Saturday, November 24, 2007

Port Aransas

A recent still life we stumbled upon...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My job

My jobsite.

Raising the structural insulated panel (SIP) walls into place on the 2nd story.

Making adjustments to the wall before stapling it into place.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Luke and Tommy

Luke gives Tommy a little aid on a tough bouldering problem... :-)

This is the climb (Called Motorboat) that ate my ankle on Saturday. This photo was taken by Merrick Ales, website at:

I took today off of work to let my foot more fully recover. It's driving me up a wall to sit at home! I've been being a good patient though, keeping my foot elevated, my ankle wrapped up, and a steady stream of ibuprofen running through me.

Today would have been sucky to work anyway - a cold front blew in last night. It's in the low 50's, raining, and the wind is gusting to 40mph.

I'm excited to work tomorrow - I'll finally be able to wear pants!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Granite Gripper

I came home from work one day to find that Luke had entered me into the Granite Gripper, a local climbing competition. The comp is at Enchanted Rock, a park about 1 1/2 hours from here.

We went out this Saturday to compete, and I had a blast! I was climbing with a 9 year old girl who had been climbing twice before. (I've only been climbing for three months, about one day a week.)

We did a few 5.9's and one 5.10, before I got my foot stuck in a crack and tweaked it a little too much. I ended hobbling out, one route shy of making the minimum number of routes required for the comp. The trip out took 1 1/2 hours, the trip in had only taken 30 minutes or so. OWIE!

The 9 year old did one more 5.9 route, and ended up with 2nd place in the women's beginner division. Yay! Though I was one route (about 10 points) shy of getting in my minimum routes required, I wsa only 2 points behind the 3rd place winner. Next year....

And so I'm spending this Sunday with my ankle wrapped up and elevated, sitting around at home. I just finished reading The Sex Lives Of Cannibals , and started reading World Without End. Hopefully my foot feels better by tomorrow, so I can go back to work.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My life this week

I have a job as a carpenter again, woohooooo!!! My last day at the bakery was on Friday, and the first day at my new job was Monday. Today marks a week at my new job. I really love it. :-)
The rest of my life is going pretty swimmingly, too. I've been rock climbing/swimming/doing housey things on the weekends. The garden I planted out back is doing really well.
Luke and I have been painting the house lately. The bedroom is a deep blue, the hallways a chocolate brown, and the living room is a sage green. We haven't figured out what color to do the bathrooms yet...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's new

So, I gave my 2 week notice at the bakery today. I don't have a job lined up yet, but something should come down the pike soon.

Every week for a long time now, I kept telling myself that I'd quit next week, when I was in a better position to do so. Being in a better position hadn't happened yet, so I decided to jump now rather than wait for the perfect time that will never come.

I want to get back into carpentry again, preferably as the apprentice to some sweet but meticulous old guy who's been a carpenter for years and wants to impart all of his knowledge on a young whippersnapper like me.

If you know of this mythical guy, or any other interesting carpentry opportunities in the Austin, TX area, drop me a line at

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Labor Day

Luke and I went to his parent's ranch for Labor day weekend. His mom took some pictures of us. Awwww, how cute!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pics from the weekend

Luke and I at Enchanted Rock

Sketch cooling off after a hike

Luke and Suerte

Luke and Suerte again

Roger and Sketch

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Alternate reality

So, I haven't been able to drive my van since 6-29, when I was run into by that idiot. I've been slowly fixing the things that need fixing as I earn the money, and wait for the police/insurance to get their act together.

Today I sawed off my exhaust system in preparation for bolting an entirely new one on. I'll get the new one in the mail later this week.

I've got the bolts soaking in PB Blaster, so hopefully I can finish taking everything off tomorrow.

I'm glad I have a surrogate mom here in Austin. It's been sad ever since my real one went off the deep end last year.

The worst part about it is that my mom experiences occasional moments of lucidity, where she tells me and other people that she realizes her behavior isn't the healthiest or smartest....and then the next phone call, she appears brainwashed again.

I actually hung up on her the other day. When I pointed out to her that she admits to herself and others that she realizes her behavior isn't the smartest or healthiest, her reponse was, "Well, I guess I shouldn't have been that honest." ...... And now she's running away from her problems, literally and figuratively, to "visit" MO.

I read her blog today, and it sounds like she's traveling with Rhett again. Rhett is the man who treats her like crap, who doesn't do anything to help himself, and offers nothing to her except a chance for her to nurture her savior/matyr complex. And this is from her own blog. ( )

This is a man that she alternately can't stand, and then considers marrying. Her bishop called her into his office and told her he thinks they should get married. And she's considered it. She'll pretty much do anything a church official tells her.

In the past, my mom has told me she wouldn't marry him if I would just become a Mormon. Way to go with the emotional black mail, mom.

There's nothing I can do to change her behavior. It would be a lot easier to deal if she would stay brainwashed and not experience those "AHA!" moments where she switches back into the mom I grew up with, and seems perfectly sensible.

She's hiding behind Mormonism as a way to sacrifice her own health/well being/interests under the umbrella of good christian behavior. It sucks.

But it would make great book material!

Oh, and this Possum guy is a creep. He applied (seriously) on my boyfriend application a long while back. Then he met mom in person, and was hitting on her. I've never met him, but with what he says and does on the internet, he oozes creepy user vibes. And mom has seen the light before, yet keeps going back to these men who are scum. Her blog on him:


Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Pics

We went rock climbing today. Yay! I think I'm officially addicted now. To the man and the rock...

Luke and Tommy

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fun on Saturday

So, I haven't really written anything about my personal life in a really long time....One of these days I'll get around to writing about what has happened in the past year+ in more detail. It really was a fascinating time. It was good to take a break. Now I'm ready to go at it again.

Now back to the regularly scheduled blog.

Today we went out to lake Travis to do some water bouldering and floating. "We" was me, 3 friends, and Luke, the really sweet and adorable guy in the left hand photo. Luke is the man I've been dating for awhile.

More pictures to come...

Sunday, August 05, 2007


This weekend my hands and body took a beating. The top layer of skin on my fingertips is abraded, I have bruises and cuts all over my body, and my muscles are a bit sore. It feels wonderful!

It's all from going to Lake Travis this weekend with a few people and cliff jumping/rock climbing most of the day. Mmmmmmm, fun.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Van Flooring

Tada! For $47 at Cosco, I satiated my lifelong yearning for bamboo flooring. It's puuuuurty! Took me an hour to lay out/saw/secure everything down. I had one plank and a few inches in scraps left.

My van is still inoperable. The police report came out with a zillion mistakes, and I'm still tangling with them over fixing it. The insurance companies haven't done anything yet because of the police report, so I'm still vanless. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I miss my van...

I go out and tinker with it every day. I now need to figure out why my electrical system keeps shorting out. I think some wiring got squished in the accident.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

9 Boys

For the past two days, there have been 9 half-naked boys roaming about the house.
Wooo wooooo!
You can find out who they are at:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Van news

Yesterday I was driving my van out of the VW garage after an inspection, when the CV joint broke. Now we know exactly what part was making all that noise and needed fixing!

I have an appointment for Thursday. Still no word on insurance or the police report. I want my van back!

I used to gaze at it wistfully. Now it's at the garage and I don't get to see it. I was sleeping out in it at night, but it's back to the couch for me. Thank goodness for friends!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Some idiot decided to jump his green light while I was making a protected left hand turn, and smashed into my right rear quarter panel. The impact ripped the engine off its mounts, causing it to drop. The muffler was partially torn off the car and the pipe separated from the actual muffler. And worst of all, the bastard scratched my pink paint job!
I tried to drive the car away from the scene of the accident after I was cleared to go, to discover the engine had dropped so much that it shuddered the whole car and sounded like something was going to explode. I limped around the corner to a friends house, went in the door, and collapsed into their chair. The tow truck guy took me to work and then dropped of my van at the fix-it place. Now I have to wait for a week until the police report comes out and the insurance companies start to duke things out. In the meantime, I'm homeless and vanless, since I'm set to move out on July 1st and was going to live in my van. Crap.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I went to a VW junkyard the other day. They had 10 acres of vehicles and a huge warehouse full of all sorts of goodies!

I'm packing up my VW today, getting ready to move out of my house. My lease runs out on the 1st, so I've decided to live in my van full time.

You know that magnet that has a horrified looking lady on it, and says "Oh my God, I turned into my mother!" ? I'm starting to identify. Now both mom and I are wandering around while living out of our vehicles. Mine's cooler though. :-)

Everywhere I go, little kids and grown adults all smile and shout, "I love your van!"

With my next paycheck, I need to fix my brakes and get some new shocks. I figured it was easier to concentrate on the cosmetic things before the mechanical stuff and living in it. I moved into the house I built before I was finished with it, and it was just a total pain. Never again!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Van happenings

I haven't been doing much to the van, hence the lack of pictures of it. Here, have a picture of my new haircolor instead!
Everybody and their mother has been complimenting me on the color, even old, persnickety people. I quite like the color myself, with the exception of the fact that now I kind of clash with my car....
Yesterday I made a duvet cover with the help of Pat, the woman who's been helping me with every other imaginable van thing. (She even bought the duvet fabric as a present. Awwww!) It's a tan fabric with pink gerbera daisies. It's perfect!
Yesterday we took my van for several spins, including one at 10pm to a donut shop that has hot donuts from 9pm to 6am. We bought 4 original glazed, 2 chocolate glazed, 2 chocolate cake, 1 doz. donut holes and a small milk, all for $3.80. Mmmm, sugar... I just don't get enough during the day at my bakery job.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

I want one of these!

A nifty stove and oven, so I can bake cookies and Thanksgiving turkeys on the road. Mmmmmm....

From Cabella's.

My vans' new name is...

Pigathius Lee.

It's Miss Piggy's full name and is a play on Peggy Lee, whom I just discovered at the library and absolutely love.

Miss Piggy and I share the same sort of personality, my initials are HAM, and the van is a nice piggy pink. It fits. I also was given a pink pig keychain a few weeks ago, which brings it all together.

Monday, June 04, 2007

New VW upholstery

This is part of the old bench seat seat cover. It's why there was a fuzzy blanket over the backseat when I bought my VW.
And this is what it looks like now... I made the pillow, too. Next - Curtains! Why stop now? I'm on a roll.
Today an adorable 5 year old told me she really liked my pink car. Kids seems to get a kick out of it. Whenever a car with a kid goes by me on the roads, they usually have their noses pressed to the glass and gawk at my car as they go by.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Naming the van and answering comments

Whoops, I haven't published the comments in a while. I keep them on moderation so I can instantly delete any nasty comments, and savor the good ones before they hit the web.

This van is manual. It took me about a week to get used to the particulars of the clutch. When I took it to the VW shop for a check-up, the guy told me that every van is different. Sometimes he gets into a VW and can't find gears for the life of him.

I'm slowly working on redoing the interior. When I got the van, the upholstery was a yucky brown corduroy that was full of grit, sand and dog hair. It was worn out and badly in need of replacement. I'm replacing it with a heavy duty fabric with light blue, green and tan stripes. The light yellow on the back of the captains chairs is automotive antelope. It came from a friend who got the 3 antelope hides from a sheik's airplane upholstery job. It's the same friend who let me use her backyard and fancy spray gun for the paint job. She's amazing! She does decorative painting for a living, and wanted to try painting a car as a warm-up for painting her RV. I was only too glad to lend my van for the cause...

Eventually I'll get around to installing a wooden floor inside. I'd love to do bamboo or birch! For now, I need to save up money for the not so glamorous mechanical side of things. I'd like to get some new shocks (the current ones are a wee bit tired), and get new rear brake shoes/drums before they give out. I also need a good tune-up, and to get my fluids flushed sooner rather than later. All in all though, it's in pretty superb condition. Later down the road I want to give the underside a good bath and a scrub, then undercoat the heck out of it. It's relatively rust-free, and I'd like to keep it that way!

I promised a friend I'd name my van before she came back from a trip out of state. I have a week to figure out something fitting. Any suggestions? The last two cars were Toby the big red van, and Annie, the toyota 4-runner.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pink Van

Hmmm, I'll have to try taking a picture of the van in the sunset/rise sometime to bring out the pink. You can't really tell it's pink in this picture.

Here's a sample of it.

Pictures from this weekend

It's been pouring all week. Today it stopped, so we built another plastic tent to spray my van in. (The plastic is to contain overspray, it's not good enough to keep the van bone dry in a downpour.)


The ever helpful Puka helps to tape the van

Taping off areas I don't want paint.

Random signage. For those who just can't make up their minds...

Monday, May 21, 2007

What I did this weekend

I drove the van over to a friend's house, where we finished prepping it and built a plastic tent.

I buffed and wiped the sanding dust off my van with their dog...

Fancy spray gun!

We were out spraying until 9pm last night. The van is now a nice, shiny pink. We'll give it another coat sometime this week, in between rain showers. More pictures to come soon! And then...interior work.

There's a fabric store going out of business around the corner from me, so I bought 7 yards of really pretty fabric to redo my tattered seat and bed covers. Should be fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


For the past two weeks, I've been driving my van instead of bicycling to work. I have to be at work at 5:30am most it's been a nice change of pace to roll out of bed and be at work only a few minutes later. One evening I even slept in the parking lot, really cutting down on my commuting time.

Now that I have this van, gas prices actually mean something to me after 1 1/2 years. Holy cow! I'm not sure what sort of gas milage I get, as my odometer is broken. I think I've been getting about 18/gal.

I'm slowly sanding and priming away....I even picked out the final color yesterday. I'm planning on painting it on Saturday. Anybody know of a good empty lot or a field with lots of trees around it, with suitable room for spraying with a hvlp system? I can't spray in my neighborhood because the overspray travels and will stick to anything within 100 feet or so.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Working on the van

I started out sanding just the rusty spots, intending to smooth outward from said spots and blend into the rest of the existing paint....
But I decided it was taking too long, and bought some industrial strength airplane paint stripper. Hasta la vista, existing paint job!

I quickly primed all of the bare metal to protect it from supposed upcoming rain that hasn't happened yet.
I need to figure out what color to paint this van. I'm leaning towards a light pink or green. Maybe a combo of the two? Hmmm....