Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wild Animals...

This is Eva's little frog she named Hoppity.  I know, she had to have thought long and hard to come up with something so original, but I guess it fits.
 Anyway, this little guy lives on our front porch.  I think he decided to play it safe and suction himself to the storm door because the little terror that is Maggie will eat any small thing that moves.  As the frog, Hoppity, hung there suctioned to the door, Maggie found one of those huge grasshoppers making the mistake of being within 10 feet of her, and made him a breakfast. Who could imagine such wild behavior from such a cute little doggie? 
That little pose she has, sitting somewhat awkwardly just cracks us up.  We are contemplating a name change.  We realized that she doesn't respond to Maggie at all, but does tend to react to "NO!", "Stoppit!", and a hand full of selected obscenities.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I stopped into the HEB convenience store for a Friday afternoon beverage and this caught my eye.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Car Attacks Fence...

As if it were a scene taken from the pages of Strange in San Antonio...

This was our very first house on San Antonio's west side near Lackland AFB.  I put up a chain link fence in the front yard because the kids were still toddlers when we moved in, and the traffic that would fly up and down our street from Barton's Boozery on Military Drive to Security Service up on Highway 90, always made us nervous helicopter parents.  No, we didn't even let the kids play in the front yard, but why take chances?
 Anyway, Eva took this picture as she drove by so I could see the damage to the fence.  Apparently,  a car coming up the street maneuvered itself into the fence and front yard.  No children were harmed, though the fence had to be replaced.  I'm pretty sure nobody got excited about it, because cars have been doing this to fences and front yards on Westoak for years.

My Daily Deer: A Different Point of View...

I decided to move the deer cam to a tree on the new property facing the gate I installed.  I was just looking to get some different looks at the deer.  And, I was hoping I might catch the little dog trying to sneak through the wire.  No luck this time.
Anyway, this is what the angle looks like in daylight.  You can see the gate on the south side of the property and looking west toward Stoney Island in the back.
And this is what the same deer we always see looks like from the side. 
What the hell is that flying thing above his head?  It must be some sort of aerodynamic branch flying in the wind, but I suspect if I were to remove the deer from the picture, I might be able to sell it to one of those conspiracy web sites as one of those new government mini-drones sent out to spy on us.

Or not.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dinner Report: Whataburger in Lytle is Open!

I know, I know. You don't even have to say it.  Whataburger is just a fast food chain and I am constantly yammering on about all these great places to get awesome handmade, super juicy and delicious artery clogging masterpieces.  Why would I get excited about Whataburger?  Because we now have our own close to home, that's why!
 Say what you will but I'll put the Number 5 on Texas toast with grilled jalapenos and onion rings in place of fries up against many of the higher end burger places.  No, of course Whataburger doesn't beat out Lord's or Chris Madrid (most of the time) or even Bobby J's (though my wife might argue that one).  But you can get a consistent product that is just as good as Five Guys or Smash Burger for half the price. 
And the good news was, we went into the Lytle Whataburger on opening day, something I usually avoid, and in spite of the place being packed, we had a very brief wait and our food came out quickly, and it was just as good as we expected. 
And in a big blog fail (this only happens rarely), I was so giddy about the arrival of my burger that I couldn't control myself long enough to take another picture once I unwrapped the delicious present before me.  I can only say Yum! and hope that covers it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Daily Deer, Dogs & Birds...

It is simply too hot to do anything productive during the day - and we aren't even getting started with the fireball yet.  It was 101 out here yesterday - not sure what the official temp in San Antonio was, but it was extremely hot.  We spent most of Saturday boosting the economy and emptying my account.  Long story short, some new house phones (Eva pondered, "Are we the only people who still use a house phone?"), a new iPhone for me, some fabric for Eva's platform rocker project (who knew material was $19 a yard?), some photo work at several Office Depots and an Office Max, and some pool supplies for the hot tub.   All that running around and each time we would jump in the truck, it seemed like the air conditioner just couldn't get going fast enough before we were parking to go to the next place.  It took getting on the road to really cool down and even then, we stopped and got some iced tea for the ride.  Today, the only productive thing I will do is clean out the hot tub.  It is waiting for me.

