Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Talented Sister

For Christmas my talented sister Becky made me this purse. It's made out of different colors of silk and is beautful.

In the past she has made these other beautiful purses for me. And there are many more that I haven't taken pictures of.

I have a garmet bag and a gym bag.

This is a cute tote bag she made.

This is a small bag from Whole Foods. Becky put presents in these bags for each of us. This makes a great environmentally friendly gift bag! And they are cheaper than regular gift bags.

I treasure everything that Becky has made for me. They are always unique and quite beautiful. I love purses, and love having one that no one else has!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Anyone that knows me will tell you I'm not much of a baker - despite my name. I do love to cook but appetizers are usually my forte. For some unknown reason, I decided to bake. I think it's because I'm leaving Bill for a few days over the holidays and wanted to leave him with some goodies.

I don't even own a mixer so this is all done with a hand mixer.

I made some shortbread cookies because we both love them. At first I followed the recipe and put them in a pie pan but decided to use my silicone molds for them. They turned out so cute and are quite tasty.

I made peppermint bark that came out quite well too. Did you know that more peppermint bark is sold than any other item at Williams Sonoma? The batch I made cost about $3.00.

I made bite sized brownies in my silicone molds. I also made chocolate chip cookies, not very Christmasy but Bill's favorite. And I made gingersnaps. They did not turn out to what I really wanted. Then I read Kimmie's blog and she had exactly what I wanted. So I hope she brings some home for Christmas. I will now be using her recipe. This recipe was good, but more of a molasses ginger cookie.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I love technology

And shout out to Becky.

Yesterday we finally got fed up enough with our wireless setup to buy a new one. We had our motorola modem for the DSL and then a Linksys wireless router. For wireless, the router was very good. I actually had no problems with it. But late at night as Bill is playing Warhammer, it would just drop and he was wired to it. Every once in awhile, it just would not connect to the DSL and we would have to wait for awhile.

So our solution was to get a box that is a modem and router all in one.

So true to form, I researched them out, or so I thought.

First I stopped at Circuit City. They proceed to tell me they don't have any. Now I don't believe them but that's another story. They told me I had to get one from ATT.

Next I go to Frys thinking that Best Buy wouldn't have them if Circuit City didn't. This was wrong. And this is 2 weekends before Christmas in the middle of Saturday afternoon. I'm so smart, NOT. Of course Fry's true to form, has stuff all over the store. I look in the aisle with the wireless routers, but of course it's not there. So I finally find someone I can ask and they tell me aisle 38. Well, aisle 38 had something completely different. Then I track someone else down and they tell me aisle 43. So I get to aisle 43. And there is a hole where the router should be. But I get the model number.

So here is where technology comes in. First of all we use wireless-n because when I bought my new laptop, I got it with a wireless N, I wanted to be ready for the latest and greatest. So for my desktop, I have an Airlink wireless N adaptor. It was cheap and works all the time!

At Fry's they tell me the only wireless N they had was a Netgear. When I did my research I thought I found a linksys that would work, but ends up it was not a modem and router all in one. And I saw where they had it at Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's. So that was what I was searching for.

So here is where technology comes in. I call my sister Becky on my cell phone, she gets on the internet and finds the Best Buy that I'm near has one in stock. And it's $15 cheaper than Frys. Granted, the Fry's is not in the best part of town. And I have to cross the parking lots of Office Depot, Walmart, Home Depot, just so I don't have to flip around I45 which is a nightmare 2 weekends before Christmas.

I arrive at Best Buy. The guy shows me where the modems are and it's an ATT Wireless G. I told him I wanted the Netgear DGN2000, and of course it's in a different part of the store. He had no idea it was a dual because they had it in a different place. but he was totally helpful.

I hook it up at home, put in the CD and this baby worked without a problem. I can not say that about the modem that came with the DSL or the Linksys wireless router. Both of those required calls to the ATT and Linksys to get them working. We have two computers wired into it and right now I have 2 computers working wireless and one iPhone. Now all guests to the house will be able to use their personal laptops too.

And hopefully the gamer in the family will get over his frustations of being dropped. I told him that I set it up to drop at 10 PM so he would get off of his game and go to bed. I like the fact we don't have 2 boxes that need to talk to each other.

I highly recommend Netgear DGN2000 to anyone! My computers are at the other end of the house from the router and it works just fine!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kudos to Channel 2 Houston

Anyone that knows me, can tell you I'm a big Channel 2 fan. I especially like Owen Conflenti and Stephen Dean for all their help to us during Hurricane Ike.

Last night the station reported on one of our pet peeves. They did a story on the government (our taxpayer dollars) leaving the lights on all night. The Harris County Law Center has a light bill of $17,000 a month. The City of Houston has a building at 611 Walker St. Their light bill is an astonishing $133,000 a month. Both buildings would leave their lights on 24/7. Channel 2 talked to all the facilities managers of the buildings and immediately noticed a difference in most cases.

This is our money paying these bills. Just doing simple tasks of turning off the lights in the room when you leave makes a difference.

At HP we had instructions to turn the lights off in a room when you left. The security guards making their rounds would turn out any lights in rooms if they found them on. I got put in the dark many times when they didn't see me.

At BMC the lights automatically went off at a certain time. You could turn them back on if you were still working. They also powered down the A/C or Heat for the hours people were not there.

If every business would take simple measures of turning off lights, informing employees of the options to saving electricity and having the guards turn off lights, everyone would save money and the resources would not be used as fast.

Lights Out Houston is a great website. It gives lots of information on what a company can do to save.

Shout out to Channel 2 for their Green solutions!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend in Calvert and Hearne

After Turkey Day my friend Maryloretto and I decided to venture to Hearne/Calvert/Bryan for 2 days.

I started out at the Bush Library on the campus of Texas A&M University. I am a University of Texas graduate and I have never been to the A&M campus before. I drove past it once in high school on my way to my grandmother's in Louisiana. Then I met Maryloretto at the Wind Dancer B&B. It is located outside of Hearne, TX. If you need to go to A&M for anything, this is is just 20 minutes away off of Hwy 6. It's in the country so it's nice and quiet. Breakfast is fabulous. Denise is finishing her culinary school in December.

We then went to Calvert for lunch. We went to Cocoamoda. They are known for their truffles, but have a restaurant too. They were totally overwhelmed but the food was fabulous. You just can't be in a hurry. Maryloretto had the cassoulet and I had the monsiuer something or another. We split a salad to begin with and it was all excellent.

Next we were off to Messina Hof. We did a wine tasting first and then went to dinner. You can get a dinner for two that includes appetizer, main course and dessert with a bottle of wine. Each person gets to select their own course. The food was excellent. One of the desserts was great the other was OK. This is our dinner at Messina Hof. The wait staff was fabulous.

Saturday morning after our fabulous breakfast, I went to see Twilight. I know it didn't get great reviews, but I enjoyed it. Then Sunday morning I saw Australia. Hugh Jackman deserves the Sexyist Man Alive award.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Washer and Dryer

We had a new washer and dryer delivered this week. I am so excited. My laundry room is hard to get a good picture. They are amazing. The washer uses 3.5 gallons of water where the old one used 15 gallons of water. It also uses 60% less electricity than our old one. The dryer has a rack that you can put in it to dry sweaters or shoes. Our old dryer would put everything in a big ball and I would have to go in there every 10 minutes to separate things. I washed the cat beds and they came out so clean.
Little Kalliope does not know how to use a pillow. She crawls under it and goes to sleep.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you Kimmie

Thank you Kimmie,

Kimmie over at Living in Dallas and Loving It has given me an award! Thank you, thank you! Her posts are great, she shares her cooking adventures, her wine adventures, her food adventures and anything else that comes along. In case you don't know, Kimmie is my favorite niece. It doesn't matter that she is my only niece. She is still the favorite. I love reading about her and her friends. The scary thing is, they have the same fears, adventures and clothes that I had at their age.

First I must list 5 things that I find fabulously addictive:

1. Listening to books.

I love listening to books. The readers are so fabulous. I started listening to books on trips - in the car, on a plane, in airports - then along came the iPod, the best invention ever. The local library can save you a bunch of money. Our library, Harris County Library, as a fabulous online system. I can order books on CD online and when they are ready, I get an email. My branch, The Lone Star College Tomball, is open till 9:30 every night and has a drive up window. What more can I ask for? I load up my books, then I listen while sitting in doctor's offices, waiting in line, on my way to work, at work, while watching TV, you get the picture.

2. Reading recipes.

I don't always make them, but I love to cook and I have a lot of fun reading recipes. I do love making appetizers! Bill and I tend to eat in courses. I'll make one thing and if we are still hungry, I might make us something totally different.

3. Watching Dancing With the Stars.

Bill hates it but I love seeing the dances.

4. Watching movies.

I love all kinds of movies. I can't even list my favorites, since there are too many. But a few are Definitely Maybe, Stephen Spielberg's Taken, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (and I don't even care for Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie), The Incredibles, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Moonspinners. Too many to list. The new movie theater in Tomball has a gelatto bar too!

5. Tea.

I love hot tea. And it has to be good loose leaf tea. And I love anything that goes with tea. Favorite places to buy tea are Teavana, Tea Embassy, The Steeping Room, and Chado Tea Market. I love going to high tea. The best so far is the St. Regis in Austin, second is The Adolphus in Dallas, then the Four Seasons in Austin. The place I want to have high tea is the Fairmont in Vancouver. Places I've had high tea is in Lisbon, Portugal, London, England, and Savannah, Georgia. There is nothing better than going to tea with friends and family to have a nice relaxing afternoon.

Now to share the love with 5 fabulous bloggers:

(Some of these are repeats because I don't know very many bloggers)

1. Ali and Pat at Bumfuzzle. They have a story of sailing around the world in 4 years and now are driving around the world in a 1959 VW bus. They are the nicest, most down to earth couple. Read about their adventures. They don't listen to others, they do their own thing. And what you see if what you get. There is nothing pretentious about them.

2. Amanda at Meet the Joiners. Amanda cracks me up over living in small town Texas after living in Highland Park her early years and Westlake for her middle school and high school years. I think I laughed the loudest early in her marriage when she realized that she needed to buy frozen food last.

3. Allison at Meet the Blogivers is Amanda's twin sister. Her fear of new things reminds me of myself at her age. And listening to the adventures of Wade the Treehugger is very similiar to Bill the Treehugger that I live with.

4. Tom and Amy at Dreamcatcher are a hoot. I especially like Tom's adventures in sewing. He has made some nice covers for his boat cushions.

