Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lucky Cricket

Today we locked in the interest rate and did the initial walk through with the inspector on our home. We were able to get a fantastic interest rate and it ended up dropping our monthly payment by $60 per month over the original interest rate estimate. The walk through went great as well. All very minor issues and mostly just touch up painting to be done. While we were walking the back yard, we saw a cricket walking through the yard. I was very happy to see the cricket since they are a symbol of good luck. I am hoping this is a sign that 2009 will be a much better year for us; 2008 had many challenges and I am ready for this year to draw to a close.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back from Stephenville

We made it back home from visiting the parents. At the last minute hubby began to feel better and was able to go too. I was very happy that he felt like going. In 20 years, we have only been apart once and I was not looking forward to being apart this year. We had a really good, but exhausting time. My parents actually live in a small community called Shelby which is outside of Stephenville near Lingleville. Stephenville and the surrounding area is smack in the middle of dairy country, so it has a very "unique" smell. Since they don't live inside the city, the computer access is dialup, the television is satellite, and your cell phone rarely works.

We left here on the 23rd and arrived at Mom's around noon. Dad got home from work shortly after and announced that he had the rest of the week off. My Mom works for the school district so she is off until after the first of the year and my Dad is a surveyor. Mom had a roast almost done so we sat down and ate a late lunch when Dad got home. After that went for a walk in the pasture to exercise the dogs and work off our lunch. We also had to run in to town to pick up a couple of items we had forgotten. While there we decided to pick up chicken for dinner. There were three of us picking out items to order. It didn't sound like we were ordering very much, but when we finished the bag was so large it almost didn't fit through the drive through window! Needless to say, we snacked on leftover chicken for several days.

On the 24th we went to the cemetary to visit my grandparents grave, went to a couple of other cemetaries to get some of the geneaology info my Mom was needing, and then went to my parents favorite restuarant called Mary's. By the time we got home, my uncle had been calling looking for Dad to go help with feeding the cows, so we went wandering around the property while Dad and my uncle fed the cows. When we got home, we just had left over chicken for dinner and then relaxed while watching a couple of movies my brother had brought home from work (he still lives with my parents).

My family is not big on exchanging gifts. Instead we spend the time just being with each other. On Christmas Day we got up and I helped my Mom cook a yummy meal of ham, chicken and dressing, potatoes, corn, okra, lemon bars, and fruit salad. We all ate too much so we decided to go Geocaching to work off our lunch. My parents really enjoy Geocaching, but won't go without us. Also, their GPS unit is very outdated (it is one my brother used when he was in Iraq). We had a great time Geocaching and then came home, went for a ride on the 4-wheelers, and watched another movie. Well, actually, I think we all fell asleep before the movie was over, but we attempted to watch a movie.

On Friday morning we packed up and headed home just after breakfast. We made it home in the early afternoon and were completely exhausted - even the dogs. Everyone got a bath and took a nap.

I will write later about the non-human members; they each have a unique personality and role in the family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home for the Holidays

Tuesday I will be heading to Stephenville for Christmas. It has been almost two years since I have been home and I am really looking forward to spending a few days with my parents. Hubby is staying home (he has hurt his neck somehow) and will keep Abbie with him; I will be taking Riley with me. Riley will have fun because there will be plenty of other animals there to play with and lots of area to run.

I will have to remember to take my camera with me to get lots of photos.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Abbie Ran Away

Today I was bringing some moving boxes from my car in to the house and didn't notice that Abbie had snuck out the front door. It wasn't until about 2 hours later when we were putting the dogs in the kennel to go grocery shopping that we realized Abbie was not there. My first thought was that she got locked in the closet. Sometimes when we are getting dressed she will go in the closet and then she gets stuck in there. That wasn't the case this time and she wasn't hiding under the bed ignoring us either. Both hubby and I instantly went outside and started looking for her. Hubby approached it in a very logical and methodical way; I, on the other hand, panicked. I went to look by the pond where they like to go to run - not there. Then my thoughts kicked in to overdrive and I began to worry that she had run to the street. So I ran, literally, to the front of the property to see if she was on the street - not there. I circled back around toward our apartment to see my husband standing by my car wondering where I had been. He had already found her, taken all of the garbage to my car, and had been waiting for 5-10 minutes.

He had decided to go look behind our apartment in the woods that she is always so fascinated by and sure enough she had been hanging out there and exploring. She was safe and sound back in her kennel, but I never seemed to kick the panicky feeling for the majority of the day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where's Your Jacket?

Yesterday I was wearing shorts and sweating as I took the dog for a walk. Currently, it is below freezing (30.6) and windy. On the way home today, the temp was about 35 degrees and I saw a person walking down the sidewalk wearing flip-flops, shorts, and wrapped in a fleece blanket. They were too well groomed to be homeless, so I concluded that they either didn't own a jacket or were not prepared for the temperature to make such a drastic change so quickly. Either way, they were getting a lot of stares from the cars passing by.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Blues

We had made plans to visit my parents in Stephenville for Christmas, but when a project came up at work, I had to cancel those plans. I didn't realize until yesterday how much I really want to go see my parents for Christmas. I have always been very independent and there was a time when this would not have bothered me at all; but my mother and I have been working at building a closer relationship, so not being able to go see them is giving me the holiday blues.

There is still a possibility that I can get the project completed and be able to take some time off, but I won't know for sure until the middle of next week. If I am able to get the project completed, I am pretty sure I can get my hubby's sister to watch our apartment.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can get everything to work out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Phriday

This is a picture of my favorite house during the holidays. They always go all out and there is so much to see. Each time we drive by I see something new. This is just a portion of the decorations they have out front. Not in the picture is a scene with Frosty, three Reindeer scenes, and a Nativity scene.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reindeer Names

Do you have kids that like to shake and guess what their gifts are under the tree? A friend of mine does this cool thing with her kids that prevents them from messing with the gifts under the tree.

She assigns each of her kids a reindeer name and puts that name on the gifts under the tree (she changes their reindeer name each year). She then takes and puts that name on a piece of paper and places it at the bottom of their stocking. Instead of spending their time shaking and guessing what is in the box, they spend their time trying to guess which reindeer they are this year. On Christmas morning, they open their stocking and when they get to the bottom, they discover their reindeer name.

I thought this was such a cool idea. She started this when her kids were in elementary school and still does it today even though they are grown.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chocolate Stout

Okay, I am having no luck with the wine drinking thing, so I switched to beer. I went to Central Market where you can buy signles and just picked one out called Chocolate Stout. I picked it out solely by the name; how can you go wrong if it has chocolate in the name. I sat down to do a little blogging while I drank my beer. It actually had a very nice taste that I could learn to like. I needed to go check on something in the other room and this is when I realized this was no ordinary beer. Admittedly, I am a light weight drinker, but I felt this one in my legs as soon as I stood up. When I checked the bottle, it said it was 5.2% alcohol instead of the 2%-3% of a typical beer. Guess the hubby didn't feel it necessary to point that out to me when I purchased the beer. I actually like the taste of thisone; however, I am not sure I would have named it chocolate - unless they were referring to the color.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Office

My team and I moved in to our new office location today. It felt very odd going to a new building to work. I had been going to the same building for almost 9 years. We are doing the same thing, just in a new location. The old office was very noisy and always filled with chaos. The new office is very quiet and no interruptions. We had our typical first day challenges; computers not working, no fax machine, no printers, etc. We will get settled in and all will be running smoothly in no time, but I definitely have to get a radio to add a little noise in the background.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Transiberian Orchestra

Transiberian Orchestra is coming to Austin for a concert on January 4th. I desperately want to go see them, but just don't have the extra funds for the tickets. I was lucky enough to see them in concert 2 years ago and that was the most spectacular concert I have ever seen.

Sometimes when you go to a concert you talk about it for a couple of weeks and then you kinda forget about it; well not this one. Hubby and I still talk about that concert two years later. The music is phenomenal and the laser light show if the best I have ever seen. The band members all stay afterwards and greet anyone who is interested. You can't help but have the holiday spirit after you leave. I have their CD The Lost Christmas Eve and play it all year long because their music is so spectacular.

If you have the chance to go see them in concert, you should definitely go seem them.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

White Elephant

I am going to a White Elephant gift exchange in a couple of weeks and I don't know what to bring. I want to bring the gift that everyone wants. You know, the gift that keeps getting stolen. Last year, that gift was a box of lottery scratch-n-win tickets. The only thing I can come up with is to go to Specs Wine and Liquor and getting some type of beer or wine gift basket. Everyone in that group is fond of alcohol.

What kind of gift would you like if you were going to a White Elephant gift exchange?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Phriday

What a difference 6 months can make! My sweet little Riley was only 6 pounds when we brought her home. Six months later she is over 6 times that weight. Yep, she is weighing in now at a whopping 37 pounds. Unfortunately, she has not learned that she is getting bigger. She still wants to be held and snuggled at night while she watches television. I guess that could possibly be my fault.... nah, that couldn't possibly be the reason.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stephenville - No Longer Dry

I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in Stephenville, Texas. Stephenville is the county seat for Erath County and it has always been a dry county. Anyone who wanted to purchase alcohol had to go to a neighboring county; usually a town called Proctor. Some of the smaller towns truly made their money from all of the college kids and young adults in Stephenville who would make the drive just to purchase alcohol. Every time the subject of making alcohol sales legal in Erath county would come up for vote, the townsfolk would always vote to keep the county dry. In the most recent election, that was again on the ballot. This time, the town actually voted to allow alcohol sales in Erath County.

Unfortunately, for many of the merchants, it can take up to 6 months to get approved for a license to sell alcohol. The sleepy little town of Stephenville is finally waking up.