But first:  Everybody loves pictures of dogs.
 Gracie is comfortable enough now that she will sit long enough to pose for pictures with Maggie.  Of course, as soon as the goofy little ankle biter starts in on nipping at Gracie's tale, she is done.  We think Maggie is half-Wiener dog and half-something else, possibly Chupacabras.
 On our way home from breakfast and the ritual shopping at HEB Plus, we saw this lovely scene on a property a few streets down from our house.  I might have stayed a bit to see if I could get a cool shot of them all flying away at once, but a car was coming up behind us.  Oh well.
 Instead of pulling into the driveway, we drove to the end of our street then came back to admire the newly cleared lot.  We'll have to wait until October when it is safe to work outside without fear of heat exhaustion before we extend the fencing to the new property, but I like to look at it nonetheless.  Anyway, something caught Eva's eye on the back of the lot.
Zoomed in, I could see one of the regular deer watching us.  He posed long enough for me to take his picture but then slowly walked back into the brush of the lot behind ours.  I think I'm going to move the deer camera further back onto the property just so I can get some different views.  Eva was just laughing at my hoarder-like collection of deer pictures filling up a large section of a hard drive.  Even if a lot of the pictures look alike, I can't seem to delete them.  A thousand pictures of one deer sniffing another deer's butt; you just don't run across something like that every day (unless you are clicking through deer pictures on my hard drive).    
We did finally put in a new picture on the huge picture frame above our couch.  I took this picture several months ago when the Bluebonnets were in season.  This is an empty lot at the entrance to our sub-division.  I like it.

Stay cool...

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I'm sure you remember my daughter Roxanne and her beau Tyler.  You know, Tyler, the guy who tried to kill me moments before asking for my daughter's hand in marriage?  The date for the wedding had been something of a moving target, to be honest, and we along with the kids had contemplated a lot of different venues and such.  Well, with very little notice, the two love birds with friends as witnesses and photographers made the short drive from New Jersey to Philadelphia and made it official.
Eva and I could not be happier (though we would have liked to have been there if we could) to announce that Roxanne and Tyler were married today.  Of course we love our daughter, but we love this guy and are so happy that he has come into her life.  Hopefully, on the next trip to San Antonio, we'll be able to have a great get together out here and celebrate the nuptials in proper Texas fashion.
I am very happy to say that a fine citizen of the city of Philadelphia seeing the groom in his uniform ran into a nearby liquor store and greeted the newlyweds and their friends just outside the chapel with two bottles of champagne. How awesome is that?  The city of brotherly love, for sure (unless Michale Irvin is involved).
I hesitate to post this but couldn't resist. My son sent his sister and her husband this note this morning.  He is currently deployed and the picture comes from the cockpit of an AWACS operating over an undisclosed location above the clouds.
Here is the sunrise from this morning. Not only does it signify the beginning of the day, but the beginning of your new life with one lucky guy. Congrats! Goodnight.
We have some great kids.

My Daily Deer...

This is the beauty of having a deer camera set-up at all times.  You see some of natures most amazing things.
Take for example this little gem.  A three legged deer.  Isn't that incredible how he is able to maneuver through life with only three legs?
Oh my, it's a miracle!  He now has four legs.  All caught on film.

What Kind of Snake is This?

Eva walked out this morning to take the little dog (Maggie) to go pee pee and stood on the patio for a minute or two, then the two of them came right back in.  Not even ten minutes later, I was up and decided that both Gracie and Maggie could go outside and play a little.  As soon as I opened the back door, I saw this guy.
I quickly shut the door to keep the dogs from going out.  I think Gracie may have just avoided the snake altogether but little Maggie who has a fondness for eating anything that tries to get away from her (huge grasshoppers, ugly beetles, and any other slow bugs) would surely want to take a bite of this snake.  About a year ago, I saw a similar looking but larger snake close to the garage but it slithered away never to be seen again.  I think now with the clearing of the property next door, we have altered the hiding places for these little creatures and they are just trying to figure out where to hang out.
I'm really just interested in knowing what kind of snake it is.  He wasn't aggressive at all when I approached him, though he did coil a bit when I took the first picture with a flash.  I general, I understand snakes are good for killing small pests and such, but I really don't want to take a chance on him messing with my small pest, Maggie.

This one has gone to snake heaven and he is waiting patiently for the buzzards to remove his snake body from the disposal area on the street in front of our house.
UPDATE: I think this is our little friend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Goodbye Joey's, Hello Southern Kitchen...

A funny thing happened on the way to J.R.'s in Natalia the other night.  Our nephew, Diego, was staying with us this week and Eva had been getting him all psyched to go enjoy a good burger at J.R.'s, and perhaps, in defiance of the no profanity policy, utter a few choice words under his breath.  No such luck though, since J.R.'s isn't open for dinner on Wednesdays.

 Our next option was to take a short drive down to Devine where surely we could grab one of the really sloppy burgers on Texas toast since we had never shown him that fine hole in the wall.
As you can see from this photo, we were definitely walking into Joey's Surf & Turf where we have enjoyed a burger or two in the past.  But when we walked in, it was clear that Joey's had remodeled.
And all the people were different.  The place has taken on a whole new look.  Gone are the album covers and rock posters, the big screen TV that was constantly blaring, and sadly, the little ice cream station in the front of the store.  In addition to a new layout and a new salad bar (yay!) they also have a new menu which cut out all those signature burgers like the Big Kahuna and the Chihuahua burger.  My cardiologist thanks you.

The new place is called Southern Kitchen and they serve up steaks, chicken fried chicken, fish and some other southern favorites.  Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it, but the salad bar was fully stocked and suddenly, we think we may have found a substitute for the one that went away with the demise of Eatza Pizza.

But we were on a mission for burgers, so burgers it would be.  Southern Kitchen offers a hand made 1/4 pound burger standard with lettuce tomato and pickles.  From there, you can add on all the other fixin's you want, though there is additional cost and it adds up if you are a pig like me.
I had a cheeseburger with bacon and grilled jalapenos.  The bun was perfectly done (even if it was a bit smashed), the burger was not over cooked and best of all, the steak fries were cooked and seasoned. 
While Diego went with a plain hamburger, Eva loaded her cheeseburger with bacon and avocado.  We were all very pleased with the food and the service.  Our waitress was friendly and attentive, and my iced tea was always filled on time.
 The only area that I thought odd was the condiment situation.  It seemed like such a well prepared burger with fresh ingredients only to have some mustard and mayo packets presented on a plate.  I want my grill-man (in this case a lady) to have the confidence to slather on the mayo and mustard with gusto.
 Not to worry. We absolutely will go back if only to check out the salad bar.  I'd like to try the catfish (of course) and I would not be opposed to some good chicken fried steak. I can't vouch for any of those things yet, but the standard Southern Kitchen burger is worthy of a Tasty Treat and I'll be happy to have one any time.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Daily Deer...

I wondered how these guys might react to the little bonfire going on in the background.
If you look at the right side over the deer, you can see the flames.  I guess I didn't catch any shots of them doing little dances or perhaps engaging in reindeer games around the fire, but you never know. 


It almost looks like a sandy beach or at least an island of quicksand now that the men have come through with the tractors and back hoes.
I say quicksand because walking through this property results in a bucket of sand in the shoes and a drop of at least 4 to 6 inches with each step.  We should tape ourselves walking back and forth and sell it as a work out video.  Of course, some rain and some grass will help.
That big pile of branches and dead trees that was stacked up went up in flames first thing Monday morning.
By the time I got home it was a pile of ash with a few logs still going.  The lead guy told me it would burn all night and through today, but no need to worry.  Of course I worried.  With winds and such stoking the embers, there was a visible flame even at 5:30 this morning when I took the dogs out.

Some fun movies of the work.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The HEB Gas Station is Open...

I know, I probably sound like Steve Martin in The Jerk proclaiming that the new phone books are here when I mention with great glee that the new HEB gas station and convenience store has opened in Lytle, but this is a big thing for us out in these parts!
The What-a-burger connected to the store was supposed to also be open on Friday, but sadly, it is still a few weeks away.  I had to be the one to break the news to Eva since she had been eagerly counting down the hours to dinner. 

In the end, she settled for a Mighty Kids Meal from the McDonald's in Lytle and then was hugely disappointed and pissed that they shortchanged us on the fries.  Here's the deal, we don't even eat at McDonald's these days, but when we do break from tradition and go there, we do expect the consistent quality that that company has made a worldwide name on.  And, both Eva and I worked at McDonald's - she was a manager for 17 years.  We can look at an order of fries and  tell you if they meet the standard, and this little bag was more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

I have a policy - never send anything back to the cook, because you know what will happen; it starts with Puh and ends with Tooey.  I have no interest in eating fries with some 16 year-old's loogey mixed in them.  Eva, on the other hand, felt like she owes it to the corporate name to hold under performing restaurants accountable.  They parked us and within a minute or so, the smiling manager handed us a new bag of adequately filled fries.  I didn't bother to taste for spit.

Good news:  The HEB convenience store sells coffee like you might find at a good Exxon Tigermart.  Things are looking up, I say.

My Daily Deer...

There has been some on again off again work to clear our new lot.  I was worried that this change of scenery might cause our deer friends to seek hand-outs elsewhere.
But, this is what the camera sees when I toss out some deer corn in the late afternoon.
And this is what the camera sees when the deer come by at night.  I don't think they care one bit that we mowed down the 3 foot tool wildflowers, as long as they can get to the camera to pose and have a small snack in return.
Monday, the clearing of deadwood will commence now that the backhoe is back in service.  By tomorrow evening, I suspect there will be a huge bonfire underway.