Texas Chain Saw Massacre

In preparation for selling our house , I am trying to tidy up some things.  It cost ways too much money to have landscapers do things.  There are some things I need them for that I can’t get too, like trimming the palms, they are just too tall.  I never thought I postage stamp size yard would require so much landscaping.   My husband says we live on 1/6 of an acre.  Anyway, the one day freeze reeked havoc on our plants.  I had to take out the 1 year old dwarf oleanders and trim back the bottle brush that were completely brown and were not coming back (this is where I used the chain saw).

bottlebrush1

I asked the neighbor if he would move his gazebo which currently houses farm rabbits. (I am pretty certain this is not allowed in our neighborhood…they smell like bat poop).  Anyway, he just said go for it.  I didn’t damage his gazebo and I tried really hard not too.  I have bottle brush tree dead limbs in my garage, behind the waterfall and behind the garage.  It’s going to take a lot of work to get it to the street for garbage pick up.  Ugh!

Next up was replacing the Italian cypress trees in planter boxes.  I fit these babies in a camaro!  whoo hoo!

italian cypress

Lastly for the backyard is the replacement of the oleanders.  I love the hot pink ones, but couldn’t get them in dwarf size.  So peach it is.  I waited at least a month for the local nursery to replenish supply.  They didn’t.  Oh well, this is for the new owners.

oleanders

I think our backyard is nice.  My daughter and I enjoyed the hot tub last night.  So I am the pool man too and have had a hard time keeping the pool clean and algae free.  In our new place we will not have a pool.  I never thought I’d be ok without being around water. I am ok with it for now.  Our new place will have such a better layout and a large covered patio.

I will miss some things but not others.   I won’t miss the neighbor across the street with their cars.  I will miss my tennis club and friends, how convenient it is to get to the store. I’ll miss my one neighbor for sure.  Who would have thought after so long being here, she would be the one that I have the closest bond with?  Our lives have changed so much. I think it’s time for a change.  And I’m excited for our new adventure!

 

 

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Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Father’s Day in the Glades

My father’s day was special.  I traveled with my son to be with my dad in Florida.   He has always loved Florida and even though he lived in different states, and even in a different country, Florida has always been considered home for him.  The beaches are just gorgeous in south Florida.  They really have made them nice.  Each beach has it’s own personality. Fort Lauderdale beach, Delray, Hollywood, Boca, and Deerfield are favorites!

Since my son was with us, he really wanted to see alligators.  As if we don’t see those in Texas!  Dad loves the everglades too!  We went to Sawgrass Recreational Park for an airboat ride in hopes to see alligators.    They hand out ear plugs, the motors start up and it is so loud!  There has been a lot of rain in the area and the captain said there haven’t been too many sightings, even at night.  Alligators are nocturnal.  We ended up seeing a big one!   He came up on the side of the boat and I snapped a pic.  I was a little concerned about how close he was and I figured our boat was probably disturbing him.  In Texas, my favorite place to go to view alligators in their habitat is Brazos Bend State Park.  You can camp there, bike around a big lake (moat with alligators in it) and even go to the observatory in the park for star gazing at night.  The everglades is pretty cool.  It’s about 100 miles by 60 miles. The water is fresh and it comes from lake Okeechobee.  The everglades is actually a river. Recently they have stopped building around it for 100 years.  From what I got out of the talk, the depth can be 17 inches or more.  There is a razor sharp sawgrass that grows there and decaying vegetation then shell underneath. There is bass in the water.  The water is not clear it looks brackish.    The captain said there are snakes, however the airboats keep them away.

airboat.jpg

Say hello to my little friend….

alligator

Tomorrow we will be hitting the beach, weather permitting.

The dad’s that like to do things with you are the coolest.  My dad is exceptional.  He likes to have fun and has always been responsible, reliable and is an amazing care taker.  I know he had fun taking my son and I to the park and I’m so glad he got out to enjoy the day.  It was so beautiful.  The weather was in the 80s, a bit less humid than Houston, albeit it was humid.

 

Father’s Day in the Glades

Healthy snack

I have been searching for satisfying food that doesn’t cost too much and is healthy and low calorie.  A few years ago I went on a weight loss plan “Medifast” and it worked great.  My issue is that in maintenance I didn’t want to continue buying their “food”. Medifast did a really good job offering tasty “meals” that were around 100 calories and satisfying.  My only issue is that I have to buy them, either go there or have them shipped and it was getting expensive.  At least $3 per “meal” and I would have 3 or 4 a day on maintenance.  Specifically I was looking for a shake.  I have tried several recipes on the internet and found that the combination of flavors I was looking for is chocolate and peanut butter.  I love chocolate and thought the peanut butter would add some protein.  After trial and error I found something that I really like!  It doesn’t have too much sugar and the consistency blended well and the taste is satisfying!

