Reminiscing… and feeling a bit abandoned (revised)

In response to the Daily Prompt, “Abandoned“:

One year ago, Boyfriend and I were hanging out with my mother and my aunt. They came to visit us in Central Texas over a four-day weekend. There were a few interesting moments, but there were also great opportunities to talk with them and to share our corner of the world with them. I had not spent an extensive amount of time with my aunt in a very long time, perhaps since I spent overnights as an adolescent, and I had not seen my mother since I moved from the Chicago area two years prior.

Wow, time does go by. There were moments I could have handled differently, which I learned from, and I hope for another chance for my mom and aunt to visit. I actually hope that my father and my brother and his fiancée all visit because I not only want to show them the beautiful landscape and the places we like in Central Texas, but also because a phone call only does so much. We are all very different people with different interests, ideas, and viewpoints,  and it can be hard to really relate in a meaningful way on the phone.

I feel lucky that I was able to visit my brother and his fiancée’ this past November. I got to see their new apartment and neighborhood, as well as experience a little of their daily existence in NYC. I visited my parents while I was in Chicago last summer, and I think we need a change of venue.  I know that life can be busy, and travelling can be challenging… I think its time for another family visit in Texas!

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

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Mt. Bonnell

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Central Texas with sunshine, a few puffy clouds, low 70’s, and a slight breeze. We decided to take a drive into Austin to see the view from Mt. Bonnell, a landmark that has long been considered the highest point in the city at approximately 780 feet above sea level.

Boyfriend and I have been in and around this area many times but had not known about Mt. Bonnell until somewhat recently. We decided to take our own route rather than the suggested route, which included tolls, and I’m glad we did because our route was full of rock walls, windy roads, and beauty all around us. We split the driving for the days so we could both have a little fun and enjoy the scenery. It’s to believe that this bird’s eye view of the Colorado River and the surrounding Austin area can be experienced so close to people’s houses and apartments.

After a bit of exploring the path around Mt. Bonnell, Boyfriend and I headed downtown to get a snack and continue to enjoy the beautiful day. After a stop at Whole Foods Market, we walked through the west side of downtown and found ourselves along Lady Bird Lake near Auditorium Shores.

Such a beautiful, sunny February day in Central Texas!

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

 

Red Pill, Blue Pill… and choosing food for mind and body

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 08/21/15: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.” If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Buddha's Brew TangerineThe short answer is no,  because I would hate to give up my favorite foods and drinks, including coffee, Boyfriend’s chocolate chip and double chocolate peanut butter cookies, and the wonderful dinners that he prepares us out of simple but healthy ingredients, pizza, hamburgers from Mighty Fine, fresh squeezed orange juice, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and many other tasty items.

courtesy of infowars.com

My next answer is that this reminds me of Alex Jones, the well-known alternative media man from Infowars.com and Infowars radio, who talks about taking the red pill or the blue pill to know the truth or to stay in the dark about the reality of our world. He often plays a clip from the movie The Matrix, with Morpheus offering Neo a way to learn the truth for himself.  Before you leave my page due to mention of a “conspiracy theorist”, I urge you to check out Infowars.com because it is a great place to find out what is really going on in the world and the articles usually offer supporting links so you can do more research. Ok, now back to food.

I am skeptical of quick-fix solutions in general, and I am assuming that this nutritional solution would be produced in a lab, likely making it chemical based and/or genetically modified. Not that I am a perfect, healthy eater, but I try to avoid regular consumption of fast food, modified, GMO, HFCS, artificial dyes/colors/etc. whenever possible.  I don’t eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Whataburger, KFC, or any of the other similar restaurants because of the quality and content of the food. The place I fall down on this the most is at work when the department is celebrating a birthday or holiday, and I decide to have the piece of cake, despite its foot-long list of ingredients.

Boyfriend's cookies going into the oven
Boyfriend’s cookies going into the oven

Boyfriend and I have done our research and have learned what we can and should eat based on how our bodies react to food. We do not react well to the fake, “pancake syrup” given for your waffles or pancakes at many restaurants, often feeling sluggish and tired after dousing our food with high fructose corn syrup. Both of us were really excited to find out that Kerbey Lane, a Central Texas restaurant that serves breakfast 24 hours a day, has both “pancake syrup” and the real maple syrup, which they will give you if you ask. We are willing to pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup, and we are both happy that this restaurant sources a lot of its ingredient from local farmers.

Food is really important for nourishing your mind, body, and soul. I realize that food serves a purpose and is necessary for each of us to survive, whether it is tasty or not, and whether it is affordable or not, but being able to choose your food is satisfying. I have taken people to get food at a food pantry as a function my job, and I have delighted in seeing people be able to choose between chicken noodle soup and sirloin vegetable soup, or between wheat bread and French bread. Food takes us to another part of ourselves through our senses and our memories, good and bad.

rutamaya-mediumroast-I remember cutting vegetables with my grandmother and eating cucumbers while I helped her cook, and that crosses my mind when I am making myself a salad. Tasting one of Boyfriend’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies makes me feel loved and reminds me of making cookies to share with others while I was growing up. Each and everyone of us has a story about a meal, a place he/she used to go for family celebrations or a smell that would permeate their home at a special time. Why would we completely give that up for convenience in pill-form, when eating at McDonald’s is bad enough? The conspiracy theorist in me is sure that the powers that be already have the idea for us to consume our nutrients and whatever else they feel is good for us in the form of pills, capsules and other devices with no other choice sometime in the future.

Until then, I will eat my salads, my golden scrambled eggs, grass-fed beef or bison, seasoned organic chicken with Brussels sprouts, home-made cookies, Ruta Maya coffee with Mill-King organic whole milk and other tasty items made with real ingredients that make me happy, if nothing else.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

We Built This Town…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 03/19/15: “We Built This City.”

I moved to a town in Central Texas that, in funny ways, mirrors my experience in the Chicago suburb from which I moved. I live approximately 30 miles from the nearest major city, just as I did before, and the town I in which I live is somewhat limited in its shopping offerings so we often travel a town or two over to get all of our groceries and needed items. In both cases, I have lived near an interstate highway, though I am much closer to the highway where I live now. Also, I worked for a social service agency with city government contracts/affiliations, and my current job is through local government and has social service agency affiliation/contracts. It’s very strange how my experiences in two very different places mirror each other. Now, on to the topic…

courtesy of clipartpanda.com
courtesy of clipartpanda.com

I don’t know that I would change much about the town itself where I now live. It’s a fairly cute, yet growing area of Central Texas that is keeping some of its country charm and slowly modernizing. In good traffic, I can make it to or from work in 10 minutes, and in bad traffic I make it in about 20-25 minutes.  Apartment living is where I would make some changes. Apartment options were somewhat limited when we moved almost two years ago but more apartment complexes are being built, though they are fairly pricey! I realize that builders and businesses are capitalizing on the demand but I think there should be a happy medium between rundown and/or low-income housing and luxury apartments with amenities that eat up 50% or more of your income. How about  putting up nice, well-built apartments at reasonable prices rather than hastily built, expensive apartments showing signs of poor craftsmanship and with amenities that are not properly maintained so they are, therefore, frequently unavailable. The complex we moved to was brand new and the other options were old and undesirable or unavailable. Houses are also being built everywhere you go but are also expensive in price and in the corresponding property taxes as well. I just read that the average home price for our neck of the woods is $215,000!

The one thing I would change about our town is the upkeep of roads, which is improving as they repair and expand high traffic roadways, and add in access roads where they had none.  I think that water drainage on the road needs to be addressed. Where I come from there were sewers, which I don’t see too much here, and when it rains, look out! There are a lot of low-lying areas and “retention ponds”, which fill up quickly.

Something I will be interested in is the outcome of the influx of people moving to what is considered a fairly conservative area, in all ways imaginable, from places that are as far from conservative as you can get and are hell-bent on remaking their new home in the likeness of the home they left. As I said, I think the area could use a lift into slightly more modern times but, being that I am an independent thinker who believes that no side is completely in the right (or left), but I like that Texas fought for its independence, can wave its flag as high as the US flag, and that it has its own pledge , which I have heard recited at many local government events. I like that Texas is a second-amendment friendly state, hopefully becoming an open carry or constitutional carry state. I like it is a place where ideas, new and old can merge, and that there are places where small businesses are almost as common as chain businesses in the surrounding metropolis.

I don’t wish to be mayor of this town and don’t think I would win the race, either, as I would not be the candidate to say whatever just to get elected. Care for some tea? I am curious what the mayor of this town thinks about having three fried chicken chain stores within half a block of each other on a major street. I hope that he continues to build on the strengths of the town without conforming too much to the negative influences of overspending, over-regulating and the ongoing bending of the rights of American and legal citizens at all levels of government. South San Gabriel Blue Hole

All in all, I like my small Central Texas town, which is close to big city things but offers a quick commute, less congestion and beautiful scenery nearby.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell