Friday, October 29, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

Indiscriminate Contemplations == Random Thoughts

  • We have recently suffered a major disappointment in our house hunting. Wisdom and following it (being wise) will sometimes produce disappointment. Sometimes I want to be selfish; but, I would rather have disappointment than the headaches that would most certainly come further on down the road.

    Anyway,we thought we found our house. It was beautiful and just right. We walked in and thought "this is it". The price was just a tad over what we wanted. But, it was in excellent condition and we thought we could afford it. So, we talked between ourselves and then decided to put down earnest money.

    Come to find out, we misread the pre-approval papers for the mortgage. What we thought would be the monthly payment amount was deceiving. They listed the actual mortgage payment amount (principal + interest on one page; but, the TOTAL payment amount per month was buried a few pages later. This second amount included estimated insurance and taxes.

    When I discovered this, my first thought was "no wonder why so many people get themselves into a fix when they buy a home". They think they can afford it when in reality, the additional costs of insurance and taxes bites them in the butt.

    Anyway, the value of this particular house is a HECK of a lot higher than the selling price. This translates into HIGHER taxes per year. After all, the taxes are actually based upon the appraisal value not the selling price.

    Buying this house would end up making us house poor which is something we both do not want. And, I personally do not believe in creating financial hardships for us. I am a BIG believer in being debt free. We currently do not have any debts whatsoever - none, nada, zilch, zippo, nothing. If we got this house, I'm sure life would have caused us to create debt - not a good thing in my opinion.

    So, as hard it was for us both, we choose to let this house go. We were both so disappointed that we decided to do a rare thing - We skipped having dinner and went straight to Chili's for dessert to drown it out; better than getting drunk! And, it was sooo good.

  • We are putting our house hunting on hold. Our reasoning is that with the holidays coming up, we do not really want to look for houses during this time. We would rather focus on the holidays and family.

    We will most likely resume hunting for a house after the first of the year. I personally haven’t decided yet whether or not I want to resume the hunt.

  • Speaking of decisions, I have decided that Thursdays are going to be my days off from the interwebs. Yes, I know. “Interwebs” is not a word – it is slang. (It’s a combination of “World Wide Web” and “internet”.) But, I do not care – I like it (the word). Ha!

    Anyway, I will only be on Instant Messenger from time to time to stay in touch with my Dan. Of course, if I need a break from real life, I’ll sneak online. Ha!

    It’s going to be hard to do this. I might check emails because I don’t want to miss deals like yesterday which I took off as an experiment. Amazon had a steal on the “I Love Lucy” complete series for $84.99! I HAD to get it as I was waiting impatiently for a very long time for a steal like this on this particular TV series. (It’s $235.98 regular price). Now you know something new about me - I am a HUGE fan of "I Love Lucy". :-)

    Anyhow, I will be off line on Thursdays for the most part. That means no blog posts on Thursdays. If I want a post for a Thursday for some reason or another, I’ll be posting it late Wednesday nights. And, I most likely will not respond to emails and facebook messages. If you know me well, you know you can text me and I'll get back to you. :-)

  • I have a confession: I struggle with laziness. This is partially the reason why I'm taking Thursdays off. I am hoping I'll focus more on the more important things in life and get more accomplished. The weekends are already more or less days off from the interwebs. I thought another day would be good for me. So, I'm giving this a try.

  • Gracie is doing fabulously! She’s back to being a normal cat and raising heck in the mornings and evenings.

    We took her in to see the vet Wednesday night for a follow up and there is no evidence of a bacterial infection in her ears. Yay!

    We’re going to keep an eye on her to see if it acts up again. If it does, we’ll give her the allergy meds we were given and take her in. We may have to clean her ears periodically especially if she does have allergies; but, for now, we’ll just keep an eye on her. She’s a happy healthy kitty at the moment and I’m so pleased to see that.

    This animal hospital is now going to be our place to go when our cats are sick - they were wonderful with Gracie. It is hard to explain why; but, I'll try.

    Instead of treating her as an average cat and grasping at straws and throwing out ideas, they actually thought outside the box and sought out reasons to why Gracie was having problems. Gracie was a "zebra". Most cats don't suffer from ear problems and if they do, it's usually ear mites or allergies causing them. It's is apparently rare for a cat to be suffering from a bacterial infection in their ears. Gracie is rare. :-)

    Anyway, we’ll continue to keep an eye on Gracie. For now, we can breathe (relax).
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever; I will trust in the covert of thy wings.
Psalms 61:1-4

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

This Banded Sphinx moth showed up on August 22nd, about a month after the Black Witch moth appeared and was practically in the same exact spot. I estimated that it was over 3 inches wide. It was a gorgeous critter.

