Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some Good Clean Fun

So, Today was my first full day without the dear husband being here and let me tell you...it already feels as though he's been gone a week! In the process of trying to find something to do with myself this evening, I took the pups out back and blew some bubbles for them. They've both always loved to chase after them,pop them with their teeth, then come back to me for more bubbles. I don't think I've ever seen anything funnier than these two dogs chasing after bubbles and mostly snapping air.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Missing Him Already

So, I got the dear husband off to the airport today and right now, he should be getting closer to Virginia. I already miss him so very, very much and I'm just thankful that I've got a great phone support group, where I can call a few people anytime I need to. I'm still not sure what to do with all my time, but somehow I have the feeling my house is gonna be spotless the next couple of months!

We took these photos on Saturday night and they each bring a smile to my face. I had some printed out so that the dear husband could take them with him. He said he's going to miss me and our puppies more than anything.

He really is my best friend and I have already begun the count down for the day he gets to come home!

I wish I had gotten a better angle on this one because she was licking her lips too! Oh she loves the attention!!

And I have to send out a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRONSON!! to my little guy here. Today is his 8th birthday and I still think he looks pretty handsome! The dear husband told the boy that we're gonna celebrate his birthday more properly when the hubby gets home. There's going to be so much to party about come May!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Something funny last night

So I had to pop on real fast to relate a funny event that happened last night. It was a tad warm in the house and during the evening the weather had finally cooled down and a gusty wind had picked up. I decided to sit out back, with my dogs, and enjoy the breezes. A sudden noise over by a part of my fence caught my attention and I looked over to see these two little black paws climbing one of the posts. My first thought was, " Boy cat, you sure are going to be surprised when you hit the top of that fence." Then for some reason the idea that it might be a skunk(yeah I know...in my moment of irrationality I forgot skunks can't climb like that) and tried to rush the dogs inside. I lingered long enough to catch a glimpse of the face similar to that below and am still laughing a bit at the creature's bravery and the way it's paws looked climbing my fence.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm gonna be MIA for a couple of days.

I just wanted to give ya'll a heads up that I probably won't be around much the next few days. My husband leaves, for a few months, on Monday, so we are trying to make sure that everything is ready for his trip and just busy spending what time together we can. I did however want to share the picture with you of the purse I made the other night. What do ya think?? Hope everyone will have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My attempt at a giveaway

So, I thought it was time to try and attempt my first giveaway and the photo to the left is what I will send to the winner. It's a 8x10 framed piece I made myself and if you would like to be entered to win, please send me an email with your name and email address between March 24, 2009 and April 6, 2009. I'll assign each entry a number and use a random number generator to get the winning number. You only need to email me once ( at firestalkergirl@gmail.com)to be entered for a chance to win. Good luck to everyone!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our New Favorite Bookstore

A few posts ago I promised to talk about our new favorite bookstore/coffeeshop, and so now that I've got some pictures to go with the narrative, I guess should fulfill that promise. As you can see from the picture above, it's called Half Price Books and though it is a smallish chain store, what we love most about it is that each store is more or less an individual entity.
What makes each store unique is how they come by the majority of their stock. As a patron you can bring in an assortment of books, music, movies, comic books, magazines, even some puzzles and games and they'll pay you for them. They also get some overflow from printing companies and everything is very reasonably priced.
An example of just how great their prices ,is this weekend, my dear husband bought a role-playing book for about $20. What makes this great is that when you are even able to find the book, it'll normally run you anywhere from $50 to $60!

These were my selections(minus one magazine) and it'll all only cost me about $6! I love their clearance section and can get a few novels for about $1 !

If you want to get the best cup of coffee anywhere here in Corpus Christi, you HAVE to check out the coffeeshop located in the book store! They have two flavors of daily coffee(and they will all be from various parts of the world), each for under $2 for a large and half-priced refills on those. They also offer specialty coffees and my dear husband's and my personal favorite is the " Turkish Delight". Trust me...if you ever get down this way and happen to stop in...try it!!

The service is also excellent and the staff couldn't be nicer! I love their decor too and they have various national flags hung on the ceiling, mismatched tables and chairs, and travel photos on the walls. On Saturday evenings, that I know of, they have different local music groups come in and you never know what kind of music you'll get to hear. All in all I would have to say it's definitely become one of our favorite spots here in Corpus!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How a Beach-Bum Wanna-be Spent the Day

The dear husband and I decided that today would be a perfect day to hit the beach-front again, so we packed ourselves, the dogs, a bite of lunch and set out for that sun-warmed sand and those crashing waves. It was the first time that either of the dogs had ever been to the beach and though we were a little nervous about how they would react, we wanted them to have a new experience and not be stuck in the house all day.
They were already pretty excited to be able to go for a car ride and were even more eager to get out and explore. Pepper spotted the birds and people and oh that's all it took to send her into
spams of doggie-heaven. Bronson was more his laid back, cool joe usual self.Then, we took them over to the water to see if they'd want to frolick and play and splash about. As you can tell....they thoroughly decided right from the beginning that they wanted NO part of this cool wet stuff and we were nuts to even have thought they might.
They much preferred to sit on the blanket and sun themselves or to sniff around the dunes and among the sea grass.
The dear husband thought it might be fun to dig a hole to China, and not wanting to put a damper on his enthusiam, I didn't even bother to try to mention how impractical and near impossible such a thing would be.I ended up making a turtle, but didn't really get much help from either of the dogs, other than Pepper doing her best to stamp the sand as compactly together as her little paws could.
Several times during the afternoon large flocks of pelicans kept flying over and we almost always seemed to just miss snapping a close-up shot of them. I went and stood down in the surf and watched the foamy waves wash up against the shore. Looking down at my feet I kept seeing little bi-valves and tiny crabs that the water would pull the sand off of and how they would scurry to get back down into the dirt. Being at the beach today, made me even more aware of how much I love the ocean and I felt at peace and joyful. As much fun as we had today though, we are pretty worn out and I think that it is time for our little family to take a nap.

A Few Pretty Things!

So in the spirit of welcoming spring, I decided today would be a great day to price mulch and some edgers for the front flower bed. We first stopped off at the NEX(Navy Exchange) here on base and found some really cute edgers that are imitation stone and some half-way decently priced mulch. Moving on to our local Wal-Mart, I was a bit shocked to not find any mulch at all, but I was caught by the profuse array of colors and types of flowers they had in stock. Seeing as I had my camera I just had to grab a few quick shots of ones that I liked.

These(on the left) were my favorites because of their vibrancy and texture.
I liked these because they matched the color of the flowers I was wearing in my hair today.
My camera couldn't quite capture the true deep red of these flowers, but they were breathtakingly ruby.

I had the same color issue with these roses, but I just had to have a picture of how beautiful they were.

Seeing as I am a coffee addict and a tea fanatic, I thought these planters where just the thing to go next to my front door.

I'd like to check out a couple of the local nurseries first before purchasing any flowers, but I have to say that I am impressed and thoroughly captivated by the promise these pictures above show for the spring to come!

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Finally Happened!

I'm still a bit fuzzy on the details and though I should have seen the evidence right before my eyes, it snuck up on me like a monkey ninja sneaks up on a banana split(believe me...they are sneaky little devils and so fast you only know they've been there by the one drop of chocolate ice cream they leave in the bottom of the bowl). My Memaw, my own precious little grandmother, has entered the technological world of the internet and email! It should have been a logical step, for me, from her desiring to play a few hands of computer solitaire to becoming savvy in the composition and sendability(yeah I know it probably isn't really a word, but work with me here)of emails, but I just didn't make that leap of progressive events. All shock and awe aside, I am thrilled to infinite pieces that she now has her own email address and we've already begun to exchange messages. She remarked this morning(and yes, I am still smiling and recovering from opening my emailbox and having a communique from my Memaw), that she was pleasantly surprised at how quickly messages could be sent back and forth and how much easier it was than sending actual pen-and-paper letters. I hope however, that she won't totally give up on the "old-fashioned" means of sending greetings because it has always made me feel so very special to receive a card or letter from her and I've always loved her handwriting. However, I do think her now having the knowledge and access to email will be a wonderful new tool that will allow us to keep in touch better.

My Memaw and I have always had a pretty special relationship, though sometime I'll have to tell you about my once ardent belief of how she and water should never meet, due to her melting and becoming nothing more than a puddle of grandmother. From my dad's seemingly constant search for a bigger and better means of familial financial support, we lived off and on with my grandparents(my dad's mother and father), several times in my life. Though I always saw her as a strict disciplinarian( looking back now I understand it was just from love and a desire for us to learn respect and manners), as I've grown older, she has truly become one of my best friends. My Memaw is the person I always turn to when I am most in need of some words of comfort, advice, or simply prayer. She is a woman of strong faith and I admire her tenacity, her wisdom, and her capacity for love. She never tries to sugar-coat anything, has a habit of telling you exactly what she thinks, and even when it annoys or rankles my feathers, I know she has my best interest at heart. And usually, she ends up being right( le sigh)! I love my Memaw more than words can say, so I am definitely, speechlessly thrilled that we now have one more way of connecting and sharing our lives!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How a bad day can follow a great one

Today, has been one of my bad days. Inspite of my starting on a new project, it's been a bad day. Perhaps I should explain how today can be so different from how I soared yesterday. A few months ago, I was finally diagnosed with a mental disorder that I have had for a very long time. My former doctor, after studying my moods and family history, came to the conclusion that I am bi-polar. Upon learning my diagnoses, I researched the web, read over all the symptoms, and was honestly blown away by just how line-for-line I met the criteria. We'd only really begun to experiment with what mood-stabilizers would work for me, when my husband and I had to move(he's in the military and when they say go, you have to go). She had taken me off the ones she'd first prescribed because I developed high blood-pressure and she was worried that the combination of meds and blood pressure would lead to a developing high blood sugar and thus diabetes. So, that being said, she took me off the mood-stabilizers and put me on medication to deal with the blood pressure and also antidepressants. Having been off the mood-stabilizers for some months now, I am seriously feeling the effects of no longer having that barrier between my life and my mental illness. I hate how I am rapid cycling and until my new insurance kicks in, there isn't anything I can do about it. That is one thing that I dislike about moving all the time....with the military insurance, for each region of the country you move into, you have to switch coverage and then wait till they assign you a Dr. I'm still waiting for my Dr. assignment. I think what is the hardest though, is knowing what kind of affects this has on all my relationships. Because of this disorder, I have become pretty much a social recluse. I drove away a lot of friends, though not really trying to, by just being totally unavailable to them. There have been times when I have done my best to push the whole world away from me(including and especially my husband). I stopped calling family, stopped calling friends, stopped interacting with my dogs, and would just lay on the couch, watching endless hours of T.V. Then I would hit a manic stage and become boisterous and have trouble sleeping. I'd constantly want to be on the move(as for the most part, I have been desiring lately) and wanting to go places, spend money we didn't have to spend, do things that I know I shouldn't. I very nearly wrecked my marriage and am just amazingly blessed with a loving, understanding, forgiving husband. Because of this illness, I have developed very irrational fears and thoughts(such as the feeling that everyone is staring at me, watching my every move or in a crowd of people, being unable to breath and heavily agitated to the point of meltdown, or a very real fear of driving), my mind only shuts down when I have completely exhausted myself to the point where I can no longer keep my eyes open, and I am barely able to concentrate on any one thing for any amount of time. I honestly think this blog is just about the only thing I keep up with any regularity and even now I am having trouble really staying focused to what I want to say. I guess what it all boils down to though, is that I have bad days and I have good days and I just have to take them as they come. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to say that I am back on the road to a more stable mental state. I thought I would include an informative website for those of you who aren't as familiar with Bi-polar disorder and would like to learn more:

Something I wanted to share

So, I got a creative bug this morning and instead of cleaning my house like I should be, I decided to try to paint. It's still really rough and unfinished, but so far, I am pleased with how my attempt is turning out. I am basing it off of a photograph of my mother on the day she married my dad. I decided not to make her gown and veil the white that they were, but rather to infuse some color into them. I guess I'm a tad excited and hence why I wanted to share the beginning stages. Will keep you posted on how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just some thoughts!

