Interstellar Adventure
Adventure: the pursuit of life — Daniel Roy Wiarda

You're Weird

Friday, April 28, 2006

Elle's favorite phrase. If Nick or I or her brother do something she doesn't understand or appreciate, she's likely to counter with "You're Weird". Except she can't say Weird just right...she kind of slurs her 'r' so it sounds more like "Weid". I've always known I was a bit off. I try to enjoy things, and you'll often find me not acting my age, but something closer to my shoe-size. I can behave very well at social events, carry on polite, adult conversation, and fake-laugh along with the best of them. But I'd rather not. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy dressing to the nines and taking Nick's breath away with my sassiness, but the older I get, the less I like hanging out with boring, stuffy, dull, dry and otherwise vacuous individuals. I've seen the Six Weird Things About You meme around. But I don't think I'm really weird, just slightly immature and irreverent. Six examples of this are: 1) Last Sunday at my niece's 3rd birthday party, my mom and I, and then my sister and I, raced in the bouncy-houses. I won both races, making me Queen of the Bouncy House. I even have an injury to show for it...an elbow scrape. 2) I'm likely to laugh so hard I snort and squeak. If something tickles my funny-bone I'll follow it all the way, even if everyone else stopped laughing. 3) In the confines of my home, I will burp (and the other too) to the horror of Nick and to the delight of my kids. Good one mom! Elle will exclaim. I have passed the talent on to her, and I've been shocked to hear some vibrato come out of my little girl. 4) I will race my kids to the car (not through the parking lot...like at the soccer fields) while other parents yell at their kids to slow down. 5) I'll let Nick sleep in on the weekend and then after I've had a couple of cups of coffee, I'll bounce him out of bed. Sometimes he thinks this is funny, but not always. 6) I'll dance crazy around the living room with my kids, make funny faces and sing really loud even though I can't carry a tune in a wet paper bag. Nope, I'm not gettin' old...

Take me out to the Ballgame

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Last night Elle and Zed and I went to see the Frisco Roughriders play the Corpus Christie Hooks. It was a chilly night for Texas AA baseball. We all had on long sleeves and jackets, and I even brought along a blanket. I'm glad, because Elle and I ended up using it. But despite the chilly weather, we had a great time. One thing I have to say about Minor League (AA) ball is it's S-L-O-W. It took one and a half hours to get through the first four innings. My kids had got a couple of autographs before the game, but they wanted more. I tried to be patient and wait it out, but when 9 o'clock hit and we were in the 7th inning, tied 3-3, I made them a deal. We'd wait it out until the end of regulation. Once the 9th inning was over, we were going home, no matter what. And, at then end of 9, we were still tied 3-3, at 10:30 pm on a school night. A trip to the bathroom and a walk to the shuttle bus and we were in the car. Fortunately home isn't too far away. Elle was in bed and Zed was in the shower by 11. Nick was already asleep. I was still a bit wound up and ended up falling asleep in the recliner. This morning I checked the report only to find out the Riders won it in the bottom of the 10th. Bummer. Of course one inning was probably something like another half hour. This was my 4th or 5th Riders game. I love this ball park. It's very family friendly. Nowhere in the park are you more than 24 rows from the field. Just about every inning they have some goofy contest or something. Elle and I tried to get on the Kiss-Cam, but they seemed to prefer player action to family action. Zed almost caught a ball. The outfielder retrieved a foul ball and tossed it to our section. The ball bounced of Zed's hand and landed in the glove of a kid two seats over. Zed was bummed but handled it pretty well. Better luck next time I told him. The kids had fun watching Deuce the Groundhog play around the field. He even came into the stands. The Famous Chicken is coming in July. He should be a hoot to see.

Why we need a wall

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Here I go, about to upset a few people again, I'm sure. But, this just drives me insane. How the hell are they (i.e. the Mexican government) getting away with this crap!?!? I just don't get it. Secure border my ass... Reason 1: Mexican Army on our doorstep. Who were they waiting for? Reason 2: Mexican Customs agents planning routes for drug traffikers? Nah, he was just lost. Reason 3: Woman dies in the Rio Grande Reason 4: If this many were caught, how many got through? And what if they were terrorists?

Recommended Reading

Monday, April 24, 2006

I heard about this guy by accident last week. I'd heard his name before on an AT board once. But I didn't read much about him. But after hearing about what he's doing next, I had to buy his book. I started and finished it yesterday, in one sitting. Dean Karnazes is going to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. And you people thought I was crazy. Nope, not even close. I'm quite sane compared to this guy. But after reading his book, I think he's totally amazing. He does a lot of his ultra runs now as charity fundraisers for children needing medical care. I can understand the why because I've asked myself some of the same questions under much shorter distances. I could relate to some of the pain he's described, and I've felt some of those same feelings. Why? Because it's there. And I want to see if I can. I'll definitely watch out for when he's in Dallas. He's using the White Rock Course as his Texas stop.

Mavs Photos

Friday, April 21, 2006

I had fun playing with my new camera. Nick was getting a little frustrated though. I mean, I took a picture of beer. OK, so maybe I did get a little carried away. My old camera could do video too, but it wasn't as easy as this one. I figured the guys around here would appreciate this. And here's the game slideshow. The $9.75 burger was GOOD.
This weekend I plan on planting. I won't have much to show for it though because they're just seeds. Hopefully they grow quickly. Here are some before and in-betweens of my flower beds. We spent 10 hours in the yard last Sunday pulling the bushes and moving some others. Then I put five bags of top soil and one bag each of humus and cow manure down in each side of the bed. Sadly, I think I still need more! We'll see what happens. And then Sunday is my niece's birthday party. She'll be three. We're going to a bouncy-house party. Inflatables galore evidently. I told Nick he has to go because it's a family birthday. He acted like I was killing him or something. Drama. At least the kids will have fun. Hopefully they'll get way worn out and be ready to go to bed early. Sunday night is Soprano night! Have a great weekend!

Mavs Season Finale

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I took my new Kodak Z700 to the game last night. This morning, I try to download the pictures. Except the USB connector on the camera end is smaller than the USB I have on hand. Dammit. Why do manufacturers have to 'specialize' their equipment? Just makes it a pain in the ass for the rest of us. So, pictures of the Mavs game will be delayed. One of the brothers (owners) at Nick's job, gave him tickets to the Mavs game last night. Luckily, Elle and Zed were with their dad, so we were able to go. While the Mavs didn't win, it was still a great night. There were a couple of silly foibles, but according to the bartender, the Mavs were playing their bottom 5 bench guys. Get them a little exercise in the game, and rest up the key players. The game actually started a little early. Tickets said 7:30 pm game time, but at 7:15, they were already under way while Nick and I were enjoying some burgers in the cafe. We made our way to our seats and watched the last half of the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, some big-wig from American Airlines came down onto the court with Mark Cuban. The guy said that American was giving free tickets to the coaches and players for the playoffs as a thank you for having such a great team. But then Mark Cuban said the "team" included all the fans too, and did American have tickets for all the fans in the house. Well, evidently they did. Cool! But, since the tickets belonged to Nick's company, we figured the vouchers would go back to the company. Well, this morning, Nick took the vouchers to work. He went to give them to the brother that gave him the tickets. The brother said Nah, you keep 'em. HOLY COW! We just got two free airline tickets! We were wanting to go to KC in June, but a trip to El Paso to see Nick's dad took precedence. But now we can go to KC too for Nick's birthday! Only bad thing about it is I now have two flights - one to El Paso and one to KC - to look forward to. Maybe I'll take JustCara's advice. I'll let you know if it works for me.

Leavin' Las Vegas

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Please sing the post title to the tune of Viva Las Vegas. Oh, thank you! That was very good! Again, four hours of sleep, followed by another disappointing breakfast. Maybe Vegas just doesn't do breakfast because people are too hung over to care. There was no time for fun and games on Friday though, because it was goin' home time. The rest of Nick's co-workers shuttled it back to the airport while we took our rental back. I was very pleased with Enterprise. They picked us up within 10 minutes of us calling them to rent the car in the first place. The manager, Patrick, turned out to be from Waco, a mere two hours from us. He was very nice. And, when we returned the XTerra, they took us to the airport. Excellent service! I hate flying. I didn't always. As a kid, I loved to go on the plane. I would even fly by myself at age 6. Back when you could let kids do that. I would fly to Houston to see my grandparents, all by myself, with my little I think I can choo-choo pin. But then, when I got pregnant with Zed, I flew a couple of times. Since then, I can't stand it. I get all nervous and sick during the take-off and landing. Mainly the take-off. The flight out was good. But leaving was another story. It had gotten cloudy, and Vegas is basically a big plain, completely surrounded by mountains. So, when weather comes in, the air gets choppy. The first twenty minutes of the flight was bumpy. Really bumpy. I'm surprised Nick's hand survived. And I actually cried. But once we got above the clouds, it was all OK. Obviously, we landed safely. I was never so glad to be back! We were exhausted, but managed to make it through dinner and a coffee at Starbucks before I started to fall asleep sipping my latte and puzzling out my Sudoku. In bed by 10 pm on a Friday! Who'da thunk it?!? Next time we go to Vegas, we're going to see a show. I also want to see more of the big hotels like the Bellagio, the Venetian, and Treasure Island. I liked Vegas. At night. During the day it was dull. Do some outside Vegas sight-seeing during the day. There was a lot to see within a two hour drive of the city. But at night, when the lights come on and the people come out, it was very alive. My advice on gambling is to find your game and stick with it. I know how to play Blackjack, but to me, it's not as fun as poker. I didn't care for the Pai Gow game, but regular 5-card poker and Texas Hold 'Em I love. If you don't know how to play, sit down at the table, watch and ask questions. The dealers are very nice, and usually the other players are too, and they'll explain everything to you. If you're sitting next to someone annoying, get up and find another seat. It can be distracting to listen to someone you find irritating. And room service is expensive! Viva Las Vegas!

Vegas, Day 2

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Look to my left sidebar for my new Flickr photo album. Vegas photos can be found there! Despite coming to bed so late, I woke up at 8:30. Nick and I gave the breakfast buffet a whirl. I wasn't impressed. And the old people there in Vegas will run you over with their walkers and canes, trying to beat you to the food! My goodness! We decided we would rent a car and head out to the Hoover Dam. We arranged to rent a Nissan XTerra. I'm thinking I want one now. It was a very quiet ride, comfortable and good handling. As we approached the Dam, the scenery was amazing. Lake Mead and the canyons approaching the Dam gave us some beautiful sights. At the Dam, Nick and I exhausted our "Dam" joke bank. Wow, that's a dam big dam. That's a lot of dam concrete. I wonder how much dam water there is. I need to go to the dam bathroom. We're looney, I know. That's why we're a perfect match. Back at the hotel, we grabbed a quick lunch, then took a nap to gear up some energy for the night's activities. We woke up to a gorgeous Vegas sunset. Feeling a little grimey from our Dam Walk, we took a bath. But not just any kind of bath. A bubble bath! The tub had whirlpool jets, so we got lots of bubbles out of the little hotel sample body wash bottle.
For dinner, we went to N9NE Steakhouse. It was very contemporary. The seafood platter we started with was delicious. Good size lobster tails, crab claws, shrimp, clams, mussels, and oysters. My Surf & Turf steak was good, but the surf part of it was a little disappointing, size wise. It was a fantastic meal, again. After, we ventured up to Ghostbar. The brothers ordered us a bottle of Crown and a bottle of Absolut and mixers. Our waitress made all our drinks for us at our table. Out on their open-air patio (55 floors up!) we got another great view of Vegas. And, they had a clear plexi-glass platform that you could stand on and see the parking lot below. I stood on it for a moment, but got that wave of vertigo and went back inside. We danced and drank for awhile, and did some interesting people watching. Nick got tired of the noise and went back to the room. The rest of us went down to the tables to do some more gambling. I sat down at the Blackjack table and promptly lost $100. Then I moved to the Texas Hold 'Em table and won $200. I eventually made it back to the room at 4:30 am, $60 up. That was good enough for me. Next up...Going Home

Vegas Vacation Day 1

Monday, April 17, 2006

Unlike the Griswolds, Nick and I didn't have any run-ins with Wayne Newton, near accidents at the Hoover Dam, or lose the entire contents of our bank account. We had a fantastic time! On the way to the airport, Nick realized he'd forgotten to pack his tennis shoes. He obsessed about this for awhile. Remote parking was a cinch, and the flight was very smooth both out of Dallas and into Vegas. On the way out, we hooked up with Nick's co-workers and boss. But fortunately we didn't have to sit near them. Let's just say they're a little crazy. We checked into the hotel and went straight to our room at The Palms. Ordered some room service and took a nap before the long night ahead of us. At 8 pm we were picked up by a black limo. The inside was 'pimped out' with leopard-print upholstry, TV screens, and neon lights. The driver took us to the Mandalay Bay hotel where we ate at Red Square. This was my favorite dinner. For appetizers we had some calamari, Siberian Nachos - wonton chips with smoked salmon, some kind of cream and caviar - and crab cakes. For dinner, Nick had Roquefort Crusted Filet Mignon and I had Osso Bucco. The filet was fanatastic, and the Osso Bucco fell off the bone. We shared a creme brulee for dessert. During the meal we sipped on $13 martinis, and after, we savored Frangelico. We also went up to the Foundation Room for a view of Vegas. The whole town was laid out in front of us, lights sparkling, traffic flowing and it was breathtaking. The only bad part was when one of Nick's jackass co-workers tried to 'jump' through the picture, knocked the camera out of Nick's boss' boss' hand, and broke it. Yeah, broke our camera on our first night in Vegas. I was pissed. If it wouldn't have been a work trip, the guy would have gotten a free flight over the side, courtesy of Nick Air. Then we went and played a little Blackjack. The brothers that own the company that Nick works for threw a few hundreds down on the table, and instructed us to sit. I started off with $75 and ended up with $225. I gave $100 back to one of the brothers (makin' my man look good) and then Nick and I made our way back to the hotel. I changed clothes and went back downstairs to gamble some more. I decided to try Pai Gow Poker, at the recommendation of one of my friends. I wasn't very good at it, because I ended up giving back all of my $125 winnings from earlier in the evening. But hey, it was free money, so I technically didn't lose. Right? I crawled into bed at 4 am. Good thing we took a nap earlier! To be continued...

Vegas Baby, Vegas!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

You are so money! Yep! Nick and I are headed to Vegas this morning. We're looking forward to a little fun in the desert. I'll be back in a couple of days with some scandalous photos. Say Hi while you're here and then go visit someone on my blogroll. Come on, you know you want to...

I Owe What?!?!?!?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I did my taxes last night. It was depressing. I got to file 'single' due to the D I V O R C E last year. The Ex got to claim Zed, and I got to claim Elle. Plus I got to claim the after-school care for Zed. Well, that didn't really matter, because evidently I still underpaid. See, the Ex-Butthead never made as much money as me. As of last year, he made about half of what I make. Therefore, he got a big refund this year - bigger than we ever got when we were married. And this year, I OWE. About five times what his refund was. How is this fair? He pays diddly for child support (because he's a slacker) and that's barely half of the cost of their after-school care and summer care for the year. Doesn't include clothes, food, extra-curricular activities, and the like. And he gets the refund??? And I'm wondering how the wonderful Bush tax cuts have benefit me. The 'single' mom with the two kids. How is it that I'm paying out the wazzoo?

Ever see the sun set behind a dust storm?

Monday, April 10, 2006

If you're not from the southwestern U.S., probably not. Friday's drive down to Gatesville was windy. A front was blowin' across Texas, and a dust-storm from West Texas was comin' with it. We were between Waco and Gatesville, almost to our destination, and witnessed a special treat!
The Komen was fun. I have several suggestions for the race director, but being only the 6th Komen run in that area, I think they're still 'learning lessons'. The 5K started late, but the course was flat, and there was plenty of water. Of course, the water tasted like dirt, but it was still wet. The course was an out-and-back. And the back was straight into the stiff wind. Afterwards I was chilly and hungry. I found some orange slices and had a little fun.
Saturday night Bubba grilled pork chops and we had baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Mmmmm good. After, we played a cut-throat game of Mexican Train dominoes. I won. YAY! Sunday morning we were up and out the door, headed back to Arlington Texas, home of the Texas Rangers, to watch a bit of the grand 'ol game. It was sunny and warm, and the beer was cold. So, it was a good game. The first couple of innings were a little rough, with Padilla giving up a run in the 1st and 2nd innings. In the 3rd inning, the Rangers scored three runs, giving us the lead. Detroit tied it up again in the 4th, but two runs in the bottom of the 6th, and good relief pitching solidified the Rangers' win.
After the game, we got another special treat! The fans were invited to run the bases! Holy cow! When else in my life am I going to be in the right place at the right time! We jumped on the chance, waited in line and got to run on a major league ballpark field! I hit all the bases around while Nick took pictures. And of course I stepped on home plate! Then it was Nick's turn. We had a blast!

