Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Good news this morning...

The Texas sonogram law - or most of it - has been rejected by a judge. Awesome. And doubly awesome that it's a blow to Rick Perry and his religious-based agenda.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Perry-Gramm Scam

I don't like Rick Perry. I didn't really pay attention to him at first. I was in Michigan for a few of those years, doing graduate work.

My utter disdain for him began when he made national news with his secession talk. It was embarrassing. On TV, the guy looked like an oily used car salesman. He did not speak intelligently and reminded me too much of George W.

My disdain gained fuel when Perry chose to put abortion and sonograms on the Texas legislative agenda before the state education budget. Perry, you'll learn, hates teachers and cares little about education at any level. (Perhaps because he could barely pass at Texas A&M.)

Now this. A scam to sell retired teachers' life insurance policies to big businesses, meaning the retirees' beneficiaries get nothing.

Whoa. Really? Could anyone be that sleazy? Apparently so. Who benefits? Wall Street and the state....and Phil Gramm.

This is why I hate politics. This is why I hate Rick Perry. This guy is as oily as his hair gel. I can only pray he doesn't get the nomination. There are much better candidates.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making an End

I've finally finished what's been written of The Song of Fire and Ice series. 5000 pages, a month and twenty-one days later.....and I still have no idea where Martin is taking us.

Here's what I wrote about Dance with Dragons on Goodreads:

This book was a marked improvement from the previous one but I still have a few problems with it. The introduction by Martin of one particular character that significantly undermines the importance of Dany was disappointing. Another story line came into being and ended, making it completely irrelevant. Sometimes it seems like Martin is writing on a whim, with direction but absolutely no discipline. This is slightly frustrating after reading 5000 pages of his work, but seeing no end - still! - to his "epic." The story is epic, sure, but it also seems like Martin is trying too hard to make it epic. That being said, I enjoy the twist and turns involved. They make for great surprises and this book did not disappoint in that regard. It's a fun read if you can manage to suppress any impatience with the manner of storytelling.

Now, the question is "how long do we have to wait for the sixth book?" I'm guessing a long while since Martin is now putting a lot of his energies toward the HBO series. We'll see.

This summer will forever be known as the Game of Thrones Summer. Ha!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DMV Hell

I don't mind changing my name. It's a bit of a pain and causes more than a few identity issues, but I'm fine with it.

I'm not fine with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Yesterday, I went to get a new license with my new name. The minute I walked through the door, I thought of turning around. The room was filled with a mass of people. The temperature was about 90 degrees (inside) and it smelled of sweat. Isn't there a form I can fill out? No, the rude lady said at the desk. Then she handed me a number.

Every chair in the room was filled. All the walls had people leaning against them. I stood. For two hours. Finally, I was able to grab a chair. It was great...but I couldn't get up or someone else would grab it. I watched as kids - who got there after me - got called to take their driving tests. I watched as older people went up to take vision tests. All the while, I also watched the numbers appear on the TV screen as they were called. There was no order to the numbers so you had no idea when you'd be called.

Three hours after arriving, I got to talk to someone. Three minutes of conversation later, I walked out of there with my new name. Then I got into a 150-degree car. Oy.

I was so exhausted. When Mr. Higgins texted (two hours into it all) to ask if I was alright, I replied, "I'm in hell." The DMV is hell. Just so you know.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I've been doing some baking, despite the crazy heat. I now have the perfect kitchen; heat is not going to stop me from using it!

I tried these Mississippi Mud Brownies and really liked them. However, despite baking them for less than the minimum amount of time, the brownies seem more like cake. Perhaps the recipe calls for cake-y brownies instead of gooey brownies. But I definitely prefer gooey over cake-y. I may pair the topping with a different brownie or substantially reduce the baking time.

But, these definitely satisfied my recent chocolate craving. So I'm happy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Chapter Closed

My time of house sitting is now at an end. My friends get back from Germany tomorrow and my responsibilities will end there.

For the entire time I had that house, my life was crazy. Mr. Higgins and I got serious, we started talking about marriage, we got engaged, and then the wedding planning started. I can't believe we did all of that in the time I was in that house!

The first twelve months went by really fast. With the heat, the last three months have dragged by. Keeping things alive at any house has been near impossible. My friends had a garden that didn't really survive the heat. I've been able to keep the main plants alive but even the grass is dying. This heat is relentless!

So, it'll be good to have one less house to deal with. And it'll be especially good to have my friends back from Germany!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Excessive Heat Warning

In case you're not in Texas, here's the deal with the heat.... Yesterday was the 33rd day of 100+ temperatures and the 40th day at or above 100 this year. The official highs have looked like this: 107 on Monday, 110 on Tuesday, 109 yesterday.

To say it's hot is an understatement. We're all getting very used to our own sweat. We're setting records for energy consumption while authorities tell us to turn up the thermostat and, instead, sit in a bathtub filled with ice cubes. You have to use ice cubes since the water coming out of the faucet is hot, no matter where the dial points. But we're also supposed to conserve water since we're in an extreme drought. We haven't had rain at our house since May.

The worst summer I remember was 1998 when I was still in high school but working downtown to make some money while school was out. It was a scorcher that year. But this year is worse. All the grass is brown and it's a struggle to keep the trees green.

I keep hoping for a tropical storm or small hurricane.... But Tropical Storm Don evaporated once it hit the high pressure system over Texas. It seems there is no relief in sight. August looms long and hot. All we can do is buckle down indoors and wait it out.

Summer in Texas is SO much fun. Not.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Feast for Crows

If you are on Goodreads, you'll find my review posted for Feast for Crows, the fourth book in Martin's epic fantasy tale....

Martin's epic fantasy continues in this fourth book, which is actually only the first half of book four, with Dance with Dragons being the second half. This book was the hardest for me to get through. There was very little plot movement, at least of the exciting variety. Martin instead uses this book to set up many things to come. The complexity of the story continues to amaze me; Martin is, indeed, a gifted storyteller.

So, now it's on to book five, Dance with Dragons. I'm hoping the action is reminiscent of the first and third books. Otherwise, another 1000 pages is going to be slow going.

I apologize for being MIA again. Nothing, really, has been happening. The heat is really taking a toll on everyone and everything.

Oh, and Mr. Higgins and I celebrated our three month wedding anniversary on Monday. Yay!