Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Taco Lady of Cielo Building One

Every Monday and Thursday at my office, we are gifted with the presence of the Taco Lady. She waits patiently in our company kitchen with her red Igloo cooler full of still warm breakfast tacos, ready to bestow tasty taco goodness upon the masses here at KO. Today I was one of the masses as I paid my dollar fifty and spooned a heaping helping of green tomatillo salsa on my bacon-egg-cheese-potato taco. I am not having a good day today and my breafast taco definitely gave me a little boost of happiness. I know that food should not be an emotional crutch, but dammit, these are good!

So why the big deal? The breakfast taco is one of the best culinary inventions known to man. It combines breakfast and tacos, all wrapped up in a tortilla which contains any combination of eggs, bacon, cheese, potatoes, chorizo, beans, and salsa. Breakfast tacos are steadily gaining popularity in other states, but you will find the best ones in the states bordering Mexico. Some folks like to get really creative with their tacos and add all sorts of things, but the perfect breakfast taco in my honest opinion contains just eggs, cheese, bacon, and taters. You cover all of your food groups with this one, LOL.

Our Taco Lady is like a saint; her tortillas and green tomatillo salsa are made from scratch and her eggs, bacon and taters are cooked to perfection. The salsa is the best part as it's hot enough for a good slow burn; not too weak and not so strong that you have to drink a gallon of milk to stop the pain. I don't want to know how many calories or fat grams there are in the tacos...I don't care! I very rarely get to indulge in one of Taco Lady's tacos since I never carry cash on the days when she visits, so I don't worry about the health content of them. Life is too short to not indulge in perfect Tex Mex breakfast tacos.

Some people might argue that there are several perfectly good restuarants in which to purchase breakfast tacos, but there is something about a Taco Lady (or Man) that just makes it so much better. Whether it be the chef, the love, or the fact that they're homecooked and sold from a red Igloo cooler, Taco Lady tacos are the best and I shall scrupulously save my pennies and dimes and quarters for the next time when I have a whole doolar fifty and can partake in all of the holy glory of breakfast tacos.

Nom nom nom,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jazz Hands and Big Smiles: Audition Recap

UPDATE: Several of you have asked if I made the cut. Seeing as how I didn't get called back, that would be a negative ghostwriter. Oh well, I ain't gonna sweat it, because now it means I can start planning a possible trip to Denman Island this summer to visit my cousin Katy, whom I have not seen in 3 years. No rain, no rainbows! Peace, K

Today was audition day! My audition went ok. Singing wise I was fine, could have been better. Dancing wise... well, let's just say it might be a wise idea to take some dance classes in the near future! I DID have a blast auditioning and chatting with some of the other auditionees. And yes, I did see several people that I have performed with or knew, so it was nice saying hello.

I ended up singing Simple Little Things from 110 in the Shade which was ultimately a good choice. I didn't screw up the timing for once which is really funny; that's always been my weak point. Instead, I didn't quite hit the top note which wasn't too terribly high, but still. I'm kinda bummed that they only wanted 16 bars for the audition; had I been able to do 32, I could have really wowed them.

Kellie and I did an audition years ago for another show that was very dance centric and it was awful. But we smiled our biggest smiles and flashed our best jazz hands in the hope that the directors would be so distracted they wouldn't see our feet. This audition was not nearly so badm but it was close! For the dancing audition they basically had the choreographers show us a short sequence and then had all of us perform as a group, then as smaller groups. I fortunately ended up in a group of fellow weak dancers so I didn't look like a total ass. Dance auditions always kill me because I am not the most skilled dancer around. I've taken dance before, many years ago, but even then I wasn't always a quick study. My brain and my feet don't seem to move together in sychronization when things are taught on the fly!

