Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for

I am late posting this blog.  It's been a long day some good and some very bad.   

This one is short.  Z is for zombies.  That's what I feel like right now after this last month.  It has been a crazy month.  I left a job of 14 years and started a new one where I am working 4 times as hard and longer hours.  

Z is for zombie.  I can't get enough sleep to feel like one of the living and my weekends are filled with doing all the things I don't get done because I am gone now from 7am to 7pm. 

Z is for zombie.  That's me. 

Happy May people.  This challenge has been fun and challenging.  It's header than you thing finding time to write and read blogs.  I have enjoyed all the blogs I have visited so much!  Thanks to the A to Z challenge for making me think! 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yogurt Shop Murders

Courtesy Austin Chronicle  Sarah Harbison 15, Amy Ayers 13, Eliza Thomas 17, and Jennifer Harbison 17 

December 9, 1991 Austin, Tx: 

Shortly before midnight on December 9th an Austin police officer responded to a fire call at the I Can't Believe It's Yogurt Shop.  When the fire was extinguished the bodies of four teenage girls were found bound by their own cloths and shot through the head and at least 2 of the girls were raped.  Three of the bodies were piled one on top of the other and the fourth victim, Amy was found a short distance away.  There are a ton of rumors surrounding this case, which I won't go into.   

Over the years there have been multiple arrests and a few convictions but all have been overturned for lack of evidence.  There have been multiple confessions but none have been legitimate.  

This is a case that continues to haunt Austin, the capital of Texas and a college town.  Years have passed but nobody alive during that time has forgotten.  The girls were last confirmed alive around 10 that night when the yogurt shop was closing.  

Oddly, I got off work that night late and passed that shop on my way home.  I spent days afterward trying to remember if I saw anything as I passed the parking lot, to no avail.   I was a 21 year old college student at the time and will forever be haunted by this case and how close it was to my apartment.  The shop was just 5 minutes from where I lived.  

There were patrons in the store who described 2 men who sat at a table and were apparently the last ones in the shop before the shop closed.  Those men have never been identified.  Were they the murders?  What do you think? 

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I swear to you I had the hardest time even starting this blog.  I have no extraordinary x word.  In fact I am extremely blank when it comes to x words.  I tried extra hard trying to think of exactly any exciting word that fit the bill and nothing. Except x-factor,  x-files x-rays, xylophone and xylitol but seriously how am I suppose to write a blog about xylophones?  Exactly!  

Oh, X you expect me to ignore you, you unusual and extremely, extra special, extraordinary little letter you.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Work: How to survive an Auto Claim


I have worked in auto insurance my entire adult life.  I spent almost 10 years working for the big lizard company first in underwriting then claims.  I moved to a smaller company where I worked for 14 years first as an adjuster then as a manager in claims.  Recently, through no fault of the employees that company went bankrupt and I moved to my third company.  This time I choose to work for a start up company where I am currently working in claims with the knowledge that I will be promoted to management when the position opens.  I work from about 7:45am to somewhere after 6pm Monday-Friday and often my lunch is spent at my desk doing the things I can't get done during normal business hours. I tell you this so you understand your claims people work.  We work a lot. We work hard.  The work is mentally exhausting.  I have delt with angry people and I have seen claims that made me cry.  Usually the fatalities.  When I get home every night my husband asks "How was your day?" With a tone of worry.  I'm tough and usually I can handle it but by Friday, I am spent.  

So when you have an auto accident there are a few things you need to understand. 

-Major police departments probably do not come out for non-injury accidents.  

-You need to make sure you are safe.  So move your cars off to the side as quickly as possible.   I have seen fatalities occur because people were standing in the road.  Nobody wants that.  

-Remain calm.  Nobody likes accidents but they ARE accidents.  If they were not they would be called intentional.  Don't yell and scream.  Nobody was trying to kill you.  It's an accident.  Shit happens. 

-Take pictures of your car, the other car, the insurance card, and the drivers license of the people involved.  

-Just because someone has an insurance card doesn't mean they paid the premium.  Most cards are sent out for 6 months but most policies are paid on installment plans.  If the payments were not paid the policy was cancelled.  

-In almost every state the insurance adjuster has to be licensed to handle claims.  This means we take classes and a test.  We also take continuing education courses.  Ethics is one of the required courses.  We are required by law to properly investigate and pay claims when liability exists.  We are not trying to "get out of paying claims".  

-We have to talk to our insured and the driver.  If they do not cooperate there is a possibility we can not complete the investigation. 

-The adjuster isn't a mind reader or a psychic.  We don't know when someone is going to call back and we don't know why someone let a person drive the car they were not suppose to. 

-Almost every state has what is known as excluded driver amendments.  This means if that excluded person is driving, the policy does not cover them.  Again, the adjuster does not know why they were excluded and has no idea why they were driving.  

-The fastest way to get your car repaired is usually to go through your own carrier under your collision coverage and pay your deductible.  Let your carrier's subro department handle getting back your deductible and the money they paid.  If you are not at fault, it should not effect your policy.  

-I have been doing this a long time so telling me you are going to get an attorney doesn't scare me.  I am not offering your attorney any more money and I am not able to find coverage for an attorney when coverage does not exist.  My response is always going to be "If that is what you feel you need to do, then have them send me a letter of representation."  Sometimes you need an attorney and I have recommended to friends that very route in bad accidents.  Fender benders are not bad accidents. 

-Be realistic. 
You car can probably be repaired and the important thing is that nobody was hurt. Is it an inconvenience, heck yes!  It sucks.  However calling your adjuster every day or several times a day to find out when someone is coming out to see your car is just taking time away from the other people who had claims before you who's damages can actually be paid. Plus, if we knew, we would have told you. 

-Things take time and by time I mean realistically an investigation takes anywhere from 10-30 days.  At 30 days if we still haven't been able to reach everyone we may have to deny the claim.  See why I said you may want to file through your collision coverage? 

-I am not avoiding you, I am on the phone.  If you get my voicemail it is because I am talking with someone else. Calling 6 times isn't going to change that.  I will call you back as soon as I am available.  

Finally, it is personal for you not me, so don't make it personal for me.  When you start attacking me personally, calling me names, you are not making the situation any better.  I am going to remain an adult but I am also not going to be abused for the sake of your anger so don't be surprised if I calmly say that I am disconnecting the call and asking you to call back when you have calmed down.  

Before you have an accident do these things for me please:

-Get an app for your phone that says you are driving and will text back when you aren't.  More accidents now happen because of texting than anything else combined.  It can wait.  

-Always assume the guy behind and beside you is an idiot.  I drive a big orange Ram and yet some ding batt almost sideswiped me this morning because he didn't see me in the lane right next to him. 

-If you missed your exit go to the next one don't change over 3 lanes to make it. 

-If you are in a left or right turn only lane and don't want to be, turn and go around.  It is safer. 

-You are the only one who knows you are making a U Turn so make sure you can do it safely from the inside lane not the outside. 

-Semi's make wide turns.  Expect it. 

-Slow the frick down. You will get there in one piece if you go 5 miles slower! 

-Assume the motorcycle rider is an idiot because so many are. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Verde chicken enchilada casserole

Verde (green) Chicken Enchiladas are my favorite.   They are creamy and cheesy. I don't make them as often as I would like because the kiddo prefers the beef enchiladas. 

I used a lot of creamy salsa verde enchilada sauce in this recipe mixed with chicken broth and corn starch to thicken.  At the end I mix in about a cup of sour cream.  
chop a couple green onions to add to the mix
Brown the chicken.  I made a big batch but you could make half with about 3 chicken breasts.  I used 5 large breasts. 
Brown 5-6 chicken breasts 

Tip: mix your corn stretch in a bowl with a little water to get out clumps before adding to sauces. 

Cook the green sauce and chicken broth on med-low heat to reduce and thicken it with the corn startch mixture.  
broth and verde sauce 

Before adding to your casserole add a cup of sour cream.
add a cup of sour cream at the end 

And some fresh chopped cilantro or parsley.  
and some chopped parley or cilantro

Once you have cooked your chicken thoroughly,  you add 2 containers jalepeño cream cheese.   Again, half this recipe using smaller containers and 3 breasts.  
mix the cream cheese in with the chicken and onions 
I added onion flakes to the chicken.  If my husband wasn't so weird about onions being cooked I would have added fresh because our garden is overflowing with them.

4-5 cups of your favorite cheese
For this recipe I mixed sharp cheddar, mozzarella , and pepper jack cheese.

layer your ingredients 
Time to assemble.  Spray your pan first, lightly coat with sauce, tortillas, more sauce, chicken, cheese, a little bit of fresh onions and then start the process over with more tortillas.   I did 2 thick layers and covered the last with the remaining sauce, cheese, onions and a small can of black olives.

almost done! 

Bake at 350 until your cheese turns golden and good.  

let stand for about 5 minutes to serve 

And enjoy!  These are so good.  I was surprised that my husband actually prefers these to beef.  He and the kid are not huge fans of creamy for example, they don't like Alfredo sauce.  I mean how weird is that?  


I topped these with nothing or guacamole, even a little Siracha sauce. 

Top as you like it! 

This is a recipe I just made by trial and error after a coworker brought similar enchiladas to work.  Mine are better but his were good.  :) 

What you need: 


6 chicken breasts cubed.  (You can cook them and pull them if you prefer) 
2 containers jalapeño cream cheese.
Fresh or flakes onions to taste.  About 1 onion.  


1 large can of green enchilada sauce 
1 can chicken broth
1 tbs corn starch mixed with equal water. 
1 cup sour cream 
A handful of chopped parsley (add before assembling) 

Assembling you will need:
About 24 corn tortillas 
4 cups of cheese.  I used a combo of sharp cheddar, mozerella, and pepper jack.  

U is for Understanding


One definition of understanding is sympathy to other people's problems.  There are a lot of problems people have which I understand, have empathy for, but which I don't agree with.  

To understand a person's problems that stem from their choices does not mean I have to agree with the choices that put them there in the first place.  

For example, I understand that someone with an addiction needs their fix.  I feel absolutely terrible for the suffering they go through because of their addiction and yet, I don't agree with their choices that put them in this situation.   

There are many social problems that we face as a society which I understand and yet I don't agree with the choices of the individual which drove them to need my understanding.   They don't owe me an explanation and they don't deserve to be treated unfairly but at the same time, they also don't deserve to be given special privelages and their rights should not come above mine.  

We spend too much time sometimes understanding and too little time addressing the actual problems. So yes, we need understanding.  We also need solutions that don't effect everyone else. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

S is for Sadie Speaks

 Hola, I am Sadie or Sadie Sue but sometimes my momma calls me Chicken Killer.   Momma is weird like that.  Just because I may or may not have eaten a couple okay, three chickens before momma told me that was not allowed.  How was I suppose to know?  They were tasty.  Now whenever momma lets me out she says "No Chickens Sadie!"   Look momma, I got it.  I can't eat the chickens, you just keep feeding me those eggs and I will keep away from those silly birds.
 This week we have daddy's other dogs staying with us.  Clover is above and Maggie is below.  Momma says they are my sisters too but I don't know about all that.  Clover thinks she is boss and let's be honest, there can only be one boss dog and that is me.  I don't  even care what Ries tried to tell you, she is not boss.   I like Maggie.  She is kinda old but she likes to play.  Ries and Clover just want to...okay let's be honest,  those tubby twosomes like to eat, a lot!

Maggie May that's what momma calls her

 I like to play a lot.  I chase birds around and guard, guard, guard the yard.   I work hard and when I sleep, I sleep hard.  Sometimes I fall asleep on the sofa and usually my daddy comes and covers me up. He never covers Ries up.   I like to burrow.  Momma says it is my dachshund half.  I am a wire haired dachshund and I am good at it.   Momma says that I am the best of terriers and dachshunds put together.  I am a hunter!

Sometimes we go out to our land in a magic place called "East Texas".   There are so many good smells out there.  Something called pigs and deer.  We don't have those running around in town.   Also, something called coy yote ees.  Momma doesn't like them because they may eat me.  Bahaha!  Right.   Then there are these other smells.  Something that lives underground and digs holes.  This is my kind of animal to chase, of course.   I was born to go into a hole.   That's what I do, burrow. 

Anyway, one time I was out in "East Texas" and I found a smell I had to track.  I tracked it all over the woods for hours and hours and hours.   About four hours I guess.  Momma was so mad at me.  I tore my ear on some pointing vine things and momma got all cut up chasing me.  I don't know why momma chased me.  I was coming back, when I was done.  She kept telling me she was leaving "East Texas" and going home and she was going to leave me there.  Haha!  As if.   Eventually I felt so sorry for momma running around after me that I just came to her.   Human people are not at all agile and fast like dog people. 

Momma says I am a good girl most of the time.  Of course, I am.  I sometimes have something called seeiizzzurres though and they hurt.  Momma and the vet don't know why I have these but it always scares Momma.  I just kind of drool a lot and then I rest.  After about half an hour, I am good as new running around playing.   Daddy hates when I have them too.  He has only seen 2 and he just kind of holds me and tells me it is going to be ok.   Then he runs to get momma.  Don't tell daddy but I think momma is the stronger of the human people.  Not physically but what human people call emotionsally. 

Okay so anyway, momma says it is time to finish my blog and I keep tells her that I have important things to say, not like Ries who probably just wrote about food.  Oh and I am a better human people dog, by the way, everyone loves me most.  All momma and daddy's friends tries to steal me but I know where my bread is buttered and momma feeds me cheese and eggs when I stop eating my food.  I do it on purposes so that she gives me cheese and eggs.  Shh, don't tells momma.

Okay, so votes for Sadie Sue for best dog.  Tell momma you like me mosts. 


Momma Note: this is not a contest, no matter what Sadie thinks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

R: Ries takes over

 Hi! I am Ries and today is my day to take over mommy's blog.   She never let me do this before.  She let my sister Sadie write a blog once but she kept putting me off.   So I looked at her like, 'Really?  I am so much cuter and sweet than Sadie, come ON!'   Finally, today is my day!

Ries is short for Riesling which was the only German word my mommy knew.  She isn't a wino, it just sounds like it.  Anyway, I am what is known as a long haired Dachshund meaning I am whiny and anxious and I like food.  Okay, I don't know if that is what it means but I am those things.  In fact, don't tell my sister Sadie this, but she is my dog.  Mommy got her for me because I was sad when Mommy had to leave for work everyday and I ate Mommy's electric blanket and back massager in my boredom, waiting for her to return.   Sadie is my dog, I own her, she just doesn't  know it.

I love to travel.  Actually, I really just love my mommy.  I am sort of a one person dog and she is my person.  I put up with, abide, love my daddy and my human sister too but mommy is my human.  So when she thought she was going to go out of town without me, I quickly hid in her suitcase.  She never noticed.  

Actually, I follow my mommy around like a little shadow.  When she cooks, I strategically place myself right under her feet at the stove because she might drop something!  She was frying chicken one day and, well let's just say mommy is a messy cook.  Truly, she was wheels off with that chicken and there was flour flying everywhere.   By the time the chicken was done and I emerged from under her feet, the woman had covered me in white powder.   I looked like George Washington's wig!

Of course I have my sister Sadie who I mostly put up with but who I love to play with.  Actually, I don't play with anyone but Sadie.  Mostly, I like to eat, a lot.  Last Sunday morning I disappeared under the deck.  Mommy and Daddy have these creatures in the backyard they call chickens but I guess you don't eat these.  At least I am assuming that is what they are talking about because every time Mommy lets me out she says "No chickens" although I am pretty sure she is talking to Sadie when she says it because I couldn't care less about the chickens.  Anyway, Sunday morning I was under the deck and Mommy called me to eat.  Normally, I come right away but I was way busy this morning because I had found a prize under the deck.  I proudly came running up to mommy and daddy and dropped my prize.  It rolled right to mommy's feet and she laughed and said "She found an egg!"  It all worked out well though because mommy fed me breakfast after that and I was happy. 

I can be bribed with treats at any time so if you have any sitting around, send them to me, Ries.  Also, I give good kisses but my favorite thing is nibbling on noses.  I think it is because I have a nice nose so I extra appreciate them.   Oh and one other thing, I love college football.  I will watch it with my mommy and she, well, she is a little crazy.  She loves the Fighting Irish and the Texas Longhorns but I am a bigger Longhorn fan.  I look really good in burnt orange. 

Anyway, I am happy to meet y'all!

Texas: How to be a "Real Texan"

I wasn't born in Texas but I have lived here most of my life so for those of you planning a visit or move this post is for you: How to be a Real Texan. 

We love God and Jesus.  A LOT! 

We don't talk funny, you do:
Y'all is a word. So is All Y'all so don't get them confused.   Things are over yonder and we don't drive people places we carry them.  
We also love guns but we don't all carry them. We probably all own them though so don't even think about trying to take them from us.  

Beef is king and that is what we mean by BBQ.  Pork is okay but don't call it BBQ. Also, we put rub on our BBQ. Sauce comes after along with pickle and onion slices and white bread.  That's how you eat BBQ. 

Tex-Mex isn't Mexican food but we love it.  The best places to eat are probably the holes in the wall unless you make it to Joe T Garcias in Ft. Worth.  

Speaking of Ft. Worth they are not Dallas.  Ft Worth is where the west begins.  They wear more boots and hats and you are much more likely to see the belt buckles there than Dallas. Whatever you do, don't tell people from Ft Worth that Dallas is better.  They will fight you. 

We probably all have been to a rodeo and it wasn't our first. 

We water our houses in Texas.  Not just our lawns our foundation.  It's pretty much mandatory in the summer because the soil is clay and if you don't you end up with fondation problems.  

We love our sports teams but hate yours.  The Cowboys are king in Texas but trust me when I say, you can't be a Texans fan too.  Also, you can't be a Mavs fan and a Spurs fan.  Nobody is a Rangers fan but likes the Astros.  When it comes to college football everyone hates the Longhorns but as a Longhorn I can tell you we only hate the Aggies and Sooners.  It is just how it is.  Don't argue with it and don't expect me to ever cheer for the Aggies even if they are playing Alabama.  For the record the best teams are the Cowboys, Mavericks,  Rangers, Stars, and Longhorns.   Don't fight me on this.  

Anything white is snow, even ice.  We don't get a lot of snow and while I know the difference, people here don't.  Even the news channels confuse ice with snow.  It's white, it's snow. 

Dr Pepper is king and that's what we drink in Texas unless there is good sweet tea around.  

Beer and margaritas are not all created equal and we take both very seriously.  The best Rita's are why you go to certain places. 

Chips and Salsa should be served at every eating establishment for free, always.  

We don't all have oil wells, but most us do have at least one pair of cowboy boots.  I have 4.  Some of us wear them with shorts.  Yes it looks stupid but we do it anyway.  As for cowboy hats, they are worn, mostly at country concerts but they are worn.  

Yellow lights mean speed up because the light is about to turn red.  If you stop, you may get rear ended.  

The left lane is the fast lane.  Don't get in it and drive slow or you may get rear ended. 

If you don't love Whataburger you are clearly not a real Texan and don't even try to say In N Out is better, just go back to California.  

We call everything Coke but we mean Dr Pepper.  If you order a Coke don't be surprised if someone asks you "What kind".  

There is only one brand of ice cream and that is Blue Bell.  We will eat it, hoard it,  and follow the trucks as they deliver it and no we don't care if it carries some microbes that can kill us.  It's Blue Bell and everyone has to die sometime.  

We love our trucks and we drive them everywhere.  Mine is orange but most are white or black.  

Hunting is a sport and while you don't have to hunt to live here you must respect the hunting ways and the gun. By the way, don't try to take the guns.  

If you go to the lakes without a fishing pole there is something wrong with you.  Jet skis are for city people.  We catch dinner here.  

Camo isn't a fashion statement it is a life style.  Everything comes in camo including hats for our favorite sports teams.  

Houston isn't close to Dallas and nothing is close to El Paso except Mexico.  Each city has it's own vibe and we all think ours is better,  but Dallas is better.  

If you are in Austin you must go to Threadgills and Chuy's.  They are just better in Austin.  Also, Austin is weird and they are proud of it.  "Keep Austin Weird" isn't just a saying it's a way of life.  

Speaking of Austin, they like to run and ride bikes down there.  They also love music. You are much more likely to run into a hippie there than anywhere in 1969.  Some of those folks are even vegetarians and they are proud of it.  

San Antonio isn't like other Texas towns. It's a culture all of it's own.   Know that and you will be fine.  

Also, never forget the Alamo.  People died there so Texans could be free.  This is a special place so treat it that way. 

Blue Bonnets: you look at them, you take photos of them,  you take photos in your wedding dress along I35 in Dallas with them but you do not pick them.  

The State Fair of Texas is about tradition, spiritual awakening and a lot of fried food.  Every year school children get a day off known as "Fair Day" and they get free tickets to the fair where they meet up with Big Tex and partake of a multitude of fried items from Twinkies and Snickers to lobster.  Their parents meanwhile are probably enjoying bacon margaritas and yes, I have had one and it wasn't as odd as it sounds.  

If you speak English and Spanish you are way better off in Texas than people who only speak one.  

Finally, remember we were once our own country and if we don't like it anymore we will be one again.  

Seriously, Texas is a wonderful state and property is still fairly reasonable.  Although the California transplants are doing their best to screw that up.  You can experience everything from mountains and deserts to the ocean and forests.   The weather is mostly hot, damn hot, and hotter than hell between June and the end of October but you get used to it.     You probably never will meet an unfriendly Texan, if you smile back and appreciate their opinions,  they will put up with you even if you don't appreciate the fine culinary experience of Whataburger.   

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Q is for Quack

Q is for Quack!

About a month ago, a little less, we brought home 3 baby ducks.  2 girls and a boy.

 They were adorable and little and soft and they pretty much did nothing but play in their water and eat and poop.  Babies.

 Then they started growing and we had to quickly build them a home.  This was about a week ago. 
 They liked their new home and settled right in, having space to shake their tail feathers.
 Having raises several batches of baby chicks, I can say without a doubt, ducks are way messier. 
 We literally clean their house out at least once a day and give them water anywhere from 2-3 times a day because they like to play and make a wet mess. 
 I woke them up this raining day to get pictures and video just for y'all. 
 They are about halfway feathered meaning they can go outside very soon.  We have to carry this house out to the yard but first I have to paint it.  I am going with barn red and white because if it ever stops raining, I am going to repaint our chicken coop and our little barn outside and I want it all to be matchy-matchy.  

So my little quackers don't really quack yet. They kind of squeak.   They do shake their tail feathers which I think, if you make it all the way through one of the last two videos you will see.  They eat chicken food but you can't give them the medicated stuff.  Luckily we don't have baby chicks so none of ours have anything to get into.  The medicated can kill ducks.  We plan on introducing them to the chickens slowly.  Leaving the ducks in their home for a day or two before letting them out.  Letting the chickens, especially the roosters, get use to the ducks.  They will be fine, I am sure. The roosters never cared if the neighbor's ducks waddled around or not. 

As for the ducks, we have Rouen's which look a lot like, almost exactly like, Mallards when they grow up.  Like all birds, the male of the species are much more flamboyant and attractive.  This is mostly because they are meaner by nature and therefore, they protect the females.  This is why I wanted roosters.

We will get some eggs out of this eventually.  I have never had duck eggs so I have no clue what to expect.  They are suppose to be amazing, so I hear.

So, have you ever raised ducks?  Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

Monday, April 18, 2016

P: What is a Parent or How to be a better Parent?

Before I talk about parenting, let me just get this off my chest.   While being a parent today is tough, the thing that makes it hard is that being a kid today is so impossible.   I feel so incredibly blessed to have been a kid before the internet.   I didn't grow up with cell phones, laptops, and tablets.  We had a set of encyclopedias in our house, purchased by my school teacher parents in 1970, the year I was born.  If I needed to do research on something, I had to go to the library and look it up in books which were paper objects not something I read on a reader.  (Not that I don't love my kindle now, mind you.)

Okay, so parenting.   Aside from the challenges faced because the kids are so linked into social media and so removed from actual social interaction, there are many ways to parent and many things that create road blocks to successful parenting.

For example, I am not a parent to some people.   I am more like a care taker.  I don't qualify as a parent because I didn't give birth or adopt my step-daughter, I simply married her father.   I have actually been told this by other parents.  The school doesn't really acknowledge me although chances are if there is an after school function for parents, I have been there for the last nearly 3 years like clockwork and I am usually the one to take her to her meetings.   This use to bother me.  The lack of respect for step-parents from other parents and the school district.  Then I realized, it isn't my problem it is theirs.  Truthfully, the teachers aren't the problem with schools it's the idiotic rules.  As for the other parents, the real parent specifically who discounted me is the worst example to her teenage daughter that exists so do I care what she thinks, not a bit. 

So what is a parent? 

A parent is someone who makes sure the kid has basic necessities; cloths, food, and shelter.  

A parent is someone who ensures homework is being done.

A parent is someone who listens to their child's problems.

A parent is someone who makes sure the cloths the kid wears are clean and appropriate.

A parent is someone who makes sure the food they eat is healthy most of the time.

A parent is someone who knows what types of social media their kids are on and monitors it.

A parent is someone who takes responsibility for their child's mistakes and doesn't blame the school.

A parent is someone who knows where their kid is and what they are doing. 

A parent is someone who makes decisions for their kids that are in their best interests.

A parent is someone who puts their child's needs in front of their own a lot of the time.

A parent is someone who sets an example for their children. 
This means they wear appropriate cloths, their skirts are not too small and their breasts don't hang out.   Save that for your date night when the kids are not around.  They also respect and uphold the law.  You don't steal, cheat, or lie because your kids will know the truth and unless you want them to grow up to be criminals like yourself, you do the right thing.

A parent sets good moral examples.  Don't bring members of the opposite sex around your kids until and unless the relationship is serious and for heaven's sake, unless you want to raise a teenage trollop, don't parade a bunch of sexual partners around your kids.  I don't care if you call them Uncle or Aunt whatever, they are not a part of your kids life until they need to be. 

A parent should be the one person the child can count on above all others.  This means being available for your kid. 

A parent is an adult.

So let me tell you a little bit about my step-daughter and my relationship.   She likes to talk to me because I don't parent her, she says.  I listen.  To this I explained that believe it or not, my listening to her is parenting her.  I learned from the best on being a parent, my mother.  I may not have gotten to this kid at birth but I got there as soon as I could and I take care of her like she were my own.   So I listen. I try not to judge, realizing she is at that awkward stage where she is finding herself.  I give gentle suggestions or sometimes not so gentle suggestions, and I let her know when I am disappointed in her choices.  How?  I tell her.  I have told her at least one time this school year that I was disappointed in her choices and apparently it hit home.  I probably get mad way less than her dad and about the same as her mom but I do it in a way that is different from each of them so to her, I don't parent her.   Don't get me wrong, we have had some blow up arguments.  I had to set ground rules, something she wasn't use to and I am still working on her mouth.  When you have a girl raised by a bunch of men at hunting camp, you have a girl with a potty mouth. 

But, the truth is, inside, I think she knows I do parent her.  I take her shopping for cloths.  Am I a push over?  Not entirely.  I let her have just so much and sometimes I make her put things back.  I watched her spend 20 minutes walking around in socks and Jennifer Lopez high heels before I told her there was no way she, a tall girl in the first place and a not even 13 year old in the second, needs 6 inch heels.  I reminded her that I owe it to her parents to do what is best and there was no way she was going to get her dad on board with those hooker heels much less her mom.   She huffed and puffed and put the shoes back.

I also, at least until the last couple of weeks, made dinner for her every night.   My new job has made this incredibly difficult because instead of getting home at 5 to cook, I know get home at 7, if I am lucky.   We are learning to use the crockpot more so I stick something on in the morning and hope it is edible by the time she gets home to eat.  

I also, at least until I started working stupid hours, was the one who took her to get her bunnies tattooed and ran her all over North Texas doing 'stuff'.  Stuff includes the ever important friend shopping trips because they needed a 'girls night out'.  This sounded so adult until they begged me to go get ice cream.  Still kids.

I don't know what a perfect parent is.  I am not anywhere near close to being perfect.  I do my best and love her the way I can, which may not be parent enough to some people but it is what I have to offer and she and I are good with it, even if she does feel the need to remind me on occasion that I am not her parent, and I feel the need to correct her and explain that I AM her parent.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

O: Oh the Places You'll Go

This is one of those amazing children's books that I think speaks as much to adults as kids.  Let's be honest, Dr. Seuss was awesome but as a kid, I read Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat.  I don't even remember reading this book until I was in my 20's when a guy I knew, an attorney, sent me a copy of the book.   His reasoning?  I needed to read this amazing book that would change my life.   Imagine my surprise when I opened the package to find a copy of Dr. Seuss.

So I read and I cried.  At the time, I was kind of sad and going through something.  To be honest, I don't even know what.  It was during a period when my bulimia was out of control and I was very wrapped up in how I looked at all times so when I got to the part about playing lonely games you can't win because you play against  you....I cried. 

You see, when you are involved in an illness like bulimia, the entire thing is not only lonely but it is truly a game you are playing against yourself.  The mental anguish of not being, pretty, thin, it becomes overwhelming.   I wasn't battling anything but my own self and that part of the book, actually the entire book, was so true about life that I was amazed there was a Dr. Seuss book that hits being an adult right on the head of the nail. 

So I buy this book for kids now.  I give it often for birthdays, first, fifth, thirteenth.   It doesn't matter what birthday because every kid can understand and should read this book over and over, especially in the times when they feel just overwhelmed with their trials.   

