Good-Bye Harry. It has been great!

July 20th, 2007

As the final hours before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows draw to a close, I find myself a bit sad. I think that millions of us over these last 10 yrs. have looked forward to new installments in the Harry Potter series. The books are full of mystical honesty and courage. We want Harry to do what is right and defeat evil.Harry Drool

My son and I stood in line for 45 min. this morning at our local Barnes and Noble to get a ticket. These tickets assured that we would be one of the first after midnight to get the Deathly Hallows. There will once again be a huge book party at B&N with games, puzzles, costumes, quizzes, story reading, and prizes (and a new book to read). Yes, I am a huge fan.

I think these books speak not only to children, but adults who wish that the world were more black and white. How? So many times, we face people and situations that are gray areas. We don’t know who to trust or what to believe. I think that is why I enjoy stories such as those written by J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, Riordan, and even Marvel and D.C. Comics. The world is much easier to live in when there is a definite “good vs. evil”. I always want the good guy to win and the bad guy to get what he deserves. Sadly, that isn’t the world we live in. Many times, the bad guy gets the better job (or gets to keep his job when the others are laid off), etc.

As the final book comes out, I would like to say thanks to J.K. Rowling. You have inspired millions of children (and adults) to read and believe that we all have good in us. That we can all stand up for ourselves and fight what we believe is an injustice. We can believe that even if we are common, plain, poor, middle-class, or not the best in a subject that we can still make a difference. We all have something special inside us. Something that makes us unique. What a wonderful idea to remind the world.

Life Expectancy Website

July 19th, 2007

Me at 80?Ever wonder how what you do will effect your life expectancy? Do you eat right? Do you wear your seatbelt? Do you exercise? Do/did you have relatives that came down with a disease? All of these things effect how long you will live.

Recently, I took an online life expectancy test . The test said that my average life expectancy is 92 with a chance to live to 101. Wow! That is a really long time. I run/speed walk 3-4 days a week. I try to eat all of my fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I drink between 12-16 glasses of water a day. I sleep around 9 hours a night. I “try” not to stress, but it does happen – quite a bit. I do have history of Type II Diabetes and stroke in my family. I bet if I could take off 20+ lbs, I could live longer. Then again, I can’t really see myself living to 100 yrs. old.

The things I would see in my lifetime if I lived to be 100. The things I have lived through so far: going to the moon, computers, cell phones, biodiesel/electric cars, Tivo, bread machines, touch-tone phones, iPods, video conferencing, tele-commuting, warehouse clubs, etc.

Something to think about…how long will I live? That is if I don’t bleed to death in a freak typing accident. Until then, I will keep doing what I have done. Who knows? Maybe one day I will be living on a new planet writing my memoirs.

Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Texas Summers

July 11th, 2007

I spent the first 27 yrs. of my life in California. That is a very “interesting” state, California. I won’t go into that now though.

We moved to Texas almost 11 yrs. ago and I am so glad we did. There are many things that I love about Texas, some things I can’t stand. I thought it would be interesting to post what I like/dislike about Texas by season. As it is summer, we can start there.

Great things about Texas in the summer:

-Sunflowers. Most folks in the U.S. don’t realize that summer brings millions of roadside sunflowers. Not the gigantic sunflowers. No, these are the cut-flower sized sunflowers. They bloom everywhere. They grow wild. It is almost as if a “Johnny Sunflower-Seed” had a field day all over the state. No matter how bad my day might be, seeing roadside sunflowers in bloom always makes me smile.

-Barbeque. You just can’t beat Texas barbeque. All you need is a brisket and a smoker. You don’t need any sauce (unless it is from Rudy’s).

-Music. Texas is full of music. Any type you can think of plays here. Austin is said to be the “live music capital of the world”. I think they might have something there.

-Boating. People really do love the lakes and fishing here.

-Patriotism/State Pride. Seems like Texas is its own country at times. Most folks are really proud of their state and country here. Red, white, and blue run in their veins. They are proud to be Texans and Americans. The 4th of July and Memorial Day still mean something. I wish the rest of the country could feel that pride.

-Fireflies, Grackles, Cicadas, Walking Sticks, and Armadillos. Nights are magical with fireflies. Days seem a bit more cheerful when you hear the mating hum of the cicadas. It is always a treat to see a male Grackle do a “look at me” dance for a perspective lady friend. When you can find Walking Sticks, they are amazing. Armadillos? I still think they were born flattened. I have only seen one actually moving in my 10+ yrs. here. So strange.

-Rainstorms & Lightening. They have huge downpours here. When I first witnessed one, I thought of Noah and wondered how long it would take to build a makeshift boat to save ourselves. They call them “frog stranglers” here. Catchy name, don’t you think? Also, the lightening storms are amazing. Our dog hates them, but I LOVE them. Just make sure to not play golf or fall asleep under a tree during one. You knew that though, right?

Bad things about Texas in the Summer:

-Heat. There are days when you wonder when you moved to Hell. On some summer days, it might only be 10 degrees cooler than Hell. I have seen a summer day reach 112 degrees. On that day, my little city was the hottest place in the world. I think they were wearing sweaters in Hell that day.

-Fireants. A gift from the devil, I am sure. They go crazy with building colonies just after a rain. They bite, leave puss filled welts. What a joy. You can add in mosquitos and tree roaches too. Just can’t figure why these things were created. God? Can you fill me in on your plan for these 3? I’m stumped.

-Stereotypes. This isn’t necessarily just for summer. Folks all around the country think that everyone living in Texas wears a cowboy hat, chaps, and rides into town on their trusty Pinto (the horse that is). Sadly, I even thought that when I moved here. That’s really far from the truth. Yes, people wear hats (sometimes), no chaps (unless ranch-hands), and the only people that ride horses on a regular basis live out in the country (and can afford to have them).

-Roadkill. I know this is gross, but have you ever smelled a decaying animal that has baked in the sun? Ewwww! Nothing worse than smelling a squished armadillo, raccoon, or squirrel on a 90 degree day. So gross. Makes you want to pass out when you are jogging/walking.

– Big. Seems that Texas has a reputation for “BIG”. Big cars, big ranches, big hats. They forget to mention big portions. Texans love their food. After coming from California (where a carrot stick and a bite of chicken on a fancy white plate is a complete course), I was extremely surprised by portion sizes in Texas. When you order a meal, think the words “I am eating for two”, because you will be. Granted, you DO get your money’s worth. You also get several hundred calories more than you need. Texas has a weight problem. “Could you halve that chicken-fried steak and box it to go” should be the new state slogan.

Ah, the glorious summer days in Texas.