First Dog Park Experience: Wow!

Dog Park

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Well, I bit the bullet and really became a city slicker. I took Ellie to the dog park. I know it’s crazy but I have never been to an official dog park. I’ve been to parks with Ellie but they weren’t off leash and they definitely didn’t promote any doggie play that’s for sure.

But wow, I was amazed at how great the experience was. Ellie is a pretty laid back dog, especially for a heeler. But then again you really never know what your dog is going to do when it has a bunch of hyper-active dogs crowding around it.

Well we were in that position once or twice and thankfully, Ellie was a little angel. Actually I am not really sure Ellie understood the concept. For the most part when I looked up to find her, you’d realize that she was standing not too far away from my feet or one of the others in the group.

Our group was pretty legit though. One great dane, one shepherd/lab mix, a golden retreiver and then Ellie. She looked tiny compared to her three amigos! Crud-monkeys… now I am realizing I don’t think I took a picture of all of the dogs together :(Ellie and Her Friend

But anyhow, Ellie perked up as soon as I pulled her favorite ball out of my backpack. I should say that, naturally, she was not the only dog to want to play. I instantly became a favorite among a number of dogs. She made friends with this black beauty. This dog was all tongue and such a sweetheart, although I wish I could have figured out who it’s owner was. I would love to send them these picture I have of her. So I was coordinating Ellie, the heeler, the black dog and then a youthful German Shepherd, whom I referred to as Foxy. Because let’s face it, that would be a badas… an awesome name for a dog!

Two hours later, it was growing dark and my stomach was growling. So our trip to the park was a wonderful success! I can’t wait to go back soon!

Happy Friday everyone!

Note: all of these pictures are straight out of my camera! I can’t wait to get them into my computer and do some fun edits :)

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I Love My Dog, But…

IMG_7890Howdy folks! Happy Tuesday. Hope everyone is having a splendid week. Here in San Antonio, Texas, we are enjoying Texas weather like none other, lows in the 50s, highs in the 80s. You really couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day than what its shaping out to be.

As busy as work has been, I have found some time here and there to keep track, from a distance, of the Ebola-situation going on in Dallas. Crazy. Just crazy to think that the United States and Texas of all places is at the forefront of this.Yes we are a medically-advanced nation that could deal with this; however, I sincerely hope this would bring the attention of the people of this great nation back into focus on priorities.

There are things that are more dangerous to our health than Ebola at this moment, but do you hear people crying out over un-vaccinated children spreading Measles? Or how about the 100 American children that died from the influenza last year?

And what really set me off, is people being more upset about the condition of the newest Ebola patient’s dog rather than the patient herself! Seriously, after Spain had put down the dog of the nurse who had become infected recently, people of our country and around the world were outraged. On top of that, since the US’s second patient with Ebola had a dog, it would only be obvious that it would move to front page news.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and pretty much all animals for that matter, but there are a few common sense things to remember.

Dogs are animals. And humans are animals. But that doesn’t make dogs human.

I love my Ellie-girl to pieces. She’s been a gift from God. So many times I go home from a stressful day at work to her smiling face, yes she smiles! It makes my evening to take her for walks or to the park. Never fails to make me laugh or forget about any struggles I may be having. Shoot, she’s made being single rather easy! Who needs a boyfriend when you have a dog that never disagrees that I am right about everything, will cuddle on command, and doesn’t mind my family?!? And if you measured love for a dog on a scale based upon how many selfies have been taken with her, well, let’s just say we’ve got plenty :)

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But as much as I love my pal and my companion, if I became ill with a disease such as Ebola, and officials were even only slightly concerned that she may have contracted it and would therefore be a danger of spreading the disease, I would agree that euthanizing her would be the best thing. In 2005, there was a French study concluding that transmission of Ebola from humans to dogs was possible.

I love my dog so much I even spent $20/month on a BarkBox subscription just so she’d have new toys and treats every month!

So with that possibility in mind, it would make the decision not very difficult for me. This is not because I don’t love her, because if you know me, you would know that couldn’t be further from the truth. But it’s because I love my family, my country and this world more than just one dog. And at the end of the day, what kind of guilt would I carry, if somehow, one of the employees taking care of her while I was in the hospital contracted the disease?

