Saturday, March 28, 2009


She was a new waitress at the restaurant which is trying hard to establish itself. Business is growing almost daily, said the co-owner. We want them to do well. The food is good, the location convenient.

The girl was afflicted with first night jitters.

She dropped a knife.

She forgot to bring me a knife after taking mine away.

She dropped a fork.

She dropped a plate of butter.

She whacked herself on the wrist by sideswiping a door knob.

She spoke in a semi-shout (and the place wasn't nearly that noisy.) I suspect this was a case of Ipod deafness.

She called us "you guys."

Every response to whatever we said was, "Awesome."

No harm, no foul.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009


As Terri put it - this is where you can buy all the stuff your grandmother threw out.

It's billed as "World's Largest" or some such piece of antique-hype. It was one section of the convention center. Terri bought a bracelet and purse. I bought nothing.

It's amazing to me how many used boots are for sale. I think it'd be weird to wear someone else's shoes - maybe that's a product of being an only child? They look cool, I give them that.

If the boots are the high point, I snapped a picture of the lowest point, the tables full of cloth. Some were aprons, the rest I couldn't tell you.

The event was maybe half garage sale but really half collector/dealers. Hey, here's antique marbles - 4 for $1. (They didn't look antique to me.) Over there are a couple CD and DVD collections. There's an ashtray made from Cadillac Wheel Covers. Old comic books. Plastic sealed baseball cards. Matchbox cars. Thimbles. Boxes and crates of wood (no relation). Posters. Belt Buckles. Dresses. Model trucks. A reel-to-reel German Magnetophone tape recorder with tape. Guitars. A Cheerleader megaphone. Barbie dolls. Knives. Jewelry. Stamp collections. A pair of deer antlers, mounted. Books. Glassware. A red bowling ball. License plates from 1973.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


One of the happier memories of growing up was finding a basket full of candy hidden somewhere in the house Easters when I was very young. Then I got older, got acne, and my mom messed with the content, loading it with WHITE chocolate, sugar free crap and bad tasting junk.

They say smell is a powerful associative memory trigger, and I believe it. I can still imagine the smell of the green plastic Easter "grass" which would become infused with the smell of milk chocolate.

Settled, for me: dark chocolate: too bitter. Yuk, poo. Milk chocolate: just right!

That Easter grass would hide embedded treats for long spells.

Old Easter candy retained its inherent goodness. Some improved with age: Peeps, for instance.

Jelly beans should be spicy. Exemption: licorice. Fruit flavors should be avoided at all costs. Jelly Bellies are not Easter candy. They are perversions created by chemists who can make anything taste like anything. Hey, here's a neat red 5-L-butyloxyanaline!!!

Malted milk works. Half a bag is the gonna-be-sick threshold.

Speckled eggs usually good.

Rabbits should emphatically NOT be hollow.

Large egg should be coconut cream, and ideally not too creamy - gimme the texture of coconut. This is one case where dark chocolate may be permitted, to cut the sweetness of the egg, but I prefer milk choc.

Cadberry (sp?) eggs with cream filling are way too gooey and have a bland taste. Cadberry has a whole range of not-really-traditional Easter egg fillings. Shame!

I still like the colors of the hard boiled eggs, but let's not pretend - if it isn't candy, it has no place in the basket!

Today, in the real world, the Easter Grass will trigger the War On Drugs task force, the economy will only permit one egg, small, FDA inspection-ignored. And the easter Bunny is stranded jobless in Dubai.

Monday, March 09, 2009


When you see me in a Spandex shirt, you'll know I feel great about this Biking Thing. Until then, t-shirts.

Fell off once yesterday - well, that's not exactly right. The bike went off the road at a pitch up; I couldn't downshift before I lost all momentum. My shoes were locked in the pedals and slowly, over I went.

Today I powered up the driveway and the first up slope combined with a powered pedalling, lifted the front off the ground quite a bit, and there was no way to keep pedalling. This time I wasn't locked in and could put a foot down.

Amazingly, even having only two hours into this, hills are easier than day 1. The development here has hills that will make legs quiver and any sane person DRIVE. If ever I can get over to the west entrance and back, I will then be indestructable and will star in the next comic book superhero movie.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I exercise. But that's all muscle stuff. I need cardio, and I know it. A neighbor is into biking our development, which is large enough with enough hills and lite traffic to make it ideal. Some of the hills, though, are sure killers. (Biking is big locally but all are so thin and young and IN SHAPE)

When we lived in San Diego, oh, 20 years ago, I'd go out for about an hour a day on my ancient bike. I liked it.

In Minneapolis we bought new bikes and went out a few times, but we had to load up the bikes and drive to the lakes and then unload and it was a bit of a production. Here, not working very often, I have the time and place and (we'll see) motivation.

So today I got the bike off the wall and struggled to fill the tires with air - none of our three pumps seemed to fit the tiny eurofricking-nozzle. Finally, after much jiggling, I got air into the tires. Next I will try to find appropriate stuff to wear and try to fit into my biking shoes (yes, we even went that far, and I subsequently fell over, unable to get the shoes unclamped from the pedals - but that was years ago.) Today I was sucking air after fighting with the pumps. Just going down and up our 300 foot long driveway should preview the next adventure.

I definitely have some inertia to overcome.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


This past weekend, Terri and I drove about 150 miles to the small town? of just outside VANDERPOOL, and later another 15 miles to LEAKEY Texas. This is west of Austin, closer to San Antonio, but definitely way out in the hill country. And these are SERIOUS hills.

This was another great snapshot of Texas - the gas station that sold bait, ammo, and everything else... with the round table of ranchers sitting around shooting the breeze.

There was a REAL general store - with very big mounted feral pigs on the wall along with other 'trophies' and a 6 foot 6 inch rattlesnake skin. What was especially notable was the width of that snake! It could probably eat a small pig!

The general store had stuff I've only seen many many years ago... and rows of product on very long shelves, but many items only one deep. You could get variety from some specialized candy in a small Toxic Waste Barrel - to a helpful flyswatter, and everything in between.

Much of the area has issues when it rains, then flash floods, as we passed many 'stream' crossings marked by flood height markers. At anywhere beyond a foot of water (and the markers went to 5 feet) you'd best avoid the road.

And the hills were steep - topping about 1400-1700 feet, I believe.

Stars at night were amazing. The sky black, with pinpoints a hundred times what we see here, even though we are 15 miles from Austin, and I thought, out of the light pollution..

We saw Lost Maples State Park and the Frio river.

I saw 9 deer seemingly trying to commit suicide by running back and forth in front of cars and trucks. None were successful.

Upon arrival the temperature was in the 80s and that night (3AM) a cold front blew through which really changed the nature of the stay. Picnicking outside became eating INSIDE. I had our wood fired heater going full blast.

At one point, while Terri and I were entranced by the Willie and Asleep At The Wheel music I had brought along, just sitting, staring at the fireplace with heavy lids, the logs shifted and (as the firebox was set up and off the floor) the shifting log spilled hot coals all over the wooden floor, just missing Jessie The Sleeping Dog! We jumped into action, though there's a pause while you try to figure out how to get these red hot coals off the floor without starting another fire, melting something, or doing more damage. (From marks we saw, this wasn't the first time!) You have to move quickly and in short order we concocted a way to collect these red hots and get them back into the fire. Disaster averted.