I did a little research and it is Eumorpha fasciatus. Eumorpha means "well formed". Fasciatus means "bound together" which makes sense on account of the lines and bands present on this moth.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WIP: Maxine Quilt & Cutting Scraps

Maxine Fabric (The Beginning)
Design Wall
WIP: Maxine Quilt (9/21/2010)

As part of the "One Thing Challenge, One Week", my goal was to at least finish cutting the coordinating fabrics for the Maxine quilt and arrange the blocks together. Well, I did that and more.

I not only got them all cut and arranged, I also got the top three rows sewn together.

I also dug out my scraps that I've set aside to sell or give away.

And, started cutting out 2.5 inch squares. I am just grabbing fabric and cutting them. I don't really care about colors and whatnot. Although, I do hope to find some really dark fabrics and some lighter purples. I have tons more squares to cut. So, I'm sure I'll find some. If I don't, that is fine. I'm sure they will be some lighter color in one scheme (blue, purple, gray, whatever). And, I'll figure out what to do for the dark fabrics.

Next Up: WIP:Maxine Quilt (11/16/2010)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Overgrown Boys Having Fun Go Karting

The company Dan works for lets the team either go out for lunch once a week or build up and save their funds to go out on outings. They chose to save up their funds and go on outings.

The last time, they went to some kind of dude ranch. This time, October 6th, they went go karting. These aren't your average kiddie go karts either. They're propane driven beefed up go karts.

Dan averaged almost 30 miles an hour during this event. So, that means that he was probably going between 35 and 40 mph on the straighter parts of the track. By the way, these karts are capable of going MUCH faster than that - up to 125 mph. Yikes!

These are professionals. They go through the whole rigmarole of the practice, qualifying and actual racing rounds - just like real racers do. They even have a club / league that race once a week or so.

Anyway, Dan wasn't going to be able to take pictures this time around; so, I volunteered. I was excited and yet nervous. This is totally outside my comfort zone AND I don't typically do "sporting" events. My interests usually lies elsewhere.

I showed up a little early to see the track and where I could stand for the best pictures. One of the employees of the track said I could go out into the middle, showed me where most photographers take pictures and then let me loose out there. I was thrilled because I knew that I could get some decent pictures from that position.

It took me awhile to even take a look at the pictures because I was scared to see how they turned out. I finally opened up a couple and was thrilled. Dan took a look at all of them and I watched over his shoulder and was amazed at how well most of them turned out. Dan volunteered to process the pictures and I gladly let him do that.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

And, they're off!

Amazing! I managed to snap a picture that had ALL seven team members in it. Of course, this was in the very beginning of the practice round; but still. I like it!

After the practice round, I went in to see if I could take pictures from a different viewpoint.

These guys were hanging around and getting ready to do the qualifying round. The guy on the far right looks like he's stressed out or has a major headache, huh? Ha!

After the qualifying races, they all gathered to do the real race based upon the results of the qualifying rounds...

The track itself was on a beautiful piece of property.

All in all, I think the guys had a good time. Some of them were competitive while others were there to just have some fun. I think most were pumped up after the final race ended. When they took off in their own real vehicles, they most likely forgot that they weren't racing anymore.

I know my Dan was pumped up on adrenaline. Men! Ha!

He was actually yapping at me when I took this picture. To be honest, I love this picture for some odd reason and made him keep (process) it for me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

Indiscriminate Contemplations == Random Thoughts

  • I can't decide if I am going to continue doing this. And, if I do continue, I am having trouble deciding on how to do this (e.g. format). And, if I don't continue, what would I replace it with? So anyway...

  • My birthday week was fabulous! I’m going to celebrate my birthday like this (a week) from now on. Try it, it does wonders!

  • My laptop arrived safely at Dell. I discovered a quite a few pictures missing/corrupted on BOTH backup hard drives (HD). Needless to say, I was upset. However, my laptop arrived back home with my data intact on its HD. I quickly saved off the data on the small portable HD. I need to save all that onto the big portable HD.

  • Dell says that my HD is bad. They didn’t specifically say what was wrong with it. But, they sent me a new one. We have 10 days to install the new one and send them the old one back. It (the old one) is working fine at the moment. I think what really is the problem is that I have bad sectors on it. Dan is working on a solution to get the new one installed with a minimum amount of hassle.

