Saturday, May 28, 2011

Green Thumb of Neglect

I've had the same little crawling cactus plant since 2005. It came in a pot with other cacti or succulents, but they didn't survive my neglectful thumb. Yep, I've killed cacti--usually with some kind of fungus. I pretty much ignore my cactus. When it starts to wrinkle and shrivel up, I water it.

Well, it seems that our rolling kitchen shelves have become a garden of neglect. On the front side I've got an onion and a sweet potato starting to grow. The backside has a sweet potato that's growing even better than the one on the front. I don't want to throw them out. At least not the sweet potatoes. I'd feel bad throwing out a plant that has managed to grow all by itself, against all odds. Maybe I'll plant them behind our condo building. I just think it's funny that I try so hard to grow herbs and flowers (without much success), but I leave food laying on the shelf for a couple months and it turns into plants.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chaps Pit Beef

I pass Chaps Pit Beef on my commute. I've always been kind of scared to go there--mostly because it is in the parking lot of a strip club (and my last experience with pit beef was rather disappointing). On the weekends I never think to go there because we don't usually go that far South, and if we do we take the interstate. Things lined up just right on Saturday and we decided to give it a try.

Ross and I both got the same thing--a pit beef sandwich-medium. The beef was thinly sliced and tasty. The BBQ sauce was available on the side. It was really good! I'm surprised because I'm pretty picky when it comes to BBQ sauce. We were able to eat outside and I didn't get any sauce on my pretty dress.

Now that I've been there my anxiety has been overcome and I think it would be a good place to occasionally stop and get dinner on the way home.

George T Stagg: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

About 5 years ago I asked a guy in Wine Source what was the best whiskey because I wanted to buy some for a friend. When I told him price didn't matter he recommended George T Stagg. I bought a bottle and had to make a box to gift it in because the bottle is kind of tall.

When I got back to Texas I bought myself a bottle because I wanted to see if it was any good. Well, it is. It is apparently also in very short supply. Because I only have drops left in my bottle I decided to buy a new one. That wasn't as easy as just going to the store and picking it up. The liquor store in a nearby strip mall said they'd order it for me. A couple weeks later I went back in, and the manager said they couldn't find it.

I called the Wine Source and the Whiskey Guy--Tim, said he'd take down my email and let me know when he got some. Well, that email came last week and on Saturday I picked up my new bottle. The whiskey is nice and dark--uncut and unfiltered. Strong? Hmmmm. I suppose so--143 proof--handwritten on the label (the reason I bought the first bottle, I loved that detail). I guess I can finish off my old bottle now that I have a new one.

Garden in Pots

My potted garden is all planted now. I have (from the left) three jalapeño plants, rosemary, Greek oregano, sweet mint, Thai basil, sweet basil, and apple mint. I got the jalapeños a while ago, and a certain someone chewed on the leaves. They have survived though, and I even noticed that the flower fell off one of them and there's a little tiny nub of a jalapeño growing. I don't expect the sweet basil to last long (I kill it every year). It was half price at the store because the little basil plants are already starting to die off. I put some in tonight's dinner--along with some rosemary. I'm hoping the Thai basil takes off the way it did last year.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Twisted Prong

I messed up my diamond ring on vacation in Maui. How you ask? Surfing? No. Hiking? No. Zip Lining? No. What then? Reaching for a drink in the POS Chevy Aveo rental car that we had. What? Yep. The only apparent cupholder was at the back of the center console. I reached back to get the drink I had put there and my ring snagged on the crappy fabric armrest of the driver's seat (I was in the passenger seat, which didn't have an armrest.) Now my ring is unwearable. That's what I get for going on vacation as a married woman.

To Each Her Own

My mom sent me a cashmere robe. Luxe huh? Now I have two robes that I love--and that Bailey loves. Now she can lay on one while I wear the other. No more fighting over the robe. Now that the temperatures have risen Bailey doesn't always want to come to bed at night. If I lay the cashmere robe on the bed she curls up on it. My purring pillow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dreaded Wrinkle Wall Solution

My mom heard about my dreaded wrinkle wall and sent me these garter/suspender thingies. Ross put them on and they are working pretty well. We still have an occasional bump, but no more wall.

Elvis Costello Revolver Tour

First off, I'm going to complain. Not about Elvis, but about people. I don't like venues where beer is served, especially if you can take the beer to your seat. Why? People are constantly walking around (to go get beer, come back with beer, or go for a piss cause they drank so much beer), some people get drunk, and some of those drunk people get stupid. Two guys actually yelled at/jeered/heckled Elvis last night. I was in shock. It was rude. Beyond rude. I was worried that we'd all be punished if Elvis decided to walk off and not come back. But Elvis is cool. He walked off, changed jackets, and came back. Thank you Elvis.

So I was wondering why this tour was called the Revolver Tour. I guess it is for two reasons--he played mostly old songs, and there was a giant spinning wheel of songs on stage. After Elvis and the Imposters came out and played a couple of songs Elvis put on a top hat and grabbed a cane. He announced that his name was Napoleon Dynamite and that someone would have to come up and spin the wheel to pick the next song. He picked out a girl from the audience with a spotlight and she came up on stage, spun the wheel, and then she got to stay up on stage while he played that song and another one. She got to sit at "the lounge" and have a drink, and even got to dance in the go go cage and with Elvis. So cool.

A girl (with a really nice ass) in a crazy outfit (think bright colors, spandex, bell bottoms, stripes) brought people up onto the stage and they spun the wheel and Elvis played whatever the wheel said. The purple wedges had words on them that signified a set of songs. Somebody spun Napoleon Solo--which meant that Elvis got to pick the song and do a solo. Someone spun Joana, which is slang for piano, so Steve Nieve got to pick the song and Elvis sang it with only the piano and guitar. The purple wedge marked Time was for a bunch of songs with the word time in them. And there were many other songs. Elvis even came out into the audience to sing one song, and he came out himself to pick someone to spin the wheel.

After about an hour and twenty minutes the guys all walked off stage. That's pretty normal. He takes a 2 minute break, then comes back. Elvis walked back on stage (alone) in a plaid coat and said it was time to play his Napoleon solo. He played two songs from his newest album--National Ransom. Ross and I really like the first one Slow Drag with Josephine. I'll put it under songs stuck in my head if you want to download it. This is when the yelling happened. It seems these guys didn't want to hear new songs, or Elvis acoustic solos. Whatever. Douches.

Elvis walked off after those two songs, changed into a gold jacket, and came back with the guys for another set. No one spun the wheel. They just played song after song, after song. Then it was over (pouty face.)

I just bought a ticket to see Elvis at the Wolf Trap on June 15th. Woohoo!


The go go dancer did her thing during a lot of the songs. It was kind of entrancing.

I love Elvis. Oh, and a special shout out to Steve Nieve. I love him too. He played the theremin.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zippin'!

We got up really early on Thursday and headed to Flyin Hawaiian for some zipline action. The guys on the tour: Matt, Jason, Scott, Thomas, and Alika were very friendly. They had all our names memorized by the time we got to the top of the mountain. Since it was Tejal's birthday they carried her gear the entire time. The guys made a good experience really great.

The Hawaiian state flower is endangered, so we planted one and watered others that had been previously planted on the mountain. They are also trying to replace ironwood trees with endangered koa trees.

The zip lines were really fun. The last line was really long, fast, and high. I loved the view of the trees as I neared the end of the line. Oh, we even got to go backwards on one of the lines.

Here are a few videos to give you an idea of what it was like.
video video video video

Critter Spotting: Maui

We saw a lot more flora on Maui than we saw fauna. We saw this hen and her 9 chicks in the parking lot next to the beach. We also saw a horse, a donkey, dogs, and a few mongoose. One of the rest stops had at least twelve cats. I saw a mouse--in the hotel room! There were all sorts of different kinds of birds. Ross saw some fish while snorkeling. Oh, and we saw crabs on the beach. On the hike I saw a little black worm, and our private pool had a well-camouflaged frog. And there were lizards all over the place.

Maui Yoga

Of course I had to take some yoga photos in Hawaii. Surfing has its own vinyasa: laying on the board arms out in front, paddling, chataranga/cobra, hopping up to a crouch, then spreading out to five pointed star, crouching back down, then straddling the board.
Blurry photo of me trying to get up into headstand. It was kind of funny to see the waves coming at me upside down.
Side crow in the bamboo forest. This was an awesome yoga rock.
I call this waterfall full lotus. It's my favorite yoga photo from the trip.

To Hana and Beyond

Wednesday was a very long day. We drove around the North side of the island, past Hana to get to Ohe'o Gulch. The drive was loooong, slow, winding, and narrow. It took us nearly four hours to get there. By the time we arrived Ross and I were both a little car sick. After eating a little lunch we felt much better.

The goal was to hike up to the Waimoku Falls in the Haleakala National Park and then go for a swim to cool off. When we arrived the signs said that no swimming was allowed due to high water conditions, but that the trails were open for hiking. We were both a little disappointed. I was wearing my bathing suit under my clothes, which made me very sweaty in the super-humid rain forest.

The hike was really amazing. We took the side trails to see the smaller falls and pools along the way. The bamboo forest was the bomb. When the wind would blow the bamboo would sway and creak. It was entrancing. When we reached the top we stayed at Waimoku Falls for a while. I even climbed up into a cave. When we started our hike back down I was soaked from the waterfall.

Back at the trail head we decided to take some pictures of the Seven Sacred Pools from the road. The fact that no swimming was allowed made for some really nice photos. We walked back to the visitors center to use the restroom and one of the park rangers told us they had just opened up the pools for swimming. Score! We were going to get to cool off after all!

We hiked up to the second or third pool and I jumped in. It was cold, but refreshing. Swimming against the current to get to the waterfall at the head of the pool was a work out. Ross finally got the courage to get in and swam across the pool also. We had our own private pool. It was spectacular. After a few photos we decided it was time to go. The drive back took about three and a half hours. After something to eat we passed out. This vacation was very tiring.
I think these are the Falls at Makahiku.
Top of the bamboo forest.
Me walking the trail through the bamboo forest.
This photo cannot even begin to convey Waimoku Falls. It was loud. The air and mist were flying off it. It was tall (400 ft). I can't believe people hiked all the way up (about 2 miles) then just turned around and came back down. It was really something to take in.
Seven Sacred Pools. I think the small round one in the middle is where we went swimming.
Our private pool.

Tuesday on Maui

Tuesday was a laid back day. We woke up around 6a and took a walk on the beach. On Maui Ross's bed time was 8p and we woke up around 6a. After our walk we went out for breakfast. We had heard of a really good place, but when we got there the line was out the door and there was a 45 minute wait. We decided to go somewhere else. Ross got an omelet and I got stuffed French toast. The toast had a layer of pineapple passion fruit cream cheese in the middle and was topped with cream, powdered sugar, and macadamia nuts. So yummy.

After breakfast we hung out on the beach for a couple of hours. Tejal and I chatted and Ross did some snorkeling. After we ate we headed into Lahaina for gelato. We walked around all the tourist shops and I found some really cool kimono bracelets. I annoyed the guy at the store because I recognized some of the other jewelry (people like to think they are the exclusive sellers, but sorry, I get around.) I looked up the bracelets online and discovered (not surprisingly) that they were way marked up. I'm going to see if maybe I can make the show in NYC in October and buy one there. I liked them that much.

Oh, and we saw the big Banyan tree in Lahaina. So very, very cool.

That is all one tree!
Even though we didn't do that much on Tuesday we were pooped.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yeah, I'm Cool


video
These are the waves here in Maui.

Tejal, Ross, and I took a surfing lesson this morning. Tejal has been surfing before, so she was a pro. I was able to stand up on my first try and rode the wave a good ways. After that I went brain dead and forgot what to do. On my last try I rode in standing up the whole way, and I was even able to stick the landing. My fear was that I was going to get frustrated, but I didn't get upset at all, and it was a lot easier than my first time snowboarding. I came out with only a scraped knee and one bruise (one very painful bruise.) Also, I'm sore from all of the paddling. I am so glad that we went surfing. Surfing is something I'd definitely do again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

80's at 8

The Cool TV is a new TV channel that is supposed to have all music all the time. I like to watch 80's at 8. I know the songs, but I've never seen most of the videos--for at least 3 reasons. First, we didn't have cable in the early 80s. Second, we were overseas in the mid 80s (and didn't really have TV at all.) When we did get cable in the late 80s I'm not sure we had MTV. I don't remember watching it.

I love to rock out to the hits of the 80s and I'm completely fascinated by the videos. Most of them are terrible, and very strange. I have no idea what a lot of the groups looked like. Now I get to see them in all their 80s glory.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Four Years Later....

About four years ago I bought a pattern for wrap pants and bought some fabric to make them. From the start I had problems. The lady didn't cut the right amount of fabric, and I remember having to go back and get another piece. I chose a very cool-looking black burn out fabric. Bad idea--I should have remembered the trouble I had with my first sewing project in school.

I took sewing in Junior High (along with Industrial Arts). My sewing project was a satiny black bubble skirt. What a nightmare. It didn't help that the teacher was giving me bad directions and so I took it home (against the rules) and my dad helped me with it. My mom had tried to warn me that black material and satiny material are hard to work with, but being as stubborn as I am, I insisted (and ended up with double the trouble.)

Back to the wrap pants. The material was easy enough to cut and sew--at first, but then when it came to doing the hem I had trouble. I tried to use a sewing foot that makes a rolled hem, but where the material was burned out, it didn't flow smoothly and kept getting caught up. I threw a fit like a little kid and my mom ended up sewing the hem. I was mad because (like a two year old) I wanted to do it myself. I balled up the pants, thew them in a drawer, and there they sat for years.

I thought that these pants would be nice for my trip to Hawaii, so I dug around in the back closet and pulled them out. It turned out that the only thing left to do was attach the waist band ties. I ironed the pants and the waist band pieces. I followed the directions very carefully, and I finished the pants. It wasn't easy. The burn out areas didn't always sew nicely and came unsewn a lot. I didn't let it get to me. After a few nights I finished them up. Here's what they look like:
The back is actually supposed to wrap all the way around, and meet at the front, but I insisted on cutting them that size.
Ooooh, showing off my white legs.
This is what the pants look like laid out flat. They are huge.

I like the way they finally turned out. I actually bought some brown linen blend material and I'm going to make another pair. But first I'm going to alter the pattern so that they actually wrap all the way around. I have a lot of sewing projects I'd like to do. As soon as I get back from Hawaii I'm going to start sewing again.