Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

A lot has happened since my last Thursday's Thoughts post. By the way, I just reread that post and discovered a major flub. And yes, "flub" is a legit word. The writing error drove me batty and the perfectionist in me could not leave it alone. So, I ended up editing the post to correct the mistake.

Garner is All About the Frio River

We went camping at Garner. We were there for almost a week and had a wonderful time. There was family around and thus, things seemed more normal. Garner isn't Garner without family. I loved seeing every single one of them. I did have a meltdown on the first day when I saw my eldest brother exiting a path from the river while sitting at our campsite. At the time, he was the spitting image of my Dad and I miss him so much. But, life goes on, right? Right.

As soon as I find the time to go through the pictures I took, I will post them. The general and family pictures will be posted this blog. However, the flowers, bugs and more will most likely be posted on my Pictorial Reminiscence blog simply because I do not desire to overwhelm my readers with a deluge of pictures. I will put out announcement(s) pointing you over to the other blog whenever I post update(s).

When we left Garner, we practically did a 180° in focus. We looked forward to our new house and started making plans. We decided to put the garage conversion on hold due to a variety of reasons. The process of converting the garage will be a lot slower. I think we are just anxious to move out of this rental and into our own house.

So, we cemented some of our plans and went over to the house this past Saturday after renting jackhammer. By the way, we rented the jackhammer from Saturday morning to Monday morning for the price of one day's rental. This is an awesome savings in my book. Anyway, our goal was to rip up the tile from the living room, hallway and the closets along with all the carpets in the bedrooms in one weekend. By the way, we are leaving the tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Dan started the work in the hall closet Saturday after lunch. Whenever he took a break, I would take over the work. We finished the hallways and the closets (three in all) just before five o'clock. The carpet was pulled from Bedroom #1 and #2 Saturday evening. We never did get around to ripping up that carpet from the Master bedroom; but, pulling carpet is easy. We began ripping up the tile in the living room just after eight o'clock Sunday morning and finished just before three o'clock. And yes, we had lunch. It turned out I finished up with the last of the tiles. He started and I finished. I thought it was interesting, no? Anyway, both Dan and I were so happy. We decided to just clean up, pack and head on home.

The State of Things

Let me tell you, ripping up tile is hot brutal work. I have an enormous amount of respect for people who do this for a living and never ever will I criticize the cost of labor. It is well worth it to have someone do it for you! With that said, I have to say that there is a sense of pride and accomplishment for managing to complete this work ourselves. And, we saved megabucks.

Anyway, shall I list the minor causalities? No? Well, I am going to list them anyway. Ha!
  • Dan pulled a stupid and scraped the top of his middle finger while shoving tile aside without his gloves. It was a bloody mess; but, not really a bad wound.

  • When I first took over the jackhammer, I slipped and fell on my right knee receiving a very tiny wound from the broken up tiles. I thank God that I decided to wear jeans even though it was extremely hot (90°+ temps) because the injury could have been a lot worst without the jeans.

  • Dan got a major blister on one of his palms.

  • I got three major blisters -- one on each thumb and another on the side of my right heel. Only one of these blisters busted and, as a result, it became very painful.

  • I banged up the side of my right knee (with the jackhammer) over time and, as result, there is now a lovely bruise.
The plan for this coming weekend is to rent a jackhammer again to get rid of the thinset, pull up the carpet from the Master bedroom, scrape up the glue from all the carpet in all three bedrooms, rip up the baseboards and throw it all into a dumpster that we hope to get from a trash company. We will see how well we will do this weekend.

We purchased the hardwood flooring this past Monday and will be picking them up Saturday morning. We will take them to the house and leave it behind to get acclimated in the house. We will purchase the necessary stuff to put down flooring next week. The ultimate goal is to start putting down the flooring in two weeks (July 7th).

Wish us luck!

{You might also be interested in reading Demolition Man.}

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: Grasshopper Whisperer

The Grasshopper Whisperer

Last Wednesday, it was "The Butterfly Whisperer" (me with a butterfly). Today, it is Dan with a grasshopper. When he caught this thing, I snapped some macro shots of the grasshopper. This shot was done in fun. Here is another shot of him with the grasshopper:

I have not had much time to go through pictures from our camping trip at Garner State Park. But, from the few I have seen, they are pretty good. Dan also took a bunch and he will probably post those on his blog someday soon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Macro Monday {Gracie's Back Paws}

Popping on for another Macro Monday.
I heart Macro.
Your Sunday Best.

Gracie's Multicolored Back Paws

I always thought Gracie has the most interesting coloring in her paws. And, look at all that fur! When I saw her sprawled on the back of Dad's chair with her two back paws in this position, I took the opportunity to snap some pictures.

And yes, some of her back toenails are purple when I took this picture. I have to keep her back toenails capped; otherwise, she would destroy her precious face due to her skin allergies. This is a last resort to keeping her from having a bloody face and it works most of the time. I did not want to use the cone of shame on her because she already has a tough life being a tripod.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Link Roundup

I am back to doing the Link Roundups. I came across these links and just had to save them for sharing. I hope to get back into doing this regularly. In the meantime, enjoy these links.

  • How to Make a Sponge Ball for Summer DIY; Crafts; for kids
    Another variation: Summer Sponge Bombs

  • DIY Sun Jar using Solar lights. You could also use the LED candle lights.

  • Pledge of Allegiance Sign DIY; Crafts
    This post has a wonderful tip on how to get those crisp lines of letters when painting

  • Defense Against the Dark Arts
    Please do not read this link if you're offended by Harry Potter references. With that said, I thought this was an interesting read.
    “We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: Butterfly Whisperer

The Butterfly Whisperer

I'm back from camping! And, let me tell you, I had a wonderful time! It was so good to relax, visit with family and spend time in the Frio River. We spent a lot of our afternoons in the water because it was HOT with the temperatures being in the low 100s the first couple of days!

The above picture was taken by Dan with my camera. This was the fourth butterfly that walked onto my finger after landing on or near me. I would remain calm all the while talking to the critter. Don't ask me why I talk to critters, I just do. And, then after a bit, I would gently persuade it to walk onto my finger by slowly placing my finger near its feet and then slowly push my finger against them. They are fascinating to look at up close; however, the body itself is not all that pretty with their big buggy eyes. Ha!

I took some pictures. However, I did not take as many as our last camping trip at Garner. I was having way too much fun relaxing and had many lovely distractions. It was the perfect "get away from it all" vacation.

I have been doing tons of laundry, unpacking tons of camping crap and focusing on our new house including boxing up our stuff for the move. Dan is in the process of getting utilities connected (or converted over to our names).

We made a trip out to the house this past Sunday to see if it was still standing. We also took measurements of both the garage and the living room. We will be going out there this weekend to start work on the house. We will basically be camping out there on the weekends using the camp cot until the floors are done; and then, we'll move in. I am planning to take pictures of the house and garage before any work is started.

Speaking of work on the house, my husband, Dan, started a new blog. It is still a work in progress. He wants to change the banner and a few other things. But, let me tell you, it surprised and pleased me that he started a blog of his own.

Due to focusing on the house and packing up for the move, posting will be sporadic. I am determined to continue posting pictures and thoughts. But, it will not be the end of the world if I do not succeed in doing this every single time as life will be extremely busy until we settle into the new house.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

Thursdays have always been my “writing” days on the blog – sharing my personal thoughts or results from various writing challenges around the interwebs. Sharing my writings is a very tough thing for me to do; so, Thursdays are often neglected. Since I do not have much time for blogging and sewing/crafting due to life, I have decided I will just to do general recaps of my week. At the very least, writing will not get neglected.

