Thursday, December 29, 2005

Part 4 - Art.

We received this great note from my cousin Jakob. He is 8. He is my pal because he is cool and likes Samurai Jack and Napolean Dynamite. And he can draw really good elves with sunglasses. I do not know if he got all 16 things he wanted for Christmas.

Part 3 - The Instrument for Me

Traditionally, on the years we stay in Texas for the holidays, Kev and I open our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve, and that was the case this year. We got up and ate breakfast, and began what would become a marathon three days of presents. Some of you may remember back in the spring when I went to see Elvis Costello, and witnessed the melodica-playing genius of the great Steve Nieve. I believe I bogged extensively about the melodica, and how I believed it was the instrument for me. Well, kev got me one for Christmas, and I was proven right! It IS the instrument for me, in fact, it may be the intrument for everyone! It is so fun and easy to play, and it has a pretty good sound too, sort of like an accordian. You can either play it using a mouthpiece on one end (which is the right way), or you can use the melodica tube, as seen in the photo below, so you can hold it on your lap for easier chord-playing or two-handed playing. It is a little hard at first to stop from laughing at how the tube makes you look like you are some kind of hospital patient, or that you are smoking the melodica. But once you stop laughing, it is a lot of fun to play, especially when you can play duets...
...with Kev on his new baritone ukulele (below). So, it was a very housepants Christmas Eve as you can see.
I also got some other nice gifts from Kev, including 50 tulip bulbs which I will be planting in the front yard, and some very cute outfits for the Peanut. I am officially declaring myself the easiest person on the planet to buy gifts for. Mostly because of this blog , I think. People who read it know what I like and what I don't like, and it makes it pretty easy for anyone who happens to be my secret Santa. Last year, it was my brother-in-law Marty, who did a fabulous job of giving me a very Tara pile of gifts. And this year, my other brother-in-law Pat did the same.
If the above photo was a little bigger, you would see that I am dressed completely in Sock Monkey-wear, including slippers. They are very cute and soft and comfortable, and I love them. And you would also see that in my hands I am holding a piece of paper which, when unrolled, informed me that I am the proud adoptive sponsor of my very own Magellanic penguin in the Faulkland Islands. (I cried when I read the paper). On Christmas Day, I received an email from the penguin people, with lots of information about my penguin and others like it. They are in peril, so this adoption is to help them out. I got to then name my penguin. I didn't know if it was male or female, so I emailed the good Dr. Bingham (the penguin guy) and told him to please name it Arturo if it is a male, or Tula if it is a female. He emailed back and said, "Tara, we have called her Tula." So thanks to Pat, I now have a penguin named Tula (which is from a Buena Vista Social Club song). And I will be sent photos and updates and a map to Tula's burrow should I decide to go and visit her. What a perfect gift. Thanks Pat (and Darlene, who probably helped at least a little) for being a great secret Santa.

Part 4 coming soon...more Christmas.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 3 - Coming Soon

Stay tuned for tales of trumpets, penguins, baby stuff, the real-life Jetsons, steak, and, at long last, the instrument for me...

Part 2 - Tamales con Amigas

On the Friday before Christmas, I went over to my friend Shannon's mom's house to learn the fine art of tamale-making. Shannon's mom (white shirt) is from Mexico, and was nice enough to spend a whole day teaching me, Shannon (pink shirt), Julie (orange shirt), and Shannon's daughter Collin how to make tamales. It is a long and involved process, which I am happy to report did NOT involve pig-face, or the face of any animal, for that matter. We spent several hours making tamales, and I finally had to stop and say I just can't do this anymore. We probably made at least 150 tamales. Then we ate some. They were good. So, a very special thanks to Mrs. S. for the tamale lessons, and maybe in a few years I will have the desire to make more tamales. Mostly, it was fun hanging out with my friends, which I don't get to do much, especially since Shannon lives out there in Los Angeles. Later that night, I went to see the Family Stone movie with Shannon and her sister. It is a movie that Kev would probably never agree to go see, and he wouldn't have liked it, so that was OK. It was a pretty good movie, but hard to watch because we were sitting on the front row on account of everyone in Garland was at the new AMC that night and it was crowded. It would be good if Shannon came to town more often.

How I Spent My Christmas Break - Part 1

Well, Christmas has come and gone, with nary a moment to blog. This photo is from the day of Kev's already-blogged-about company Christmas party, which is the event that really started off the holiday season. You can see the clean-looking house and neatly stacked gifts under the tree. This environment of serenity was short-lived, and eventually replaced by chaos. But it was a good Christmas, and I will share some of the highlights here, for anyone who happens to be interested.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Birthday!

A very special happy birthday to Kev.

Have a great birthday!

We love you,
T and the Peanut.

PS: Next year, we bowl.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


It appears that the ANWR is safe again for now. Take that, Senator Stevens! Dirty tricks will get you nowhere. Turkey.

Hooray for Larry Feathers!

A very special Happy Birthday to Larry Feathers, who was born on this day in 1972, and was brought home on Christmas Eve, and things have never been the same.

In honor of Larry Featherses birthday, I was gonna post a link to his theme song, but I don't know how, so I will try to get that on here for you later tonight or tomorrow when Kev can help me.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 19, 2005

No Tip for You!

Our neighborhood garbage collectors were just here, and as you can see, they took no care in replacing our neighbor's cans on the curb. Rather, they threw them in the general direction of the house, violently knocking down a decorative Christmas lawn candy cane. At least this time, the cans are not in the street or blocking the driveway. As you can also see, our neighbors no longer bother putting lids on their cans, probably because they've been squashed by cars when left in the street. No tip for these turkeys. Booooo!

Company Christmas Party

Yesterday, Kev and I went to his company Christmas Party. It was held at a place called the Allen Heritage Center, which turned out to be a little building that looks like a train depot. It took us a while to find it. So, we figured out where it was, and as we were walking up to the building, we saw a lady sitting in a chair about 20 yards from the door, smoking. As we approached, she greeted us NOT with Merry Christmas, NOT with a hearty Welcome to the Party, but with the very puzzling question, "Do you like snakes?" I was confused by the whole scene. My first thought was that she was a snake sales-lady who thought it would be strategic to sit outside a company Christmas party in hopes of finding a few customers who needed snakes to complete their holiday shopping. Kev thought maybe it was some sort of code or password thing to get into the party. So I said, "Huh?" The lady repeated, "Do you like snakes?" So I said, "Um, they're OK." And then she told us to go inside because they were having a snake demonstration, and that was why she was OUTside. Apparently, she does NOT like snakes, so much so that she would rather sit outside in the cold, far far away from the building, and smoke. So, we went in, and sure enough, there was a room full of engineers and their families, completely captivated by a man dressed in black, who was making lawyer jokes while handling gigantic pythons and boas and so forth. Not your typical Christmas Party entertainment, but I tell you what, he was really great. He did magic tricks and told corny jokes and taught us things about snakes, and everyone loved it. The smoking lady really missed a treat.

After the snake guy finished his show, it was time to get on line for Dicky's Barbecue. Mmm-mmm. It was good eats! Dicky's has a fine sauce, just the right amount of spicy. Plus, there was pie and cookies and brownies and cobbler. It was great. We sat down and who ends us sitting at our table but the president of the company and his wife (of the famous mystery Christmas card incident of last week). It was a little intimidating, but they were really nice and easy to talk to and not at all snooty. I liked them.

Finally, just as people were starting to leave, who appears but this guy Mark, dressed as Santa. He was great. All the little kids got SO excited. This one little girl couldn't stop jumping up and down. Mark/Santa walked around giving them all hugs, then got them to sing a couple of Christmas songs, and passed out some toys and candy. It almost made me cry. It was the best company Christmas party I've ever been to.

Kev worked for the last three years at a different company. They threw very elaborate Christmas parties with expensive dinners and long speeches. One year, they had a casino night. Another year they put us all up in a hotel in Fort Worth. Very impressive, huh? But many, not ALL, but MANY of the people in this company were people of questionable character, and their fabulous parties reflected nothing but their flashiness and insincerity. This party yesterday was family-friendly, down-home, and sincere, and I couldn't be happier that Kev works with good people now.

Ooh, plus there was macaroni and cheese, which I have been craving for a MONTH!

For more info on Daryl Sprout, the snake guy, go to:

Some Good News

Special Shout Out to Darlene and Patrick, who are having a baby 5 weeks after me. A new cousin for little "The Baby Never Officially Known As Ramekin." Yay!

By the way, I may get in trouble for this, but my mom thought a ramekin was a kind of cheap noodle. Heehee.


Well, the underhanded trickery of tacking oil drilling onto a bill which has NOTHING to do with it has worked, as the Defense Spending bill passed the House, opening the way for drilling in the ANWR. This is not unexpected, as very few people are going to vote in a way which seems unsupportive of our troops. (By the way, I am pretty sure Hurricane Relief is also part of this bill, also something people don't want to get caught voting against). Now it has to pass the Senate though, and we are hoping for a fillibuster. Not sure when this is gonna go down, but I will keep you posted.

I just don't understand how they can get away with this kind of random attachment of unrelated things to bills. There should have to be a clear theme. Stupid government turkeys. I need some coffee.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rant Warning

Sometimes things get me down, but I can say to myself, "just get over it, it doesn't have anything to do with you," and I can move on. Things like the Mavericks losing in the play-offs, or the Rangers trading good players, or good shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm getting stale. It sucks, but oh well. No big deal, really.

But some things get me down, and I can't just blow them off, so I get mad and stay mad and it messes me up. Last night I got a shockingly disturbing email, and I woke up this morning thinking about it, and it blossomed into this whole big laundry list of stuff that makes me mad and I couldn't go back to sleep. I am afraid I am sending bad anger chemicals to the baby, so I thought if I blogged it, I could try to move on and enjoy my recently found groove / Christmas Spirit. So, I'm not trying to start a debate, I am just venting. You don't have to read this if you don't want to. There will be no funny quotes about beans.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know how I feel about Alaska and its wildlife and indiginous people. And you know how happy I was when good brave moderate republican senators did away with trying to sneak drilling in the ANWR into the budget. But the bad sneaky ones are at it again, this time trying to include Arctic Drilling in a bill that funds the troops! How underhanded is that?! The vote goes down today, and I fear the worst, because it is going to take some real bravery to vote against something that will cause people to scream UNPATRIOTIC at them. This is how the government works, I'm afraid. Sneaky, underhanded, and misleading. it is disgusting. And it goes on all the time. I have a close relative who works for the government, and every time I talk to him, I hear stories of mismanaged people, time, and funds. I hear about ridiculous wasteful spending and I hear about various loopholes they find and use to get around acting appropriately. Knowing this stuff kinda makes it hard to believe people who say things like, "Oh no, of course we don't torture." Why should I believe that? I'm sure they've found ways to get around those rules too. Ugh. It just really gets me down, man. Plus, for some reason, the current administration is completely unwilling to listen to the scientists of the world about climate change, and this affects us all. Are conservatives afraid of science? Do they think if they listen to scientists, it is un-Christian? I'll tell you what, I don't think God it too terribly happy about what is happening to the nice planet he created for us. I hate politics. I hate all this conservative/liberal crap and party affiliations that tell you what you have to be for and against. This is why I am an Independent. Me, General Tommy Franks, the next Governer of Texas Kinky Friedman, and Hermey the elf-dentist.

I don't know if I feel any better. I am worried about today's vote. But I am going to try to think happy thoughts and send good chemicals to the baby, and continue with my Christmas groove.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Tip

Ok, so what's the story with tipping the mail carrier? I mean, if anyone deserves a tip, it's probably the mail carriers of the world. Their job is hard. They have to go out and walk around in the snow and rain, and even worse, the HEAT. And, at least in my neighborhood, they bring the mail all the way up to the porch so we can get our mail with minimal walking. So I wouldn't be opposed to tipping them. But how much? And here's a problem: We have about three or four different carriers that do our route. So I don't know what to do.

And what about the garbage collectors? Do they ever get a holiday tip? Not that I'd tip ours. Ours are terrible. They empty the cans, and then throw the cans all willy-nilly into the yard or the street or wherever they happen to land. People's cans are always getting blown down the street by wind, or run over by cars, all because of these lazy garbage collectors. They take no pride at all in their work. Kev used to want to be a garbage man when he was little. I don't think it was so much about the garbage as it was about the cool big truck. I tell you what, though. If Kev was a garbage man, he'd be about the best garbage man ever. He would take good care of people's cans, and place them back on the curb where he got them. Anyway, if you happen to have good garbage collectors, do you tip them?

Are there others that we are supposed to tip at Christmas?

Do you think Martha Stewart tips her mail carrier?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Feelin' Groove-y

In spite of my recent set-backs, there appears to be evidence that I am getting my groove back.
Consider the following:
  • My Christmas shopping is done except for one easy thing I can get tomorrow.
  • Everything for Kev's family has been wrapped and shipped to NY.
  • Everything for my family is wrapped and under the tree.
  • Kev's gifts, which are hidden in an undisclosed location, will be wrapped by this time tomorrow.
  • I made all of my Christmas cards, and have sent out most of them (the rest require Kev's attention).
  • Last night, I cooked a real meal.

So, either I am getting my groove back, or I am just in Hyper-Holiday Mode brought on by the pressure of deadlines. Either way, I am exhausted, and looking forward to coasting through the rest of the Christmas season.

Well, time to try to find some comfortable enough pants to wear to work. I may break out the Full-Panel maternity pants today. I wish I could declare HousePants Day at the office.


The mystery family in the Chrismas photo belongs to the president of Kev's company, so I will cut them a little slack because the company pres probably SHOULD send cards to all the employees/contractors. The company Christmas party is this weekend, and I am nervous because I haven't met any of the people and I am not very good at meeting new people and I can't remember people's names anymore. But there is going to be BBQ, so that's good. Also, there is going to be entertainment, but we don't know what. Kev thinks it is one of the guys from work doing Neil Diamond karaoke. That's fine by me. I just hope it isn't a clown. By the way, creepiest clown ever: Ronald McDonald. Ugh.

Also, I'm glad I went ahead and cooked the beans. They were tasty, and Kev even said Emeril would be proud. You should have seen the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding that Emeril made last night. I have requested it for my next birthday. Emeril needs to get some new catch phrases. His schtick is getting a little tired. In fact, if you were a frat boy, you could probably make up a pretty successful drinking game out of watching that show. Be that as it may, he has some really great recipes, and he's a pretty good teacher. And he is really nice to kids. So that's something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shopping A to Z

Who sang Shopping A to Z? Was it Cyndi Lauper? Toni Basil? Whoever it was, I am pretty sure it was a terrible song. But today, that's just what I did, and I am wiped out. Ready for bed and it isn't even 4:00 yet. And I still have to cook dinner. I would just order out, but my beans have been soaking all day and I reckon they need to be cooked.

Anyway, the Dallas Morning News is always showing pictures of stuff from a shop called Forty-Five Ten in their shopping/lifestyle features. It is usually really cute stuff, and I have always wanted to go in there, but until today I never did. So today, I went up to the door and got a bad vibe, but I went in anyway and I will tell you right now I will never go back to that place. It was totally shishi, with a bunch of super-model clothes and fancy soap and $68.00 candles*, and not one single person who worked in there greeted me or asked if I needed help. They all just ignored me completely as if I wasn't there. I don't think I looked the part. I nearly "boo-ed" loudly on the way out, but I chickened out and boo-ed quietly to myself while vowing to tell the world, or at least the blog, what a snobby crappy store it is. So don't go to Forty-Five Ten. It even has a pretentious name. Booooooo.

*I know how to make candles, and I can assure you that these $68.00 ones only cost about a dollar to make. Where do they get off?

Over the weekend, we went to see Walk the Line, and unless you hate Johnny Cash, you will probably really like this movie. It is very good. I'd give it at least 4 out of 5 penguins in my penguin movie rating system. Plus I got to have a BBQ chicken wrap and sweet potato fries while we were at the Studio Movie Grill.

Last night we watched Willie Wonka (the real one) on ABC family channel, and they cut out the part where they ride on the crazy boat. That's not right. Did anyone see the Johnny Depp one? Was there singing in that one?

Today we got a Christmas card from a family and I have NO IDEA who they are. It is really bugging me. It's one of those photo cards they make at Target or Walmart, and there on the card is this nice family of five all posed for their holiday picture, and on the back is a little description of what the 3 kids are up to these days, and I have never seen nor heard of them before. The only thing I can figure is that it is someone from Kev's work. I'm sort of against sending your personal family photo Christmas card to everyone from the whole office, even if you don't know them. It seems a little weird or insincere or something.

Well, I got a pot of beans awaiting me in the kitchen, and they ain't gonna cook themselves. Louisiana Red Beans and Rice with cornbread is on the meal plan for tonight. I won't even tell you how much I struggled with the meal plan this week. P.A.D.D., I tell you what.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Feelin' 7-Up...

Last night we watched Repo Man which I probably haven't seen for about 15 years. Frankly, it doesn't stand the test of time. This oft-quoted sci-fi punk movie was a staple of my college years. But last night, all the quotes that were so funny at the time, seemed really lame. I still laughed, not because it was funny, but becauses it reminded me of my friends that couldn't go a day without saying, "Let's go get sushi and not pay," or "Hi I'm Kevin, vaccuum sir?," or ,"Rodrigez brothers."
So much of the stuff we thought was great back then, probably really wasn't that great at all. But that's OK.

Question: Do the kids today still go around quoting film dialogue? Do they sit around at Denny's saying lines from "Mean Girls" or that Eminem movie?

Feel free to comment with your favorite movie quote. Please no swear words.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Here it Comes...

Here is the picture they show on the news before weather updates. It is accompanied by dramatic music. Now, I'll give you that it's really cold and it is going to sleet, but come on. The reason we have to make such a big deal out of this is that Texas is completely unprepared for temperatures below 40, and so any winter weather is huge. It's the same every year. "Tonight at 10, we'll tell YOU how to prepare for the WINTER BLAST." Then they show some people in Wal Mart buying a hat and some duraflame logs. "And don't forget the 3 P's: Pets, pipes, and plants!" Or something like that. Then they post newscasters all over town who report, "Yep, it's cold." "I think I saw a flurry." "I just saw an SUV do a 360 here on the overpass. Back to you, Chuck." It's kinda funny. Then again, I cancelled my afternoon clients, so who am I to say anything. Be careful out there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brief Window of Opportunity

Our DSL is very flakey lately. It has been down all day, but is working at the moment, so I am taking the opportunity to blog.

Today I went to breakfast with my friend John_Clarke. We went to Mecca, and it was quite a pilgrimage. It took like an hour to get there because some truck spilled a bunch of sand all over Northwest Highway and caused traffic to suck. But the food was good and it was worth the inconvenience.

Channel Five Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock is all a-flutter because we are expecting a possible "wintery mix" tomorrow. I will believe it when I see it, but I'm hoping for snow. All of you readers from the north would be making so much fun of us if you could see the weather reports down here, as if the BIG BLIZZARD is coming. Anyway, it is nice to finally have some cold Christmas-y weather. It was 89 on Saturday. That's practically 90!

Another Christmas toy party has come and gone, and in spite of my P.A.D.D., it went off without a hitch, and seemed to be a success. I had a lot of help from Kev, so thanks to him. He managed to pull off quite a feat himself, by getting the PPHPHB Vol. III CD ready in time for the party. I hope people will like it. It features lots of guests, which makes it more fun. On a related note, I was happy to see that somebody down-loaded "Sock Monkey Man" from Soundclick yesterday, which I feel is one of the more under-appreciated PPHPHB songs. I often wonder whatever became of the Sock Monkey Man, especially after Katrina and all.

Question: Does anyone know the origin of the phrase, "What the Sam Hill...?" Who is Sam Hill? And why do some people say Sam Hill, and others say Sam Hell? I am so sad that I can't ask the great Glenn Mitchell. He would know, I betcha.

Note to Marty: Can we get a field report on the status of Official LRHS Minor League Baseball Player, Tim Rall? Winter Meetings got underway yesterday, but I haven't heard much about the goings-on.

So, I'm gonna publish this now, because I fear a DSL breakdown.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lay It on the Li-eee-ine

If you ask anyone, "Who is your second favorite caterwauling Canadian rock trio?," their answer nine times out of ten will be Triumph. So one time in the 80's I went to see Triumph with a couple of my friends. Now, since it was the 80s, it was cool at the time to wear black rubber "Madonna" bracelets as far up your arms as possible. I reckon about twenty or so on each arm was about average. So there we were at the Triumph show with our Madonna bracelets. The show started and went about like all rock shows: hit, hit, new song, new song, hit, long guitar solo, long drum solo, hit with audience participation part (Now YOU sing!), unexpected cover song, hit, etc. Somewhere near the end, a stage rush is inevitable, and as usual, my friends and I ended up smashed up against the barrier in front of the stage. Then my friends got this wacky idea, and they started shooting Madonna bracelets like rubber bands at Rik Emmet, singer of Triumph. I may or may not have tried to stop them. Rik Emmet did not think this was cool. So next thing I knew, he was bent over us with a very mean look on his face. Then he held up one of his fingers at us while mouthing a swear word that starts with "f" and then he jerked his thumb toward stage left while mouthing the word "off." I was crushed. I didn't want Triumph to dislike me or my friends.
On the way home, we listened to the concert play-back on Q102. They were interviewing Rik Emmet about the show, which he said was great except for the stupid girls throwing stuff at him. I'm not sure, but I don't think Triumph has ever come back to Dallas.
And that is the story about how we got cussed out by the band at the arena rock show in front of thousands of people. Stupid Madonna. I like her now though.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Close Encounters

Thirteen weeks down, more to go than I care to think about. I am now in the second trimester, and just as everyone said, I am starting to get my energy back. The exhaustion has been replaced by what can only be described as pregnancy-induced A.D.D. I cannot seem to concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds, and this is bad because I have a lot of stuff that needs concentrating on. For example, I am having a party this weekend, but I have not done one thing to prepare for it except buy a bag of Holiday M-n-Ms at Target. I know it's not a party without M-n-Ms, but at the same time, I'm SURE it's not a party with ONLY M-n-Ms. I have also not accomplished much in the way of Christmas shopping, and I'm usually almost done by now. I have get on the ball, because we have to ship a lot of stuff this year since we're staying in Texas. Anyway, I am not going to worry about all this. I'll get everything done. Eventually.

The other night, I was worried about the baby and then I had this dream: I was standing in my house, and a bright light came down from outside. It was a UFO hovering above the house. Apparently, the aliens had come with messages from the baby, which were projected ticker-style across a light fixture on my ceiling. There were several messages, but I only remember these two:

"I am only interested in the truth"


"In the morning, I like shapes. In the afternoon time, I like shapes."

So, I'm not sure what to make of all that. Kev reckons the PPHPHB should write a shape song though, using those lyrics. I am on board with that.

Anyway, I am not worried about the baby anymore. Not because of the aliens, but because I went to the doctor and heard the baby's heartbeat which was good and strong.

I'm thinking about telling a rock and roll story in my next blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Holiday Treat

Larry Feathers has blogged!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Oh Tannenbaum

Today is a good day. One, because Kev is going to make some delicious cornmeal mush for breakfast. Two, because it is Christmas Tree Putting Up Day. Three, because dinner will be Thanksgiving left-overs.

Christmas Tree Putting Up Day is one of my favorite days of the year. I love getting out the decorations and listening to Christmas music and spending the day with Kev. Sadly, this year I can't have our traditional eggnog, but that's OK.

Time to get started...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Only in America

So apparently the new trend is this upside down Christmas tree to make room for MORE gifts. What a world, what a world. It is just embarrassing.

Thanksgiving was so great. Best meal of the year. Now my cousin Brad from Kentuckiana is here at our house playing some drums for the PPHPHB. It is fun to have special guests. He is adding a lot to the Elizaville song. It's going to turn out really good, I think.

DSL is back at last. Aaahhh.

Hope you all had a great day today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My name is Tara...

...and I am a Webaholic. We have had no DSL at our house for three days, and I am going insane. I cannot blog, I cannot check my email, I cannot look up fun facts or movie times or phone numbers or answers to random questions I have throughout the day (you'd be surprised how many of these there are).

Yesterday, we called the DSL man. He said he was coming to fix it. This was at 9:30 am. He showed up at 5:30 pm, and couldn't fix it. He was supposed to come back this morning and fix it, but Kev just called me and said it isn't fixed. (I'm in Garland, using my parents' computer which is dial-up and so very very painfully slow).

So, if I am slow to blog or answer your email, I apologize. I hope things are back to normal soon. I can't live in these pioneer conditions.

Monday, November 21, 2005


It is a very sad day, as I have just learned that the great Glenn Mitchell of KERA passed away yesterday. I listened to Glenn's show almost every day, and learned a lot from him and his guests. He will be missed.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Eleven Week Freak-Out

Kev is not an ogre. You would have laughed at me too, had you been there and seen me slumped over the table crying about spices. Kev always does his best to cheer me up. He even offered to go out and bring me back a cheeseburger.

Being pregnant can be really weird. It's like you suddenly belong to a secret club. You get immediate clearance for access to All Things Baby. You get to read books you'd normally never pick up, you get to feel like an insider at Babies R Us, you get to buy special members-only clothes. You learn more about your biology than you ever wanted to know. And people, other secret club members, begin to tell you story after story about their initiation into the club. Some stories are helpful, but others should frankly never be told. Especially to a new and secretly terrified new recruit.

The past week has been really rough. I'm very lucky to have avoided any and all morning sickness, but I feel completely run-down. I have to take a couple naps every day, and I can't get anything done. I don't want to cook because I don't want to eat. Food tastes weird. I can't get any of my chores done, and I feel completely disorganized. The books all say this is normal. The veteran club members tell me I will get my energy back for the second trimester. I hope they are right. Because how am I ever going to get anything done with a new baby if I can't do it now?

The food thing is the worst. I am supposed to be eating all this healthy food, but nothing sounds good except pizza and cheeseburgers and I have a very weird craving for gumbo. I could not eat a mushroom, which everyone knows I LOVE, if it was my only choice. And the very thought of chicken marsala, a staple, makes me queasy. It is so weird. Everyone is different when it comes to these cravings and aversions. My mom craved tomato juice, which she doesn't like, and new car smell and the Sesame Street theme song made her feel sick. My aunt Karen craved the smell of gasoline. Weird. These are the things nobody tells you until you join the club.

Anyway, here at the eleven week point, I had a little freak-out. Yesterday, I got NOTHING done. The house is a mess, we have no meal plan, and Christmas is coming way too fast. All day yesterday, all I could think was how much I wanted just one day off from being pregnant, and then there was a whole load of guilt for even thinking such a thing. I went to the grocery store this morning, which used to be a high point, but I got no joy at all. It was crowded and I couldn't make any food decisions. Then when I got home, Kev was helping me put away the groceries, and he said,"The spice cabinet is out of control," and that was it, man. I lost it. I sat down and cried like a big freak baby. Kev asked what was wrong, and I told him I want my groove back and I don't want out of control cabinets and he tried not to laugh at me, but he did, and rightly so because it was very silly to get so upset about the spice cabinet. But I think I just needed to let it out, because it wasn't really the spice cabinet after all, was it? That was just the proverbial last straw. Anyway, you don't have to come on here commenting with encouraging words. I'm OK, really I'm just venting. I know in my head that everything is going to be fine, and I will not be a terrible mother with cabinet mayhem and a dirty house and frozen dinners every night. I just got overwhelmed.

Welcome to the club.

Sunday Shout Out

Happy Second Birthday
to our favorite nephew

Wish we could be there!

Friday, November 18, 2005

I've Got a Fever...

Last night, we were treated to the episode of SNL featuring the Cowbell Skit starring Will Ferrel as "Gene" and the great and creepy Christopher Walken as Bruce Dickenson, record producer. That skit is genius. It makes me laugh all the way through, even before it starts, I crack up just in anticipation of what's to come. It was the first time Kev has seen it, and I worried he would be disappointed because of all the hype, but he laughed too. Oh, SNL, will you ever be funny again?

Kev told me that he once went to see Blue Oyster Cult in Poughkeepsie with his friend Steve. He said they had to share their table with some dude that kept chanting "BLT! BLT!" instead of "BOC!" It is unclear whether the dude was trying to be funny, or just had some serious spelling problems. I guess it's also possible that he wanted a sandwich to enjoy during the show.

For those of us from the south, Poughkeepsie seems like such a mythical made-up cartoony place, a city from the world of Bugs Bunny, but not a real place. But I assure you it is real. I have been there. It has a lot of strip malls, a couple of indoor malls, a train station, and apparently a rock venue worthy of BOC in its later years. It is the last stop on the Hudson Line, which takes you from Grand Central Station north toward beautiful Hyde Park, where Kev's parents live. In fact, I think it should henceforth be known as Poughkeepsie: The Gateway to the Hudson Valley, much like Fort Worth is Where the West Begins. That would be good pub, and Poughkeepsie needs all the help it can get.

Fun Fact: Terrible movie director Ed Wood is from Poughkeepsie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Radio Radio

Commercial radio is bad. If I'm in my car, I listen to sports talk radio in the morning and NPR from 10 until 2. But after that, I just have to flip from bad music station to bad music station and hope for the best. Sometimes I get lucky and land on MIX just as a Prince or Duran Duran song starts, but usually they are playing some kind of Dawson's Creek music. So, mostly I listen to the all-70's station or classic rock. Sadly, I usually hit a 7 minute string of annoying commercials, and if I DO get music, a lot of the typical classic rock songs are automatic punch-outs for me. Most of the Led Zeppelin catalog should just be retired, along with all Lynard Skynard, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, and Steppenwolf. And I will never figure out what is so great about Bruce Springsteen. I'll usually stick with Tom Petty, the Hollies, CCR, and even Bob Seger (as long as it isn't Old Time Rock and Roll which is the worst song ever). Fleetwood Mac is listenable too, as long as it isn't a Christine McVie song. So, it's a real crap-shoot. My tape deck is unreliable, and of course I don't have a CD player in my lame car, and somehow I don't think the Buick is worthy of satellite radio. And I can't just turn off the radio and think about math and palindromes like Kev. What I'd like to hear, and I think this would do well in Texas, is a classic country station. It would play good old stuff like Bob Wills, Hank Sr., Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, George and Tammy, etc. It would be Garth-Free All the Time. Perfect for the afternoon commute. Somebody get that going.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stroller Talk

OK, so everyone keeps talking about the stroller/car-seat combo, and I'd like to know why you think that's the best option. I saw them in the store, and they look like the dang Mars Rover, all huge and complicated. And it seems to me that it would be a drag to have to haul the car-seat in and out of the car all the time, rather than just leaving it hooked up in there. But I don't know anything about this stuff, so please offer me your words of wisdom, because if there is something about the combo that will make my life easier, I am all for that. Thanks!

LRHS Guarantee: The next blog will be baby-talk free!

Monday, November 14, 2005

I LIKE Maternity Pants! and Clint Eastwood.

This weekend, I decided to give Kev some guy time to record some stuff and make beer and whatnot, so I went to spend the night at my parents' house in the Land of Gar. JC Penney was having a huge sale on Sunday, which culminated with a "VIP" event for which you needed a special coupon but you had to wait until 4:00pm to use it. My mom had the VIP coupon, so we decided to go look at maternity clothes. But before that, since we had to wait until 4:00pm, we went to Babies R Us, just to look at stuff. It was very stressful. I have never seen so much stuff that I have no idea how to choose or use. No joke, there are about 50 or 60 different car seats to choose from, and just as many strollers, cribs, etc. How in the world are people like me and Kev supposed to know what to get? Everything was priced about the same in each category, so choosing by price won't work. And you should see how complicated the strollers are. Good grief. All I could think about was me and Kev spending hours and hours walking around Babies R Us with a notepad and Kev's ever-present tape measure, weighing the pros and cons of every high chair in the store. By the time we left, I just wanted to go home and curl up in a big defeated ball on the couch and let someone else just go pick out everything for me. I think I am going to need some help from you recent parents out there who have experience with all this new-fangled equipment.

Anyway, I had to shake it off, because there was more shopping to do.

So we got to the very very small maternity section of JC Penney, and started looking at stuff. I was a little baffled by the pants, but got some stuff to try on, and I'll be damned if I didn't like it! Marternity pants, while very weird, are so comfortable. Once I start wearing these comfy pants, I don't know how I'll ever go back to buttons and zippers. Plus, the shirts are really cute. I think I will be much better-dressed pregnant than I am now. So I got quite a few things, and thanks to my mom for getting me some stuff, and to my dad for spending so much time in the maternity section without so much as a grumble.

We celebrated my new expandable pants by going to Marble Slab for ice cream.

When I got home, Kev was still having guy weekend. He made popcorn and was about to watch Hang -Em High. I think he was hoping I'd go read or something, but I actually LOVE Clint Eastwood movies, so he said I could watch it with him as long as I didn't ask any girl questions. I got in trouble twice in the first five minutes of the movie, first because I made a sympathetic noise when there was a baby cow stuck in the water, and second when I shouted out "It's the Skipper!" when I saw Alan Hale Jr. in the posse that hangs Clint Eastwood. After that, I had to bite my tongue several times. It was all I could do not to shout "Book'em!" when Hawaii Five-o's Dan-O appeared later in the film. Anyway, Clint Eastwood is cool.

So, now it's Monday again. Kind of a drag, but at least I don't have to worry about pants anymore for a while.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


There is now a box full of Big Wheel at my parents' house.

Great Victory !

As some of you know, the bad people have been trying to get approval for oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge by sneaking it into the budget, which is immune to fillibuster. Last week, it was approved by the Senate (including a senator from Alaska!) and it seemed like all hope was lost. However, yesterday, good smart members of the House threw out the ANWR provision, and Alaska is safe once again, at least for now. It is high priority for the Bush admin to get approval for the drilling somehow, and who knows what they'll try next. Thanks to all of you who ever clicked my links and signed petitions. It is a happy day today for me, the native people of Alaska, polar bears, caribou, arctic birds and other wildlife, and good people who don't want more beautiful places destroyed for oil, rather than looking for alternative energy solutions.

UPDATE: Details below

Dear NRDC Action Fund Supporter,
Fantastic news! Late last night, after months of intense pressure from millions of pro-environment activists like you, the House leadership dropped its plan to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of the budget bill.In the end, they were forced to retreat after some 22 courageous Republican Congressmen stood their ground and promised to vote against their own party's budget if it sacrificed America's greatest wildlife refuge. With every single Democrat also opposing the budget, the leadership blinked.It was the kind of showdown at high noon that restores one's faith both in democracy and the sanctity of America's natural heritage.Make no mistake: we must now remain vigilant. Senate and House negotiators could still revive the Arctic drilling provision when they hammer out a final budget measure next month (the Senate version of the budget includes Arctic drilling).If that happens, we'll be calling on you to shore up Republican moderates in the House who have promised to oppose and defeat any such last-ditch ploy to sneak Arctic drilling into the final budget legislation.But last night's development is a stunning setback for President Bush, for Congressional leaders, and for the oil lobby -- all of whom vowed that 2005 would be the year they finally pried the Arctic Refuge out of the clenched hands of the American people.And it is a huge -- and I mean HUGE -- victory for all of us in the environmental community.Just one year ago, Washington insiders were saying that Arctic drilling was a done deal. President Bush was claiming a post-election mandate to industrialize the Arctic Refuge, and the pro-oil contingent of the Republican Party had just tightened its majority grip on both houses of Congress. You couldn't find a pundit anywhere who would give us a wisp of a chance.But millions of people like you did the impossible! Petition by petition, phone call by phone call, contribution by contribution, you helped us turn the tide in one of the toughest uphill political battles of the past decade.Although this battle may not be over, yesterday was a red letter day for the Arctic Refuge -- the greatest day since it was first protected by Congress 25 years ago -- but it is much more than that, too. It is a triumph for America. November 9, 2005 was the day that nature prevailed over corporate greed, that beauty triumphed over a dead-end energy plan. It was the day we reminded Washington that preserving wilderness is a core American value -- and that we intend to keep it that way.I know we can count on your help next month if Senate and House leaders dare to bring Arctic drilling back to the floor for a vote.
John H. AdamsNRDC Action Fund. . .

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Good Time-Waster for Fun

Here is something fun to play around with if you are bored at work, courtesy of Uncle Pat. You can look up your name and other names to see a graph of their popularity/ranking over the past century. Pretty interesting stuff.

Tabitha - One tough kitty.
I will miss you too.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Learn While You Eat

The other day we ordered some food from Betty's Best Around Chinese Restaurant, which is not the best around, but it isn't bad. Kev is suspicious, because as far as we know, no-one works there that is actually Chinese. The people on the phone and the delivery guys are usually surly white people. Anyway, our fortune cookies from Betty's Best Round this time included not only the usual lotto numbers and fortune, but also a Learn Chinese lesson on the back. So now, if we ever go to China and need to find a store (shang-dian) or a medical doctor (yi-sheng), we are in good shape. Personally, though, I think Texas fortune cookies should have a Learn Spanish lesson instead. It would certainly be more practical. I think I'll write a letter to the fortune cookie people...

Ode to a Toy

We went to SuperTarget on Saturday, and guess what they had: real Big Wheels! Oh, how I loved the Big Wheel when I was a kid. You could ride it around and make it skid or spin out. So much fun. Others preferred the Green Machine, but not me. Anyway, this Big Wheel at Target was awesome. It is not some re-designed high-tech fake Big Wheel (like the Easy-Bake Microwave - bah!), but the real old skool Big Wheel with the bucket seat and giant black wheel and streamers on the handlebars, just like the original. A toy from a simpler, and in my opinion better, time, when kids did not need light-up shoes and new game systems every year and other such flash. I have put my parents in charge of making sure there is a Big Wheel in my kid's future. I am afraid if we wait to get one when the baby is old enough, the Big Wheel will be gone again.

I remember when I was too big to ride the Big Wheel. My knees started hitting the handlebars, and I tried for a while to ride "knees-out" but it was just too hard to pedal that way. My brother and my cousins could still ride it and I was so sad. Then I got my pogo stick and things improved. But I will tell you it has crossed my mind as an adult on more than one occasion that I wish there were adult-sized Big Wheels so I could take one last ride. Ah, yes.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good Fun Sunday

Yesterday was such a beautiful day here in Texas. A little on the warm side for me, but sunny and breezy. Just the kind of day you'd give anything for in August.
In the morning, we walked to the Garden Cafe to meet our friends John and Karen for breakfast. It was really fun, and this time they got our orders just right. I was worried, so I placed my order very slowly, waiting for the lady (we call her Betty because it is a good waitress name and she has Betty Page hair) to write each thing down before telling her the next. However, while we were placing our order, chaos broke out. The CD player started skipping and a customer came up to check on why she didn't get her food yet and Betty became very flustered. I didn't have high hopes for getting what I asked for. But when they brought our food, they got it right, except for some reason they put my gravy on Kev's plate (why would he want gravy with his french toast?) and I had to remind them about my cheese grits, which they returned with promptly. I like the Garden Cafe.
After breakfast, we walked over to J and K's house for a tour. They live in a fabulous big house built a long time ago when builders took pride in their work and showed it in the subtle but interesting architectural details, like cove ceilings and carved staircase columns and lead-glass art windows and cool light fixtures and groovy tile.
After hanging out there for a while, we headed home, and I got pretty tired walking with a full belly from breakfast. Kev said we should stop and rest, but I just wanted to slow down a little. Kev has longer legs than me, so I have to take three steps for every two of his, and the pace was getting to me. "I'm walking for two," I told him, but he just laughed at me. I get laughed at off and on quite a bit. Anyway, Kev sat down in the grass by the post office, and after some convincing, I sat too, even though I don't like sitting in grass, and do you know what? I got a spider in my hair, which is exactly why I don't like sitting in the grass, but Kev got it out for me, and didn't laugh at me anymore all day until dinner, when I asked him if the Heimlich Maneuver (I bet I spelled both of those words wrong) works every time if it is executed proberly. I suppose to him it DID seem like sort of an out-of-left-field question, but it was logical to me, because I was sitting there eating my Chinese soup with crispy wide noodles, wondering what would happen if I choked. Does anyone out there know how to give the HM to a large pregnant woman? Is it safe to give the regular HM to a not-yet-large-but-still-pregnant woman? These are the things I worry about.
So, it was a pretty good weekend. Hope yours was good.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Deja Vu All Over Again

Seems like I just cleaned the house, and it's house-cleaning day again. The bathrooms are done, so I am taking a short break before doing the rest. I hate cleaning the house, but I guess it's better than being at work. Unless your job is cleaning houses. Then it's about the same I guess. Anyway, I am almost done, and today's treat for cleaning the house will be some delicious homemade pumpkin bread featuring the healthy goodness of Vitamin A. Kev thinks having a clean house should be reward enough, but it just doesn't quite cut it for me. Don't get me wrong, I love it when the house is clean. But I gotta have some sort of tangible incentive. That's just how I roll.

Dilemma: Today at Central Market I received, with my purchase, a free set of four stemless wine glasses. They are REALLY nice. But our kitchen has reached maximum capacity. We have nowhere to store these lovely glasses. I think it might be time for a house overhaul.

Hey, is it just me, or have you Dallas people noticed that we seem to be having a more colorful fall than usual? I was paying attention today when I was driving around the neighborhhood, and there is a lot of red and yellow on the trees. Especially the maples, crape myrtles, and pear trees. It's kinda pretty (flingo). So look at the trees today. It won't last very long.

Weird Trend

I have always been a one sneeze sneezer, never a mulit-sneezer, but recently, I sneeze twice about 3/4 of the time. I think that's weird.

Give the People What They Want

And what they want is:


Monday, October 31, 2005

Thank You

Thanks to everybody for the nice comments about the baby (and for the advice about pants!). We really appreciate all your nice thoughts.

Frankly, I knew it was going to take something of this magnitude to get a certain Mr. Patrick C. to comment on the LRHS. Now we will expect to hear from you more often!

The choosing of the name is probably going to be the hardest part, since Kev and I are the world's worst decision-making duo ever. It takes us over an hour just to decide which take-out place to order from (and there are only about three choices). Kev's plan is that I am to make my list, and he will make his "name spreadsheet," and one day we'll just sit down with them and "have it out." Doesn't that sound like fun? We are doing much better on our list of names we will NOT choose, which includes Potsie, Skipper, Bender, Helmut, Wally, and Beaver, just to name a few. It's much easier to name a sock monkey, I tell you what.

I Got Got Got, Got No Pants

Deep heavy sigh.

Took my new work pants to the tailor down the street last week, because let's be honest, I'm never gonna hem them myself. Went to pick them up just now.

"Sorry. They not ready. Be ready tomorrow," said Master Fu, the tailor.


I have to leave for work soon and I have no pants. I guess I am going to have to wear the old brown cords I wore last time I went to work. I hope no one notices.

And my pants problems are only going to get more complicated over the next few months.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

PPHPHB Breaking News

As you may or may not know, the members of the PPHPHB, T and K, have been miserably ineffective at recruiting a horn section for the band. So, we are going to have a baby, and are hoping it can learn the trumpet. We are very excited to share this news with our family and friends. Below are the answers to some FAQs:

  • I am 8 weeks along, and young Satchmo is due to arrive on the 9th of June.
  • Yes, we are planning to find out, as LarryFeathers puts it, which kind of a kid it is.
  • I am feeling mostly fine other than tired and indigestiony at times.
  • No, we haven't thought of any names yet, and we plan to keep that a secret once we do.
  • No, we are not naming it Satchmo. Although, if - I mean when - we ever get a dog...

So that's our big news. Some of you are probably thinking, "But Tara, you are the biggest wimp I know. How ever will you pull this off?" And it's funny, I never thought I could do it either, but yesterday for the first time in my life, I let a lady sick a needle in my arm and I didn't even really flinch. So I reckon this will be nowhere near as bad as I have built it up to be in my head over the years. I am going to be brave and try not to complain too much and make everyone proud of me.

Meanwhile, the blogging will continue, and I will try not to beat you down with too much baby talk.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Feed the World

Well, the holiday season is approaching, and this I can tell by the arrival of my Heifer International Holiday Gift Catalog. I got it yesterday for the third or fourth year in a row. Not sure how they got my name, probably from Sierra Club or Audubon Society or something.

Now in case you don't know what Heifer International is, let me tell you. Heifer International is an organization that provides farm animals to people of the world, as well as training in how to use said farm animals to better their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Through the holiday gift catalog, ordinary people like me can purchase animals, or if that's too expensive, shares of animals, in the names of people we like, as a holiday gift. So, if I wanted to get you, for example, a gift, I could purchase a couple shares of a goat ($10 ea.) to be given to someone in say, Uganda, in your honor. Then, once there are enough shares to make a whole goat ($120), the Uganda person receives the goat and learns how to care for it and milk it and so forth. And if they get two goats, they can raise more goats to milk or sell or give to extended family members. It is like the whole "teach a man to fish" thing. Not only can you send people goats, but also cows (obviously), llamas, sheep, buffalo, HONEYBEES, and more!

Before you start rolling your eyes, think about it for a minute. I think it is a really nice idea. And Heifer International isn't rinky-dink either. It is endorsed by such people as Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, the moms from Malcolm in the Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond, Ed Asner, Walter Cronkite, and the great President Jimmy Carter. It has been around since 1944, and has won several Humanitarian awards. This may be the year I finally get my brother a goat for Christmas.

If you would like to get a farm animal gift for someone you like, or just learn more about heifer International, you can go to:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mittens, I will miss you.

T's Goals for Fall/Winter

Now that the weather is bearable, I have decided to set some goals for the next several months. We'll see how long it lasts.

  • Walk to more places in the neighborhood.
  • Go to the Make store and make stuff
  • Incorporate more orange into my life
  • Cook one or two new soups each month
  • Sew some stuff, starting with hemming my work pants*
  • Plant some bulbs
  • Participate in the band more often
  • Keep the blog a happy place

* I finally got some work pants, but they are way too long. Since I have failed to get them hemmed yet, I almost had to wear the dreaded Johnny Cash pants to work yesterday. Crisis averted when I found some old brown cords. Phew!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Very Housepants Weekend

There has been a lot of band practice this weekend. We are in panic mode sorta, only a couple months to Christmas, and we're still a couple of songs short of Volume III. Kev is recording now, and I am being quiet and blogging.

Last night we went to a funny party at our neighbors' house (Hank and Ana). It was Hank's birthday so he grilled fajitas which were very tasty. Parties at their house are always interesting. Ana is from Venezuela, so there are always many Spanish-speaking people there. They sit in the driveway. Hank's friends sit on the deck near the grill. His most notorious friend, Bleeding Roy, is always there with his very scraggly dog. Roy is pretty much on the fringe. He looks a little like Dennis Hopper, doesn't seem to care much about cleanliness, has questionable teeth, and is very political. We call him Bleeding Roy because the first time we met him at a Hank party, he had blood running all down his leg, which he didn't seem to mind or even notice. Last night, he suddenly threw his arms into the air and shouted, "Bush sucks! Right everybody?" No one really responded, but I don't think he cared. Kev wants to write a song about Bleeding Roy, but I don't really want to have to think about him that much. I do want to write a song about a girl that Kev used to ride the bus with because her name is Francine Canteen, which I think is funny. But I don't know how far you could really take a song like that. Kev told my brother and I about Francine at lunch yesterday. He also suggested that my brother wear a cape to testify in court on Monday. He said something else funny too, but I forget what it was. He's been on quite a roll lately.

When we got home from the party, Kev was lying on the couch with his eyes closed, and then suddenly he became very animated, which if you know Kev, is a little unusual. "What is it?", I asked. He held up a finger for a moment, then said, "What is special about this sentence: Tara saw Bob was a rat?" I said, "Oh, it is a palindrome!" Kev was very happy, because apparently he has spent many hours trying to come up with a palindromic sentence. Mission accomplished! So, good for Kev. Later he changed his palindrome to Tara saw Otto was a rat. Then he looked at some guy's internet palindromes and got all defeated because they were really complicated.

This morning we went to the Garden Cafe on Junius for breakfast. It is my new favorite breakfast place. The food is great, but here is a warning: You will get food that only closely resembles what you order. I ordered a whole grain pancake, bacon, and a side of cheese grits. I got a buttermilk pancake, ham, and a side of cheese grits. Kev ordered a mushroom omelet, whole wheat toast, and a hash brown. He got a omelet with no mushrooms, a biscuit, and a hashbrown. That's OK though, it was all good. I think maybe the lady at the counter must have been hearing impaired or something. At least I got my grits, which was what I wanted the most, and I got to try Kev's biscuit, which was one of the best biscuits I've ever had. So, go to the Garden Cafe on Junius if you can, and call me if you do cause I wanna go.

It's COLD!!!!! At last. Tomorrow I will wear my Nepalese daisy pancho.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Cousins are Cool

I have lots of cool cousins and sometimes a couple of them even take the time to read my blog, even though I am sure they have very little if any interest in birds or eggplants or McMansions. One of them is Ben that I told you about before, the one who saved the cat from the drywall. Ben is very internet-savy, and has started an internet radio station and he put some of the PPHPHB songs on it, so check out Beancast by clicking the link below:

Thanks, Bean!

PS: If you go there, request one of the Bean songs. He can play the banjo. Plus, I didn't know this, but he can sing pretty well, which you can hear on his song Blogger Man. You won't get the jokes, they are very inside, but it's still good. (Warning: There is at least one really bad curse word in that song.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Movie about Pants Blog.

Kev is funny. When I got home from Paris, I told him a list of all the things we did including watching "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants." He raised one eyebrow. "What?," I asked. "Well, it has sisterhood in it, and I don't like that, but it has pants in it, and I am intrigued by that," he said. But when I told him it was about 4 teenage girls who come across some magial blue jeans that bring them closer together through their various adventures, he was right out. And that's OK, he would have hated it and made lots of sarcastic grumbly noises if he had watched it, like I do when he makes me watch the Matrix movies. It's not my usual kind of movie either, but it was pretty OK for what it was, and just fine for a slumber party with one's high school friends. I'd give it 2 1/2 penguins for being average. Kev stayed home and watched a very violent Bruce Willis Comic Book movie, and that was good because it means I didn't have to watch it.
Also in Paris, we watched Spanglish, which was more my speed. Three 1/2 penguins for that. Adam Sandler can be good when he stops being Mr. Annoying Man.

All this movie talk reminds me of this dude named Chris Arnold who used to have a bad show on the sports talk radio station and then he did some stuff for Mavericks TV which was also bad. Chris Arnold was famous for being a germophobe, so instead of shaking hands with people, he would present his fist to be tapped as if playing "one-potato, two-potato, etc." I am not very street, but I think this is called a "dap." I met Chris Arnold at my friend Gordon's wedding because they used to work together, so I did an experiment and stuck out my hand for him to shake, which he did without the slightest hint of repulsion. So either the germophobe rumors were exaggerated, or Chris Arnold made a b-line to the church bathroom to wash off my handshake immediately after. Chris Arnold is a bad broadcaster, but he may be on to something with the dapping. I am not a big fan of the handshake in these days of SARS and bird flu. So let's all bring back the dap. Mmm-hmm.

Eggplant News for You

Most of what I know about eggplant, I learned from Kev, except the above recipe which I learned from the internet after I got comfortable dealing with eggplant on my own. Baba Ganouj (click above link for recipe) is a delicious dip that you can use like hummus. It is good on skewered chicken, pita bread, vegetables, whatever. The recipe says the yogurt is optional...I used it and it made it nice and creamy. It is a very easy recipe. And it is really delicious. Since you will have to buy tahini, you can make hummus too.

If you are doing a recipe that calls for an "aubergine", that just means eggplant. You will see it that way in European and Indian recipes.

One good thing to do is grill eggplant. It is very good and easy. You just slice it and brush it with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper or whatever you want. Before you cook eggplant, here is a secret: It is a good idea to slice it ahead of time and sprinkle both sides with salt and let it sit for about 20 or 30 minutes. The salt will make the eggplant "sweat," and that makes it much less bitter. When you're ready to cook it, just rinse off the salt and pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel.

If there is anything else that I left out, Kev will comment. He is the eggplant man.

Eggplant Update:
Tonight, the show Good Eats on Food Network was all about eggplant. Isn't that weird? Anyway, Alton Brown demonstrated squeezing the moisture out of the sliced eggplant slices after you rinse the salt (see above tip)...that helps keep it from becoming all mushy when it cooks. He had a good marinade recipe for grilled or broiled eggplant, which is probably on The eggplant parm he did, though, couldn't hold a candle to Kev's.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bisque, Chiggerfest, and my Lucky Day

Sunday night, and I am sad the weekend is almost over. Kev is in the other room playing the banjo, and I can't really think of a better way to end the weekend than that.
Friday we did indeed go to Daddy Jack's with our 10 dollar coupon for a great dinner of lobster bisque (they weren't kidding about the velvety!), and I had the sauteed redfish with a delicious lemon butter sauce. Please go to Daddy Jack's if you are looking for good seafood. Warning: It is cold in there and the waiters could use a little work on their tired jokes.
Saturday morning Julie picked me up and we headed north-east to Paris. It was a nice drive up through Sherman, Bonham, and Honey Grove, and we saw one little maple tree with red leaves which obviously mistook its location for Vermont because it was in all of its autumn glory. Good for you, maple tree!
When we got to Whitney's, we decided to go to Chiggerfest which is in Cooper, Texas. When you say "Cooper," you must pronounce the "oo" like in "hook," NOT like in "toot." Chiggerfest was perhaps the saddest Fest I have ever attended. There wasn't much going on in the little town square except 3 bounce houses, a so-so band playing classic rock covers, a food booth which had run out of nachos but had plenty of fried twinkies for all, people selling the ever-popular be-spangled sequin purses, and some volunteer firefighters with a couple of smokers selling hot dogs and hamburgers. So we each had a hot dog and hit the road back to Paris. The t-shirts were not at all cool or even campy, so we passed. (Sorry, wouldn't have wanted one of them though, they were lame).
After going to three different stores only to find out that they had already put away their supply of charcoal for the "winter," (it was 90 degrees yesterday) we finally found some at home depot, and Whitney used it to grill us some tasty grilled chicken for dinner. We did some arts and crafts and watched a movie about pants, and went to bed at midnight! I never stay up that late. It was big fun all around. Thanks to Whitney for hosting and Julie for driving (and not talking on her cell phone while doing so!).
Got home this afternoon, and guess what happened! Kev surprised me and made me my very favorite meal: Eggplant parmesan, which is one of his specialities. He is very nice, and an excellent cook. I wish you could all have had some, but you'd have had to fight me for it had you been here. There are at least two more meals worth of Eggplant Parmesan, and it is even better left over than the first time around. So lucky me, and thanks to Kev.
Busy week doing hearing screenings this week...a little extra money, but a little less time to blog. Hope you all had a nice weekend too.

Friday, October 14, 2005


So, I just got the mail. In the mail was a $10.00-off Daddy Jack's coupon, which is the place with the velvety lobster bisque to which we are going when Kev gets home. Plus, I got a package from my cool friend Shannon, who is so Hollywood that she has apparently changed her name to Coyote, ...a belated birthday pack of cool snacks from Trader Joe's and some burned CDs of good music I like. If you are looking for a good healthy snack, try dry-roasted edamame (lightly salted) from Trader Joe's. You may have to ask your friends in LA to send them though.

Thanks, Shannon Kay!

Friday at Last

Even though I don't work very much, I have had a weirdly busy week. But now it's Friday and the house is pretty much clean and the weekend is upon us. I anticipate fun this weekend, which will start when Kev gets home because we are going to Daddy Jack's and I am going to have their lobster bisque which was described on the internet restaurant review as "velvety."
Tomorrow morning, I am off to Paris with Julie for an overnight visit to Casa Whitney. We are going to grill chicken and watch movies and do arts and crafts, and there is talk of driving to Cooper for Chiggerfest 2005, but it may be too hot. The main reason Whitney wants to go is so she can have a t-shirt that says Chiggerfest, and who can blame her for that?
Speaking of Whitney, she was nice enough to visit the bee-keeping supply headquarters in Paris and had them send me a catalog. I can now order a bee suit if I so desire. I think the whole bee-keeping thing is pretty complicated judging from all the various supplies you need to have in order to do it. Perhaps it isn't the hobby for me.
I will miss Kev this weekend, but I think he will enjoy some quiet time around the house. I think he is still recovering from going to the fair last weekend. I felt sorry for him because his feet hurt so bad and his car got pooped on, so I told him I'd go to Guitar Center with him sometime if he wants me to. Sometimes when the Rush Dude is at it, it is like we LIVE at Guitar Center. Maybe he'll take the weekend off from practicing his 3-song repertoire. No more sign of the cops, so I don't know what that was all about yesterday.
Well, have a good weekend, everybody. Tales of Paris coming soon...

Language Question

Some people say "deserted island" and some people say "desert island." Which is correct? It seems to me that deserted, as in uninhabited, would make more sense. Desert island sounds more like an island that is dry and covered with sand and cacti and snakes. These are the things I think about when the phone rings at 4:30 in the morning and I can't go back to sleep. Thanks for your help.

By the way, if you are lucky and get to go to Maine, you can visit Mount Desert Island, but it is pronounced like "dessert."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Alarming Trend

It is getting dangerously close to 90 degrees.

Bad Boys Bad Boys...

It is 8am and a cop just drove down my street very slowly, pausing briefly at Rush Knucklehead's house. Perhaps something is afoot...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Two of my least favorite humans are teaming up. I just read a headline on that said Oprah is helping Rachel Ray develop a talk show. Good grief.

My Trip to the State Fair of Texas

Howdy folks! I am going to tell you about our trip to the State Fair of Texas on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, the above fake cowboy is the legendary Big Tex. He is tall and creepy and top-heavy, and he has an animatronic chin which moves up and down throughout the day as he makes announcements about what time to see the pig races or what's going on at the Chevrolet Main Stage or whatever else is happening. Trivia: Big Tex has on the world's largest blue jeans. (You can click on any picture to make it big!)
When we got to the fair, we sat down because Kev's feet already hurt. Then we went to the classic car corral and saw a bunch of cool old cars including my favorite, a 1963 sea green and white Rambler station wagon with sparkly green interior. Then we tried to go to the pig race, but it was full, so we went to the Bird Show! Yay!

The bird show was good as it is every year, but Kev is right, they need some new schtick. The jokes are always the same. But we got to see this cool eagle up close as well as the owl below, and some various hawks and other birds. So I didn't mind the recycled jokes.

At the end of the bird show, I made a contribution to Bird Conservation by giving this raven a five dollar bill to put in the box. Ravens are cool and very intelligent. I am NOT pinching the bird show man...Kev just snapped the picture at a rather unfortunate moment.

This is the Texas Star Ferris Wheel which we didn't ride this year. It is fun because at the top, you can see for miles since North Texas is flat. We DID ride...
...the FUN SLIDE! It was bigger than the Dutchess County Fun Slide, but sadly a little less fun because I was so tired from the climb, I didn't fully enjoy the sliding down part. Oh well, live and learn.
This is a sculpture of Elvis made of butter. It was also very creepy, and frankly didn't look much like Elvis, but it was funny. Speaking of Elvis, below is a food booth selling one of the King's favorite snacks:
If you can't read the sign, it says "Fried peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwich." We didn't eat one of these, but my dad did the other day when my parents went. He said it was pretty good. We had corndogs instead (my one corndog for the year) and later I had pizza and Kev had tamales. I wish I had tamales because the pizza wasn't very good, but I wanted something different since I have tamales every year, plus my brother's Mexican friend said tamales have pig face in them. The fair has just about every kind of food you could want, except, unfortunately, fried mushrooms and milkshakes.
At the end of the fair, we decided to stay for the TXU energy extravaganza light show and fireworks. It was lame and we left before it was over. I do not recommend it. We got the shuttle (which almost crashed!) back to Kev's car which he had spent the morning washing and polishing with great care, and found that it now had lots of bird poop on it, so Kev wasn't very happy. So we came home and cleaned off the poop and thankfully Rush Knucklehead was taking the night off because I think Kev needed some quiet time.

So that is about it, except for the stuff I left out. I had a great time as usual. Can't wait until next year!

Tuesday Shout Out

Have fun today!

PS. Wasn't Wallace and Gromit great?