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: