Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can't Wait!

I can't wait for Saturday to finally get here!  That's the day that the Spaceman people are scheduled to come and install our fancy closet.

We had a handy-man come in on Monday and rip out the old stuff, fix the walls, and re-paint so that it would be ready to go.  My clothes have, therefore, since Sunday, been residing in the bathtub.

I did think about the fact that I should probably pick out clothes for the coming week before making everything inaccessible.  But I didn't do as good of a job as I thought.  I completely forgot that our school fundraiser is tomorrow night.  It's not a fancy affair, but I'm still not sure what I'm going to wear.  Actually, even if we did have a closet in which to hang our clothes, I'm not sure I'd know what I was going to wear, so it probably doesn't matter.  Looks like I'll be going shopping sometime tomorrow...

Or, I might just blow off trying to find something to wear and attend a meeting tomorrow morning about the proposal to cut all funding for bike lanes for the coming three years in Houston.  Seriously?!  I can't wait until 2015 for the bike path to get finished.  It's gone beyond ridiculous at this point.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Biking in Houston

It's been in the 70's for the last week - that means it's time to start working on that bicycling shorts tan-line!

Yesterday we went on our first bike ride of the year with the trailer bikes.  We've been avoiding the trailer bikes lately for a couple of reasons:
  1. The kids always want to ride their "two-wheeled bikes".
  2. The City of Houston has been taking away all our bike paths over the last couple of years, making it virtually impossible to ride anywhere that we used to ride with the kids on the trailer bikes!
About four years ago, they did some road work and then started working on expanding the "bayou" (which used to be an actual bayou, or creek, I guess, but at some point in time, they turned it into a concrete-lined drainage ditch), and in the process of doing so, they removed part of the bike path.  Each time it looked like they might be ready to open up a section of the path again, they would start a new project and leave the path wallowing in a sea of mud and weeds.

Then maybe two years ago, they finished the section of bike path they had originally been working on, but then they started on another section down the way.  That was sort of OK, though, because we could just go around the section they'd been working on and we could still get in a good ride from our house down to IH-610 and back.

But then about a year ago, they decided to work on a bridge that goes over the bike path.  So, the section of path that was closed became very long and the only way to get to the path in that direction was to go through the Medical Center and that's just dangerous.  I felt like I was taking my life into my own hands every time we went through there - even early on Sunday mornings.

So, our only remaining option was to ride the bike path and go towards the University of Houston.  That was OK, too, because it's the prettier direction to ride on the path.  It's a shorter ride, but it's definitely prettier.  And we can usually find some good sections of bluebonnets in which to take pictures of the kids each year along that section of the path.

However, about 6 months ago, they began working on expanding the "bayou" in that direction, too, and they removed the bike path.

So, all our normal bike path options were gone.  Luckily, we discovered that the kids love riding trails and doing some "mountain biking", so we focused on taking day trips and weekend trips to satisfy our biking needs.

Yesterday morning, however, we figured that surely after so long, the bike path headed towards IH-610 would be open by now, so we hooked up the trailer bikes and took our chances.

You wanna ride your bike in Houston?  You must be joking!
Yeah, right.  There's a reason Houston is considered one of the least bicycle-friendly places in the country.  This is only one section of the bike path that we had to get off and walk our bikes around.

Here's a picture of the lovely "bayou" with a section of the bike path that hasn't been removed... yet.  I wish I could also attach smells to this post - it's truly an experience to be able to ride along, smelling the fishy water and then realize that you're getting close to the water treatment plant based on the pungent odors that begin emanating from the water.  Nice.

Path along the "bayou"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Last night we had a nice evening of hanging out with the family, watching Star Trek Voyager (I love that our kids are science geeks), and having a delicious dinner (of leftover Star Pizza!).  It was a perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day.  :)

My Valentines
You'll notice that one of my Valentines is "Lamby".  In fact, the "wallpaper" on my phone is currently a picture of Lamby that Marxo took with my phone.  She set it as my wallpaper as a joke about 6 months ago, but I've kept it because I love Lamby probably more than she does!  There are times when the kids aren't around, I'll hug Lamby and get sort of overwhelmed when I think about how much love must be encapsulated in that smashed, worn-out little body.

And the wine of choice for the evening was...

My current favorite wine :)
We first picked up this wine at the grocery store because it was not only a "Manager's Special" (and the manager takes his wine recommendations very seriously) but also because of the name and the label.  I mean, how could an engineer possibly pass up a wine called "Educated Guess" that has organic molecules drawn on the label?  And as a bonus, it's really good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today was a weigh-in day and I've finally broken through what seemed like an impenetrable weight barrier - for the past couple of weeks, I just couldn't get below my goal weight from Fatty's weight loss challenge.  So, today marks a glorious day in my weight-loss and fitness journey!  I'm down 1.6 pounds from what I had gotten to back in December.  Whew.  It'll be clear sailing from now on, right?  ;)  Only 8.4 more pounds to go...

Fitness-wise, I'm pretty pleased, too.  I'm finding myself pushing the wattage up higher and higher by riding harder and harder each day.  I'm also finding that I want to ride the trainer for more than my "allotted" 30 minutes of time.  They ask that everyone limit their time on the equipment to 30 minutes so that others can use it if they want.  And there's another woman that likes to use the bike trainer, too, so I try to get there early and I usually stretch it to about 35 minutes and hope that she doesn't notice.

Yesterday, she had told me that she wouldn't be working out so I chose one of the long courses and rode for 55 minutes.  It felt good.

Now, if we could get some good weather on a weekend day so that we could do some family bike rides, it'd be even better!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


We are continuing to try to find our organized bliss by re-doing our master closet.  It's something we (especially my husband!) have been thinking about doing for quite some time.  I mentioned that we were planning to get some Elfa stuff for our master closet, but then when it was a small fortune just to organize the sports closet, we figured out if we're going to re-do our master closet, it would be really expensive!

So, then we decided that if we were going to be spending a ridiculous amount of money on our master bedroom closet, then we might as well spend an obscene amount of money on it and do it right.  Enter Spaceman.  See, right there - it says "organized bliss" on the homepage.  Obviously this is the company for us!  :)

After getting our most recent month's Visa bill, I can't say that this was the smartest of decisions, but it's too late now.  We spent our "snow" day with the Spaceman guy, designing the layout of our master bedroom closet and making the down-payment for it!  :o

I'm really excited about it, though.  My requirements for the closet were to include a couple of tilt-out clothes hampers for us, drawers for our T-shirts, and a double jewelry drawer for me (I don't really have much jewelry, but it's just such a cool drawer, I couldn't pass it up).  I mean, check out all those closet accessories!

We're set for installation at the end of February and in the meantime, we need to rip out our current closet hanging rods, repair the walls, if necessary, and re-paint.  This should be interesting.

Monday, February 07, 2011

"Snow" Day

The forecasters were predicting 2" to 4" of snow for Houston starting on Thursday evening and continuing into early Friday morning.  They canceled school for Friday, told people to leave work early, and basically shut down all of Houston.  So by Thursday evening when I finally went home from work, there was virtually nobody on the road.

We had been watching the radar all day long, just waiting to see it get close to Houston so we could go home from work.  But the clouds just didn't cooperate.

By Thursday evening, they were saying that it would come through the area during the night, so the kids went to bed with visions of snowmen in their heads.

I happened to wake up at around 5:00am Friday morning (why can't I do that every morning, like I'm supposed to?!) and looked outside.  The street was dry.  But, I could see a thin layer of ice on our tree, so apparently some rain had eventually fallen and frozen during the night.

The kids got up on Friday morning and ran to the window to see...  nothing.  "There's no snow out there." Fellan came to inform us.

Yep, instead of snow, Houston awoke with a city full of disappointed children.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's cold outside

Last night, we went out to the garage and discovered that something had peed on some of our stuff out there.  And the garage door was closed at the time.  Hmmm....

So, after several minutes of discussing whether it could actually be animal pee or maybe just water that had spilled (and then turned yellow?), I went inside, figuring that it was a cat who was just trying to find a warm place to spend the night.

A couple seconds later, the husband yelled for me, "I found what it was!"

Come on, it's cold outside!

So the husband spent the next 30 minutes or so trying to get the little critter out of the garage!

Unlike my father, my husband did not call the radio station to try to find out what to do with an opossum in his garage.  The radio guy, probably as a joke, told my dad to just make a bunch of noise, which would then make the opossum "play 'possum" and he would be able to pick him up and get him out of the garage.  Surprisingly, that didn't work and I remember being really afraid of what was going on behind the wood pile in our garage while my dad was attempting to catch Harry (of course my brother and I named the opossum! - we were something like 6 and 10 at the time and loved all kinds of animals - we really wanted to keep him...) and get him into a trash can for relocation to the countryside.

My husband, instead, used a broom to sweep him towards freedom, but a cold front had come through Houston yesterday morning and it was down to about 25 deg F by that point.  (That's downright brutal for Houstonians... of all species!)

Sensing his impending eviction from the warmth of our garage, the opossum instead made a beeline to go under my car.  So, the husband again used the broom to sweep him out from under the car and force him into the cold, where he finally ran away to the neighbor's house.

His victory was short-lived, however.  While the husband was occupied with the opossum, the neighbor's cat (the same neighbor who was on the receiving end of a cold opossum) tried to take advantage of the diversion to seek refuge under my car.  It was beginning to look like the outdoor animals were teaming up!

The husband eventually prevailed and made sure the garage was free of critters before closing the door for the night.  We think.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Room by IKEA

Ok, I remembered to take a picture of the kids' room last night!  There's still stuff sitting on top of their bookshelf and Fellan likes to throw his PJ's over the foot of his bed, but this is much better than it was before the purging - you'll just have to take my word for it.

Kids' room... by IKEA
Bunk bed
(After looking at the last few pictures I've posted, I've determined that my phone is really bad at taking pictures.  Talk about grainy!)

Anyway, as we were sitting on the kids' (really hard) couch on Sunday evening, we looked around and noticed that nearly everything in their room came from IKEA.  The bunk beds, the big leaf, the railing thing that holds Marxo's pink curtain, the fold-down desk and stools, the bookshelf/divider and baskets, the big world map, the couch...  and a few other things I'm not thinking of.  They must really like to see us coming!  ;)