Monday, November 30, 2009

Marathon Photos

My marathon photos are available now.  I haven't decided if I will purchase them.  They look better this time than they have in the past, but I don't think there are many people that actually look good in them.  How cute would you be after 13.1 miles?

At least this time the camera guy didn't take a crotch shot or catch me doing something stupid like running with my thumbs out.

A Date?

Sunday, November 29

Poker Guy called and said he had an extra ticket for a performance at Jones Hall.  I think it's called Bowfire.  I said yes.  I think it's just as friends...I didn't ask...

The woman I thought was his girlfriend won't be there.  Does the relationship status on Facebook really mean anything?  He put one up very recently and lists his status as single.  Looking for friendship, dating, a relationship.  She is one of his Facebook friends so I know she's seen it.  Do guys even pay attention to those things?     

Ren Fest

Saturday, November 28

I went to the Texas Renaissance Festival with free tickets from BCO.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Poker Guy and his girlfriend there.  They went off on their own at first, and I hung out with a couple of the other people I met at the poker games.  I'm starting to run into the same people now.  It's nice that they're not all strangers any more.

We saw a lot of interesting costumes...

...and a few shows, including belly dancing...

There was a male belly dancer on one of the stages.  He was very in touch with his female side.  I wish I had a photo of that one for you, but my battery died and I didn't have a spare.

It began to rain and my friend made a dash for a covered gazebo.  She started to climb in through a space between some vines and noticed a minister giving her a stern look.  There was apparently a wedding happening and she was about to crash.

About that time, Poker Guy texted me to ask if I was still there.  He joined us and suggested a very good show.  It was a magician and his two apprentices that didn't speak.  He handed one of the assistants his capes, hat, and cane.  She gave him a WTF look and threw them on the ground, then stomped off.  They gave each other that kind of attitude throughout the entire show - never speaking.  They communicated through facial expressions and hand signals, which I think made it funnier.

When it started raining again, Poker Guy gave me a program to cover my head.  He gave his girlfriend nothing.  Am I the only one who thinks that is a bit odd?  

We had another poker tournament in the evening.  This time we decided to drink, so I did not win.  I didn't even play well.  Drinking and gambling don't mix well for me.  It was only 10 dollars to buy in and I drank at least that much worth, so it's all right.  Some people have wine tastings...we made it a tequila tasting.  Patron is still my favorite.

Yes, I'm drinking again, but only with people I know and trust.  

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hitch Hikers

As I returned to my apartment this evening my new neighbors introduced themselves.  They are two very sweet girls in their early 20's who wanted to know if I'd be interested in sharing the bill for wireless internet service.  I have wireless and they offered to help pay the bill if I give them my access code.  I have no problem with sharing expenses, but how much risk is there to me if I give them my WEP?  Can someone hack into my computer that way? 

Top 5 Things for Which I'm Thankful

Thursday, November 26

1)  I am thankful for my daughter.
2)  I am thankful for my friends.
3)  I am thankful for the roof over my head.
4)  I am thankful for the food in my fridge.

I normally hold my tips until after I'm done at a table instead of betting them like a lot of people do.  Whenever I bet them, I usually lose.  The dealer this time told me, "You are a lucky woman.  And you never tip."  She was very rude, not like most dealers at my favorite casino who are friendly and a lot of fun.  How does she know I don't ever tip?  She had never met me before and I had not yet left.

I still tipped her because I don't aspire to be like her.  I took ten dollars off the top of my winnings before passing them to be colored up.  Instead of thanking me she rolled her eyes and muttered that I must have lost count - I'm assuming because the total was 390 dollars instead of 400.    

5)  I am thankful that I am not as miserable and hateful as that blackjack dealer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Blues

My daughter is leaving tonight to spend Thanksgiving with her father.  I will be miserable alone without her, so I'm leaving.  I don't know where I'll be, just that I won't be here.  I know the casino will be having a Thanksgiving buffet, so I'll start there.  I'll stay if I'm winning.  If I'm losing, maybe I'll get started on exploring the Texas Forest Trail. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Other One

Meet the other feline that owns me.  Isn't she adorable? 

I haven't had too much trouble with her.  She used to scratch the couch, but the watergun method works very well on her.  I also used to pet her and tell her what a wonderful kitty she was whenever I caught her scratching the post.  She still comes and gets me sometimes so I can watch her scratching where she's supposed to scratch and tell her how wonderful she is.

She used to climb to the top of her kitty condo and then climb the drapes.  I trimmed her nails as short as possible.  She grabbed the drapes, was not able to sink her claws in, slid all the way down to the floor, and sat looking confused.

My daughter and I are the only ones that get to see the sweet face. She cuddles up to me and purrs, she tolerates my daughter, she terrorizes everyone else. When we have company, she fluffs up, hisses, and spits. My daughter goes into the bedroom with her friends. The cat will make a point of going to the bedroom door to growl and hiss, reminding them that she does not want them around.

It's worse when we're not home. She becomes a furry ball of claws and teeth. She chases maintenance men out of my apartment. I had one of my friends stop in and feed the cats while I was on my roadtrip. She howled and hissed at my friend and acted like she was about to attack. My friend said she thought my cat was going to shred her legs to pieces when she walked in. Fortunately, she was all talk and no do, so my friend was able to take care of the kitties.

I have to keep this one.  No one else will take her.



Monday, November 23, 2009


I was looking at the list of guys that have viewed my profile on Match and saw a musician.  I am a sucker for them, so I had to check him out.  One of the pictures is of him with a bass guitar.  Here we go again?

He says he has solid black tattoo "sleeves" on his arms.  Only one picture shows these sleeves, and it really looks like shirt sleeves to me, so of course I had to send an email asking if it was a test to see if we were reading his profile or if they were really tats and what is the significance of solid black sleeves.  I have never seen that before.

I want a tattoo, but I don't know where I want to put it.  I want a Polynesian shark.  Not exactly like the one in the pic, but similar.  The shark is sacred to the Polynesians, and the tattoos are worn for protection.  To me, it is a reminder of inner strength.  Since it's not something I can change easily, I need to be sure of the exact location before I even think about finding an artist.     

Sunday, November 22, 2009

God Made Him Cute and Lovable so I Wouldn't Kill Him

He's a real cutie, huh?  He's the reason I haven't had a Christmas tree for the last couple of years.  This is why:

We didn't put him in here.  He jumped in himself:

His latest trick is to paw my television screen.  He doesn't put his claws out so he doesn't do any damage, but he does leave smudges.  I tell him no and put him in another room.  It doesn't make him stop.  I thought maybe he was trying to get my attention to tell me he needed food or water.  That does seem to be true sometimes, but it's not always the reason.  He may need something else and he knows that gets my attention but I can't figure out what it is.  I would prefer he find a different method of communicating.

I've tried the watergun method, but he just thinks it's a fun new game.  He stalks the watergun.  He waits until he thinks you're not paying attention and attacks the gun.  He enjoys it!  Retreats briefly when he's sprayed, then comes back for more. 

This is the sme crazy cat that sometimes jumps in the shower and once jumped in the washing machine as it was filling with water.  He didn't panic, just sat in the washer looking at me.  When the water started to get too deep for his comfort, he calmly climbed out.

I don't know what else to try.  Sticky tape, you say?  Tried that when the other one was scratching the couch.  Worked for her.  He pulled it off and played with it.  Foil?  Doesn't bother him a bit.  He'll take the foil off of something on the counter and eat it.  We can't leave any food out, covered or not. 

No, I'm not going to get rid of my cat.  I would like to break him of this habit, though.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feast or Famine

I either have 11 blog ideas or zero.

I either have 3 interesting guys talking to me or none.

I either have 5 different things I could do on a Saturday night or I have nothing.  Tonight I was supposed to play Texas Hold 'Em with Poker Guy, go see my friend's band play, and get a campsite so I could be at the park the night before our hike.  Poker Guy didn't have enough players so he cancelled, I've learned my friend is not going to be playing with that band any more, and it's too ugly outside for me to want to pitch a tent.  My feast has turned into a famine.  This is the first Saturday night that I've slept in my own bed in over a month.  It's kind of nice. 