5. Kimmie my favorite niece. She started all of this.

Christmas Photo

Here is our Christmas photo. I had to look for a long time to find software that would let me know this and it was on my computer the whole time! The picture in the middle is of the cats getting ready for Hurricane Ike. As you can tell, they were pretty upset.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snack Bars

Today I made snack bars. Ever since seeing the recipe on Tastespotting I've been dying to make some. Today I went to the HEB Vintage Market and picked out various seeds and nuts in the bulk aisle. I got sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pastachio nuts, almonds, and walnuts. After dry frying them, I added honey, molasses, karo and a dash of vanilla. They turned out quit tasty.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kalliope, the Perfect Cat

This is Kalliope, the perfect cat. I picked her from the hoardes of cats at the Humane Society in Montgomery County. She has more personality than any cat I've ever seen. She is a snuggler and loves to sleep either on top on me or plastered against my legs.

Bill has taught her to fetch mice. And she can catch my hair bands in mid air. She is a talker though. She wants to be where anyone else is. And she is so curious. She is into to everything, but she doesn't mess anything up. She will just play with things like Bill's chapstick or my eye drops. We find them all over the house.

So remember what Kimmie said - go adopt. And make sure they are fixed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Great Cupcake Debate

My sister Becky was in town to go to the Quilt Show. We made it through the show in record time. We decided to check out the cupcake stores in Houston. First we went to Sugarbabies. Becky to the Red Velvet and I got the Smores.

We found the store to be very cute with lots of cupcake accesories to buy. Hoever the cupcakes were a bit dry. The icing was amazing through.

Next we went to Crave Cupcakes in the Uptown shopping center. This is a no frills store that is strictly buying cupcakes. Becky got a cinamon one and I got a coconut. They were amazing. And they were moist! We can't wait to try other flavors. Some of the ones we want to try are not made on Fridays.

Sprinkles Cupcakes will be in Houston next Spring. We can't wait to try them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vote for Kimmie

Kimmie has baked cupcakes for the Iron Cupcake Earth competition. Please vote for her.

You can read about her entry on her blog Above is a picture of her entry.
Here is an exerpt from her blog:
Most important - THE VOTING!!!Voting will begin on Sunday, October 26 at 12 noon at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Thursday, October 30 at 12 noon.This is where I need your help! I will remind everyone when voting begins and I will need all of the votes and support that I can get! Tell your friends and family, blog about my entry, whatever you can do to help is greatly appreciated!!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sunny California

We are in sunny (windy) northern CA right now. We went to Bodega Bay on Wednesday but found out right before we got there that our boat trip was cancelled due to high winds. So we stayed in Bodega Bay that night. Found a gift shop/video rental store so we could watch a movie other than the ones we brought that night.

The next day we drove down to Monterey area. We decided to go find the California Condor. See picture above. We tried going to the the place that we were told you could see it, but missed the turn. Then we got caught in a traffic jam on Pacific Coast Highway, there was lots of construction. We turned around and a car was close behind me so I pulled into a pullout. We decided it had great views so we got out to take pictures. The car behind us pulled in behind us. Then the girl in the car pulled out a tracking device. Bill got all excited and we all strolled over to talk to her. And yes, she was tracking the Condors. But alas, none were in range. She did tell us that where we were going the Condors had not been seen this year. But right where we were standing they were being seen, but dusk was the best time for it. Bryan was determined we were to go to Pfeiffer Beach where we were told. So we drove down a winding narrow road to it. We got down there and the wind was wicked. We were blown out of there. So we then went to another park and birded there. Saw a great flock of California Quail.

By then we decided we could go back to the original place we had been. I thought we were going to the next pullout and Bill told me to turn around. Just when I did, Bryan spotted the Condor. We got the the pullout and jumped out of the car. For 30 minutes the Condor flew over us, and down to the water, back up, all around. A couple of other cars had stopped for the view and were treated to a nice show. One couple from Colorado went back to their car, then returned with there email address asking us to please email them a picture. They enjoyed seeing the Condor very much.

The Condor was almost extinct and they were all brought in from the wild for about 10 years and now they are making a comeback. This was a treat for all of us. I had seen one in Arizona last year, but it was just a zoom by. Bill and Bryan had not seen one in person.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pushing Daisies

I'm watching Pushing Daisies and it's just so much fun! We need more quirky shows!

I tried doing Kimmie's Mosaic, but I will need the remedial course, the one for Mosaic Challenged.

Bill bought a new computer game to play. So far the $30 game has gotten quite expensive. His desktop is only 4 years old and is still quit peppy. So we bought a graphics card for it, got the top of the line, or the top of the middle line. When I got home with it, the card was too big for the slot. So I found another one, brought it home, and the monitor would never show. So Bill decided it was time for a new computer. So we bought a cute little slimline that has wireless, goes to 8 gb of RAM, has a built in graphics card for $569. Then he decides he needs a switch box so he can just have 1 monitor and keyboard, and hook it to 2 computers. So we get it all hooked up and the instructions say to hit the scroll lock key. His keyboard doesn't have a scroll lock. So we have to buy another wireless keyboard. I made sure this one has a scroll lock on it. And we bought another tower cart so the tower doesn't sit on the floor.

The bottom line is that $30 game has become quite expensive.

But Bill is having fun with his game.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hurricane Ike Lessons Learned

We thought we were prepared for Ike. We found out we were not prepared at all. Here is what we learned.

  1. Just because you make it through one hurricane without losing power, this does not mean you will make it through another one. We never lost power during Hurricane Rita, but we went 6 days without power for Hurricane Ike.
  2. Be prepared to lose water. We are on Day 8 of no water. Well, we got water Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. But then it went away again. Fly By Night Water, aka HMW Utilities, has 1 roving generator.
  3. Put every bucket you have in the house ready to put out to catch rain as soon as the worst of the winds are over.
  4. Make sure your grill works before the hurricane hits. I got propane but didn't check to see if the grill worked. Fortunately I managed to score one at Lowe's on Monday.
  5. Get containers and fill them with water and put them in the freezer. Big blocks of ice last longer. Also put bottles of water throughout the freezer. We actually saved food this way! One of the few smart things I did.
  6. Have a battery operated radio and TV.
  7. Have a big lantern for each bedroom, living room and kitchen/dining room. Have a small lantern for each bathroom. Each person should have their own individual flashlight for moving room to room and outside. 1 big flashlight for going outside. Leaving the laterns in place makes it easier to remember where they are.
  8. Have a battery powered fan or two. We did not have this but we are purchasing two off the net.
  9. Have bottled water for washing your face and brushing your teeth as well as water for drinking. I am picky about my bottled water for drinking, so buy the cheapest water for washing face and giving cats water.
  10. Have a charger for the car that can charge multiple things at once. We have a charger that you can plug in a regular plug which is great for laptops. Then we have one that has 2 charger outlets and 2 usb outlets. We can recharge the dvd player, Bill's cell phone, my iPhone and the iPod all at once.
  11. Have plenty of DVDs to watch.
  12. Fill your car with gas. They were not kidding on that one.
  13. Have a window unit air conditioner and a small generator to run the fridge and the window unit. And to recharge all portable devices. Plus have a place for the generator that is not inside a garage or house. Our neighbors put theirs in the bed of the pickup that they parked away from the house.
  14. Put your drinks in a cooler. We lucked out with Bill's office having ice. So he went to work every day with a cooler.
  15. Have batteries charged for your cameras and put the cameras in a baggie.
  16. Have plenty of hummingbird food made up. We also feed the birds suet that I make with peanut butter, lard, flour and corn meal. So make sure any food is prepared.
  17. Have kitty litter for 2 weeks. Amd cat food for 2 weeks.
  18. Have a way to leave your windows open and lock them so no one can get in.
  19. Get more batteries than you think you can use in a lifetime. Most batteries have a 10 year life span. Use the oldest ones first.
  20. Wash all of your clothes the day before the storm hits, and put clean sheets on the bed.
  21. Paper plates and paper cups are a must. We missed this one. The dishwasher stacks up and you can't rinse anything without water. We did have plastic forks, spoons and knives.

That is all I can think of for now.


There is a BOIL WATER sign in our neighborhood. We had water Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Fly By Night Water, aka, HMW Utilities, has 1 roving generator. Of course we got it again yesterday during the day while we were at work. So that did not help us at all. We are about to raid our neighbors pool for water to flush with. The cats get bottled water to drink.
So I added the WHAT WATER???? sign to the BOIL WATER sign.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shout out to Owen Conflenti

Owen Conflenti the Channel 2 Morning/Midday News Anchor is my hero.

We live in the county. We live in Stagecoach, Texas which is very rural. Everyone and their brother has decided to burn all of their trees and leaves that came down during Hurricane Ike. We had all of our windows open since we have no power (or water for that matter). The smoke is so thick you can not see to the end of the street. Plus with my asthma, I thought Bill was going to have to take me to the Emergency Room.

Bill complained to the Fire Department and they said there was not anything they could do. Bill then contacted Channel 13 and never heard anything.

So I contacted KTRH (the radio station), Channels 2, 11 and 13. Owen was the only one to respond!

Last night they had a banner running on the bottom of the screen during the news not to burn. Then Stephen Dean had a wonderful segment on the health hazards of people burning in Montgomery County.

Shout out to Stephen Dean for a wonderful segment.

Also trees were lost during the storm. Those trees produced oxygen and that has been lost. Now people are running generators that produce carbon monoxide. On top of that they are burning which is also depleting the oxygen.

Now on to fight the water company. HMW Utilities is the WORST. Our water went out the day BEFORE Ike. Then came back on for a few hours till the electricity went out at 3:42 am and the water went back out too. I called the morons, oops, employees of HMW, who informed me that we would not get water until we got electricity. The water came back on Tuesday night. We were so excited. We got to take showers. The previous shower was in the rain on Sunday. Wednesday morning we were good still. Then Wednesday afternoon came and the water went. I should say I have been showering at work, but Bill doesn't have that luxury.

Now to add insult to injury, we have a BOIL WATER sign in the neighborhood. I want to know how I am supposed to accomplish this. Boil my Ozarka bottled water????? No way!

Owen asked to keep him informed on the water situation too!

BIG SHOUT OUT!! We love Channel 2, Owen Conflenti, Stephen Dean and the rest of the crew! What great reporting they have done!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 5 Ike Aftermath

Here are a few pictures from our neighborhood. The truck went across raging water behind our house.

We have WATER! That is so exciting. You take for granted the things your have.

The first two days were miserable. Raining, hot, windy (can you say hurricane?), miserable. We got out the day of the storm and cleared the 3 big tree branches from the driveway. Actually one is a pine tree that snapped in half and is hanging over the driveway. So I got my loppers (Fiskars is the best brand) and cut enough of it off so we can get out. The day it falls, we'll be late for work.

The water actually went out the day before Ike and came back on for a couple of hours, then out again. The power is still not on. But the weather is nice.

We do find ourselves turning on the light switches even though we know there is no power. It's habit!! I bought a new grill at Lowe's so I was able to have hot tea and a toasted bagel. I had purchased propane but didn't check to see if the grill worked. Ooops! The old one didn't.

We left Sunday, drove to Austin, did a load of towels, took showers and came back to the rug rats. Monday the weather turned nice and it was much better!! We put buckets out in the rain to catch water so that is what we used to flush toilets and wash our hands. We had bottled water for our faces.

We have battery backups for the DVD player and when the laptop would die, Bill would go to the car for a while to charge it. Our phone worked for 2 days and our cell phones worked for 2 days. Finally my iPhone is now sporatic and my Verizon (work) phone is working perfectly. I understand in town people are having problems with Verizon.
My coworkers and I were emailing back and forth after the storm for updates on everyone. Technology is so nice. I was also able to email family and friends.
My office has brought in supplies for people to take home. We also have showers here, which makes me very happy.

Bill got all the bird feeders back up immediately and we have been swarmed with birds.
Power is getting within blocks of the house, we have high hopes!! I will post another blog on hurricane preparedness.
Bill's family was not as lucky as us. His sister Diana had a tree come down and do structural damage as well as wiping out the gas line. His nephew Jeffrey house flooded.
Everyone is safe and we are all well!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yikes Ike

We have all the lawn furniture in the garage, enough groceries to last a month, and all the cats have their water wings blown up, ready to put them on. Yes, Ike is headed straight for us. We live 70 miles inland but it could still be a cat 2 when it gets here. We are staying, we have a well built house and it's much easier to stay than it is to cart 15 cats somewhere, like anyone would take them.

Poor Bill has to work till noon tomorrow. He left early today and it took him 2 3/4 hours to get home. During Rita it took him 7 hours. With no traffic it takes him 45 minutes, with traffic it's an hour and a half.

We only have to bring the plants in tomorrow.

I do have a brand new propane tank to make my tea on Saturday morning on the gas grill is we lose power. Have to be prepared for every situation. All the laundry is done, so we'll have clean tshirts to wear if we have no power. I will charge the dvd player, laptop, cell phones, iPods, nintendo ds tomorrow so Bill won't get too bored if the power goes out.

We did have the water to go out today and the weather was beautiful. I was concerned because I smelled like a water buffalo after hauling all the lawn furniture in. Fortunately it is now fixed and I had a shower.

More to come after Ike hits!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I was tagged by Kimmie to list 6 random things about myself. Here are the tagging rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post4. I
If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

1. I love to listen to books on CD. I have hundreds of books from our fabulous library. I order them online, go pick them up when I receive an email that they are in, come home and load them on my iPod. I listen on my commute, at airports, on planes (drowns other people out), waiting in the doctors office and any other place I can. I listen to everything, fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, thrillers, fluff mysteries, you name it, I listen to it.

2. I have a cat that thinks she is a dog. She fetches, follows me around, and trots down the hall. Her name is Kalliope and she is a talker.

3. I love storms!

4. I love going to new cities and finding all the cool buildings to look at.

5. Like Kimmie, I drink insane amounts of fresh brewed tea. And I could not live without my cordless tea kettle. I first discovered them in England in 1996 and have had one ever since.

6. I love making appetizers. Appetizers do classify as meals!

I don't have anyone to tag since everyone I know has already been tagged.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Erica and Kyle

Last night the son of good friends from high school got married. It reminded me that good friends are forever.

In high school, Sonna lived around the corner, then moved across the street. Her dad was a builder so they would build a new house, move into it, and sell the other one. We lived on the corner, and George lived 2 houses down in the other direction from where Sonna lived. But Sonna had actually lived directly in front of George's house. The funny thing is that they never met in high school. George went to military school in Virginia.

Sonna is a year older than George and I, but Sonna and I had a couple of classes together in high school. George and I used to water ski together with our friend Doug. George had the ski boat. Sonna and I would go sailing together. I had the sail boat. Sonna went off to SMU to school, I went across town to the University of Texas (which is the ONLY school) and George went to A&M.

Our freshman year A&M played Texas in football in Austin. George brought home Corp friends and Bettye told me that I could come and decorate the inside of the house when the boys went drinking. So I enlisted Sonna to help me. She had never met George at the time. Bettye called and we went to work. But suddenly we heard the front door open and we took off out the back door. Everyone in Northwest Hills has privacy fences, so we had to go out the gate and run back to our house. When we got back, my house had been decorated in maroon and white!! And my parents never heard a thing.

Still Sonna and George did not meet. Fast forward to Christmas break. I had to get my wisdom teeth out. Sonna came over to see me look like a chipmunk. I disappointed her, so she and I were sitting on my mom's bed talking to my mom and painting our fingernails green. George then walks in the bedroom, after coming in the back door. He too was disappointed I didn't look like a chipmunk. He climbed on the bed too to talk to us.

Three and one half years later after George graduated from A&M and Sonna had seen the light and transferred to Texas, Sonna and George got married at St. Luke's on the Lake in a beautiful ceremony.

Last night their youngest son Kyle, who holds a bachelor's and master's from A&M, married Erica, who also graduated from A&M. Despite their poor choice of colleges, they are a wonderful couple and Erica was an absolutely gorgeous bride. It was a beautiful ceremony at Grace Episcopal Church in Galveston.

Sonna's sisters Stephanie and Ruthie were there as well as George's brother David and his sister Lisa. The old neighborhood was back together. None of our parents live their any more, but we have great memories of the time. George's mom passed away a couple of months ago after suffering from poor health for a long time.

Pictures can be seen here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tropic Storm Eddie

We are in desperate need of rain, so the idea of a tropic storm was very appealing to us. Our trees are dying from the drought. Of course, as luck would have it, I had to fly out today to Nashville where my company has it's headquarters. I always take the first flight of the morning so looked at the hourly forecast and knew I could beat the rain to the airport. Today was a day of many firsts.

1. I get to Houston George Bush Airport, known to us old-timers as Intercontinental. I park in my normal parking space on the 4th floor of the parking garage. I go straight to security and something very peculiar happens. I am the only person in the security "line". Remember I'm at the Houston Big Airport.

2. Then I get to my "sold out" flight. The announcer calls boarding for people with small children. No one moves. She calls rows 15 through the end of the plane, no one moves. She says, the whole plane just get on. So all 10 of us get on.

3. Then the biggest shocker of them all happens. I have been flying through or out of this airport for 48 years and this event has never happened before. The plane pushes off from the gate and doesn't stop till the gate in Nashville. By this I mean we flew down the taxi-way, then we took off, no stopping, no standing in line for 40 planes.

I think we were the last flight out for awhile. Then they started cancelling flights. My coworker was already in Nashville and was attempting to fly back to Houston tonight. Continental cancelled the last two flights of the day. They told her they could not get her on a flight until Thursday. So I told her to check Southwest. She has refused to fly Southwest because of the airport they fly out of and because - this is a great reason - she is on Southwest's terrorist watch list. And the reason she is on the terrorist watch list is because her last name is Mata, which translates from Spanish to English as "To Kill". I had offered to take her to the airport because she didn't have a rental car. I had to remind her that we needed to get there early enough for interrogation time.

Meanwhile, in Bubbaland where we live, we actually had stronger wind than Amanda had down there in Richmond. I haven't heard from Bill yet, who also had to work since he works for a bank, but I don't think we had any damage.

Oh, and I almost forgot, last night was a nightmare. We live 90 miles from the coast and Eddie was to be a category 1 hurricane at best when it hit the coast. The lines at the gas stations were unbelievable. People were stripping the grocery stores. One lady swooped in front of me and took the parking place I was moving into. Then the same b*&^% almost ran me over with her cart in the store. And all I wanted was a canteloupe and loaf of bread so that Bill would have something to eat while I was in Nashville.

I'm now sitting in my Holiday Inn room that has been renovated into an incredible room with a memory foam mattress, wide bathtub, laminate floors, couch, etc. I usually stay at the Homewood but they were booked. I haven't stayed here in a year or so, and it's changed a lot. I'm eating the best shrimp fried rice I've ever had.

So that's my day with Tropic Storm Eddie.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shout Out to Allison Nelson Oliver

I had a box of photos that were just tossed in there with no rhyme or reason. With the invent of the digital camera, I kept saying I was going to go through the box and sort out what was in there. And what was in there were are large amount of very bad pictures. Among the bad pictures there were some good ones.

When Allsion asked for more Kimmie pictures, I had to dig further into the box. I made it my mission this weekend to sort the whole box. And between going to see Batman, The Dark Knight on the IMAX (which is very close to our house), seeing the new X-Files movies and taking White Paws to the Animal ER, I not only sorted and threw away all the bad pictures, I managed to scan in all Kimmie pictures. Now I have to go through my external hard drive that contains all my digital pictures and pull out Kimmie pictures. Shout out to Allison for making me get organized and getting one of my many overdue projects completed.

Kimmie, I promise the bathtub picture WILL NOT make it to the internet.

Here are a few of my all time favorites.

Future cooking star

Here she is, the future cooking star.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I love this picture.

Bubble Girl

This is the day Kimmie learned how to blow bubbles. We were at a "coffee group" outing. Katie and Michelle taught her to blow bubbles. I am the one holding Kimmie. A month later her grandmother bought her some bubbles and Kimmie knew how to blow them so she thought she had the smartest granddaughter in the world I had to tell her we taught her a month before.

But she is the smartest granddaughter ever!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Birthday Countdown

Allison graciously let me know yesterday that I was remiss in posting new photos. Here is a cute little bunny. Happy Birthday Kimmie. The cats say they would like to chase the bunny.

Friday, July 11, 2008

And now the Baseball Player

I've been remiss in the Kimmie posts. It's only 19 days till her birthday so you better have your plans made for the birthday gifts. We have discovered she is good on underwear.

So far we have had the jogger, swimmer (or drowned elf as Kimmie pointed out), hula girl and now the baseball player.
I'm sure I can find more sports pictures as I dig in my box of photos.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kimmie the Hula Girl

25 days till the Kimmie Birthday National Holiday. Here she is as an enchanting Hula Girl. She does look pretty cute here!
Be sure and send her wishes!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Kimmie Birthday Countdown 26 Days

Here is Kimmie and Amy Braband at Astroworld. They came to see me in Houston and off we went to do the fun stuff.

