Monday, January 31, 2011

Another log in the fireplace, please.

Now this is ridiculous! The weather guessers are saying we're to have a storm/blizzard of epic proportions. Epic? Really? Tomorrow we should awake to freezing rain, sleet, and later, snow. Temps dropping into the mid-20's by afternoon, and 14 tomorrow night. Winds of 40-50 mph....wind chill below zero. We won't begin to thaw until maybe the weekend.

Ummm....I live in Texas for a reason. Mama didn't raise no Eskimo!

Seriously, there are going to be a LOT of people across the country without power for many days, perhaps even weeks. Say a prayer they all make it safely through this. We'll be fine here.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I prefer dogs.....

"If dogs had thumbs they would make you coffee. If cats had thumbs they would steal your car."

Hahaha! Just kidding.....don't get your knickers in a knot. Someone K reads on twitter wrote that and I thought it was funny.

I haven't posted or read recently as it's been hectic here. Returning to work after vacation has been hard. My company continues to let good people go...last week it was one of our senior managers. Morale is low, but since my group is posting excellent numbers they're pretty much leaving us alone. That will hopefully be a moot point soon, however, as bro and I are on the verge of signing a contract (tomorrow) to build another new custom home, in addition to the one we signed about 2 weeks ago. One home would be a moonlighting job, 2 will require a full-time commitment. Things might change dramatically, and for the better, very soon.

K's dad is having a tough recovery from his broken hip surgery. He's still in the hospital, but should be moved to rehab tomorrow. How long he'll need to be there remains to be seen.

K's been swamped at work, too. One evening she even had to bring work home....very unusual for her. I tried to help her as best I could, preparing my infamous gruel along with chip and dip and beer for dinner. She must have been starving as she ate it without complaint.

Today has been relaxing so far. I just made some guacamole for later, and I'll soon take Emma Belle for a leisurely walk around the 'hood. After that I'll be back to catch up on all your blogs.



Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's the next best thing

What do you do when you can't decide between an after-dinner chocolate or a bit of liqueur?

These are SO good! They also come in Bailey's Irish Cream and a couple of other flavors, too. I like it when the milk chocolate shell melts in your mouth, then the liqueur inside slowly oozes out. It sort of reminds me know. *blush*


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old fashioned blueberry streusel

Last night I decided to bake something that I can have for breakfast the rest of the week...good old fashioned blueberry streusel, just like my mom used to make. It was surprisingly easy. I just mixed on egg, 2/3 cup of water, and tablespoon of cooking oil with the contents of the package that comes in the box with the instructions on the side, bake for 32 minutes, and there it was. Yummy!

Yep, just like mom used to do it. Ahhhh...the good 'ol days. :)


Monday, January 24, 2011

No sulking for you!

Mimicking the Soup Nazi (No soup for you!) from the old Seinfeld series, K gave me my instructions as she left for work today: No sulking for you.

When I was a kid I always hated "going back", as in going back to school after a weekend or spring break or the summer. I hated school...couldn't stand it. I did reasonably well (top 20%), but was constantly on the lookout for an excuse to miss school. The story my parents told over and over was how they would drop me off at school in the first grade, and before they could go around the block and return home I'd be back there waiting for them.

I've never outgrown hating "going back", but now that means going back to work after a vacation. This is my last day of vacation, and I'm already dreading going back tomorrow. I truly hate my work. I enjoy my coworkers and I can handle the job, it's just dealing with all the inefficient, arcane, bureaucratic bullshit that goes with it. If all of this emanates from their corporate Ivory Tower full of MBA's, then I think they've just made an airtight case for abolishing all business schools.

Maybe I'm just so close to retirement I can smell it, but it's getting real damn hard to keep up my enthusiasm for work.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm more than a little "star struck"

This afternoon K and I paid a visit to our local Barnes & Noble/Starbucks. As we pulled in to the parking lot K spotted a beautiful vintage red Porsche, and the owner was standing beside it. I parked and told K I'd be right back, that I wanted to get a photo of this very nice car, with the owner's permission, of course.