They told us that we'd get a call on Monday night letting us know one way or another, and I am fully prepared for the "Thanks, but no thanks" call. Truthfully, I will be shocked if they call me back for further auditions or even cast me. Regardless of the outcome, my main goal was to have fun, and I did just that. I've rediscovered my love for singing and dancing and even if I don't get cast in this show, there's always others! My employer reimburses us up to $150 for anything that encourages physical fitness and wellbeing, and one of the HR reps told me that dance classes would count, so I think I may do just that. I'll kill two birds with one stone by improving my dancing, but also getting a good workout all the while having a blast.

I'll keep you all posted as to what the results cross your fingers. Maybe you WILL get to see me treading the boards at Zilker this summer!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Besides which, you see, I have (no) confidence in me

I saw this quote on my iGoogle homepage and it made me snicker:

All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
- Sean O'Casey

It's truly funny because right now I am definitely desperately unrehearsed. I made the idiot decision to audition for the Zilker Musical a few weeks ago and at the time I thought, 'Why the hell not? It'll be fun! If I make it, awesome. If I don't, no big deal.' Well, apparently it is a bigger deal than I thought.

I put off rehearsing and practicing my piece for two reasons: 1) I had no clue what I would sing and 2) I didn't think that I'd ever get a spot to audition. The producers took so long in responding that I thought they lost my email. And OF COURSE I didn't follow up, so now I am wholly and totally unprepared and kicking myself for making such a dumb move.

Really, this wouldn't be so bad if I were still singing on a regular basis, but I haven't had lessons in a couple of years and beyond what I sing to my daughter every night, I am WAAAAAY out of practice. Kellie told me I should sing "I Have Confidence" from the Sound of Music, which is in my range and a good fit. It's also wildly funny in that I am singing about having confidence and yet, I really have none. Although, Maria didn't really either when she went to be nanny for the Captain's 7 kids. So maybe it is more of a perfect fit than I thought.

Still, I'm only allowed 16 bars and there's really not enough in the song to showcase my talent, but I ain't got time to learn something new! I thumbed through my songbooks to look at stuff I've sung in the past, but the closest I could get to something else that I could manageably pass off would be "Simple Little Things" from 110 in the Shade. I really wish I hadn't watched those YouTube videos of Audra MacDonald singing both songs. That woman is freaking AH-MAZE-ING. She was what I had hoped to be someday, but then I gave that dream up.

I guess what really makes Sean O'Casey's quote hit home is that again, I am painfully reminded of the fact that I am not making myself a priority. I let certain dreams slip by (not that I'd trade my husband or my daughter for ANYTHING) and I am continually finding myself in the background and on third string. By not taking myself seriously enough, I risk making myself the William Hung of Austin. Ok, maybe not that bad, but that's what it feels like! My health is suffering and my weight is creeping up and I'm tired of wearing the same damn clothes every week and being tired! I really want to be successful and happy and I have got to get my butt in gear and do something about it or else I risk even more: seeing my daughter be just like her mom.

I'm going to go through with the audition and I'm going to pray and practice my butt off for the next 36 hours and hope that it's passable. If I don't make the cut, no big deal. And if I do...weel, I'll breath a sigh of relief and go for a walk.

Fingers crossed,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Go hug a tree, plant some flowers, walk somewhere, recycle a can! Even if all you do is go outside and marvel at the majesty of what God has given us, sending some love out to Mother Earth today is a good thing. Happy Earth Day!

Kelly & the Gang

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thank God for Small Favors...

Michael has been considering firefighting recently and given that the Austin Fire Department is currently on a hiring freeze and cutting their costs, he decided to look into other departments and see what might be in store. So we went to Houston to attend an open house for the HFD and visit some family. The visit on Friday night with Michael’s Nana and his relatives in Baytown was a pleasant one. This rain was ahead of us the whole time on the road, so it wasn’t too bad and we were very fortunate to have left Austin at 3:45 and arrived at Baytown at 7 pm having hit very little resistance and no tolls!

Saturday however, was not so nice. Initially, our plan was that I would drop Michael off at his open house, and then drive out to Clear Lake to go visit my cousin Erin and her family for a bit and then go back and get Michael and we’d leave town. By the time we got to dropping Michael off, the rain was falling more steadily and he didn’t feel comfortable with me driving in it. I had to agree, so we decided that Billa and I would go to this open house too. I ended up sitting outside the presentation room chasing Billa so as not to disrupt everyone who had come to listen to the speakers. During this time, the rain kept coming and coming. I was in the bathroom trying to get Billa to fall asleep in my lap when another lady came in and told me that Michael was looking for me. I was surprised when she said that the event was over. Michael informed me that a nearby street was completely flooded out and that they were asking everyone to leave early so that we didn’t get trapped.

Michael went to get the SUV, I changed Billa’s diaper and then the baby and I ran out to the car to meet him. By the time I made it to the car, I was drenched and Billa wasn’t too far from wet either. We were just south of Hobby airport and apparently it is a very low lying area as we passed several cars that had already been submerged. We’d gotten halfway to 45 before we realized that the only way we knew how to get there wasn’t going to work. The road was just too flooded and so we started trying to turn around. In the process of turning around, we got trapped in the median for a moment and the SUV started making some very awful noises. We managed to pull off into a parking lot to regroup for a moment.

At this point, we were almost in tears and beginning to be very worried. We don’t know Houston at all, and we were looking at the very real prospect of spending the night stuck in a parking lot with no drinkable water, no restroom facility, no food and a toddler irate at begging strapped in the car for so long. NOT an option, so we kept trying. My friend Kellie has gone on at great length about how irritating it is that Austin is not a perfect grid like Houston and we drew on that knowledge to get to 45. It took an hour, but we managed to do it. At one point, we really thought we were going to have to call our new friends from the HFD to come rescue us as the water was lapping at the side of the door panels. That sound is very soothing when you’re in a boat on a lake, not so much when you’re in your car in the middle of a torrential downpour. We prayed and prayed like we’d never done before and thankfully we made it to 45 and got out of town lickety split.

When we got to Katy and the sun had come out, we then decided to continue with our plan of meeting my brothers in College Station for dinner. We got there about 7 and went to Layne’s for chicken fingers. It so happens that this weekend was Parents Weekend for A&M, so Michael and I treated the boys, Philip’s roommate, and David’s girlfriend to dinner. It’s really kind of funny actually, because Michael and I were much like all of the other parents in town, taking their kiddos out to dinner and making sure they were well-fed. We were all amazed because I managed to feed 6 adults and one baby on $40 total and still have leftovers! Yay Layne’s! We had fun, but since I had a baby shower cake to make the next morning, we had to head home. We then got home at 11 and went to bed.

Billa shows off her special cell phone ray protection headcover, inspired by those swan shaped foil leftover packages from fancy restaurants, courtesy of Uncle Phil!

Philip, Kelly, Billa, David & David's girlfriend, Lindsey. Finally a picture of me and my brothers!

As a result of this weekend we are thankful for many different things:
1. Family – thanks to them, we had a place to stay and good company.
2. Gunnar the SUV – I named my SUV Gunnar for the Vikings, who were the toughest warriors around. My Gunnar proved to be just as tough. Without him, we’d be sitting in a parking lot right now waiting to be rescued.
3. Mike and Trisa – for giving us Gunnar.
4. Layne’s – for the kid that gave me 5 baskets of fries and only charged me for 3, and for being so super speedy in getting the food ready. It was also very tasty!
5. Sleeping babies – enough said!
6. Starbucks – for keeping us awake as we made it home on the last leg of journey
7. Kellie’s gripes about road systems – without it, we might not have had enough confidence to get out of Houston!
8. Sunshine - as much as I love rainy days, sometimes, it's really good to have the sun!

Enjoy some of the pictures we took on this journey (sorry, we were too panicked to think to take pictures during the flooding). Our journey, while eventful, was also very informative. Michael has decided that he really does want to be a firefighter and that he definitely does not want to be one in Houston. So rest assured, dear readers, we won’t be moving to Houston any time soon!

This one is of Billa at lunch today...she's wearing a tortilla container hat!

Love to you all,
K & Co.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My clue phone is ringing...

Michael and I once attended a church service where the pastor used a great analogy for those moments in life when God is trying to tell you something. This man called it a "clue phone." Ever since then, Michael and I love to use that analogy as well and we've used it for everyone and everything. Well, yesterday, it rang for me.

Recently switched over to State Farm for our life insurance needs and Michael got the Super Preferred rates while I was simply Preferred. I never really asked why my rates were Preferred, assuming it was related to my asthma. I've never been hospitalized for an attack but I take meds for it regularly, so I didn't think anything of it. When I called our SF agent to ask about our most recent bill being a little higher than we thought it should, Janet explained what the deal was and that it was only a one time thing. She then raved about how Michael got the Super Preferred rate and how nice it would be in two years time when I lost "all my baby fat" that I too could qualify for the Super Preferred rate. OUCH. That sound you're hearing is the sound of my clue phone ringing...ring ring ring!

Needless to say, I was blown out of the water. I know that Janet didn't mean for her comment to be rude, in fact she expressed surprise over the weight issue because she thought I looked great. But that doesn't negate what the scale and my wardrobe is telling me. I've come to the realization that I have not been making myself a priority and as a result my weight and health are suffering. I've been telling myself that I was fine and putting off for tomorrow what I should have been doing today. Well, I'm not getting any younger and I now understand the importance of taking care of myself. I can't take care of my family if I can't even take care of myself or if I'm not at the peak of my health. Plus, my confidence has dropped through the floor recently and I'm tired of feeling chunky and unhealthy.

With that said, I have resolved to start taking better care of myself and get moving. We're going to start using our calendar again, and planning meals, and now that the weather has gotten really nice, we're going to spend more time outside. Michael has admitted that he has also been feeling a little chunky lately too, so this is going to be good for both of us. We'll keep you posted on our progress. As always, ideas and suggestions are welcome!

Until then,
K & Co.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Need a weekend from the weekend!

Well, I was going to post pictures of Billa's first egg hunt, egg-cept (tee hee!) Mommy and Daddy forgot their camera when they raced off to Mass at 8 am on Sunday morning. It's really not that early I know, but I was up late finishing the wedding cake. So I don't have pictures of Easter, but my mom does. And Lord only knows when I'll get THOSE... no pressure Mom & Dad, but can I please have pictures now?!

Billa didn't have daycare on Friday so I took the day off (needed to bake anyway!) and we went an visited Aunt Debi that morning at Starbuck's. We can't wait for another coffee date! We visited for a couple of hours and Debi is trying to convince me to go get my master's. I just ain't ready for that kind of commitment right now. I have enough student loan debt as it is...We came home and Michael entertained Little Bit while I baked coconut lime cake for the wedding and made marshmallow fondant.

Saturday I made swiss buttercream icing and more fondant, iced and covered the cakes and then started on the designs. I got most of it finished by the time Michael's mom came over to babysit Sybilla. It was really her only time to see munchkin over Easter and it gave her some fun time while Michael and I took our time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner, which was uber fun. Mike and Trisa had the party (there really wasn't a rehearsal) on a boat on Ladybird Lake and we got to see the bats and eat Ruby's BBQ. After that we came home, watched the Untouchables and finished the cake, and then went to bed at almost 2. I woke up not long after and threw up, thanks to too much wine, too little water, too much sugar, and not enough sleep. Go figure!

Ta-da! The Talavera inspired wedding cake...yes, I made this with my own two hands! The bride adores Talavera pottery and given that the wedding was at Fonda San Miguel, it was a perfect match.

On a funny side note, I had a pretty crazy dream that my brother had come over to watch the baby while we were at the party and somehow accidentally ruined the cakes. In order to make up for it, he tried to re-bake them and ice them, but he did it all wrong and by the time we got home, there was no time to fix any of it. Talk about meltdown in a dream. I woke up and was in tears until I realized it was just a dream. Phew!

Mass was nice, but the homily was so textbook that I think everyone seated around us was grateful for the entertainment Billa provided. She did pretty well with Mass and I ran into an old coworker from KW there! We went to my folks' house for breakfast and an egg hunt and Billa had a great time. She really got the hang of egg hunting and would say 'egg' every time she found one, which she also got pretty good at. Afterwards, her favorite thing was to pull all of the eggs out of the basket and put them back in, then repeat ten more times. Now if she could just do that with her toys...

Easter evening was the wedding and what a lovely wedding it was! The food was fantastic, the company wonderful, and the ceremony was definitely memorable, if not embarrassing for Michael and I! Billa decided after 5 minutes she was done and refused to sit still. She was running up the aisle and grabbing her Zeti & Tata's legs and chasing after Daddy when he went to go sing and read. Everyone said it wasn't a big deal, but it really bugged me... it's a wedding for crissakes! My cake got rave reviews and looked beautiful to boot. I definitely learned a lot from this experience which was good and I also had several of Trisa's friends tell me they'd be calling! Yay!

Billa and her cousin Jake who adores Billa. This is the same child who told me "Happy Marry Day!" at our wedding. Jakey has always had a special place in my heart!

Needless to say, it was an exhausting weekend and I definitely need a weekend from our weekend!

I know, I know, it's a terrible picture, but until we get to see the photographer's photos, this is all I got! There wasn't anything else with me in it and very few with Billa looking happy. She got totally overwhelmed by all of her adoring fans that she spent the first part of the evening attached at the hip and in tears. [sigh]

Until then,
Kelly & the Gang

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Need That Can!

Anyone who knows me well (or even just a little bit) knows that I am all about loving the earth and supporting local stores when I can. So I have to share this really awesome thing that my cousin Kari is doing... she and a friend of hers have started a business that sells decorated paint cans that can be used for a multitude of ideas.

The cans are clean and unused and they decorate them for many different occasions. My favorite idea so far is to give one to a new mom with a stuffed animal inside, which the new mom can then use as a baby time capsule to hold those tiny booties and hospital bracelets and other baby trinkets. They also do custom work and they are so cute!

So if you have an opportunity to visit their website, please do so!

Happy Thursday,
Kelly & the Gang

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All Clear (relatively speaking...)

Our follow up at Dr. Patil's office today went well. Billa's lungs sounded considerably better and she recommended that we keep up with the breathing treatments until Saturday. I dropped her off at daycare after the appointment and picked her up four hours later so we could administer another one. She did pretty good with that one; she actually stayed still for most of it. The treatment actually helped Mommy too since I've been experiencing some chest tightness thanks to difficulty in breathing. I love springtime in Texas, but I HATE HATE HATE the oak pollen! I know everyone else around here does too. Surprisingly enough, she doesn't hate the treatment so much as being held down to do it. The pictures show her playing with the mask after her treatment this afternoon. Silly girl!

Shaking the mask. You can see her awesome silver shoes too! These are the same shoes that we are constantly complimented on...they were in the bargain bin at Target for $5!

They put little eyes on them to make them more appealing to kids I guess. Too bad it doesn't make hogtying a toddler in one place and have them breath out of it appealing.

This picture is more like the experience we have when we administer her breathing treatments. Thankfully we only have to keep it up until Saturday!

Until later!
Kelly & the Gang

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What a Weekend! And Week...

These last few days have been action packed and exciting to say the least. Here's a recap:

SATURDAY: My brother came into town to help Michael get our washer and dryer from the lakehouse. They made a day of it and went "frolfing" (frisbee golfing), kayaked across the lake, drove Papa Carl's cool truck, and stopped at a old car show on the way home. (On a sad side note: the washer and dryer they picked up turned out to be the wrong ones. [sigh] I am forced to do my laundry at a family/friend's house again! Argh!)

Mommy and Billa helped Aunt Kellie clean her "pit" and then went to lunch at Maudie's, where we received a phone call from my grandmother to invite us to her house to hang out with the family. Remember a few months back the Saga of Mia? Well, I am happy to report that Mia is officially part of the family as of last Wednesday! The adoption was finalized and Erin and her family can move on happily. My cousin's family, her parents (my dad's sister and her husband), my grandmother, my cousin Jeff and his wife Abby and their twins Garrett and Wyatt, and Jeff's parents were all there. Talk about a full house! Lots of babies and children everywhere. It was a lot of fun, but alas, I have to wait for pictures on this one since Michael and Philip had the camera.

The Marino and Guerra Families (With Philip)

Kellie & Kelly being silly!

SUNDAY: We had originally planned on going strawberry picking but because Michael's aunt and uncle and cousins from California were coming in that evening, we couldn't go too far out of town. Instead we went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Preserve with the Marino family. Anthony doesn't normally have weekends off so it was a real treat to have him with us for once! The kids had a blast running all over the preserve, looking at the flowers, and hiking the trails. We got to take some beautiful bluebonnet pictures (thanks Anthony!) and then went home to make hot wings and milk shakes. Yum! After the Marino's left, Michael and I went to his dad's house and visited with his Aunt Kelly, Uncle David and all his cousins, who are here in town for the wedding next weekend. The only bummer was that we had to leave early due to Billa being overly fussy.

Kelly & Philip...hard to believe that he's my little brother!

MONDAY: Unfortunately, the fun ended Sunday evening. Billa was coughing so much through the night that none of us really got to sleep until about 1 am. When I went in to nurse her at 6:15, she was wheezing pretty fierce. Michael and I decided she needed to go to the doctor. I took her to the doctor around 10 am and by that point her wheezing was even worse. Being an asthmatic myself, I was very worried about her. The doctor administered a breathing treatment in the office with a nebulizer ad albuterol, which is the same drug in my inhaler. Her breathing improved considerably, and we were sent home with a nebulizer of our very own and prescription for some more albuterol.

The doctor didn't diagnose her issue as asthma, but said it was probably made worse by allergies. One of the pitfalls of spring in Central Texas! Of course all of this is compounded by the fact that Little Bit is teething again. We have two new teeth on the bottom for a total of eight - four on top and four on bottom. I'll try to get a picture if Billa will let me :o) Poor kid was so exhausted from the weekend, her poor sleeping, and the allergies that she slept in my arms in Target while we waited for her meds. She NEVER does that, so I knew she wasn't feeling well at all.

Today we are at home taking it easy and administering her breathing treatments every four to six hours as prescribed. Billa is getting lots of 'toon time and Mommy is getting some belated housecleaning and organizing done while also trying to accomplish some work! We'll keep you posted as to how her followup appointment goes and more pictures later!
Family photo: Philip, Kelly, Michael & Sybilla

Until next time!
Kelly & the Gang

Friday, April 3, 2009

Name Game

My fellow blogger and former coworker Anna posted this on her blog and challenged all her blog friends to do it.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): TB Mountaineer (unfortunately, this would be a bit cooler if it was ok to be unpolitically correct, but there you have it)
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Everything But The Boot
3. YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Cat
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born): Marie Austin
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name): Gueke (or Dilke if we do maiden names too!)
6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Green Cocojito
7. STRIPPER NAME ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent,favorite candy): Valentino Hot Tamales
8. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Hankamer Halifax
9. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Spring Snapdragon
10. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Kiwi Flip Flops
11. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Bagel Lemon

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Playtime at the Park

I finally got our camera back! Yay! I promised to post some pictures so here we go! I've got spring fever BAD, so Michael and I took Billa to the park next door and played for a few minutes after dinner. The weather was perfect and we all had a great time. Enjoy!

K & Co.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin