a petition about landfills. He was very happy, but melancholy about the landfills, and he clearly hadn't bathed for a while (disqualifying him from being a squippie). We signed his petition. I worry about landfills too. But I am clean while I do it.

Today on our walk, I saw chickadees, mockingbirds, sparrows, blue jays, and a red-bellied woodpecker, and some of the good neighood dogs. This is the best time of the year. I hope you have all been able to spend some time outside.

I will close with a fun fact:
The flesh-like thingy that hangs from a turkey's neck is called a "snood."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Far out, man.

Kev has decided that I am a squippie. This means that, like the hippies, I am for peace and the earth and animals and being nice to everybody and stuff, but that I am a square because i am not into the "free love" and the "drugs." I also "bathe regularly." (Remember that Chris Farley character that always made the quotation marks hand signal? That was funny). So anyway I am a Square Hippie, or Squippie. Some famous squippies you may know are Mister Rogers and the Dali Lama. I would say that's pretty good company to be in, so I am proud to be a squippie.
Kev says that one sign of being a squippie is having a snail for a friend. I also belong to KERA, Audubon Dallas, and the Sierra Club. I am a bird-watcher. I love dogs and mountains. I do yoga. I hate it when people speed or break traffic rules. I think smoking is horrible and littering is even worse. I really get going when somebody litters a cigarette butt!
I don't mind being a square. I spent a lot of time before trying to be cool, and it just wasn't my thing. I am much happier this way.
If any of you are squippies, you might be interested to know that I am thinking of making t-shirts with the squippie logo, which is a peace symbol, only instead of a circle, it's - you guessed it! - a square. Let me know if you want one.

PS. I do like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, CSN&Y, etc.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Random Monday Blog (With Funfacts!)

I had a good weekend. On Friday, we had Jamaica night at my house, complete with Jerk Chicken and fried plantains, which Kev improved with some Foster Sauce. Flambe-ing things is always good for a little excitement. On Saturday, the PPHPhouseband spent the morning working on some new stuff. I am totally into the band these days, so I hope we can take advantage and record some stuff. When I am not in my groove, I can't contribute much, which is usually OK because Kev does most of the work. But I think it's more fun when we both participate. We could really use a trumpet if anyone knows a good player out there. Sunday we went to the State Fair. Oh, how I love the State Fair! My favorite things are the Kroger Birds of the World Show, the Ferris wheel, and my annual corny dog. The bird show was great as usual. We got to see some really cool owls this year.
Fun Fact: The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest living thing, and can reach speeds of up to 200mph in a dive.
Also, this year there is a great WWII exhibit at the Hall of State. It is really interesting, and I recommend seeing it if you go to the fair. My only complaint is that there is too much to read in the exhibit, which requires a great deal of time. But if you don't have time to read everything, it is worth going in just to see the memorabilia and especially the photographs, some of which are pretty amazing. One which particularly disturbed me was of a row of dead Jews on the ground, and another dismayed Jewish man praying over them, while behind him stood SMILING Nazi soldiers. The exhibit I think maybe helps younger people like me remember that WWII is not just something depicted in movies, but was a real thing that happened to real people resulting in millions of casualties including my grandpa's 18-year-old brother, Joe Kelly, and probably some people from your families too. I wonder how we will remember the current war half a century from now. Anyway, the exhibit is worth the entrance fee to the fair and the extra dollar to get in the Hall of State. See it if you can.
So, it was a good weekend.
This morning while I was paying attention, I saw three robins and a really fat red-bellied woodpecker. You don't see many robins around here, so it was a nice treat.
Fun Fact: Avagadro's number is 6.022 x 10-to-the-23rd. You can use this if you want to know how many atoms are in your cup of coffee or other things. Avagadro was a smart man with very angular facial features which probably made him look meaner than he really was. You can remember his name because it sounds like avacado.
I know that has nothing to do with birds or WWII, but it is something I learned recently, so thought I'd share.
Time to get back to sitting around my office waiting for kids to show up. Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Our New Animal Friend

This is our friend Alvin. We named him after Alvin Straight from the Straight Story because he is very slow. He is a snail, after all. Kev discovered him on our porch floor on Friday morning. By Friday night, he had traversed the porch and made it half-way up the wall near the front door. On Saturday morning, he had made his way along the top of the wall above the porch railing, and then to the side wall near the porch ceiling by Saturday night. I was beginning to worry about Alvin, because there is no food supply for snails on our porch ceiling. I watched as Alvin went slowly in and out of his shell in his same little spot on the wall. I watched, and I fretted. I figured he was up there to die. So, enter our hero, Kev, who plucked the snail down off the wall and put him on the floor of the porch once again. I immediately went to the fridge for snail food, and came back with a leftover piece of grilled zuchini and a celery stick. Alvin didn't go for the celery, but he was all over the zuch. I'm sure he was wondering what he did to please the snail gods enough to deliver him to such a feast. This morning, I woke up worried about the neighborhood cats finding our new friend, and sure enough when I went outside, Alvin was gone. But I saw no sign of a struggle, so I assumed Alvin had his fill of grilled zuchini and went on his merry way wherever snails may go. I kicked the zuch and celery stick into the flower bed in front of our porch, and went off to the Great State Fair of Texas, which was big fun. When we got home hours later, guess what! There was Alvin on top of that piece of zuchini down in the flower bed! I am so happy that he found his way back to the food. So maybe there is a moral to this story, but I don't know what it is. Maybe it has to do with how paying attention can lead to good stuff. I am just happy to have a new animal friend. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Great God Almighty, the birds are in charge!

I like birds. Here I am with some macaws, or guacamayas, in Mexico. These birds are apparently endangered in the wild. If the birds really were in charge, I wonder if humans would be endangered, and if so, I wonder if the birds would care.
The other day, Kev and I were taking a walk at White Rock lake. It was a Saturday, and there were tons of runners on the trail. I guess it was some kind of 10-k race or something, because the runners had numbers on. They might as well have been running in the mall parking lot orsomewhere equally as depressing, because they sure weren't appreciating the beauty of the lake. There was a really nice sunrise, and ducks and egrets hanging about, and under a tree there were about 20 little green monk parakeets eating stuff off the ground. How cool is it to see a bunch of parakeets right in the middle of the city? None of the runners even noticed. As we were watching the parakeets, a be-headphoned runner passed us, and I'll be damned if he didn't pass gas audibly 3 or 4 times as he went by. It was shocking. The obnoxiousness of that guy was thankfully balanced out by a good citizen I saw going around with plastic bags picking up trash.
I love living by the lake. I don't go there often enough. It's better during the week when there are no 10-Ks going on. It is a great place to look for new birds to put on one's bird list. So, everyone go to the lake and pay attention to things while you are there. You can see really good stuff if you pay attention sometimes. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Serenity Now!

I am sitting in my office. I was supposed to see three kids today. The first one cancelled, the second one no-showed, and the third may or may not be coming because the parents are "unhappy with the program." So here I sit, slowly but surely losing complete confidence in my abilities as a Speech-Language Pathologist, and making no money today after driving all the way to Plano and sitting for 3 hours. What I really want to do is go down the hall to the vending machine and get something very very chocolatey, but I am blogging instead. Chocolate won't solve anything. And neither will complaining. So I am going to make a list of super fun things to be happy about:
  • It is OCTOBER!
  • It is fall migration, so there are lots of extra birds hanging around.
  • The House Band has been very productive lately.
  • The State Fair is on for another couple of weeks.
  • My last kid's mom just called to cancel, so I get to go home early.
  • Albert the dog.
  • My friend Shannon is coming to town this week.
  • My other friend Whitney is moving back to Texas this month.
  • It's a really long time until summer.
  • Nothing appears to be wrong with my car at the moment.

OK, well, I guess I will go home now. I already feel better.