Monday, December 30, 2013

Sprouts Farmers Market Discriminates!

Yeah, I am pretty upset by this. They just built a new Sprouts Market in town, and it has a lot of nice stuff.  I like liked it.  I like liked shopping for certain items there--the bulk foods section is good.

On their doors previously, was the standard TABC "Blue Sign" (required where alcohol is sold) stating it is a felony to carry a concealed weapon on the premises without a license.  A licensed CHL holder is not restricted by such a sign, as they possess the requisite LICENSE!

But just this week, Sprouts Farmers Market stores, headquartered in Arizona, decided it was necessary to post the signs necessary to restrict LAWFUL concealed carry on their premises. Why, I do not know.  Their customer service department said it was by the orders of the Board of Directors who apparently feel it is OK to DISCRIMINATE against citizens engaged in a lawful behavior.  In Texas, this was done by posting (properly no less) the "30-06" signs on all public entrances.  This sign prohibits lawful concealed carry.
McKinney TX Sprouts

I wonder if Sprouts knows this, about Texas CHL licensees?

A Texas Concealed Carry License Holder:
  •  has no felony convictions - lifetime
  • has no Class A or B misdemeanors within the last 5 years
  • has passed state and federal fingerprint and background checks
  • has no delinquent conduct within the last 10 years
  • is not delinquent in child support, student loans, or state/local taxes
How much to they know about their OTHER customers???

I have darkened their doorway for the last time.  There are other stores such as Whole Foods, or Central Market, Tom Thumb, or Krogers, which DO NOT DISCRIMINATE.  These stores have equivalent quality and selections, including the desired bulk foods.  Sprouts Farmers Market has lost another customer.

Please note folks--Sprouts is not changing any laws that I know of especially in Texas.  The law permits a business to post no-carry on their property.   It's a dumb decision on their part, IMHO, but it is not a flouting any law.

The other public entrance also posted.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dialect Quiz

From Midwest Chick, via Roberta....the dialect analysis quiz!

Mine came out remarkably accurate...kind of a fun thing.  Try it!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Days After...

Christmas day has come and gone.  I sit here in a cold room, sleeping husband behind me, children out in the main of the house, playing fairly quietly.

Much paper was shredded, and some pranks played with gifts, but it was all in good fun.  Sharp pointy things were given and received all 'round, the general theme being all things Spyderco...

Christmas dinner was not a major feast this year--only a home-smoked turkey breast and Abuela Foster's special Macaroni and Cheese (recipe below) that I made, plus a small green salad.   Still, it was all tasty, even if my timing of the courses was off.  The turkey took too long to smoke.

The children have yet to spend the gift cards they received from family and friends, though they are plotting madly what to buy!  I am plotting how to best take advantage of my new Frieling insulated French Press.  I've only made one pot of java in it so far, as I am still fine-tuning the amount of coffee needed, as it is a slightly smaller capacity than my old lexan press.  Reminds me, I need to roast more beans tomorrow!

Ah...the bliss of home roasted, fresh ground, French Pressed coffee!

Abuela Foster's Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

2 cups of dry large elbow pasta
2 cups of milk
1 cup of cottage cheese
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
Pinch of cumin
2 pinches of kosher salt
black pepper to taste
3 cups of shredded cheese, a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack
1/2 cup of grated cotija Mexican cheese
At least 4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped into half-inch pieces
1 tablespoon of butter

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking pan with the butter. Add the dry pasta.

In a blender, mix together the milk, cottage cheese, chili powder, mustard powder, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth.  Pour mixture over dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.

Stir in two cups of the shredded cheese, cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil and stir the macaroni and cheese a couple of times. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and chopped bacon and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or
until light brown and bubbling. Be sure to watch it, as it can go from light brown to burnt quick.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with the grated cotija and serve. Kroger and Fiesta supermarkets usually cotija cheese.