26 days till Kimmie's birthday. Time to find that perfect gift.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Let the Blackmail Begin

In honor of the Kimmie National Birthday Holiday, it's only appropriate since she is turning a quarter tof a century to start the birthday countdown with her blackmail photos. The sad thing is the blackmail photos are not that great because she was always cute.
I know Kimmie would love lots of cards and presents!
Countdown: 27 days till Kimmie's birthday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tag Your Are It

I have been tagged by my favortie niece Kimmie.

The rules of the “meme”:

1. List your top ten favorite films (in no particular order).
2. If you're tagged, you've got to post & tag 3-5 other people.
3. Give a tag back (some link love) to the one who tagged you in your post
4. Give a hat tip (HT) to Dan.

1. This was a hard one. I love movies and there are so many, I'm sure I've forgotten some of my favorites.
  • Dr. Zhivago
  • Memento
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Juno
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Rear Window
  • Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

2. I don't have anyone to tag, everyone I know is already tagged. So blog stalkers, you are it, and leave me a comment that you posted.

3. Link Love to Kimmie, my favorite niece. OK, she is my only niece but if she wasn't she would still be my favorite. I would also like to give link love to her adorable twin friends, Allison and Amanda. All three remind me of myself at their age. And that is really scary. I love reading about their adventures. I can relate to Amanda becoming a townie, since I do my shopping in Tomball which is much smaller than Richmond! And I relate to Allison because I too get up early with Bill even if I don't have to. I feel like the whole day is gone if I don't get up early. And yes guys, I was OCD long before the three of you were born!

4. HT to Dan!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am a tea person. I love loose teas and all kinds of teas. I love going to tea stores and getting new teas. For my birthday my sisters gave me a new tea pot. I am so excited because it's bigger than the ones I have with infusers.

Mine is the white one. It is wonderful that it has a tab on the infuser to remove the infuser with. Usually I burn my fingers trying to get the infuser out.

My favorite places to buy tea are online:

Favorite places for Afternoon Tea:

  • St Regis, Houston

  • Four Seasons, Austin

  • The Adolphus, Dallas

  • The Tea Room, Savannah, Georgia

The place I most want to go to for Afternoon Tea:

  • The Fairmont Empress, Victoria, British Columbia

Countries where I have had great tea experiences:

  • England

  • USA

  • Portugal

  • New Zealand

  • Isle of Man

  • Ireland

  • Holland

If you have not had fresh brewed loose tea, you have no idea what you are missing! There is nothing to compare to it.

Favorite Friends to Have Tea With:

  • Becky, my sister

  • Dariel, my sister

  • Kimmie, my favorite niece

  • Maryloretto, Georgetown friend

  • Nancy, Austin friend

  • Sonna, Katy friend

  • Anyone that will have tea with me!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Author

Bill and I like to listen to books on our way to work. We never have time to read, so this is our "reading time". Harris County has a wonderful library system. You can go online and order books. Then they send you an email when it's ready to be picked up. At our branch, Lone Star College, Tomball, there is a drive through window where you can pick up books, renew books, pay fines, etc. It is wonderful. Harris County has shared libraries with the former North Harris County System which is now Lone Star College. The library is fairly new, large and has the greatest staff.

I read book reviews constantly to find new authors. I like to read a big variety of subjects, but I love thrillers. I found a new author names Robert Dugoni. I have now listened to Jury Master and Damage Control. One of my coworkers also listened to these and we both agree he's our new favorite author.

We have another series that we like, WEB Griffin's The Presidental Agent series. Lots of action and the main character is totally cute. We call them the Charlie books.

Reading by ears is great fun!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Former Nelsons

I was looking for a picture today for some else and out popped this picture. This was taken in 2001 at Kimmie's graduation party at the Hula Hut. So in honor of Allison moving back to Austin, I thought I would put this out there! Happy belated birthday Allison and Amanda!! From Kimmie's Aunt Ellen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dell's Helpless Desk

Friday morning before work I attempted to make an order to Culinary Teas. I was on my Dell laptop and noticed that the numbers weren't working. So I switched over to my HP Desktop and made the order.

On Saturday I figured out that only the 5 and the 6 worked, and it was asking where I wanted to boot from. When I looked, booting from the hard drive was not first on the list. So I changed that. It didn't help.

I got on chat with India where the guy kept referring to me as Sir. I could not get on chat on my Dell computer because it required your service tag and mine has an 8 and a 1 in it. So the guy couldn't figure out why I wasn't on the Dell. I informed him I was on the HP that always worked.

Previously I had contacted Dell because when I put CDs into iTunes they would skip. Of course the solution was to take out my DVD drive and put it back in. The next time I contacted them I was told it was a problem with iTunes. Funny, iTunes worked fine on my HP desktop. So I downloaded Yahoo music (formerly known as Musicmatch) and guess what? Same problem.

So I'm not feeling good about talking to the guy calling me Sir. I told him it would take too long and I would have to take out my keyboard later. I then find out the screws will not come out. But it is bothering me that the 5 and 6 don't work. I google this and find that someone else had the same problem. Of course they didn't post what fixed it. So I download SP1 for vista, that didn't fix it. I try to do a bootrepair, but that needs you to enter a 1 to do the repair and I didn't have 1 to use. During all of this I discover if I leave the battery out, the computer works, till you turn it off and back on. Then the same problem. I dug out the vista repair disk and it tells me there is no problem. Then I just try to reload vista and it gives me an error. So it's back online with India.