I’m guessing it’s probably 125 calories if you add up the individual ingredients, which are:

1/2 banana

3/4 cup of vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon of Powdered Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon of Natural Unsweetened Cocoa

1/4 cup of crushed ice.

The medifast meals had 11 grams of protein in them.  And 7 grams of sugar.  The peanut powder provides 5 grams.  So maybe I will work on increasing the protein.  Protein should keep you from getting hungry longer.  Powdered peanut butter has the taste of peanut butter and less calories and fat.  My daughter found this little gem!   This shake has about the same fat as Medifast, 2.5 grams.

And the cost, $.68!  Yippee!!!!!!

shake

 

Healthy snack

What the heart likes to do

I am so happy about the opportunity I had to give an old bike away to a friend who needed it.  My friend’s son is interested in bike riding and actually rides to school (college) from home.   My friend told me the current bike was not functioning and how much her son enjoyed biking.  They needed a functioning bike and I happened to have my husband’s bike that has been sitting in our garage for far too long.  It’s really old (1993) and it’s a Schwinn when Schwinn was good.  Before I was married my soon to be husband had me believe that he would adventure on bikes, canoes, camping, etc.  That lasted maybe a handful of times.

I had to get new tubes and a chain for the bike (about $50) to get in into working condition.  The gear shift doesn’t work anymore, despite the attempt to flush the lines.  I was told they may start working, although admonished not to get my hopes up.  Still the bike is stuck on a comfortable riding gear.  With Houston being so flat, you don’t really need to shift gears anyway.  It will cost $40 to get new shifts and $20 to install on each. For this bike as old as it is, the $50 spent to get it functioning was well worth it.  A new bike now-a-days is at least $400 at the bike store.  Of course they have the latest and the greatest options.  This bike is steel and heavier than the carbon frames.

schwinn

My friend arrived with her son.  Which warmed my heart.  Now a days it seems that kids just aren’t as appreciative.  Not this kid.   My kids would never ride a bike to and from work or school.   I would ride to work back in the day, not to save gas, just for the exercise.   My friend’s son was so appreciative and told me about his riding paths.  Again, warming my heart that he has found exercise he enjoys.  It is so special to me that I can contribute something that fosters the desire to keep going on this path.  There is just not a better feeling.  I hate throwing things away.  Finding a purpose provides meaning.

Cycling has so many good purposes, traveling from here to there, good for your knees, exploring beautiful scenery, physical challenge, etc.  There are so many places to travel in the USA and ride.  Back in the day, I almost planned a trip alone to Martha’s Vineyard to cycle the island.  I may someday go back to that plan.  Just listening to the bike shop chatter, there are trails in the blue ridge mountains and in many other places that you can ride for miles. I can’t wait for retirement.  I can definitely see me on these trails.

What the heart likes to do

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” — John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”

Once a month Bike Houston a non profit organization holds a bike ride to explore the Bayous.  They meet at Market Square in downtown Houston on the first Sunday of the month at 8am.  This ride only maxes out at 40 people usually and they go about 25 miles. The website suggested that wider tires were necessary because the path would be about 60% paved.  I had to get mountain bike tires and discovered a hybrid tire.  It’s wide, smooth in the middle and nobby on the outside.  The cost is about $20/per tire and $6 for new tubes.

A storm was coming and looking at the radar I saw red and even heard thunder.  The group decided to head out and deal with getting wet.  If it got really bad the plan was to sit under a bridge until the storm passed.  As we headed out the rain started.  I thought, I’m doing this for fun and to me it’s not fun or safe in the rain.  I made the decision to turn back because I really thought the storm was coming and conditions would be worse.  After getting the bike in the car, the sky became clear.  I’m so mad I didn’t stick with it.  I was really looking forward to this ride.  You can ride the bayou anytime, no need to go with a group. However, because I am unfamiliar with the trails, I really wanted to go with a “guide”.

It looks like there is a north and south side of the Buffalo Bayou trail.  And they don’t look like the connect.  Further to the west is White Oak Bayou that is to connect eventually as a part of the  Bayou Greenways 2020 project.  If you live between the city loops on the north side, you can potentially ride your bike all of the way to downtown along the bayou.

So, on my own, I may decide to explore the White Oak Bayou trail and the Heights bike trail.  It’s not easy to get this info on the internet.  However for the Heights trail, I think you can park at 2799 Moy St, Houston, TX 77007.  Which seems to be in the middle of the trail.  I really can’t tell how long it is.  (Between 4 and 10 miles).  I’m not sure how safe it is either.  This is why it’s a good idea to ride with a group!

buffalo bayou ride

 

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou