• 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

    during

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

    after

    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!

  • 23Mar

    We’ve missed the last couple of Luza Easter gatherings. Two years ago, we were just exhausted. Last year, it fell on our anniversary and we wanted to do something “better” than eat cheap frozen hamburgers and hot dogs in Dime Box. (We went downtown, had burgers, and bar hopped a little.)

    This year, though, Emil and I had a plan that would get us there with minimal hassle and kill at least two birds with one stone.

    Since my mom is in her, um, situation, I need to make sure she does some paperwork. She’s been promising to get an attorney and write a Will, but she hasn’t done it in large part because she can’t work on that stuff with him around…and he’s always around. Well, a DIY Will from the Internet is better than nothing, so I’ve written one listing me (her preference) and my grandmother (my preference) as her beneficiaries.

    Texas has funny laws about unmarried women. We are her two relatives; it should go to us, in my opinion. My grandmother disagrees and thinks it should go to me, solely. Since neither of them have a computer (because mom’s abuser destroyed hers), I get to say what we do.

    Mom keeps saying she doesn’t really need a will because I’m her only beneficiary. I keep telling her that if she’s dead, she won’t be able to tell anyone that. I swear she thinks she’ll never die. She’s stubborn enough to cheat death, so maybe she’s right.

    So our plan was to go to Paris April 1-2, get mom to sign the Will with a Notary, take lots of pictures for digital records of the Will, get it tucked into my grandmother’s safe deposit box (since no place my mom has access to is safe from him), and then head back to this part of the state. We could swing through Bryan to see Emil’s mom and hit Dime Box on our way by for Luza Easter (on Holy Saturday). It would be a long 3 days, but we’d have Easter Sunday to recover and we’d hit all the necessary stuff. This plan was Emil’s suggestion even though it would mean he’d miss his Thursday D&D group.

    Dear plan, meet the monkey wrench

    Emil’s coworker has some family stuff going on. He was out a couple of days 2 weeks ago. He’ll need to be out Thur/Fri this and/or next week, but doesn’t yet know. They are part of each other’s backup so they can’t plan to be out at the same time.

    • We can’t plan Easter until we get this paperwork thing planned with my family….even if they aren’t the same weekend. We’ve been putting this off for too long and I need to a) see my family and b) get this taken care of. [1]
    • We can’t plan this paperwork thing until Emil takes the time off.
    • He can’t take the time off until the coworker decides if he will/won’t take the time off.
    • Coworker can’t take the time off because his thing is family and he can’t risk taking time off he doesn’t need since he might need it worse, later.

    So when the email came in this week asking everyone, again, if we’ll be at Luza Easter, all we could say is “we’re trying” and “well let you know when we know”.

    And, of course, now it’s spring and pretty weather and I’d rather be in Austin than Paris for any of it. I wish we had done this paperwork in the dead of winter. We just couldn’t find a date that worked.

    [1] As you might imagine, there is a lot more going on with my mom and that relationship than I’ve talked about on our blog. This is what you might call the tip of the iceberg. …and I’ve probably already said more than I should. Although, it’s not slander or libel if it’s true, so I have that on my side.

  • 09Mar

    I guess maybe there is pretend truth to the statement that time heals all wounds.

    This was the first year since that awful day in 2002 when “God” took Daddy from this world that I didn’t hone in on the date.

    Of course, I don’t believe that “God” took him.[1] I believe that we aren’t yet skilled enough in science to have saved him. The DOG knew weeks before. My MOM knew weeks before, too, but she can’t remember any of her behavior that then seemed erratic. My grandmother & I knew, but to a far lesser degree. If Randi Cae the Schnauzer could have talked, she would have told us he was dying.

    It wasn’t until I saw Sandra Tweet to Emil, “Did you call Mom for her birthday?” that I realized the date. It a terrible thing to have an immediate family birthday and a immediate family death on the same day. Every reminder is a curse.

    It’s not easier with time. In fact, the distractions I had today made it worse. I feel worse for not remembering (either of) the events.

    Dear Daddy, I still miss you every damn day. I still wish you were among us. It’s not fair to this world that you are not. Neither I nor any god can satisfactorily explain your sudden departure from our world.

    • Did you leave me so I’d not have the kids I didn’t really want? For sure, your part of their life would have been a big pro on that list. But, I don’t think it would have out-weighed all the cons. There are so very many.
    • Did you leave so Mom could end up with Larry3? Seeing as how he beat her, broke her house, and repeatedly continues to emotionally abuse her, I don’t think that is sound or logical.
    • Did you leave Mom so she could be there for Larry3? If so, why is he mean to her?
    • Did you leave your golf buddies for being the bigots they are? If so, you could have just moved to place with less bigots. It’s clear that Paris, Texas is a shit hole, but you don’t have to live in that shit hole.

    ….See? It’s not easier with time. The best you can hope for is to remember early in the day so you don’t feel guilty for forgetting until late in the day.

    Fuck you, “god” and “universe”. You don’t deserve my love or adoration or attention. You took Daddy at half his life.

