Monday, March 30, 2009

One more favor to ask -

Pie's doing a project for school and he needs to get people to take a questionnaire.

His class has been studying ecology and enivronmental issues all year. For their year-end project, they're planning an Environmental Fair, and they want to find out how best to plan their presentations, so they're trying to get a sense of what basic level of knowledge the typical person has. Pretend you're a typical person, if you have to.

Please copy and paste these questions into an email, answer each Yes or No, and email them to me at pennykarma at g mail dot com by next Friday, April 11th.

1. Do you know two big problems birds have with survival?

2. Do you know how to help birds in each season?

3. Do you know how birds are important to the ecosystem?

4. Do you know why recycling is important?

5. Do you know what to do when you find an injured bird?

6. Do you know how many offspring one pair of rats would have in 3 years without any predators?

7. Can you tell me what to look for when buying a birdbath?

8. Do you know why a good habitat needs diversity?

9. Can you tell me how birds help with pest control?

10. Do you know what the World Bird Sanctuary does to help the birds?

Thanks, on behalf of Pie and the 1st graders, for your help in their project!

Calling on you for help -

I need a suggestion of what Side Dish I could take to Chez Inlaw for Easter Brunch.

Needs to serve 8-10.

Prefer a recipe with a high cholesterol content and idiot-level simplicity.

MIL's serving ham. ..

ETA: and, just talked to R - MIL's also serving her famous potato salad, so potatoes are out.

Dammit, those potato recipes sounded awesome. :(

Friday, March 27, 2009

We interrupt the Spring Break recap...

To bring you March Madness!!!!

M - I - Z!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

So Much Fun... and we're not even done!!

Ok, so we left off in Guadalupe River State Park, which, I should say, was a lovely park, but the kids wanted to get in the water and since they didn't have their swimsuits, I didn't reeeeally think that anything beyond a lil toe-dippin' was such a great idea.

So we ended up at Landa Park in New Braunfels.

We rode the train around the park,

and the kids played on the playground

and splashed in the spring which is the source of the Comal River. Perfect.

Tuesday was a kinda low-action day. R and I took Beebie and Pie to see Coraline in 3D, which was absolutely spectacular. You can't see it in 3D in St. Louis anymore, so I was afraid we'd have to settle for 2D, but I'm so glad we were able to see it as it should be seen. I will say this, though - it was a lot scarier than I expected.

I mean, yeah, I kinda know what to expect with Tim Burton, but I think the commercials were a little bit misleading in that they didn't exactly convey how dark the story is. Even Pie, who is a huge Burton fan (he's even seen Sweeney Todd, please don't call CPS) was a little creeped out at some parts. I was glad Tito didn't want to come, he would never have made it through.

Afterwards R took me shopping and I got a pair of shorts and jeans in a size smaller than last year. That was probably the highlight of the trip, for me.

While we were at the movie, my parents took Tito to H-E-B, (which is the greatest chain of supermarkets in the WORLD, if you ask me) and to Half Price Books. Half Price Books is one of my favorite things about San Antonio. It's like a treasure hunt every time. I found this at the HPB on San Pedro and was ecstatic.

At the store on Broadway, Tito locked accidentally himself in the bathroom and freaked out - it was quite the scene.

The boys found some Bionicle, Magic Tree House and Artemis Fowl books. I found a few knitting books, and R found some geek books from some geek book series I've never heard of, cuz, well, cuz I'm not a geek.

Tuesday afternoon was a beautiful day, so my parents and the kids played Apples to Apples on the deck. Apples to Apples is one of the Apes' favorite games.

If you've never played it, basically one player (the judge) draws a green card that's an adjective, and the other players are dealt red cards that are nouns (both common and proper) and the object is to submit the noun card that the judge determines is the best representation of the adjective. As a lexophile and former English teacher, it does my heart good to see my kids enjoying games like this.

Anyway, Mom and Dad and the kiddos were playing Apples to Apples, and the green card was "trustworthy, loyal". Beeb was the judge, and she was reading through the red cards, and she read the one my mom played, which was "flies" (not the verb - the kind that swarm at picnics). Sometimes you get crappy cards and none of them match the adjective, so you have to play the one that sucks least.

Beeb questioned Mom's logic. "FLIES, Nana???"

Mom countered, "Well, have you ever known a dishonest fly?"

(My mom thinks she's funny.)

And then Tito, in his Antonio Banderas voice, said -

"One time... A FLY BETRAYED ME."

And I about pissed myself laughing.

After dinner we went for a walk, at a park where I encountered this warning sign.

Feral hogs??? I love how if you see a mountain lion, you're supposed to call and report it (assuming said mountain lion didn't claw your throat to ribbons), but if you encounter feral hogs, you're on your own.

And can I just point out that I was hoping to see some wildlife on our trip, and after 2500 miles in the Odyssexy, we didn't see one stinkin dead armadillo? I did, however, get stung by a fire ant (just one, mind you) on my toe. That's about all the Texas wildlife I got to see.

We climbed to the top of the tower, where the view was so awesome you could see downtown.

We slept like logs that night.

Wednesday my parents took the kids and gave R and me a day to ourselves. We hadn't been to Gruene since before the boys were born, so that was where I wanted to go. Gruene has grown a lot since we were there last, but the parts that I love the most were exactly as I remembered them.

I love how skinny my waist looks in this pic.

THE place to eat in Gruene, Texas is The Grist Mill. It overlooks the Guadalupe River, and you can eat outside or in, but even inside feels like outside because the windows are wide open and the breeze brings in the unmistakable scent of mountain laurel and barbecue. Absolute Heaven, I tell you.

R had the bratwurst. With PICKLES. Fucker.

(Just wanna say for the record that when I go out to eat with Speed, he voluntarily orders his meals pickle-free.)

I had the cheeseburger. And if I've never defined for you my standard of a good, greasy cheeseburger, here ya go: If it's completely left your system before you've left the restaurant, THAT's a good, greasy cheeseburger.

And if that's TMI for you, then Welkommen, Bienvenue... you must be new to my blog.

We walked around my favorite antique shop,

and found some amusing stuff.

And remember the parsley flakes from 1981 I found in my parent's spice cabinet last time? They still have crazy shit in there that's older than me.

Nineteen cents? When was the last time ANYTHING cost nineteen cents??? You can't send a post card for nineteen cents.

But then we saw this at the antique shop...

(it's blurry, but that says $16.00)

and I decided not to give Mom one more ounce of grief about it... provided she leaves me her extensive vintage spice collection in her will.

We bought some groovy vintage aluminum tumblers.

Stopped for dinner at Rudy's BBQ,

which didn't seem as yummy to me now that I've experienced Pappy's in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, the Apes went to the Witte Museum and back to Landa Park with my parents.

I still have Thursday, Friday and Saturday to write about, but I hope this tides you over until I get that posted.

So Much Fun!!

R and I had the Odyssexy packed and waiting when the Apes got home from school last Thursday afternoon. We hit the road at about 4:30 and about an hour west of St. Louis we realized we had forgotten to pack the camera.

Would I let my readers down?? NEVER!!!

We decided we could use a new camera anyway, so once we got to the Carolyn Inn in Bristow, OK, we put the Apes to bed and R checked online to research cameras in our price range, and searched for stores that were on our route.

Can you believe we were the only customers in the WalMart in Chandler, Oklahoma at 4:45 am?? Literally.

We got a Kodak EasyShare camera for $129, picked up some PopTarts for breakfast and headed out.

One of the things we did before we left for our trip was purchase an updated disc for the GPS unit in the Odyssexy. The main reason we did this was because last time, we discovered that there was not one Taco Cabana visible from the highway between Dallas and San Antonio. This time around, we typed in the words Taco Cabana and voila!

While we were in the parking lot, Pie yelled, "Look what I found in my backpack!!!"

The camera we thought we'd forgotten to pack.

My turn to drive! Gotta pick out some tunes...

Yes, R captured a moment that clearly shows both of my hands are off the wheel. So what?? Priorities, people! I MUST ROCK!!

The Apes crashed most of the way.

We woke them up in Waco to check out the Dr Pepper Museum. Why? I don't even like Dr Pepper. And fyi, that's not a typo. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper - learned that at the museum.

Here's what else I learned:

Tried to tell yer obese ass... oh, I forgot, you don't read this blog anymore.

It was interesting, but it was it worth the price of admission? Meh. I will say that the shake made with ice cream, milk and Dr. Pepper syrup at the old-time soda fountain made with cane sugar sounded absolutely heinous, but was pretty fuckin awesome.

Got back on the road... THIS ROAD.

That's Pickle Parkway. The kids found it hilarious, given my intense aversion, intolerance, pure hatred of pickles. So completely unnecessary.

We got in to San Antonio in the afternoon, my sister Wee and her husband Bubba and their dogs came in from Austin, and R, Pie, my dad and I went downtown for an Arts Festival called Luminaria.

Luminaria was spectacular, despite the fact that (if you'll notice in the pictures) I was wearing a coat, a down vest, a sweater and a wool hat and still freezing my nips off. In San Antonio. In mid-March.

Fortunately, we had great weather the rest of the trip. Sunday we went to the Riverwalk for the St. Patrick's Day parade where they dye the San Antonio River green.

Monday we went to the Cibolo Nature Center

and hiked

through both grasslands

and wetlands.

And the kids got blisters on their feet.

Next we went to check out Guadalupe State Park. They were going to charge us $6 a head just to get in, but my mom, in her infinite wisdom, had the idea to get out of the van and walk up to the guard's gate and ask if we could just take a little peek at the facilities to see if we were willing to drop $42.

As my mom was walking to the guard, Pie said,

"I have a feeling that Nana's gonna screw this up somehow..."

I don't think it was anything against Nana in particular. I think Pie clearly understands the concept of Murphy's Law, he just believes that it's exclusive to our family. Like it doesn't matter who's running the shit (usually, it's me, but it was nice to see him apply his standard expectations to my mom), whoever's in charge is gonna fuck it up in an epically unforgettable way that the rest of us shouldn't even try to imagine; just sit back and ride it out.

My children have certainly witnessed plenty of incidents that might seem to confirm to a seven-year-old that his mom is the only idiot in the world, and that shitty things happen only to us. I personally feel that's the spice of life at our house. My friends would say it's the beauty of knowing me. Mundane little everyday occurances have the potential to become blogworthy comedy. And I think my kids actually like it, whether or not they'd admit it.

Mom didn't screw it up, and we were glad we didn't pay to get in because it was a bit of a downer. We went to dinner at Freetail Brewing Company, which was quite fantastic. I bought myself a t-shirt which is just a bit too tight on the boobies, in a sexy way.

I'll post this half of the trip now since I know y'all are jonesin for some PK Luvvin!!