Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Italians and Me

I was at the local Dollar Tree today just a little before 6 PM. A man and a woman were browsing the same aisle as I was. I am a nosey little son-of-a-gun and was hearing their conversation. However, the conversation was not in English. Being in Texas the default non-English language is Spanish, however, I wasn't quite sure if what they were saying was in Spanish. The lady kept repeating, "Un dollar, un dollar" (We were at the Dollar Tree where everything is a $1!). Now, that sounds like Spanish, but it could also be Italian. They didn't look Mexican and the man was carrying a bag much like a purse (not on his shoulder however). This was another tip-off they were from a much further place than Mexico.

So with great hope that they were Italian, I lean towards them and ask, "Where are you from?" Here is the transcript from there:

The Man: Italy

Me (M from now on): Oh really!! I am trying to learn Italian.

The Man (who will now be called I for The Italian): What?

M: I am learning Italian.

I: Oh! It is not easy. (His English was understandable, but it was not the easiest task for him and it, of course, had an accent.)

M: No, it isn't.

I: Like learning American, it is not easy.

M: Right!

M: What part of Italy are you from?

I: What?

M: Where in Italy?

I: North Italy, in Milan.

M: In Milan or near Milan?

I: In Milan, Milano.

M: Oh good!

I: Not really. Italy is so small.

M: Yes and America is very big. Texas is big!

I: Yes! Big cars, big steak, very big everything!

M: Yes, I know. :)

M: Why did you choose to come to Texas?

I: Every year we come to America and go to a different state. This time we go to Colorado, Denver and then we go to New Mexico and now Texas.

M: Why Kerrville?

I: We are in Bandera.

M: Oh! Bandera is nice. E bello!

I: Yes, it is beautiful.

M: It is piccolo, though.

I: Yes, it is very small.

M: Well it was nice to talk to you.

I: Yes! Good luck with your Italian!

M: And good luck with your English!

I wanted to go back to talk to him some more. Maybe even try out some more Italian on him (more than two words) while I was still on my own home turf. But I just got so overly excited that they were from Italy that my mind didn't get that far. It was a great experience none the less and it just fed my hungry of Italy even more!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Travel Diaries: Center Point, TX to Celina, TX (Part 4 of 4)

Round-trip approximately: 700 miles
Time round-trip: 14 hours (without stops it would have been 12 hours)
Major cities crossed: Austin, Waco, Dallas

In the last blog my husband and I had finally made it to Celina. Half of our traveling was done. A few miles south of Celina we saw this gate:

That lead to this house:

Any ideas as to who lives there? I was shocked to find out it was none other than Deion Sanders!! Not only did he play on what many people in Texas consider the best football team ever, Dallas Cowboys, but he at one time played for my precious, precious Atlanta Braves!!


On to the soccer game!!

Here is the headline of the sports page the next day.

FC Dallas rallies for dramatic win over Crew
Down a man, FC Dallas stuns Columbus in extra time

The video doesn't do the game justice, it really was an awesome game.

FC Dallas

We had a great time at the soccer game, but we had an even better time getting to be with family. That is always nice when the family your are going to see is sane. :) Some of you will understand completely what I am talking about.

After too short of a time period we had to start on our way home. There wasn't too much that made the trip exciting. We did see this:

Much further down the road we headed off into the sunset towards home.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Travel Diaries: Center Point, TX to Celina, TX (Part 3 of 4)

Round-trip approximately: 700 miles
Time round-trip: 14 hours (without stops it would have been 12 hours)
Major cities crossed: Austin, Waco, Dallas

If you have been following along you know that Frankie and I are on the last stretch of our trip to Celina, TX to see family and watch a major league soccer game. We have gotten on I-35 and made the split east to Dallas. Soon after this split we come to a town that I was very excited to see. The ones who know me well know I have a love affair with Italy. So, at the very least to get to go to a town that was named after the belle paese, was a wonderful thing.

Sadly, we had to leave Italy and continue on our way. Finally, we started to see signs of the Big-D (and I do mean Dallas).

Then, we saw it. We saw downtown! I should note here, that we were not going to Dallas, but north of it. So why I got excited about downtown beats me.

This is Dallas' Reunion Tower and it is the answer to San Antonio's Tower of the Americas.

Just past downtown we had to get on the tollroad. I really don't like tollroads. We had to pay to get on and we had to pay while driving down it. This is all the change we had left and we still needed to pay the exit toll.

Frankie pulled up to the final toll with the 40 cents needed. He rolled down his window. He threw the money into the bucket. One of the coins missed and fell to the ground. We HAD no other change!! We had no idea how much made it in the bucket. The light did NOT turn green for us to go. We didn't know what to do. Frankie just went. As soon as he drove past the red light a loud buzzer went off!! We both just knew the cops were coming for us. Of course there wasn't but I am sure a picture was taken of the plate and now in the mail we will get some HUGE ticket for running through the stupid toll booth and it will be in MY name since the car is in MY name!! NOT AGAIN!!! (Yes, that is right...not again....just ask my husband about it!!)

Thankfully Celina was only about 20 more minutes away. We were so wound up about the tollroad that we couldn't have gone on much longer. Driving on...finally....and I do mean FINALLY we saw this:

Coming up next is the last installment of our trip. The blog will contain: major league soccer, Dion Sanders house and the return trip home! Hope you read it!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Travel Diaries: Center Point, TX to Celina, TX (Part 2 of 4)

Round-trip approximately: 700 miles
Time round-trip: 14 hours (without stops it would have been 12 hours)
Major cities crossed: Austin, Waco, Dallas

To catch you up, Frankie and I took a trip to visit family and see a soccer game. We were traveling down the back roads and seeing very interesting sights. We, of course, could have taken back roads the whole way to Celina, but we wanted to get there before dark, so we eventually staggered upon I-35 and headed north. While seeing the sights of the back road is nice, there is much to be said about seeing the signs of the Interstates and cities! For instance:

Did they simply run out of ideas?

I can park where??

How did they get that up there?

There is a West, TX in central Texas...explain that one.

This is on EVERY Interstate that I have been on in Texas. I remember it being there even when I was a kid. I don't know if they were all for Houston though. Do they have them in other states??

In case you were wondering, at this point we are still on I-35 and getting closer, but I thought we were heading north. This can get mighty confusing if you don't look at a map first! We took East to Dallas.

This is an actual town name.

I am SOOO glad they labeled these for me. I wasn't sure if that is what they were.

We are still not in Dallas, but I must stop here for now. Stay tuned for part three. I promise we do eventually reach Celina and then home again.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Interrupt This Blog...

I interrupt the travel blog for an emergency weather bulletin. Tropical Storm Erin has been causing havoc in the Hill Country and other parts of south Texas! Maybe Frankie and I are just stupid, what other reason can I give to explain why anyone would travel when they know a tropical storm is heading straight for the area they are in? We did it anyway! Our trip into San Antonio today was fine, it was coming back that was bad. It was, of course, raining hard all day, so it, of course, started to flood.

It wasn't while I was filming that video, but another time when Frankie said he felt the car being picked up by the water and moved sideways. I never wanted to be home more in all my life!

Coming home we were trying to get on I-10, we were about 1 mile from it when we came to a low water crossing that big trucks were not even able to cross. The current was very strong. It was scary and there was no way our little car would have made it. So we had to take a detour that was about 30 miles out of the way to get on I-10. They interrupted the radio station to announce that a tornado had touched down in the county we were in, but we were not near it. No one was injured, but it was just a very scary situation.

We did make it home although it looked iffy when we hit that low water crossing. They have a slogan they have to repeat often out here, "Turn around, don't drown." If you have to be rescued by the fire department you can be fined $400 per person in the car, and then the fire department will also charge you. But despite that, in the video you can hear the radio say that the fire department had been called out to over 150 rescues, by 10 that night the number was up to over 180 rescues and over 600 wrecks! Including one man whose car was swept away and he climbed a tree to survive. If you are caught moving a barrier out of the way you can get fined up to $1000 and face jail time.

The wind hasn't been bad at all, but the rain has been and they are expecting more over the next few days. We have gotten over six inches today. Sadly, there have been deaths due to the weather in Houston and in the San Antonio area. Unfortunately Hurrican Dean is right on the heels of Erin and it looks as if it is heading our way as well. We shall see what tomorrow brings, hopefully things will be better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Travel Diaries: Center Point, TX to Celina, TX (Part 1 of 4)

Round-trip approximately: 700 miles
Time round-trip: 14 hours (without stops it would have been 12 hours)
Major cities crossed: Austin, Waco, Dallas

We went on a weekend trip to Celina to visit family and to see a major league soccer game (FC Dallas). Frankie and I decided that we were going to get up early Saturday to get our trip started to Celina. About 5 AM, I felt something nudging my hand. In my sleep induced state I couldn't figure out what in the world it was, but I knew something wasn't right. I could just make out a dark figure beside the bed and I could see Pan, our cat, starting to hunch back in fear. The grogginess left fairly quickly and I then realized that is was just our dog, Katie.

The dogs sleep in a room separate from ours (unless it is thundering, then the big babies go to their beds in our bedroom) with a gate to keep them in. Somehow she was out though. If Katie was out then Mac, our other dog, had to be out too. I got up to look for him and couldn't find him anywhere. I got a little worried, after all this was a 70 pound dog, they don't just vanish. I finally thought to look in his bed and there he was, just laying there. My animals are soo strange!

Frankie and I decided we might as well get up and get ready since we were awake. We actually left the house at 6:50 AM, which believe me is quite an accomplishment for us! This was our foggy view for the beginning of our trip:

Not long after we started, here came the sun:

There are some very interesting things to see when traveling. Here for example is a "covered" bridge that crosses over the Llano river in Llano (pronounced: lan-o) and later down the road running beside us was a "covered" bridge for the train.

We took the back way, to avoid some big city traffic. Sometimes taking the back way will allow you to see wonderful things that just let you know you are still in Texas:

Other times, it will only slow you down:

I purposely took the back road so that we could go through this town:

While, it was nice in its own way, it surely cannot compare to the Florence I will one day get to go to! (Firenze, aspetta!!)

Stay tuned for part 2!

Monday, August 13, 2007

For Logophiles Only!

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum - Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

A calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

A Psychologist and a Proctologist opened a private practice: they named it nuts and buts.

Just in case you got this far and still don't know what a logophile is, it is a person who loves words.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts That Come To Mind

After looking at this picture so many thoughts came to mind.
Let me share them with you.

1) Why is Ronald McDonald staring at me?

2) How does he get his hair so big? (Patte, a hairdryer again?)

3) If he is standing in the window all the time shouldn't he be tanner?

4) Ronald really needs to cut back on the cigarettes...look at all those wrinkles around his mouth!

5) Why does it look his shirt is actually a pair of hands choking him?

6) Does he get paid to stand there?

7) While he is cutting back on smoking he should lay off the juice too...look how red his nose is!

8) Is he in a gang? What is up with the eye tattoos?

9) Is that make-up permanent?

10) Does it hurt him to keep his eyebrows up so high all the time?

11) Look at all the saggy double chins. It looks like he maybe had gastric bypass surgery and lost a lot of weight quickly. He is trying to prove that his food will not make you fat!

12) I am happy that he is wearing gloves, just in case he turns around and handles any of the food.

What thoughts come to your head after you look at this picture?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Warning About Bacon Grease

Bacon Grease Warning

I know there is nothing better to fry eggs, pop corn, season beans, or season cornbread in than bacon grease, but there is a new warning out against using it.

Please read this warning if you have EVER ingested bacon grease in ANY form.

This is for your health!

I will never use it again. I hope you will throw yours away whenever you fry bacon from now on instead of keeping it for later use.

I just threw out my last two tablespoons of bacon grease because of this warning!!

It seems as though nothing is safe to eat anymore.

Bacon Grease Warning

Do you use bacon grease? Many were raised on bacon grease, also commonly called lard, as kids and many even continue to use it into adulthood.

A new study is out that has determined that bacon grease has been the cause of many health problems. The biggest of these problems being it's ability to make your feet shrink. For children it has been shown to stunt the growth of the feet.

See picture below.

This is what happens when you keep cooking with bacon grease.

This is a warning, send this to everyone you care about.

It could happen to you...

Bacon grease will make your feet small!! Warn everyone !!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Something For Everyone Cookbook

I came across this cookbook the other day called "Something for Everyone" by Carol Gelles.

"Feeling like you kitchen is a diner and you're the short-order cook? Your teenager has become a vegetarian; your spouse insists on eating meat. Well, now you can toss out the hat and apron - Something for Everyone is your solution to dinner time. Award-winning author Carol Gelles has found a way to make the whole family happy. She provides a basic main-dish recipe with two different versions: one with meat and one without. By simply dividing the basic recipe and adding a few ingredients to each portion, you've created a dinner that will satisfy everyone and make cooking a snap! And there's no flipping from one recipe to another-the basic recipe and its two variations are right next to each other. It's this simple: you make a basic chili, then add ground beef to half of it to make Chili con Carne for the meat lovers in your family, and beans to the other half to create Two Bean Chili for the vegetarian family members. What could be easier?"

I can answer that! Everyone eats what you took the time to make no matter what your schedule was like or they get up of their tushes and cook something for themselves (which of course would include the clean-up)! The concept of chosing whether you want to make a basic recipe vegetarian or not is nice, but the whole- one family member wants this, another that is a load of dirty dishwater!

Am I being too harsh?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Yellow M&M Is Still Innocent

Yellow M&M may boogie down, but he is still a sweet innocent drop of candy coated chocolate.

Note about photo: I was taking pictures as I was driving home today (I know, I know) and there is a "store" in town that sells old Playboys for cheap. I was trying to get a picture of that to gripe about how nasty it looks, but I was driving by too fast. I didn't even realize that the M&M was in the picture. He sits on the dash of my truck and has only come down once to disco in the house. :)