Monday, October 31, 2011

Anything for a buck (almost)

They're baaaaaaack!  Early Saturday I took the dog out for her morning dootie call and guessed it...yet another 5K run being set up, complete with circus tents in the streets, loudspeakers, balloon arches, sponsor tables, and street barricades.  And a few thousand runners milling about.  I need to find a way to capitalize on all these people invading my neighborhood every other weekend.  Maybe I could sell them "Miracle Quick-Energy Bars" that I doubt many of these skinny-minnies have ever heard of....they're more commonly known as Snickers.  (It's all about the marketing.  ;)

I really hated going to work yesterday as the weather was absolutely perfect.  I would have loved to have done something fun outside instead, but I'm glad I went as I met a promising client who might want to build a new custom home.  I'm meeting them again Tuesday afternoon to provide them with some more specific info I think might help persuade them.  *Fingers crossed*  Back home later, dinner of barbecued spare ribs made me forget about having to work all afternoon.

And finally....I actually have a great deal of sympathy for some of the Occupy Wall Street grievances, specifically the one's about dislodging the banker's grip from around Congress' neck and getting our economy going again and creating jobs.  Unfortunately, many people think the protesters are just a bunch of wackos and dismiss them out of hand.  I don't think this lady, for one, is helping their image:

She needs to learn to say, "Would you like fries with that, sir?"

Have a great week, everyone.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Talk about luck!

My wife has an abundance of it.  Several months ago she was out walking the dog and she found money blowing down the street.  Then just a few weeks ago she was walking the dog one Sunday morning and found a watch.  A pin on the band had broken and apparently the guy it belonged to (drunk?) didn't feel it fall off.  This morning K was walking the dog again and she found a cell phone.  Fortunately it still works, even after the rains we had last night, so she can trace it back to it's owner. just dawned on me.  Maybe the DOG is the lucky charm here.

Anyway, the only person I know luckier than K is my daughter, Andrea.  She spent 5 years in the US Navy, and I refer to her as "the Forrest Gump of the Navy" because she could just luck into more good situations.  Once she was inspecting a helicopter and found something amiss, so she called Quality Assurance over to take a look.  Turns out it was a HUGE deal....the Navy had a 24-hour safety stand down of their entire CH-46 fleet so they could be checked out worldwide....and this got her the award for "Sailor of the Quarter, Air Wing Pacific Fleet" (or something like that).

Then later she volunteered to help bring the USS Nimitz from its old home port in Norfolk, VA to its new home port on the west coast.  Back in San Diego she was at the gym one evening wearing sweats and a "Nimitz" baseball cap when the middle-aged guy running on the treadmill next to her said, " I see you're on the Nimitz?"  She explained she was with a helo squadron and he said he'd heard they were having trouble with their very elderly helicopters.  She said, yes, everyone thought the problem was blah blah, but she thought it was a different blah blah.

The next day she reported to work and was told to go immediately to the Admiral's office (usually not a good thing).   She arrived there to find the Admiral was the guy on the treadmill from the evening before!  He put her on a conference call with the engineers at Boeing and she told them how to fix their helicopters.  Turns out she was right, something all their "experts" couldn't seem to get a handle on.  Again, another big award came her way.  Now is that Forrest Gump-like or what?

Yep, I think I've been blessed with some lucky women in my life.  Maybe I need to get them to direct some of that "luck" towards picking winning lottery numbers.  :)


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Craig's List came through for me again.  Yesterday evening I delivered to the new owner a beautiful framed signed/numbered print that used to hang over our fireplace, but for the past 2+ years has been leaning against the wall in our spare bedroom collecting dust.  We're slowly-but-surely disposing of stuff that we don't use so that when the day comes that we can move, hopefully to Colorado, moving will be a breeze and we can comfortably fit into a smaller, less expensive abode.  Read:  more money for fun activities/travels.  Fortunately I/we don't have much sentimental attachment to our "stuff", so letting it go isn't that difficult.

Speaking of Colorado, I see the first snow of the season has arrived in Denver.  That same storm will be arriving here in north Texas today, except in the form of 50 degree temps and rain.  I'm ready....let 'er rip.  Things here will be back to 70 and sunny by the weekend.  :)

In the news I see the too-big-to-fail European banks got a rude awakening.  They're being forced to write off half the value of the loans they made to Greece.  Looks like their greed bit 'em in the butt.  Whatever happened to prudent lending?  They should have known better.

Did you see where two members of the Italian Parliament got into a fistfight while "debating" the necessity of raising the retirement age to 67?  One accused the other's wife of retiring with a full pension at the ripe old age of 39, saying that's what's wrong with the system now.  Thirty nine?   Mama Mia!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amazing short video....YOU'VE GOTTA SEE THIS!

If you don't do anything else today, invest 2-minutes 11-seconds and watch this short video of Michael Winslow doing Led Zeppelin.  It'll be time well spent, promise.   Turn up the sound and enjoy!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My plan to save the economy

Have you ever noticed that when things get a little tough for a company and they need to save a few dollars the first thing they do is lay employees off, or if things get too rough, they shutter entire facilities and "outsource" production to some foreign land with cheap labor?  Meanwhile the CEO's and their senior VP's all stay here in their ivory towers, making big bucks and living the high life.  Here's my idea....outsource THEIR jobs.

Case in point:  Craig A. Dubow, until recently the CEO of Gannett, which publishes USA Today and 81 other papers.  During his 6 years as chief executive, generally considered to be a disaster for Gannett, their stock fell to $10 from around $75 when he took over, and he pink slipped 20,000 of his 52,000 employees.  Was he fired for such a pitiful performance?  Nope, he was actually paid very well, $16 million in salary and bonuses over just the past 2 years.  The Gannett board finally wised up and allowed him to "retire for health reasons" and gave him $37.1 million in retirement, health, and disability benefits as he left the building.

Back to my plan....why not get a CEO from India or South Korea or Bangladesh, set 'em up in a little office over there with a computer, internet, and Skype, and let 'em run the company long distance?  You could probably get a sharp guy/gal for maybe $250,000 a year.  They'd probably be happy to get it, and they wouldn't even need health benefits as it's usually provided by their gubment or available for barter from their village medicine man. Same for the top 20 or so senior execs.  Imagine how much that would save the company.  Talk about happy stockholders!  What's the worst that could happen?  They run the business into the ground....just like Mr. Dubow did?

I don't have a problem with paying a CEO big bucks if he does a good job, takes a struggling company, for example, and puts it back in the black, and even starts expanding and hiring.  They deserve it.  Alan Mulally of Ford comes to mind.  But these days way too many Dubow's are paid like Mulally's.

As a backup plan, I'm available for hire for a measly million bucks or so a year.  I'll even buy my own insurance, and drive myself, too.  :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

A good weekend....

I got up earlier than I wanted on Saturday to take the dog out and found to my dismay that yet another charity had yet another 5K run going on, and it was being staged in MY neighborhood.  Again.  I'm all for charities making a buck, but why must I walk out my door what seems like every other Saturday to find 10,000 people milling around, PA systems blaring, and golf carts whizzing by?  Why can't they start one from some other neighborhood once in a while?  Then they had the major roads closed for the run all morning, meaning a normal 2-mile trip took me on a 4-mile runaround.  I managed to not run any of 'em over....K calls it "peaceful co-existence".  

I dumped off a car load of old records....literally, my car had 15 boxes of files in the shredders later Saturday morning, and after that I had a day free of chores.  I went to REI and visited my kayak, which they are kindly holding for me until I can scrape a few more dollars together and find a place to keep it.

The highlight of my weekend was watching my alma mater Texas Tech play #1 ranked Oklahoma Saturday night on TV.  After a 2-hour delay because of a huge storm in the area (Norman, OK) Tech whipped up on them convincingly, winning 41-38.  It really wasn't as close as the final score indicates.  How was that possible?  Tech always has a great offense, but defense is usually just an abstract theory to them. Saturday they must have slipped in some ringers as our defense pretty much kept OK* in check.  They scored 2 late touchdowns to make it semi-interesting, but by then the stands were half empty.  *happy dance*  

So that was my 1-day weekend (had to work Sunday).  Didn't kill any runners, goofed off, watched Texas Tech kick ass.  Told you it was a good weekend.  ;)


*Why do Oklahoma's license plates say "Oklahoma is OK"?  Because they can't spell "mediocre".  (Sorry, that was mean.  Funny, but mean. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

We're scaling back

My brother/business partner and I have said for quite a while that we needed to scale back on the amount of "stuff" we keep at our warehouse.  You know how it have some stuff left over after building a house such a bag of grout, a few pieces of baseboard trim, maybe a couple of closet rods, so you just dump it in the warehouse and tell yourself you'll use it on the next house.  But of course you don't.  Then before you know it you've got so much stuff crammed in there you can't walk.  That's where we are now.

One morning earlier this week we cleaned out a bunch of worthless things like some signs with bent legs painted in our old color scheme.  Why in the world were we keeping those?  We filled up half a dumpster!  Now we're into old files.  We have about 15 boxes of old files, check stubs, bank statements, etc that go back before 2000.  I found a shredding company that will be at a local high school Saturday morning with their big truck shredding stuff in exchange for a donation to the school's band program.  Deal!

Next we're going to move to a closer warehouse space (now that we're building further north as our city grows that direction) and get one a bit smaller, too.  I like being organized and uncluttered.  Next I need to work on some personal stuff I've been dragging around that needs a new home.  I'm thinking Craig's List.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  ;)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

I tried...I really did try

My hometown team is in the World Series, and (nearly) everyone here is excited about it.  I tried to be excited, too, but I just can't work up any enthusiasm.  I dutifully turned on the TV at 7 last night to watch the game.  After just a couple of innings K started yawning and wandered off to iron a couple of shirts while I sat there watching intently.  After another couple of innings I was reading a magazine between pitches, hoping somebody would do something soon as I was rapidly losing interest.  By the 7th inning I threw in the towel and turned it off.

I'm sorry, but I've failed as a baseball fan.  It must be an acquired taste.  I know many of you are avid baseball fans, and I'm happy for you.  It is, after all, advertised to be America's Pastime...."baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet" and all that, but is SO boring.  It's like watching grass grow.  This is a sport where a "no hitter" is considered to be an amazing feat.  If no one hits the ball, what's the point?  Do they eventually just agree to turn off the lights and go home?  (Kidding....I know the rules.  It just seems like the last thing MLB should want is a game with no hits.)

I'm thinking I might need to learn something about hockey.  It looks like a tough sport, one where you can get your nose broken playing it, which everyone knows is the deciding factor between whether something is a "sport" or a "game".  Then I could have two sports to keep up with.  (I know they call it a football game, but let's face it, you can get all kinds of body parts broken playing football.  It's a sport.  Checkers, chess, curling, croquet, golf, Monopoly....those are games.)

One thing I will say about baseball....they generally have excellent hot dogs there.  :)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nature's sweet spot

This is the day I've been waiting for.  After enduring all those 100+ degree days, fall has finally arrived in north Texas.  The low this morning was in the upper 40's, and the high today should top out around 67.  Sweater weather for sure, but not anywhere near cold enough to get out he big LL Bean down parka.  Warm enough to get outside and do something, but not warm enough to work up a sweat doing it. 

And it's World Series time, too.  I'm not a baseball fan, but to be able to participate in the water cooler conversation the next few weeks I'm going to have to be at least semi-well versed in the World Series.  I've always been for whichever team wins the first game of the series in the hopes that they can win 4 straight and get it all over with.  I personally think it was highly inconsiderate of Major League Baseball to schedule the World Series right in the middle of football season.  They obviously didn't get my letter.

And finally, I read in the paper a quote from a long-time New York money manager (referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement) who said that "....he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns.  'They need to understand who their constituency is,' he said."  Duh....he might as well have just said, "They need to understand who's payroll they're on."

Happy hump day.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What a bunch of fools we are

I need to stop reading the news.  The stuff that's going on out there just chaps my hide.  It now seems that our Federal Gubment is going to end its $5 BILLION dollar annual subsidy to the agriculture industry as part of the effort to cut the budget deficit.  The farmers generally aren't complaining since their industry is doing VERY well.  In fact, the average farm family will make over $80,000 this year, while the average large farm family income will be over $200,000.  I have no problem with them making that much money since they work very hard for every dime of it.  They deserve it.

But here's the smoke and mirrors part that really chaps me:  Congress (who benefits in a huge way from "campaign contributions"....bribes....from BIG agribusiness) is going to turn right around and begin a new agriculture subsidy in roughly the same amount as they eliminated, and send the bulk of that to the large landholding farms.  In other words, the rich get richer, and the taxpayers get fleeced again!  And they wonder why there's rebellion in the streets.  *shaking head*

So this upcoming election year when your congressman is trying to tell you how well he is managing your tax money by eliminating waste in government, and cites cutting the agriculture subsidy as an example, don't believe a word he's saying.  To him/her it's all just a big shell game and they're counting on us being too stupid to see it.  If we send the same bunch of crooks back to Washington we have right now, they'll be right!


Monday, October 17, 2011

State Fair time

Yesterday K and I went to the State Fair of Texas.  We hadn't been in 5 years, but the weather was great and I had the day off and didn't want to spend it watching football, so we figured why not?  It was fun, eye opening, and exhausting.  

Basically the fair is just one giant food court interspersed with other stuff.  The theme of this year's fair is the same as its been for the past 20 years:  "Making fat people fatter".  If it can be battered and fried, it can be yours for only 8 coupons.  On several stages they had bands playing both kinds of music (country AND western) all day long.  *cringe*  And the people....OMG!  We saw people tattooed head-to-toe, people dressed in their favorite drugstore cowboy costumes, and even some little (and not so little) dancing girls greased up and rolled in feathers:

I behaved myself fairly well, scarfing down only one Fletcher's Corny Dog ('cause it's a State Fair tradition) and one order of genuine fake-cheese nachos with jalapenos, all washed down with some sweet tea.  For those that aren't as disciplined as myself, there's always relief via the "lunch chucker":

Speaking of the Midway, it was as gawdy and loud as ever.  Kids were bouncing around like monkeys on Red Bull, begging their parents for another $20 worth of coupons for just a few more chances to win that $2 stuffed critter, or one more turn on the Giant Human Slingshot.  It was actually rather nostalgic:

I thought I might talk K into trying the Texas Star, but she demurred:

We did make time between snacks to visit the several buildings that housed the new cars and trucks....and trucks, and more trucks.  (Hey, this IS Texas, you know!)

After all that we came home, showered to rid ourselves of God-only-knows what kind of cooties, and had a wonderful dinner of smoked baby back ribs.  Mmmmmm.  Sleep never felt so good.  :)


Saturday, October 15, 2011

No free lunch for me today

On weekends K and I take turns taking the dog out for her early morning dootie call.  Recently on several occasions K's come home and announced she found money on the sidewalk.  And I'm not talking jingling money, but real American greenbacks.  With double digit numbers printed on them up in the corner.  Sweet!  Seems we have some visitors to our neighborhood who like to partake in the alcohol offered up by our many local restaurants and clubs and get stupid, which means a free lunch for us.  Their misfortune is our good fortune.

I made it a point this morning to walk around and pay careful attention to whatever might be laying around on the sidewalk, hoping to duplicate her good fortune.  I had a gut feeling that this might be my lucky day.  'Course I've had similar "gut feelings" about lottery tickets I've purchased, the company Christmas party door-prize ticket I was holding, and the Publisher's Clearing House entry I mailed in, too.

I did find an abundance of cigarette butts, some shiny ribbon off what I imagine was somebody's birthday present, and a phone number on a semi-folded piece of paper (which I left for a single person to find and follow up on), but alas, no free money for me today.  And no free lunch, either.  My string of "gut feeling" strike outs is still intact.  :(


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Cocktail Party

Haven't we as a society outgrown cocktail parties?  Especially work related cocktail parties?  People spend so much time together at work as it is, what with every company in the world seemingly working at full speed with a skeleton staff.  Do they really expect us to give up our Saturday evenings to go schmooze with the suits?   Ugh!

K's company....well, not the whole company, but her HR group, is invited to a cocktail party at one of the bosses house.  This boss is several rungs up the Big Ladder and apparently looking to go higher.  She's invited some of the top floor guys as well as some of her underlings, K being one of the underlings.  And I, as an employee spousal unit, am invited, too.  

But K doesn't have any burning ambition to climb any higher.  She's found a sweet spot right where she is. She likes what she does, the compensation is acceptable, and the hours are reasonable.  And they love her as it is, even without schmoozing.  When they have a problem or a special project, she's their "go-to" girl.  Is this party to make the boss look good, or is it to let the underlings shine?  Do the top floor shits....oops, typo, I meant SUITS....enjoy this kind of thing or is it a pain for them, too?

You see where this is going.  K and I at a company cocktail party would be like Cheech and Chong at the Royal Wedding (except without the drugs and with better hygiene).  When she brought the invitation home we both just shrugged and accepted it.  Now that "the event" is just days away she's pacing the floor....climbing the walls will be next....wondering how she/we can duck out.  Worst case we show for a few minutes, partake in some free food and drink, then escape out the bathroom window.  Best case, alien abduction en route.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Sucker punched

Over the weekend K received via US Pony Express Mail her yearly 2012 enrollment form for her employer-provided health insurance, which I'm also on as it's better and cheaper than what I could buy individually on the open market.  At first glance it looked visit co-pays were reduced as well as generic drug co-pays.  There were even a few more small benefits included this year. early-warning antenna went up.

Ahhh....there it was.  Deductibles were up from $500 per person to $1,000.  

In her employer's defense, I can imagine the extreme pressure they were under to provide their thousands of employees with good health care benefits while at the same time dealing with insurance companies demanding near-double-digit premium increases.   I wonder how many companies just told their employees, "Sorry, we can't afford to cover you any longer"?

And O'bamaCare is going to fix this mess?  Haha!  Dream on!  


Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Silent Majority has found it's voice

I know how little you care about the ongoing street protests across the country as evidenced by your lack of comments on the subject.  That's OK, move on to something else now if you wish, but I'm still going to blog about it because this movement, growing in respectability, is saying what I've been saying for several years now.  This issue really has my attention.  
From one of the online newspaper's editorial pages I read daily:
[The protesters]...."are exactly right when they say that the financial sector, with regulators and elected officials in collusion, inflated and profited from a credit bubble that burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, incomes, savings and home equity. As the bad times have endured, Americans have also lost their belief in redress and recovery."
"The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer."
"It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge."
The "silent majority" isn't so silent any more, is it?  The next 12 months (leading up to the 2012 election) are going to be interesting, to say the least.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Our double standard

Yesterday on the news they played a clip where Prez O'bama said that what the big bank chiefs did (referencing the financial crisis of '08) wasn't necessarily illegal, but just unethical, therefore there isn't anything to prosecute them for.  Then numerous legal scholars chimed in saying there could be a very strong case made that there was out-and-out fraud committed by many in the financial community, but their status and political connections are preventing charges being brought.  What a rip.  If you or I pulled something like that I guarantee we'd have our fingerprints on file and a new striped wardrobe. 

While the system of government our Founding Fathers gave us is a masterpiece, the career politicians we have today and the fat cats they run with have subverted it.  This is why there are marches in the streets.  Sure, some of those protesting are just bored and looking for something to do (other than work), but many are just upstanding hard working folks finally coming to grips with the double standard that exists in this country.  What's it gonna take to really change things?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's already starting

Civil unrest.  Like many, I've predicted that next spring we could be seeing massive protests all across the country.  Protests by the unemployed, the underemployed, the currently-employed-but-worried-about-tomorrow.  Protests by those cynics who think our government is broken, and our elected civil servants corrupt.  From the Tea Partyers to the Union members, there are a lot of them, and I think they have some very valid complaints.

But my timing was off.  It's starting now.  The relatively small number of rowdies who are protesting Wall Street and the banks have now spread to other cities and financial districts, and they're gaining respectability.  (There was a march here today on the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas.)  Now there's word that protesters are mobilizing on college campuses (anything to get out of class  ;) upset about increases in tuition and cuts in classes, all while their administrators are pulling down very handsome paychecks.

And of course the Greeks are rioting.  They're now saying a Greek government default is inevitable, and if so, Italy and Spain and Portugal might be close behind.  Will a financial earthquake in Europe lead to a tsunami here?

Frankly, in a perverse way, I welcome all this.  I'm hoping that by next year, an ELECTION YEAR, there will be a mass exodus of incumbent politicians of both parties wanting to get out of Dodge before the crowd gets really rough.  Think of it as the "Ultimate Spring Cleaning".

This could be historic!  


Just sayin'

I read in the New York Times that the British government is going to tighten up their anti-squatting laws making it easier for property owners to evict squatters on their property.  I know many countries have "squatters rights" laws, but the concept just does not compute in my feeble little mind.  A squatter is like a burglar except after he breaks in he just stays.  Why can't you just say, "Hey, you, get out"?