The guy tells me it's the keyboard. I tell him it's not. So to humor him, I tell him that the keyboard won't come out. He asks if I used to bigger screw driver, I said yes. So he says, good, now take the cable off and put it back on. I said, I told you the screws won't come out. He says if he sends me a new keyboard, I'll have to get the screws out so I can put the new one in. I said there is nothing wrong with the keyboard, that there is a boot problem too, and that I had found this problem on the internet. So he tells me it's the customer's responsibility to put the new keyboard in. I tell him there is nothing wrong with my keyboard. So he asks if I spilled wine or cola on my keyboard. I told him no. And explained again that if I take the battery out it works fine once.

Finally I get through to him that I just want to reinstall Vista and that I couldn't do that. So he tells me what to do so that I can do it on my computer without the disk. Of course he tells me to do this without the battery in. As I recall my computer doesn't work without the battery in.

Funny thing is now my computer works just fine and I didn't have to take out the keyboard or get a new one. I wonder how many keyboards Dell sends out for perfectly good keyboards. And this is from the people that are taking away jobs from Americans! It took 2 chats sessions and I told the guy what needed to be done. He just read his script, oh, key doesn't work, means bad keyboard. He didn't listen to me about the boot problem too. He said that was because the F12 key was stuck down. Why would it stick down only if the battery hadn't been removed.

I bought a Dell because I could get a pink one and could configure it. I hear they are stopping the configuring. I should have gotten a pink Sony. It's a prettier pink anyway.

I worked at HP for 2 years on a contract and loved it. It's much closer to my house than my present job and I would have stayed if they had given me a permanent job, but Mark Hurd took over then and cut the program I was working on.

So I will not be buying another Dell. I love my HP desktop. It's great!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Montana May 17 - the flight back to Houston

We got up and packed everything. Then we went to Swan Lake. The town of Swan Lake was beautiful on the beautiful lake - Swan Lake. The only business was a gas station/ gift shop. Then we drove back to turn in the rental SUV and go to the airport. The Kalispell airport only has one place to eat. But a great gift shop. We got to Minneapolis which is a fun airport. Lots of places to eat - I had pad thai - and lots of shops!! There was a g2g shop which is gadgets to go, so I was in heaven!! Got on the plane then and back to Houston. When we got home, the house was spotless!! Shout out to Allison for being the best pet sitter ever!! The cats were all happy because she came and played with them. They love their Allison very much!

Montana May 16 - Kalispell

On the way back to Kalispell we stopped at Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge. We found Swans! They are so beautiful!! Then we drove up through Polson which was a beautiful little lake village!! Probably one of my favorite. It is on Flathead Lake. The snow melt was flooding a lot of places, but Flathead Lake was low for some reason. Then we got back to Kalispell and wanted to eat at our pizza place again, but people were sitting outside waiting. So we ended up at Pizza Hut, not too exciting. No one was there and the service was horrible. We stayed again at the Roadway.

Montana May 15 - Missoula

We spent most of the day going from park to park. But this is one of my favorites. We were on the hunt for the black backed woodpecker again. And we didn't find it. Missoula was so beautiful. That night we went to a Mongolian BBQ place. The boys had never been to one before, but they loved it. Of course Bill thought it was OK. I also loved it!

Montana May 14 - Great Falls

We went from Great Falls to Missoula. The drive was beautiful. We stopped at Rodgers Pass, which is on the Continental Divide. We met a truck driver that told us where to find Big Horn Sheep. He was right on, and we found them.

We were back in the mountains, so it was pretty again!! We got to Missoula and found a motel right away! We had pizza delivered to the room. Missoula reminds me of Austin in the 70's when I was in college. Cool little restaurants, lots of parks with walking trails. It's in a valley but the mountains are right there. So it was really nice.

The housing prices were outrageous though. We saw a 3 bedroom bungalow that was 972 sq feet. It did have a finished basement. the asking price was a mere $409,000. The lot was 7000 sq feet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Montana May 13 - Malta

We woke up early in Malta and headed out to find grouse. They usually do their mating dance early so you have to catch them then. We were driving to one place we knew when the biologist called us at 6:30 am and told us exactly where to go. We found the Sage Grouse exactly where they said and the grouse were still doing their dance. So we hurried to find the Sharp Tailed Grouse. We found them too. Our luck had changed. The terrain has changed drastically, this is where the grouse live.

Then we went to find the Baird's Sparrow. They live in Prairie fields like this. We searched for hours with no luck. We then drove to Great Falls. When we got to Great Falls there were no rooms to be found. We finally had one motel tell us the La Quinta downtown had rooms. The Special Olympics were going on. The sun doesn't go down until 10 PM, so we had been out late every night and we were very tired. Great Falls was quite beautiful we found out the next day.

Montana May 12 - East Glacier

We left Kalispell for our drive east. We first stopped to see mountain goats. We looked up the hill they were supposed to be on but didn't see anything. Then a group of people stopped and said to look over at a fence, he usually sees a lot there. We could not see anything from where we were but could see some people stopped in front of the fence and looking for a long time. So we went to the pull out in the road, and looked up. There they were. So we continued to drive east and it started snowing. Here is Bill and Bryan in a snowball fight.

We then tried to go to the east side of the park but the roads were closed because of snow. So we started to Havre, pronounced Haver. We stopped at an Indian junk shop and bought gifts. We stopped a few places along the way to bird, but decided to drive all the way to Malta. We got there at 11 at night and ended up in the "best" motel in town. Barely made it before they locked the doors. It was quite expensive for a basic motel.