At the end of the day, I just simply do not believe a dog’s life is not worth the risk of another human’s.

This was a pretty heavy blog post, which I don’t do very often. I tend to prefer my light-hearted posts about music like my last one, or my photography. However, the media surrounding this topic has just about driven me nuts. All in all, I love life and this world, I would hate to lose it because we are worried about what is and is not fair to a dog.

Things Tuesday: 07/28/2015

Selfie with Ellie

It’s been a little while since I did a Things Tuesday post, but I’m back now and I have a few quality, or so I think, things to share with y’all!

ONE It’s been a little while since I last shared anything Aggie-related. But this will make you smile and maybe even tear up, especially if you’re an Aggie! Tom “Ike” Morris, Class of 1933, is turning 105 years old on August 1, 2015. He is the oldest living Aggie. He graduated over 82 years ago. Let that sink in. This old Ag, was Aggie before there ever was a Reveille, before Gig’ Em ever meant anything and long before women were ever in attendance. Not only is his age incredible, his spirit is one of a kind.

Two years ago, at Muster, he was presented with a new Aggie ring after wearing out his first ring and losing his second one in his 80s. His story is quite spectacular. I plan on joining countless Aggies in wishing him a Happy Birthday by sending a card to his house. I hope he has a good relationship with his mailman because he’s going to be receiving tons of mail!

https://twitter.com/AggieDesigner/status/626117976412913664

TWO Now that you’ve seen the video above, you’ve got to check out this one as well. This story is about a man who plays taps everyday at the same time. Watch how the community responds.

When I first saw this story, I most definitely teared up. It brought back memories of going to Academic Plaza on Texas A&M’s campus at 10 PM ever first Tuesday of the month for the Silver Taps in honor of any students whom passed away in the previous month. This ritual was and remains my favorite tradition at A&M.

Standing in the dark (when I say dark, I mean “living out in the country” dark*), in the grass, with thousands of your peers for a half hour does something to you.  You begin to realize, or are again reminded, of how life is so much bigger than yourself. You stand there for what will feel like a long time, but in all actuality is only 15-20 minutes. You will hear taps being played. Then you will get goosebumps. The occasion may bring on a somber feeling and you may feel as though you have to fight back tears.
After taps are played, a 21-gun salute will sound off. At this point, your whole body may ache as you are struck with the ceremony’s meaning. One or more of your fellow Aggies left this world prematurely and the student body is there in their honor.
This isn’t a simple obituary announcement like what you would see posted on the post office bulletin board. This is a university’s student body coming together to prove that no matter how big we may grow, we all matter, even in the end. Now, after the guns have gone off, Amazing Grace is played on the clock tower. I wish I could find audio of this. It is such a beautifully understated way to conclude the night. And finally, as you walk back to your dorm, or to your car and go home, you will be overcome with the urge to remain silent.
It’s in this silence where you will find an even greater love for your beloved institution. If you are a current or future student at Texas A&M, please take the time to attend Silver Taps. After attending a couple of times, you will surely come to love this incredibly humbling event and you will leave with a feeling that is all too unique to explain.

*Texas A&M sends out an email earlier in the day to the student body asking that all lights on campus be extinguished during Silver Taps.

THREE (Whew this list may only have four bullets on it, but it’s going to be a little bit long winded.) Alrighty, in case you missed it, for most of last week I was on vacation with my family. Check out my previous posts to catch up if you’d like. This post will still be waiting for you.

It was great. However, Monday was not so great. According to WebMD, I had the Vacation Blues. All of my enthusiasm I had built up for my return was quickly deflated once I arrived to an inbox full of emails and voice mail, and a stack of things that hit the fan, so to speak, of course while I was out. After coping with the ba-humbug feeling on Monday, I was able to do a few things to quickly try to turn my week around. As I worked on this post, I happened to find this list, of which a few of I used myself.

  • Take some time to tidy up your desk or at least sort through everything, you may find that things are in slightly different spots on your desk after being gone for four days.
  • Prioritize. I’m really bad at this sometimes. But it’s important to make a list of what needs to get done asap and the other things that can wait until later in the week. Write them down, your brain isn’t big enough to remember them all!

Baby steps. One thing crossed off at a time. This makes me think of a Johnny Cash song:


FOUR Finally, this list will end on a cute note. Earlier this month, on the 15th, was the 3rd Adoption Anniversary for me and Ellie :) Yes my precious pup who has been there with me for the past 1,110 days playing the role of co-pilot, cuddle-buddy, workout partner, and friend. She’s had to put up with countless car rides, trips to the dog park, the back and forth life of being a country/city dog and all of my usual craziness. She’s easily the best $80 + vet bills, I have ever spent.

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Doing “City Girl” Things

Ellie

Duddley, Shiner & EllieUnlike most weekends that I write about, I didn’t go back home this weekend. Yep, I stayed in town, relaxed and did some “city things” as Grandpa would call them.

The first of those city things, was heading back to the dog park to meet up with friends and their dogs. This would be the second time at the dog park for Ellie and me. This time we would be going on a Saturday morning. I braced myself for crowds, crazy dogs and parking. Ha turns out though, the parking was the only tricky thing about the whole visit.

Ellie was much more out and about this time. Although, I say that with some mockery. She still was never too far away from me but she did interact with other dogs besides Shiner and Duddley.

Me and ShinerThis Saturday, in particular, was one that the San Antonio Great Dane Meet Up Group was going to get together at the park. So what a treat it was to see all different looking dogs on a whole different scale.

I am upset with myself though because I wasn’t able to get my camera out in time to photograph some of these beauties. They were entirely too interested in being less than an arms-distance away from me, which due to their size, makes it a challenge to begin with. Next time, I know to come with a game plan! It was especially cute when Ellie would stand right in the middle of a group of them and just look up! I need that picture for sure.

But it really was so much fun. Ellie was so exhausted after we got back home from the dog park. We both just laid down and napped for a couple of hours. I could barely get myself motivated enough to grab a bite to eat for lunch.

Anyhow, after two hours of the off-leash dog park, then a nice long walk, I did manage to get some pictures. Again, none of these pictures have even been brought into Photoshop to edit or even crop. Straight out of my new Nikon, which I love, but need to do some more experimenting!

From the Field to a Dance Hall: Yeah that’s my family.

Whew where has time flown off to? Ha what a cliche! But really, it is extremely fitting for the last couple of weeks. I’m sure this is true for most of you as well. With the holiday, Monday, and it being the end of the month. I feel like it hasn’t quite passed me by but it’s trying to that’s for sure.

layingpipepano1

Lots has happened since last weekend. I had yet another unbelievably-wonderful weekend at home. It started out with just the usual banter amongst us girls, which of course was terribly aggravating to my parents. Then by the afternoon, we were outside helping Grandpa and Uncle Anthony lay a water line. Dad asked for the little girls to come out and help him. I thought it was odd he didn’t ask for me too but I went out and volunteered anyways. It was a gorgeous day so I figured I’d soak it up.layingpipe2

Well needless to say, I soaked in some rays. Grandpa and Anthony planned to put in roughly 5,900′ of pipe from our well, out to the back pastures, so that the cows would no longer need to walk the distance for water.

So Anthony was on the trencher. Grandma was driving the truck and trailer loaded down with PVC pipe. My two littlest sisters and a cousin were pulling the pipe off as Grandma drove and placing them close to the already dug trench. Ok so these five, were all way ahead of us.

Then you had Grandpa, Dad and I bringing up the rear. I would go along and shake out each of the pipes making sure that there wasn’t any dirt at the ends of the pipe. Then Dad and Grandpa had a little rotation going in which they were gluing the pipe ends together.layingpipe6

Now working so close to these two was pretty comical. All sorts of conversations were going on. One of which I will continue to give Grandpa a hard time about!

Grandpa informed me how he couldn’t believe a country-girl like myself would take her dog to a darn dog park. I explained the several reasons for going and how fun it really was for both Ellie and me. Then I also reminded him that most bosses don’t give their volunteers such a hard time! haha it’s all in good fun but I think I am going to have to trick him into going to the dog park with me now!layingpipe14

Anyhow back to the work. We were so lucky with the weather. It was a plum beautiful day. Blue, cloudy sky that hid the sun every so often. Pretty darn pleasant. And we got surprisingly far with the pipe gluing too.

But we had to stop just before 7 in the evening because Mom made supper. Something not to be missed that’s for sure. I think that night was ribs that had been cooked in the crockpot all day. No wait, it could have been sausage and squash.. But honestly, she makes so many delicious meals that it gets difficult to keep track of.

After supper, it was time to clean up and head with the entire family to the Quihi Gun Club for a night of dancing. You don’t understand how much this makes me happy. I grew up going to Quihi. I remember being little and dancing with my Dad and Grandpa, or shoot anyone that would dance with me. But hey nothing has changed there!

quihiGrandpa even convinced Grandma to come. At first he thought I was crazy when I asked him, while laying pipe, if they were going to Quihi that night. But he must have had a change of heart after a little rest. But the best quote from the night was from my grandma. She told Sydney that she came to Quihi to drink not dance. But if you know the two of them, you’d be safe in assuming that they were out there for almost every number!

There was a really good size crowd for just one of their regular dances. They have dances there every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. There was so many middle school and high school kids there. It was pretty comical watching them dance and have so much fun.

Well as usual certain songs came on that I had to be stuck on the sidelines since Mom had called dibs on Dad. But luckily, Sydney brought her boyfriend Josh with us. He’s a great dancer. And another person to add to the list that I can ask to dance in a crunch!

Well of course Silver Wings was played. And of course, that’s when the dance floor was the fullest. There is something that makes Quihi special in moments like this. I don’t know what makes me love Quihi the most. May the well-worn wood floor that slightly bows on one side, or the permanent-marker covered bathrooms, or the couples in love, or the fact that beer is $2.50.

And I learned of yet another couple more songs in which Dad is off limits: anything Gary Allan and Wave on Wave by Pat Green.

So yeah, this isn’t even the full weekend! It’s just the synopsis for Saturday. Another post to come with all of Sunday and Monday’s fun :)

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Weekend Recap – 8.28.2017

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

It’s time for a little weekend recap action on the blog today. Hurricane Harvey has made its impact across Texas. However, it didn’t impact me quite as much as we thought/hoped for. Nonetheless, I’m sending up my prayers for all affected. As terrible as it has been to see the damage and pain caused, it has also been a beautiful thing to watch people helping others no matter who they are. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see all of these good deeds and efforts publicized for weeks, months and years to come.

God promises to make something good out of the storms that bring devastation to your life. – Romans 8:28

Weekend Recap

Friday

Alrighty, getting back to the weekend that was. We had previously planned on being at the lake all weekend to round out the week. But with the bad weather looming we figured against a lake weekend. Meteorologists were estimating 8-12″ or more of rain in our area. But looking at the forecast, it looked like most would come Saturday/Sunday. So we headed on over to my grandparents. To our surprise they weren’t there. Old people with other places to be rather than home?!?! That’s my grandparents for you, always on the go.

Lucky for them and us, we found something to do in the meantime. We jumped on the four-wheeler and went exploring. As we got started, we saw a black cloud looming in the northeast, but we were chancing it. Twenty minutes later, that black cloud found us! Driving a four-wheeler against the rain is actually quite painful! But we made it up the hill to my parents house, parked under a tree and ran as fast as we could to the porch. Pretty sure we caught everyone by surprise coming in during the little storm. The dogs were having a blast and wanted us to stay outside and play.

For the next hour or so, we hung out there, wrapped up in towels. Not having thought supper through, we bummed some chalupas off of my mom. You can always count on my mother to have enough food to share. Chit-chatted for quite some time. Caught up with everyone. You see, not seeing my family members for over three days creates plenty of conversation. After our visit with my parents, we ventured back to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Visits with them are always the best. Sure to be full of laughter and having to repeat yourself :)

Saturday

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

We had fully prepared ourselves to be stuck in the house Saturday and Sunday due to rain. Saturday morning we got up and fixed a fantastic breakfast sandwich with my favorite buttermilk biscuit recipe (stay tuned for the recipe), turkey bacon, eggs and cheddar cheese. Finding the tiniest pans in the cabinets we figured on cooking the eggs in those. However, none of my biscuit cutters were large enough to accommodate. So we went through all of the cabinets pulling out jars and cups to inspect their size. Turns out using the large Yeti cup was absolutely what we needed.