Race for the Cure

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tonight Nick and I are driving down to Gatesville to see Nick's brother and sister-in-law, Bubba and Marci. Tomorrow, we will rise, bright and early, to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. Marci is a Survivor, as is my grandmother. My step-great-grandmother also had breast cancer. Breast cancer affects over 200,000 women each year. Significant advances in breast cancer research and treatment have increased surviorship each year. I've done the Komen several times before here in Dallas. It's a powerful, powerful event. Just imagine being surrounded by almost 40,000 other women, all there for the same purpose. To beat breast cancer. Girls, take care of your girls!

Bad hair day

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I showered last night and then sat with my hair in a towel while Nick and I watched TV. After awhile, the towel hurt my hair. So, I removed the towel and finger-combed my hair. Then the both of us fell asleep. Nick woke up and dragged my butt to bed, where I slept on my still-wet hair. This morning I woke up to 77% humidity and wild hair. I applied some conditioning cream and worked at it with a round-brush and my hair dryer. Stopping to check my progress in my hand-held mirror, the back still looked sad. I kept at it, and finally tired of the struggle, sprayed on some hairspray and hoped it would hold.
Alas, my efforts were futile.

Alternate Path

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Miss Indigo asked If you could do something different for a living, what would you do? Hoo Boy. I tell you what. I never thought I would be where I am now. (Re)Married, two kids, house, two dogs, 8-5 job. Never imagined it. I actually never had much of a vision of what my life would be like. I never imagined the big fairy-tale wedding. Never could come up with where I saw myself in 10, 15, 25 years. As a senior in high school I got cornered by someone from the school newspaper. They asked If you died and could come back as anything or anyone, what would you come back as? Others said a catepillar, a dog, a bird. Me? I'd be the CEO of a really big corporation and make world-changing decisions. Yeah. Right. My dream jobs when I was growing up? For a while, a doctor. My step-dad was a doctor. I thought it was cool. I don't mind blood and guts and stuff. But I hate needles and I couldn't imagine cutting someone with a scalpel. Then it was a lawyer. I'm good at arguing, and I wanted to be a children's rights advocate. Because I thought my parents sucked. But that's a lot of school. Then I wanted to be an archaeologist. Digging up bones and lost civilizations. That would be so cool. Then it was a marine biologist. Studying dolphins. But sharks scare me. Now I'm thinking I would have liked to have been the archaeologist. The female Indiana Jones. Traveling. Adventuring. Seeing new places, new people, new things, new cultures. Learning. Experiencing. And maybe I'd even learn to use the whip. ;)

Good luck with that...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My ex is brilliant. I mean, truly brilliant. Elle and Zed spent the weekend with him. I dropped them off straight after Elle's soccer game. Well, evidently, I forgot to pack Elle's regular shoes. I packed their bags the night before, they got home late from the circus and her game was at 8 am. I mean, shoes are easy to forget, right? I see that he had two options. 1) Call me and ask me to drop off her shoes. 2) Go to Target and buy her a pair of tennies for $10 or a pair of flip-flops for $2. What does he do? He has her wear her cleats all weekend. Brilliant. His latest brilliant move? A 12-week old puppy. And not just any kind of puppy. A puppy that will grow into a 100 pound dog. A French Mastiff. He had it in the truck last night when he dropped off the kids. It was cute and all. But he lives in a one bedroom apartment. "Yeah, it's going to be a big dog." he said. "Yep, and it'll crap big too." I said. "Yeah, it already clogged the toilet when I tried to flush it's poop this morning." he said. Like I said. Brilliant.

Party like it's 1999?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Nick would have been 29. I would have been 24. Perhaps we would have been able to handle our booze a bit better. I was up at 6:30 am Saturday. Nick at least got to sleep in a bit. Elle had an 8 am soccer game. By 9:25 the game was over and Elle and Zed were dropped at their dad's. I picked up Nick and we enjoyed a not-so-quiet breakfast at IHOP. We toodled around here and there. Walked around the Galleria for a bit. Bought Nick a new pair of tennis shoes. By around 4:30 pm we were hungry. "Let's give that new burger joint a try." Nick suggested. OK. We arrived at 4:45 pm. The burgers were good. The fried jalepeno slices were good. The beer was cold. We watched the first NCAA Final Four game. Poor George Mason. We were rootin' for ya. Then we decided to stick around and watch the second game. Bah. UCLA won. And we kept at it. We called it quits after seven hours. 10:30 am came waaay too early. Especially with the time change. Our noon lunch date with one of Nick's writing group pals and his wife was our 'hair of the dog' recovery. Two cosmos and a po'boy later and I felt much better. Man, we just can't party like we used to...