Just like I can't remember what was so overwhelming in the midst of my illness today, whatever the kids are dealing with will go away.  How else can you move mountains unless you unstick yourself and get on your way?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N: NASCAR or How to survive a NASCAR race for newbies

Not really the Highway to Hell

Last Saturday was the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.  We headed out on a somewhat rainy day to get some racing in.  This is only my second race but I learned quickly how to survive NASCAR after last year.   Here are my 8 Rules of Survival at the races:

Are we going to the race or hunting?


1. NASCAR is very Camo-Friendly.  My Junior hat is actually camo as you can see.   My friend 'Cornbeard"  (obviously not her given name, it's a long story, funny, but long) said she had never seen so much camo in her life.  I told her she needs to go to Bass Pro and then come hunting with the boys.You don't have to have camo but expect to see a lot of it. 

2. If you get offended easily, NASCAR isn't the place for you.   There are all ages, races, and genders who enjoy the race but the parking lot is usually full of one kind of fan.   The drunk kind. Simply put, anyone can and probably will say or do something offensive or disgusting at some point.  It isn't a big deal unless you make it one.

Rule 2 1/2:  I am not giving this it's own rule but check the venue before you go.  Texas Motor Speedway lets you bring in a small cooler which means we brought our own drinks.  Do you know how much beer and soda is at the race?  It saves a ton of money when you can bring your own!

Let the rain stop and the party start!

3. There is another do or die rule.  If you are going to use the port-a-potty, bring toilet paper and paper towels with you when you go.  Seriously, see the 2nd rule, drunk people miss and the potties are disgusting.  I have been to many port-a-potties on Opening Day and these are worse, if that is possible.  I mean, you don't touch nothing!

The race started 2 hours late due to wet track

4. You can't root for all the drivers.  Seriously, some of them are just jerks.  Pick a driver or at least a team.  We were all Jeff Gordon fans but he retired so Hubs stuck with the 24 car and he is pulling for Chase Elliot.  I stuck with Hendrick's Racing but moved on to Dale Junior (because he drives the 88 car and I graduated HS that year) although I also like Jimmy Johnson and will root for any Hendrick's driver if they are winning. (Have you noticed I understand team concept well? HMMM). The kid in her 'women rule' mindset is a Danica Patrick fan.  Pick a driver just don't pick the Busch brothers.  They are just jerks.

Hey, he almost smiled!

5. Prepare to eat like crap that day.   The food is fried.  It is NASCAR, what are you expecting?  We had hot dogs, corny dogs, nachos with some mystery beef on them. The kid had fried cheese and chicken on a stick, hubs also had fries and chicken fingers.  They sold out of Funnel Cake which probably ended up being a blessing!  I can't believe we ate all that, even if we were out there until 1am.

Family shot...kinda

6. Plan on spending several hours, at least two, in the court outside the race.  You get tons of free stuff.   We got several packets of sunflower seeds that I am going to plant and give to my chickens as a tasty treat later in the year, Texas shaped pasta, a bunch of fig bars (yuck but the kid loves them) a free sample of snuff (okay that wasn't me!), coffee cups and Louisiana info to take a vaca, and a bunch of posters for the kid from NASA.   It was like free shopping.  They had more stuff but I don't need Cigarillos and I never cook rice so I decided to pass.  I am sure we passed on other stuff too.  There is a ton and my husband was all like "Move it along lady.  Keep walking!  This isn't the mall."  Yes, it is!  Only this sh*t is free!  (I may have a problem but free!)

I take my Rangers wherever I go!
7. Come early but expect to stay late.  We got there at noon for a 6pm race and we ended up missing all the Duck Dynasty cast this year.   I was sad because I wanted to see Phil and Miss Kay.  We met the rest of the group last year.  It didn't work out but don't worry, I plan on a trip to West Monroe one of these days. Keep in mind there is usually a smaller race the day before and the track has a camp ground so people head out early in the week and spend the week camping out the motor speedway. For reals.  If it rains they are going to try and get that race in so expect delays.  It takes a while to dry the track.  Our race was delayed 2 hours for big trucks pulling hair dryers to get that puppy race ready.

This was my favorite car from the race the night before! #33 Texas Rangers!

8.. Plan to spend about $75 on headsets.  
Yes, it is highway robbery that you have to rent those suckers and they are so darned expensive but it is totally worth it.  The cars are really loud and they go really, really fast.  Besides, if you rent them you can hear your favorite drivers talking to their crew chiefs.  If you can't shell out that on the race then bring some form of ear plugs or at least a good headset that covers your ears.   My video doesn't do it justice but imagine the sound below only magnified about 100 times.

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