  • We’re going to look at more houses tonight – three of them are in the works. I hope the weather clears up before we go – it’s raining here. Blessed rain! I haven’t seen rain for a long time. Anyway, I have hope that we’ll find our new home tonight! Hope, hope, hope!

  • I am seriously thinking about going to the HIQF (Houston International Quilt Festival) and am planning to go. It’d be a short trip home for me/us. We’d leave Friday night, I’d go to the show Saturday (while Dan finds something else to do) and we’d return Sunday afternoon. In the middle of all that, we’d find time to visit my Mother.

  • My mother’s Maxine quilt is coming along slowly. I have finished cutting the fabric, arranged all the blocks, and started sewing the rows together. The arranging of the blocks took forever and it ultimately gave me a headache. But, I finally got it to where it was pleasing to the eye. I currently have three rows sewn together and I’m planning to get the rest finished today.

  • I started another quilting project. This time, it’s cutting 2.5” squares of fabric – tons of them. I am using fabrics that I had set aside to sell or give away – fabrics that I didn’t think I’d ever use. As a result, the itty bitty sewing/guest room is completely trashed! If any of you want to visit and stay awhile, please give me a little advance notice so that I can make a safe path in there to the sleeper sofa bed. Ha!

    So anyway, I currently have two projects – sewing one project and cutting another. It all depends upon my mood on which I am doing at what time.

  • Since I didn’t have my laptop for this week (I used Dan’s), I didn’t save any links. So, I don’t have any links to share this week. But, I am hoping that things have returned to normal now that I have my own machine back again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Remember Gracie? And Chessie aka "Evil Cat"? Yeah, them. Our wonderful four legged critters. Well, one three legged and the other four legged.

Well, recently, Gracie demonstrated her huntress powers by catching a lightning fast salamander (lizard). She didn't kill it. Instead, she treated it like it was a live "toy". She'd placed it in the middle of the floor, let it go, and then pounce. Cruel, I tell you, cruel!

She didn't have it for long because Dan rescued the poor thing and set it a free outside. She was one mad cat because we took her "toy" away from her. I wish I had gotten a picture of the critter because it played "dead" for the longest time. Oh well.

And then on Sunday night, Gracie went nuts around some folded up packing boxes in the Master bedroom. I thought to myself, "oh great, not another salamander". She tried so hard to get to whatever it was she was after. Dan tried to help (to rescue it); but, it was just too much work to figure out what and where the little critter was. Gracie eventually gave up; but, stayed close by.

And then on Monday afternoon, I noticed Chessie behaving like a kitten (she's 12 years old) in the Master bedroom on my side of the bed. When she noticed that I was watching her, she immediately went into what I call "pretty kitty" mode - squirming on the floor while watching me.

I went to look and spied a a tail of a critter and I thought myself, "oh no, she killed a salamander". Chessie continue to squirm around on the floor and gave me looks like "look Mommy! Lookie at what I got for you". Ugh.

I went to take a closer look and thought it was kind of huge. I suddenly realized it was not a salamader. I slowly approached the critter and holy Hannah!

I panicked at first. I immediately instant messaged Dan and facebooked about it. I then got a little box to cover the critter with and place a book on top of it as I couldn't deal with it myself. Chessie was fine when I did that because she knew that I knew. I praised her and at the same time, worried over Chessie and Gracie. But, apparently, they didn't get stung because they're healthy and happy kitties.

And then, once I calmed down, the memories flooded my brain. I remembered being awakened suddenly by Chessie early in the morning when she took off excitedly from bed to the floor. She was banging around the nightstand. Because I was so tired and sleepy, I let her do what she was doing and went back to sleep.

And, I remembered when I woke up in the morning, she was waiting for me by the bed (my side). And, when I got up, she immediately went under the bed a little and started pawing at something. I thought she was playing with one of my hair doo-dads and didn't think much of it. They do that a lot. And, I was groggy from lack of sleep and wanted to get breakfast and see Dan off.

I now realized Chessie was trying to show me her "kill" by her body language. I also realized that this was not her typical morning behavior as she's usually pestering and begging Dan (He feeds them in the mornings). That unusual behavior alone should have woken me up; but, it didn't.

She must have dragged it out for me to see later because she really was proud of her "kill". Ugh!

Dan took care of the scorpion for me as I just couldn't deal with it. He was surprised at how big the critter was as he thought it would be a tiny little thing. He had no problems using the box to scoop it up with and took out a pocket knife to poke around and examine it. Men! Ugh!

He did set it just like so for me so that I could take a picture. But, I couldn't stay near it for long as it gave me the heebie-jeebies. Yeah, I know, I am such a girrrlll. Ha!

My two pictures didn't come out all that great - probably because I was too nervous around the critter. So, I'm thankful that Dan took a few with my camera and got the one above for me.

I never dreamed that a scorpion would be inside our house! And, I am worried that we might have another scorpion because both Gracie and Chessie are hunting from time to time in our bedroom. Before, I would think nothing of it because it was always salamanders (until now). And, of course, I would always try to "rescue" them from the cats because I believe in letting them live instead of suffering at the cruel hands, errr, paws of my cats.

Well, I don't think I will be "helping" those critters anytime in the future. Seeing a scorpion for the first time in our house has scared me to death and made me paranoid.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Thing Challege, One Week

I don't have anything new to share crafty-wise. How pathetic is that?!?

Amy's Creative Side
So, the one thing I want to complete this week is to at least finish cutting the coordinating fabric for my mother’s Maxine quilt. And, at the very least, have the blocks arranged if not sewn together.

As soon as I hit publish, I'm off to do that very thing. :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fly Fishing Course at Sea Center, TX

We signed up eons ago to take a free entry level fly fishing course on September 18th at the Sea Center, Texas which is located in Lake Jackson and was put together by the Texas Parks and Wildlife department (TPWD).

I was both excited and nervous. I decided that I was going to be the photographer for the event as it was mostly for Dan. I was afraid that the stormy weather would spoil our time; but, it didn't. And, I did enjoy myself immensely in spite of myself.

There were approximately thirty people who signed up. They had at least five teachers/helpers and split the class up into groups of ten. We ended up in group A. Our group began with learning how to tie flies.

Don't you worry none. I made one too. Although, mine wasn't as good.

(My Fly}

This is all the supplies one needs to make the fly ties in addition to a pair of pliers and the thing to hold the hook. By the way, that is my fly all trimmed up.

This guy taught the class. He was a character and a very good patient teacher.

And this guy, he came in at the tail end of the class and started whipping up flies in mere minutes. He was nice enough to give a kid and us one. I was thrilled. I immediately claimed it as my own. Ha!

I don't know why; but, I really liked him. He reminded me somewhat of my Dad. And, he was hard of hearing like most old men are. Ha! He was a kind and happy soul.

This is the fly he made and gave to us. It looks so much like a damselfly to me. It is just too cute. Yes, I know. I'm silly.

And then, we all switched. We went to learn how to cast. Since it was storming outside, we had to do it indoors.

They split our group into 3 or 4 people each. That kindly old man was our teacher.

Don't you worry none, I got to cast too.
I felt awfully silly doing it as it is evident by the goofy and excited look on my face.

We all relaxed and chatted while waiting for the next session to begin. I also explored Sea Center and took a few pictures. They have a cool little section where children (and adults) could view and touch critters that are in the sea.

Blue Crab Don't worry about getting pinched. They took off the top pincher part of the claw so that they could not harm anyone.

A weird Spider crab to touch.

These strange looking turtles were in a tank of their own.

And then, it was time to take a tour of the facility. The tour was interesting and informative. I didn't take any pictures of this part as I didn't feel very comfortable doing that.

And then, we all broke for lunch. Amazingly enough, the weather cleared off by the end of lunch break. So, we all rushed to get a little fishing time in before it started raining again. By the way, the rod and reel was provided by the course.

"I don't know what the heck I'm doing"

Not a bad series of shots considering the yukky weather and all that. It was sprinkling; so, I didn't dare keep my camera out. And, don't you worry none. I got in some fishing too.

Speaking of which, I was just fishing to get the feel for casting. I never expected to get a bite. Well, I did and I immediately panicked. I screamed and cried for help. Ha! Dan put down his rod and came over. I immediately placed the rod in his hands. But, because I let the line go slack a little during the transfer, we lost him. I have to confess that I was relieved that we lost the "monster" as I didn't really want to deal with it. Ha!

I pretty much quit casting after that and watched the people including my Dan. He got to be pretty good at casting! Remember the first teacher I mentioned? Well, he came over and explained the process a little and at one point, I saw Dan's face light up because he got it (understood).

And then, it started to rain again; so, we went inside. There were a few determined stragglers out there that got soaked to the bone. But, they didn't care. Due to the rain and changes in the schedule, the rules and ethics part of the course was dropped.

And, then there was a drawing for prizes. These prizes were donated to the course free and clear by several companies. The first drawing was for a rod and reel and amazingly, Dan won! I was absolutely thrilled.

Dan's new rod and reel that he won.

We need to go fly fishing soon. I would love to just go and take pictures and let Dan do the fishing.