I made this in a big 9x13 pan, and doubled the amounts. It also took a lot longer to fully cook in the large pan.  Nobody complains if you use extra bacon, either.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Here at Casa Monkeywrangler, the gifts are wrapped, the stockings mostly stuffed, the pumpkin bread is baking, the Monkeys are discovering how slowly time passes on Christmas Eve, and the dogs are sleeping as usual.

Tonight DH will finish the annual reading of A Christmas Carol, by Dickens, and we will watch the Alastair Sim version on DVD (it's really the only version worth the time and money to buy).  That's become a tradition here.

We wish you all, the blessings of Christmas.  May you enjoy your time with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas Past

By the time this Christmas comes, I shall have been on this dirtball for half a's sometimes hard to grasp that, I think.  I don't 'feel' that old, and I don't think I look quite that old.  It seems like only yesterday I was a kid,  I guess I still am, at heart.

I remember pieces of Christmas past, many of them.  The rarity of a white Christmas in Kansas, or even more rare, in Texas.  A couple years ago, a winter storm stalled out right on top of DFW.  We were supposed to only get 1-3" white fluffy, but in reality it was between 10-14".  That, in the land of limited snow removal equipment!  It was awesome!

It brought back fond memories of all the snows in Kansas as a kid--often more sleet and snow mix, but that just made for even better sledding, as the sleet would solidify into a hard sheet of ice.  You could really FLY downhill on campus, there below the Campanile, and Potters Pond.  I once broke a runner-sled, I caught so much air on the downhill run!  Or of the crazy stupid stuff we did as kids, sledding through the trackless woods, I still don't know how we managed to always avoid serious injury crashing into the trees.  But we did...oh the invincibility of youth!

I always loved putting the tree up, but my secret favorite is the outdoor Christmas lights.  I suppose that's why those dumb Chevy Chase movies struck a chord with me...I must be a Griswold at heart!  I wish I was more creative in putting out our lights.  I wish they made better quality (durability) lights these days--even the LED lights don't last long.

I remember one year, as a young adult/late teen, still enamored of checking out the packages as they appeared under the tree.  There appeared a larger box, fairly heavy and not noisy at all.  It said on the label, to Mom, love Dad.  I would've shrugged and ignored it from then on--it wasn't mine after all!  Until, as I was handing out presents on Christmas morn, I handed that to Mom, and she laughed, telling me to read the label again!  Those sneaky buggers!  They had relabeled it with my name the night before!  IIRC, it was a VHS player, and it was used for a great many years.  In fact it may still be on our current TV stand, though not used any more, having been replaced by a more reliable DVR system.

As a child I was an inveterate package shaker, and probably could have gotten a job with a TLA as a Crate-ologist!  I was good, back then, at deciphering box contents based on size, shape, weight, and noise levels.  One year I recall cheating.  I finally figured out how to lift the scotch tape without tearing the paper underneath, and just HAD to know what some of my gifts were.... You guessed it, that act ruined the surprise and joy of the day, and I don't even remember what the gifts were, that I had to sneak a peek at.  It was one of those steps in life, where you finally do begin to learn it is better for the soul to give than to receive.

Setting out cookies and milk for Mom and Dad, oops, I mean Santa.  (MonkeyBoy suggested a glass of American Honey liqueur for Santa this year!)  As a kid, taking time the night before, with my Dad, to get the fireplace ready for a rare fire (the older I got, the more rare the fire for some reason).  Rolling up the scrap newspapers, and tying them in knots for kindling, and picking the split logs to be sure it all caught nicely the next day.  The excitement of seeing the overflowing stockings the next morning...there was always an orange in the toe of the stocking, and some mixed nuts in shell.  Sitting on the hearth, my back to the hot fire, warming myself up.

I'm trying to give our kids some traditions around Christmas.  We are trying to make sure the kids know the true meaning of Christmas, not the retail-reality.  Like me, one Monkey is an early Christmas Present (birthday just before Christmas) and it makes it a little harder when all your gifts come in one week, where the other two are summer children, and get half their stuff then.  So with birthdays, each birthday-child gives the other two a small gift, so that they learn to give, not just receive, and also to make it a little easier on the December child.