Let’s see, since we finally closed on the house, we basically immediately packed and left that night (Wednesday, May 30, 2012) for a trip to the Houston, Texas area. We witnessed two of my nephews graduate from high school – one on Thursday evening:

{Yes. hats were thrown; but, they are obscured by all the people in the background}

and another on Saturday morning:

I am very proud of both of my nephews. Dan managed to get decent pictures from both ceremonies.

We also visited with Mother several times while we in town. She was doing better this time around than the last time I visited her. She has her ups and downs. And, we saw Lily! She and her mother came to town to attend the graduations too. She is the cutest little “bug” ever!
Overall, the long weekend was very good and we had a wonderful relaxing time visiting with family. Both Dan and I were very reluctant to pack and return home last Sunday because we knew we were going to have to knuckle down and start packing and planning for a week long camping trip. On the way home, I started working on a menu plan and grocery list. We tend to keep things very simple regarding food.

When we arrived home, we immediately noticed that Gracie’s food was all gone and Chessie’s was practically untouched. Chessie is eating Gracie’s food! I feel so frustrated. However, Gracie’s food is better for Chessie in the long run. Gracie needs specialty cat food due to her allergies and food sensitivities and these types of food are more expensive. I just dislike the idea of wasting good cat food (Science Diet) that we still have for Chessie; but, if she is not going to eat it, she is not going to eat it. Since she is already a skinny cat (has been all her life), we cannot afford to let her lose weight. So, we are switching her over to Gracie’s food. This means that I had to buy more of Gracie’s cat food before we go camping. Dang finicky cats!

Anyway, I have been finishing up and fine-tuning the menu plan, making the grocery list and taking stock of what we do have for camping. Dan brought out the big black boxes Monday night and started taking stock of the current camping stuff. He tested some old inner tubes and I believe they are fine. A few boxes are packed already with camping supplies. So, we are making progress!

I will be going grocerying this morning. Yes, I realize “grocerying” is not a legit word; but, it should be a valid word. Ha! I will also start preparing the food today. I tend to prepare the meats and freeze them ahead of time. For example, I make the burger patties and freeze them. I also tend to clean up and brine the chicken before throwing them in the freezer. By doing this ahead of time, it makes our lives so much easier while camping. All we will have to do is grab the meat from the cooler and throw it on the grill when we are hungry.

I will continue food preparation tomorrow (Friday). Both Friday and Saturday will be spent packing, packing and more packing. We will be leaving for Garner sometime Saturday. Due to the fact that Wi-Fi connection is hard to reach at Garner, I will be on a blogging break.

And besides, I do not think I will have the time or inclination to blog while we are camping. I am planning to return to blogging on Monday, June 18th. But, if I do not post anything that Monday, do not worry. I will be back. :-)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Macro Monday {Scorpions}

Popping on for another Macro Monday.
I heart Macro.
Your Sunday Best.

We recently had two encounters with scorpions and both were alive. The first encounter was a dead one that Chessie killed way back on October 17, 2010. Here is the second one:
This scorpion was spied by Dan when he came home from bowling on May 14, 2012. He came in with a smile and told me to grab my camera. As you can see, this scorpion killed a June Bug. Go scorpion, Go! Can't you tell that I despise those June Bugs? Ha!

{PS. This was taken at night with a flash and macro lens. It is not the greatest picture because I was nervous as heck being so close to this sucker.}

The next encounter was on May 25th, 2012. My Gracie was the huntress that let us know a critter was in hiding. She kept trying to get underneath our shoe basket. Dan went to check it out and lo and behold, there was a tiny scorpion underneath the basket. I ran to get a glass and he trapped that scorpion with it. I told Dan that Gracie should get a few moments with it as she deserved it. I grabbed my camera (with Macro lens still on it) and snapped this picture:
Isn't this too precious? She really wanted that scorpion so badly. When she sort of lost interest, Dan slid a piece of poster board underneath the glass and released it far away from the house.

These two latest encounters make us really nervous. We had not seen any since the dead one Chessie killed just under two years ago and then we see two within two weeks! Scary!