Interstellar Adventures

January 9, 2008

Ambigous Title Here

Filed under: Adventures,Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 3:01 pm

I get so tired of trying to come up with a catchy title, and more often than not, they suck. Like when I used to have to do last minute copy-writing for these travel emails I used to send for an old employer. No more than 25 characters, but I had to promote at least 2 travel packages and be cute and snappy. Cute and snappy are not two adjectives I choose to describe me.

Zed got braces last week. It was bad enough that he was starting to get that ‘hey you’ve got something on your upper lip oops not really it’s just darkening peach fuzz’ thing going on, and that he has been coughing, clearing his throat, squeaking, sounding hoarse and all that stuff that happens when boys’ voices change. But now. With the braces, he looks like a Genuine Teenager. And he is only a mere 5 months away from turning 13. Where’s my rewind button? He can’t possibly have just suddenly grown up. I must have missed something in between when he started kindergarden and last week. I’ve actually started having those anxiety pangs of ‘omigosh he’s actually going to be leaving me in just a few short years’. I’m hugging him too much, telling him I love him constantly, and looking at him and getting stupid grins on my face that embarass him.*sigh* My baby. I think it must only hurt worse from here on out rather than get better with time.

My other baby is getting a palate expander tomorrow. Whereas Zed has plenty of space between his teeth, Elle has a small, crowded mouth. Funny, she talks so much! So for the next ten months I get to use this little tool to turn her expander to give her a bigger mouth. Our orthodontist is making out like a bandit on us right now! Thank goodness for Health Flex Plans.

Also, I’m giving this whole running thing another go. In my right sidebar I’ve got a little RSS feed setup for easy access. Because I know you want to spend your whole day with me.

Pop’s arm is doing better. He’s got a brace on his arm and a new hospital bed so he can get in and out by himself and doesn’t have to sleep in his chair anymore, and no less than 3 nurses that come visit him once or twice a week each. And they all have to check his bloodpressure and take his temperature every time they come see him. Why for a broken arm, I don’t know. He’s slightly resistant just because he’s so old and stubborn, but we have seen a dramatic improvement in his walking strength and balance, so it seems to be working.

Nick is having fun being Pop’s nurse and the Housekeeper. Hey! I just realized, I’m having an affair with my Housekeeper. How thrilling! I just hope he’s not getting addicted to soaps! And that he doesn’t look in my bottom drawer. 😉

November 2, 2007

Put Up Your Feet and Sit a Spell

Filed under: Adventures,Memes & Quizzes,Real Good Food,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:46 am

I was tagged by Mr. Sparky Duck for a weekend-in-your-city meme. Check out his suggestions for the City of Brotherly Love! I think we all need to go for a tour! I did a Dallas City tour last year with lots of photos of some of the more famous landmarks in the city. But, I didn’t consider some of these other Bests of my fair city. Also, next weekend I’ll be spending some time in Fort Worth, so be prepared for more photos and tidbits about our sister-city that makes up the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Best Place to Eat: Wow, this is a toughie. It all depends on the kind of food you want to eat. I once heard that Dallas is one of the toughest places in the US to open and have a successful restaurant. Of course we have the chains, but who really cares about those. If one of you were to come to Dallas (well, except Carn – I’d have to find us a good vegetarian spot), I would probably take you for some of the best damn fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. Babe’s and Bubba’s is where we took Nick’s sister when she came to town from Michigan, and where we took my uncle and his fiance when they came to town from Cape Cod. We also celebrated Elle’s birthday there. Family style chicken with all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes, creamed corn, green beans, and biscuits. Better wear your buffet pants!

Best Shopping Mall: Another toss up. This one depends…do you want to see where the Old Dallas money shops? Then Northpark Center is your place. But you’d better bring your Platinum card. Or would you prefer more plastic surgery and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere? If so, head to the Dallas Galleria. Want to laugh at the nouveau-riche as they sip lattes and meet for play-dates? We’ll head north and play around at the Stonebriar Centre.

Famous Landmark: Besides the Cowboys and JR Ewing, for what else is Dallas internationally famous? That’s right. Sadly, the assassination of our President Kennedy. Dealy Plaza attracts millions that come play in traffic and figure out for themselves just who shot JFK.

Best Tourism Attraction: Second to above? I honestly don’t know. Is Dallas a tourism hot-spot? Why would anyone come here except to visit with family and friends? I don’t really think of it in terms of being a place people go for vacation. Maybe our sports teams. We have the Dallas Mavericks (basketball), Dallas Stars (hockey), Dallas Cowboys (football, and also, related, the World Famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders), Texas Rangers (baseball), FC Dallas (soccer – yes, it’s a sport!), Texas Motor Speedway (NASCAR), Lone Star Park (horse racing), and even a championship golf tournament, the Byron Nelson. Whatever your addiction, we’ve got it!

Best Place for the Kids: Except for it’s location, I’d say the Museum of Nature and Science. It has lots of hands-on exhibits, and a first-class IMAX theater.

Popular Outdoor Activity: Um. This is Texas. Our popular outdoor activity is sweating. You’ll only find us outside between October and April. Otherwise it’s just too damned hot. OK, I jest. A little. It is HOT here in the summer, and so you have to plan for the weather. Heck, it was 80 degrees here on Halloween. So, that’s why you’ll find a lot of Texans in the water. At our lakes, water parks, pools, sprinklers, or even in fountains. Wherever it’s cool. Another hot-bed (har har) of outdoor activity is around White Rock Lake. It’s nine-mile paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, bikers, fishers, sailors and about anyone that’s looking for a place to relax.

Breath-taking Views: It’s flat here. So, besides the High Five Overpass, or the President George Bush Tollway fly-over, your best bet for a view is from a seat in the Antares Restaurant atop Reunion Tower. During your meal, you’ll get a 360-degree view of Dallas and surrounding areas, as the restaurant turns slowly over an hour. But you’d better hurry up. Starting November 16, the entire tower will be closed for about a year due to renovations.

Only Found In: The State Fair of Texas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything else quite like it. For just three weeks each year, Fair Park lights up and millions flock to the Midway, Car Show, Stock Show, and Exhibits. There are sights to see, some familiar every year, and others new and exciting. The Texas vs. OU football game is held during the fair each year, and there are concerts and contests for everyone.

So, your best bet would be to request off now for vacation at the beginning of next October. The Fair will be on and the temps will have cooled down. Except for the Rangers – I can’t recall when they were last even in the playoffs, most of our sports teams will have action going on, Antares will be open for dinner, and we can eat fried chicken and mall-walk our way through the days. I’ll start taking reservations now, so get in on the action early. And don’t forget your boots!

After we party it up here in Dallas, I’d like to have visits with these five people in their home towns!

1. Carnealian
2. Bone
3. ~M
4. Nancy @ Live Love Read
5. Laura @ Vitamin Sea

October 25, 2007

SciFi Expo, With Nerdy Goodness

Filed under: Adventures,Hobbies — by InterstellarLass @ 10:19 am

Finally! Issues resolved. So, without further ado, I share with you the Full Frontal Nerdity of my weekend. Nick and I went to hang out with our nerd friends, including my sister and her boyfriend. 

   

Stars of the show included the Dark Lord, complete with breathing apparatus, David Prowse, and Kenny Baker. Kenny is the man I wanted to see. My favorite little droid in the whole wide universe, R2-D2. And he admonished me. And rightly so. In my excitement, I accidently touched one of the photos for signature before I decided that was the one I wanted. “Don’t touch the photos! You’ll put fingerprints on them.” So I decided the one that had my fingerprint was the one I needed to take. A thousand pardons!

We walked around the expo, ogling toys Nick had from childhood, but that his mother, in a fit of religion (Pat Robertson said they were SATANIC!) made him sell to his cousin for $50. This included the orginal GI Joes with beards, Mego Superheroes, and just about every Star Wars toy that had come out until 1980, including the X-wing figher, the Millenium Falcon, and the Death Star. There were a lot of comic book vendors, boot-leg TV movie dealers and fake autograph hawkers. Oh and NERDS. There were lots and lots of nerds. 🙂 It rocked.

Now, to round out my basic set of signatures, I need Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Mark Hamill doesn’t do many appearances, and Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford likely wouldn’t be caught dead at a Con, so when I get really hungry for those, I’ll have to turn stalker on them. Maybe if I mailed them photos…

May 14, 2007

Anybody got a Sherpa?

Filed under: Adventures,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 7:28 am

I feel like I’ve been climbing a mountain
And I thought I was about to reach the top
But when I got there I learned it wasn’t there.
Behind the summit was a hidden peak, far away.

April 16, 2007

Was it Saturday? Or no? Sunday? What day is it?

Filed under: Adventures,Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Married Life,Mom Life,Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:23 am

We survived Friday night. Elle and I made it to the train station on time, met up with our traveling partners and made it to the AAC just in time. It was actually very scary. Once we turned from downtown, we could see the storm approaching fast. Deboarding the train, there was lightning all around. The security personnel at the AAC instructed is to not stop to scan tickets or go through security…JUST GET INSIDE. We later found out they evacuated over 3,000 people out of the Dallas Convention Center and down to the underground parking garage (just a mile away) when the tornado sirens went off. That must have been when they told us to get in our seats and not move. And when you’re in the 3rd tier nosebleeds, the thought of a tornado shearing the roof off just a few hundred feet from your head is not a pleasant scenario. I told Elle that if I pulled her down under me, not to freak out. And was trying my hardest not to panic myself.

Saturday, after cancelling soccer pictures because of extremely cold morning temps, and only 5 of 12 team members, we proceeded to a 2-1 victory over one of our more closely matched soccer rivals. The fields were muddy and slippery and are now completely torn up.

Then, with the kids off with their dad, Nick and I drove to Irving (~45 minutes) to Nick’s cousins house. For a late-Easter lunch. We arrived at the house, and didn’t notice any cars parked outside. I suddenly became very suspicious that something was amiss. After all, we were fashionably 20 minutes late already. Everyone else should be there. We circled the cul-de-sac and then came back. Ah, there was Auntie’s truck. And there was her husband, supervising Nick’s cousin cleaning the table and chairs. When I touched him on the shoulder, he turned around, looked at me, and asked “Why are you here? We’re not eating until tomorrow?” I turned around, and looked at Nick, giving him long look with eyebrow raised. “Um. Sorry?” was his response with shoulders shrugged. Last time he gets to contribute to the schedule without me confirming details. 😉 At least he was a day early and not a day late.

Saturday night we went over to a couple-friend’s house. A few other people were there and we had some rockin’ sangria and fajitas. I plan on getting the sangria recipe and sharing it at some point. It was delicious.

Sunday we trekked out to Irving again. This time people and food were there! Joy! We played Easter Bingo, and I won a kitchy lamb statuette and a pair of cat and dog bobble animals. They were cute. Nick had his low-rider toy car stolen (complete with the Low Rider tune and multi-cultural gangstas) at the last moment. He ended up with some Art Deco bunny that he later donated to one of his nieces as a self-defense object. Super exciting trips to Target and Kroger followed, and we closed out the weekend watching The Sopranos. So far this season, EVERYONE is pissing Tony off.

Oh, and my Kroger Fuel Center? It’ll be open next week. *Does happy dance* 10 cents off per gallon bay-bee!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

March 19, 2007

You Know You’re Jealous

Filed under: Adventures,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 7:21 am

The St. Patty’s breakfast was a fiasco. Too many people, not enough biscuits and champagne. Fortunately we made it out alive. Nick’s friend’s book-signing was signature-y. And the knitting group was small but fun. It was a nice 2 hours chatting with five other ladies of various ages and knitting skills.

But Sunday. Ahhhh Sunday. On either side of it, I gathered and planted. Gathered from my grandmother’s patio personal jungle, and planted in my no-longer-so-bare flower beds.

But it was the inbetween. The inbetween of which you know you will be jealous. You will wish you were me, if only for a moment.

I MET PETER MAYHEW. AS IN CHEWBACCA. AS IN THE WOOKIEE.

You may all admire me. Oh yes. That’s nice. Thank you. Ok. Enough. No, stop. Really. It’s hard to be admired so.

He was so cool. He was so tall. He made goofy faces in his pictures. He was funny when I asked him to sign my shirt. Warmed up his hands and all and said “Better hurry before the wife gets back.” and laughed. I almost cried. OK, I did cry. When I first walked in, I immediately saw Ernie Hudson. The excitement got to me and I teared up a little. And then when I saw Peter I started to get that excitement again. But I held it in check because Nick was making fun of me. And after Peter signed my shirt, we met Ernie, and I got a photograph signed. And we took a picture. And life was good.

I have now broached a level of nerdiness that I never thought would happen. And I like it!

February 7, 2007

All My Cars

Filed under: Adventures,Blast from the Past,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 2:36 pm

I was just reading up over at Kill The Goat, and Jay was describing her car “troubles”, and it made me think of one of my old cars. And then I thought about all the cars I’ve driven. Actually not that many really. But a couple of them were doozies.

Car 1: Mom’s mini-van. Yes, the vehicle I drove during the majority of my ‘formative’ years of driving. When not using one of the driving school’s cars, I was in the mom-mobile. I even helped her drive it from Texas to Cape Cod the year I was 15. We surprised my great-grandmother on her 80th birthday. Note to self: Do not surprise 80 year old women. Fondest memory: On the way home after taking my driving test with the Texas DPS Officer, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a red light runner (him not me). As I did, my dad’s handgun came sliding out from under the front seat. He always carried it on road trips, and we’d just returned from Thanksgiving in Houston. Would not have been good had that happened with the DPS Officer in the car.

Car 2: The Chevy Cavalier. I don’t even remember what year it was. Early 80’s most likely. My dad bought it from the impounded cars auto auction. He bought it for $300 and then sold a guy a pair of shoes for $2 that he found in the trunk. Grand total for the first Hottiemobile: $298. Grand total of repairs that dad poured into it over the next 10 months before it finally died it’s own slow, sputtering death: $$$$. Fondest memory: During heavy rains, I would have to lift my feet off the floorboard while going through puddles to avoid getting wet feet. Rust.

Car 3: Dad’s Mazda RX7. This wasn’t a bad deal at all. 5-speed manual Turbo engine. Candy apple red. I was hot stuff. It was ‘on loan’ to me because my dad had bought a truck exactly at the same time Car 2 died. But my mom didn’t want to ‘go out’ in a truck, so my parents still used the Mazda on dates. Fondest memory: My friend Reagan and I picked up quite a few guys while driving this car.

Car 4: 80’s something Honda Civic. My 2nd and last manual car. I actually like driving a manual transmission. Hmmm. Wonder why… This was the first car I bought with my own money. Cost about $1,500 if I recall. Money spent repairing this car: $$$$. At one point I killed it by forgetting to change the oil, oh, ever. Then the engine block siezed. A guy friend from high school repaired it for me with a rebuilt engine block. Fondest memory: I could only use the air conditioning while driving on the freeway. In traffic and city streets it would overheat. In Texas, this is not a good thing.

Car 5: Dad’s truck. The one he bought when I got to drive Car 3. He’d bought a Suburban at the same time Car 4 died. Convenient timing. My sister and I had to share possession of this vehicle, except I got dibs because I was going to school in Denton, and I had Zed by then. Fondest memory: Well, not so fond really. I got robbed at gunpoint shortly after getting out of the truck. Rock on.

Car 6: My first VW. I bought this one for $6000 using a tax refund check as my down payment. God Bless the Earned Income Credit. I actually really loved this car. It was a ’91 VW Jetta. It had some interesting quirks, such as you could listen to the radio while the car was all the way off. Fondest memory: When the heater core went out and I almost cried thinking about the money I didn’t have to get it fixed, then finding out it was under lifetime factory warranty and getting it fixed for less than $10.

Car 7: A Toyota Camry. My Ex talked me into leasing this car. I was happy with the car iteself. Rode very well and was very dependable. But I think it was cursed. I think I got into four total accidents in this car. Only one was my fault though, and that was at a really bad intersection on a rainy night. Fondest memory: Turning it back into the lease company.

Car 8: My current car. Another VW Jetta. I had this car delivered to me, sight unseen, by the lease company. I didn’t want to lease again, but the Ex wouldn’t fork over any extra cash to buy one outright. He was convinced leasing was the cheapest way to go and he liked the idea of it. I should have known better when he decided against leasing both his trucks that he drove when we were married.  Fondest memory: Driving to El Paso with Nick. We had a cooler and picnic basket in the back, and made good time. I’ll be even more excited though when I can turn this one in in the next few months.

Car 9: TBD. I’d like a mid-sized SUV that gets good mileage and has good leg room. We’ll have to see how the numbers work out when I turn in the Jetta. I may end up having to lease again.

What was your favorite car that you’ve ever driven? Fondest car memory?

November 20, 2006

Why do they do it?

Filed under: Adventures,Family & Friends,Running Life,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 4:26 pm

This weekend was the Ultracentric National Championships, held right here in Texas. Grapevine to be exact. These are people that have decided that the marathon is no longer enough. That they need to run 50 or 100 or more miles to get the job done. It’s beyond me, but I left feeling like a total slug.

My friend Judy ran the 24 hour event. She rocks! She made it 52.8 miles (double marathons, plus .4 miles for good measure) before she gave in to blisters and pained hamstrings. She decided not to push it any further after 13:04:03.75 of forward motion. After all, she’s pushing for a sub-4 hour PR at the Tucson Marathon next month. It’s a great course to do a PR on (all downhill!) and she’s really been putting in the miles. Go Judy!

I went out to the race at 8 pm to cheer her on. I walked her second-to-last loop with her, and she did the last loop on her own. Then I volunteered at the aid station until 1 am, serving up hot soup, burgers, pasta, rice and sweet and salty snacks to runners.  They were cold and tired, and some had been running for 36 hours or more in the 48 hour event. Most with smiles on their faces. I admired them all. Even the grumpy ones. Hell. I’d be a bitch-on-wheels too if I’d been running that long!

And I couldn’t do the same 2.4 mile loop over and over. Nope. I’d need to be like Forrest. Just put a long road out there and tell me to run. And put some barking dogs behind me.

Results.

November 12, 2006

Wimberley Weekend

Filed under: Adventures,Interstellar Travel,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 10:03 pm

I took the day off Friday to pack and get ready for a Girl’s Weekend down in Wimberley, TX. Four of my girlfriends and I rented a house just outside of Wimberley. The house was called Lejos, which means “far away” in Spanish. The place was gorgeous! The photos on the web site didn’t do the place justice. When we pulled up we were sure that it was two houses, and we were only going to have one part. But no, the whole thing was ours!

Backing up, the drive down was nice. The traffic was’t too bad, and when we approached Austin and the traffic started getting heavy, we stopped for dinner and margaritas at Chuy’s. They have good TexMex. But, the Austin location didn’t have the shrimp taquitos I was craving, and the jalapeno ranch couldn’t quite mask the chicken taquitos for which I settled. The margaritas helped some. Hey, I wasn’t driving.

Finding our way into Wimberley in the dark, off country back roads wasn’t easy. But, after circling the wrong square, we found the property management office and our key. Like I said, the house was great. The hot tub was a bit cool on Friday night, but by Saturday night, we had it all nice and toasty. We made fires in the fire pit and fireplace, played music piped over a speaker system, drank wine, caught up on gossip, and just relaxed.

On Saturday, after shopping on the square, we went to Wimberley Glass Works. We saw a glass blowing demonstration. I’d seen glass made before on TV, but in real life it’s so much better. I plan on taking my kids back, because it was so cool. They made a swing vase. Sadly we did’t get to see the finished product. After the glass is blown, it has to cool slowly in an annealing oven so that the glass doesn’t burst. But, if anyone wants to get me this for my birthday, I’d be ever so happy. You can see videos of the glassblowing here and here.

It was nice to get away and relax, but it was even nicer to come back home and see my husband and my kids. I’ll be taking them to Wimberley soon. It’s a different pace, there was spotty cell reception (which is a good thing!) and the people were nice. Wimberley Pie Co. had the BEST buttermilk pie I’ve ever had. Here are all the pictures I took.

Update: And just to make you a little more jealous, and a little more curious, here are this weekend’s top quotes.

  • You can’t do yoga on a bike.
  • That wasn’t what I meant when I came up with that game.
  • Do you want to sit on the crack? No, I sit on a crack everyday.
  • I don’t do ugly.
  • Oh, that was my outside voice.
  • Is anything stuck to me?
  • Are you coming?
  • Where do I stick it in?
  • It ate it! It ate it!
  • I smell something burning.
  • Breaker, breaker we’re going in.
  • Can I see id please?
  • Are you legal?
  • I need something hard to twist.
  • That cop was kinda cute.
  • Save the brownies, save the world.
  • You can best see the true colors when you put it in the glory hole.
  • You’re not getting me to sleep with you.
  • You’re still not getting me to sleep with you.
  • I don’t like any thing mushy.
  • It’s hard getting my tongue to work that way.
  • I think I need to unbutton my pants.
  • It’s just too much meat.
  • Ohhhh, I just boobed you.
  • Oh, I’m so not sleeping with you.

August 19, 2006

Visiting Fort Worth

Filed under: Adventures,Married Life,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 8:39 pm

Saturday, Nick and I went back to visit Fort Worth again. This time, we went to the Fort Worth Home & Garden Show. It was held at the remodeled Fort Worth Convention Center. Years ago, my dad graduated from TCOM at a ceremony held there. I don’t think I’d been in it since.

The Garden Show wasn’t as good as I expected. I was expecting more swag, and I only ended up buying one product while I was there. I did get some good ideas for things I need to do to the house, and entered a couple of drawings. Of course, these days most of them require you to attend a time-share sales pitch. Don’t people just give away shit for free anymore?

After, and despite the heat, we went down to Sundance Square. It’s a very nice, re-established area of the Fort Worth downtown area. I think it’s probably better at night, but during the day, it was rather dead. There were restaurants aplenty, but the shops that were there were all closed. We thought about going to the Botanic Gardens again.

BUT, once we got back to the car, we ran into an issue.

(more…)

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