Looks like American Airlines is on financial life support....again.  They're the only major airline that didn't make money last year.  In fact, they've made a profit only once or twice in the past 10 years.  Here's what gets me:  They still justify paying their senior executives huge bonuses, saying if they don't they'll lose their "top talent".  Here's a news flash for ya, American:  You're delusional.  You don't have any "top talent".  They all left a long time ago.  

Just sayin'.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do I dare hope?

This is getting serious.  I'm talking about our drought.  There was a big meeting in Austin recently attended by planners where they were told our drought will most likely extend well into next year.  The consensus was that we would have a warmer and dryer winter than normal.  I hate, hate, hate hearing this as I'm like a little kid who looks forward every fall to the possibility that we'll soon have some cold and snow.  

By December I'm ready.  Chili makin's are in the pantry, I've got my assortment of winter coats all ready and lined up, and the same for my shoes/boots.  By January, if things are still whiteless, I start getting nervous.  By February if we haven't had any snow I start to get down.  We've most probably missed it.  Understand I'm not talking about snow that can be measured in feet, but just 6 inches or so.  Just enough to miss a day or two of school work, make some poor dwarf snowman, maybe throw a snowball or two.

Right now I'm pinning my hopes on the Farmers Almanac which predicts a warmer but wetter winter than normal.  I wonder who's more accurate, a group of highly trained meteorologists or some fuzzy little creature's nose twitch that the Farmers Almanac folks swear by?  


Monday, October 3, 2011

So where does all the money go?

With the general inflation rate in the low single digits, how come health insurance premiums are up 9% just this year?  In anticipation of O'bama Care?  

Must be nice!  I can't price in now the ill effects of the inflation I know is coming in a few years on building materials.  Competition won't allow me to.  Wages and salaries surely haven't gone up much as people are scared of getting a pink slip for even thinking of asking for a pay raise.

So why have health care costs gone up so much?  The doctors and nurses and insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals and malpractice sharks, etc all point somewhere else.  "Not me!" they proclaim.  

All I know is I'm getting royally screwed and I'm still waiting for my kiss.  I've long since given up on the dinner and the movie.  ;)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

A fun couple 'o days

Yesterday afternoon K and I attended the First Annual Ft. Worth Music Festival.  What began as an awful experience ended up to be a lot of fun.  What a cluster f__k!  We had VIP tickets which promised us comfortable lawn-furniture-style seating with our own air conditioned rest rooms and a private refreshment vendor.  Turns out the VIP section was WAY off to one side....there was actually General Admission lawn seating between us and the stage.  Our private restrooms were 3 porta-potties and our lawn furniture seating was just cheap folding chairs. 

We felt like $75 per ticket for that was totally out of reason.  Many of us complained to the event organizers and they very graciously apologized and told us to contact them via email and they would refund our money.  We will, but we'll ask that they just charge us for General Admission instead as we did stay the evening.

But then we got to looking around and decided it wasn't that bad.  The weather was gorgeous, the crowd wasn't too large, and the music was very good.  The best food truck had hot dogs, but at least they were gourmet hot dogs.  (Chili, New York, or Chicago style.)

Finally our favorite band came on stage:  The Marsha Ball Band.  Here's "Long, Tall, Marsha Ball" herself. ^  (Guess what kind of beer we drank? )

That girl can flat tear up a keyboard!  WOW!

Apparently this airship driver was a Marsha Ball fan, too.

All in all, things turned out great.  The beer was cold, my Chicago-style dog was filling, the music was rockin', and my date for the evening was just amazing.  (Thanks for a wonderful b-day present, Lover.  ;)

Then there was the one that almost slipped under our radar:  Today was the Cottonwood Arts Festival in Richardson.  Fortunately we are on the mailing list for one of the participating artists and his mailer reminded us.  

We were there shortly after it opened this morning at 9.  In contrast to the Foat Wuth event of the previous night, this was the most organized, efficient affair I've ever attended. Kudos to them.  And the weather?  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE AUTUMN?  

Even the normally sun-averse K enjoyed catching a few rays.  After all that, a grandson's soccer game (their play reminded me of watching a knocked-over ant farm) and now home for some college football on TV.  What a nice weekend.  :)