Monday, November 17, 2008

UTA Planetarium

Being the nerds that we are, Aaron and I decided to go on a "date" to the planetarium at UTA on Friday evening. Aaron's been joking about going there since we started working at UTA, and I finally decided to call his bluff. In true form, he donned his "NASA" work shirt that he got at a Goodwill in Houston for the trip to the planetarium. This is his favorite shirt because it says "NASA" on it and is a real work shirt for someone named "Slatten" (it has the name "Slatten" embroidered on the lapel. He likes it so much that he actually bought two of them. Apparently the real Slatten retired and gave his shirts to Goodwill. Anyway, we went to the planetarium and were pleasantly surprised because the show was actually quite entertaining--it was about the Seven Wonders of the World. Then this grad student did the whole, "This is the night sky and the stars you will see when you leave tonight." By the way, isn't it ridiculous when they show the constellations and you have no idea what they're talking about until they put the little cartoon on top to show you? Seriously, there was a constellation that was literally two stars with a line going between them--a stick--and then she put the cartoon on top and it was a dog. Really?

So, as we were leaving, the planetarium grad student girl saw Aaron's shirt and complimented him on it. He was beaming. What a dork. So now he has a crush on her. Beautiful.

Also, as we were walking out they had a little kiosk set up with planetarium shwag for sale. The best was this t-shirt with the Periodic Table of the Elements on it. And the elements glow in the dark. How rich. I am concerned about the folks who buy that shirt without irony. That's just sad.


Life on the Farm



I have to preface this by saying that I absolutely love living in the country. That said, there are a few drawbacks. One of these drawbacks became apparent this morning when I walked out the front door. There were vultures (aka buzzards) surrounding our house, just hanging out and looking creepy. Vultures are just nasty. They are huge and gross and eat dead things. And I really hate dead things. I checked around the house to make sure that we had no dead things on the farm, but all of our animals are happily still alive. So, I think they just like hanging out at our house. I thought about telling Aaron to shoot one of them with his shotgun, but then I realized that our house and trashcan would then become even more of a haven for vultures, so I guess we will just hope that they leave soon. Uggh.



Mabel's Poop

Warning! This contains a picture of poop!!!


Mabel has developed a very strange new talent(?). We have solar powered landscape lights along our driveway that soak up the sunlight all day and then light up at night. Apparently Mabel has decided that she does not like the lights shining on her dog house at night because they disturb her beauty sleep. So she has taken the matter into her own hands and has decided to poop right on top of the solar panels so that the sun can't reach them during the day, rendering them ineffective at night. It is truly amazing that she can aim her poop so that it piles right on top of the panel. While somewhat gross, it is also remarkable, though I've never actually seen her in action, so to speak. Just the incredible result. Enjoy!




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Best reunion EVER!

This is just so beautiful, it's hard to figure out where to start...

So...last weekend we drove to Giddings for Aaron's 15 year high school reunion. We missed the 10 year reunion because we we still living in Hawaii at the time, so we figured since we actually live in Texas now, we were obligated to go this time. We loaded up Roscoe, George, and Mabel (yes, Mabel, the Great Dane) into our civic and headed down for the 4 hour car ride. I am sure that people who saw us driving down the highway with two schnauzers and a great dane in the back seat thought we were totally insane. In retrospect, it seems that 3 dogs is 2 too many to take a 4 hour road trip in a civic. But, we finally made it, after a stop at a Whataburger along the way to get some fries to tide everyone over about midway through the trip.

So, here is the beautiful part. We show up at the reunion, which is being held at the "American Legion," a medium sized metal building that is used during the week as a gathering place for veterans from WWII. I am guessing this because there were photos all over the wood paneled walls of army guys. So, we walk in and there are maybe 20 people there. Of these 20, about 17 of them were dressed in full western wear, complete with Wranglers, cowboy hats and the like. It was special.



Aaron introduced me to some of the people, and we "mingled," mostly by standing around the beer keg, which as located outside (not sure why). It was then that I noticed there was a dee jay just for our party. And that was when the festivities really took off. The guy in charge announced that it was time for some dancing demonstrations, and called a couple up to the front of the room to perform. This clip is perfect because you can really see the special demonstration, clothing, and venue all at once.





video




After a while, we had barbeque, and then they decided to turn the florescent (sp?) lights off and turn on the strobe light, which really kicked things up several notches. I convinced them to turn the lights back on so that I could get a video of two of Aaron's classmates demonstrating a dance to "Baby Got Back." Again, truly remarkable, as you can probably imagine.

video


The highlight of the evening was when they unveiled the "Prize" table. I cannot even begin to do justice to the prizes. Here is a picture of the prize table.



In case you are not able to see the depth, breadth, and scope of the prizes that were won at the reunion, I will recount them for you here. The complete collection includes: 1) Hairbrush, 2) SoftSoap, 3) a box of strawberry pop tarts, 3) a bag of candy, 4) a 2 liter bottle of green tea, 5) a pink candle, 6) a stuffed tiger, and 7) a tin soup bowl with "SOUP" on the side.


It was truly an awe inspiring assortment of goods, as you can see. Aaron won the tin soup cup/bowl, which he proceeded to fill with beer and sip from the remainder of the evening. We were hoping for the pop tarts, but oh well.


Here's a pic of the whole crew at the end of the evening. What a handsome class. It was truly an unforgettable experience. All I can say is "Wow."




Monday, October 27, 2008

My political rant

I thought some of you might be interested in this email dialog I responded to. It was originally sent to me by one of my very conservative high school acquaintances and was titled “Why I’m voting Democrat (not).” I decided to create a companion piece responding to the rant about why one might choose to vote Republican. I got a kick out of doing it, and thought you all might find it entertaining. (My reponses are the ones that start with "I'm voting REPUBLICAN because.")


I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I've seen never-ending welfare helpso many poor people become self-sufficient and upwardly mobile.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I don’t really like to think about people who need welfare…I lump them into a group that I deem lazy and unworthy.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because everyone knows that raisingtaxes at the top won't really hurt people's jobs at the bottom.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I am more concerned with maintaining my status and wealth than I am about thinking about the millions of people struggling to stay afloat with two and three jobs.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because Barbara Walters is my idol and so is P. Diddy.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that Sarah Palin would make a wonderful president in McCain’s absence.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because English has no place beingthe official language in America.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I can’t understand why those damn immigrants can’t seem to learn my language…I mean, don’t they offer free classes or something?
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I'd rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I’d rather save my money and spend it on Starbucks or some other huge corporation than think about the long-term ramifications of off-shore drilling for marine wildlife.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I am not interested in hearing about, thinking about, or talking about the needs of the 80% of Americans who struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because when we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, I know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us because they'll think we're a good and decent country.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I believe that acting like a bully and beating up on other countries will end up working in the long run. Someday they will understand that America is always right…it will just take a few more billion dollars and a few more thousand lives.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I believe people who can't tell us if it will rain in two or three days, can now tell us the polar icecaps will disappear in ten years if I don't start riding a bicycle, build a windmill or inflate my tires to proper levels.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I basically like to trust my own intuition when it comes to issues I know nothing about. Seriously, why should I trust the work of highly educated scientists and researchers across the world who have dedicated their lives to studying these phenomena? They’re all conspiring to cramp my lifestyle.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because it's alright to kill millions of babies as long as we keep violent, convicted murderers on death row alive.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I can’t imagine why a woman might choose to have an abortion, what with all of abstinence education we provide in our high schools. I mean, I never got pregnant/got someone pregnant when I didn’t mean to. Don’t these people know about birth control? Also, I feel like if a person is convicted of a crime so serious that they’ve been sent to “death row,” there is absolutely no chance that they could have been wrongly convicted. Besides, it’s clear that people who commit crimes can never change or benefit from rehabilitation. I know, not because I’ve worked in this area, but again because of my intuition.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I believe businesses in America should not beallowed to make profits. Businesses should just break even and give the rest to the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute the money the way they think it should be redistributed.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I believe that I should be able to ride on the coattails of my father, and my father’s father, so that I, John/Jane Doe III, will be even wealthier and more powerful than previous generations. This is the way things work, and who am I to think about the unearned privileges that I have related to class, not to mention the color of my skin?
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I believe guns, and not the people misusing them, are the cause of crimes and killings.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I enjoy shooting deer/dove/skeet at my family’s ranch/deer lease, and I believe that enforcing stricter gun laws might somehow threaten my right to have a rifle. I choose to ignore the fact that the gun laws that have been proposed have nothing to do with me or any of the guns that I choose to carry.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because oil companies' 5% profit on a gallon of gas are obscene, but government taxes of 18% on the same gallon of gas are just fine.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think it is great that Exxon Mobil’s profits continue to set new records each month. Good for them! And good for me, I hold their stock!

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I believe three or four elitist liberals should rewrite the Constitution every few months to suit some fringe element that could never gettheir agenda past voters.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I believe that conservative Republicans are morally superior to Democrats in Congress, and never request addendums to bills designed to benefit their local constituents.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because illegal aliens are not criminals, are not sucking up resources through government aid, hospital services, education, or social services, but are just people trying to make a better life by coming to America illegally. We can'tblame them for that, can we?
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that God arranged for me to be born in America, at this time, with my skin color, into my family of privilege, because I am especially deserving and in most, if not all ways, superior to people who were born in other countries, especially Mexico. If I were born in Mexico and could not feed, care for, protect, or educate my children, I would not do everything possible to work as hard as I could to provide for my family. But that would never happen to me anyway.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because the same teacher that didn't teach my child to read can reasonably educate them about sex.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that abstinence is the best choice for everyone before they are married in a heterosexual, church sanctioned marriage. I feel so strongly about this that I don’t think that high school students should ever learn about condoms or birth control pills. If we talk about these things, kids might actually think about having sex. As it is now, they don’t really even think about it until marriage.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because my trial lawyer's crippling multi-million dollar lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and HMO's will make health insurance and medicine much more affordable.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and HMO’s always have my best interests at the forefront, and are more concerned with my health and well being than lining their pockets with my money.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Jesse Jackson will end racism once and for all.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that racism is a thing of the past, and I don’t really like to talk about it. Even though I can count the number of token friends of color I have on one hand, I am “color-blind,” and think people should just get over it.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because Christians in the Republican Party are intolerant, theocratic warmongers and atheists like William Ayers have never hurt anybody.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I am a Christian, and I believe that not only am I on the only ‘right’ path, I also have an uncanny ability to make moral judgments about others, especially if they are on the ‘wrong path.’ When people accuse me of being intolerant, I just remind myself that it’s because they haven’t ‘discovered’ Christ, and ignore them.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT so that no family member of mine will die in a hospital bed. They will still be waiting in line for Obama's socialized medicine, so they will never actually make it into a hospital bed.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I feel like my health insurance will cover my family’s health care needs adequately, provided that I maintain my current employment and have no pre-existing conditions. As for the 47 million Americans who are currently uninsured, that is not my problem.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I like eminent domain and big business and government kicking me out of my home and taking my land.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I never use roads, bridges, parks, and schools and I feel like these should be built on someone else’s land that is most importantly, not mine.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because skin color and good oratoryskills are more important than judgment and experience.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that being above all else, being a P.O.W. inherently qualifies a person to be President of the United States.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because protecting barren wastelandis more important than energy independence.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I am concerned with the here and now, and am not worried that by destroying the ever-shrinking untouched landscapes and natural environments we are doing irrevocable damage to our land and other natural resources for future generations.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because my college professor told me that America is evil and should give up its place in the world.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I feel that America is better than any other country. No other country is as deserving as America to take from others, because our country is simply the best. I know this because I spent a semester abroad during college in Spain/England/Italy and got to see how much better America is.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I believe that everyone isessentially good -- even people like Ahmadinejad who call for the destruction of Israel. He just needs a little understanding.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I believe that in general, people that look like me, talk like me, and believe the same things that I do are good people. Others are difficult to work with and are often not worth the effort.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because we should all be forced to drive ugly cars with the horsepower of a riding lawnmower.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I don’t want anyone cramping my style and suggesting that I might do anything more for the environment than occasionally throw my cans in the recycling bin that my community gave me for free and picks up every week. If this is inconvenient, it’s really not worth the hassle.

I am voting DEMOCRAT because I believe in change; although I don't know WHAT the change will be, or HOW it will happen, AND I am pretty sure that I won't WANT toactually change anything I do, but still....I believe in change.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I want everything to stay the same.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because the government knows how toraise children better than parents do.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because the government is EVIL and wants to take all of my THINGS away. They also want to raise my children, I guess.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I want the rich to work harder, give me their money, and pay for my services so I don't have to.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I believe that if people would just ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and work harder, they would end up having enough money. People that aren’t able to make it financially are simply lazy or morally bankrupt.


I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I don't give to charity or do volunteer work and then I complain about how selfish everyone else is.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I give just enough of my money each year to help me out when tax season comes along. This is my primary motivation for donating my money to charity. I also attend benefits and fundraisers that allow me to rub shoulders with my community’s elite set, which makes me feel all warm inside while also not forcing me to get my hands dirty.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I'm not driven enough to realize my dreams without the government holding my hand the entire way.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I can’t figure out how some people can’t pay for college or to buy their first home. Don’t most people have a trust fund or at least have some kind of nest egg when they graduate from high school?
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I want America to be Europe's prosthetic limb.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I want everyone to realize that America is superior to all other countries, and if I keep telling them that, someday they will actually listen.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I think we all should be equal...equally unhappy and unsuccessful.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that things are pretty good the way they are. Even though 80% of the nation’s wealth is held by 20% of our population, I think this is okay because it works well for me and my family.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because life just isn't fair and I deserve what other people have without working for it.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that I’ve earned everything that I have in my life through hard work and dedication. People that don’t have what I have just haven’t tried as hard as I have.

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I like hearing the word "Change" 50 million times in presidential debate,seeing the word on celebrities' t-shirts and bags, onsigns outside of million dollar houses, and know that the only change that is going to happen is that I'm going to work 40 hours a week and not even see a penny of my paycheckbecause taxes will go through the roof!!! YAY!!!!
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I enjoy hearing about being a prisoner of war every chance I get. I also like to think about the word ‘maverick,’ and how much I want things to stay the same.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because Barack Obama is better than you, and he knows it!
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I can understand how John McCain couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. Hell, sometimes I have trouble remembering, too. There’s the lake house, the ranch, the cabin in Aspen, the family homestead…

I'm voting DEMOCRAT because Obama was endorsed by Hamas and terrorists endorsements are a must to achieve world peace.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I heard on FOX news that Hamas endorsed Obama, even though every other reputable news source has disputed this. Everyone knows that FOX is ‘fair and balanced,’ so I watch it religiously and take it at face value.

I’m voting DEMOCRAT since I believe those who are lazy, druggies, high school drop outs, etc. should be entitled to the money I wake up every morning and work my ass off to make!

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that everyone who is not as ‘successful’ as I am is lazy, on drugs, or a high school dropout. I like to think in black and white because it makes it easier to make these judgments about others who are different and thus, less worthy than I am.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because for some reason "change, change, change"..is the mantra for the Obama camp...so, since he won't explain what 'change' is...I guess he's asking for parking meter fare?...I have three quarters in my wallet.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I think that a better mantra than “Change, change, change” is “Drill, baby, Drill!”
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because "Hillary said so"

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because ‘W’ is voting Republican, and he is my hero.I'm voting DEMOCRAT because communist economics always work. Look how well off the Soviet Union is right now. That wall in Berlin has never looked better.
I’m voting REPUBLICAN because I hate communism, even though during the past seven years I have supported unprovoked foreign wars, centralized government authority, and numerous acts that have invaded personal privacy in the name of ‘national security.
I'm voting DEMOCRAT because I agree with Joe Biden, that it really is patriotic to pay more taxes. So I'm going to pay a "direct tax." Instead of wasting time giving it to the government for redistribution, I will give my money to derelicts who loiter outside of liquor stores and methadone clinics. That's where it ends up anyway.

I’m voting REPUBLICAN because it is better to pat myself on the back for the incredible job I’ve done in my life so far. I don’t want anyone to screw that up for me. So instead of really thinking about the issues faced by other people who are not as fortunate, blessed, or privileged as I am, I choose to reject the concept of “change,” and hold on to my security blanket of the status quo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cats!!?


I am not a fan of cats. In my experience, cats are sneaky if not downright mean. You can't guess what's going on in their heads like you can with dogs. For example, when I look at Mabel at any given moment, I can tell you exactly what she's thinking. Granted, though she has quite a large head, I don't know that her brain is technically filling up all of that space. Her typical thoughts include: "I wish 'mom or dad' would let me sit in their lap; I am hungry; I am tired; I wish that bee would stop buzzing around my face...OUCH!; and, Who is this friend pulling up in the driveway?"


But enough about Mabel's thoughts...back to cats. So, we have a HORRIBLE mouse problem, and after seemingly endless attempts at outsmarting them with traps, poisons, and high tech gizmos, we decided that we needed a cat to help us out. Being the Craigslist fanatic that I am, I posted a want ad on Craigslist for a "barn cat." Within an hour, I had ten emails from people trying to get rid of their unwanted cats, confirming my feeling that cats suck. One lady, I'll call her "crazy cat lady," actually brought two of her cats out here in her 1985 Buick all the way from Carollton, which is about an hour away. She must have really wanted to get rid of them.


Umm. They are pretty mean. They might look cute and innocent in the picture, but if you walk within about 6 feet of them, they literally go beserk and hiss and jump around like they want to claw your eyes out. What a lovely addition to the farm. When I went outside this morning, they had disappeared, having magically escaped from the makeshift jail we were using for them to "adjust" to their new home. Turns out they've decided to hunker down in the chicken coop, much to the ladies' horror. When we went in to collect the eggs tonight, both cats were in the coop, and the chickens refused to come inside. We decided it was not a battle worth fighting tonight, so for now the cats are ruling the roost, so to speak.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Baby Clothes

Two more outfits I made tonight. They are so easy and so much fun! I can't wait to have someone to put them on! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making Baby Clothes-1st Attempt

I found this GREAT website, http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/, and I LOVE it. It has all of these great free patterns for making handmade toys, clothes, etc., etc. and all of it is super easy. I literally spent 2 hours pouring over everything when I first found it. Tonight I made my first baby pants, and they actually turned out really cute, surprisingly. I even made a matching onesie to complete the "outfit."

Another thing I made from the site were a couple of baby dolls. They turned out really cute also, but unfortunately Roscoe thought that I made them for him, and he decided to taste them a bit. So they are currently in the intensive care unit (read: sewing basket) patiently awaiting repair.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Neat flower



So, we've been a bit distracted lately due to our big news, but we actually have been working pretty hard on the farm and house now that the weather's been nice and not so ridiculously hot. We were out working in the garden the other day--right now we have tomatoes, squash, and cantalopes (sp?) hanging on, and the coolest flower had popped up in the bed:







It is apparently called a spider lily, and we have no idea where it came from. It left just about as quickly as it appeared, but it was nice for the two days that it lasted.




The animals are doing well, no tragedies to report lately save for a frog that recently met his demise in the chicken coop. Apparently the "ladies" were not too fond of their reptilian visitor. Hmm...




The goats are still my favorite. They are sooo personable and have such great little personalities. They are a lot like dogs. Here is Lenny tasting my shoe the other day:





How cliche, I know. I also snapped a good photo of Otis the llama the other day. That's it for now!



We're Adopting a Baby!

We are sooooooo excited to announce that we are adopting a baby! We don't know the gender yet, but the due date is March 16th. The birth mom lives in Mississippi. It's an open adoption, so even now we talk on the phone with the birth mom about once every couple of weeks to touch base. It's been great so far.


So, I've been doing some hard core nesting. It has been so much fun to finally be able to say that we are actually going to have a baby. Here are some pics of some of the stuff I've been working on so far:



Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One more thing about Madrid

I forgot to mention the most exciting thing about our trip! So, first a little background. Two days before we left for Madrid we were browsing late night TV and ended up watching one of those typical shows on the Discovery Channel or TLC or something called "Giants." It was about the world's tallest living people. Anyway, it was less than thrilling, as you can probably imagine, but often we are suckers for those kind of shows. You know, there's just something about watching a show about people who have 12 kids, or are 2 feet tall, or whatever. So anyway, we watched the show. Fast forward a few days to a souvenir shop. We looked up (literally) and there, standing in the next aisle of a crappy souvenir shop in Madrid, is the world's tallest woman! Well, to be completely honest, it turns out she was the world's 2nd tallest woman, but whatever. It was truly a thrill. No, we didn't talk to her or tell her we had seen her on tv the week before. I figure she gets a lot of that already, and maybe she just wanted to enjoy the crappy souvenir shop without people telling her how tall she was. She probably already knew. So, as much as I would have liked to have had my picture taken with Sandy Allen (that's her name), I decided I would have to do without. Here is a substitute picture of her from the web that is almost as good.

Bees!




We got bees! Aaron went to a two day course on beekeeping at Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott, TX, which is just north of Waco to learn all about bees. It was apparently a really incredible class, because now not a day goes by that I don't get to hear a new exciting fact about the wonderful and fascinating life of a honeybee. Did you know that there is only one queen in each hive and it costs $20 just to buy that one bee? Talk about reverse gender discrimination! There are really too many fun facts to regurgitate here, but just so you know, if you ever want to know anything about bees, Aaron is now the one to ask. Oh, he dove in head first. Not only does he have a specially-made wooden "hive," but he also has a "smoker," a book all about bees, and of course the full white suit, hood, and gloves. It makes me giggle everytime he puts on the suit because he looks absolutely ridiculous. It doesn't help matters that the suit is completely white and about 3 sizes too small.





Can you believe that they actually send bees in the mail? Crazy, I thought. But it's true. We got a call from a very anxious sounding postal worker at the Venus Post Office saying that our bees had arrived and that our mail lady was allergic to bees so she was not willing to deliver them. All of the postal employees were very relieved when we came to take the bees off their hands.
At first I was not very excited about having a bunch of bees at my house, but after a few days they stopped buzzing around so much and pretty much do their own thing. And neither of us have gotten stung yet, knock on wood. But Mabel got stung on her nose, and it turns out she's allergic. That led to a bit of drama, but the epi pen came to the rescue and all is well. Hopefully she learned that it's not a great idea to eat bees, but I'm not counting on it. If she knows what's best for her she'll stay away from that $20 queen!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Madrid, cont.


So, to continue...

Madrid was absolutely lovely and we had a great time, as you can see by this disturbingly close self-portrait. The first day we were there, we decided to get some breakfast once we had scouted out our hotel, which, by the way, was really fantastic and not too expensive (NH Breton). Anyway, so we venture out for breakfast, and Aaron decides he is going to try out his Spanish at the first cafe we find. So he goes in and says, "Quiero desayuno," which means "I want breakfast." But, instead of saying "days-ah-yoo-no," he says what sounds like "dee-ehs-ee-ahn-no," which, to the cafe owner, sounds like what translates as "10 years." Needless to say, the guy thought Aaron was absolutely insane, as he repeated over and over "I want 10 years, I want 10 years." Umm...awkward. We eventually ended up pointed to a croissant and decided that it would have to do since our language skills were so lacking. Here is a picture of Aaron the next day pointing to a sign for breakfast, which ended up working much better:









The rest of the trip was pretty typical. It was nice to only go to Madrid, because we felt like we could relax and see things as we felt like seeing them, rather than rushing around all over the place like crazy people trying to fit everything in. Aaron's favorite part of the trip was a side venture to El Escorial, a monastary about an hour's train trip from Madrid.























My favorite part of the trip was sitting on my rear at a sidewalk cafe drinking a pitcher of sangria, but I guess that's how we're different.



The whole reason we ended up in Madrid was because I was presenting some of my research at the International Psycho-Oncology Society's annual meeting, which was at the Feria Madrid, a very impressive conference center with some really creepy bears.











Sunday, June 22, 2008

Madrid!



We just got back from spending a week in Madrid, which was mostly fantastic. It is a beautiful, vibrant city with lots to see and do. It was really nice to spend the whole week in Madrid, because we weren't worried about racing around trying to see everything every day, and instead, got to take our time and enjoy the sangria.


Here is the amazing Real Palace and Gardens (postcard quality pic, no?):





The actual process of traveling (dealing with airport, airlines, and general incompetencies that go along with transporting one's body across large bodies of water) is actual one of our very least favorite things to do in life. We just seem to have really bad luck every time we go anywhere. For example, years ago on our honeymoon when we flew from Detroit to Maui we got stuck in a snowstorm, lost our seats on the plane, flew for 9 hours in an airline with no functioning restroom, and were without luggage for 2 days in Maui. Sweaters and 85 degree weather are not a great mix. Or there was the time last spring when we were on our way to Virginia for my sister's graduation and our car broke down on the way to the airport, which led to two missed flights, a six hour drive from North Carolina to Virginia, and a night in a frightenly Bates-like "hotel" in Appalachia. Needless to say, our guard is always up when we venture out on an adventure that involves flying. The flight to Madrid was okay, though overnighters in coach are never really okay, if we're being honest. Of course, Aaron's little movie screen was the only one broken on the whole plane, so that made him a bit more miserable than would have normally been the case. Here is Aaron riding on the subway after we had just arrived in Madrid and were navigating the Spanish metro to try to find our hotel:



He's looking a bit bleary-eyed, no?

More later...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finally, an update.

Well, needless to say the past month has been really busy and I haven't had time to even think about posting anything here. So, I promise to do better.


We now have a total of 7 baby lambs--5 boys and 2 girls. It has been so much fun to see them grow more and more each day. They are quite possibly the cutest animals in the world. We still have Lenny and Carl, the two baby goats. No one seems very interested in buying wether crosses from us, go figure. So the new plan is to train them to pull a cart. I think that will potentially be quite cute, and I suppose they'll be more marketable once they have a "job." Of course, then I'll probably be really attached to them and won't want to sell them. Then we can just have them follow us around the yard pulling a cart, which will be amusing.



The garden is coming along. Of course we had a late frost this year and everything died so we had to replant it all. Good thing we started so many seeds. This is a picture of our peas growing on a window frame that we are using as a trellis.



The lettuce is doing really well too--we cut it every evening for salad with dinner and it grows back in time for dinner the next day.



What else? We're having the first annual "One World Farm Festival" this Sunday afternoon, so we invited everyone to come out to see the animals and stuff. I'll post pictures of all of the "city folk" in the country!


We're almost done with this semster, which will be great. Aaron actually fininshed his last day at the hospital today, so he is VERY happy. I'm hoping that he will do the blogging now that he'll have more time on his hands, because he is much more of a natural "blogger" than I am. He's quite witty and I'm sure will be much less boring than my blogs tend to be.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

We've had a VERY busy couple of weeks here at the farm. Another set of twins was born, and just the other day, a beautiful black baby ram arrived. We've had our hands full with all of the new babies. We're bottle feeding the second set of twins because their mom, Sigourney, wishes that she were still foot loose and fancy free, so to speak. She is not very interested in giving them the time of day. Because we're bottling them, they LOVE us. They follow us around everywhere, and come when we call them. Absolutely irresistable. You can check their pics out on our For Sale page.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More New Babies!



It seems that we're running a nursery here at One World Farm lately! On Friday Sheldon, our Babydoll Sheep, had twins--a girl and a boy. They are so tiny, and absolutely adorable. We got home from work at about 5 or so and when we pulled up, Aaron shouted "We have lambs"! I thought he was joking. But there they were, two tiny new babies! We rushed in the house to get towels to dry them off and then made a frantic phone call to Meredith, my sister who's in vet school at Virginia Tech, so she could give us advice. It is awesome to have a sister in vet school so that we can ask her all of our dumb questions about our menagerie. She's very patient with us.

The bad news is that while we were busy worrying about the new baby lambs, one of the baby goats got stomped on by Daphne the donkey. She just decided to attack him all of the sudden. Byt the time I was able to get to rescue him she had stomped on his leg. So it appears that he now has a broken leg. We splinted it and are hoping that it will fix itself with time. Poor little thing. I feel awful for him.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

New Babies!


Matilda had her babies on Thursday! It was so exciting, and she did a great job. All we did was provide moral support and she did all the hard work herself. We were hoping for a girl, but got two adorable twin boys instead. They are really cute, and because they are half nubian and half la mancha, they have the silliest looking little elf ears.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's my birthday!

Well, today's my birthday. 30 years old. I'm a little sad, because I REALLY liked my 20s. If I had a choice, I think I'd do my 20s again, because all in all, that was a great decade for me. I spent most of my 20s in college, and if I had it to over again, I'd do exactly the same thing. I got a great education, lived in some awesome places (Austin, Ann Arbor, Hawaii) and absolutely lived it up. I only hope my 30s will be as great. We're off to a good start. I can honestly say I am very content with how my life is going right now, which is a good place to be. I mean, really, I've got a wonderful husband whom I absolutely adore, I live on a farm surrounded by my own little petting zoo, and I've got a great job that I look forward to going to every day. Okay, enough with the sap...On a less philosophical note, I was hoping that Matilda would have her babies today and I would have little baby goat kids for my birthday present. But alas, she's still pregnant as ever and no babies have popped out as of this evening. Maybe they will appear tomorrow for Aaron's birthday. That would be fun.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Long time, no blog


It has been a crazy couple of weeks. My grandmother died last Wednesday, and will be sorely missed. We used to go out to lunch with her every Friday after we volunteered at the clinic. Friday afternoons will certainly feel a bit empty for a while.


On to happier news...we got three new registered babydoll sheep last week. Two ewes (Sigourni and Sheldon) and a ram (Richie). Don't ask about the names. My sisters M & W named them and I haven't learned their signifigance yet. They chose a different name for the ram but I overruled them in favor of "Richie" because I think it goes well with "Petey." (ha ha)


As for the garden, I transplanted the cabbage and broccoli seedlings too early and they got beaten down by a heavy ran the day after I planted them. They all died. So yesterday we bought new transplants of collards, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Aaron went way overboard on the onion sets, but of course, we planted all 50 of them. It seems that we will be eating a lot of onions a few months from now.


We are counting down the days until we can transplant the rest of the seedlings, because now they have taken over both guest bedrooms. It is getting a bit ridiculous. The farmer's market near UTA said they might buy some of them from us when it gets closer to time to plant, which will be great.


That's all for now, I guess.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Great weekend!

The weather was absolutely perfect this weekend! It felt like May rather than February. The "teaser" for tonight's local news says that we're in for cold weather this week, but at least we had a couple of days of early spring.

We're building raised beds for the garden this year, because as we learned from our failed attempt at a vegetable garden last year, our clay soil does not drain well. So Aaron built 4' x 8' rectangular beds out of 2x4s and we "double dug" 3 of the beds this weekend. Today we are just about 4 weeks before the last frost date, so I planted chives, leeks, carrots, spinach, mixed greens, and peas. I also transplanted the cabbage and broccoli seedlings we started last month. And then I planted purple coneflower seeds in all of the beds around the house. While I was doing all of that, Aaron and ML (who came over again to try to kill coyotes) built a milking stand for Matilda, who is due to have her kids later this month. The milking stand plans are available for free on the Fiasco Farms (http://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkstand.html) website, which also has a lot of good information about herbal worming for goats, if you're into that, which we would like to be.

So, as I was saying before, ML came over this weekend to hunt coyotes again. This time we had the whole setup. Aaron's friend from the hospital loaned him a special coyote calling device, which basically amounted to a tape recorder attached to a megaphone. It makes the most hideously painful noise which is apparently supposed to sound like a wounded group of rabbits. I am skeptical that rabbits make any noise, much less the horrible screaching this machine makes. In addition to the noise machine, the other new toy was a battery operated rubber rabbit replica that shakes like it is having a seizure when you turn it on. I must admit I got quite a kick out of watching the boys hiding out in the pasture in the dark with their toys and guns, just waiting for a hapless coyote to come wandering along. Needless to say, despite all of the accoutrements, no coyotes were harmed during the making of this weekend. Apparently a curious and confused owl was wooed my the seizure-ridden rubber rabbit, but since he was not the chosen target, he too survived the weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Green Party

These are the 10 Key Values of the Green Party. Food for thought...

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACYEvery human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITYAll persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOMHuman societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
4. NON-VIOLENCEIt is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
5. DECENTRALIZATIONCentralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.
6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICEWe recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work.
Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.
7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITYWe have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITYWe believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITYWe encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITYOur actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl ads

Was it just me, or were several of the Super Bowl ads extremely racist this year? I teach a class on diversity at UTA and we focus on uncovering hidden (and not so hidden) stereotypes and biases in mainstream society, so I'm always on the look out for evidence, especially in the mainstream media.
The ads that I thought were especially notable were:

1) 1st quarter ad for Sales Genie-stereotypical and degrading image of an Indian man and his family with an angry and powerful white boss
2) 2nd quarter ad for Bud Light--stereotypes of Asian, Latino, Hatian, and Middle Eastern men all vying for the attention of a scantily clad and well endowed white woman
3) 3rd quarter ad for Sales Genie-degrading images and accents of an Asian family
4) 4th quarter ad for Taco Bell-stereotypes of Latinos

Check em out at www.myspace.com/superbowlads

In over our heads with seedlings

So, it seems we went a little bit overboard with our seeds this year. We started way too many seeds, and are overwhelmed with seedlings. We must have over 300 seedlings in our guest bedroom right now. All day Saturday was spent transplanting the seedlings into bigger pots--it was quite a task. If our garden doesn't produce like crazy this year, it just wasn't meant to be. I guess we'll be able to give some of the extra transplants to friends and family if they want them when they're ready to be planted in the ground.

A few random thoughts:
Go Giants! Normally I would never cheer for the Giants due to my loyalty to the Cowboys, but I was really happy that they ruined the Patriots' perfect season. I was sick of hearing about how awesome the Patriots were. Ha.

Manda got into Texas Tech, and I am so excited! I know she is going to love it, and I am so proud of her!!! Yea!

Monday, January 28, 2008

A new boy!



We got a new brother for Roscoe. His name is George, and he is another adorable miniature schnauzer. We weren't really planning on finding another dog, but I happened to see him when I was perusing Craigslist today, and instantly fell in love. He's very low key, so he is a good balance for Roscoe. He even looks a little bit like Fritz, which is kind of nice.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend report

Well, the coyotes decided not to show up once the guns appeared on the scene. So we were unsuccessful in our coyote hunting expedition this weekend. Dad gave us a shotgun, though, so now at least we can shoot it up in the air to make some noise and scare them off if they come back.
We did get the rest of the fence up yesterday, so that will be great for the sheep and goats. Now they can be out in the pasture all day even while we're at work. ML and Aaron also put up the tin on the north side of the barn, which was a big job. It will be great to be able to have the barn enclosed so that we can use it as our workshop/storage shed, and this was the first step toward that end.
Watching Family Guy right now and having a hard time concentrating on writing this..what a great show...

Friday, January 25, 2008

New pics



Here's an updated pic of Miss Molly Wobbles--she's now 4 months old, and still quite cute. Also, a pic of Aaron and Roscoe from today. Note that Aaron is wearing a hat in the house because it continues to be freezing (both outside and inside)!

Coyotes!

So, here we are in the middle of the afternoon and there are two coyotes hanging out in broad daylight in the pasture. Crazy! And not the good kind of crazy. We ran outside and screamed our heads off at them to scare them and they just looked back at us without moving. Uggh. And of course, our hippie idealism has prevented us from owning a gun to shoot at them. We finally got them to leave after a bit more yelling and arm waving. ML is coming over tomorrow with his fancy gun to do some coyote hunting, which should be interesting.

New look

Okay, so after receiving some comments from LL on the lack of functionality of our previous "blog," I have now upgraded to this one. Now you can post comments and whatever, I guess. I have to admit it does look cooler now. So, here it is...enjoy.

Organizing and Musings about "stuff"

January 22, 2008
It is freezing, and has been since Friday. Ughh. I have no idea how we survived in Michigan for two years. I guess we just spent so much time studying in grad school that we never went outside. We've made it all winter so far without turning on the heater in the house. We have a wood burning stove in the living room, and it puts out a lot of heat. The only problem is you have to keep the fire going, because once it goes out, it is not only hard to get it started again, but it takes forever to heat the house again. There's no real reason that we have this aversion to turning on the heater--it's really just a weird game we decided to try this winter, to see if we could make it all winter without it. Well, that and the fact that we had a big fight with our propane delivery company a few months ago because they came out to our house and repossessed our tank one day while we were at work. Needless to say, it was their mistake and some kind of a "filing error." We fired them and haven't taken the time to find a new company yet.
This weekend I spent a lot of time organizing all of our crap. Thrilling, I know. But it was too cold to be outside, so I figured it would be nice to finally finish unpacking all of our stuff from our move over a year ago that we had just stuffed into closets and forgotten about. So now we have organized closets. Yea.
Speaking of "stuff" though...it is really amazing how much junk we accumulate. I mean, I try to be really conscious of limiting the material possessions that we collect, and try to buy only the "need to have" stuff instead of the "nice to have" stuff. But still, it really is incredible how we have this mindset ingrained in most of us in American culture that we covet just about everything that is bigger and "better." I have to constantly recenter myself in this regard.
I talked with my friend Chris about these ideas a couple of months ago, and she had some absolutely incredible stories about what she personally is doing to fight overconsumption in her own life. She made a committment to purchase nothing new (except food and essentials like toothbrushes and toothpaste, etc.) for one year. Everything, from clothes, to furniture, to household items were purchased used, recycled, or simply not purchased at all. I think it is really inspiring and I doubt that I could do what she is doing. I have made some changes, though. For one, I buy all of my clothes from resale shops or from places that are committed to fair trade, like Fair Indigo.

Planting, Planting, and more Planting

January 14, 2008
We are wiped out! We spent all weekend working outside--planting all of those trees all over the place and also fencing part of the pasture with field fence. It was a crazy amount of effort, but I think it will pay off in the end. It will be great to let the sheep and goats graze all day and then just put them in their pens at night. It will certainly save us some $ because we won't have to feed them as much. As for the trees, we fenced them off so that the animals can't reach them and eat them while they're so tiny. Sometimes I wish I could see into the future to see what the farm will look like 10 years from now when all of the trees are big, but alas, no such luck.
This week we're hoping to get the majority of our seeds started indoors so that they'll be ready to transplant in March. Aaron is building a neat plant stand that looks kind of like a book shelf with lights that we're going to use to get the seeds started. We'll put the step-by-step instructions on how to build it on our projects page this week.

Neat website

January 10, 2008
We found this great website that helps you choose which presidential candidate you should support. It gives a list of 25 issues which you choose to "support, oppose or unknown" and then rank the weight of each issue (key, important or minimal). The site then compares your stances on these issues with 13 presidential candidates and gives you a score. It's a really neat way to get an idea of where each candidate stands without relying on soundbites or media spins. Try it out: http://www.dehp.net/candidate/
BTW, the stray horses are finally gone. The Johnson County sherrif deputies showed up again and this time they successfully loaded them into a trailer and took them away. Granted, it took 3 hours and involved me standing out in the road holding a horse in my pajamas while we waited for the trailer to arrive, but at least they're gone. It's always an adventure here in Venus! :)

Trees and Random Horses


January 7, 2008
Aaron is always doing these presentations in for nurses that work in rural hospitals around the state of Texas. Today he did one about ethics in nursing practice at a hospital in west Texas, and on the way home he stopped at this nursery (think "trees") that we had heard good things about. Apparently they were super nice and really helpful and gave lots of advice about what trees will work in our area and everything. Anyway, he pulled up in the driveway this evening and literally had fifty trees stuffed in the civic. I am not kidding! So now we have our work cut out for us planting 50 trees by this weekend. Here's what he got: pecan, pomegranate, peach, blackberries, and even grapes. I guess technically the blackberries and grapes are vines, not trees, but whatever.
On a separate note, you know you live in the country when you have stray horses hanging around your house instead of stray dogs. These three horses showed up on Friday and have been hanging out in front of our house ever since. The genius sheriff's department deputies came out to look at them on Sunday and basically said that it wasn't their problem. Our tax dollars at work. So we finally found a neighbor down the street whose son is a real cowboy--one who rides in rodeos and stuff--who is going to come and "rope" the horses and take them to his pasture. What strange new world in which I live!

Tractor




January 6, 2008
We finally got a tractor!!! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to both of us. I never thought in a million years that I would be excited about buying a 60 year old tractor, but it's true, I am genuinely excited. Funny what living in the country for a year will do to your priorities. Simplify, simplify....

Sugar Bowl


January 2, 2008
We just got back from New Orleans where we watched Hawaii get crushed by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Uggh. We are exhausted. I feel like I played in the game myself! It was a great trip, though. New Orleans is such a fun town, though only healthy in very small doses, in our experience. :)