Monday, August 17, 2009

What the cat dragged in least I hope the cat's to blame. Otherwhise I'm wondering why so many snakes are finding their way inside. Last week, as I made my way through the house in the early light of the rising sun, I was startled to see this snake waiting impatiently by the front door. Hubby was just rising so I let him know of our unwelcome guest. he commented later that this had been one of the nastier house guests to date. Apparently the snake had tried repeatedly to take a bite out of my darling!
This morning, when hubby fished around in the bottom of the pantry for something he discovered yet another snake. This one was smaller, but just as fiesty. In case it wasn't fun enough to watch my darling catch a snake with the kitchen tongs, our priest called during the exercise (exorcism?). As I took this photo, hubby was telling our priest that I was taking a picture to put on the blog. Go figure. He knows me so well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Then Sings My Soul - Stars, by Switchfoot

I've been very introspective lately, pulled in many directions and exceptionally drawn inside myself. As an extrovert, it's very telling that I am longing for time alone. Every time an opportunity to spend time alone arises, something comes up that kaboshes my plans. This song is a nice reminder of our place in this great big glorious universe that God created. Whether we're alone or just wishing we were alone, we don't need to feel lonely. In the grand scheme of things, we are called to be our best, as God desires us to be.

Switchfoot - Stars (Official Music Video) - The best free videos are right here
Stars, by Switchfoot

Maybe I've been the problem
Maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself
The outcome feels the same

I've been thinking maybe I've been partly cloudy
Maybe I'm the chance of rain
And maybe I'm overcast
And maybe all my luck's washed down the drain

I've been thinking 'bout everyone,
Everyone you look so lonely
But when I look at the stars
When I look at the stars
When I look at the stars, I see someone else
When I look at the stars
The stars, I feel like myself

Stars looking at a planet
Watching entropy and pain
And maybe start to wonder
How the chaos in our lives could pass as sane
I've been thinking 'bout the meaning of resistance
Of a hope beyond my own
And suddenly the infinite and penitent
Begin to look like home

I've been thinking about everyone
Everyone you look so empty
But when I look at the stars
When I look at the stars
When I look at the stars, I see someone else
When I look at the stars
The stars, I feel like myself.

Everyone, Everyone feels so lonely
Everyone, yeah everyone feels so empty
When I look at the stars
When I look at the stars
When I look at the stars, I feel like myself
When I look at the stars
The stars, I see someone...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Port Aransas fishing

We arrived at Woody's just as dawn was breaking. Hubby's walking ahead of me, just about to turn around and tell me to hurry up! Actually, he gave me the same look he gives me when we go grocery shoppingn together. No words required. Our guide is one of the men standing on the dock, BS'ing with his compadres about the big fish that were just waiting for the mainlanders.

The excursion was a 6 hour adventure on a boat with no amenities. By "amenities" I mean "place to go potty" so we were very cautious with our water consumption. There was very little fishing if by "fishing" we mean "bringing fish onto the boat and putting them away for safekeeping". We threw back about 4 Red fish because they were too small. Another misnomer about the fishing trip - I never touched a single piece of bait and I never cast once, even though I know how. Apparently the goal of the guide is for you to catch your limit so he can hustle you back to the pier. Unfortunately for him, the fish weren't biting.

At the end of the day we had caught 1 Red fish that was big enough to keep and 3 Mango snappers. We had them for dinner last night with a tortilla chip breading and a mango-tequila dressing. Yum!

That's the man I married 24 years ago. He wasn't much of a chef back then, but he was a worthwhile investment. He, my friends, is a keeper.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

At the beach

I'm sitting in a meeting, listening to folks squawk about things that have no bearing on my immediate desires. I'm reminded of trips to the beach when occasionally, inevitably, someone feels compelled to feed the seagulls.

I'm doing my best to ignore the yammering but I'm feeling the beginnings of a headache just the same. I wish I could wade out into the wake to let the crashing waves drown out the squawking.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Port Aransas, the home of Boggie Boogie Boards and Sandels Sandles Sandals

The beach does not attract our most literate citizens, clearly. Considering the number of places that sell boogie boards and sandals, I was surprised by the number of places selling "boggie boards" and "sandels" and "sandles."

Just in case you're wondering, the patrons and staff at this particular shop had their swimsuits all the way on. Don't get excited.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Life & Death in the balance

The most memorable tale of the trip to Port A is definitely the day I was dumped in the drink for an unexpected swim in the briny sea.

Hubby and I love to go treasure hunting on St. Joe's island. We've taken our jet ski over there and brought back wonderful finds that I lovingly refer to as "nautical artifacts". Rope, nets, buoys, all sorts of treasures. Hubby can tell great tales of the times he's transported large shrimp nets and 4" diameter ropes back to the harbor. The harbor where it's nice and safe, with calm waters. The gulf, however, is temperamental. We've had excursions that are relatively mild. We had to abort one mission last year when we tried to go out during the build-up to Hurricane Dolly. You'd think we'd have learned by now.

The lure of those treasures calls to us and so we brave the sea. Wednesday was calm. Hubby went skiing outside of the jetty into the gulf and had no trouble. Thursday, we headed out together (picture me hanging on behind my beloved). We should have checked the weather. The winds were high and the sea was choppy. Very choppy. Big waves. As we got close to the island, I lost my grip and was dumped off the jet ski into the gulf. I was already a little scared but it didn't take long to become a lot scared. I lost my glasses when I went into the water. I could see the floaty device (attached to the earpieces, but NOT properly tightened up behind my head) bobbing a short distance away but I could barely make any headway despite my best efforts. I snagged my glasses just as hubby circled back for me. There was no way I was going to be able to climb back on to the jet ski while being tossed about, so he towed me to shore. Not before I removed my swim shorts, which were sliding down my legs. I'm glad my swimsuit bottoms stayed on. Picture me clinging with both hands to the handle (just below the "HA" in "YAMAHA") stretched out behind as hubby made his way to shallow waters. If he went too slowly, he couldn't control the jet ski. If he went too quickly, I wouldn't have been able to hang on.

I should mention, being towed as I was my face was right by the exhaust so breathing challenges included wave and fume avoidance. Needless to say I got my share of both.

We made it shore and I was ready to leave immediately. It's hard to focus on treasure-hunting when you're busy kissing the sandy shore. Hubby puttered with anchoring the jet ski but settled for dragging it to shore. By the nature of the jet ski itself it's not a good idea to lug a huge anchor and our little anchor proved inadequate in the face of the pounding waves.

I'm not sure how long we spent actually treasure-hunting. Maybe 15 minutes. Hubby soon waved me over and said "I'm a little nervous about the jet ski." Have you ever stood on the shore with the waves are washing over your feet and you sink in to the sand? The jet ski was getting "dug in" as the waves were pulling sand out from under it.

Fortunately my heart had settled a bit and I was ready to go because when hubby says "I'm a little nervous" it means it's time for me to be fully alarmed.

Getting back on the jet ski in the rough water was no easy trick. At one point Hubby suggested I drive because we both needed to board instantaneously so he could start/accelerate the jet ski without getting tossed back off. He began giving me instructions on how to crest the waves, navigate the swells, etc. I agreed to get my butt on the jet ski a split-second behind him, no problem.

I won't bore you with the details of the long ride back to harbor. The jet ski had taken on a lot of water and the engine strained to push through wave after wave. I clung to hubby and considered our options if one or both of us were thrown off. I prayed and prayed, thanking God for His endless mercy. He's proven yet again, "God watches over fools and treasure-seekers."

Later that day I realized the jade bracelet I picked up in China, the one I wear so much I forget I have it on, the one I noticed as I was backing the jet ski off of the trailor into the safe, calm harbor waters thinking "it'll be okay, not worth the hassle of trying to get it to Hubby," yeah, it was gone. No doubt claimed by the sea. Its absence is a souvenir. A reminder. A reminder to be grateful for all that I've been given. A reminder to focus on what's important.

Thank you, Lord, for keeping this foolish treasure-seeker safe.

Here's a girl who's grateful to be alive, standing on the jetty with the calm, safe harbor waters behind her:

Here's a hint of the choppy waters (Mustang Island side of the jetty at dusk).

Life interrupted

July was an interesting month, no doubt about it. Work consumed me. My joke has been that I'm working 2 shifts, and one is a split-shift. Conference calls with Taiwan beginning at 6am, 8am, 8pm, 10pm even 11pm at least 4 days per week. Then full days spent in the office in between. Relentless. On top of that, the overseas management team decided to schedule a trip to the US for the week of my planned vacation. A vacation I couldn't reschedule. They did the same thing for Spring Break - the big difference then, I didn't have plans to be anywhere (but I had plans for taking advantage of my teen son's availability). So, here I was again...looking at taking off when my coworkers were coming to town. Incredibly, I almost cancelled our vacation. I've learned that they don't take kindly to the American attitude towards vacations. Conversely, Taipei/China close down completely for national holidays so vacations are different for them.

So...I decided to take the vacation. I needed it. I deserve it. I recognize that I'm not going to do the team any good at all if I burn out. I prayed about it, cried about it, then finally talked to my Taiwanese boss and other Sr. Manager's at my ex-employer-now-customer and they all supported my decision! Hurray! Port A was on!

I'll try to dish out the highlights in doses rather than one monster post.