The owner told me that I was welcome to take all the photos I wanted, and told me about his car, a 1964 356. The more we talked, the more familiar looking this guy was. Then it dawned on me....he was Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines. He couldn't have been more down to earth, a real gentleman. We talked briefly about SWA, and a lot about cars. To me he's a consummate businessman that I admire immensely.

I asked him if he ever took his car to "Cars and Coffee", and he said no but he'd like to, and asked for more details. I told him it was always the first Saturday of each month and was held in the parking lot of Classic BMW in Plano. He said he would love to attend, and that he would check his schedule to see if he would be in town on 2/5. That would be cool. I would like to visit with him more some day.

Oh...his car:

Definitely one of my more memorable Saturdays.



Friday, January 21, 2011

Vacation, day 2

This vacation thing is all right! I'd almost forgotten what it was like. All I have on my to-do list is take Emma Belle to the groomer and do our weekly grocery shopping (I volunteered) so K and I will have more time for fun stuff this weekend. Later maybe some coffee and reading and people watching.

Have you seen the YouTube clip of the lady in Reading, PA who was texting as she walked through a mall and fell head-over-heels into a fountain? It's hilarious! Now she's threatening to sue the mall because one of their security guards put the surveillance video on YouTube, causing her "mental anguish". Well boo hoo. After she went on national TV with her lawyer she was recognized and has been outed as a serial shoplifter (4 convictions). Now she says she just wants the whole episode to go away. I'll bet she does!

I also saw in the news that South Korean special forces took back one of their freighters that had been hijacked by Somali pirates. All the crew are safe, the pirates are dead. Which begs the question: Why don't we leave North Korea to South Korea, and let Israel handle Iran? For our part we can throw a big victory parade for both, complete with flag-waving little kids and a F-15 flyover. *Why didn't one of our over-paid bureaucrats in Washington think of this?*


Thursday, January 20, 2011

This explains a lot.....

I was recently forwarded an article by a trusted friend that I found most interesting. It was written by a European psychologist, Nicola Senners, and documented the fact that consanguinity (marriage between blood relatives, commonly first cousins) is a very widespread practice among Muslims. It pointed out that 67% of Saudi Arabian marriages are consanguineous, as are 64% in Jordan and Kuwait, 60% in Iraq, 48% in Bahrain, 42% in Lebanon, 40% in Syria, etc.

While it's well known here in the west that intermarriage between blood relatives is an invitation to having mentally deficient children, higher than average instances of insanity, and other health related issues, apparently they didn't get the memo over there in the Mideast.

While it's possible this is all a hoax, I did Google Nicola Senners and found him listed as a respected, published author. If his study is accurate, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, it explains a lot about why things are as dysfunctional as they are in the Muslim world today. Fourteen hundred years of intermarriage can seriously pollute the gene pool. Ya think maybe they should consider a bit of chlorine?


Punxsutawney Phil has competition

Punxsutawney Phil, the little Pennsylvania critter that gets his yearly 15 minutes of fame every Groundhog Day, has new competition as a weatherguesser. ME! I've arranged for a few days off work due to our company "use it or lose it" vacation policy, and wouldn't you know it, I woke up on my first day of vacation to find gale force winds and pouring rain. And if the rain doesn't let up soon, by this afternoon when the temps will fall to the mid-20's, rush hour will be a slip-n-slide nightmare. I'm gonna get my planned running around done early before all hell breaks loose.

Unfortunately K doesn't have that luxury. Her dad is having his hip repair surgery this afternoon and she had already told the family she would be there. I have an appointment I must honor at my other (homebuilding) job, so I can't go with her. I don't know who has it worse...her driving in it or me here worrying about her driving in it.

When she gets home, however, she'll have a new toy to play with. Her slicer/dicer thing, aka a "food processor", arrived yesterday. It looks like a blender on steroids. She's promised me world-class salsa. Review to follow.

Hope y'all have a dry day. And if you ever want to screw up someone's weather, just buy me a plane ticket there and my black cloud will automatically follow.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Medical emergency

This morning while bringing in the newspaper K's dad somehow fell and broke his hip. The paramedics took him to the local satellite hospital where they x-rayed him and eased his pain, but at his request transferred him to the big downtown Foat Wuth hospital. He is resting comfortably tonight, but isn't scheduled for surgery until tomorrow. While he isn't a young man...he's 76...he's in otherwise good health, and his prognosis is good.

K called me this morning at work obviously upset/concerned and asked if I could take off and be with her and her mom. Of course I did, and chauffeured them to the downtown hospital. The orthopedic floor he is on specializes in hip and knee replacement/repair, and the docs are very well thought of. Everyone is relieved he is in such highly capable hands.

If you would, please, say a prayer for his surgery to be successful and his recovery quick.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

It slices, it dices....

Yesterday while K and I were out enjoying our lazy Sunday afternoon we went into a fancy gourmet kitchen equipment store where K showed me the slicer/dicer thing she wanted. It was pushing $200, so we agreed to look for it somewhere else. Back home she went to where she found one brand new for $109 + shipping, so she ordered it. The whole time she was telling me about all the great things she could do with this gizmo all I could think about was that old Gallagher routine about the Sledge-O-Matic. Anyone remember that?

"It cuts Julienne fries...but you gotta hit that sumbitch juuuust right!"

A classic from my youf. ;)


Practicing for retirement

S & K Lowandslow are back home after spending the day doing...umm...well...nothing. We did do our grocery shopping earlier, but after that we drove in to Dallas to the flagship Half Priced Books. I don't know why I bother going there. I can always just look around and eventually find something that interests me, but if I'm looking for something in particular they NEVER have it. Or at least no one who works there knows where it is. All they can do is point over their shoulder and say, "somewhere over there". Well, duh! "Organization" is just another abstract term to them.

I wound up buying The Next 100 Years on Kindle App for my iPad, then we went to a Starbucks and had a coffee and read and people watched. Instead of just taking the Tollway back home at warp speed we leisurely drove deeper into Highland Park (and snickered at the conspicuous consumers), then turned around and drove up Preston Road all the way to Frisco, probably about 20 miles.

It was a nice way to spend a cool, gray Sunday afternoon. We're back home with Emma Belle where I can watch some football, read, and catch up on your blogs before dinner (K's homemade spaghetti...delish!)

I have a short week ahead due to company "use-it-or-lose it" vacation policy, hence my mile-wide grin. Hope y'all are doing well.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Emma the lush

Most evenings after we have our dinner I'll have an adult beverage....just celebrate the end of another day. Recently I've had a bit of Bailey's Irish Cream. Emma Belle is always right at my feet, sometimes even trying to climb up in my lap, hoping I'll spill a drop, or perhaps leave my glass unattended for a split second. Being the pushover that I am I play along, and will let her have a quick lick of my EMPTY glass. I know I probably shouldn't, but darn, she's so cute:

Would this be considered "contributing to the delinquency" of a...canine?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Very sad

I feel very sad this evening. Today around noon my co-worker "M" was let go. I really don't know why. All I know is she's gone. The worst part is her two grown daughters depend on her, her husband is self employed and his business isn't doing too well, and her mother, who lives outside Texas has about 6 weeks to live (cancer). The next time you feel sorry for yourself, think of M, and you'll realize how well off you really are.

I've always heard it said that when God closes one door on you he opens another. I hope there's a good job waiting behind M's new door.

Recently K had a co-worker/friend of hers let go, too. Another of her work friends is supposedly on thin ice also. I don't care what the news headlines say, this economy sucks!



The Oregon Ducks coaching staff was defeated by the Auburn Tigers 22-19 in the BCS National Championship game last night. On the field the Ducks remained competitive until the end, but the sophomoric play calling by their coaching staff handed Auburn the victory.

You would have thought the Oregon coaches would have figured out by the fourth quarter that they could NOT run up the middle against the Auburn brick-wall defensive line. But they tried over and over and over and.... STOOPID!

The SEC does indeed play the best football on both sides of the ball, and their coaches are up to the task, too. Good job, Auburn.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

And it's only going to get worse

By "it" I mean the level of frustration and discontent that is going to lead to marches, protests, and sadly, violence too. The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona shows how we have become a nation polarized like never before. Some of today's "silent majority" are likely to become tomorrow's marchers. Look at how the Tea Party sprang up from nowhere. And it wouldn't surprise me if the most extreme in our society, from both the left and the right, resorted to arson and armed violence.

People are frustrated. Unemployment, despite what the statistics say, doesn't appear to be getting any better. The long-term unemployed will some day not have their unemployment benefits extended. Then what? The hard working middle class resents the lavish pay and benefits our civil servants receive, while they survive paycheck to paycheck. The wealthy resent paying taxes that fund the social programs that benefit others. Desperate people do desperate things, and both extremes seem to be getting more....extreme.

Let's face facts: Social benefits will be cut. We can't afford them. Taxes will go up. We need the money. Both the "have's" and "have not's" will be royally pissed. Keep your eye on the events now taking place in Europe, as IMO this is what we'll eventually be seeing here, too.

When will things reach the boiling point? Beats me. But I'm afraid it will be sooner rather than later.


The little boy who cried "wolf!"....

....grew up to be a TV weatherguesser. You never know whether to believe them or not. Two days ago they were telling us here in Dallas that a bitter arctic cold front was coming, but that it would come through dry. No, wait. Yesterday morning they decided it would snow 1-3 inches. By the afternoon they upped it to 3-5 inches of snow. Personally I'm not sure we're going to see any snow.

I'd rather just consult my trusty weather rock. It works like this: It's a small rock hanging from a string placed outside.

If the rock is dry, the weather is fair

Rock wet....rainy

Rock swaying....windy

Rock has a shadow....sunny

Rock has no shadow....cloudy

Rock white....snowy

Rock under water....flood

Rock flashing....lightning

Rock missing....tornado

So why don't the TV guys just get one of these? Then I might believe them. Right now my rock is wet,'s raining. Works every time.

Seriously, this site is pretty cool:

You can move your cursor to an airport near you (assuming you're in the USA) and see what the current temperature is, wind velocity, recent precipitation totals, relative humidity, etc. Try it.


EDIT: OK, it's snowing hard and the temp is dropping fast. Maybe they got it right for once. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

She's being difficult

My dog is very annoying. I can't take her on what you would call a "walk". All she does is sniff. She'll walk 10 feet and stop and sniff, then she'll squat and pee. Over and over and over. After 10 or 15 squats I'm sure she's empty, but she still tries to leave her symbolic "Emma was here" calling card anyway. I'm thinking she's a narcissist. After a few block of this I get fed up and start pulling her forward. Sometimes she'll drop anchor and try to hold her ground, but as I outweigh her 215 to 18, I win. Sometimes.

Often we'll get to a corner and I'll want to go one way and she'll want to go another, so she'll tug hard and look at me with those big brown eyes as if to say, "I really want to go this way, dad. Pleeeeeease? There's some really cool smells down there." As I'm a sucker for big expressive brown eyes, I'll usually cave.

Just once I'd like to walk in a straight line for a few blocks. I've almost forgotten what that would feel like.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Boudreaux's Butt Paste

This is an actual product. I couldn't make up something this ridiculous. It's a diaper rash ointment, and I ran across it today at the pharmacy when I went to buy Band Aids. Seriously, has anyone ever heard of this stuff, or do I just need to get out more?

At first I thought it was the dumbest name for a product that I'd ever heard, but then I got to thinking: It made me laugh and I remembered it, then went back to work and mentioned it to all my co-workers. Now I'm giving it a free plug on the World Wide Web. Maybe it's actually the most BRILLIANT product name ever!

Speaking of little kidlettes, my daughter from San Antonio, her husband, and her sons, aka my grandsons, will be in town this weekend. They're coming tomorrow for the Cotton Bowl Classic...SIL Chris is a Texas A&M grad, and he can't miss this opportunity to root for his alma mater. Then on Saturday they're all going to the Great Wolf Lodge for grandson Austin's belated birthday trip. GWL is a theme hotel with a large indoor water I'm told. I'm sure Austin and his brother Colby will love it. I'll be loving it, too....from a safe distance. Haha!

Happy friday, everyone.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Does the tail wag the dog?

I watched a funny show on TV tonight called The Middle. In it the kids ruled the roost. They dictated what was for dinner, what they watched on TV, what errands they needed to have run for them, etc. The parents had no life, and simply catered to their kids every whim. The tail was wagging the dog.

Here's my question to you: When you were a kid (assuming you're not a kid right now) were you raised like that?

I definitely was NOT, nor did I raise my kids like that. youngest daughter was an ultra-picky eater. She loved cereal and macaroni & cheese (not at the same time...duh!), and would sometimes demand that we fix one of those for her instead of eating the fine meal her mother, or sometimes me, cooked for her. I finally said NO, she would eat what we did or do without. She threw a fit, but I maintained when she got hungry enough she would eat what was served to the rest of us.

And she got hungry, and she ate what was served to the rest of us.

If one of my girls forgot her homework or a textbook and called me to bring it to her, I would...the first time. After that she just did without and suffered the wrath of her teacher. She learned the hard way to check her school bag before leaving home.

The net result is that all three daughters grew up happy and healthy, relatively disciplined, and ready to face the "cold, cruel world". (And are great parents themselves today, I might add.)

Was I fair, or was I a bad ass? The truth, please.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I can already hear 'em squealing....

....the Fat Cats and the special interests I mean. The new Congress will convene soon and they (well, some of them) are vowing to cut spending by 20%, to which I say BRAVO! But I also say I'll believe it when I see it. The lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PAC's) are gearing up as I write, proclaiming how unfair it would be to cut their tax breaks/subsidies or raise their taxes.

Well cry me a river!

They didn't seem too worried about "fairness" when the speculators drove the price of a barrel of oil up to $147, did they? I personally know of a fellow who owned a trucking company. He had 50+ long-haul trucks and the drivers and staff to go with it. When he could no longer afford to haul freight at a loss month after month due to the high price of fuel he closed his doors, returned his trucks to the leasors, and passed out pink slips to his employees. The masses be damned, as long as the speculators got theirs. And how many airline employees had their pay cut 30-40% in order to keep their companies flying? Fair?

The bankers made HUGE commissions selling tainted investments, but that was OK. Their lifestyles hardly felt a speed bump after their actions almost ruined the world. Their bonus checks are back today as lavish as ever. And how many families wound up destitute so they could live their high life? Fair?

Nope, I'm not an anti-capitalist. I love free enterprise, but I abhor the rigged system we have now. In these tough times everybody needs to pony-up and take their medicine. Most of the middle class already has. Now let's see the Fat Cats and special interests take theirs. Now THAT would be fair!

Don't hold your breath.


My favorites

My favorite computer....iMac

My favorite camera....Canon

My favorite watch....Tag Heuer (Omega a close second)

My favorite TV....Samsung ('cause Consumer Reports says so)

My favorite TV show....Top Gear

My favorite movie....Dr Zhivago (scenery, history, beautiful women...what's not to like?)

My favorite (American style)

My favorite car I'll never own....Maserati GT

My favorite car I can/do own....Audi (Thanks Mr. Scribbler for the excellent advice!)

My favorite minister....Joyce Meyers

My favorite actor....Sean Connery, circa Hunt for Red October

My favorite actress....Meryl Streep

My favorite music....(many-way-tie) Blues, jazz, rock 'n roll (old school)

My favorite musicians...(many-way-tie) Bonnie Raitt, Nora Jones, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Marcia Ball

My favorite month....October

My favorite season....Autumn (see above)

My favorite day of the week....Friday (the weekend begins at 5pm on Friday, maybe sooner *wink*)

My favorite time of day....Evening (it's time to unwind)

My favorite time for sex....Anytime I'm breathing (did I just say that? *blush*)

My favorite clothier....LL Bean

My favorite shoes....Merrills

My favorite jeans....Wrangler

My favorite underwear....Jockey (yes, briefs)

My favorite dog breed....(tie) Westie (Tara Belle), Miniature Schnauzer (Emma Belle)

My favorite form of exercise...Hahahahaha! *deep breath* Hahahahaha!

My favorite toothpaste....Crest Extra Whitening

My favorite deodorant....Arrid XX stick

My favorite shampoo....Suave for Men

My favorite food....(many-way-tie) Steak, Mexican, barbecue, shrimp, Italian, anything made with bacon

My favorite food in my refrigerator right now....K's homemade spaghetti

My favorite green vegetable....Jalapeno (hey...they're green!)

My favorite ice cream....Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche

My favorite Starbucks coffee....Vanilla latte

My favorite daytime beverage....Coke Zero

My favorite liquor....(many-way-tie) Single malt scotch, vodka, but recently I've enjoyed gin & tonic

My favorite liqueur....(tie) Disaronno Amarreto, Baileys Irish Cream

My favorite beer....(tie) Miller Lite, Peroni if I can find it

My favorite US city, other than where I actually live....Seattle

My favorite region....the Rockies, from Colorado all the way to Alberta/British Colombia

My favorite vacation destination that I have yet to realize....Bavaria, Switzerland, Italy, Austria

My favorite reads....(mostly magazines) The Economist, Car, Evo, Octane

Anything else you wanna know? Ask me.


Monday, January 3, 2011

The beatings will continue until morale improves....

This morning everyone came dragging back in to work looking all shell-shocked, and were very vocal about their desire to still be on vacation, or sleeping in, or anywhere but at work. I'm a do what you have to do, and whining about it won't help any. As things turned out it was a pretty good day. I'm finally getting the hang of the archaic computer system we have to work with, and in fact a couple of the newer people (newer than me, that is) are coming to me for computer advice. Hahaha!

Everyone who knows me knows how anything much more complicated than Word or Google or Blogspot causes me to start twitching and spasing out. Now I only tremble a little, with a minimal amount of mouth foam....a definite improvement.

My bro (business partner) and I (mainly bro) will be making a presentation this week to a prospective homebuyer about building a new custom home for them. I would love to get this job as the additional income would certainly be welcome. It's something I could do on the side, while bro does the lion's share of the work since he doesn't have another job like I do. Wish us luck!

That's all for now, friends. Dinner, and the Orange Bowl, await me this evening. Chao....


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A "do nothing" day

Holidays seem to turn my fairly organized schedule upside down. You too? It's hard to comprehend beginning a new work week on a Tuesday. It's just weird. Or maybe I'm just too stuck in my ways.

Anyway, today I really don't have much to do, and certainly nothing unpleasant to do. On Sundays K takes the dog out for her morning dooty call and I get to sleep in. (Thanks Lover!) I stayed up late last night watching football, which also upset my normal schedule, and I didn't get out of bed this morning until 8:38. That's unheard of for me. I think I like it. :)

I/we do have to go to the grocery store today, but I don't find that unpleasant at all. It's sorta fun, actually. Later I want to go to the bookstore, but I'm thinking of traveling across town to a different one, the only one that I know of that carries Auto Italia in their magazine stand. And of course today is coffee day. Sunday is the day I treat myself to some decadent, overpriced, Starbucks coffee and a pastry.

My dilemma for the coming week will be whether to get to bed at a decent hour in order to get up early and get to work the next day, or whether to stay up and watch all the bowl games until the final seconds tick off the clock and then pay the price the next day.

Let's or work? or work? I'll probably go with the football. Definitely football.

Hope y'all have a great day, a great week.


EDIT: ....and take the dog on a nice, long walk. It's supposed to be 46 degrees and sunny and calm. :)