This year the Monkeys decorated the tree.  I guess they really are growing up...the tree looks super, and has all our special family ornaments on it, as well as a bunch of little homemade ones the kids have produced over the years.  We have also received from a dear friend, a Christmas village.  I love it!  My Aunt Max had a huge collection of Christmas village pieces, and I helped her set it up one year, and loved the whole concept.  Our friend, in cleaning out his house, gave us his village pieces.  I just need to get some cotton batting to put down as snow....and a larger table!

One silly tradition we have is the Christmas Jayhawk.  Yes, I am a Jayhawk by birth, Texan by the grace of God.  I got from my mom years ago, a small Jayhawk cross stitch ornament.  If you squeeze it just right, the mouth opens, and you can stick a note or a piece of candy in it.  For the kids, if they behave, the Jayhawk will leave one child a piece of candy on their particular December days (every 3rd day here), and he also likes to hide on the tree, moving every night.

In years past, my early riser son would get up, find the Jayhawk, and eat the candy, even if it wasn't his specific day!  This resulted in the forfeiture of his next candy day, and the expected wailing and whining.  This year, as they couldn't decide in what order they should receive their Jayhawk-days, the Jayhawk was generous, and has been giving treats to all 3 of them daily, except when they misbehave.  They're old enough now to have figured out the Jayhawk's secret, but it was fun while it lasted, maintaining the illusion of magic.  I suspect I will need to figure out how to make two more Jayhawk ornaments they each will have one to take with them when they are all grown up.

I can understand why some folks have a harder time emotionally at Christmas.  Sometimes, death casts its pall over the holidays, making for a far more somber occasion than is the norm.  Other times illness in a family causes strain.  Sometimes it is even THE family that causes the strain for some folks.  We have been blessed, in that it is only the first two, which have darkened our doorsteps here at the casa.  You may think it strange for me to say we have been blessed, but I don't.  Death brings family together, who are often far-flung these days.  It brings remembrance, and introspection, and if you are fortunate, a willingness and desire to fix flaws in your own life, to honor and remember those now gone from our daily lives.

Illness, chronic or acute, grinds you down, daily wearing thin the social niceties one expects to see.  The hard part is the struggle to get back to 'normal', but at least there is a chance to fight for normality.  Remembering, that there are tests in life, and this will merely be one of them.  Trusting in God's purposes in one's life helps, I find, especially when I cannot fix what is wrong, but can only offer support.  I need to work on remembering that I choose how I feel each day, choose how I react to others actions, making a conscious effort to keep in mind the commandment given to us in John 13:34-35.

For Christmas is the remembrance of the greatest love.  A birth in the season of winter-death.  And hidden on the Christmas tree, is a reminder of that other tree, one on which the Son gave up his life, that we might gain ours.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Monkey Christmas Carol

Yes, some of you may have seen this before, but 'tis the Season, and I fixed the rhyme on the last verse.  Ha!  (you know the tune already...)

No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
The children are still fighting!
They fight when summer days are bright,
They fight when winter snow is white.
No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
The children are still fighting!

No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
No Christmas Tree or presents!
How oft at Christmas tide they whine,
O Lord, I need a drink of wine!
No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
No Christmas Tree or presents!

No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
Forever children squabbling.
Your voices shout in the daytime.
I’m going deaf, by night time.
No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree
No Christmas Tree or presents!

No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
Another mess they made today..
Pushed my last button, they have done,
I need a cave, away to run.
No Christmas Tree, No Christmas Tree,
No Christmas Tree or presents!

That is all for now.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Random 5 Friday 12/13/13

Well, I had this post started Tuesday night, but Blogger ate it.  Yep, vanished into the IntarWebz.  :(  So, starting over, I will be linking up via comments, with whichever of y'all wants to post their link in the comments here.  Nancy at A Rural Journal is taking a blogging break, so no linkup there.

1.  We have enjoyed playing lumberjack this past weekend, helping our neighbors out with their downed trees and limbs.  The Stihl 16" chainsaw ran, well, like a Stihl!  And the Monkeys were awesome!  They really stepped up and helped haul limbs and branches (even for us!).  DH and I are proud of them.

2.  With all the ice, it hasn't been safe to walk the dogs.  Shiloh has been keeping me up all hours of the night, wanting covered up, or out, or both.  Finally last night I got some decent sleep as the Monkeys woke up to take care of her.

3.  Between last Saturday's nasty migraine (complete with puking), and the lack of sleep, the lung crud is making a resurgence.  I don't feel as bad as I usually do with it though, so perhaps I can actually kill it myself this time, and skip a trip to the doc for antibiotics.

4.  With all the limbs to be collected by the city, we have had to pile them on the curb.  These walls of limbs promptly got named Zombie Walls!  The Monkeys loved it.  I think we need more/bigger walls if the zombies are coming...
Zombie Walls
5.  Most of my shopping is done, except for things like stocking stuffers, I think...  I hope everyone else out there is well set and well stocked for the coming winter--it starts a week from this Sunday, after all!  I had wanted to ride 50 miles that day, on the bike, but I don't know if I have it in the legs this time around.  I have been so long off the bike this fall.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Icepocalypse, or Icemageddon 2013?

Well we did not dodge this ice storm.  While the ice and sleet are beautiful in a Narnian winter way, the damage being wrought upon the vegetation is not.  My Globe Willow is shattered.  I am unsurprised, since it is a soft wooded tree, and still had a lot of leaves to catch and hold the ice.  Still, it does/did provide much needed shade in the back yard in summer.  Depending on the total damage to it, we may have to cut it all down.

The oak out front has fared better, being a hardwood, but since it has not yet shed the majority of its leaves either, it has lost limbs too.  DH went out at 4am today to beat ice off the lower limbs with his pole saw extensions.  It at least has saved some of the limbs.  The issue later will be how to remove the broken ones high up in the tree.  They are 2-4" diameter branches, and far too high up for us to climb after.  DH says there will be a lot of chainsaw work to do this weekend, which by the way is still calling for more freezing rain for the Metromess.  It looks like a good quarter inch of sheet ice.  I guess we should be happy the other 2" fell as sleet and did not do damage.

The oak--the damage is hard to see.
Our neighbor had his Bradford Pear explode, whilst the Monkeys were playing out front in our yard.  They said it sounded like a gunshot.
The tree on the right is about to die...

And now it is gone...It was pretty before it shattered.

Total loss.

Still there is great beauty out in the ice.  Fantastic forms, bent low under the weight of mere water.  Icicles form, on almost anything that holds still long enough.
In the eye of the beholder...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I felt it coming on last night...the headcold that inevitably ends up in a chest infection for me, along with a cough that tends to last for months if it gets settled in real good.  Monkey3 started the whole affair, being sick a week and a half ago.  She got better.  She shared this evil vileness (virus) with her sister, Monkey1, who saw fit to share it with yours truly.  Joy to the world, and all that...

With a boatload of OTC meds on board last night I managed to sleep well enough, but today is not going well.  There's the low grade grinding headache.  There's the ever-present sinus drainage, which I know is just dyin' to set up shop in my lungs.  There's the swollen lymph nodes under the jaw...and the partially obstructed eustachian tubes, so my ears don't want to stay equalized.

Oh to add insult to this cold, the weather is supposed to get ugly again starting late tonight/tomorrow, with a massive wet cold front booming in from Canada.  Current long range forecasts guesses are for up to half an inch of ice accumulation by Friday night or Saturday morning.
cloudy Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the lower 70s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
nt_cloudy Mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of rain after midnight. Lows in the upper 30s. North winds 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Gusts up to 30 mph.
rain Cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning...then rain or light freezing rain likely in the afternoon. Much colder. Temperatures steady in the upper 30s. North winds 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Thursday Night
nt_rain Rain and light freezing rain likely in the evening...then light freezing rain after midnight. Colder. Ice accumulation around three tenths of an inch. Lows in the upper 20s. North winds 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 90 percent. Wind chill readings as low as 17 to 22.
rain Cloudy. A chance of light freezing rain or light sleet or rain likely in the morning...then a slight chance of light freezing rain and light sleet in the afternoon. Colder. Ice accumulation around two tenths of an inch. Highs in the upper 20s. North winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent. Wind chill readings as low as 11 to 16.
Friday Night
nt_cloudy Mostly cloudy. Lows around 20.
Saturday and Saturday Night
nt_cloudy Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of light freezing rain and light sleet. Highs in the upper 20s. Lows in the mid 20s.
cloudy Mostly cloudy with a chance of light freezing rain and light sleet in the morning...then partly sunny with a slight chance of rain and light sleet in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.

Last time, they guessed wrong and we didn't get the ice as it was a degree too warm.  I don't know if we will be so lucky this go-round.  If we do get the ice badly, it's going to mean DH and friend can't get to the Larue/Aimpoint event this weekend, and the Monkeys and I cannot make it to the Santa Paws/dog adoption events.  I really hate leaving my friends in the lurch for the adoption--we were excited to be going, and they were counting on us to help manage the hounds for the adoption side of the event.

DH says he will spend the weekend/evenings in the garage working on stuff.  I suspect I will crash early and try to sleep this thing off.  Meanwhile, since Barkley is getting such good face-time on his driver Brigid's blog, I thought I would leave y'all with a recent picture of my new dishwasher.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

FYI: Reloading Heads-up on 9mm

Just an FYI to any reloaders out there.  Seems S&B  (Sellier & Bellot) has a run of brass-washed steel case 9mm Luger out there in the "wild".  You can't tell it from regular full brass casings without a magnet.  The headstamps I have seen and sorted out are S&B 9x19 Luger 08 (or 09) codes.  All have the red primer sealant.

If you pick up range brass I highly recommend you run a strong magnet over your brass gleanings to pull out any steel casings.  While I have heard that you can reload steelcase, I believe there can be issues with the crimp, which may increase the risk of bullet setback.  That could result in a serious negative-happy experience at the range!  It's not worth the risk to me, so into the steel recycling bucket they all go!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On being thankful

In this season of Fall, and harvest time, that we are led to count our blessings.  I have been watched over, loved and protected--far more than I deserve.  I have been blessed to grow up and live in what my former professor and friend, Dr F. Moos, once called the "Least-worst country on Earth."  The older I get, the more sense that makes to me.

I am blessed to have good health for myself, my mom, my husband and my children.  I am blessed to have my partner in life, DH, as my husband.  He is a source of strength and stability for me.  I am blessed to have known my in-laws, and counted them as my own family, loved and beloved.  I am blessed by my extended family on both sides.

I am blessed to live in Texas, a vast bastion of common sense standing strong against the general lunacy and stupidity threatening to overwhelm us all.  I am blessed to witness God's actions in confounding His enemies, here at least, if not yet abroad.  I pray His grace and blessings continue for we need them.

I am thankful we were missed by the big winter storm this weekend.  It looks like other folks were not so fortunate.  Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

I am thankful for our face-to-face friends, both here and in other states.  And for my friends in the blogger-verse, for friends are the spice of life.

I am thankful for DH's continued good employment.  There are times it has brought some small amusement into our lives, and other times it left us scratching our heads wondering what on earth they were thinking, but you know, it beats the alternative!

I find myself thoughtful, on approaching the end of my first half century here.  I don't feel old...well ok, sometimes the aches and pains make the body feel its mileage, but not the mind.  It's been a good run, so far, and I am hoping for a good second half!

Monday, November 25, 2013

What a difference 1 degree makes!

Apparently NTX stayed about 1 degree warmer than expected, and we dodged a major storm because of it.  By 08:30hrs, all we had to show was light icing on the taller plants and trees.  What ice there was, made for some of nature's beauty.  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Metromess will soon merit it's nickname...

chancerain A chance of rain or light sleet in the morning...then rain or light sleet in the afternoon. Little or no sleet accumulation. Highs in the upper 30s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.
nt_snow Cloudy. A chance of light freezing rain or light sleet or snow in the evening...then light sleet or light freezing rain and snow likely after midnight. Snow and sleet accumulation around 1 inch. Ice accumulation of up to two tenths of an inch. Lows in the upper 20s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
chancesnow Light freezing rain or light sleet in the morning... then rain likely or a chance of snow in the afternoon. Snow and sleet accumulation up to 1 inch. Total snow accumulation 1 to 2 inches. Ice accumulation of up to one tenth of an inch. Highs in the mid 30s. Northeast winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.
Monday Night
nt_chancesnow Cloudy. A chance of snow in the evening...then a slight chance of snow after midnight. Lows around 30. North winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 50 percent. 

 For those of you who deal with this sort of weather on an annual basis, or worse, this may be amusing to you.  But for Southerners, this means chaos Monday, a fair bit of property destruction, and a higher than usual potential for death on the roads.  We have the bare minimum of snow/ice removal and treatment equipment in the cities here.  Honestly we hardly ever need it.  Snow rarely lasts more than 24-48hrs on the ground...but ice?  YUCK!  If the city can't salt it or sand it, the entire Metromess pretty well shuts down until it all melts.  The weather was bad enough here yesterday that we decided discretion was the better part of valor, and skipped the bike ride.  The drizzle started at 9am, and got worse throughout the morning, combined with 10-15mph winds from the north, and air temps in the mid 30's.  We just didn't want to fall or get hypothermic or instigate the lung crud for the we went to the Funshow instead, and had Rudy's bacon, egg, cheese breakfast burritos for breakfast, and Rudy's BBQ sandwiches for lunch!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cycling gear review: Pearl Izumi Drop Tail tights

Due to certain biological, ahem, differences, women tend to get treated as second class consumers when it comes to bib shorts and tights.  Men don't have an issue with bibs during most bio-breaks, but for women it means getting nekkid essentially, unless one wears the jersey under the bibs.  This option is uncomfortable and deprives the cyclist of access to jersey pockets.  And let's face it, bibs are more comfortable.

Enter Pearl Izumi (PI)...they, among a limited number of manufacturers, actually make a superb set of women's specific bib shorts and bib tights.  I actually own a set of bib shorts and bib tights with the drop tail, but have only seen and read about the other brands.  One uses zippers, and another a buckle that is sort of in the middle of your back...not too comfortable for us recumbent bike riders, eh? 

PI uses a simple system where the back half of the waist isn't sewn to the upper.  The upper hangs down, like a shirt tail and you just tuck it in, on the back side.  Simple, easy, smooth...and bio-breaks are like pulling down a pair of shorts, that stays up in front.
The tights are the thermal kind, meaning cool weather use.  They are lightly fleeced inside, with the spandex outer.  They are warm but breath well so you don't overheat or get soaked in sweat.  Some of the tights are chamois-free, like mine (not needed on recumbent really), while other models from PI have chamois pads. The tights have reflective sections on the legs, and long ankle zips, to facilitate removing them with your bike shoes still on.  The tights upper half isn't really bibs, it's more like a sleeveless body suit, that has a half length zipper.  The thermal lining on the upper is especially nice as I seem to get cold easier on the bike than I used to.

I really like the PI drop tail gear.  It is well thought out, and well made.  It's NOT just recycled men's gear with a different chamois pad in it.  My only gripe is the retail price is so high I can only afford them from eBay or perhaps I should start making a monthly pilgrimage to the Pearl Izumi outlet store in Ft. Worth.

Friday, November 22, 2013

R5F 11/22/13

Yet another week has flown by this year, and year's end draws closer still.  Feel free to post your R5F links in the comments here, and be sure to visit A Rural Journal too to share your Random 5 with nancy and the rest of the crew!

1.  Fall colors finally got to north Texas.  Yellow is the dominant color, followed by browns, with the few reds being provided by photinia shrubs and Bradford Pears in the subdivisions.

2.  This upcoming Thanksgiving, has me pondering those things I am thankful for--those blessings oft not acknowledged unless one is prompted to think on them.  I suspect there will be a post next week on blessings received.

3.  My Monkeys are pondering an interest in sewing things.  Monkey3 wanted a pillow of her own, raided my fabric supplies, and with me showing her how things worked, helped me cut, piece and sew up her pillow.  Mostly she ran the "throttle" on the sewing machine whilst I steered...  Now Monkey 2 wants one of his own too.
4.   Living in DFW it is hard this month to avoid all the JFK-orabelia going on.  I don't think there is any good reason to sanctify JFK, though due to an accident of birth, I have always been interested in what happened here, back 50 years ago now.

5.  We have a ride scheduled for tomorrow.  It's going to be COLD!  The high temp of the day is only supposed to be 40F and the winds 15-30mph from the north.  Oh and the chance of rain...Neither of us is probably good for more than 40 miles, but the ride is set for 60.  I hope we make it!  I hope we don't freeze!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The colors of the Fall...Pink Purple

The colors of Fall, in north Texas.
Pink, purple, green and teal!
The carpet of yellow.
Photinia and Bradford Pear add a hint of red.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My sign, what is yours?

The Monkeys put a freebie calendar up on my kitchen wall.  This is the thought for November...silly, I know, but somehow it helps.  Provided that I don't actually EAT dessert!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 1863

We had just finished reading Freedom Train, the story of Harriet Tubman, when my son said, " Gettysburg?  Was that where the Gettysburg Address came from?"  After explaining, I read him perhaps the greatest speech yet written, surely the greatest ever written in this country.  From 150 years ago this day...

Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg
Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Random 5 Friday 11/15/13

It's been an decent week, but somehow lacking inspiration for R5F this week.  I think there may be a thoughtful post trying to work its way to the front of my mind, but it isn't here yet...

1.  The weather has taken a turn for the chilly, and we had our first freeze Tuesday night.  Die mosquitos! Die fire ants!  Die, die, die!!

2.  The colder weather makes it more difficult to finish painting the exterior of the house.  DH did get up on the roof the other day to paint the chimney housing.  Now I have to figure out how to paint under-around-through-over the photinia hedge on the north side.  Blech!  I say just chainsaw the whole thing down!

3.  My kids are discovering the OLD Star Trek series movies.  I remember waiting in line to see Star Trek:  The Motion Picture.  I remember the flyby sequence early in the film, where we saw the Enterprise for the first time, since the TV series was cancelled, the crowd cheering...and the utter disappointment at the crappy recycled plot they chose for the film.  The Monkeys are all fans of ST: TNG...and have never seen the original TV shows.

4. We finished reading Freedom Train:  The Story of Harriet Tubman this week for school.   Her story touched me far more than I had expected.  I think I would have liked to have met her, given the chance.

5. My exercise regimen has slipped more this fall, I am sad to report.  I am sleeping better these nights, which is good, but feel like I am slipping into hibernation mode.  I want and need to get out and get active, but it hasn't been happening.  The chill and the dark are taking their toll.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Putting down roots...

Back last month, Mom and her neighbor gifted us with a bag of Oriental Iris corms and mutant daffodils.  I love iris, and the daffodils are always pretty, even if these are probably no longer yellow (mutant bulbs that cross pollinated with a different variety).  My biggest problem is finding a place to plant them all.  Monkey3 and I  put a batch of the iris out front, while the other two Monkeys planted their irises in the back yard somewhere...?  Then #3 and I set to work on the daffodils, filling up a small ex-planter area, and interspersing more around the sage and cherry bush.  If it works, and they all come up in Spring and flower, it should look nice.

If....ya know, about the only things guaranteed to live in Texas soil are dandelions and fire ants!  Still, should things planted live long and prosper, I will have pictures this Spring to share.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not Forgotten

To all our veterans out there, in this country, and in the Commonwealth, thank you.  Your service, and your sacrifices will not be forgotten.  I am teaching my children to remember.

