• 13Sep

    Today, we went to a family birthday party. It was great to see “everyone”. We used to see everyone pretty often. In fact, there were kinda regular Sunday dinners at Emil’s mom’s house when he and I first started dating. Literally every family member came to those. They were great. Then, we had about half the family at Thanksgiving but almost everyone at Christmas. And no one missed Easter.

    Then, the grandkids had their own kids. Holidays went from rare to never for some family members. Those random Sunday dinners went the way of the dodo bird. Emil & I eventually bailed, too. We were some of the last holdouts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the first to abandon Easter after being left alone a couple of times.

    With Mom in memory care, the family doesn’t do Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore. One sister suggested we do a holiday gathering of some sort, but without all the presents and food. I quickly suggested Twelfth Night. It’s the 12th day of Christmas and we can always plan for the weekend after New Years. I think it’s perfect. Then the conversation went back to the “holidays”. [I didn’t ::sigh:: but come on. There are 12 days of Christmas; they start on Christmas Day.] “Between Thanksgiving and Christmas” was the consensus in that small group. I explained that that cuts us out. “no no no, between them”. “yeah, we’re busy.” “every weekend?” “yep, every year.”

    So, that got me to thinking. What weekends do we have and here’s the list of our #childfree lives and the busy that is us.

    • Sept 5 – Dec 5: nearly every Saturday, some Thursdays, even a Friday one time. College football for our two teams. For me, that also includes doing my part with my little alumni club.
    • August – February: nearly every Sunday: NFL. I couldn’t care less, but Emil is glued to the TV for that whole time. He plans it in advance and won’t miss it for hardly anything. Today’s party was a) an exception, b) also had football, and c) didn’t overlap his favorite team/game, the Cowboys.
    • Sept 19th: Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Expensive tickets were purchased well in advance. And, Emil is the designated driver for me and two friends, so they are counting on us, too.
    • Sept 26-27th: Pecan Street Festival. We went last year and loved it. While it’s a 2x per year event, the spring date never works for us.
    • October: big football like Miami at FSU. It’s also the nicest month of the year. We’re not yet fully booked, but always end up with plans every weekend.
    • October 24/31: Halloween parties; It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I’m not missing that for anything/one.
    • November 26: Thanksgiving
    • November 27: Birthday Bacchanal begins. Emil and several of our friends have birthdays in the last week of November and first week of December. It’s usually a week-to-10-days long celebration with each birthday honoree picking the activity for their day. Emil requests that week off in like July or something.
    • Dec 5th: This year, it’s a family wedding.
    • Dec 12th (annually on the Saturday): a bar-crawl benefit for ACC schools. A couple of hundred alumni drink for a cause.
    • Somewhere in there, we need to make the big road trip to see my family (or what’s left of it).

    So, um, yeah, we’re booked ~every weekend for the entire fall, especially during the “holidays”. The exceptions are a Saturday in September (ooops, that passed) and maybe one or two Saturdays in November.

    I didn’t tell them that I don’t do holiday parties anymore, but it won’t likely matter.

  • 25Apr

    I’m just gonna leave these here. Both of these came across my Twitter feed this morning.

    7 reasons why being childfree isn’t selfish

    Would you help save the Earth by being childfree?


  • 07Apr

    The last of the rocks have been hauled and placed into the beds. It looks so much better back there, now.

    Next steps include planting some seeds, arranging some of the groups of larger stones, and a gutter for the patio cover (and eventually, a rain barrel).

  • 04Apr

    We needed to get away. After our best-laid plans to go to Paris for the “paperwork trip” failed, we made plans for another MicroVacay. (If a vacation is a few days, and a mini vacation is a weekend, then we consider a day trip without an overnight stay to be a micro vacation.) We went to Marble Falls where we found even more stuff to do than on our previous visits.

    our view

    bluebonnets were thick along the roadsides…

    …and out in the fields, too.

    Marble Falls has a dalmation-painted fire hydrant.

    99 bottles of beer on the wall.

    This was my dream car in ~1993. I even wanted this color.

    This view is atop a hill in Marble Falls next to a restaurant and event center.


    “Stonehenge II” down below.

    Moar! Blue! Bonnets!

    Desserts: sundae for E, key lime pie for L

    And, we did all of this in our new car (our 4th Mazda, zoom zoom!)! We went in for an oil change and they worked a miracle for us for a new one. We upgraded features for just a tiny bit more than we were already paying. Plus, we got a color this time (blue). The gray one just never worked right after its accident.

    I’m calling her Bonnie (and did pictures early) in hopes of warding off any bad luck we had with Stormy (who never really got a name and who never got photographed until that chick ran into us at the red light and did $8500 in damages).

    The drives were pretty. The patio enjoying was fabulous. The little shops/boutiques were wonderful. The walks/hikes were great. And we plan to go back in June for their adult soap-box derby.

  • 02Apr

    Last Sunday,, we took advantage of the gorgeous day to drive through part of the hill country. 



    The views from atop a hill (near the build site of a $550+K home) were spectacular. Even the low lake looked pretty. The bright green young leaves gave the hills an interesting color pattern.

  • 01Apr

    For two years, we went with college kids to the Gila National Forest to do trail construction. We worked on the Continental Divide Trail which goes from Mexico to Canada. It was a great way to spend a few days of work advising students. We hauled a lot of flat rocks to build the trail. One year, the students gave us a flat rock they had all signed. And, the year we got married, they gave us a rock that says “Okay” on it. (Because in the cliff dwellings, places you aren’t supposed to go are marked with a rock that simply says “Don’t” and at a high altitude, we all found that hilarious.)

    These last ~2 weeks have felt like those trips. We saw an ad on Craigslist: a guy in our neighborhood was giving away rocks. The only catch is you had to come get them. These aren’t the flat rocks like we used for the trails, but are almost like river rocks. His large lot has them in corners of the front yard, across the front edge (super nice when guests visit and have rocks instead of grass when getting out of the car). They also run all the way down the left side, all the way across the back, and half way up the right side. In most places the rock beds are 12-15′ wide, but in some places they are closer to 20′. He’s been babysitting people right and left who will come take the rocks. He’s been kind enough to let us come multiple times since we don’t have a truck. Well, this week might be our last trip. The beds I planned and the “gap” past our patio are looking great.

    2015-04-01 09.25.54

    Tubs of rocks. We can fit four in the trunk. We hauled 7 of them on Tuesday.

    2015-04-01 12.49.20

    It’s a slow process. It takes me all 4-5 hours to unload all the rocks.

    2015-04-01 14.56.49

    The big side is almost done!

    2015-04-01 14.56.58

    From this angle, it looks almost finished.

    2015-04-01 14.57.18

    But up close, you can see there is much left to do. I think it will take one more trip.

    2015-04-01 14.57.49

    The little side is all done. The patch of discolored ones against the fence on the right are all “flat” rocks that will fit under the gate when it swings open.

    We’ve had tons of compliments from curious neighbors. I’ve gotten free rocks (the big stacked ones), free hyacinth seeds (which will climb the chimney), free tools (two sanders, a caulk gun, a vise, and even a croquet set), and met so many of our neighbors. We’re going to put a wisteria in the pot, since it’s “against the rules” to plant it in the ground.

    There will be more pics when it’s finished!

  • 01Apr

    Emil’s coworker ended up having to go out of state for family stuff. So, Emil has to work at least part of the day on Thursday.

    The bank (where we’d get the notary and another witness, and where there is a safe deposit box for the Will) is closed on Good Friday. So, we’ll have to make the Paris trip another time. I did spend some time yesterday tweaking the Will (formatting, really). It’s a neat two-pager, now with plenty of room for the blanks that can/might get filled in.

    New holiday weekend plan: Emil works part of Thursday, Friday we find an adventure, Saturday we will go downtown, Sunday we will hide from the craziness of Easter.

    The best laid plans….



  • 31Mar

    Happy 14th Anniversary

    to us!

    I say it all the time and still mean it…every day really is better than the last.

    We celebrated a little on Saturday with a trip to Shoal Creek Saloon for crawfish (for me) and pork chops (for E). Tonight, we’re going to get more rocks and then for tacos and beer. yum!

  • 31Mar

  • 30Mar

    We found a “steal” of a deal on Craigslist. All the rocks you can carry if you’ll just come get them. They are perfect for our landscaping ideas for our tiny space of yard. The project already looks amazing and we have at least 3 more trips of rocks to go get. We weren’t planning on doing this one right now, but when the free rocks popped up, we just couldn’t pass it up. It’s been a lot of work, has burned a lot of calories, and has caused a few scrapes and bruises, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end.

    I’m terrible and never do before pics, but here is some of the progress during and the after pics.

    2015-03-26 15.43.18  2015-03-26 15.43.24


    2015-03-26 17.23.45 2015-03-26 17.23.55


    These “beds” are just inside our gate between the fence and the slab foundation. The rocks that were there were stepping stones seated into the concrete sludgey stuff left at the end of a concrete pour. They worked fine for ~20 years, but they were starting to break and become a trip hazard. They came up very easily. I wasn’t even planning on taking them up with this project, but it was so easy, I just couldn’t stop. I have also “outlined” two beds out back (past the fence, not in these pictures). Those have a tree and a birdbath. There are also groups of rocks. A large planter will hold hyacinth. And, we plan to get a wisteria to climb the chimney. Those two should bring in the butterflies and hummingbirds.

    So, then, after all our hard work, of course, Murphy has to come visit. There is a plumbing problem. For the second time since we’ve owned this house, it “rained” from the upstairs to the down. (And created a big puddle in the kitchen for the third time, we had a big puddle in the kitchen.) We have a toilet that hasn’t been flushing well, but draining the tub after a bath seems to be more than it could handle; the toilet “belched”. So, tonight, we will seek out a snake and see if we can learn to snake a drain. It’s a very busy week: we need to wrap up the rocks project so we can stop bothering the nice man who lets us come get them for free. We need to go home and deal with my mom and her stuff. We need to do our usual end-of-month stuff.

    So, we decided last night to skip the Luza trip to Dime Box again. Hopefully (still pending Emil’s co-worker’s dad’s condition/status), we’ll be coming back from Paris on that day and would have to get up super early (5:30am?) to leave my grandmother’s in time to make Dime Box by lunch. That’s not fair to us or her.

    Here. We. Go!