Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coleman Rodeo

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This past weekend, Rob and I went to the rodeo in Coleman, TX – check out the link for more awesome rodeo pictures. Coleman is a little town about 45 minutes outside of Abilene with a population of around 5,000. Rob knows that sometimes smaller towns have better rodeos (not proven wrong by our visit to Coleman!). A very nice lady near the gate gave us some extra tickets she had – so we got to go for free! Even better! We went early so we could see the muttin’ bustin’… What’s muttin’ bustin’? Don’t worry, I had to ask too. Basically, young kids (we’re talking 3-5 years old here!) ride on the back of a sheep for as long as possible. It is hilarious! And I love that a Texas rodeo is one of those places where no one bats an eyelash at letting ones’ tiny child get face planted into the dirt as he or she falls off a sprinting sheep. Yea! (really, I do love that; I’m not being sarcastic).

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Rob got some nachos before the bull-riding started (his essential rodeo food) and we settled in to a beautiful night. Coleman’s rodeo had attracted the #3 bull rider in the world, which I thought was pretty cool. No one rode the full 8 seconds, but we did get to see a pretty feisty bull charge the rodeo clown!

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I think rodeo clowns must be a little crazy. Or maybe you’re just supposed to think that. But, while the angry bull was staring at him from the other side of the barrel, the clown would stick his hand around one side and then the other side of the barrel to wave at and taunt the bull. “Hey, big sissy! Over here! Now I’m over here! ha ha, what’re gonna do?” The clowns have a mic also for the purpose of joking with the announcer and the audience. Think of it like a little Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

There was even bronc ridin’!

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And sumo wrestlin’

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More bronc ridin’

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And a goat scramble for the kids… Every kid 10 and under climbs over the fence into the arena and lines up (the was a BUNCH of kids!). They release  about 10 goats with ribbons tied to them. The kids chase the goats, grab the ribbon, and take it to the announcer for a prize. I wished I was 10.

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It was a great rodeo and Rob and I had a wonderful Texas date!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Ours is getting bigger! Above you can see the orange tree (with two oranges ripening slowly!), the fig tree (scheduled to produce next year), and my beloved blueberries! Vexingly, the birds ate my first tiny harvest!! They waited patiently until the berries were perfectly ripe and *snatch!* I got some bird netting to avoid aviary harvesting on my mid and late season varieties (slowly getting bluer!)

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Matsuma Orange

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These are our continually growing tomatoes – Beefsteak and Brandywine varieties. A few have tiny green tomatoes…. And the tri-color cherry tomatoes are still monochromatic and green, but looking promising.

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This mystery bulb finally flowered and I’m in love! I’m taking some with me to South Dakota – aren’t the cannas pretty?

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And our amazing worms have turned table scraps and weeds into beautiful dirt over just two months!! They are AMAZING! We’re putting our scraps into another bin and plan on transferring the worms soon.

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And here’s some colorful and tasty fruit of our garden – the first harvest was golden zucchini YUM! We sauteed it with garlic, onions, jalapeno, mushrooms, and green pepper and served it with cheese or hummus in a crepe. Highly recommended. And the more colorful your dinner, the more variety of nutrients and goodness for your body – it’s not just about gorgeous food…

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Food

So, in case you weren’t aware, Rob and I love food. We search out the most wonderful places to eat and the most wonderful ingredients with which to cook. Here’s some of our most recent foodie adventures.

Mary’s Cafe in Strawn, TX

We read about this one in Texas Monthly’s Bucket List issue (and you should too – there’s places all over Texas to visit, maybe an undiscovered (to you) gem right down the road!) We went with our small group on the way to Lake Granbury, taking a short detour off I-20. Mary’s is known for their chicken fried steaks… quality AND quantity… and that’s what we got!

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I do not advise this place when you’re on a diet. Rob and I split some chili cheese fries as an appetizer before this GIANT chicken fried steak. So, did Mary’s deliver? Yes! Expect comfortingly delicious deep fried goodness with every item on the menu. C’mon, you only live once.

The Dixie Pig in Abilene, TX

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We drive by the Dixie Pig on our way to and from the farmer’s market on Saturdays and have always wondered (the parking lot is always packed, unlike in this photo). Recently, we visited for a late breakfast after our farmer’s market trip. Decorated with an eclectic pig collection (antique ceramics, clocks, carvings, toys and more) the Dixie Pig serves up classic diner fare – eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits and gravy, etc. The people-watching was one of the highlights as the customer mix includes older couples on a breakfast date, families with young kids, the table of huge blue-collar guys (I imagined they were “honey, I’m going out with the guys”-ing it), and adorable little couples (like us!) out for a lazy Saturday breakfast.

Riverhouse Grill in Glen Rose, TX

Rob and I joined the Howard clan (minus Martin) for a family reunion in Glen Rose, TX this weekend. We stayed in a very pretty bed and breakfast with a fantastic view and grey foxes that came to visit the grounds each morning and evening (the owner feeds them).

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Friday night, we ate at Riverhouse Grill, a historic Victorian home repurposed to a restaurant. We got the “red room” upstairs and enjoyed our own private dining room where Matt (bro) won at food this time with his very scrumptious cut of beef – a great cut of meat, but we decided they could have done a little more with it in terms of seasoning, but very good nonetheless. I competed and failed with my salmon and Ashley came in a very respectable second with the maple-glazed seared pork loin.  Overall, a nice dining experience – especially for a small town!

And finally! Doc’s Soda Shop in Dublin, TX

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Celebrating it’s 119th year, the Dublin Dr. Pepper bottling plant is one of the Meccas of Texas. Only here, can you get a Dublin Dr. Pepper frosty (seriously probably the second best thing I have EVER tasted – first is certainly in Budapest here – and I have tasted a lot of wonderful things!) You can also get fountain Dublin Dr. Pepper (even better than from the can or bottle) and of course purchase Dublin Dr. Pepper by the case.

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We picked up two cases of cans (one for the Kings as thanks for taking care of Gus for the weekend) and a case of bottles. If you come to visit us, please help yourself to our plethora of amazing soda!

And of course, we got frosties! And they were heavenly! And gone way too soon!

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Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

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Abilene is a surprisingly cool town! At first glance it seems like it will be boring and flat, but when you actually look for fun things to do, there’s coolness galore!

Abilene has a pretty decent zoo and over Memorial Day weekend, Rob and I decided to make a visit.

And there really were lions, tigers, and bears! oh my. BUT, in the heat of the Abilene mid-day, they were visible but not very photogenic lying in the shade…

I fell in love with the flamingoes and decided I wanted to keep some on my future farm… we’ll see, but they are delightful to watch!

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Feeding the giraffes is one of the highlights of the Abilene zoo. Yes, giraffe tongues are THAT long.

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Later that weekend, we went to Lake Granbury with our small group from church. Kayla’s parents took really good care of us and we all left happy and stuffed!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Renegade Yoga

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So, I had this great idea to hold yoga classes every month or so in an empty warehouse or rooftop in downtown Abilene. Yesterday’s was the first one scheduled, to be held on the rooftop of The Grace Museum – it was during ArtWalk, the monthly downtown festival where all the museums are free and local artists and vendors set up along the street. As it was fairly warm that day (mid-90s) I decided we didn’t need a hot yoga class and we took it inside to the loggia (like a lobby).

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It was great! The setting was BEAUTIFUL and everyone had a good time. There weren’t as many in attendance as I’d hoped, but that meant I could tailor the practice to the students a little more, rather than a general practice. Rob was a very loving husband and took some photos and said we looked like a “living art” exhibit in the museum. IMG_5397

He was also a great roadie and packed me up while I visited with students in order to get us home in time for So You Think You Can Dance. *sigh* I know he loves me!

Check out everybody up in crow pose!!

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I’m toying with some locations for the next Renegade Yoga and may trespass, er, scout out some locations soon. Please bail me out if I get arrested…

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

String of Bad Movies

We have had a slew of bad movies delivered to us by those nice people over at netflix. I know, we put said movies in our queue, but surely netflix would have identified that we had a terrible lineup and adjusted accordingly. Sadly, they did not.

60035334It began with The Last Unicorn. Curious why our parents put it on the list of “no-see” movies when we were kids after we’d already seen it, I decided to rent it. We almost didn’t make it through! While the story itself wasn’t bad, what ruined it for us were the songs by America…. UGH! Boring boring boring. Sounds assailing my ears make my brain numb. Little did we know this was only the beginning.

70043941Our next netflix was Happy Feet. Never having seen it when it came out (we were enamored by the “other” penguin movie at the time – Surf’s Up – so awesome!), we figured it would be good. I know people who liked it… or thought I did. This one also had songs. Mmm, this isn’t a good sign. Also, I think I never could buy into the story. The main character penguin kept his baby fur through the whole movie! What?? While I did thoroughly enjoy the latino penguins for comedic relief I found the environmental undertone a little too “in your face” and annoying. So, ugh for Happy Feet. Or maybe The Last Unicorn put us in a bad mood.

70042691But then, we watched Doogal. The voice talent is the reason we watched it. So. This movie made very little sense. I think the animators picked their individual characters completely separately from each other – there was a dog named Doogal (sure, okay, normal), a surfer-accented bunny named Dylan (an archetypal character they seem to be throwing in a lot these days to kids movies – do older brothers smoke so much pot that this is a normal character for a child?), a sassy diva COW named ERMINTRUDE (okay, now it’s getting a little weird) played by Whoopi Goldberg, and a rather large-for-the-scale-size SNAIL who is in love with the COW…. his name is Brian.

There’s also a good wizard (who looks like a bobble-head on a large spring – he bounces up and down from the clouds where he watches over everyone) named Zebedee. The characters summon him by shouting his name three times. His antithesis is an evil imprisoned wizard who escapes named Zeebad. Don’t you totally want to see this movie??

It makes about as much sense as a video game-turned movie. I actually wonder if it’s a children’s video game. One of the main things we didn’t like was the lack of a lesson to the story. The main character (Doogal) was flawed with selfishness and yet became the hero of the story while not growing as a character. So, kids are supposed to think that you can be kind of a jerk, but as long as everything turns out in the end, nothing has to change? Sad.