Thursday, June 30, 2011

Which Way Did They Go? Which Way Did They Go?

It’s almost the July 4th weekend.
Talk around Mi Vida Loca is centered on “what to do.”
ThatManILove may be working, so that will ground us.
But...if he’s are our choices:
Stay home.  I’ve already booked a Saturday morning baby photography session.  Which will be great fun, this baby is gorgeous!!

Stay home.  Photograph. Do some bookkeeping.  And finish painting the living room. And watch my beautiful flowering plants start to die now that we're officially down to watering 2 days a week.  Please, Lord, cause it to rain on Texas!

Go west and north to the cool pines of Ruidoso.  But our favorite “living the lifestyles of the rich and famous (in our favorite Turkey Ridge house) one week at a time” isn’t available on VRBO.  Wah.  That ManILove is spoiled to this particular house.  Scroll through the pictures and you’ll see why we love this mountain getaway. Gorgeous!

Go north to the tip of Texas and watch Elder Son participate in a Ranch Rodeo.

  1. This would be fun and just by virtue of going north, it might be a bit cooler.
  2. He stands to win big bucks, and by golly, if anyone needs it, he does, because...
  3. Definition of "Rodeo" = OneHeckofanExpensiveSport
    Stay home. Invite our other family in from the Big D area so we can spoil our godchild, her mommy, and her nanna - it’s always a blessing to see them.

    We could combine some of these, right?  Have our rodeo and hang out with extended family, too?  And who knows, maybe Younger Son and his new bride will show up?

    Ah, but then, if north, to the rodeo...what to do with the Wonderdogs?  Since I've not booked doggy day-care, we’ll have to find a hotel that allows pets, so we can take them with us.   Which would bring a whole ‘nother dimension to being a rodeo spectator.  Zack thinks when Elder Son ropes a steer that he’s supposed to go retrieve it, just like he does when I shoot a bird.  Well, he is a hunting dog, after all.  And he also thinks the spectator stands at arenas are uncomfortable.  I know.  He told me so.  Right after he yanked me down them when he tried to retrieve that last steer at Tahoka.

    Okay, I’m going to bed to sleep on it all.  ThatManILove and I will discuss it in the morning.  
    Whatever we decided, I’m sure you’ll be informed, somehow.  My gentle readers, I wonder, how do you stand the suspense?  Our lives are SOOOO exciting.  (Yawn.)
    Yep.  I’m tired. 
    Please forgive my sarcasm.  I'm a bit sleep deprived.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Gotta Know When To Fold 'Em

    I received an invitation today from the Islands of the Bahamas.
    I should take them up on it.  It's probably legit.  It looks legit.  It even has a Facebook push to it.  But nah...

    I’m scared to put my information in the blanks.  I mean, isn't that a form of phishing?  Though I'd love to go fishing in the Bahamas.  For fish, people.  For fish.
    Color me chicken.

    Speaking of chicken, surely you’ve seen this... blog post - it cracked me up.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    The Whole Foods Rap Video

    Ever been to Whole Foods Market?  You know, for bok choi?  Or some delicious fruit you cannot even say, much less find at your own local grocer?

    Well, Fog and Smog have pretty much got it faded with this funny video.  And seriously, they've got the WF experience down pretty much as it happens, fo' realz...

    Thanks, Eric, for the rock..."in the Whole Foods parking lot"!!

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Janie's Got a Gun...Concealed Carry Certification - Sound Off!

    We took our Concealed Handgun Certification class yesterday.  It was fun, but man, it was a hot day - I think the high was 111 degrees.
    Though we own pistols, I had never before shot a pistol.   Can you believe that?  The shotgunner I am, yet I’d never shot a pistol?  Craziness.  I've been missing out, I can tell you that!
    I have a Kimber .45 caliber auto, and ThatManILove has a Beretta .40 caliber auto.  He thought that it would be better for me to shoot the Beretta, since I’d not shot before.  It was definitely a lighter gun!
    We all met at the Stripes convenience store at Loop 250 and Big Spring St.  My brother and sister-in-law joined the class, as well as some of our friends.  It was a great group.  Our instructor was Dennis Morris, and he is an awesome, entertaining instructor.  
    The class was very informative, and they helped each of us with our guns, teaching us gun safety along the way.
    Then, we started shooting.  We each had targets, and we lined up in a straight line, fifteen yards from our targets.  It was a little nerve-wracking, but fun, as well.
    And I realized within my first five shots...I don’t know how to aim.  I shoot my shotgun with both eyes open, which is a huge plus in sporting clays.  I don’t use the bead on the end of my shotgun.  If your shotgun is mounted correctly, you will basically shoot where you look, and with a little practice, you’ll hit your clay targets.
    Isaac Urias was assisting Mr. Morris with the class, and will soon have his instructor’s license.  I told Isaac what I thought was going on, and he helped me.  He told me I could try to aim with both eyes open, but I found it easier to shut my left eye.  My shooting improved immensely once I adjusted to aiming.  Isaac was very good and helped me with the little things, like changing out the clip with my left hand so my right hand never leaves the pistol, etc.  He’s going to be a great instructor.
    Finally, we were ready for the range qualification test.  Requirements are that you fire a total of 50 rounds at a B-27 target, scoring at least 175/250, shooting 20 rounds from the 3 yard line, 20 rounds from the 7 yard line, and 10 rounds from the 15 yard line.  I scored a respectable 244/250, so I was very pleased.  ThatManILove, who says he can’t shoot, scored a 248/250!
    Afterwards, we broke for lunch, and then went for our classroom portion of the test.  I learned so much!  I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
     We're going to go shooting this week, to become even more familiar with our weapons - the instructors encouraged us to practice, practice, practice.  

     I'm often alone, in different towns and places, and thought this might be a perfect solution for protection purposes.  Today, however, I’m warring with the responsibilities of carrying a concealed weapon, and all that carrying entails.

    What about you?  Have you ever thought about carrying a gun for protection?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Dancing With Jesus

    Darling sweet girly-girl,

    Your aunt Patty texted me tonight about ordering some of your pictures, so I reviewed the albums of your family, and had to write you a letter.  As a sometimes photographer, I see lots of things and people through the lens of my camera.  Last year, I was asked by your mommy to take some photos of you and your brother, and I was blessed to  “see” you. 

    I’ve known your mommy since she was a little girl, not too many years older than you were in our session.  You, your brother Eli, and your mommy made my day, that Sunday.  I picked y’all up at your house, and we got Starbucks.  We went to the museum, and y’all posed and played and smiled for me.  We went to the lake, and you talked to the geese and ran scared, long hair streaming, when the gander came after you.  You took your red sparkly flats off, and hung your bare feet through the rails over the lake, and I remember you had on red toenail polish that matched your sparkly red headband. 

    You three were an absolute joy to photograph, and I fell in love with you all.  I saw how much you love your mommy and your big brother, and how much they love you, their sweet Cameron.  You flirted for the camera, you ran, you climbed, you played with flowers, you and Eli held each other, and both of you held your mommy.  You did everything I asked you, and more.  I took the most amazing shots of y’all, but it wasn't about me - it was about y'all.  You all have so much love, it easily transfers to the photographs.  In one photo, a sunbeam is shining down on the three of you, it looks so special, and you all are so beautiful. Even now, when I review the photos, I can see your heart.  How much you love.  How much you care.  How you embraced everything.  You are fearless. And beautiful.

    Little Boogie, your mommy calls you.  And Cam-Cam, you are to your big brother Eli.
    Your special name for your mommy is Ma moo, and Eli's special name, LiLi.

    Girly-girl, I know you had an amazingly fun 6th birthday party with Jesus yesterday.  I bet Jesus danced with you, the way he did the day He welcomed you into Heaven.   I can see you in a red sparkly poofy petticoated dress, much like your red recital dress, spinning and whirling.  Words cannot express, but I know.  It gives me peace. 

    Oh, you beautiful little girly-girl.  I miss your glorious smile, your twinkling eyes, your beautiful hair, your adventurous spirit, the way you loved on your mommy and your big brother, and every single person you met. You met life with wide-open arms, and to love and be loved was your absolute design factor.  I am so honored to have met you.  

    We miss you, Cameron.

    You are forever loved.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Blogger Meet - Gwynne and Jules

    So...did I tell you that when we left Alaska, we went to Seattle for a couple of days?
    And while in Seattle, I remembered that my bloggy friend Gwynne had relocated to this city?
    And that while I was there, I had a brain wave, and remembered to email her - FRIDAY night?
    And that Saturday morning, she and her sweet grandson Julian came into Seattle to meet us at Pike’s Market?
    Here they are, crossing to street to meet us.

    Gwynne and Julian

    Here they are, crossing to street to meet us.  And in “meet us”, I mean, meet us!  We had never before met!  I love meeting bloggers, especially one that has part of my heart like Gwynne does.  She is such a sweet, smart lady - I wish she was still blogging!  Gwynne was one of my first blogging friends, and I met her through Eric, the author of The Fireant Gazette.  They are the ones who encouraged me to start writing.  (I guess they were done with my smart-alec comments - pay back is, well, you know...)

    Flirting with me in the Starbucks
    Her Radko (thatmansheloves!) had to go out of town, so we didn't get to meet him...but ThatManILove and I will be back, and will get to visit with all of them.  And maybe hopefully surely take a sail on their 50’ boat.  Oh, yeah, baby.  That will be fun!

    Julian loves music, and these guys were good!
    Speaking of babies, Jules (as I call him) takes up most of Gwynne’s time, when she’s not at her full-time CPA gig (I told you she was smart!), so that’s why she’s not blogging anymore.
    Loving the music.  He wants to dance.

    And this child is one fast-running little dude.  He is so beautiful and so engaging.

    Mr. Music Aficianad

    He loves music.  Here, he's escaping the stroller to shake a boot dance dance dance.
    He's a very strong boy!
    Dance, dance, dance!!
    But when he’s done, he’s done.  I caught his meltdown on camera, and Gwynne loved it!
    I love them, and can’t wait ‘til we head that way again, and we get to hang out with them.
    Thanks for taking the time, Gwynne and Jules!  It was our great pleasure!

    Beautiful three year old ALL boy!
    It's never boring around here!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Beautiful, Furry Things - Part 6 of the "North, To Alaska!" Series

    I have lots to tell you, but I’m exhausted.  Please bear with me as I catch my breath.
    Instead, I’ll just leave you with a couple more Alaska pictures.  Eye candy from Alaska.
    I’ll catch up tomorrow.  I promise.  And our host Ron took the moose pix.  I cannot tell a lie.

    Mommy and Baby in the Front Yard of Eagle Head Cabins

    Aren't They Beautiful?

    I was waiting on this bad boy.  He's scratching his head.

    He's a yearling brown bear (really kind of blonde), about 6' tall.

    A little blurry.  I might have been shaking when I took this.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Reds and Rods (3, That Is) - Fishing the Kenai For Reds - Part 5 of the "North, to Alaska!" Series

    Rod and Steve on the Kenai River

    I met Rod in February at our company's executive leadership meeting in San Antonio.  I had heard he was the man to know in Alaska.  Rod told me he'd "hook" us up, just to give him the dates and he would introduce us to people in the know regarding fishing, accommodations, etc.

    He dang sure did do everything he promised, and more!  We have had such a good time.  Between Rod and his Denise, and Ron & Denise Maddox of Eagle Head Cabins, we couldn’t have asked for a better vacation.  They pretty much slam-dunked the best concierge service we’ve ever had.  And that’s saying a lot, because we are no strangers to five star hotels.

    Rod, setting up our rods.

    Rod and Denise came and joined us one afternoon at the cabins, bringing their drift boat and equipment.  Rod and ThatManILove grilled supper - Rod grilled salmon he had caught that afternoon, and TMIL grilled tenderloin. Delectable!  It was amazing, and Ron and Denise, the Eagle Head Cabins proprietors, joined us for supper, along with Anna, another coworker of Rod’s and mine.  We had so much fun!  Rod and Denise stayed in one of the cabins, and we were up and about at 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Waders, rain gear, lunches packed, ready to go...and off we went, to the Kenai River to fish for reds.
    Denise, up on the steep bank!
    ThatManILove with his first red.
    I was a little hesitant, since I bunged up my left knee (I broke my right knee in the 90’s) but put a brace on it and roped up.
    We floated down the Kenai to Rod and Denise’s favorite fishing hole, dropped anchor, and he and Denise began to teach us how to fish for reds.
    Now, every day, we learned a different technique - one for halibut, one for King Salmon, and now, this technique for reds.  We were all in the water - I, up to my waist.  The scenery and the river were absolutely beautiful.  The sun would come out, then go back into the clouds, then back out again.  It was a very peaceful, beautiful place.

    Starbucks, baby.  A great fishing tool.

    I could feel the cold, but knew I wasn’t wet - I had on waders!  It was cool.  Until I heard this:  “Oh, s***!”  I looked to my right, and ThatManILove had this look on his face.  I only wondered what had happened for a minute - because he confessed to Rod. 
    “I broke your rod!” he said.  Rod laughed, gave him another one, and put him back to fishing.  He had snagged his rod, grabbed it higher than the reel, and put undue pressure on it trying to wiggle it loose.  Rod told him the rods had lifetime warranties, that it happened all the time.
    I quickly (well, that’s my story, anyway) caught on to the casting, reeling in, recasting, getting unsnagged (I mastered that one without breaking any rods!).  I worked at it for about an hour, and then, I realized I was really cold.  
    The bank was steep, and due to that knee brace, ThatManILove had to  help me get up the bank.  I was almost all the way up when I slipped...and promptly slid down the bank, on my stomach, right back into the water. Go ahead - you can laugh - I did! I didn’t fall, though, landed on my feet, but I was done with that cold water. I rigged it down, right then and there.
    I finally made it into the boat, and couldn’t feel my toes.  I was so cold, but after an hour or so, I started warming up.
    Rod, Denise and ThatManILove started catching fish.  Rod let me bring some of them in, it was so much fun!  That “whiiiiirrrrrrr” of the line going out when that fish would run, then the fun of bringing them into the net that Rod was holding.  My new favorite sound.   Oh, my gosh.  You have to try it!!
    There is nothing prettier than an angler bringing in a fish, especially if that fish tries to run or fights.  It’s absolutely beautiful, that intricate dance of the angler and the fish.

    I've decided that Rod is just as much an expert teacher as he is an expert fisherman.  He spent just as much time helping us and training us as he did fishing, himself.  I hope your first experience fishing is with someone as patient and caring as are Rod and Denise.  They truly want to help you learn to fish, and want you to love the sport as much as they!
    Denise got into the boat, and I filmed and took photos.  We had the best time visiting and learning about each other and our families.  Every once in a while, I would shift positions trying to get my knee more comfortable.  I would say, “I feel water running down my leg.”
    TMIL:  “Honey, you’re just cold.  I promise, you’re not wet.”
    About that time?  He fell.  Those big rocks are s.l.i.c.k., and with the current running fast, it’s easy to lose your balance.  
    Immediately, he knew water had come into his waders.  And that water?  Is about 40 degrees.  COLD.  Real COLD.
    He’s tough, though, he kept fishing.  They fished and they fished until they had their limits.  It was awesome.
    We had such a good time, laughing, telling stories, cheering the anglers on - it was yet another amazing moment in our lives.
    ThatManILove decided he was really cold, yet all the while, he was telling me “you’re not wet, Janie - you’re just cold.”
    We got to the dock, loaded up the boat, and went to get our vehicles.  I stripped out of those waders, and was wet up to my waist. My clothes were simply soaked.  I had been wet for hours.  Evidently, my waders had a leak.  I knew it, but was willing to be wrong!

    Everybody felt so bad, and I think they decided I was a toughie, going through all that cold for the hours I did!  But you, my faithful readers, know I’m no quitter!
    ThatManILove and Rod went into Soldotna to drop off our catch for processing, and Denise and I ran back to the cabin so I could change.  Ran is a relative term.  At one point, I looked down, and I was going almost 80mph.  I told Denise, “Whoa.  I better slow down!  I’m so cold, I was driving like I was in Texas.”
    About that time, I looked back, and saw an Alaskan State Trooper coming up behind me, lights flashing.  
    Hopeful, I pulled over...”Maybe he’s going to pass me!”
    Heck, no!  I’m now the lucky recipient of an Alaskan Calling Card -  thank God he reduced the ticket a little bit - over a certain (55) amount, the fines double!  So, I’ll be calling the Kenai judge tomorrow and begging for deferred adjudication or defensive driving - don’t want that bad boy on my record.
    We got to the cabin, changed clothes, and met the guys in Soldotna for supper.  We also drove to view Rod and Denise’s beautiful lakefront lot they had purchased on Brown’s Lake.  I’m so excited for them.  It's absolutely breathtaking.  
    And blessed? ThatManILove and I are so very blessed for that 10 minute introduction Rod and I had in San Antonio - I think ThatManILove and I have gained some new lifetime friends.
    So, if you ever get the chance to go fish the Kenai for reds, do so!  It’s worth every minute.  The scenery is beautiful, and the fish - they’re yummy!
    Oh, yeah - I forgot to tell you one thing.  ThatManILove ended up breaking yet another rod on this same day.  Rod was so gracious, laughing again, telling TMIL not to worry about it.  I, however, changed TMIL’s name from Salmon Steve to Destructo Steve!

    You know the drill - it’s never boring around here!

    Rod and Denise - thank you so much for giving your time and resources to ensure we had a great time in your beautiful state.  Thanks for introducing us to Ron and Denise and Anna.  We've truly been blessed by all of you.

    Gentle readers - get thyself to Alaska!!  You will so love it there!  And much as this Texan hates to admit it - Alaska is BIGGER!

    Fish ON!