Sunday, February 27, 2011


The car I drive now is great when it works right. When something wears out or breaks, it is very expensive to fix. At eight plus years old, my car teeters with two wheels over the white-elephant precipice. I'm jonesing for a new ride, something fun and a little sassy, unassuming and eye-catching, zippy without being cop-bait. Oh yeah, and priced under $25K.

My less expensive option, Fiat opens a dealership in Austin in just a few days. Io amo Fiat.

My more expensive option, Mini Cooper opened a dealership here in Austin this year.

Now who wants to join me for test-drives?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lions and Tigers and a Bear, Oh My!

Saturday I toured the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation grounds in Kendalia, Texas with some of my fellow Bottle Baby Nursery volunteers. We saw all sorts of animals ranging from primates to raccoons to exotic birds to lions to domestic cats. The only animals we touched were a friendly young vulture with an injured wing and a young dove who waddled after us seeking attention.

Some of the animals at the facility will be returned to their natural habitats if possible. These animals do not get names. Human interaction is kept to a minimum. However, many of the animals are too tame, disabled or dependent to be set loose on their own, but also too large or aggressive to be pets, and will be permanent residents of the facility. To see animals treated and tended with care and respect at this sanctuary restored some of my faith in humanity.

This Fennec Fox was once a pet. While this animal is achingly cute and playful, there are plenty of cats and dogs in need of homes without breeding wild animals in captivity and selling them as pets. The fox was surrendered by its owner, probably because it behaved like a wild animal forced to live in a house. Just because an animal looks cuddly doesn't mean we should put a collar on it, drag it inside our house and name it. This little guy has a happy ending, living in a huge natural enclosure with meals and a heated bed provided.

We also met lions that were formerly pets. The previous owner's family made him surrender the lions when it became too expensive to feed them properly. The lions came to the rescue group emaciated and sickly, but are now thriving.

Cutest animal of the day award went to a Marmoset (tiny primate the size of a squirrel) who ran up a tree limb to greet us through the fence. He waved a carrot slice in the air at us, then settled in to watch us and nibble his carrot, almost as if we were his entertainment. Again, as cute and endearing as he looks, he is a wild animal and should not be kept as a pet. He has thumbs and sharp teeth. He is aggressive, easily bored and smart. (Actually, that sounds like a lot of people I know, but you get the idea. Right?)

In my opinion, some people purchase exotic pets as status symbols and/or to make themselves seem more interesting. I find this behavior short-sighted and shallow. It's one thing to care for an injured wild animal in need of help, but I find it deplorable to buy a wild animal and expect it to act like a domesticated dog, cat or hamster. You want an exotic pet? There's a bunny rescue group in the Austin area. That's kind of different.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Mad at

Perhaps you've heard/read the news that Borders bookstores filed for bankruptcy, that half of the stores will close, after putting many locally owned bookstores out of business over the years. I love books, and hate to see bookstores go out of business. I normally check Book People and my neighborhood Half Price Books before ordering books or DVDs from, because I want to support the local economy. I acknowledge that is much cheaper than Book People, and usually even cheaper than Half Price Books. I find the items I want from in stock 95% of the time. I take advantage of the free shipping from that automatically comes with $25 purchase.

BUT, doesn't charge sales taxes in Texas, despite the fact that they have a processing facility in Irving, Texas, and by law should charge sales tax in the state of Texas. The state of Texas sent a bill for $269 million dollars in back sales taxes that should have been charging customers, and paying to the state of Texas since 2006.'s response: basically act like a big bully. Deny the bill. Deny any wrongdoing. Close the Irving processing center and eliminate 119 jobs in a terrible economy. Click *here* to read a comprehensive article on the whole debacle.

As much as I've loved in the past, I think we have to break-up now. The corporation is acting like a big-old-butthead. and their amoral lawyers act with no regard for the law, rules or ethics. I don't want to have such a monopoly over book sales that even more local book and media stores close. Just as Borders is now declaring bankruptcy and closing stores, after forcing others out of business in their wake, so could someday go belly-up and leave us with the sad, very limited offerings on the book aisle at Target.

Next time you need a book or magazine, go support your local bookstore. Or at least support a chain bookstore that pays local and state sales taxes.

Goodbye, It was great while it lasted, but I've outgrown you and your petty ways. You're like the girl with the curl. When you're good, you're very good, but when you're bad, you're horrid.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Light Bright

Chad and I inherited boring white ceiling fans in the three "bedrooms" in the 1952 house. (We use the rooms as an office, a dressing room and one actual bedroom.) I know we will live in the 1952 house for a good many more years. With total disregard for resale value, I've decided I'm not in love with these ceiling fans.

As with every usable piece of hardware we've pulled out of the 1952 house, I'll donate these white ceiling fans to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, because someone will like them more than I do.

Chad and I looked at new ceiling fans at Lowe's, and quickly agreed on the style for the master bedroom and office. With Austin's hot temperatures and the road noise from that big street along one side of the 1952 house, we acknowledge the need to keep ceiling fans in the rooms where we spend most of our time.

I'd like to put a chandelier in the dressing room. There is an ottoman in the center of the dressing room, so no worries about walking under the chandelier and bonking one's head. I'm considering the following options:

While we're at it, I'm loving this light fixture for the bathroom.

I'm loving this fixture to replace the cheap pendant lights over the dining table.

I know, I know... I'm getting a bit ahead of myself and quite a bit beyond the budget with the bathroom light and dining table light. I'm just saying these lights look oh-so-lovely.

Always Love

Happy Valentine's Day! I see V-day as an opportunity to appreciate the loves in our life: be they friends; relatives; significant others; furry, feathered or scaly pets; or even hobbies/causes.

In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts to give and receive is time. What better way to show someone (pets included) that you care?

I'd like to echo the sentiment from a song by my favorite band, Nada Surf. Here are the lyrics to "Always Love":

To make a mountain of your life
Is just a choice
But I never learned enough
To listen to the voice that told me
Always love, Hate will get you every time
Always love, Don't wait til the finish line

Slow demands come 'round
Squeeze the air and keep the rest out
It helps to write it down
Even when you then cross it out

But Always Love, Hate will get you every time
Always Love even when you want to fight

Self-directed lives
I want to know what it'd be like to
Aim so high above
Any card that has been dealt you

Always Love
Hate will get you every time
Always love
Hate will get you

I've been held back by something
Yeah. You said to me quietly on the stairs,
I've been held back by something
Yeah. You said to me quietly on the stairs.
You said
Hey, you good ones.
Hey, you good ones.

To make a mountain of your life
Is just a choice
But I never learned enough
To listen to the voice that told me
Always love, Hate will get you every time
Always love, Don't wait til the finish line

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More Puppy Love

As promised, I passed Winnie and Wendell on to their next foster parent on Monday. I kinda miss our temporary puppies, but I'm kinda glad to catch up on my sleep and pay attention to our permanent pet residents at the 1952 house. Here are a few more photos of the fatties.

Wendell's legs aren't long enough or strong enough to carry his fat puppy tummy just yet.

Dragging oneself around the heating pad can be oh-so-tiring.

Winnie wants to hold her bottle like a big girl, but her little legs are too short.