Jul 31, 2008

I Did It!

Okay, so I did it. Yesterday afternoon I registered for the U.S. Women's Triathlon Series Sprint race. After my swim yesterday morning, I decided I knew I could do it. My total workout yesterday morning was twice as far as I need to swim for the race. And I wasn't dying when I finished. I swam a total of 35 laps which is 1750 yards or 1600.2 meters or for those of you who can't imagine that, .99 of a mile. The best part is for my main set I swam 10 laps straight, took a 45 second break and then swam 10 more laps. That alone was 4 more laps than the race length. The lifeguard even asked me when I finished the first set of 10 laps how many laps I had swam. Since they rotate every 20 minutes, she came in while I was in the middle of swimming and had no clue how many I had already done. I assume lifeguards are good swimmers and can swim for long distances, so I was impressed with myself that she was impressed. I'm probably making a wrong assumption about lifeguards, but I'm sure they have to be able to swim a lot. So my goal is to do the same workout tomorrow morning. Then next week I'm going to start trying to swim the 16.4 laps, which is the length of the race, straight through. That way I know I'll be able to do it and then I'll start working on swimming it faster. Riding my bike to the pool will also help my body get used to the feeling of jumping on a bike after the swim to help me get ready for the transition from the swim leg of the race to the bike leg of the race. I'm excited and nervous. Roger has suggested he rent a kayak while I swim Town Lake so I can get some experience swimming in open water. Of course I think it's a good idea, but I also need to start riding my bike regularly. We didn't get to ride this weekend since he had to work all weekend. I hope we'll get in one ride this weekend.

Jul 26, 2008

How To Cook A Snake

No, we did not catch the snake and are not going to cook it... but on my Google home page I have the "How to of the Day" widget set up. And there are always interesting daily how to's. But it's just hilarious to me that a recent how to of the day was "How to cook a snake." Are you kidding me?! First of all, the timing is unbelievable. And second, what the heck?! How to cook a snake? Are they serious? Do they think a bunch of rednecks, hillbillies and hicks read articles on the internet to better themselves with wisdom and knowledge on topics such as culinary science! I can only imagine who submitted this one. I've seen some interesting how to's before, like how to fireproof your pants with a warning to not play with fire (How do you test it then?), but this one takes the cake, or snake I should say.

I'll end with Amanda's take on our snake situation with her rendition of a scene from Forest Gump:

"snake salad, snake gumbo, grilled snake, snake kabobs, roasted snake, snake on a stick, bbq snake, stir fried snake, snake fried rice, snake ice cream, snake cake, snake pie, snake soup, snake burgers, smothered snake, chicken fried snake, salisbury snake, snake n shake, snake fajitas, snake n eggs, snake burrito..."

Jul 25, 2008

"Last Lecture" Professor Dies

It was sad to learn today that the famous "Last Lecture" professor, Randy Pausch died today. You can see the video of his lecture on YouTube. We can all learn a lot from his lecture and be entertained at the same time. It's full of wisdom and funny also. What a great man he was.

Well Hello Dolly

Dolly gave us a little rainfall after all yesterday afternoon. Not as much as we'd like since the chance of rain for today has all but disappeared. With our highs in the 95-100 degree range, that little rain we got yesterday will be evaporated by tonight. The rain gauge in our back yard only shows a quarter of an inch of rain. But at least I don't have to water my yard one day this week. We have been in water restrictions all summer and can only water our yards two days a week on designated days only during designated times. Our days are Sunday and Thursday after 7:oo p.m. And it rained on our day which makes it even better.

I had a great swim this morning. I have been thinking about doing a full sprint triathlon at the end of September. Full sprint triathlons are 750m swim, 16.9K bike and 5K run. Just the swim alone scared me. 750 meters is .47 of a mile. Almost half a mile in open water with no lane ropes, no visibility, no transitions, no push-offs, no water breaks and no resting. Straight swimming for half a mile. That's 820 yards which means 32.8 links or 16.4 laps in the 25 yard pool in which I swim. Yikes! Then you get to ride 10.5 miles on a bike and run 3.1 miles.

But this morning, after doing my usual warm-up and drill set and the first 8 minutes of my main set, I decided I would see how long I could swim without stopping. And I was amazed at how long I swam, unfortunately I lost count of my laps. I seriously need an abacus. I got into a sweet pace that I think would be great for a race. Not too fast, but not too slow. I wasn't even exhausted when I stopped. I only stopped because I wondered how long I had been swimming since I lost count of the laps. So I decided to try it again and I did. I really felt like I could keep swimming at that pace forever. Now I think I could do a full sprint triathlon if I keep this training up. Just swim until I can't swim anymore.

I need to add cycling to my regular exercise and I'm hoping Roger will join me for that. I also need to start drinking more sport drinks to replace the electrolytes I am losing if I increase to this much exercise. I drink a lot of water because I need it but with that much exercise I will just flush out more sodium I'm already losing during exercise which isn't a good thing. You need a good balance of water and electrolytes in your blood, especially with lots of activity. Going to go add that to my grocery list now.

Jul 24, 2008

Waiting on Dolly

Well, Tropical Storm Dolly hit land yesterday afternoon on the coast of Texas around South Padre Island and is working it's way up the Rio Grande. It has made it to Laredo according to the news. I read it was a category 2 when it hit land and is the worst storm to hit that part of the Texas coast since the 1950s. They have been evacuating the coastal areas for a couple days. One report said an area north of Brownsville got 10 inches of rain. We, on the other hand, have received no rain so far. And when I say we, I mean our area of South Austin, our neighborhood, our street, our house. Other areas around us have received rain, but not us. Even Roger's work got a downpour yesterday afternoon and he assumed we also did here at home, but no. The chances of rain are higher today although the day is almost half way over and we haven't had any rain yet. The skies have been gray since yesterday afternoon. We are really hoping to get some rain from this tropical storm. For the rest of us in Central Texas, tropical storms and hurricanes are the only way we get any precipitation during the summer. And we need it bad.

Jul 19, 2008

Change Of Heart

Roger and I went on a little date last night. We started at the Texas History Museum for a free concert by Ray Wylie Hubbard. It was a lot of fun. Ray Wylie Hubbard is a Texas legend, very entertaining and hilarious. I had to use the digital zoom on my tiny camera to get a close up of Ray while he performed so my pictures aren't great. We'll definitely be going back in two weeks for the Austin Knights Brass Band. I'd love to go next Friday for El Tule but I don't think I could drag Roger out there again. Then we headed over to the new 2nd Street District downtown to find a spot for dinner. We decided on Taverna. It was great. We highly recommend this restaurant. Our waiter Scott was great, the food was delicious and our wine paired with every course perfectly. The best part of the night was the end with their homemade tiramisu and Roger loved their espresso.

So I don't know if it's all this snake talk lately or the wine from dinner, but I had a creepy dream last night about snakes and frogs. And as more snakes and frogs appeared in the dream, they were bigger and fatter and creepier, if that's a word. It woke me up before 4:00 a.m. and I couldn't go back to sleep for a while. All I could think about was creepy snakes and gross frogs. I like both animals but this dream creeped me out. I kept thinking of creepier scenarios like does having one snake in your yard invite more snakes. I walk around a lot bare footed and the thought of stepping on snakes freaked me out. So I decided at 4:oo a.m. that snake on our back patio had to go.

Jul 17, 2008

Sneaky Snake

Well, we finally got a good look at and a few pictures of the snake tonight. And we were able to find out what kind of snake he/she is, a Thamnophis marcianus also known as a Checkered Garter snake. Sweet! He was just hanging out between the house foundation and the patio waiting for bugs or geckos. He laid there while we took the pictures. I so wanted to try to grab him, but I'm glad I didn't after I read one of their defenses is to secrete feces which smells horrendous and takes a while to get rid of. Yucky! Maybe I'll try to trap him and keep him for a pet. Just joking! One website we read said it was an all around good snake to have in your yard. As long as I don't step on him accidentally walking out the back door, he can hang around as long as he likes. Until we put our house on the market in the future. Then I'll have to trap him and send him out to the country. I hope he ventures out to my back flower beds and eats some of those mice I've been seeing from our lazy neighbor's yard.

Jul 16, 2008

MRI Results

Sorry this is so late, but we had good intentions of posting this last week. Obviously we got distracted and forgot. Roger received the official results from his radiation-oncologist at BAMC last week that the MRI looked good, pretty much the same as the others. And they are going to switch him to every six months so his next MRI will be at the beginning of next year. Great news when you can go from an MRI every 3-4 months to every 6 months. Thanks for all your prayers! God bless.

Jul 15, 2008

Snake Farm

Well, I called it correctly. The snake we saw on the back patio is feeding and getting bigger. I found his entire skin that was shed to allow for growth right at the back door where we saw him squeeze between the house foundation and the patio concrete. So I guess we'll probably be seeing more of the snake but less of all those geckos. I took a few pictures of it and measured it. It was two feet but probably a little longer since I could not stretch it out without breaking it. But it still didn't help me figure out what kind of snake it is.

And speaking of snake farms, Roger and I will be seeing Ray Wylie Hubbard, for free, this Friday night at the Texas State History Museum from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. One of his current popular songs is "Snake Farm." So if you would like to join us, let us know.

Jul 14, 2008

Burns & Bruises

I’m the kind of person who wears sun block religiously and does everything in my power to avoid getting sun burnt. I don’t like the word hate, but if I had to use it, I would with sunburn. I really hate getting sun burnt. All my face products have SPF 15 and 20 and I wear SPF 15 every day in my daily lotion. If there’s a chance of extended exposure I wear at least SPF 55 and for swimming and water sports I put sun block on at home before I even put on my swim suit so I don’t miss any spot. I’m a top of the ears, behind the neck and top of the feet person. I don’t miss any area and I reapply often and after I get out of the water.

So we spent the weekend at Sam Rayburn Reservoir with my sister and her family pseudo-camping. I say pseudo-camping because only one person regularly sleeps outside in a tent, my nephew William. Everyone else sleeps in an luxury travel trailer with all the modern amenities like air conditioning, full kitchen with microwave and toaster oven, full bath, television with satellite and play station. It even has hard wood floors and recliners. We weren’t really camping even though we were at a camp ground. But we did spend a lot of time on the water. Saturday and Sunday we went tubing, knee boarding, swimming and riding around the reservoir checking on trout lines and baiting fishing spots. I made sure to wear sun block at all daylight times. On Sunday afternoon, we spent about three hours on the water to get our last tubing and knee boarding in before we had to pack up and leave to start the four hour drive back to Austin. We all got back in the boat from swimming to head back to the campground and none of us thought of reapplying our sun block. Well, my niece Elizabeth did sort of because she’s always playing with the sun block. I should have paid more attention and reapplied because in that little short ride back to the campground I got sun burnt. And it is not comfortable at all, especially riding in a car for four hours. I didn’t realize how bad it was until we got home. I think I actually got a little sick from it. I’m feeling it today.

Another thing I noticed when we got home was several bruises on my legs and really bad ones on each elbow. I don’t know where the bruises on my legs came from but the bruises on my elbows were from knee boarding. I slammed them down once really hard on the knee board when trying to get up on the knee board while I was hitting the waves and the water pretty hard. They felt sore once I got on the boat, but they feel really sore today. My whole body feels achy but my elbows and shoulders feel the worst. Water sports take a lot of upper body strength which I don’t have and the pulling of the shoulder joints from being pulled behind a boat going no telling what speeds doesn’t help. I’m definitely feeling it today.

I guess burns and bruises are a good indicator of how good of a time you had getting them. You can see pictures of all the fun we had by clicking here or on the Flickr link to the right.

Jul 9, 2008


We have received a good down pour in the middle of the afternoon the last three days in a row. I hope it keeps up, but I'm sure it's done. It's bringing out all kinds of critters but I guess it's better than the critters that start coming out during drought conditions looking for water everywhere, even in your house. It's funny, Murphy's Law I guess, but doesn't it always seem like when you have people over, the "exciting" things happen? We had our friend Tina from DC over for dinner Monday night since she was in Texas for a wedding and visiting family and made a stop in Austin. After we hung out on the back patio grilling salmon fillets and squash, we finished dinner and then grilled a dessert pizza with nutella and sliced strawberries and bananas. It was delicious. Roger went back out to turn off the gas after letting the grill burn everything off the grates and as soon as he got to the back door, he saw a snake across the step. I of course was intrigued and had to go see it. Tina ran to the sofa and got on top of it. I made it outside in time to try to grab his tail as he slithered in between the house foundation and the patio concrete. I wanted to see more of it so I could figure out what kind of snake it was. I'm sure it wasn't venomous, but I still wanted to know. I don't have a problem with snakes. I'd prefer them to rats and roaches. But I started to think about this snake eating up all the hundreds of geckos that are always around our house, getting fatter and fatter out on our patio and one day after we put our house on the market, buyers walk out there and see a big snake on the patio. That won't help us sell our house. Not that we're putting our house on the market any time soon, but it will happen eventually. So I'm going to wait to see how many more times we see the snake before I do something about it. I don't think it's just the rain that's bringing out all the critters I've been seeing in the yard and flower beds lately. The newest neighbors in the lot behind us don't mow their acreage like the previous owner so the grass is very tall and a breeding ground for critters. I've seen more snakes and fat, fat, lizards this summer than since we originally bought the house. And I think I saw a mouse, but I'm not positive. You gotta love irresponsible neighbors.

Jul 6, 2008

Grilled Pizza

Roger let me take him on a wild adventure for dinner tonight. We grilled pizza on our gas grill. I made whole wheat pizza dough Wednesday afternoon and divided it into six balls. I stored them individually in ziploc bags in the refrigerator until we were ready to grill them. We got quite a few toppings to put on our pizzas. We had two cheeses, shredded mozzarella and guyere, kalamata olives, sliced red onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms, browned italian sausage and pepperoni slices. I also made an easy tomato sauce with crushed red pepper flakes and a touch of lemon zest. We thought grilling pizza on the grill was going to be daunting at first but it turned out to be very easy. They were so good and very filling. We were only able to eat one and a quarter of another one. Thank goodness the dough was individually bagged so we have enough for dinner Sunday night and probably another dinner this week. Grilled pizza is the way to go and we think we'd like to try it with friends. The crust is super crispy with grill marks which makes every thing great. And the pizza was delicious. I took some pictures during the adventure and you can check them out in the set titled Adventures in Grilling on our Flickr page or click on the link to the right.

Jul 5, 2008

God Bless America

We ventured up to Cedar Park, Texas with the Mommaerts family for 4th of July festivities last night after Roger got home from work and we packed up our chairs, cooler, hats, picnic blankets, snacks and the like. During the day, the city had a huge festival in a park with games for kids, information booths and a live band. It was really nice. Then we set up our picnic area across the street in a school's field with many other people to watch the fireworks. The fireworks were disappointing but it really didn't matter because we had a great time sitting around talking, laughing and munching on salsa and cookies and consuming adult beverages. The weather was beautiful. We had a great breeze all evening. Roger didn't get bit by any mosquitoes. Shock! We ended the evening at Roger's sister's house and continued the fun until the wee hours of the morning. We took some pictures and posted them on Flickr. I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. God bless America.

Jul 2, 2008

Xavier Went Home

Praise the Lord!! Xavier was released from the hospital yesterday and went home. That must mean he is doing really well. We are so very excited for him to be home. Thank you so much for all your prayers for our friends. You can check out the details on their blog: http://buddyandamanda.blogspot.com/.

Jul 1, 2008

The Latest

Roger and I tried a new church this weekend, Austin New Church. Our friends Christian and Michelle and their children attend there. We really liked it and plan to check it out again. We especially like that it's only five minutes from our house at Akins High School.

Roger has his first MRI after coming home for good tonight at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio. Please keep him in your prayers for a clear MRI and safety in traffic. He has to leave at 4:30 p.m. to get there in time.

Roger & I had some revelations regarding my job search and his future work situation this weekend due to friends pointing some things out that we completely missed with our current life situation. It made a huge difference for us because we realized we don't really need to work for "the man" like we always have and thought we'd always have to. I love working from home and would love to continue doing that. I know I'll have to have interaction with people so I'm inquiring about volunteering at a local museum. We've got some ideas in the works and we'll be filling you in on the results in the future.

Just a note on what we're reading lately. Our friend Cynthia lent Walking with God by John Eldredge to me this weekend. I can't wait to start it. The cover says, "Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really." That's what I need right now. I also got Roger Quiet Strength, Tony Dungy's memoir. I'm sure he'll like it. It's written by a football coach! Anyone can tell he's a believer. I've always been impressed by his demeanor and leadership style.