I'll go ahead and work on those Christmas projects that have been calling me and get up early in the morning for the hike.      

Friday, November 20, 2009

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

I've been trying to wait until after Thanksgiving to pull anything Christmas out of the closet, but my unfinished projects from last year are calling me.  I'm getting the urge to finish the felt applique stocking and make some more ornaments.  I read Rebecca S.'s post on craft fairs and started wondering if anyone would buy any of this stuff that I make, and if the money I made would be worth the time spent sewing them.  I would like to make some extra money to stretch my savings but I've gotten used to having nights and weekends off and don't relish the thought of being a waitress or a checkout girl. 

I thought about selling Avon, or misc. items on Ebay.  I've seen some of the stuff people sell as art and wonder if I could paint something silly and get some money for it, too.  What about jewelry?  Do people buy jewelry made from those beads you find at craft stores?  My daughter rolls her eyes at me and asks if we're really that desperate.  We're not desperate at all yet, but some income would not hurt.  

Maybe it would be easier just to sign on with a temp agency.  I can quit those jobs when I get tired of them.  They expect that from temps.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Again? Are you kidding me?

How is it possible to not think about someone for months at a time and then suddenly start missing him again?  He's not a good boyfriend, but heck of a fun date.  Never date a musician.  Especially bass players...

The image was stolen from my crush's myspace page...I never actually dated this one...just drooled over his pics...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Online Dating

I decided to update my profile with new photos and an updated  "about me" section.  How do I sound independent but not anti-social?  It's not easy.  I also realized I have only one recent picture in which I'm not wearing a hat and sunglasses.    

I hadn't meant to make it visible to other members yet, but somehow it's available.  I received winks from 2 men that are way older than I said I was looking for and very overweight.  Why is it always the large, unkempt men who insist that their women take care of themselves?  A six pack is not required, but what am I going to have in common with a couch potato?  I need to date someone that can keep up with me. 

I realize some of my readers are older and not marathon runners.  You are wonderful people.  I want to befriend every interesting person I can find, from any walk of life.  I want to date someone who enjoys doing the same things I do.       

I rarely respond to winks anyway.  It seems kind of lazy.  Why not send an email?

I did receive one email, but I can't see from who until I cough up some money.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

License to Drive

We went after school and sat at the DPS office for two hours today to get my daughter's driver's license.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  It seems like only two days ago that I was taking her to her first day of kindergarten.  I have fond memories of those days and sometimes wish she was still that young.  Then I visit someone who has kids that are still that young and I remember I don't miss everything about those days...

Things have changed a lot.  The kids no longer have to take a driving test.  If they have a certificate that says they passed a driver education course they just pay their fee, take a picture, and wait for their license to arrive in the mail.  My daughter will never know the terror of having to parallel park with a police officer passing judgment in the passenger seat.   

I did find out her father got her car insurance.  I'm puzzled, though, because he won't add her to his health insurance.  Does that make any sense?  I should know better than to expect things to make sense by now, I know.


I'm not as sore as I expected to be today, but damn I'm tired...

Poker Guy is moving to Ohio.  If I didn't know he had a girlfriend I'd think he was hitting on me.  He sent an email saying he was thinking about me and wanted to know how I was doing.  Not more than 5 minutes after I responded, he was on the phone.  I think he's just bored and lonely because he doesn't know anyone in Ohio yet.  He's still going back and forth.  He'll be back in town this weekend and I'm invited to another Texas Hold 'Em night.  I'll get to practice some more before I try my luck at the casino.

Image from Photobucket.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Sunday, November 15

We woke up at 4 am to get ready for the marathon.   I did not wear my new shoes. You shouldn't wear, eat or drink anything new on race day. Stick with the gear you've trained in and the foods you know work without making you sick.           

I had brought my electric skillet so we could make eggs and hashbrowns in our room but neither of us was hungry enough for that since we had a huge dinner.  The hotel was full of runners so they set out their breakfast early for us.  We grabbed a muffin and a banana on our way out. 

We took the shuttle to the start line, checked our bags, and waited for the race to start.  There were a few people in the race T-shirt and I had told her not to wear hers.  I said those people must be newbies and don't know any better.  Besides the nothing new rule, wearing the T-shirt says "look what I did" and you haven't yet.  Wearing a T-shirt from a previous race that you have already finished is fine.

There were 36 corrals with multiple starts.  The first horn was for the elite runners, the second for the runners that were planning the fastest runs, the slower runners after that, and the walkers bringing up the rear.  This is how it is at all the races so that the slower runners and walkers don't get in anyone's way.  This is the first time I have seen 36 different waves.  We waited over an hour in the corral before we even started.  I think the longest I waited before was 15 minutes.  If this is how they start the race every year, I don't think I'll run this one again.  That was way too long.

The race itself was fun.  There were a few people on their lawns cheering for us.  There were bands playing, cheerleading squads, and spectators in costume.  I got high-fives from a gorilla and a giant banana.  We were feeling strong until mile 10, then we started getting tired.  My friend's blister popped at mile 12, so the last 1.1 miles was not fun, but we did it.  She finished her first half marathon and I have a new medal to add to my collection.      

Image from the race website.  Nope, that's not me.           

San Antonio

Saturday, November 14

My friend and I drove to San Antonio for the marathon.  I knew my hotel was near the finish line, but we discovered it was also within 2 blocks of the expo, the Riverwalk, and the buses to the start line.

We visited the expo to pick up our numbers, goodie bags, and check out the booths.  I bought a new pair of running shoes, a number belt with a small pouch to stash small items like keys, cell phone, or Gu, and some sleeves.  Yes, I bought sleeves without a shirt.  It's all about layers.  I've been wanting some of those ever since I saw some of the cyclists in BCO wearing them.  When they get too hot, they just take the sleeves off and put them in their backpack.  I want some tattoo sleeves, like in the pic, but the ones I bought are black with a Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series logo.

After the expo, we went to the Riverwalk for dinner.  Pasta with shrimp and scallops.  Yum.  There's no such thing as a diet the day before a marathon.  We consumed as many calories as we could stand.

I priced my new shoes at a store on the way back to our hotel.  I saved 25 dollars off retail.  Yay!

Friday, November 13, 2009

But I'm a Good Driver, Mom

My daughter's best friend wrecked her car today.  She spotted a cute guy on a motorcycle, got distracted, and slammed into the car in front of her.  She's ok except for a black eye and busted lip from the air bag, but her car is a total loss.  I hope she has learned her lesson because my daughter is often in the car with her.  It's because she's an inexperienced driver, I know.  Unfortunately, the only way for the girls to gain experience is to let them get in the car and drive.  I have asked my daughter not to drive anyone's car until she has insurance because I can't afford to pay for the damage if she crashes.  Maybe now she believes it can happen to her and she will listen to me.  

Image from Photobucket.  I'm hoping both girls are smart enough not to be texting...


Fender Benders, Festivals, and Freaks

I heard from my insurance company today.  They haven't seen the other car yet, so they couldn't tell me much except that the claims adjuster will be looking for paint transfer and that she made note that there was prior damage to that woman's vehicle.  At this point it sounds like they expect to pay for some of the damage not all.  I made sure she knew that it did not happen until October 2 and that I bumped her right rear, not the left.  If she presents an estimate from before that date hopefully they'll tell her she's SOL.

I remember the exact date because I was in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  It was my second year and I'm already planning to go back next year.  It was a lot of fun, in spite of the mud.

An ocean of people...

...and then the rain started...and it was an ocean of umbrellas and raincoats...


There was no more rain the third day, but the field was one huge, muddy mess.  It didn't stop our fun, as evidenced by these pics of people dancing in the mud:

Some people got a little carried away.  It reminded me of the pictures I've seen of Woodstock:

 Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam said he was not leaving until he was covered in dirt.  He kept his promise, taking a running start and sliding head first:

I missed his mud slide because my friend insisted we leave early.  He was afraid the crowd would trample me.  Next year I'm not leaving even one song early.  If my friends don't want to stay I'll catch a cab back to the hotel. 

The pictures are mine...the videos were found on YouTube. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Dedicated to my grandfather who served in World War II, my uncle who served in Vietnam, my brother whose years in the Special Forces took him on "training missions" to places he still won't or can't talk all who have answered their nation's call to duty...

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.
John McCrae 1915

I'm Such an Evil Mom (Warning: RANT)

I refuse to let my daughter miss school to get her driver's license (no, that is not mine or any other living person's real ID).  If she's sick, she needs to stay home.  If she's not sick, she needs to go to school.  I asked if they would be open the day after Thanksgiving when she doesn't have school. 

"It doesn't matter, I'll be with my father."

"Your father can't take you?"

"You're going to make him do that, too?  He paid for my driving lessons and is buying me a car. You make him do everything."

He paid a couple of hundred dollars for driving lessons.  Big deal.  I paid 2000 dollars for braces, 800 for cosmotology classes, 107 dollars for a letter jacket the school "awarded" her (the jacket was free but the patches cost 107 dollars), I'm spending my life savings to stay here and go to school instead of relocating to where the good jobs are so she doesn't have to move during her last 2 years of high school.  I don't do anything at all.

OK, that last one is for me almost as much as it is for her.  I need to get my degree.  But I would move to someplace less expensive if I didn't have to think of her, too. 

I think she should buy her own car.  I'll give her a bicycle to ride around town until she can afford one.  There are over a hundred miles of hike and bike trails here.  She wouldn't have to ride on the street.  The mall and half a dozen restaurants are within walking distance of our apartment so she doesn't even need a car or a bike.

I know she is only repeating what her father is telling her.  He likes to do things for us and then complain about how I don't appreciate him.  I didn't ask him to do anything.  He always wants something in return.  That is not generosity, that's an attempt to manipulate and control us.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Carb Loading

Six more days until the San Antonio Marathon and time to pull out the pasta cookbooks.  I'll be carb-loading all week.  Spinach lasagna roll-ups sound good.  I'll try that recipe tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

This is a week of rest.  I need to store energy for the race.  No workouts except ultra-easy no longer than 30 minutes, if that.  

My friend and I are going to walk the half marathon this time.  My knee did not allow me to train properly to be able to run and she had always planned to walk.  This is a rock 'n roll marathon with a live band every mile and a concert after.  The course will take us past the Alamo and other historic sites.  It should be a fun one.  I'll carry my camera since I won't be running.


Texas Forest Trail

On my way home from Louisiana, I stopped at the Texas tourist info center and picked up a bunch of travel guides and maps.  I usually plan trips to places like California or Hawaii.  I can't afford those right now, but there are a lot of places in Texas that I have never seen. 

Texas is divided into 10 regions.  I think I'll start with the Texas Forest Trail Region since it's at my front door.  There are 47 cities, 4 national forests, a national preserve, plus state forests and state parks.  It should keep me busy for awhile.

I just got an email from someone who read one of my articles on HubPages.  She is planning a visit to Big Lagoon State Park and had some questions.  I'm so excited that there are a few people actually reading and enjoying the work I started.  Maybe this could be a new series to write about but this time I'll take better notes and do it right.  I hear there are a few people who are actually earning income from the adds.  I have been told by several people that I should be a travel writer.  Maybe I'll post some more articles over there and see if I can make some money from them.       

I doubt I will ever attempt to monetize this blog.  I'd rather keep this one fun and write about whatever suits me instead of having to worry about what will generate income.    

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hit Me

Saturday, November 7

I went to my favorite casino this weekend, Coushatta Casino Resort.  They tend to frown upon people taking photographs in casinos, so I borrowed one from their website.  I'm not confident enough in my poker skills to play that yet.  I stuck with blackjack this time.  I left with 300 dollars more than I started, so even after paying for a hotel room I finished 200 dollars ahead.  I play for fun, so any time I didn't lose money I'm happy.  I've been known to win 500 dollars and give it back within the hour.  It's ok.  I had fun and it didn't cost me a dime.  Coushatta even comps my food, which is one reason why they are my favorite.   

There are some people that are far too serious about the game.  They get mad if they think other people aren't playing right.  They insist that blackjack is a team sport and people not playing right is messing up the cards.  I don't believe that.  I have won as much money at tables where no one knew how to play as I have at tables where everyone knew how to play.  I have also lost money at tables where everyone was playing by the book.  I  play my hand according to basic strategy and my winnings / losses go up and down but generally even out in the end.  It makes no difference who cut the cards, who sits where, or what the person before me did.       

It's sometimes people who don't know what they are talking about that complain the loudest.  In my opinion, if you're going to be upset if you lose your bet you shouldn't have put it on the table.  I will not be bullied by some idiot that wants to tell everyone how they should play. 


Friday, November 6, 2009

Today is a Gift

Skull Bracelet / Tibetan Art Collection / Bamboo Trading Company:  Click to enlarge to read the tag.

I found the bracelet on the Halloween table but bought it as a Christmas present for my daughter because she will wear it all year.  Then I read the tag and liked it so much that I bought one for myself, too.

"There may not be a tomorrow so do not squander the gift of today."  

My asthma attack last year gave me a reminder that I cannot take my health for granted.  For three months I was not able to speak in complete sentences.  I was only able to speak one or two words at a time without having to take a breath.  I had been running 6 miles at a time with my marathon training group, but could suddenly not even walk a quarter mile without having to stop and rest.

I've been trying to do as many of the things I said I wanted to do "someday", because none of us know if we will be here "someday".  

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Attendance Nazi

I received a call from the attendance office this morning. It seems I forgot to call when my daughter stayed home a few days ago. The school no longer accepts notes to excuse absences because too many kids forge them. Do they think it is more difficult to fake a call?

I hate the emphasis that is placed on perfect attendance. Instead of hiring someone to spend her days harassing parents of absent children, they should be encouraging students to stay home when they're sick. Have they not heard there is a nasty flu going around?

I always hated colleagues who bragged about never calling in sick, too. I would have preferred that they stayed home with their cooties instead of sharing them with the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something Rotten in Austin

Her car:

My car:

When I was in Austin for ACL Fest I barely tapped the right rear bumper of the car in front of me.  She told me she had already been rear-ended three times and was tired of people hitting her.  Someone needed to pay for the damage.  When I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures she stopped talking.  I thought she realized what I was doing and would let it go.  Apparently not.  I got a letter from my insurance company this morning concerning my claim.  

I would like to know if my car is white and hers is gold, why is there blue paint on the bumper?  The date of loss listed on the claim is September 28.  I was not even in Austin on September 28.  This happened on October 2. 

I should have to pay for the damage someone else did because I have insurance?  I don't think so.  The claim rep hasn't returned my call.  I'll try again in the morning.       

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Call Shotgun!

Lesson one:  The big guy has the right of way...

...and he's not required to use the crosswalk...or hurry...who's gonna volunteer to tell him to move?

(Yep.  More pictures from my visit to Yellowstone.)

My daughter gives me a daily countdown until she gets her driver's license.  "Eight more days until I get my license, Mom!"  I'm not sure I'm happy about her driving.  Sure, it would be convenient to send her to the store instead of running out to get that red folder she has to have for school tomorrow, but there are idiots out there.  I'm going to worry about her.

Fortunately, I drive a stick so she won't be wanting to borrow my car.  I told her I could teach her to drive one in 15 minutes, but she doesn't want to try.  Her father has promised to buy her a car with automatic transmission.  Hopefully, he also plans to buy the insurance.      

Monday, November 2, 2009

Breathing Easier

My asthma woke me up Friday and Saturday night.  I had coughing fits that I was sure woke everyone else, but no one said anything.     

I remember when I was first diagnosed, I never wanted anyone to see me using my inhaler.  I have to use it before I exercise, so if I was going with a group I would either use it in the car on the way or hide in a corner so no one could see.  If I had to use it at work because my chest was hurting, I would go to the restroom.  I was supposed to not only carry my inhaler at all times, but make sure people knew where it was.  I really didn't want to do that.  If I'm having an acute attack I can't always speak, though, so I have to.  If people don't know what's going on they freak out and start slapping me on my back which does not help. 

I bought a little drybag so I can bring my inhaler with me when I'm on or near the water.  It's a good thing, too, because I needed it during my kayaking class.  We had to flip our boat over and practice a wet exit.  As soon as I was upside down, I went into bronchial spasms.  When I came back up I was gasping for air and could not catch my breath.  The instructor had to flip my boat back over to get my inhaler, which was strapped inside.  I was embarassed because we were doing it one at a time and everyone was watching me. 

I absolutely hate showing any sign of weakness.  There are people in this world that will take advantage as soon as they catch the slightest hint.  So far no one has done that as a result of my asthma, though.  If I act like it's no big deal, so do they.     

I've been back on Symbicort for 4 days now, and I'm feeling much better.  Breathing is one of those things that you don't think about until you can't.  I don't think about it much when my asthma is under control and sometimes forget to use my inhaler.  I have set the alarm on my cell phone to remind me to take my meds and enrolled in the pharmacy's automatic refill program.      

San Antonio Missions Bicycle Tour

Sunday, November 1

No, you can't click to enlarge the ugly pic of me (front and center).  You can click to enlarge the rest of them, though. 

Sunday, we took a bicycle tour to some of the missions in San Antonio.  We saw the Alamo...


...and Mission San Jose, which resembles a castle:


Mission San Jose had an exhibit which told about daily life.  It said that the priest "gathered the native people and educated them".  Of course I had to open my mouth and say, "Enslaved them".  I have a hard time restraining myself sometimes...

I'm going to start packing my GPS on these trips so I can find my own way back if the people I'm riding with start running stop signs and red lights.  Not only is it not safe, but under Texas law we are vehicles subject to all traffic laws and we can get a ticket.  Fortunately, most of the other riders also refused to run them this time.    

Canyon Lake Gorge

Saturday, October 31

I could not post this on Saturday because I was out of town.  I know I'm not required to write every day; it's just something I like to do.

I spent the weekend in the Hill Country with Bayou City Outdoors.  The morning started with a visit to Wimberly Glassworks to watch a glass blowing demonstration.  This picture from the website shows some of the beatiful pieces they create.

They give free demonstrations Wednesday through Saturday.  There was a problem with the oven they use to bring the glass down slowly to room temperature so that it won't shatter from cooling too quickly.  He created a small drinking mug with a handle instead of something large and complicated because he said it costs 500 dollars an hour to keep his work studio up and running.  If he spent an hour making something large and lost it because the oven wasn't working properly, that would be a loss of 500 dollars. 

He showed us all the different tools and explained how and why they were used.  He even gave us a little history.  Did you know the Romans created glass in much the same way we do it now?  They used hollow metal rods similar to the one below:

Hot glass falls off unless the steel rod is continually rotated:

 Work in progress.  He repeatedly heated the glass in the furnace:

Here is a video from YouTube of the team creating a vase: 

After lunch, we went on a tour of Canyon Lake Gorge:


The gorge was created during a flood in July 2002 when water flowed over the spillway of Canyon Lake for approximately 6 weeks.  The flood killed 9 people, damaged or destroyed 48,000 homes, and caused 1 billion dollars in damages.  It also exposed dinosaur footprints...

...and fossils.  These look like seashells, but they were one-celled creatures:

These are fossils of sea creatures:

Below are tiny spiral-shaped fossils embedded in rock:


I was on my knees trying to get a good shot of the dinosaur prints when I turned my head and saw this guy's camera three inches from my face. 

He was shooting footage for an episode of Texas Parks and Wildlife to air on PBS in April.  He's doing a story on outdoor groups like us (Bayou City Outdoors).  It would probably be more likely that my ultra closeup be aired if I had granted him an interview.  He said he "wanted to talk to as many people as were willing to talk to him" and even said "please" as I was leaving.  There were a lot of people and I thought it would take a long time.   I should have stayed...but I was so hungry...and was a 3 hour hike.