Ryland, Seriously?

I know, that’s just what I was feeling. Bitstrips is so nice for that! 😀 Yes, that’s me–or as close to me as you can get in the Bitstrip world. I’m sure you’re wondering why Ryland? Weren’t we not building with them? Weren’t they returning our check and not proceeding with the contract because they didn’t want to build the house? Yes, yes, you’re right. That’s exactly where we stood–until John checked the bank and guess what? Yes, you guessed right, Ryland cashed our check. Imagine his annoyance at finding this out…and then calling the Ryland sales lady and she knows nothing about. Imagine still further that he called back a couple of days later and left a message and she didn’t call him back. Have you seen angry John? 😉 Not many people have!

So, he called her again today and this is the really unbelievable part. I mean, I know there is confusion at big companies sometimes and things happen that aren’t supposed to happen. One hopes they straighten them out and apologize. What is not expected is when they call you back and say, well wouldn’t you rather just go ahead and build with us anyway? Then that whole silly cash checking thing wouldn’t be a problem anymore. No Ryland, we do not want to build with you…we are broken up, move on!


Strange things I want to buy from Lee Valley

I love the Lee Valley catalog…there are always a ton of things in there that I never knew existed and now I desperately need. Or maybe desperately want to need, depending on the item.

bug clothingI mean, who doesn’t want bug clothing–and these are not clothes made out of bugs, despite the name.

You can buy individual pieces, like a jacket or pants, or the adorable headnet, and of course, mosquito gloves in small or large.

mosquite glove

Plus, you can buy complete sets of children’s bug clothing!


Now, since we’re thinking of bugs now and feeling itchy, you could also buy this adorable bug-safe mini tent to put around your chair at a soccer game (if you go to soccer games) or maybe at Shakespeare in the Park–though I’m not sure the people behind you would appreciate that!

And yes, it does have a floor (in case you were wondering since that was MY first question when I saw it).

I know this sounds like I’m making fun of Lee Valley and I’m really not. I really do think they have the coolest stuff–some of which I actually own. Like these corn forks–they are great, very sturdy and easy to hold. And only $8.50!

And these labels for leftovers…they dissolve in water when you wash the container! I can’t tell you how many nails I’ve split trying to peel off the masking tape I used to use!

I recently got this flat, write-on tape measure. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m really excited about it. You know, you measure something and don’t have a piece of paper–you can just use your pencil to make a mark on it. And the mark comes off just by rubbing it. Plus there’s a write-on spot on the side AND a pencil sharpener. I really feel they should have added a little pencil tho. It was just $8.95!

Some stuff I don’t own, but I would if I could figure out a reason. Like this berry scoop…and this is an example of how you REALLY must get the catalog as the page for the berry scoop does not do it justice and only shows the picture on the right.

berry scoop in catalog

Or this fruit and nut gatherer. How cool would that be if I had a pecan tree in my yard!?!

fruit and nut gatherer
There are even a few things I may buy soon. Like double pronged skewers for kebabs–my meats and veggies always spin around and these keep them from doing that.

Or this magnetic propane tank gauge–mine is always empty when I don’t realize it.

If I lived somewhere where these would last when I put them out, I’d love the ice lanterns. I do feel they need to be outside like for a Christmas party.

Aha, I finally found the thing I was actually looking for–I didn’t remember what it was, just that I had cut out a page from the catalog and saved it for when I was going to place an order. And it’s free shipping over $40 right now, so I wanted to order some things. I’ll need a lot more than this though, since these stay tied shoelaces are only $3.95.

Have I inspired you to go find your own cool Lee Valley items for an order? 😀 And they’re not even paying me! If you like to garden, or do woodworking, or love tools and gadgets, you’ll find even more exciting things. And really, I think their prices are very reasonable.



Our Memorial Day weekend vow to NOT do any house stuff

And how we failed at it miserably:

Friday night: We are good…no house talk, no looking at house plans. We play World of Warcraft instead.

Saturday: We start out so good. Kerrville was having their Every Festival In One Weekend weekend. We almost didn’t go–Kerrville is about an hour away and there’s always the “what if it sucks” phenomena for things that are further away. But we thought positive thoughts and went anyway. Our first stop was at the Inn of the Hills for an arts and crafts show. The inn itself was very cool. Here’s a picture of the stairs in their hallway.

2014-05-24 12.55.40

How cool is that? The arts and craft fair was just a little lame, but hey, there were 2 others going on elsewhere in the city. So we headed for downtown (about 2 blocks away). The weather was very nice–overcast with some brief showers every now and then. The downtown arts and crafts were much nicer. I would post a picture of what we bought, but my picture source (John) somehow did not take any pictures. 😦 But we bought a metal flower for the garden and a picture of gardens and a very castle-y place which is apparently near Cambridge, MA. The picture was printed on metallic paper, which gave a very unusual shimmering effect to all of her work. She actually had some pictures from a Chihuly exhibit we had gone to in the Dallas Arboretum. For those of you not familiar with Chihuly (shame on you!), here are some of his works:

Part way through the arts and crafts, we became hungry and went to lunch at a place called Grape Juice…which is adult grape juice! We almost left because there was a menu on the table with about 6 items on it–luckily I read something about it being in addition to the normal menu. Whew! Because the food was awesome (sing the Lego Movie song now). 😀 We had antelope hummus (which was hummus with spiced antelope meat and feta on top, yum), lamb t-bones, and smothered chips (with melted blue cheese, bacon, more yum). The waiter recommended a grenacha and a zin which were both exceedingly good…and he brought us a sample before we bought them. Highly recommend the place!

grape juice menu1After perusing the rest of the crafts, we decided we had had a great time and would skip the wine and brew fest (especially since one glass of wine is usually all I can drink and I’d already had one!). So we headed for home. Part way there, John says, “Maybe we should stop and look at the Gehan homes on 10”. I replied with “Yeah, I was thinking that too…but I thought we weren’t doing house stuff!” John’s argument was he was thinking about house stuff anyway so we might as well go look. We did like the Gehan houses–we had looked at them before–but up IH-10 was not our preferred location. Also the lots that were available for the particular house we liked (which was coincidentally the model–the model is the one which people tend to build since they can physically see it) were closer to the highway–lots of road noise. I wasn’t very happy with that…and Gehan isn’t building anywhere we like.

Sunday: So Sunday rolled around–I made French Toast for breakfast…always a hit. After reading the paper, I emailed the Sitterle person for Triana and asked about the lots they had available. We had originally liked their Perugia–but they weren’t building any more there since there were 2 available. I know, you’re thinking “why don’t they just buy one of those?”. Well, apparently we are the ONLY people in the world who want a media room on the first floor–the Perugia could be modified to make a bedroom into a media room, but neither of the available two had a media room. The Berkshire was similar to the Perugia and had a game room option on the first floor–which could be converted to a media room. She answered me right away and said there was a Berkshire in Aviara that we could come to see and if we would just let her know, she’d set it up with the owners. So we headed to Triana to view the Berkshire.

sitterle berkshire floor plan

The game room gets closed in with double doors from the breakfast area and a single door to the hall with the powder bath. We loved the people’s house–the flow was similar to the Perugia, but no jack and jill bath and no walking thru the utility room from the garage! Yay! Now we just have to see if Sitterle will make us a deal…

How did we do on our vow? Failed miserably, of course. 😀

As a corollary, the Sitterle people were very nice. We met them at the lot today and determined where the house would have to be. Unfortunately, the only lot available would require somewhere between 9 and 13 stairs from the garage into the house. No point in going from a 2-story to a 1-story if I have to go up a flight of stairs every time I go into the house! So, we’re back to square one…unless John calls this an out. :/

square one

Crowd sourced funding

So, crowd sourced funding…I find myself fascinated by it. And continually wonder if there’s something I could “kickstart”, but fail to come up with anything. And so many times I’ve looked on kickstarter and wanted to contribute, but never found something that a) was exciting and b) didn’t cost more than I was willing to “gamble”. 😀 I’m really not a gambler at heart.

The Solar Roadways people posted on Facebook that they were launching their funding campaign on Indiegogo, which I’ve heard of, but never looked at. So of course I had to go look at their options. And I found one that I was actually willing to purchase–actually I bought the two pack, one for me and one for John.

I mean, cool right? And there’s really no tech involved, it’s a swiveling mirror that redirects your camera lens. But really cool idea and will hopefully make whoever thought of it rich! And stay tuned for tomorrow’s post pointing to the Solar Roadways Indiegogo campaign!

A new take on Easter egg hunting

So, anyone who knows me knows I loooove holidays. I love doing all of the things associated with holidays. Or…well, I used to. I think the enjoyment of the kids was a lot of my enjoyment of the holidays. And now that they’re older…and my granddaughters live too far away, it makes some of the things associated with holidays seem…well, kind of boring, a lot of work, and not as rewarding. Especially things like decorating for the holidays. Here’s a picture of how I used to decorate for Christmas and another representing what I do now. I know, lame right?

overkill christmascharlie brown tree







Possibly I’m exaggerating both the before and the after–just slightly. 😉

Anyway, although it is Good Friday and we have not decorated for Easter at all, I did come up with a new, exciting idea for hunting for Easter baskets. I mean, once you’ve lived in the same house for 15 years, there are only so many places you can hide eggs that have not already been used in previous years. So, this year, I’m doing treasure hunts for John and Jessie’s baskets. Each clue will be hidden in an egg and they will receive the first clue in an egg I hand to them.

The kids always loved treasure hunts–every now and then I would do one for their birthday or Christmas present, but never for the Easter basket! And I haven’t done a treasure hunt in quite a while. I’ll post the clues after Easter (in case anyone wants to steal my ideas for next year). I warn you though, the clues are bound to be slanted particularly for each of them, so you’ll probably need to do your own clues!