    Happy Birthday, Mom L. (She can’t see/read this, but I wish it to her all the same.)

    [1] It’s possible that recent bigotry (from Chad) had me distracted.

     

  • 07Nov

    It’s been a while since we just did a plain old update. So here are some things going on with us.

    • Last winter, we got a new domain. You can now find us at BlueLime.us instead of the longer address. Hopefully, we’ll streamline some of the other stuff, too.
    • At some point last winter, I needed a break from the whole vegan thing. For a while, I ate all the hot wings. :) I really just needed more options and a break from having to think so hard about my food. After a period of going a little nuts, I settled back into a balance. I’m eating vegan meals at least two thirds of the time, I’d guess. I’m working on a greater percentage with meat or dairy as an occasional exception. For example, I’d rather have the best queso in town a few times a year than mediocre queso at places that use too much cilantro. It makes it a lot easier to go out with friends.
    • I finally quit facebook for real. I don’t even have my fake account, anymore. I don’t miss much about it. I’m learning, too, that I was way ahead of the curve; there are a lot of us facebook haters.
    • Last spring-summer, I transitioned out of two volunteer roles. One was simply an expired term. The other was one of those “I’m done” moments. It stopped being fun and others wanted to tell me what to do without ever agreeing to help out (yes, I asked many times). We still participate, but now it’s less.
    • In that vein, I’m still doing the Pareto “diet” that is life. I keep culling the bottom 20% of whatever is sucking the fun out of life. We focus time on the 20% of life that brings us joy.
    • Summer was, apparently, big for us:
      • Emil’s mom fell. She went from a burst vertebrae in her back to the hospital to rehab (and back and forth for a bit) to Assisted Living and is now in Memory Care. She has good days and bad days, but is doing well considering. The “team” of siblings is on top of her care. Emil sees her many Thursday nights when he’s in Bryan for his D&D group. On the nights that they do meet and that I can join him, I go, too. After visiting Mom, he games and I hang out with Jessica or even Angela W.. It’s been nice to have some girl time with old friends.
      • My mom went through some trauma/drama. We went home to help her get through the worst of it. She’s made some progress, but it’s still a problem. We’re waiting until the problem finds a “bottom” so some healing/help can begin. Meanwhile, my grandmother is doing just fine other than worrying a whole lot.
      • We rehomed Marble. He ran off P?kný, disappeared himself for a couple of days, reappeared (I told him “you’re the wrong cat to come back!”), and was still a PITA to Purrrrrl and us. Because he chewed wires, we had to be super careful about what we left where; all cords had to be wrapped. Because he did other damage, we had to live with all the doors closed. We were prisoners in our own home….most of all the girls. So, Jessica offered that if we still didn’t have anyone after her month of travel, she’d try him out. Well, he’s a good fit (thankfully!) and is fat and happy living with her. Interestingly, I had tried to fatten him up, but since Purrrrrl can’t free-feed or have his food, I couldn’t “make” him eat enough to be “slothenly”. Interestingly, he wasn’t gone a week before P?kný came back. She’s still a patio-only kitty and afraid to come inside….but it’s like she KNEW he was gone. He is such an asshole.
      • We also used summer to kick start a few little projects around the house. I’m almost done painting all the ugly brass hardware and hope to start scraping the popcorn off the ceilings, soon.
      • Since early summer, I’ve been cooking like a fiend. I can ~always tweak a recipe to my liking, but never really learned how to menu plan. Having a busy life kept me from learning this. Well, I’ve finally figured out how to plan stuff that Emil will eat, stuff that I will eat, and stuff that we will eat.
    • This fall, we joined D&D Encounters. It’s a hot mess of red tape and I don’t think the Wizard’s of the Coast people gave any consideration to making it easy for new people to join (which is the entire purpose/intent of the series). But, after some bumps in the road, our two (yes, TWO) groups normalized into good groups to play with. It’s also nice to have set plans. Since my Monday CroKnit group and Emil’s Thursday dungeon group are still going strong, we’re booked 4 evenings of most weeks.
    • October was a blast with two Halloween weekends, two parties, and much merriment. Only 358 days until Hallowe’en 15! And, it will be on a Saturday next year. This bodes both for a lot of fun :) and also for all the parties to be on the same :( night. Whatever shall we be this time?
    • As usual, I’m not looking forward to the holidays. In fact, my annual rant is overdue since I’ve already blocked pins/posts about xmas….and warned one family member that I’ll unfollow her until new year’s if she keeps it up.
    • So, we’re ready for late fall and winter and using the fireplace. I suspect there will be several movie marathons and much gaming.

    Happy Fall, Y’all!

  • 05Apr

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  • 25Dec

    What a great  Cristmas Emil and I had.

    We got to see both sides of the family [1]  and made time for oursleve, too. And, this is the first time in a long time that we didn’t get each other a same gift.

    Armed with new toys and gadgets (this blog post is coming to you from our couch via the new bluetooth QWERTY keyboard for my iPhone), we have a few days of R&R planned. We’ll see you all in 2012.

    Happy New Year!

    .

    [1] At Thanksgiving, we learned that one oft he Amanda’s is pregnant. Today, we learned the other one is too. The first cousins will be born in June and July. If my count is correct, these will be our 20th and 21st great neice/newphews. That’s a lot of babies in just 10 years.

  • 31Oct

    Two years ago, I was far to ill to attend Thanksgiving–my third favorite holiday. I tried to get Emil to go to Bryan without me, but he wanted to stay here and take care of me.
    yippie.
    j.k. Actually, he was quite kind to check on me but otherwise leave me alone… I think he didn’t want to risk that he was contagious but not symptomatic and “share” with the whole fam damily.
    I was no better by Thursday evening, so we cancelled our trip to Paris for Friday-giving, too.

    Last year, I was to ill to participate in any part of Hallowe’en. I had one of those colds that lasted for days….and all the wrong days, at that! Since Hallowe’en is far and above my favorite holiday, I was not a happy camper. My costume was recycled from a fundraiser a few years ago, so I wasn’t that exited about it, anyway. (Curses to the crack pot who gave the Hallowe’en party a theme. WTF? I guess she doesn’t realize that themes only work for the person who picks them!)

    This year, we made it to the No Kidding! party  and had a really good time. But ~30 hours later, while I suffered insomnia, Emil awoke unable to breathe. So, while tonight could have had some small have-to-work-tomorrow adventure to celebrate this fun holiday, we are at home. He’s “in there” and I’m “in here” because we don’t want him to share.

    dammit.

    Why can’t this happen at Christmas since it’s my least favorite holiday?

    Excuse me, I have to go wash my hands with bleach.

  • 26Oct

    You aren’t anonymous on the Internet. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever used Google or facebook.

    • If you comment on my blog, I can see what city you are in. I even have a vague-to-accurate address (depending upon several things).
    • If you ask me for help with something and then undo all the work I did with your blessing, I’ll know. Guess what? I follow the projects I’ve worked on.
    • If you read most of the (infrequent) emails my business sends over the course of a few years but then suddenly mark one as spam a) I’ll know you did that and b) you’ll jeopardize your reputation as a savvy Internet user. Clearly you were interested enough to read some of them. Just don’t be a dick about it. Unsubscribe if you are no longer interested.
      And if you are family, it’s just makes you look even worse.

    I’m tired of bad “sportsmanship” to use the term more globally. It’s just not that hard to be nice. It’s even easier to not be a jerk; ha, for that, you don’t have to do ANYthing!

     

  • 25Apr

    Easter with the Luzas has shifted over the last few years from a BBQ feast–with a lot of wee-hours-of-the-morning cooking–to a hamburgers/hot-dogs lunch. It’s not as yummy, but it’s a lot less work, especially for a devoted few.

    Last year, I honestly don’t remember what I ate. I probably took veggie patties and soy dogs.

    This year, we were only going to be there for the one/big meal, so I opted for veggie packets and fruit kabobs. Along with chips, this was our contribution to the family meal.

    Veggie Packets

    prep:

    • Chop onion into ~8 sections; with it’s natural layers, grabbing a wedge for each packet will be easy.
    • Chop or slice vegetables for ease of scooping 1/4 cup portions.
    • To make ~40 packets, this took me ~2 hours.

    assemble:

    • two layers of foil
    • 1/4 cup diced potatoes
    • 1/4 cup sliced zucchini
    • 1/4 cup sliced yellow squash
    • 1/4 cup sliced carrots
    • 1 small wedge of onion
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
    • a pinch of thyme
    • salt & pepper

    Double-fold the packets along the top and then fold in the ends.

    cook:

    • Grill over a hot fire for ~15 minutes.
    • Our grills were VERY hot that day, so we put them on the top rack.
    • In our case, they were done when the foil started to change color.

    Fruit Ka-bobs

    Thanks for my friends on Twitter and facebook, I knew what fruits would grill well!

    prep:

    Clean and cut fruit into wedges big enough to slide onto skewers and not fall between the slats on the grill. This took me about an hour.

    ingredients:

    • apples
    • pears
    • strawberries
    • pineapple
    • mango (given the size of the mango pit, this was by-far the hardest to work with)

    prep:

    Soak wooden skewers in water to keep them fire resistant. Some also advised soaking the fruit in water to prevent burning.

    cook:

    • Have each person assemble their favorites into a ka-bob.
    • Sprinkle a little sugar on each ka-bob.
    • Grill over a hot flame for ~5 minutes, turning one time.
    • You know they are done when the fruit has grill marks.

    The apples and pears will taste like bites of pie. The strawberries are unlike any I’d ever had.

    I can’t speak to the pineapple or mango since I can’t stand the stuff, but it was quickly claimed when we packed up after lunch and divided all the leftovers!

    YUM!

  • 08Apr

    Emil with two of his nephews. Lydia sent us this picture and said it was just after Long John Silvers opened in Bryan and just before Bobby/Patty and family moved back to Washington.

    Arrrrrrrrgh!

    Personally, I don’t think this looks like Emil.