And for the dead, from the first World War, and all the countless wars and insurrections since...I remember the little paper poppies, that the old men on the street downtown, would give you for a donation on this remember the dead, in Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
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.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Late Random 5 Friday post 11/08/13

My R5F post for today will be going up late, since my gear review was so delayed.

1.  My exercise and weight loss/maintenance has slacked off this summer and fall, and I am feeling it.  I need to get back into portion control, and to get out on the bike or walking the dogs more.

2.  DH and I got Jawbone UP bands recently to try to see if it might help us maintain our fitness goals.  So far it is interesting, especially to see the sleep data it logs.  I'd sleep better if Shiloh would quit wanting out in the middle of the night to hunt rats...

3.  We had a good weekend this past one, spending time out at the dog rescue ranch.  They had a special event there on Sunday, and we went out early to help with set up on Saturday.  I got to talk with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars) and his wife, about his recent  revolutionary double knee replacement surgery.  They have a lovely adopted Ridgeback named Scout.

4.  The recent time change has also left me more tired than expected, even accounting for Shiloh's antics at night.  I guess I just need to get out and ride anyway.

5.  I did finally get back on my Giro last night, mostly for a test ride to make sure the bike wasn't concealing any damage from the crash.  Turns out the bars are slightly bent, but it's more esthetics than a concern.  The bike rode and handled fine.  I did ok in the traffic--not too spooked.  I've since added a Fibre Flare light to the bike frame, and a "hazard triangle" reflector to the back of the bike.  It can't hurt, after all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cycling Gear Review - Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket

As previously promised, I will be commenting on my recently acquired Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket.  This convertible jacket is designed for cyclists primarily, but works well for runners too.  By convertible, they mean you can remove the sleeves and wear it just as a vest.

The best thing about Pearl Izumi gear is quality.  They really do make quality, durable gear for the athletically minded among us.  Most of their gear is aimed at cyclists, triathletes, and runners, so it tends to cross over between sports well.   Their products are typically well designed.  Pockets are well placed, reflective accents added, quality zippers used, and high-tech fabrics  too.

The worst thing about PI gear is the fit, if you are not one who fits their dimensional models.  I probably fit a women's XL in this jacket, but I will never know, since I could never find one to try on for the fit!  So I resorted to trying on the men's version.  I don't typically have an issue wearing men's sizes.  A Large is generally ample enough in the chest to accommodate me, and narrow enough in the waist and hips not to be too baggy.  The problem is apparently I lack the male Ape-Hanger Arms necessary to adequately fit the PI men's model...the newest version of this jacket in Large, has the sleeves overhanging my outstretched fingertips!  In a Medium, the torso is a bit snug in all the wrong places, though the sleeves are usable.

Eventually I opted to go with the size Large, on a closeout on ebay, figuring I could just cut the sleeves down to fit.  Lucky me!  The closeouts were an earlier model year, and the sleeves are shorter than the current edition!  It also cost less than half the original retail amount, which made it even better.

What arrived was a very thin, light weight screaming Headache Yellow (like my helmet!) jacket.  The sleeves zip off, with little velcro bits in back to hold the caped shoulders down to the vest.  With the sleeves off, you are left with the vest, with 3 pockets, one in back and two hand pockets in front, all with zip closures.  The  upper back of the vest is a black mesh to allow for better ventilation, so you don't sweat inside it.

It is water resistant (not water proof), and wind resistant, moreso than a traditional nylon windbreaker.  It weighs next to nothing, and compresses down small enough to stuff in a jersey pocket or in my case, into the huge rear seat bag I have on the Giro.  The sleeves remove easily, and also go back on equally easily--a nice feature, since on other brands of similar gear, the zippers are a normal point of failure.

Turns out the fabric is pretty tough too.  This was the vest portion I was wearing 2 weeks ago when I got run off the road and crashed off the edge of the road.  It got a little grubby from the sliding stop, but no frays or pilling or damage to the fabric.  The dirt and grass stains washed right out.

So if you are looking for a nice, convertible jacket, be sure to check out what PI has to offer.  I suspect you will not be disappointed!