Archive for the ‘Spice of Life’ Category

For the past 2 summers, I have promised Dutchess Bull that I would taker her swimming at Grandma Debbie’s house. Several years ago we used to take Dutchess and Bogie swimming frequently. Dutchess was and still is a very good swimmer and Mr. Bogie was an amazing diver, but not such a strong swimmer. For no particularly good reason, we have not taken the babies swimming over the past 2 summers, but today that changed. Taking Dutchess was truly old hat, as she loves to swim, but taking the Bostons was a new adventure. Alex did take Fenway swimming last summer, but only briefly and he seemed to dislike it. That is still true.

Once we arrived at Grandma’s to swim, Dutchess took to the water and never missed a lick. She has slowed a little since she is older, but is still a very good swimmer. The boys were a different story. Gulliver attempted to swim, but basically just slapped at the water and refused to use his back legs. Gulliver would drown if left alone. Fenway was no better, but did not seem to enjoy even making an effort. Luckily, we had a plan B. This past weekend we picked up a cheap inflatable boat at the mall. Now the boat says sweet girl on it, but we just figured the boys would not care. Fenway loved the boat. We put him in it and he just floated around like he was at a resort. Since we only had one boat, Alex, Whitley and I took turns holding Gulliver as he floated on a smaller floatie. Gulliver loved to float half in the water and at one point appeared to be falling asleep in Whit’s arms. Whitley was very good with the boys in the pool.

We all swam, floated and chased invisible monster for about 1 hour and then decided to call it a day. Dutchess had a blast and got some good exercise. The boys discovered their secret calling is to be lounge puppies at a resort. They seemed to suggest a cabana boy and puptail were in order for next time. I on the other hand was an anxious wreck, worrying myself to death over nothing. Alex was her normal steely self and as she predicted, all turned out OK. Dutchess and the boys are now back home sleeping after their big adventure. Oooh what a day!


You might wonder what a wayward turtle and cupcakes have in common? This past weekend Alex and I had one amazing weekend. Friday we went to Three Dog Bakery in Southlake and ordered up some new treats for the fur babies. After procuring puppy happiness, we spent a little time shopping at Grapevine Mills followed by dinner at Buca di Beppo. Since having my Lap Band, I cannot eat the portions Buca serves, but I was in luck now that they serve two different portion sizes. My favorite entree there is pizza! Surprised? Probably not!

Saturday we woke up and after spending some time with the babies, decided to head up to the shopping area off of Heritage Trace in north Fort Worth. With the exception of an “incident” at Sam Moon, we had a great time. We did some more shopping at JC Penney’s and for the first time in many years I was able to fit into a 2X shirt. Now, the 2X was not flattering but it did fit. It is the little things like this that make having my Band worth it. Before we shopped we ate lunch at Olive Garden and had a wonderful waiter named Hedey. His name he told us was Brazilian, but he was Mexican. Hedey was one of the nicest servers we have had in some time. I always try to call servers by their name and make sure they know that the service they provide is both appreciated and important.

After lunch and shopping, we left JC Penney and on the drive out, we saw the little guy in the above photo. I am not sure where he came from since there was no water nearby. Alex, me and another nice family spent some time snapping photos and getting chased around by Mr. Turtle, but eventually we decided the best thing to do was to put him on the other side of a work fence as far from the road as possible. I hope Mr. Turtle made it home wherever that is. After rescuing the wayward turtle, we enjoyed the sweets you see pictured above from Sweet Spot Bakery. Honestly, the ding dong concoction was a little too sweet for me, but the red velvet cupcake was good and the place decorated very cutely.

After we finished our sweets, we did some more shopping and came home to spend some time with our babies. We were home for a few hours until time to leave to meet our friends at the Royal Falcon Pub. We spent several hours at the Royal Falcon learning about sordid affairs, rumours and other generally good gossip (God forgive me). Around 2 A.M. we finally made it home and after enduring an hour or so of puppynami, we all finally went to sleep. What an amazing couple of days with my best friend in the entire world!

Date Night!!

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Allie, Spice of Life

Tonight was a truly great night. After Alex came home, she and I drove up to Southlake and purchased some goodies from our friends at Three Dog Bakery. We had hoped they would have the shin bones which our fur babies LOVE, but alas they were out. Since we did not find the shin bones, we opted to drive over to Pets Mart and found some chew bones which were just about as good. After finishing the puppy shopping we decided to go to Grapevine Mills Mall to see Legoland and do some shopping. To my chagrin, we arrived and Legoland was closed, but the aquarium across the way was open. We did not go today, but plan on attending soon on another date.

Since the aquarium was closed, we decided to do a little clothes shopping. I took an entire set of photos I titled Mall Walk inside Forever 21 and a few other places. I truly enjoy shopping with Alex because seeing her buy new clothes makes her very happy and inspires her to work hard at WW. After shopping we walked around a little and decided it was time for dinner. Alex and I left the mall and went to Buca di Beppo to eat in Southlake. For those of you who have not eaten at Buca you are missing out. Even though I have a Lap Band, I can still eat their thin crust pizza and it is AMAZING.

I posted the above photo because it truly embodies who I am. I am a big kid at heart. I know sometimes, I am very serious about heavy topics like politics and religion, but when I am with my wife I am just me and I LOVE Legos. The last time Alex snapped a photo of me with a lego that I liked, I did not buy it and it was a special purchase so I missed out. This time, my birthday is coming up (HINT HINT) and I really like this lego project.

Well that is all for tonight peeps!

This image is full of contradictions. First the location of the image is quite misleading. When you see this you probably think it is the middle of the country somewhere; however, you would be wrong. On my way to work today, I turned off the interstate and stumbled upon a welcome center for an industrial part. I initially turned into the small center to throw away some trash and was greeted with this windmill, a covered bridge and a beautiful farm house. The ironic part is that this welcome center is smack dab in the middle of the DFW Metroplex far from any “country”.

The second, and for me, more important paradox about this image is how it was taken. As you may know, I used to own thousands of dollars in camera equipment and shot quite a few pageant girls for their commercial ad. pages. I considered this genre of photography to be the Mipinnacle of the art and I so badly wanted to become a fashion photographer. As you may surmise, becoming a successful fashion photographer is a little like becoming a professional athlete. After many years of buying what I thought was the “right” equipment and shooting and never having achieved this goal, I grew frustrated, disappointed and I quit. I sold everything and purchased an inexpensive compact camera to take some happy snaps.

This entire blog is the result of my friend challenging me to step outside my miserable comfort zone and assert myself as an artist. I completed his challenge and I can say that today I confidently consider myself both an artist and a photographer. Now, this is important to this post because one of the major transformations I went through was finally realizing that the equipment does not matter. Certainly, a camera with more feature such as a larger sensor, interchangeable lenses, etc make capturing some shots easier, but not having said features is not an excuse to not make art. The shot I attached was taken with my Samsung camera phone. A mere few weeks ago I would have balked at using my camera phone as a serious tool, but I have since grown to love it as a tool for making art. Which brings me to the name of this post.

Today I added a gentlemen to my Google+ circles who manages a blog called Minimalist Photography 101. The entire point of his blog is to remind people that thousands of dollars worth of equipment and complex post processing software is not needed to make truly amazing art. Having come full circle from a neophyte with a camera, to a wanna be with the best equipment and back to a photographer who sees the camera as a mere tool, his blog really hit home. Now, I have to admit I am enjoying some post processing with Google’s Picnik application, but I do not take pictures with the intent of “fixing” them later.

Well that is all for now. Peace!

I am going to keep today’s post fairly short. This morning I received a bottle of Heartbreaking Dawn’s 1498 Trinidad Scorpion hot sauce. The Trinidad Scorpion is currently the hottest pepper on Earth and this sauce is a scrumptious mixture of Scorpions and other ingredients. Growing peppers and becoming a “chilihead” has been quote therapeutic for me. Since the late winter, Alex and I have poured alot of love into our little chili pepper garden and I am hopeful that this fall we will see the fruits of our labor. Doing anything in life is so much more enjoyable when I do it with be beautiful bride and pepper gardening has been no exception. Between peppers, photography, guitar, Boston Terriers, Bulls and the normal day to day living, I have been keeping busy which has been a huge help in overcoming my OCD. If you like hot things, try this sauce and hit me up in the fall to see how the harvest goes!

Tonight, Alex and I had the privilege of attending our dear friend Jenna’s birthday bash. Jenna and her husband Brandon Rabideau own Halo Salon and a host of subsidiary companies including Halo Artists Group which also launched tonight. The venue was decorated in the fashion of a circus bordello complete with gorgeous models adorned with body paint, attendees in full Gothic regalia, fire eaters and Burlesque dancers. The entire event was a mixture of social mingling and impromptu photography sessions using the brilliant decoration as props. Aside from the venue itself, every bit if decoration, makeup, hair, photography and planning was done by people who work for the Halo group. Jenna and her husband have truly created a one stop shop for fashion, entertainment and service industries looking to expand their portfolios.

On a personal note, Alex and I become friends with Jenna though Courtney Robbins when she offered to sponsor the Miss Irving pageant. Jenna and her entire staff have been truly amazing supporters of the Miss Irving franchise and we are very lucky to have her, Brandon and her entire staff of professionals as friends. Happy birthday Jenna and congratulations to your amazing staff on pulling off one brilliant event!!

For a person with OCD like me there is no such thing as a hobby. Now this does not mean that us OCDrs are good any many things, it just means we attack new interests with the zeal of bee on honey. Most of you know that I have spent quite a bit of time working on and to some degree mastering photography, but the dark side of OCD is that it is difficult to be less than emotionally objective about one’s work. Because my photography was so tied to strong emotions, I am taking a break from serious photography and pursuing some other interests. Do not fear, this 30 day project is my way of staying connected to photography. Enter Bobby Harris!

A few weeks ago, Alex and I were at our friend Chad Pott’s home. Chad and Bobby are both skilled guitar musicians and listening to them strum peaked my interest about learning guitar. Bobby and I visited and he explained that it is not terribly difficult, but that if I was serious about learning I must take in person lessons. Due to a tight budget, and my wanting to think it over (OCD makes us impulsive) I told him I would get back with him. A week or so later, I was at our friend Amy’s home and Bobby and I began discussing the guitar some more. Bobby told me that he had an instructor who was reasonable he would send me to and that if I committed to 4 one hour lessons, he would loan me a great guitar to learn on and possibly even sell it to me down the road. At that time, I told Bobby I still wanted to think on it and I have. As you can see from the photo, I have decided to pursue guitar lessons. Apparently, it is not uncommon for near 40 year olds to take up the guitar so I do not feel too stupid. I made my first trip to Guitar Center today and was FLOORED by the entire experience. Now I have no idea if that is a good place to go. I wonder if it is the Wolf Camera of the music world, which would be discouraging because I would NEVER send a newbie to Wolf, Ritz, or any other chain shop. Today, I purchase some Dunlop medium celluloid pics. I hope those will work. I also picked up 2 books with some Barnes and Noble gift cards. So the adventure begins.

So that explains the guitar picks, but what about the peppers? Most of you know that I am growing peppers. I had always heard that gardening can be therapeutic, but never quite understood until now. There is something internally refreshing about raising food from the ground with your own personal labor. It is not that growing peppers is difficult, but it does require daily diligence. Today, Alex and I made our third small harvest of peppers. In the photo, you see 2 Kung Paos, 2 Super Chilis and 1 sweet Banana pepper. I am looking forward to turning all of those into salsa for future consumption.

So there you have it. A glimpse into my crazy world. Please stay tuned because it is quite possible that by the end of the summer I will have a new obsession to add to my repertoire. So goes the life of an obsessive compulsive!