Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Texas Chute Out

{Photo taken Summer 2012}

Today marks the end of an era.  The Texas Chute Out parachute ride at Six Flags Over Texas is going to be imploded to make way for a bigger, better sky swing ride.   According to the news reports this morning it's not really being imploded.  It's just being taken down like a tree.  It's just going to fall over. 
The Texas Chute Out has loomed over the horizon of Six Flags since 1976.   That was about the time that Six Flags became my summer hangout. 
After my mother died in 1975 my dad would load up my sister and I and bring us from our home in Tennessee to visit all of his family here in Arlington.  After the shock of losing our mother so quickly to cancer our world was reeling.  Coming to Texas where we had a large family of cousins, aunt and uncle and grandmother was wonderful.   And back then Texas was exotic to us TN girls.  Taco Bell, Braums ice cream, snow cone stands!  So many things we didn't have at home.  And since I was almost as tall as my aunt, I got to shop from her closets before going back home every year. 
When I was about 12 or 13 my dad started leaving us here when his one week's vacation was over and we would spend the rest of the summer and fly home just before school started. 
My cousin Maryann was situated in age exactly between my sister and I who were 6 years apart.  Long before anyone thought of abductions, assaults or encountering any wrongdoing at a theme park, the three of us were let loose at Six Flags armed with a few dollars and hours to ride to our hearts content.  We would be dropped off in the morning when the park opened and usually get picked up right after lunch for a quick run home for sandwiches, cleaner non-sweaty clothes and then back to the park to stay until dark.  
Our days were one continuous loop of rides, Pink Thing ice creams, rides.  When it was finally dark we would make our way out of the park exhausted.  Right outside the park gates there was always a little Baird's Bakery stand handing out hot mini loaves of bread to those leaving the park.  Such a random thing to be handing out.   And either my uncle or my dad, or both, would be sitting in the car waiting for us listening to the Texas Rangers baseball game which was being played right down the street. 
In the summer of 1981 when I was in high school and one of the last summers I spent in Texas there was a terrible heat wave.  Daily temperatures of well over 100 degrees didn't stop the three of us from going to the park.  I remember that was the first time to see water stations throughout the park handing out water to keep people hydrated.   But we were young and invincible and didn't need water.  We just ran like always.  I remember standing in line for the Shock Wave, the largest roller coaster in the park at that time.  It was still new and always had a long, long line.  (Today it's outdated and you can walk right on.)   It was 115 degrees that day.  Maryann, who was thin as a rail and never ate, keeled over right there in line.  Passed out from the heat.  So that was the day we got to see the first aid area of Six Flags. 
The Texas Chute Out was always a big draw too.  Getting strapped in to what seemed a flimsy little 2 seat basket and then whooshed up to the top before free falling back down.  Just enough excitement without the fear of the bigger rides. 
Those were such great times!  Not a care in the world.  Three little girls running free with no worries about anyone bothering them.   
This year was the first year we have felt safe letting  Madison go to Six Flags all day with only her friends.   Times change.   This was also the first year that we have gotten season passes to Six Flags for our family.  Since moving here in 2007 we've been going regularly but this year we got there much more than ever.  And I always relive some of those memories every trip we take to the park.    Cullen and I have a running joke every time we are walking in through the same familiar arched entrance.  I'll lean down to him and point to the sidewalk and say, "did you know that when I was a kid they gave away FREE BREAD right over there?"  He just laughs and says, "YES!  You've told me a thousand times!" 
Last year they replaced the famous cherry Pink Thing ice cream on a stick with a generic cotton candy push up.  That was sad.  But I see there's a Facebook page dedicated to getting the original brought back.   
Six Flags is such an important part of my childhood and I'm glad that we live here now and in a small way it's becoming a part of my kids childhood as well. 
Those summers feel like a very long time ago.  Maryann was killed in a traffic accident 16 years ago and I don't really have a relationship with my sister any more.  So the threesome is gone.  But oh, such great memories that I have been reliving every time I go to Six Flags with my kids.


Here's the video from today's implosion/fall.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Giant Granny Square Blanket - Finished!

I started this Giant Granny on the night of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and worked on it all through the Olympics then when they were over, it went into hibernation for about a month.   

I got it back out a couple of weeks ago and added a few more rows.  It is telling me it's done.  So, being the good listener that I am, I am calling it finished.  I haven't added any kind of border.   Just stopped after the gray round.  So, if it proves to need more umphh to it, I can just pick up and add some rounds. 

Coming in at about 50" square it's not a whopper or anything.  Just right for laying across the back of the couch waiting for some cold feet to come along.  This morming we woke up to near freezing temps here in TX (yay!) so I grabbed it to cuddle with my coffee until I was ready to face the day.  It's perfect for C. since his legs aren't so long. 

I used quite a few of my odd balls of worsted weight yarn.  Did not buy anything new.   I had absoluetely no plan for how the color order would go.  Just grabbed the next ball at the top of the pile after I finished a round.  But I love how it came together.  The colors riot but work together at the same time. 

I have already cast on for a knitted blanket for our home.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Another beautiful weekend in Texas. We are busy with baseball, shopping for cooler weather clothes and watching MLB playoffs on TV.  Our TX Rangers are out of the playoffs after a terrible loss on Friday.  So no 3rd straight trip to the World Series.  My boys are thinking about planning a trip to Surprise, AZ over spring break to see the Rangers at Spring Training. 

This is about the only time of year that I miss my home state of TN.  The intense change in colors of the leaves is so beautiful.  We just don't have that here in TX.  When I was a kid we almost always made a Fall trip up to the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg.  Oh I miss Gatlinburg in the Fall so much!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Here are just a few photos from the weekend.

Yay for temps in the 50's today. 

I love my new tea cup.

Lunch at Dairy Queen with my boys.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Won Ton Soup

~ This is a recipe I posted a long time ago on my old blog and I thought it was time to bring it back out since I still use it frequently ~

Green Tea Garden Gourmet WonTon Soup

(my version of a wonderful wonton soup we used to enjoy at the local chinese restaurant when we lived in California)

2 large boxes chicken broth or broth from cooking your chicken
4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch bok choy, chopped
1 small carrot, slivered
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small bag cooked shrimp
ground ginger and chinese five spice powder to taste
ground pepper to taste
1 package won ton wrappers

Put chicken broth in large stewpot (Use the boxed chicken broth or the broth from cooking your chicken).  Add remaining ingredients except won ton wrappers. Let simmer 20 minutes. Cut wonton wrappers into strips. Drop into simmering soup and serve.
Sometimes if time permits I chop another package of won ton wrappers into strips and quickly fry for crispy noodles to add to soup when eaten.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday

{Pine Lake, TN  2010}

Happy Thursday!  Or as we like to say ... you can see Friday from here.  Here are a few things I am especially thankful for on this beautiful fall Thursday.

*Beautiful weather -- today started out in the low 60's and is going to end up in the high 80's.  The thought of these type of days coming along are what keep us going all through the scorching hot Texas summers.

*Milestones - A teenager who got her first job yesterday!  Madison took the inititive and went into the new BBQ restaurant opening here in our town to get a job application.  The manager interviewed her and hired her on the spot.  She is over the moon excited. 

*A great job - I love my new job I started this past summer.  I have always gone back and forth about working and staying home.  I'm so "the grass is always greener" about it.  When I'm working I want to be at home and when I am at home I am bored and want to be working.  And I'm all or nothing.  I tried part time and it wasn't any better for me.  So I am back to working full time and I love it!  I think it's a mixture of kids being older, fantastic company I am working for and my own attitude.

*My health - Sometimes I feel like my body is older than my age.  Several factors have made for a stressful year healthwise for me.  I am learning to stop and take care of myself better.  I can't keel over just yet.

*New knitting group - I have known for a long time about this group that meets at the local coffee shop.  I've even joined their Ravelry group.  But until this summer I had never attended one of the Monday night knitting meetings.  I finally just showed up one night and they were so welcoming.  I still don't get there every week but try to steel away for a few hours of knitting, conversation and good coffee a couple of Monday's a month.  There are alot of spinners and dyers there so someone always has some new fiber freshly spun or dyed  for sale that somehow finds its way into my knitting bag.  Seriously, I think I've spent money on yarn every week I've gone!

So, what are you thankful for lately?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Game Ball

Cullen moved up from coach pitch to kid pitch in Little League baseball this fall season.  He loves it!  He is excelling at his position as catcher.   Last night he hit his first triple and got the game ball!
Playing baseball gives him so much self confidence he needs these days.  He has tried several sports the last few years including a couple of seasons here and there of Tball/baseball, hockey and soccer.  But I think he has found his niche with baseball. 
The games are hilarious to watch sometimes.  These are all kids who have never played kid pitch before.  So it's all walks and stolen bases.  There is a 5 run per inning limit.  This league is known for being very competitive, but we haven't had any negative experiences yet.  Our Rangers team is at the top of the standings in the 9 year old division. 
We are pretty proud of him for working hard on his skills and finding something he enjoys so much. 
Go Rangers!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Poppy's Chili

I could go on and on about my dad.  One day I will tell you all about him.  I'm not sure why I never called him dad or daddy, he's just always been Poppy.   My dad is a tried and true good old Texas cowboy.  And like every born and bred Texan, he has his own chili recipe.  This is simple but oh so good.   And please, if you decide to add beans, don't tell my dad.  Beans just don't belong in real Texas chili.


1 lb. lean hamburger meat
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 teas. red pepper, or to taste
2 teas. paprika
1 teas. oregano
3 teas. cumin
1/3 cup chili powder
1/2 teas. garlic salt
3 Tbsp. mesa flour

Brown meat with onion and pepper in large dutch oven.  When done, drain and return to dutch oven.  Add remaining ingredients except mesa flour.  Simmer on very low heat for a couple of hours.  Remove 1 cup of liquid into bowl.  Add mesa flour to liquid to make paste.  Return paste to chili and stir until dissolved and mixed into chili.
Serve with crackers and shredded cheese. 
*This chili is about twice as good on the second day.  I always make my chili one day and put it up and eat it the next day.