Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Even though Halloween fell on a Saturday this year, the clouds decided to run away and we had an amazing Saturday to frolick around and play. Actually, in the early morning, I nursed a bit of a hangover until I met up with my sister for a much, much needed pedicure and on our way back, we picked up Fred's Philly Cheesesteak and parked ourselves on the couch to watch Tech perform how they SHOULD'VE performed the week before. May fault, I wasn't wearing the uniform and I didn't have Fred's. I won't make that mistake again.

Anyway, aftewards, we sat down and FINALLY carved our pumpkins. Here's Don's Death Star. I thought it was pretty darn nifty!
By the time we were finished with that, we threw some more decorations outside, put the candles in the pumpkins, dressed Mari, loaded up glasses of wine for those who wanted a spooky libation, and we all hit the street in search of treats. Here's Mari at the first house. She is beyond skeptical about all of this. Curious, yes, but still hesitant. her poor wings kept flopping over and they wouldn't stay put ever since she tried yanking them off the last time she wore them. Oh well. In case you couldn't figure it out, she's a fairy. (Don't you love the stripes?!)


I love how she looks back like, um...are you sure? She's trick-or-treating with her cousins. Z is a Southern Belle and C is the Grim Reaper. Oh, and I forgot to say that Mari's treat bag blinked with tiny LED lights. So cute!
All night, Z and C were both very protective of Mari, even insisting that she ring the doorbell, even when she couldn't reach it. After the 2nd house, Mari had the hang of it and she was running from house to house. She didn't hesitate to sign thank you and she'd holler Bye over her shoulder and blow kisses. Loved it! I caught Z in a sole light on a neighbor's porch. They weren't there, but the single light was too good to pass up!

At the end of the night, we allowed her 1 piece of candy. I'm fairly certain she snuck in two, but that's not too bad. She, like me, enjoyed sorting the candy by the different types. We discovered that she'd chosen far more Reese's Peanut Butter cupss than anything else. I think they were easiest for her to grab.
Enjoying her pretty big lolli. Here we are together. I'm a gypsy.

Here's we all are together: Mari Fairy, Mommy Gypsy, Daddy College Student, and Guapo Nudist (mostly).
Hope you all enjoyed your Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

The day began early, but I was extremely grateful that traffic was light and easy. I didn't get any coffee today. Last time, I'd eaten McDonald's and it was unsettling, so I was just going to indulge in a donut at the site.

I ate a chocolate covered french creuller. Gluttony at its finest and yet, it still felt really heavy, so I need to rethink my breakfasts for these things. Anyway, the storms were going to come in and I was prepared wearing my black rubber boots. For random things, here's a cosmetology head lingering underneath the truck. She was later put on the stick and reminded me of the severed heads that served as a warning in Braveheart, but that was a bit too dramatic for me on such a gloomy day, so instead I named her Shirley. Hi Shirley!
Here's our task list for the day. We didn't quite finish the siding, but we did about 14/16ths of it. We did finish the shingles, garage door trim and external trim. And, I did a fair amount of caulking, so I did start the paint prep.
Here is the before shot of the house (I didn't get an after, sorry!)
After working non-stop for three and a half hours, we paused for a quick lunchbreak. See our muddy feet? Fun, fun, fun!
Then we kept going and I'm happy to say that I didn't fall off the ladder. I did break rule number 2: Do Not Get Hurt. I was the only one. I am such a rebel. In the matter of seconds, my injury happened (don't they all?). Here's the story:

I leaned over to grab the main camera to snap a picture of the gal who always gets our pics at the volunteer events. Meanwhile, some random guy in the corner away from us, was in a flow with his nail gun and I only assumed he was building some sort of utility shelf. Anyway, he didn't see me, took a step back, which tipped over a solid wood shelf, about two inches thick, 4 feet long, and about 2 feet wide. It bonked me on the head and when my ducked away, it caught my shoulder and on the way down, the corner made a sharp cut from the top of my thigh to halfway down my tibia. Yep, it left a nice mark. I wasn't gushing blood, but I was bleeding. Immediately after grabbing the photo (yes, my injury wasn't going to be in vain!), I ran to the first aid kit and cleaned up the injury. Hopefully, it won't leave a nasty scar.

At the end of the day, here are my muddy, muddy wellies. You can see how my legs are covered in mud. The best part of the day, aside from the obvious in being able to help build a home for someone, is the fact that the heavens opened up and sent down a gentle, yet heavy downpour. Everyone scurried for shelter, but I danced in the rain, and sent some puddles soaring. Sometimes, you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to play in the rain.
Hope you all had an amazing and blessed day! Oh and I might add, all of these photos were taken with my camera phone. Not too bad, huh?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HDMR: Away We Go

Away We Go is a fresh perspective on life when life throws you some curveballs and along the way you learn how to cope. They showcase very specific stereotypes in this film, almost caricatures of them, in living color. The thing I liked the best is that the film simultaneously made you want to both laugh and cry. Life is not perfect, and no one has a perfect life. But, if you're lucky, then you are blessed with someone who will hold your hand along the way, forgiving all of your imperfections and celebrating your blessings...together. Thumbs up, but be sure to have some Kleenex too!

Oh, and funny story, the first birthday after we were married, four years ago, Don gifted me with a simple sterling silver circle on a black silk cord. It was a classic jewelry piece and I was further impressed that he bought it at a bonafide jewelry store! Sometime in 2007, I lost it! I felt guilty. Overwhelming guilt because it was my favorite piece of jewelry. Nearly a year went by and I went back in the jewelry store and they still had, but only 1 left! I bought it and when Don came home, I fessed up and told him of my carelessness. Well, when we were watching the film, in between the cushions of the couch, he found it! And then I remembered. Fuzzy mommy brain had REALLY stored this memory away. But I remember when I was pregnant with Mari, I had swelled so much one day, that at the end of the day, I went to lay down for a nap, and took off the necklace because I felt like it was choking me. I remember clutching it in my hand, but then it must've slipped out while I slumbered and it patiently remained there for two years. I do so love finding lost items.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Product Review: Cuisinart Mini Food Processor


And for a completely random post, I figured I'd write a review on a small appliance just for grins. We bought this last year after I was frustrated with making Mari's food in the blender. Don't get me wrong, the blender was amazing, despite being as old as I was, but scraping the food out was a pain. I wanted something that was more compact and open, allowing for easy access so I could fill her storage cubes. Along the way, I'd also purchased the Pampered Chef Mix & Chop with the hopes that I could simultaneously cook and mash, but this didn't prove effective at all. I'd even bought their Food Chopper thinking I could just shove in the carrots, asparagus, and chicken, but again, not as clean as I wanted it to be.

Sidenote: The mix & chop is used when Primo makes his amazing mashed potatoes. Or at least I think he uses it. The food chopper found it's place firmly cemented on my counter around the holidays when I have to chop up some nuts or herbs.


Anyway, so in comes the mini food processor. There are only two speeds, hi and lo. You can manually pulse the speeds if you want. There's the base, the bowl, the blade, and the lid. All come apart very easily from one another and super easy to clean in both the dishwasher and manual washing. It isn't nearly as powerful at pulverizing poultry (I just wanted some alliteration for giggles) as the blender. However, it has proven its value with soft foods and is definitely easier to scrape foods out to store.

I must say, though, that I do miss my Magic Bullet. This little baby was a dynamo and I loved the built-in storage capabilities of the containers. Alas, after 3 years of continued use (yes, I used it at least once a week), it died on me. Instead of buying another one, we went with the Cuisinart because we didn't want to fuss with the storage of the Magic Bullet containers. (They don't stack.) We have limited cabinet space, so we figured the mini food processor would be better. We packed up the little Magic Bullet containers and blades and sent them off to charity. So, when I clean up some cabinet space, I will probably be purchasing another Magic Bullet because my-old-as-I-am blender has rendered itself useless because someone broke the glass jar that goes along with it. This blender is so old, that the part number has worn off, so I can't look online to find a replacement. It was a sad, sad day for me when I made this discovery. Looking back, I feel more than silly for snapping at the guilty party because accidents do happen. I guess I was just a little too emotionally involved with my small appliance and frankly, I wasn't appreciative of what I had. (Geez, isn't that a metaphor for life in general.)

In any case, if you need to prepare mushy baby food, blend together softened butter with fruit, and yes, even make a small batch of salsa, then this little appliance will do just the trick!

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 Pumpkin Patch Version






We went to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch after an already busy day. The sky out was threatening rain and very little sunshine broke through, but I hoped to grab a few images that would work. Well, looking at these pics, I didn't get one of her happy, but at least we made the trek on out there and I have this year's pics. Maybe next year will be better. Thanks to my niece Zeni for helping out and to Stacy for grabbing that photo of she and I together. Isn't my niece gorgeous? She has a smile that'll knock you out for days!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An even dozen...

This wonderful guy came into our lives 12 years ago. It is tough to believe that much time has gone by. When I reflect on all of the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) life experiences during that time, I can't help but focus on him being a part of all that.

I remember the first time I held him in my arms and wished the very, very best for him. He's not only my nephew, but also my godson. While he shouldn't be treated any differently than my other nephews or niece, he is because of that reason. The day I held him in my arms and committed to that part of his life, was the day I was forever changed. It was the first day that I no longer cared for my own future, but I had him to think about. He's grown so very much over the years and it warms my heart to not only witness it firsthand, but to also see how much of a gentleman he's turning out to be.
ok....

This year he wanted to have his birthday party at a skating rink. I know he had invited about a dozen kiddos and my sister planned for 10, including his sister and little Mari (who wouldn't have counted as a skater). Three of his friends showed, and while some kids would've been disappointed, he wasn't. He was ecstatic that he was able to skate away, eat pizza, and have some gifts from his friends and family. I was paranoid that he wasn't going to like the gift that we gave him. For a few years now, I've wanted to give him the gift of music. Unsure of when the right time would be, this year just spoke to me as the year to do it. Don helped me pick out a suitable radio/cd player/ipod deck system. Compact, excellent sound quality, and affordable. We were lucky that it was on sale too! Mari gave him Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory, and Guapo gave him Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams cd to start his collection. The best part of this gift is there is room to grow. He can always add CDs and/or an iPod (with digital music). I was very happy that when he got home, he immediately cleared a space in his room for his new music maker and started listening to Jack while putting together his new Lego Star Wars. (Still a kid, but almost a teenager, such a tender time.)

And while there, I strapped on the ol' roller skates and had a whirl. Not to be outdone by Mommy, Mari wanted to try it out. That little girl, as always, is fearless. When we took this photo, she was wanting to go on her own. You can see her trying to pull away from Don's hand.

ok, she was done

Happy 12th Birthday Pops!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Showering with Love

Remember I mentioned hosting a baby shower for a dear friend? Well, it went off with only a couple of hiccups, but all-in-all, it went very, very smoothly. I love this shot of her mom and sister's hands on her belly.

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We played two games. One was baby bingo, which players marked off their bingo cards any time she opened a specific gift. The other one was playdoh babies, where everyone had some play doh and they had 3 minutes to sculpt a baby. Here they are. Don't you love the brightly colored babies?

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Here's a rare moment of me caught in action. Pardon the exposed bra strap. Isn't Mari a doll? I am a little bias, though. I love her! She's wearing one of the dresses my MIL made from a Portobello Pixie pattern. She hadn't had a nap that day, so she was 1 part clingy and 1 part spitfire. After being there for half an hour, I called in Daddy to the rescue. She was in need of a nap in the worst way and being around all of those fun and interesting women, I knew she wouldn't have one.

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Like I previously mentioned, I'd done a bit of embroidery, too for one of the gifts. In the gift pile below, you can see a little robot on a burp cloth with the baby's name underneath it. It took me a few hours to complete, but I worked on it while watching Glee and the last half hour of Grey's. While the name wasn't centered, I figured, it was ok. It added character. My favorite part of it is the shiny red square in the center. I can't wait to embroider some fun things on some inexpensive hoodies for Marisabelle.

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I'm kicking myself for not getting a fabulous picture of their stroller. Seriously, it was AWESOME! Took us less than 5 minute to put together, and that includes taking it out of the box. The hardest part was taking the wheels from their secured place on a piece of cardboard. Such a versatile stroller and very light. I highly, highly recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you buy the accessories (child tray, parents cup holder, etc), too!

Congrats Jorge & Hayley!

Friday, October 23, 2009

random thoughts all around

Today, life is pretty scattered all around. It's like having a serious case of ADD and awesome at the same time.

Ok, here we go.

First off Society Bakery was voted best bakery in the Best of Citysearch, so they are giving away a free cupcake if you say Best of Citysearch. Also, today, if you bring in proof of a charitable donation in the past month, you can get FOUR free cupcakes. Score one for Saving 2nd Base!

Next up, Old Navy is having a ridiculous sale on women's sale/clearance items. It is take an additional 50% off the sale price. Last night, we went in there to get some pants for Don. Actually, we went in there to return some pants and walked out with some new swag for Don, Mari, and I. I didn't look as hard as I should have, had I remembered that this sale was going on. Oh well. I did get an awesome yoga shirt for $3.24!

This weekend, I'm co-hosting a baby shower. Three of us went in on a gift and purchased the Baby Jogger City Mini stroller at Buy Buy Baby. When we were looking at what to get, Don and I got a serious case of stroller envy! It is so light, compact, and folks, when I say compact, this thing seriously folds down smaller than some purses I've seen women dragging around! We seriously considered getting one for ourselves, when we were reminded that we already own 3 different strollers, we don't need yet another. Speaking of the shower, I've been embroidering away on a personalized burp cloth. I think it is finished, so I'll snap a photo before sending it off to the new owner. Still lots of other things to pick up before the shower happens, like food, but hopefully, that'll all be a post on its own.

Also, my cousin came over and showed me how to do proper transitions with my crocheting and I'm well on my way to having a scarf for Mari. I'm liking it so much that I may have to make a matching scarf for myself.

Lots to do this weekend too. My nephew has his birthday party at the skating rink on Sunday. Plus, we want to go to the Pumpkin Patch. Also, we hope to participate in our church's Trunk or Treat tomorrow, but not sure if we'll be able to make it. We'll see.

Here's to hoping for a productive weekend and enjoying quality time with family!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winspear Opera House


IMG_7122, originally uploaded by Bianca Sias.

We braved the masses and went to the free preview of the new Dallas Arts District, our main mission, to see the brand spankin' new Winspear Opera House. I remember looking out of my office window, watching this little gem grow from the very beginning. Yes, I'd become a little too emotionally attached to the place, having a very inappropriate imaginative relationship with this building, talking to it like it was my child. I digress.

It was so very, very busy, but worth the visit, for sure. I was disappointed that the tours were pushed ahead of schedule, too packed, and well, I didn't get to take one. I really wanted to tour the backstage and see only the bits that workers and performers get to see. I was able to sneak into the Staff Only room on the 6th floor and tip toe around the catwalk to see all of the lights and cords for all performances. It hummed and buzzed with such energy. For those of you who know me, you know I'm a chicken and totally afraid of heights, so how in the world was it possible for me to walk around a catwalk 6 stories overhead people. Well, it wasn't really, I only took three steps out and under those steps, it still looked like I was walking on a more normal floor. But yes, I have been known to hang from rafters and catwalks because something about the air of the theater gives me all sorts of confidence I wouldn't have otherwise.

Anyway, this shot is from the very, very shallow reflective pool. A glorified ginormous puddle, it was still refreshing to dip my toes in the water amidst the beautiful landscape.

I'm going to really enjoy going to shows in the area! I can't wait.



HDMR: Sunshine Cleaning, Monsters v. Aliens, Fast & Furious (4), & Transformers

Man, it's been a movie watching frenzy in our house the past couple of weeks. Here's your Hump day movie review (posted a day late, but hey, what can I say?)

Sunshine Cleaning
I knew the basic premise of this movie, but I wasn't aware of all that was surrounding it. Kinda depressing. No, this was REALLY freakin' depressing when you pulled back and thought about it. I love Emily Blunt and Amy Adams, especially Alan Arkin, but this movie and all of their brokenness really struck a nerve. I found myself shifting in my seat quite a bit, wanting to reach into the television and give Amy Adams a smack in the face. Kudos to her acting skills, though. Despite the uncomfortableness, it was ok. I rate it 1 plain biscotti minus the extra foamy cappuccino.










Monsters vs. Aliens
I went into this movie with no expectations. I just knew that I liked Bob the blog from the previews, but that's about it. What I discovered was a very well-written story line, full of wit, and hilarity. We found ourselves snuggled on the couch snickering and giggling so much. And just like when I watched Storm kick major bootay on X-Men, I wanted to dye my hair white and call myself a hero. In any case, I LOVED this movie. We all really enjoyed it and it has now made our Christmas list of must-have movies! Each characters quirkiness and love-ability immediately grows on you from the get-go. Definite thumbs up with a 1/2 dozen cupcakes and an iced caramel macchiato. Sugar rush to the max! Speaking of, I may need to take a break and make a run for the SBUX!









Fast & Furious (4)
All original cast members returned for this 4th installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. I'm so glad that they all returned. Rife with noisy muscle cars, flashy driving, and overly emoted acting (vaguely reminding me of any episode of Sesame Street featuring Elmo doing his best to describe any emotion), this was still a fun movie. I'm not sure if I would want to own it, but there was one classic scene in there where Paul Walker lays out a co-worker and you can't help but hit rewind and maybe watch it in slow motion because, let's face it, we've all been there before, and have played out that scene in our heads. I would have liked for them to have attempted to better develop the female characters and try to integrate the cars as a character like they did in the first film. Like I said, I did enjoy seeing the pretty, pretty bodies on both the cars and actors. Definitely an abundance of eye candy for all! I rate this a cherry coke and a red lollipop. *clink* cheers!


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
You may have had heard mixed reviews from everyone who has seen this. As a family who has avoided this movie like the plague all summer, we finally faced the inevitable and watched it because our buddy had purchased it and we figured, 'eh, why not? It's been about a week since we've wanted to gouge our eyes out, so why not? Movie trivia: there's a scene in the movie where stuff is blown to the next universe and this scene is the most expensive/biggest scene of blowing things up. Further proof that Michael Bay is and always has been a pyro! This movie would've been better watched on mute. It was so formulaic, the dialog wasn't necessary. Actually, I could've probably learned a new language while following along. Acknowledging the fact that it was mindless drivel from the get-go, I can't say that I wasn't underwhelmed. It wasn't the worst movie ever made. And had there been better writing, less over-the-top orchestral movie soundtrack, it could've been pretty good. Visually, it was stunning, and I'm still a huge, huge fan of Optimus Prime. Takes me back to my days of hanging in the backyard with my Barbies, He-man, Thunder Cats, Transformers, and She-Ra toys. (Is it any wonder that I'm blessed with a myriad of friends, when even then, all of my friends were so diverse?) I'm ashamed to admit this, but yes, I will be watching the next installment, probably not in the theaters, though. I rate it week old stale popcorn.

Friday, October 16, 2009

the ol' embroidery techniques


About a month ago, I was browsing through JoAnn's crafts for material when I happened upon the embroidery aisle. After 10 minutes, I discovered that I had purchased a hoop, some needles, and thread. As I left the store, I tossed the bag to the passenger seat and thought, oh great Bianca, yet another hobby that you'll soon forget.

And then I looked over at my stash of plain cloth diapers and thought I'd dust off the ol' embroidery skills to craft a fun rag for my BFF. At the same time, I'd teach my niece how to embroider. When I was 7, my mom enrolled me into a continuing education class to learn how to better hone my embroidery talents. I'd gotten a brief taste the summer before at Grandma's house, so this would help me along the way.

Anyway, I freehanded a bird and went to town with a basic stitch and some other's I made up along the way. Here are some of the ones I knew how to do (once upon a time, with smaller fingers): http://www.craftown.com/instruction/embroidery.htm

Anyway, the final result "kinda" looks like a bird, less body, fully beak and tail. Oh well, not too shabby since it's been 25 years. eeek...now I'm feeling my age.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

gobs of gorgeous gook to gobble

Well, if that isn't alliteration for ya....

on Tuesday I loaded myself up with meds and decided that it was night we'd make our annual trek on over to the State Fair of Texas. I wasn't going to let a little bit of sickness get me down. Actually, I wasn't too sick, just had some breathing issues. Somehow in the past six months, I've managed to develop something that triggers asthmatic bronchitis and severe upper respiratory infections. Boo on that! Had I been using an inhaler, I would've fared a lot better, but I hadn't, so there I was on steroids (again!), a z-pak, an inhaler, AND some super-duper special cough syrup. I was sufficiently loopy, and after dressing Mari, we were ready to hit up the veritable smorgasbord. (Charlotte's Web reference for those of you playing along)

Instead of taking the train, like the original plan, we opted to drive. It had been raining/misting all day...who am I kidding? It's been that way for a good long while, I swore I was living in Forks (Twilight reference for the rest of you)! We braved the coughs, the wet, and a possible crowd to go in search of the fried food mecca. Ahhh yes!

Oh Fletcher's corny dog...how I have missed thee! Fried banana pudding, I can't believe it has been a year! Texas Tornado Taters, really, how could you have stayed away so long? Root Beer and Dole soft serve ice cream, you do a body good. And the newbie, fried butter, you weren't what I'd hoped you be. Such a disappointment, but still worth eating to say I'd done so. Next year, I'm going to stick to my guns and have that fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich! *sigh*

Anyway, the highlight of our adventure was hands down the petting zoo. All of the competition animals had long since been asleep, so we missed out on that fun. However, in the petting zoo, the babies were all sorts of awake and active, very similar to my own active toddler. She had no fear to get up close and personal with all of the animals, even venturing to feed the goats. I was brave and pet a baby goat. It was so precious and I wanted one of my own! That was the first time I'd pet one. I'm a bit skittish when it comes to petting furry animals because I never know if I'm allergic to them. In any case, I was off in my own photographic wonderland, on a shooting safari doing my best to capture these critters (kicking myself for not having brought Speedy Silver Canon, but little Red did just fine), when in the middle of trying to get the llamas hanging out (Tina...come get your dinner! Napoleon Dynamite for those playing...you are still playing right?) I was ATTACKED BY AN OSTRICH. Yes folks, I knew this was inevitable. I've been stepped on by a pony, chased by a baby calf, nearly licked to death by a mini dachshund, and now I've been pecked by a wiry ostrich. Seriously, it came out of nowhere and kinda hurt. I was grateful I had on 3 layers of clothing. Funny and yet embarrassing, hopefully a mistake I won't repeat. Also, I caught these tiny piglets clamoring over one another for feeding time. This shot cracked me up and I love their tiny bums all crowded together like that. Makes me truly appreciate sibling rivalry.
I also got to do one my my most FAVORITE things at the fair. I RODE THE SLIDE!!! For 5 tickets (roughly $2.50) I conquered my fear of heights, climbed the stairs to the top, and hurled myself down the bumps atop that burlap sack. LOVESIT!! Unfortunately, Mari is still 2 inches too short for the ride. I was ready to sneak her on, fully aware that the carneys would have no problem taking my money, when Don reminded me that they had size restrictions for a reason. So next year, it's on bay-bee! In the meantime, here's a shot of Primo and I hurtling down and laughing all the way (Jingle Bells? Ok, ok, I know you've given up playing). See my face? My cheeks hurt I'm smiling so much! My sides are sore from laughing. My lungs were screaming bloody murder because I'd forgotten the inhaler and that much laughing did a number on me. Glad I'd peed just before, otherwise I would've had an accident. (Again appreciative of my "confidence" muscles.)


Mari also had her first experience on the Midway. She played this duck game where you pick a duck from the pool, and based on the initial at the bottom is the prize you'll get. She was very selective. So much so that she skipped the first pool of ducks all together and went to the next pool. Don attempted to motivate her with several other ducks, but she waved him off. She finally selected one and picked a Large! We let her pick out her prize, and so we walked off with a large teddy bear. So glad she didn't get the XL!

After our bellies were sufficiently full, and we'd seen the sights, it was time to go home. After all, I needed to take my shot of cough syrup with codeine and prepare for work the next day. If you are in the DFW area I sincerely hope you make it on over to the fair. Especially those of you who have lived here most of your life and have never been. it is well worth the trip!

Just maybe not this upcoming Saturday when it is OU/Texas. Then that'll just be madness, like going to Wal-mart in the middle of the day on a Saturday before Christmas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We will hit 'em, we will wreck 'em...

We headed up North to West Texas for Texas Tech homecoming. I haven't been back "home" in ages. I was trying to think about the last time I was there and I just couldn't remember. How sad that was for me. But then, when I was driving around Tech, I remembered the last time was when I was up there for a wedding. I was happy again, but sad because that was a solo trip, that Don was unable to attend. Again, back to not remembering the last time I was there with my whole family.

In any case, here we were after 6 hours on the road. Mari had only slept the first half of the trip. The last three hours were spent watching The Wizard of Oz and Monsters Inc. She's much older now, from the last time we'd road tripped like this. Uncertain how she'd be, I prayed and prayed she'd be happy for the trip. The last half hour she was restless, but when we made it in, she was over-the-top excited to see her Nana and Grandfather! Don and I went out to meet up with the 806 kiddos at the new O Bar. We all ordered our drinks and by the time we paid the bill, I was surprised that I was charged fifty cents for adding cranberry to my Goose. Oh well, the drinks were still relatively inexpensive and we were happy to be out and about with free babysitting. (Thanks Mom & Dad!)

We got home around 3 and passed out immediately. I was up and at 'em at 7:45 to go to a Homecoming breakfast. Since Mari didn't go to sleep until 2, I left her at home with Don so they could get in a few extra hours of shut eye. When I got home, we did a quick change and headed up to the Tech Rec. Center to get in a quick workout. I was having issues breathing while running, but just chalked it up to the change in climate. We then headed on over to Red Raider Outiftters to get some gear.

After I was home, I crashed for a couple hour nap. When I was up, we dressed quickly and headed on over to the game. It was COLD!!! BRRRRRRRR...I layered Mari with 3 tops, some leggings, socks, and jeans. We put on her new wool coat and I draped my scarf around her.

In hind sight, I should've worn a long sleeved shirt and my tights, in addition to everything else I had on. Oh well, jumping and clapping kept me warm enough. I LOVE the opening festivies of the game. The band, the crowd, the cheers, Saddle Tramp bell circle, the flags, the masked rider, Raider Red, everything makes me happy!
We won the game 66-14. We left at the half because we were frozen. At that point, Mari had taken a good nap at the game and I think the kids ear protection muffs we bought were helpful. Mom & Dad met us at the house and we dropped off the little one. We went to Melt and had a date. The food was good, the atmosphere nice, but because it was a restaurant/bar, they allowed smoking. By the time we headed out and about afterwards, I was healthily hacking up all sorts of awesomeness. My throat was sore and my body was achy.

The next day, we headed back and again, I didn't feel 100%. On the road trip back, Mari only slept 1 hour. The last hour of the trip, she was f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d! It was tough for all of us, but we made do as best we could. By the night, I felt like I'd been out drinking all night for three nights in a row. Unfortunately, I hadn't, but this sickness, while awful, was well worth it for being able to spend time with good friends and family.

This morning I awoke and felt like death. I could barely talk, my throat, raspy, and my entire body felt like it had been the day after running a marathon. After a visit to CareNow (which ROCKS by the way!), I had my diagnosis. Severe asthmatic respiratory infection/asthmatic bronchitis. I left with my prescriptions in hand, happy that I would be feeling better and that I wasn't contagious. Unfortunately, I had been swabbed in my nose to test for flu. Yes, that was miserable. She shoved this long q-tip into my nose and rubbed the back of my eyeballs. I teared up more than a little bit and it made me violently cough even after she'd left the room. I just wanted to curl up into a tiny ball and rub my poor nose. Awful.

Anyway, like I said, it was a great weekend and I'll be spending tomorrow resting and getting better. Hopefully my creative energy will return. The homemade chicken noodle soup was pretty good and should be even better tomorrow...along with the Ding Dongs, marshmallows, and strawberry cake. Regardless, the Codeine will make it all better. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SIN-Amen! Rolls

My niece and nephew spent the Friday night with us and the entire following day as well. We had such a great time and as always, we didn't want them to be bored. For Saturday, Don came up with yardwork to do with my nephew, while I came up with baking and other creative ventures. We had made the decision to be involved during their visit, so on Friday after returning from dinner, we didn't touch the television. Ian showed Don how to play a game on his DS.

I mentally made a to-do list, while we colored, glittered, painted, and stamped to our hearts content. Even Mari got in the middle of all of it, successfully writing on me, inking her tiny hands a BRIGHT red, and putting her own mark on Zeni's art. (ahh...don't you love it when kids have to sort out the imperfections of life?) Zeni handled it with her typical Jackie-O grace. Seriously, I don't know how that girl has THAT much patience and tact at such a tender age. Incredible!

After we were crafted-out, we played Monopoly waay, way late into the night! Well, it was late for them. I'm still trying to figure out this bedtime routine and because it was Friday, we let them stay up until midnight. We had a fun time playing. Zeni was queen of Monopoly, beating us with just the cash she had on hand, not including her properties. It was a cool night, so I propped open the front window (the one that is hidden by the bush) and within minutes of completing their nightly routine, they were fast asleep and happy.

The next morning, we were up and at 'em at 8:30, which was pretty remarkable, because we were able to sleep in an extra hour and a half. I can't tell you how happy that made me. I guess Mari was worn out from her cousins too, because she was not wanting to get out of bed, but when I reminded her that Zeni and Ian were waiting for her, she perked up and immediately called out for Guapo.

We all dressed to go out for breakfast. The kids were all crowded into our hall bathroom, Mari standing on her frog stool to see. I brushed her hair, while the cousins washed their faces, brushed their teeth, and entertained Mari long enough to finish with her hair. We headed to La Paloma. Zeni and Ian skeptically looked over the menu, not quite sure what to order. Ian is a little less picky, and just pointed to a regular torta and picked out a Jarritos soda. Zeni, just got a burrito and another flavor of Jarritos. I ordered chilaquiles, with a Mexican coke. Don had a Sprite and I don't remember what else he had. Mari had rice with eggs. Although, that was a mistake on our part because she prefers their beans over the rice and they comped us a side of beans for Mari to eat. (LOVE THEM!) While we waited for the meal to finish cooking, we let Mari go for a ride on the mechanical burro. She loves this thing. It's a quarter for the ride and it makes a silly galloping sound while riding, but she doesn't mind it. Fifty cents later and our food was ready.
We piled around the table, happily munching away on our food. Zeni ate all of Mari's rice, Mari ate most of her beans, Don finished up my chilaquiles, and Ian tore up his torta. They both enjoyed their Jarritos drink.

We were sufficiently food drunk when the girls split from the guys. We headed to Target to pick up some essentials, then swung by Kroger to get the ingredients for some cinnamon rolls! Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of reading one of my friend's articles that was published in a magazine. (yes, she's amazing!) Anyway, while I was browsing around, I found a recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. I figured, why not? The only time I've ever made any myself was popping them out of the Pillsbury can. In any case, this was just the excuse to dust off the ol' apron and get ready for Fall.

When we returned to the house, Ian and Don were in the middle of yard work. Mari was on the edge of a nap, and had Zeni not been there, I would've joined her. Instead, I took three aprons off of the silver hook in the kitchen and handed the yellow and lime green one to Zeni, tied the black and white polka dotted one around Mari, and wrapped the vintage style turquoise one around myself. I handed Mari a wooden spoon, a bowl, and tossed in some dry ingredients for her to play around with. Afterwards, I handed Zeni the recipe and we read it together. I showed her how to measure wet ingredients and informed her that cooking was a good foundation builder for both Chemistry and Math. I gave her a quick overview about fractions and what they meant. I also dreamily told her stories of my childhood spent in the kitchen with her Bisabuela and Nana. How they both cooked and cooked and cooked and how very important it was to wear a delantal so as to not dirty your clothes. Which, is probably why I had so very many aprons handy, that way whomever wants to come to my kitchen to cook, they'll have one. I think she likes to hear those stories. Shortly before we got into the thick of mixing the ingredients together, Mari informed us she was ready for a nap, so we paused, and made her comfortable in her toddler bed.

Zeni and I retreated back to the kitchen and finished our work. Not having really gotten down and dirty with baking in a while, I'd forgotten to take my rings off. Also, we started mixing everything by hand instead of using the mixer. Also, I didn't sift my flour (which probably would have been better, but it didn't specifically say so in the instructions, so I wasn't too guilty). In any case, the first go-round with the dough yielded a very runny dough. I divided it into three parts and made it better by feeling with texture and consistency. Overall, I think we had to add about 2 more cups of flour than what was originally stated.

Zeni made her batch of tiny cinnamon rolls and she really got into rolling it out and spreading on the butter and cinnamon. My hands enjoyed the butter treatment, much more squishy than paraffin that's for sure! On the first batch, I made regular cinnamon rolls (closer to the front of the photo) and for the 2nd batch, I added craisins.

Sidenote: When I was younger, much, much younger than Zeni, I saw the word cinnamon and didn't know how to say it. I pronounced it kin-NAH-mahn. My mom chuckled and annunciated sin-amen, proclaiming "you know, like sins, then say amen! You pray for forgiveness for your sins, followed with amen, right?" Yes, mom, you're right.


In any case, we had a delightful time baking and every tiny crevice of my rings was covered with cinnamon roll dough. Lucky for me, Don took them the next day to be cleaned. That evening, we all enjoyed delicious homemade cinnamon rolls and they turned out to be quite a treat the next morning too!
Let me know if you want the recipe and I'll post it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dentist

Two weeks ago, I went in for my annual visit. It should be every six months, but I delayed by a year and a half. Bad Bianca! No cupcake for you! Anyhow, I quickly learned that I was in desperate need of some extra work. They offered me the evil nitrous laughing gas. Most people love this stuff, but my hyperactive imagination has bizarre internal dialog rendering me mentally unstable for the duration of my open-mouthed trip, which consequently lasted about 3.5 hours.

Shocker of the century: I'm a talker. Why oh why do hygenists feel the need to make small talk? I'm not getting my nails done or my hair did. (Which, by the way, I really enjoy talking during those sessions.) In any case, there I am inhaling this gas, thinking all sorts of random things about mouth cleanliness and prostitution, when the friendly woman with the sharp instruments scrape-scrape-scrapes my enamel making it shiny and new. She proceeds to tell me about her life and such, which, again, I don't mind. I like hearing life stories. But then she feels the need to ask me questions, and my replies come out like a garbled gurgles mess. I then resort to hard blinks of yes and no, but I don't think she speaks my eye language.
After a couple of fillings (one because I had a cavity and another for preventative reasons...whatever that means) and a temporary crown (I'm a mouth grinder in my sleep, I guess, and I managed to crack my back molar smack dab down the middle. CHOMP CHOMP), I was all done. I can't feel my lips or the sides of my face. I knew I'd drool, so I wrapped my scarf to act like a bib. But boy........my slick teeth were a thousand kinds of happy, which made me happy too. See, a much, much closer view of my teeth that you might not have wanted to see, but I wanted proof that they are so fresh and so clean, clean...
And then the drugs wore off...

I can't wait to get my permanent crown, because this eating on one side of my mouth is awful!

Friday, October 2, 2009

When It Rains...

Yesterday, when I left work, I was disappointed because I'd just learned that the training I'd signed up for had been cancelled. I was marinating over the cancellation and how I could transfer the flight (and how much it would cost me), when I remembered I had to get gas.

I gazed across the street in the direction of where phony homeless man stands. I call him Phony Homey because this man is a con artist. I genuinely feel for people who are truly homeless, but this man, is NOT homeless. In the past two months, I have seen him perched at that intersection feigning a limp, never once wearing the same outfit (except he does have two pairs of very, very well in-tact shoes), and he does this half limp-wave-piercing stare in the general direction of all of the traffic gathering at that light. I remember seeing him a while back and I gave him $2. I see him EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. It's unnerving. He stands there, only on weekdays, not on the weekends, mind you, asking, hoping, throwing guilt out there, benefiting from good Samaritans. It really bothers me. It REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bothers me. Why? Because, here's someone, "working" a corner. Three of the four points of that intersection have fast food establishments, all of which have a Now Hiring sign in the window. SERIOUSLY? In this economy, this man would rather stand out there asking for money. Of course, the conditions must be right. If it is too hot, I don't see him. If it is raining, I don't see him. If it is the weekend, I don't see him.

After looking in that general direction, I was happy that he wasn't there. I cleaned out my car and was still thinking about my training class when I pulled out and caught the red light. I was the third one in line and there he appeared. This small man limped along the paved divider of the street, hands clutched to his chest, as he would half wave his right hand, while the left hand was held open, showing he wanted money. Yes, money. He doesn't want food. I offered him food once and he didn't want food, he'd rather have money. He gave me the look and I swear, I shot him a fierce, don't-even-think-about-looking-at-me-buddy-because-I'm-not-in-the-mood look. No one in the line of cars even nudged, very few even looked in his general direction. And for the first time, he shed his persona, I saw him angrily throw his arms, say some profanities under his breath, all the while walking normally. I was mad, so very, very mad! I looked at him again, and for a half second, I was going to roll my window down and introduce myself. I know, random, huh? But I wanted to talk to him, get to know him, hear his story so I could better understand what compelled him to stand there day in and day out. His presence certainly doesn't brighten my day any, quite the contrary. However, if this man is in such dire straits, wouldn't the Christian thing be to try to help him. Maybe he hasn't noticed the Help Wanted signs. Maybe he genuinely needs some kind of professional help. But c'mon, at least attempt to be more of the part with, say, dirty clothes, a sign explaining your position, something else instead of standing there begging for a handout. Because all it told me was that he was lazy. There are entirely too many government (and privately) funded organizations that are there to help. Where there's a will, there's a way.

I sped away and did my best to get my attitude right. I enjoyed the brilliance of the bright sky, colors vibrant due to the violent storm in the looming background. Prior to meeting my final destination for the evening, I felt something brewing within myself. I didn't like it. I knew what it was. All of the signs were there. Usually, when this happens, I'm alone, or can make plans to be alone. On this night, however, I didn't have the opportunity. I did my best to warn Don, but in the time he's known me, he's only been privy to one other such outburst, and we didn't have Mari then.

A series of typical and ordinary events later and I snapped. I bottled in as much as I could, still spewing out awful and selfish insults in the direction of my beloved. My eyes were welling up and I just shook my head. If he could see my eyes, he would've have known that what was coming from my mouth, wasn't what my eyes were trying to say. Mari was in bed, and Don swiftly left to go walk Guapo. I sat there, frail, aching, retreating to a corner with my cry pillow and Ty the bear. For a solid half hour, I sobbed out the hurt. That deep penetrating sob that shakes the house, where you scream minutes-long into a puffy pillow, saturated with your hurt. My voice was shattered. My soul hurt. Everything from the past few months came out in a whirlwind, similar to that storm we had. I'd been "dealing" with the ache by shoving it under the methaphorical rug. I hadn't dealt with it. And those ever present demons of guilt, inadequacy, and such just kept the whole tantrum going until I was done.

By the time Don returned, I was sitting in silence, TV on mute, cradling my daughter in my arms, doing my best to focus on the positives, not trying to hold on to the negatives. I've never been a woe is me type. I've always seen a problem and done my very best to address it in some way or another. In most cases, I'm able to abate these emo-eruptions, but other times, I can't. I just never want to get back to that place of intentional solitude, shutting out the world. It was a very gray and dreary place, full of ominous self-loathing.

He kissed my forehead, and like that, the hurt went away. He poured me a glass of wine, I ate a homemade cupcake, played with my baby girl, and slept soundly.

This morning, however, my body aches. Physically, it aches and I can't help but observe that when this happens, it's always followed by a migraine, a flu, or some other debilitating illness. In any case, I'm ready to get out of this funk.

The countdown begins...7 days and I'm back home in Lubbock. Those breathtaking sunsets, Taco Villa, Tech football, and movie marathon with Mom & Dad. Yep, I think that's just what I need.

love you Don, no matter what!

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