Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend Report: Catching up and Random Notes...

Well, I suppose it has been a while since my lost post... this is what happens when there are far too many things to do and not enough time in the day to do them all.  Ya gotta cut back somewhere, but I'll try to provide an adequate recap to keep things going here.
Did I mention that today is our 26th wedding anniversary?  In celebration, Eva whipped up Cousin Shirley's famous wedding cake.  It really is good.  We won't dig into it until we've at least had breakfast though.
What exactly do you give the woman who already has everything, anyway?  Over on Facebook, there were suggestions of an iron and ironing board or a new Swiffer.  I went with a new sewing machine and even without diamonds or gold, it was a big hit.  I am quite possibly the best husband, ever!
 The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  We had our daughter come to town from New Jersey to drop off her dog Panda and her car (Roxanne's, not Panda's) before heading back for a military deployment.  
We had a big family get together on the Friday before Easter so everyone could eat brisket and say their goodbyes and such. Yea, nothing says "Enjoy your trip to Kyrgyzstan" like a chocolate fountain.
The day included rides in the trailer for the little (and big) kids, firing at innocent cans without mercy, and later, roasted marshmallows and s'mores. 
Yes, suffice it to say we made a day of it.  As my niece Erica can attest, a good time was had by all.

On Sunday, I got up and took Roxanne and her best friend from tech school, Shannon, to the airport.  Panda knew something was amiss and howled for 20 minutes, but I am happy to report that she and Gracie have settled back into their routine.  For those that don't know, Panda has lived with us before.  Once Roxanne got settled in New Jersey, we loaded the dog onto a plane and sent her to live in the much cooler climate.  I think she is enjoying the wide open spaces out here as opposed to the apartment life.

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Back when I was a community organizer... I was among a group of folks who spoke at a conference at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio on the topic of Graffiti. I must have given my contact information to a lady in attendance and apparently, she saved it.  I got a call the other day and the nice woman explained our connection from a few years ago and wondered if I might assist her in regards to a new campaign she was undertaking.  Ridding San Antonio's District 10 of "swinger clubs".  

I had one of these "Fark" moments where you preface the headline with, "Having solved world hunger..." and then going on to state how researchers have spent millions of dollars on some insignificant thing.  I listened to the lady yammer on about how these types of places bring in a bad element into a neighborhood and then wondered exactly how she knew.  Anyway, I pretty much said that there were much larger issues facing neighborhoods that needed the city council's attention - namely, the rampant tagging which causes home prices to further spiral in an already economically depressed market.  She told me with, I assume a straight face, that no, swinger's clubs caused housing prices to go down much faster than graffiti.  Perhaps I should just change my number now.

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Moving along... This is normally what I see on my way into work driving north east on I-35.  It really makes for a nice drive.
This is what I saw the other morning.  Yikes! Hope nobody got hurt.

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One of the things we don't have out here is a huge selection of restaurants,  as evidenced by the fact that we have been eating at KD's at least once a week.  We need something with a little lighter fare if I want to maintain my fabulously curvy figure.  
 Eva found a place on Hiway 132 between Devine and Natalia called Wang's Wok.  Apparently, Wang's wanted to open up shop in District 10 but... never mind.  She did enjoy a nice lemon chicken and grabbed a menu, so perhaps we'll go back for dinner some time now that I know they have General Tso's Chicken. Yum!

And with the mention of food, it must mean I am ready to take my bride for breakfast. I think we are going to try the Crazy Burro, a popular restaurant in these parts.   

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Flea Report: South Texas Market in Devine...

I can't tell you how many times we drove right past this place thinking that it was just a bunch of random junk vendors set-up along the side of a not so busy Hiway 132 near Devine, not realizing that (as the map in the link shows) there was much more to it.  It is the South Texas Market and we finally stopped in for the first time this morning and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Years ago when the kids were younger, we used to hit the flea markets with some regularity.  My all time favorite was the Moursand Road market south of 410 on Moursand Road (wow, what a coincidence).  We would also hit up the Hiway 16 Market which as far as I'm concerned is not worth the buck or two it costs for parking.  We still have not made time to go to this new Traders Market just south of Loop 410 at Old Pearsall Road, and frankly, I can't see us going.  The point of a flea market is to look through other people's junk and find something that you need or think you need, haggle on the price a bit and then walk away with both parties happy.  This new concept of using a flea market being an inexpensive place to run a standard business selling new products just doesn't appeal to us at all.  Don't misunderstand.  If someone has a booth selling crafts or homemade jars of honey, that is fine.  What I'm talking about is when somebody uses the flea market format to open up their own version of the The Dollar Store where everything is mass produced in Korea, packaged, and guaranteed to be worth less than the non-negotiable price of a dollar.
So, make no mistake, STM is my kinda place.  Lots of other people's junk and loaded with character.

And without further adieu,  more pictures!
I love the dinosaur made of spare parts. It seems as though someone has a lot of spare time on their hands.  Lots of cool landscaping on the grounds.
Not to be outdone by the tall dinosaur, there was this guitar playing character.

And what flea market is complete without a small jail and an electric chair for shoplifters?  If the kids are being bad, bring them here for some Scared Straight action.  By the way, the sign above the jail says, "Law West of Chacon Creek".  Each time we drive past Chacon Creek, my wife and I argue about the pronunciation.  She knows someone with a last name of Chacon pronounced like "bacon".  I know a guy with a last name of Chacon pronounced "chuh-cone".  Apparently, one of these people doesn't know how to pronounce their own last name.
Where was I.  Oh yes, vegetables, junk and Rusty Nickles.  
 And some lazy dogs, an old jet ski and a spiffy looking bicycle! 
A good time was had by all, and we may make this a regular stop on weekends.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Diego's Big Day...

No school in San Antonio today due to the Battle of Flowers Parade.  This is the bonus you get when you don't have to worry about making up for snow days; The school systems can shut down so everyone's parents can party! 
Our nephew Diego, you remember him - the one who likes to drive - decided that with Friday off, he should have his Aunt Eva pick him up so they could spend the day together.  I'm not sure of the exact order of things, but they did make a trip to PetSmart and to Books-a-Million so they could look for a book on wrestling. 
With those important missions complete, they were off to visit the grandmother known as G-Dawg for some vittles.  She makes a mean Carne Guisada, and I don't mean maybe.

After work, I joined in the fun and we took a drive to a few stores in Devine.  We had been in the Ace many times before, but today we checked out Devine Hardware where we found a handful of needed items.  Diego especially seemed to like the gopher poison I bought.

Sensing that he was hungry, we stopped into Rocky's and ordered a pizza of our own (as opposed to hijacking someone elses).

When we got back to the house, we played Frisbee with Gracie and then made minced meat of some old cans lined up on the beach.
And before it was time to retire for an evening, we took a nice little ride up the street to view a herd of deer (I counted 11) crossing several vacant lots. 

That makes for a Good Friday...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stoney Island and other Yard Work...

I know it is an old saying, but I can't wait to get back to work on Monday just so I can rest!  We wasted very little daylight this weekend and in fact, worked into the darkness trying to do battle with the huge pile of brush and simultaneously do a little landscaping.
Friday night, I went to town on the pile with a new 16 inch gas powered chainsaw.  Our electric Poulan died, my pole saw needs to have the chain replaced and the trusty Black & Decker is just too small (and too electric) for such heavy work.  My wife did find out that it has no problem cutting through a brand new extension cord though.  Good times.  Anyway, as much fun as it was to burn the excess limbs that couldn't be used for firewood (that doesn't really seem to make sense, does it?) we didn't burn anything Saturday or Sunday due to the fire danger warnings.  The wind can do a number on things quick.
We have a tree that sits a bit back into the yard that offers the perfect focus point from our bedroom window.  Of course, I'm gone before the sun comes up, but my wife enjoys seeing the view with this tree when she gets up in the morning.  And we love to sit out there in the evenings listening to the sounds of birds, coyotes and who knows what wandering through the brush around us.
Anyway, we decided the sand was a bit much and it was time for a little decomposed granite to help things out.  It took us three yards of the granite which meant I had to make six trips into Lytle and back to get it and get it unloaded before the place closed.  Not to worry, I finished the last trip with a good 20 minutes to spare! 
 Once everything was spread out and smooth, we added a fire pit made by a local welder, put some lawn chairs in place and took a little rest.  In a way, this little area forms sort of an island out in the yard.  Eva decided this would be called Stoney Island and before long, she will have a sign painted making it official.
And with that, we relaxed and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. 

Lunch Report: Bubba's Burgers & Fries in Adkins...

I attended a luncheon for a friend of mine on Friday at a place we had been hoping to stop in for quite some time called Bubba's Burgers & Fries

 Located just inside Loop 1604 a tad north of Calaveris Lake, Bubba's is a bit of a drive coming from where I work, but it was certainly worth the drive.

To say the place is out in the middle of nowhere is only a slight exaggeration.  Surrounded by a beautiful landscape, I could see why some folks might enjoy sitting out on the patio sipping tea and enjoying a burger.

Inside, the decor is NASCAR.  But don't let that stop you if you aren't a Dale Earnhardt fan, what comes from the kitchen is all that you'll need to focus on.  

 The set-up is small, but certainly not the smallest place I've enjoyed a good burger.  I asked the owner about the hours and he told me they open Thursday through Saturday, just because they don't like to work!  The folks are super nice and given the size crowd attending the luncheon, they obviously have a system for getting food served in a hurry. 

I went with the 1/4 pound Bubba Burger and fries.  Check out the shiny bun.  You just know it is gonna be good - and it was.  The fries were cooked just right and the fresh bun was grilled just the way it is supposed to.  Add in some fresh fixin's and excellent iced tea, and you got yourself a Tasty Treat.     
 If you find your way out in the East Central School District area, Bubba's is worth dropping in for a bite!