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

Flint by Louis L'Amour courtesy of Amazon - sheerheart.orgAfter breakfast we split up the cleaning duties and tackled the counters, floors and appliances. Of course I found some time to read. Currently reading Flint by Louis L’Amour. Such a good, classic L’Amour book.

But just after noon and a smoothie, boredom had pretty well sunk in. It felt like we had 8″ of wind in the gauge, but no measurable rain. With no movies on TV worth watching, we decided to venture out. After checking a few things out in Castroville, we made our way into San Antonio to cross a few things off of the to-do list, and we even did the grocery shopping! Gosh, it always feels nice to get that out-of-the-way before Sunday rolls around. But I rarely have the time to do that.

Tweet, tweet. My phone goes off to inform me my mother is inviting us over for supper. Not chalupas this time, rather ham, beans, macaroni salad, and Dad’s homemade rolls. And a cake! With little else on the agenda, it’s hard to turn down an invite as such. Shortly before we were to head over, Dad texted me asking if we could pick up the “old peeps”. Yes, my dad used the word “peeps”. Of course we did. Although I think we should have brought a step-ladder for Grandma to make it into the truck!

With grandparents in tow, we arrived just in time for supper. Supper and dessert were fabulous, but even more fabulous was the company. My parents, two of my sisters, future brother-in-law, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin all there just to hang out on a Saturday night. I’m no fool. I know how fortunate I am to have the people I am surrounded by. Watching a little preseason football together, laughing, telling stories, and so on. Nights like these don’t ever fall short.

Sunday

Sunday morning was similar to usual. Eight AM mass at Our Lady of Grace. Fr. Paul’s sermon this week revolved around “The Golden Rule”. The real Golden Rule that is. Growing up, Dad [jokingly] always taught us that the Golden Rule was, “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” Thankfully Fr. Paul didn’t put me on the spot regarding this, as I’m not sure if I would have been able to answer correctly. Of course the real rule is, “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”

With that being said, Fr. Paul reminded us to do good without expecting anything in return. This sermon reminded me of the Litany of Humility one of my lovely coworkers introduced me to a couple of weeks ago.

After church, we always head over to my Granny’s house where she has a fantastic breakfast prepared for us. From biscuits and gravy, to egg bread (a.k.a. French toast), to breakfast tacos, to quiche, and so forth, you are always taken well care of at Granny’s. Words cannot describe how happy it makes me to have the same Sunday morning tradition I had growing up. Having four generations in Granny’s kitchen, organized chaos as it may, has you feeling the love!

Once we’re back home from church and Granny’s, I had to get a nap in! Ha I know it was not even 10 a.m., but I already needed a nap. And in typical-Alyx fashion, it was a 3 hour nap! I usually kick myself after taking such a long nap, but since it was gloomy outside still, I didn’t feel I was missing out all that much. And since the grocery shopping was over, I still felt like I had time to spare.

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

So naturally, I decide to make a couple of pie crusts to have handy for the week. If you’ve been around for the last couple of months, you’ll know I have been a mighty big fan of Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott. After making a couple of pie crusts to throw in the fridge, I decided to dabble in some of my other cookbooks. So pulling out Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan, I flipped to a brownie recipe. Oh. My. Goodness. These brownies were heavenly. Full review coming soon.

Dories Cookies by Dorie Greenspan courtesy of Amazon - Baking Cookies Like a Pro - sheerheart.org

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 Making Brownies from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan - sheerheart.org

You think I was done cooking for the day? Well of course not! I had chicken thighs in the crockpot. It has been quite some time since I made chicken enchiladas. Needing to change that, I made may way over to m favorite taco house in Castroville, Taqueria San Juan’s to grab a couple dozen corn tortillas. With tortillas in hand, I was ready to start rolling some enchiladas. After roasting bell pepper, tomatillos and garlic, I processed them with several handfuls of cilantro to make my enchilada sauce.

We can never have too much cilantro in a dish! Once I had my sauce ready and chicken shredded, I made my assembly line on the stove. 18 of the original 24 tortillas made it to the point of becoming enchiladas. Not sure what happened to the other tortillas… ;)

Beings HEB has been telling me for days and weeks that Hatch pepper season is upon us, I decided to use the Hatch flavored cheese I found on sale this week! It turned out to be a perfect match!

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of my enchiladas this go ’round. But I’ll get to working on a recipe post asap.

What felt like an hour later, the kitchen was cleaned and it was time to wrap up the weekend. Showered and hair in a braid, I sat back on the bed and felt like I had a productive weekend. Most times I count a weekend as productive when I worked cows for hours on end, did something that made me sweat or checked a bunch off of the ole to-do list. While I worked zero cows, sweat very little and crossed only a handful of things off the list, I still felt as though this was one good weekend for the books.

As always looking forward to hearing from y’all!
Did you see my About Me update? Be sure to check it out!
To keep up with all the goings, be sure to like sheerheart.org on Facebook and @alyxsheerheart on Instagram as well as the ole Twitter.

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

Weekend Recap 8.28.2017 - sheerheart.org

Twelve Things Tuesday: 05/05/2015

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here in San Antonio, it’s not the prettiest of days to celebrate, but I’m sure people will find a way!

But to the list:

ONE: Since this will be the third week, that something A&M will not only be included on this list, but at the top, I guess it needs to be made into a tradition! But really, this deserves to be at the top because of how amazing and important it is to highlight.
For the 39th year, the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M held their 18-mile March to the Brazos in support of prenatal health and the March of Dimes. This year they raised $113,000 in their efforts!

TWO: Do you drink coffee? Well we all know I do nowadays. But I found a list that gives you even more reasons to drink coffee everyday.
10 Healthy Reasons to Drink Coffee

THREE: Homemade Vanilla Ice CreamICE CREAM was once again made in my house. Yum. I would have no problem putting my vanilla up against the best brands. It is absolutely the perfect vanilla, not overpowering, but just enough to make you feel like a kid again. It would be the perfect recipe for a root beer float! But make sure you take the time to mix it together and then leave in the fridge overnight or the freezer for a few hours, stirring frequently, before putting it into your ice cream maker. This will allow it to freeze through quicker, keeping the ice crystals as small as possible. When I do this, it takes no more than 20 minutes in my maker.
Practice does make perfect though. I’ve probably made this recipe 30-40 times over the last couple of years, and you definitely do develop your own tricks and techniques. So stay with it!

FOUR: I have been on the reading train lately. Mainly just on drives to and from work but then again that accounts for almost 2 hours of my day. So needless to say, I can get through some books pretty quick with my Audible app.

This week I continue to read “Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation”. It’s apart of their Great Courses, which by the way are only $6.95 each through May 8th! It’s not the quickest read, but I try to get in 15-20 minutes here and there. Extremely enlightening though.

Also I have begun reading my very first Nicholas Sparks novel, “The Longest Ride”. I know it’s more than likely going to be cheesy at  times but the reviews were pretty positive and figured it was worth the 13 hours of my life. Will update you next week how good it is.

FIVE: Weirdest thing I have tried lately? Merlot cheese from HEB. It is kind of ridiculously amazing and well worth the try if you find it at your grocery store. The brand that I picked up was Sartori Merlot BellaVitano, I believe. But here is the thing you must promise me/yourself, you must eat the rind too! It makes it even better. I can’t wait to try more of this brand’s combinations. They all sound so tempting.

SIX: I’ve been playing a few different CDs in my car lately.
1. The first I talked about previously, Hold My Beer, Vol. 1 by Randy Roger and Wade Bowen. Hold My BeerIt’s well worth the $10 but can also be found on Spotify!
2. The Underdog by Aaron Watson. Again on Spotify, but well worth the money. This CD has 14 songs for only $7.99!
3. Texas Like That by Zane Williams. Another great Texas country album I found on Spotify. I haven’t purchased this one off of Amazon yet, but plan to.
All of these albums are great dance hall kind of country albums that won’t be confused with any other genre. Plus I have had the pleasure of seeing all of these artists in concert and it’s good to know they really can sing too!

**Soon another musical playlist will be posted!**

SEVEN: P.S. I hope your calendars have been marked for Mother’s Day this coming Sunday! You definitely don’t want to forget that. Next Tuesday I’ll include in my list what I got for my mom!

EIGHT: Does your dad have mad joke skills like mine does?!? If so this post from Buzzfeed may remind you of him. There are some pretty good ones on their but this is my dad’s classic for you to share with the rest of the world:

Dad: What fish did they serve at the Last Supper?
Me: I’m not sure.
Dad: HOLY MACKEREL!!!!!!!

Yep he came up with that one in church!

NINE: I find myself sometimes wanting to be hyphen-happy sometimes, especially at work or when I am editing business type pages. I don’t know why, I just do. But I found this helpful cheat sheet from The Economist that proved helpful and made me feel a little more educated!

TEN: This past week we had a retirement party for one of my sweet co-workers. She’s my photography buddy I have referred to before. She happens to have a Flickr page that will always be sure to surprise and please! I was asked to give a little talk in front of everyone to give them a little insight of her beyond the office. It was so fun putting together some of her pictures on a little pamphlet of sorts for everyone to enjoy! So I figured I’d share with y’all too!

ELEVEN:  QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” — Henri Matisse

There Are Always FlowersI’m going to say bye to you right now, before you watch the video linked below. You’ll see why.
But anyways, another fun week in the books. Here’s to a great May!

Ok now, see #12.

TWELVE: Watch this video. HOWEVER, be warned there is some inappropriate language and vulgarity in this video. But it’s well worth the watch, just not something you want to blare at work! These Baseball Wisdom videos are frequently quoted at our city league softball games!

Rain Makes for the Best Reading Time

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Another rainy night? Could it have been just a dream? Well the ground couldn’t have lied to me, this morning, when I took Ellie out. After these past two days, I am really regretting not having my pair of rubber boots with me at the apartment. Wet feet is never a great way to start your morning. But this is really not a complaint, more of an observation. I can just hear Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa telling me that I wouldn’t have to worry about this if I just lived at home with them and she was an outside dog. But my response: here, it only rains a couple days out of the year, so I can just manage through it.

And when I say manage, I mean drink wine, finish a book and sleep through it. Lucky for me, Ellie is completely okay with these kinds of evenings too. As long as she has her bone and can be right next to me, she’s a happy camper. I am not above admitting to the whole internet that I went home after work yesterday, took Ellie out in the rain for a short walk, made bean and cheese tacos, drank a glass of wine, finished my book and promptly went to sleep at 7:30. You can bet I didn’t fight it either. Some evenings are to be lived like you are still in college with little care in the world. And other nights are to be lived like a glass of wine and an episode of Murder She Wrote is all your brain can take. These two polar opposites are actually my real life. Although I do feel like I should get a pass of judgement when it rains. Rain, in this part of Texas, is a big enough excuse to get you out of anything. Then again, rain or no rain, I have both of these kind of nights on a regular basis.

Speaking of reading, I must talk about the absolutely wonderful books I have finished lately. White Indian by Donald Clayton Porter, took me by surprise. Great first novel in a series of 20. Looking forward to reading the next once I find one! It reminded me of Ride the Wind, a novel about Cynthia Ann Parker’s life with the Comanche.

I’ve always had a soft spot for historical fiction, especially about the American frontier period from the 17th – 19th centuries. I used to only read Louis L’Amours, but last year I began to venture out to the novels by Max Brand, Zane Gray, Clarence Mulford, William Johnstone, and so forth.

Lately, I have been reading two books at a time. I read a western book (an actual book with real pages to turn!) during the twenty minutes a day I spend walking from my car to the three elevators I have to ride to my office. And the other I listen to an audiobook during my rides to and from work. The audiobook ranges in genre just depending on what I happen to have unread in my library at the time. My last two audiobooks were also historical fiction but of the 20th century sort, and both of which are books that I highly recommend. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan and The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin.

Now that I have finished these books, I’ve got to refresh. Of course, I already have my next western to read picked out; it’s going to be The Cattle Queen Feud by Wayne D. Overholser. A short read of only 153 pages but yet another author I can add to my list of having read. Audiobook wise, I have a number of shorter reads I’d like to get through before I decide which novel I want to devote 15+ hours of my time to! Any suggestions are always welcome :)

Having read these novels brings me up to at lease 16 books on the year. Not exactly as many as I would have hoped but I still have 56 more days before it’s 2015….. oh my goodness where has 2014 gone?

…in typical fashion, I took a post about how happy the rain makes me, which only needed to be 300 or so words long and turned it into a book review that’s twice as long! I guess that’s just my style of writing. Hope everyone stays dry today but enjoys the heck out of this beautiful wet stuff falling from the sky :))

Twenty Pounds of Potatoes and More!

Twenty Pounds of Potatoes and More!

Now what the heck do I have a bowl of potatoes on my blog for? Am I going crazy? Well that is a definite but in all actuality this is part of one of the best weekends I have had in a long, long time!

It started out with a night of camping. Now don’t get to thinking it was some big trip to Big Bend or even Garner State Park, which is not too far away, but we went camping down by the Chacon Creek. Sounds fancy, huh? Well my family, being well my family, goes camping a quarter of a mile from our house! Yep, within mere walking distance. But this does have its advantages. Many actually:

  • Closer to home for the less “outdoorsy” people in my family to have a restroom and shower
  • Closer to actual shelter in case of bad weather
    and most importantly….
  • Closer to a fridge of beer in case your ice chest runs out (or in our case 10 extra people decide to come visit :))

Anyhow, it was beautiful weather and turned out to be a really good time to unplug, enjoy the conversation and fresh air. One of my favorite things about our land down by the creek, is that there is so much to explore. It is especially fun to bring the three hooligans we call dogs along with us. They do their usual parading around. Lucy always wonders off in search of something more exciting that us, while Ricky and Ellie typically are Velcro to Kymber and me. Either way, it is fun to take them on over to the disappearing creek then through the brush of mesquite and hopefully find our way back with all three of them. Cheap entertainment for all!

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I hung out with family too, don’t worry! But they know that I am too much of a dog person to handle!

Grandma T!On to the potato story:

Well my grandma was planning to make potato salad for the American Legion Plate Sale the following day. I thought I’d be a nice granddaughter and offer to help her make it. But Grandma was a bit sneaking and failed to mention that it was a whole 20-pounds! Luckily she had already boiled then peeled the potatoes. I did learn that it is apparently easier to peel a warm potato compared to a cold one! Needless to say though, dicing through these potatoes was work but if you know my grandma and me, you know that we were not short of conversation :) And Grandma don’t be mad at me for posting this picture. You know full and well that I have a blog, so anytime I take a picture of you and you are looking it’s fair game! Love you Grandma!

I talk a lot about my grandpa Tschirhart and how crazy I am about him. A lot of this has to do with me being his namesake, I was his first granddaughter, and during summers I was his shadows at times. Again I grew up within spitting distance of their house.

Grandpa & IBut it wouldn’t be fair of me to not note how awesome Grandma Tschirhart is, after all she is the one who keeps my grandpa in check! She also has to be one of the most comical people I know. She is caring but honest. Real honest. If she things you look better with long hair or a certain color on your nails, she’ll tell you. But that’s what you have to love. She is colorful and fun! Between my love of high heels and dancing I definitely inherited some traits from the grandmother. :)

I learned more than potato salad tips and techniques. I learned how to open jars… I know, I know. Lame as it may be, my grip is horrid. It’s awful. I am quite embarrassed. When I moved to my apartment, I wanted to sit back and enjoy some chips and salsa; the only problem: the jar was unopened. I worked and worked at this jar for seriously 10 minutes or so. I was almost in tears because I was so frustrated. It’s the little things in life right? Needless to say I gave up on the chips and salsa.

But here comes the trick I learned from my grandma.

You are supposed to hold the jar in your non-dominate hand, horizontally, while pressing down on the lid on a wood surface. After doing this all the way around the bottle’s lid, it opened very easily! Since, I have used this trick now a couple of times already. But I am holding back the best part of this story, which makes my family go beyond full circle:

You know who taught Grandma Tschirhart this trick? Grandpa Denis Rihn :) Day, week, month, made right there!