Texas


We hit 100 degrees this week, and it’s not even June.  We’re in for a long, hot summer.  To prepare, Erin installed a new fan (seen in the background), and I had to amend the volume of hair on my head and face with a summer cut and a shave.  Not a complete shave, mind you.  My friends at TPN and I started a tradition last year around this time of “Creepy Mustache Day” – so I pay tribute with my 2008 version.  No offense to any fans of the upper lip hair; all mustaches look creepy on me.  That’s all I’m saying.  Don’t you agree?

Happy Memorial Day weekend.

Didn’t that used to be the name of a tv show or something?  

Well, contrary to popular belief, Erin and I have not just been sitting around the house lamenting a year gone by since our big world adventure.   The adventures have simply changed in scope a bit.  Proof? ROAD TRIP! 2219130985_0d942af059.jpg We hit the Texas Hill country a couple of weekends ago.  Thanks to Dr. King, we had a long weekend to turn an out of town wedding into a central Texas adventure.  And we rode in fuel-saving style.   south-park-toyonda-pious-hybrid-1.jpg  

First stop: San Antonio.  About 5 hours south on the interstate.  Our favorite new device told us how to get there. review-nuvi660.jpg

We were there to see true San Antonio love bloom.  My friend Kristen tied the knot.  After an obligatory stroll along the River Walk, we hit the wedding.  Beautiful.  2212736993_fbc97d0c18.jpg

Better yet, my sis Julie joined in the fun. 2212735865_d8afac239c_m.jpg

 

The next morning, we headed out of San Antone.  Along the way, we saw a line of cars down the block next to this unsuspecting breakfast joint:2219923368_85d2fe0c52_m.jpg

Nothing like a crowd to attract a crowd.  So, yeah, we stopped in to find…

delectible donuts: 2219129715_88b80e70fe_m.jpg 

 

AND tasty breakfast tacos from people who know themselves some breakfast tacos: 2219922618_dcf0ddb2e9_m.jpg

Stuffed, we headed towards Fredericksberg, a little German town nestled in the hills.  We had a B&B waiting for us after a quick visit at Roger’s ranch in Willow City. 2213535458_981fa9b829.jpg

Roger is the founder of my soon-to-be former employer.  He’s back at home on the land with his other staff:

Cows, led by the always-chill James Dean.2212743677_20f087ee13.jpg  

Miniature donkeys, always traveling in herd: 2212741609_ec72be01fd.jpg

And special delight, the llamas.  Sadly, none were named Tina.2212738973_9be4ac5b7e.jpg  

They received good care.2213534436_73c419eb85_m.jpg 

After a good dose of country scenery, we headed back into town for a little small-town street stroll.  Boutiques, shops and some german beers greeted us. 2213541130_bcb629276f_m.jpg 

The next day, we headed back to big D.  BBQ was a necessary stop in Llano.2212752445_fab20cf9bc_m.jpg Which car above does not belong?

We walked up to an oversized grill and picked our meats.2213547034_43a35f40181.jpg 

They slapped it down on a tray, and prepped it before paying.  Now that’s country.2213547292_bda018ec88.jpg 

And we sat down among watchful country folk.2212753225_f31df3602b_m.jpg

They weren’t the only ones watching… 2212753365_7d1f3fd35e_m.jpg

A few hours later, we pulled back into the city.  Yee-haaa!

Check out this Holiday gem from the 1986 Dallas Cowboys. Danny White, Herschel Walker, Bill Bates and more sing you a holiday treat! Tis the season for Cowboys football.

Thanks to Frontburner for capturing the glory of the 80’s in Dallas.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Ok, Oprah I’m not. Maybe Stedman. Regardless, I have been exposed to some pretty cool things this year. Things that affect my life and get me talking. Plain and simple. In no particular order, here they are:

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1. Senuti

This free software freed MY music, yes mine, from my iPod. Until now, iPod accepted music as a one-way street. Computer -> iPod but not vice-versa. As I’ve gone from work computer to work computer, my digital music library has shuffled around quite a bit and in some cases been lost. Who has time to upload it all again from disc? Thanks to Senuti (or Floola for you PC users), this software simply extracted the music files from said iPod back to digital storage for safe keeping. Took about 5 hours to transfer 5,000 songs. I ate Thanksgiving dinner while it did the work – good deal!

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2. Google Reader

I’ve never been so in-the-know. Erin introduced me to this free feed reader calling it “Tivo for the internet.” Instead of having to repeatedly go to 20+ websites and hunting each for new info, now my Reader searches my usual bookmarks automatically and brings all new posts to me, in one convenient location. You simple scroll down, reading the headline, a key paragraph and a photo for each entry – ordered chronologically by time received. If you want to read more from an entry, simply click on link. For most, you’ll just keep on scrolling to the next item, with your brain growing exponentially. Awesomeness.

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3. Lifehacker.com

I also owe my Reader for finding me this gem of a website. In fact, Lifehacker brought me Senuti (see, we’ve gone full circle on the list now) and so many more helpful products and tips for making life easier and more fruitful. Features life improvement tips beyond software, too. Like, how to open a clam package with a can opener. OR, how to make a bottle opener out of a single piece of paper. (it’s like McGyver, only more geeky…)
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4. The T

Yeah, you know how much I like my Truck. It brings me much joy. It also brings me much used furniture and much trash for the dump. I suggest you get one.

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5. Real Men of Genius telephone greetings

The marketing dork in me made me do it. It is quite funny and original for a birthday greeting.

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6. My LG camera phone

Nothing is safe when you have a CU500v. It has a very convenient 1.3 megapixel camera. More importantly, the camera has a swivel, so you won’t even know when I’m taking a picture of you picking your nose. Well, unless it is dark, because there’s no flash. Next time.

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7. The neti pot

I credit this crazy India-inspired product with keeping my nasal passages humming. It’s like a tea pot, only you use it to pour water in one sinus cavity and out the other. I was reluctant when Erin first brought it home, but tried it the next time I got some sniffles. And as sure a chicken tikka masala… it cleared me right out.

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8. Tripadvisor.com:
It wouldn’t be a post without something travel related. At this time last year we were trekking through New Zealand. Without Tripadvisor.com, we wouldn’t have found some of our better destinations. The forum section is great, where real folks give you real tips, and usually answer your questions real quick. Search the section for your city and list your specific inquiry. Help is on the way.

I’m sure there are more, but these are top of mind. Hope you’ve had some wonderful discoveries that made 2007 a great experience in stuff.

I love my little red Toyota pick-up truck – aka “The T.”  I never imagined how much this haulin’, dumpin’ machine would impact our day-to-day here in Dallas.  I knew from the moment we met in Greenville, Texas, that this vehicle would treat us right.

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Sounds a bit dramatic, I agree.  But, anyone out there who’s had a personal flatbed vehicle probably knows what I’m talking about.  I can look in almost every area around the house, including the garage and back yard, and find multiple items to which I owe a ride in ol’ red.  It certainly feeds Erin’s estate sale habit.  Couches, tables, chairs, mattresses (new, for the record), appliances, etc.  Erin even hauled a load from Amarillo; I would have made us stop at a weight station for kicks. 

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 Trucks also make getting rid of stuff so much easier, too.

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Sadly, that’s the most notable non-work related activity I have to report of late.  Don’t be disappointed – haulin’ stuff is a slice of life here in Texas.

 I reported a few weeks ago that Lake K flooded, leaving a variety of debris scattered all over the yard once the water receded.  Biggest prizes: two paddle boats from across the way, yet to be reclaimed.  Mostly, we received a variety of logs and brush, which soon became a stagnant eye-sore along the house entrance.

The T to the rescue.  You see, Lake K is in the boonies, and there’s no brush and bulky trash service in these parts.  If it’s not bagged, it’s not considered trash.  And putting a 7-foot, 12-inch diameter log in a bag ain’t easy.

So I met my new favorite tool, the Alligator Lopper from Black & Decker. 

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It’s part chain saw, part tree pruner.  And 100% awesomeness.  Took out those logs and tree branches in no time.  I filled up the truck, kissed my nieces good-bye and scheduled myself a trip to the dump back in Dallas.

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You know how much I like the dump.

Simply pull in to the transfer station and wait your turn. 

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Show the man your Texas drivers license, and pull up to the pile.

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Strap on those work gloves, because the dump ain’t no child’s play. 

Throw, toss and heave that junk.  Style points for a shot-put.  Just don’t let the burly men see a pirouette follow-through.

 If you’re lucky, the daddy of all trucks will make an appearance to tame the ever growing pile.

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Do they make a bulldozer attachment for a Toyota?

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Cruising the sea wall in Galveston, we came across an odd-shaped ambulance.

Does this type of ambulance take passengers? I’d have to go in laying down, but I certainly wouldn’t turn it away…

Got me wondering – so I started looking up ems vehicle models.

I love a good road trip. The freedom. The open road. The junk food and snacks. And the random sites… like this towering behemoth welcoming I-45 highway travelers to Huntsville, Texas.

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I guess it’s better than an oversized electric chair acknowledging the area’s famous Texas jail. Stark white and shoulders above the forest trees, ol’ 67-foot-tall Sam Houston sure does grab your attention as you’re approaching at 70 mph. In good road trip fashion, we stopped by on a whim, on our way back to Dallas from the Texas gulf coast. We even saw a wild turkey off the exit.

It was a strange place full of eclectic Texas highway travelers. Highlights included a Texas-themed gift shop (with no Sam Houston-shaped magnets in case you’re wondering) and this Sam Houston head. I stood next to it for scale purposes.

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Maybe someday my oversized head will be on display…

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