Monday, June 30, 2014

I Can't Wear Antiperspirant

When I was growing up my Grandma always had a glass bottle of Avon liquid deodorant next to the bathroom sink. It might have been the only kind of deodorant or perfume she ever used. My mom and I also used the Avon stuff, along with deodorant sticks. My mom doesn't like antiperspirant because she feels like it blocks off her pores and and doesn't allow her to sweat, which she sees as unnatural and uncomfortable. I have tried all sorts of antiperspirants and they all cause big, red, painful lumps to form in my arm pits after just one use.

I always thought that antiperspirant worked via some chemical signal or something. Nope, just like my mom always suspected it physically clogs the sweat glands and doesn't allow sweat to come out. Kind of creepy.

I read in a magazine last week the solution to stinky pits: extra strength antiperspirant--so you won't sweat, which starves out the odor-causing bacteria. Wow. I take a totally different approach. If my pits get especially stinky I wash them with some heavy duty antibacterial soap--chlorhexidine gluconate--the same stuff that surgeons use to scrub up. Also, I wear a stick deodorant with anti-bacterial ingredients--lavender, tea tree oil, that sort of thing.

My one complaint about deodorant is that it is nearly impossible to find in travel-size. I recently bought Ross some Old-Spice deodorant and it came with a travel-sized stick. As soon as I got it I wondered if I could reuse the container once the actual deodorant stick is used up. We'll see at some point.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Journey to the West

When I saw this photo as the graphic for Journey to the West I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. I had no idea what it was about, but I knew it would be good. This movie was awesome. Yeah, it was corny in a lot of spots, and at times the graphics/special effects were laughable, but I loved it. This movie was in Mandarin with subtitles. I like that. I like trying to pick out words that I know.

The movie was very funny and starred Qi Shu, who you might recognize from the 2002 Transporter movie. The story, writing, and acting were all pretty good. I just kept finding myself saying "I love it, this movie is awesome! This movie doesn't pull any punches!" Journey is the perfect movie for a lot of laughs, but I'll warn you: Even though it is a comedy, it is like every other foreign film. It ain't all happily ever after.

Many Movies

In the last two weeks I've seen a lot of movies--both at the theaters and on Netflix. Here's a rundown:

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Despite the time travel aspect, I enjoyed the movie. Of course seeing Hugh Jackman naked was a plus.
  • Raid 2: It was no Raid, but it was good. I was really confused at the start of the movie, and a woman in the theater shushed us and glared at us the whole time. That took away from the experience. Still, it was a good movie.
  • Captain America 2: Ross really liked this one. I liked it too, but it lacked the eye candy that X-Men so graciously provided. And it is so annoying when the good guys catch a bad guy and they don't shoot him so he gets away or does something bad. Or, when they knock a bad guy down and he later gets back up and does more bad guy stuff. Hello---immobilize/double tap bad guys!!!
  • Divergent: This movie is okay---it gets me thinking again about creating a book/movie/merchandizing franchise. I liked the movie, and so did Ross, but he over-analyzed it and got annoyed.
  • Non-stop: Typical Liam Neeson movie--"There's no time!" I really liked this action-packed movie. It was fun, if I didn't think too much about it or analyze it too much. 
  • Dragon/Wu Xia: Great fight scenes and a story reminiscent of History of Violence. I watched this one without Ross, but made him watch the opening fight scene and then the blow by blow of the fight scene given by the story's detective.
  • The Eagle: I have a soft spot for any movie with Romans, Knights, Dragons, that sort of thing. This movie is about Romans in Britain. I thought it was going to be a cheesy B rate, but it featured Tatum Channing and well written story. I don't know why I have trouble imagining Britons as tribes. I guess I just think of them either as knights or as tea-drinking colonialists.
  • Ravenous: this 1999 film set during the Mexican-American war is an odd one. I'm still unsure if this was supposed to be a comedy or a horror film, but I had fun with it. I enjoyed the performances by Neal McDonough and Jeremy Davis, who are both in Justified.
  • Operation Condor 2: Armour of the Gods: This Jackie Chan movie was actually filmed before Operation Condor, which we also recently watched. Armour of the Gods sucked. It was fun to see Jackie Chan so young, and with a really short hair cut, but that's it. This movie isn't really worth the time to watch it---just skip to the outtakes, they really are the best part of the film.
  • Operation Condor on the other hand was a good movie. It had a Nazi story line. I seem to also be attracted to any stories, movies, books, etc. about Jews and/or Nazis. Ross and I enjoyed it. I just wish it had been subtitled instead of dubbed.
  • Curse of the Dragon Slayer: Here is my predilection for bad dragon movies getting the better of me. It wasn't a very good movie. It was better than Scorpion King 3, which we couldn't even finish. I think we turned that off after 10 minutes. It was horrible.
  • Dragon Crusaders: This Asylum film was bad, but exactly what I was looking for--a cheesy B rate about dragons and crusaders. Just the thing to watch on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Juan of the Dead: This is an awesomely funny zombie movie set in Cuba. This film is only available on Netflix DVD.
  • Warm Bodies: I had forgotten about this movie, and my friend Charlie had recommended Juan and this one as good zombie movies--I told him about Dead Snow. Warm Bodies is a sweet zombie movie, also only available on Netflix DVD.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hiatal Hernia Relief

A few years back I was diagnosed with a sliding hiatal hernia. My main symptom: belching. It comes and goes. I'm supposed to eat small amounts at a time to keep it in check. I think a combination of full sit ups, alcohol, and eating too much last weekend severely aggravated my hiatal hernia. It had already been acting up for about a week. This whole week I have been miserable.

So, anyway, this week I was talking to Aunt Judy and she said that her chiropractor helps her with her hiatal hernia. I did some reading on the internets. I found an exercise that I tried yesterday: I drank some warm water, put my arms out to my sides, brought my hands in to my chest, stood on my tippity toes, then slammed down onto my heels.  This was supposed to jar my stomach back into my abdomen.

Yesterday I ate applesauce, had a double espresso, soup, and did the exercise a few times. I also tried a self-manipulation technique to try and physically pull my stomach back down through my diaphragm.  I felt a little better, but not completely back to normal.

When Ross got home I demonstrated the heel slamming technique. It triggered the hiccups. Well, that proved that it does affect the diaphragm. The hiccups didn't last long, and afterward I felt much better. When I got into bed I used the manipulation technique, and I could just tell that things were better. I slept like a rock, and this morning I felt like a new person. No belching first thing after waking up. After being miserable all week I feel like a new person.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bedtime Stories: Battle Bunny

I couldn't resist checking out Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett from the library. This is an ingenious book...well, two books really. The idea is that Alex modifies his Birthday Bunny book into the Battle Bunny book. Two stories and two sets of illustrations in one book. Super clever--with illustrations by Matthew Myers.

Naked Peaches

I boiled and peeled peaches to make peach puree. They look so funny naked. With the peach puree I made peach tea and peach pancakes. I have a lot of puree left over. I guess I'll be making a lot more peach tea.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Reading: Master and Margarita

Last month after reading Morphine, I checked out Mikhail Bulgakov's novel Master and Margarita from the library. I feel like such a grown up--reading a novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale about the Dark Lord, Pontius Pilate, and a slew of Muskovites.

Mikhail Bulgakov, whom I think looks like Daniel Craig in this photo, wrote a thrilling masterpiece. Again, I really enjoy Russian literature--descriptive, dark, and a bit creepy. I feel I have to credit the translator, Michael Glenny--I certainly couldn't have read this novel in Russian!

I think my favorite character was Behemoth, a big, black, talking cat.

Reading actual literature makes me want to write. I will write. I don't know if I'll ever publish, but I will write.

Limerick and Bo

A few weeks before Passover I bought Ross two citrus plants. Both plants had blooms on them. The blooms became buds, and then they all fell off. Recently the two trees bloomed again. One tree is loaded with buds. The other has just one fruit. 
This is Limerick. He is covered in bunches of lime buds like this.
This is Bo--and his one marble-sized orange.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tubing the Comal River 2014

So on Saturday we met up with Richard, Monica, and a bunch of other folks for river floating fun. It was a lot more crowded this year. The reason it wasn't crowded last year was the can ban. They wouldn't allow any cans or disposable bottles on the river. I was fine with that. Other folks boycotted the river, and they cancelled the can ban.
At the start of the float it was really slow. We barely moved the first hour or so. You can kind of see the crowds behind Richard.
Here is Monica chillin' in her tube. It was a really nice day. Not too hot. Partly cloudy. Still, I got a bit of a sunburn. Grr! I was mad at myself. I reapplied a few times, but I still got burned on my knees. I think it's because of how I sit in the tube sometimes and it rubs off the sunscreen. I even have scrapes on my shins. I also have a scrape on my ankle from walking down the steps into the river. It isn't bad, just in an annoying spot. I can't believe how tiring it is to just sit in a tube for a few hours.

After the float we met up at Richard's house. We inhaled lots of snacks and Richard grilled up some hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. I ate so much this weekend that I'm going to have to work really hard to burn it off this week.

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Mom's Boyfriend

I may have mentioned before that my mom spends so much time ironing that we call the iron her boyfriend. When we went to Las Vegas I opened the closet in the hotel room and shouted "Mom, your boyfriend is hiding in the closet!" Apparently mom inherited her ironing from her mother, who used to even iron my grandpa's underwear!

I did not inherit the need to iron. I'm terrible at it. I have a long history of burning myself with the iron. When I was little I pressed my palm onto the hot iron plate--burning myself. I don't know why. It's like that urge to put your hand in the garbage disposal. I was young, and just couldn't resist the temptation.

In order to avoid burns and embarrassingly wrinkled shirts we send Ross's shirts to the cleaners. It's really worth it. In the last year I have bought Ross a bunch of linen shirts. He likes them, and wears them a lot. It's hot now so he wears them more, and it seems silly to wait until I go to the cleaners to get the shirts cleaned. So I have been washing them--and I've even taken to ironing them. I'm getting a little bit better at it, but he'll never be my boyfriend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I like it when lids have something printed on the inside.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spring Yarn and Tea Swap

So here are is how the Spring Swap went down:
My partner sent me all this. Plus more. I always get excited to take the photo and miss something. She also sent me fill-em-yourself tea bags, a hand-painted card, and passes to the San Antonio Zoo!

So I sent her a box with all this.

It was amazing. She sent me a little zippered bag from Pearl River Mart that I had almost bought for myself a few weeks earlier. And I sent her Lacey's cookies, which she apparently knows and loves.

I get excited about the swaps and I've already bought things for the Summer swap, which doesn't start until August probably.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reversible Drawstring Bag

My swap partner was the first person in the swap to mail out her package. It was awesome. There were so many great things in there that I thought I needed to put more in her box. I decided to sew my first reversible drawstring bag. It wasn't very difficult. I used material I already had. I bought some cutesy ribbon, and it didn't work out. I had to buy satin ribbon. That worked.

Bailey approved of the bag--and took a nap on it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quick Knit Kerchief

I participate in a yarn and tea swap every few months. This time around I had a partner who had never done a swap before. I wanted her to have a good first time swap experience--so I decided to knit up a little something. I used some of the first yarn I ever bought when I started knitting. I knitted until I ran out of steam--and almost out of yarn.

My swap partner said she liked it. I certainly liked all the goodies she sent me. I'll post some swap photos tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Reading: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

I didn't know anything about Harris Burdick, his illustrations, or their strange captions until Valerie told me about them and this book. The book has the illustrations along with stories by different authors to match each illustration.This weekend I read five of the stories aloud to Ross. We definitely have our favorite. There was only one story that we really didn't like at all.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately. I have started a novel by a Russian author, I have been reading a book of Russian gothic tales, and then this book of short stories. I need to keep at it. I want to finish all 3 books, and I have another book on hold at the library. I guess I'm having my own little Summer reading program.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tomato Bandit

When I was hanging clothes yesterday I noticed a half-eaten tomato under the tree in the back yard. It seems that some creature stole a tomato from one of our neighbors, had a snack, then dumped it. I told Ross about it and when I asked him later if he'd seen it he said yes, he saw the green tomato that I'd left on his pile of mud. Nope. That was a different half-eaten tomato that I hadn't seen. Seems there is a tomato bandit stealing and half-eating tomatoes, then leaving the remains in our yard.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Live with Spiders

I live with spiders. Spiders set up shop in every corner and under every cabinet. Today I had to disturb a spider that had created an intricate web across the clotheslines. I accidentally brought him in with the laundry and had Ross toss him back outside. When I was putting away laundry I saw some lint in the dresser drawer. I picked it up and oops....squished a spider. The spiders don't really bother me. I tell myself that they eat other bugs. I just don't like cleaning up after them. They leave little droppings and insect carcasses. Sometimes the little egg sacks freak me out. I think about a hundred little spiders crawling out of there and it is a creepy thought.

When I went to try and take a photo of any of the many spiders I live with they were all shy. Oh well, y'all know what a spider looks like.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ebay from the Other Side

In the past I have spent a lot of money buying things on ebay. I have been much better about my ebay spending over the last couple of years. This week I listed a bunch of shoes and purses on ebay. Now I'm hoping someone will buy my stuff. My old Emily the Strange purse already has a bid on it. It is the most popular item I have listed right now. Also up for sale: Coach purses and Nine West shoes. I'm cleaning out the closet and hoping to make a few bucks in the process.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life's Little Pleasures

If I lay down on the bed in the afternoon Bailey hops up and sleeps on my chest. I took a break yesterday and just relished my time with her as she purred her little heart out. I thought to myself "It doesn't get better than this."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Collections: OPI

I have a bit of an obsession with nail polishes. I now have a large collection of OPI nail lacquer. I just got a set of five bottles using an online deal. They sell OPI at HEB and every time I go grocery shopping I'm tempted to buy a bottle. So far I have resisted.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Watercolor: Semi-abstract

I just finished this painting. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hot Water

Ross got a water heater  for the tub. Now we don't have to rely solely on the sun to heat the water. My first soak in the tub was last weekend. The warm water was so relaxing. We just need to remember to keep the battery on the water heater charged.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


This is Destinnie. I met her when she was in pre-k and today she graduated high school. My mom couldn't attend, so I went in her stead. I feel old.  I'm glad I went, but dang graduations are boring.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Flashback Friday: Then and Now: Vatican Post

Both photos were taken at the top of St. Peter's Basilica.
July, 2000.
October 2013. Look at that--they changed the color of the box.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Limestone Slabs

Ross bought LOTs of limestone slabs. Laid out in the back yard they kind of look like slabs of snow. The plan is to make a pathway from the side street to the side gate and a walkway under the clothes line so that I'll have an even surface to walk on when I'm hanging clothes. I can't wait for the final results.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Soles

So as I said before, I walked the soles off my boots in NYC. I took them to be fixed and got them back about a week later. The guy did a great job. He put on new soles and heels. 

The heel he put on is a bit thicker than the original one, so maybe these will last more than 2 years. I love my Miz Mooz boots.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jenaer Tea Pot

A couple of months ago I broke my glass tea pot. After searching a bit I found exactly what I was looking for on Amazon: a large tea pot with a metal strainer (glass strainers are a pain to clean), and a lid that would fit on the pot without the strainer. My last glass tea pot had a metal strainer, but the lid didn't fit on the pot without the strainer, so I started using the lid from my cast iron teapot on it. It fit. Well, when I went to pour some tea one day I didn't hold the lid--it slipped forward and sheared the spout right off the pot. Oops.

The first tea pot Amazon shipped arrived broken. The spout was in pieces. This Sunday the post office (yeah, freaky, Sunday delivery) delivered another one. I'm hoping this Jenaer Glass teapot lasts a long time. I have a Jaener glass cup that is the size of a bowl. It has really held up. I just need to be careful with the spout.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Bailey

Fifteen years ago today Ross brought Bailey home. Happy Birthday to the cutest kitty ever.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Yard Work

I worked in my area of the yard today. I have been spending time trying to take out all the weeds and grass. The grass is harder to pull out than the weeds. I decided to work the border area today. I pulled out each limestone block (then did deadlifts with some of them), and pulled out all the grass sneaking under the blocks and into the landscaped area. I came across this little surprise when I pulled out one of the blocks. A few blocks down I came across another snake. It looked the same--only larger. I showed it to Ross. He said it was cute. I'm not sure I'd say cute, but it was really interesting. Feeling the snake's muscles tense and undulate as it tried to get away was amazing. That little bugger was strong.

June Goals

I'm horribly out of shape, and chronically lazy. To try and bust out of my rut I've come up with some goals for June.

  1. Exercise 60 minutes each day.
  2. Publish a blog post each day.
  3. Complete a Summer project.