Today, has been one of those moments you wait whole lifetimes to experience, yet I haven't been anywhere other than my home and I haven't won the lottery. I think perhaps my journal entry from this morning might be able to better clarify what I mean: " Woke to sun-fired breezes and low lying fog. Dew still stains the windows, but heat and bird song seem intent to burn it away. A feeling, a sensation, a tingling awareness of being alive, coursing through the veins and capillaries. Watch the gulls aerial combats over a morsel of sustenance. Sing, twitter, soar to the heart's contentment. Throw face, skin, limbs and lanks, into the welcoming inferno of sun's gaseous rays. Feel burning, conflagration, scorching, cleansing of soul and mind. Welcome the radiated, sea-salted, spring breezes and feel their life-growing forces. Refresh, restore, reconfigure the essence. Lap in the milky health from nature's breasts. You are alive! ALIVE, ALIVE, ALIVE!" Yes, today is one of those days when the soul feels rested, revived, buoyed, and uplifted. I don't know what has made today so different from the countless other days before, but it's left me with a bubbling giddiness that only waits for the slightest pretext to issue forth in belly-felt laughter. In fact I spent almost a full hour doing nothing, but laying on my back, laughing as if I'd gone completely round the bend. Maybe I have, but if so, I'm enjoying every single moment of it! I feel expansive, open, full of love and tenderness, inundated with a magnanimity towards all creation. I want to share, to give, to be awed by the symphony of living! Today, is a very blessed day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just thought I'd throw on a link to this story I found interesting. Hope the little guy made it!

Gotta Love Those Late Night Art Finds

I can't seem to fall asleep tonight, so I thought I'd stroll to the computer room and take a turn at browsing the web. Faced with my desktop background, I found it dull and lacking inspiration; so off I ventured , seeking something unique. Where, who, and what to look for though??? I wanted something fresh, engaging. Thanks to Google, I stumbled upon Ilya Repin's work and was fascinated, but even more pleasantly shocked when I found the painter whose work is displayed here. Her name is Zinaida Serebriakova and from the paintings that I've had the pleasure of surveying, her work is utterly prodigious! I have not yet had the opportunity to research more about her life, but do know that she was born in what is now the Ukraine and that she was heiress of a rather artistic family. There is a luminosity and enticement in the faces of her portraits and I could sit for hours, lost in the time and space of her work.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some Interesting Facts About Coffee

Sitting here sipping my coffee, I was trying to think about what I wanted to blog about today. Epiphany! Why not talk about the very thing that over 400 million cups of a day is consumed in this country?! That's right...I said 400 MILLION cups of coffee are consumed a day in the United States alone (that's roughly about 146 billion a year)! So anyways, I decided that some research was in order for me to be able to give you any kind of information other than...coffee, I like it...It's good. So, without further ado, I'll get started from the beginning...
As many of you may be aware, coffee got it's start about the 9th century, in Ethiopia. Over the next few centuries it spread throughout what was known then(and still somewhat today) as the Muslim world. In the beginning it was used mainly for medicinal or religious purposes, but it's popularity grew so much that, in Turkey, if a man refused to give his wife the drink, it could be seen as grounds for HER to divorce him!
Coffee came to Western Europe roughly through traders in Italy and for a time the Roman Catholic Church wanted it banned, laying claim to the fact that since Muslims used it instead of alcohol, it had to be of the devil! It wasn't until the late 1500's, early 1600's that Pope Clement VIII settled the matter, by blessing coffee and thus allowing a tidal wave of coffee importation to cover the west. Coffee houses have been springing up ever since!
Now for some statically facts:
*The Coffee business employs roughly 30 million people world-wide.
*The U.S. is the leading consumer of coffee per year, followed by Germany and Japan.
*Brazil is the leading coffee producer with over 3,970 million coffee trees and Colombia
is in second place with 2/3 of Brazil's production.
*Coffee represents about 75 % of all the caffeine consumed in the U.S.
* October 1st is the official coffee day in Japan
* Americans consume about 3.1 cups of coffee a day
Needless to say, there is still much more about coffee that I want to learn about. If you might be interested too, the following websites might be a helpful jumping off-point for you:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Impromptu Excursion To the Beach

The dear husband and I stared out at the overcast, drizzling sky and both agreed....we didn't want to be trapped in the house all day. We brushed ourselves off, grabbed car-keys, my purse, and hit the road in search of something to do. We thought to stop over at one of the local smoke-shops to see if they might be open...but sadly, no...no purchasing of cotton-candy flavored hookah shisha for us today. Then we strolled into the quaint pawnshop next door, and not seeing anything we just couldn't live without, we thanked the proprietor and left. Back on the road again, we drove down one street till we hit open country and turned back. What to do and where to go??? The dear husband then had the idea of going over to Padre Island and I enthusiastically consented. So over the bay and through the storm we go...watching the windshield be pelted with fat raindrops, and wondering....did I wear the right shoes for this(nope). Not really finding any adventure in the shops that lined the highway, we noticed a sign for the Padre Island National Seashore ( http://www.nps.gov/pais/) and decided to check it out. Eight miles and $10 for-the-week later, we hit paydirt( or should that be paysand??)...there was the gulf in all it's watery-splendor. Thankfully, the rain had stopped for the most part and even though the clouds threatened with deluge, they respectfully held off. Now you have to understand, our first duty station as a married couple was Jacksonville, Fl. It was there that I fell madly, passionately in love with the ocean; the smell of the salty air, the sound of the crashing waves hitting the beach, the squishy feeling of wet sand between your toes....oh there's almost nothing better on earth! Living in Pa, for the last 5 years, I had forgotten just how much I truly love the shore, so my first whiff of salt-scented breeze and I was near 7th heaven. We walked down along the beach( remember those shoes I mentioned earlier? Yeah totally not right for the beach) and I snapped pictures of birds playing in the surf, the shore meeting with the sullen sky, my husband freezing, and anything else that caught our eye. That's when my husband spotted this large object, lying on the sand, and we went over to invistigate. The beach is always a great place to find treasures from the sea and this was indeed a prime example of such. Sitting there, covered with barnacles and sea grass, was the T.V. pictured above. Yes ladies and gents, I said a T.V. It seems you can't go anywhere these days and escape the reaches of television, but I digress. Even with the storm, the chilly air, definitely the wrong shoes, and the camera batteries running out at just the wrong moment, it ended up being one of the best days I've had in a long, long time. I love impromptu excursions to the beach!!

The Essential Drinking Party...

Alright, I admit....it isn't exactly what the title implies. True there is some liquor involved, but it's more than just about drinks. My husband and I have begun weekly Saturday evening sessions of what we like to call our " drinking parties". This is a time when we make ourselves A drink, fire up our hookah, and settle in somewhere cozy for a long bout of discussion. We will talk about anything and everything...from philosophy, books, current events, personal memories, you name it...we discuss it. Our "drinking parties" have become a time when we can throw off the constraints of time and duty and just reconnect with each other. In all honesty, I do believe that it has served to strengthen our marriage even just a slight bit and I know that personally, I anticipate our Saturday evenings with a wholehearted gusto and appreciation. If you want to start your own "drinking parties"(no liquor required) then there are a few things you MUST do. 1) Turn off the T.V. and the phone(you aren't going to want any interruptions from those ends) 2) If you wish, throw on some of your favorite "smooth" music(jazz, classical...whatever floats your boat) 3) Pour out those libations(be it tea, coffee, or liquor) 4) Settle in somewhere you'll be able to sit with comfort( the couch makes an ideal spot, but your bed could be just as nice too) 5) Sit back and just enjoy each other's company....it's really as simple as that. Remember your "drinking party" isn't about who can get drunk faster...rather it's about reconnecting with the ones you love!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It was thankfully brought to my attention(thank-you much Angie) that people were having issues with being able to leave comments on my page. I believe I have now fixed it and I look forward to hearing from you all soon!

Some of my photography

I've recently become very interested in photography and while I know my shots aren't the best, I wanted to share some of my favorites with everyone. I have listed some more on the following link http://firestalkergirl.deviantart.com/.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Showing some love

I was feeling quite depressed and a bit angry, earlier, and had curled myself up on my bed for a good, long cry. My oldest dog, Bronson( that's him on the left), came over to me and wormed his way into my arms, forcing me to hold him. I cried into his fur for a bit, but the loving attention he was giving me made me stop and take notice of the ever amazing ability this small creature has to make me feel better. That led me to thinking about just how rich my life is because I am the guardian of these two precious animals. They drive me crazy sometimes, but they are also the goofiest two creatures(well besides my husband and myself) that I have ever encountered. When I'm not quite fast enough in giving Bronson his dinner, he has to let me know about it, by going around and opening the kitchen cabinet doors. Whenever we bring home bags from any store, he absolutely HAS to inspect each bag...just to make sure there aren't any goodies for him in any of them(and when there aren't he kinda gives you this look that almost says...."Um I think you forgot something there buddy...where's MY treats?!!!")He will chase a toy so hard that he'll slam head first into the door with the loudest of " THUNKS" and yet come trotting merrily back like nothing had happened at all. We can't forget about Pepper(the little princess on the right), she is just about the most prone to licking -you- to- death dog, that I have ever seen. She constantly has to be close to you and is always ready for a good play-fight. Sometimes, she could sit there for hours just nibbling on Bronson(who sits and takes it) if we didn't stop her. Oh and boy can she be picky sometimes..."Oh that isn't what I wanted to have in my dish.... well how can you expect Me to eat it". I love how, when we've been gone for a couple of hours and return, they greet us as though we'd been gone forever and they never expected us to come back. How can you help but feel wanted, when this little thing comes bounding up to you with so much excitement and enthusiam at your mere prescence? I am truly blessed to have these two great dogs in my life and it's heartwarming to know that even when I feel as if no one in the whole world cares about me, there will be these two, giving me unconditional love.

Something for all you gardeners!!

For all you gardening people out there I just had to share this link with ya'll....http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1137883380/bctid4337401001. Pretty amazing huh?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I was recently sitting in a cafe when the conversation of two women, drifted over to me. Not really trying to eavesdrop, I nonetheless found myself drawn to and a tad infuriated by the topic they were expounding upon. These two were expressing the view that anyone overweight must be a complete, brainless moron and how disheartening it was that there were now so many such beings in existance. As I am overweight, it not only caused me a smidge of indignation, but also had the effect to give me pause for thought. Too often, we pass judgement on perfect strangers and have no clue or idea as to how or why they have gotten to a certain point in their life. I have always held the view that it is rather lowbrow to lump together a group of people and sit in utter condemnation of them and that no one has the right to berate the intellegence and value of another human being based solely on some physicality. Please don't mistake me in thinking that I am trying to excuse the rising obesity problem in our society, but rather think of this as a reminder of the equality of man. I have many times been on the receiving end of other's uneducated and critical assessments and it has never failed to leave me with a sense of dejection and self-doubt. That being said, however, I have always believed myself to be a fairly intellegent person with much to offer and have come to hold the belief that each individual has the potential to be a force for the edification of mankind. I do my best to meet each person with an open heart and mind and find it distasteful and ignorant to pass any kind of judgement without the opportunity of knowing someone better. My view is that we are all human beings, we all have our own unique idiosyncrasies and faults, and with such being the case who are we to sit in judgement?! I challenge you so that the next time you find yourself ready to pass judgement on a perfect stranger, stop and remind yourself that they are your fellow man and that there is more to them than meets the eye. Remember that everyone has their own backstory and that you too have issues you would not want to be judged on. I guess it all comes back to the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!