TravelDiva's Texas Randoms

They are not joking when they say "We do it big in Texas". Everything from the highways, to cars, to malls - even hair. Lawd, I saw this girl whose weave was so big I was amazed at how strong her neck muscles had to be to hold all that dag on weave up. IT WAS HUGE.

I drove 5 hours in one direction and was still in Texas. Here on the Left Coast, I would have gone thru at least 4 states.

You could drive sunrise to sunset and still be in Texas.

My AT&T Navigator was the BUSINESS! Always took me right to the damn door and I drove all over the damn place.

My problem is I'm easily distracted. Driving along on this superhighway...la...dee...dah...OH! Shopping! Let me just cut across 4 lanes to make this exit so I can find some....

OHHHHH!!!! Sparkley!

These ranches in Texas make my little piece of paradise look like a postage stamp. Some looked like the size of of a small state. DAMN.

It rained so damn hard yesterday that I thought I just might have to use my rental car as an ark.

I passed the Houston Premium Outlet with this big azz St. John sign beaming at me. Sigh. Couldn't stop. Had to make moves the an appointment. Sad Face.

I would fit right in in Texas with my bedazzle kit.

Kickapoo Road? - Really?

The Houston Chapter of NSN KNOWS how to party. From the event I spoke at, to the brunch that ended up as an all day drinking, laughing, cutting up fest - *cue the music* - SIMPLY THE BEST! And the First Ladies of the Chapter - BETTER THAN ALL THE REST! I can't wait to see you all at conference. Get your Go Go Boots ready!
Really wanted to meet a Texas Ranger...like Walker...but alas. No dice.

What is with the MEGA CHURCHES! Saying they are big is an understatement.

Were those just random oil wells/pumps in someones back yard? Seriously.

I was doing like 80 MPH in a Chrysler 300 on a Texas Farm Road (Da Hell) and I got passed by a damn Hyundai - GTFOOH!

I want me a Texas sized gate with a "True Blessings Estate" Iron Arch for my driveway dammit.

I saw the moon hanging in the sky during one of my drives up I10 and couldn't help but think..."Houston, we have a problem."

I was able to hang out with some great people on this trip. I got to have dinner with my classmate Monica. It was so great to see her and have some real live girl talk. She prolly thinks I'm crazier than a bed bug...and it is true.

I got a change to meet one of my Twitter/FB/Blogger friends-The BlogGoddess Herself - @LadyWanderLust. She is just as witty, funny and real in person as she is on her blog & twitter. She was just my brand of humor & friendly banter. Beautiful eyes, a love for a good drink and getting her second wind on this journey of life. I'm mad that I didn't take a picture.

I then had dinner with @TiffanyNHouston and her fiance' M. A cute couple. Who knew she had a wonderful accent. I will read her tweets with a whole new perspective now that I've heard her in person. Just FUN!

I saw a rainbow on my way to San Antonio. It made me smile.

I had a wonderful time in Texas.


The Perfect Weekend Getaway

I believe I have found the perfect long weekend tropical getaway. BERMUDA. The FireMarshall and I have traveled a lot of places. Most of the time we have to factor in a day of travel on each end of the trip which suck big time if you don't have (or want to use) a bunch of vacation time to go to you piece of paradise.

From a good portion of East Coast cities, it is only 1 1/2 - 2 hour flight to Bermuda (non-stop). Take that early morning flight and you are in Bermuda for lunch and Rum Swizzles all around. I recently went to work a conference; however, we were done by noon each day and I was at the pool, on the beach or diving by 1pm. AWESOME!

The island is absolutely beautiful, the water is tuorquoise & warm (85 degrees when I was there), the people are very friendly, there are no loud and bothersome hawkers when you go into town (and it is a cruise ship stop-about 4 ships twice a week), and there is plenty to do...or not.

Now if you are looking for 5 star hotel accomodation at Hol.id.ay In.n prices...you need to stay home. It is not a cheap proposition for lodging (unless you get a package) but the food and drinks will get ya. I say again...food and drinks ain't cheap, but it sure was good - AND - they are VERY, VERY generous with their pours making that $15 Pina Coloda well worth it since you will not have to go back for another one. That Gosslings Black 150 proof Rum is of the debil...but OH SO GOOD!

P.S. As a side note on that Gosslings...I had my classmates, DarrenB & CharlieJ over the other night and we did a round of shots of the stuff. LAWD! All three of us were gasping - even Darren - who is my mentor when it comes to professional drinking. That man right there - a legend.

So, if you are on the East Coast (say NY to SC) and want a quick weekend tropical getaway...I highly recommend Bermuda as your destination. I think you will enjoy it as much as we did.


And The Crops Keep Coming

Princess Cara's Garden just keeps giving and giving. It also helps that we have had a lot of rain lately. I can't wait to harvest those watermelons. I definitely think I'm going bigger next year and building a (or a couple) of large box gardens.

I told you I wasn't tilling any ground. Any "Green Acres" project I undertake has to be Diva proof

How's your garden doing?


Call Me...The Closer

Just call me "The Closer". I work hard and I play even harder. I came to work a conference that happened to be in Bermuda. Yeah, that sucks but somebody had to do some business here. Next month, the conference will be po-dunk, USA and will really suck wind.

I unpacked and set up the entire booth-BY MYSELF. I worked every day of the conference (Thurs-Sun) during the expected exhibit times. Got one contract signed w/deposit, made 15 appointments and have 20 more follow-ups to conduct. During the 1/2 days of conference, I worked my azz off in stiletto heels and my face fixed to answer crazy questions w/a smile & professionalism.

When lunch rolled around, I rolled out to PLAY! And a good time was definitely had.

So, just to answer a few questions...
- Yes, I have a real job, and nobody will give a damn if I do or not when I'm in N Dakota in the winter...will they?

- No, I do not have too much time on my hands. I have the same amount as everybody else. I just squeeze the max out of what I have. I am The Closer - and get 'er done efficiently.

- Yes, it IS nice.


Work hard-Be Excellent at What You Do...AND then PLAY HARDER.

Life is too short to not have be great and have fun in the process.

See you on the beaches of the world.


Do You Want To Play

Princess Cara LOVES to play and she learns best through play. She is very good with her hands and is always building something out of anything she can get her hands on. When looking for toys for her to play with, I'm always looking for something that I know will peak her interest and KEEP her interested. If you recall, this past Christmas I received a $50 gift card to Ebeanstalk and decided to check it out and see what I could get with that for the Princess.

Let me tell you, I WAS IMPRESSED. I thought I was going to have to search through a long list, sort it by price, and then try and figure out if it was age appropriate ...blah...blah...blah...and I also thought I would only really be able to get one item because after you add tax & shipping I would have used up the entire gift card.

I was pleasently surprised.

There is a link to select toys by age and by gender. Once you select that, you get a page where you can narrow it down by category of toy (puzzle, construction, dolls & playhouses, outdoor play, science & more). I loved it. It was so easy and quick. Princess Cara helped me make the selections. We chose a tea set that we had to paint together (she still uses it to play "tea" with her dolls - even if all of her barbies are bald & nekkid), a airplane kit that Cara & The FireMarshall built together (she is a tad rough on her toys and after they put together & painted the planes - there was a aerial battle and the planes met a bad fate after about 5 flights - she still had a blast), and a chalk board set that she decorated herself and still uses when she play "classroom" with her stuffed animals. We also picked out a book and we are still reading it. I had to pay a little over to cover the shipping, but I maxed out the gift card and, as you can see from the photo above, Princess Cara was (and still is) a happy camper.

I love hearing her say "Mommie, let's play!"

Looking for great toys for your kids at any age can be overwhelming! Especially if you let your kids watch Nog.g.in or Car.t.oo.n Net.w.ork and they are bombarded with commercials for useless toys or video games. I truly believe you will find great toys at reasonable prices at Ebeanstalk. Even better are the online reviews of all the toys right there on the website. Good and bad. Honest feedback on everything. I found that feature very helpful too.

Head on over to their website and check it out for youself. Got a new baby? Find out which baby toys are the safest. I have a six year old, but you can check out toys for 1 year olds, toys for 2 year olds and so on. If you try one out, make sure you leave feedback. They take it very seriously.

Do you want to play?


The Difference is HUGE - BIG!

My orginial plan was to use The FireMarshall's all terrain bike with that whole shock absorber effect and ish for the triathlon, but when I really got to thinking about it and then tried to adjust his bike to me...it became readily apparent that since I was a entire foot shorter than him, that was just not going to work out.

All that smart talk about how I wasn't buying nuttin for this triathlon has been thown out the window.

Now I need a bike.

Well, I have been going to spin class and whatnot, but wanted to see how it felt on the road. I decided to take my mother's roadster out for a spin. I had more grand plans of riding from my house to the lake, round the lake and back. HUMPH. That plan was shot ALL TO DA HELL! Becca has always been hesitant to ride out my way cause she says we have nothing but hills. I was like what hills you talking bout? I got my face fixed like real quick.

I turned out of my driveway, got about 1/4mile and BAAAAAM! HILL!...followed by like 2 seconds of flat and then another HILL!...down the hill and BAM...up the hill. I had only gone a fuggin mile and was sweating like a Moses in the brick pit. I made a left towards the lake...BAM! HILL! then some flat, a little downhill and BLAM! MORE HILL! Jesus be 1st gear. I got 4 1/2 miles and said, OH HELL NO! Not today. I wasn't going to make it to the lake which was probably another 3 miles to the entrance - or it seemed like it was going to be that long of a streach.

I made a U-Turn and hauled it back towards the house, decided to stop at the Wal.gr.eens to get some travel stuff and headed home.

8.55 miles completed. Sweat pouring from every pore in my body - it looked like I had been in the pool. The Prince asked "Are you alright?". Actually, I felt great. However, let me tell you something - there is a HUGE - I mean BIG, GIGANTIC - difference between spin class and hauling your azz over the river and through the wood on a road bike. PERIOD.

I got work to do, but it feels good.

Next challenge - can I ride 9 miles and run 3. Stay tuned


1st Open Water Swim - Nationals Triathlon Prep

I completed my 1st Open Water Swim Clinic in preparation for The Nations Triathlon in September. 9 weeks to go. I completed 900 meters today in open water. My FIRST time in open water for a swim that wasn't about diving waves or "frolicking". I WAS SWIMMING. Fo sho.

I've never had any real fear about these new endeavors I undertake. And I wasn't nervous today either...except for a few seconds of anxiety I had when we all decided to swim out toward this buoy that seem like a mile away and back. I was like, ummm...yeah...give me a minute.

Once I got started, I was fine. After doing the first 400, I was okay with the whole open water thingy; however, I HAVE GOT TO WORK ON MY ENDURANCE. I can't let things like my stroke getting off, swallowing a little water, getting kicked in the head and whatnot frazzle me that it makes me freak just a little...but makes it so I have to change from freestyle to backstroke or side stroke. It just seems so damn hard to get back to freestyle after you flip over. I don't want to have to flip over except in a dire situation.

I was SOOOO glad that Becca was there. It made meeting people so much easier and I was instantly comfortable in my surroundings. It was just so funny that Becca was checking on me and making sure I was okay; helping me with tips & stuff...when just a few months ago I was in the pool with her encouraging her that she COULD learn to swim. I sucked up every piece of knowledge that she imparted cause - she may be a beginner swimmer - but she can sure out swim me on this damn tri business like a mug. Every time a negative word came out my mouth..."IF I ever get this....I can't...I'm tired..." Becca was right there with a "When you get this...you CAN...let's just do one more lap."

Always right on time.

I've done a lot of fantastic, interesting and awesome stuff in my lifetime...and in 9 weeks...I'm gonna be able to say, I AM A TRIATHLETE!!!!


True Blessing Estates = Green Acres

We had Sissy over last Monday and The FireMarshall and I were regalling her with our weekend stories of the FireMarshall family reunion shennanigans. It has been said that I "don't speak country", that I'm "bougie" and whatnot. I refused to put on the bumble bee yellow & black tee shirt and hat over my loverly linen dress and sparkly jewels and I cringed at The FireMarshall's sisters reference to the legality of marrying cousins in the state of VA.

In between laughing her azz off, Sissy said "Y'all are friggin Green Acres up in here!" I hollered. I hadn't thought of that show in years.

After watching the clip above...she is so right. That is us - EXACTLY!


Today's Harvest

Well, it is still coming. I think I'll toss this into a salad tomorrow...right after The Prince, The Queen Mum and I get back from the Gun Show. (Go ahead, be afraid)

Only question I have now is how do I know when the watermelon is as big as it's gonna get. The FireMarshall has already been eyeing one as his own Personal "Pan" Watermelon.


Happy Independence Day!

I wishing all my friends and family a wonderful 4th of July -
Happy Independence Day.


Extra Strength Can of Whoop Ass

We had to have a full Tribal Council at True Blessings Estate yesterday. The "incident" was SOOOO heinous that we called in close friends and even went so far as to include the bio-parents. The torches were lit, the meeting held, options weighed and that ungrateful, disrespectful, disobedient, bumpin' unglies all up in MY DAMN HOUSE like Diamonique after a night on the pole, smart mouth, talking back & got jokes little heffa got VOTED OFF THE ISLAND!

Yep, you heard me. We sent one of our Princesses right back to her DADDY. Right back to the house she asked us to "rescue" her from. Right back to having to take the bus or walking to work, to having to get her own damn groceries, to not having wireless Internet or her own TV. BOO FUGGIN HOO!

The fall of a Princess started a few months back when we started smelling ourselves cause we turned 18 and were graduating from HS. You thought you smelt GAW and forgot that the FM and the TravelDiva don't play. NOT ONE BIT. You KNEW, you heard numerous conversations about how we felt about tats & piercings. Wasn't nothing we could really do about the tattoo you came to us with. Fine. I made the gas face but let it slide when you got the belly button pierced, but told you that if I see anything stuck in her lip, tongue, eyelid - matter of fact - anywhere on that face, that I beat dat azz.

HUMPH. Didn't hear none of those conversations, huh? You went and got your tongue pierced and then had the AUDACITY to cop an attitude when I told you to take it out or after I snatched it out your mouth, I would be cancelling the graduation festivities as I rinsed the blood off my hand.

"But the hole will close!" Did you speak to me!? Did you utter an irrelevant question at me!? I didn't give a rats patootie if her tongue rotted out of her head. Not my problem. Get it out or get dead.

A few weeks later, the FM went into her room (shyt, our room - I own everything up in the MF'er - and NO we don't believe kids have a right to privacy. You want privacy, pay for your own damn house!) looking for some gum she had that he liked a lot. Instead of finding gum, he found a used raincoat on the night stand.


Family tribal council was called. The young dumb azz was called into the FireMarshalls torture chamber office. There was begging for forgiveness. There was tears. Apologies all around. Lectures given. More like a pass in my book, but the FM wanted to handle it. FINE.

Then yesterday the FireMarshall went out to the Naval Academy to help the midshipman we sponsor move back in for summer training. He comes home and goes into his office. He doesn't think anything of the the Prince and middle Princess being home in their rooms. So, he's working in his office and he starts to hear a thumping above his head. At first, he thinks it is our new kitten that is jumping around, but it continues and is rhythmic. He goes upstairs and tries to open the Princesses door. Locked. Hmmmm....and then it gets interesting. The FireMarshall says what he started hearing made him think he was listening to a Ex-rated chex movie.

You read right. The little darling was droppin it like its hot with all the associated sounds and verbiage of a professional. Now, the FM handled it with a calm that was unparalleled. Them two were damn lucky that I wasn't home. You know the nice lady gloves would have come off, I would have reached back to my kickboxing days and did a front kick to that door, kicking it in and commenced to beating the life out of those two heathens.


I would have sent the two of those "I so fuggin grown" kids to hell the same way they go here - NEKKID. BLOODY. SCREAMING!!!

The FireMarshall threw the little baztard out of our house. After a tongue thrashing, the not so humbled Jezebel went to work. There was no blood - WHY - cause I wasn't there. The FM proceeds to tell her that the little wanker is banned from our house, cars & property. We will have another tribal council when TravelDiva got home. Mkay. This crackhead gonna pop back off at the mouth that we can't keep her from seeing her boyfriend - "That's just crazy and unrealistic." and that she was going back to work and would talk to us when she got home. This heffa then when and put on Twitter that she was thinking about not going home cause she didn't want to deal with the drama.


Some CHILDREN play too much. The FireMarshall got a piece of luggage (I told him a green trash bag would work), called that child's father to figure out where she was going, because she was not staying here - in the MF'ing LAP OF LUXURY - talking like she grown and paying bills up in this fugger.


...and then we gonna cop more 'tude cause we put your azz on the Scared Straight Program.

Uh Huh. Not 3 hours after she was back with her fathers people did she post on Twitter how fugged her life was because now she was right back where she started from.

Marinate in that for the weekend little miss hotness.

I got a call from Princess Erin today with the report that the fallen is boohooing and wanting to come back "home". She "hates it there, it just awful".

Marinate in that. Think on it for the weekend.

...and then on Monday, perhaps the prodigal daughter can come "home" having thought about her life, about respect and discipline, about how to guard her words and actions, about shame. Perhaps she can formulate an apology and plan of action that has some contrition & remorse in it...a response that is bereft of excuses and smart azz responses.

We will see.

Have you ever had one of your children get all buck wild, challenge you and forget themselves? Did you pull a Scared Straight? What did you do? How did it all turn out?