Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Kitten, The Snake Bite and the Outlaw Dinner

What a weekend!  It's good to be back home but it was difficult to leave camping behind.  We haven't been since early spring.  Waaaayyyy too long between trips.  I forgot how much I love camping with the family.

Thursday Chuck and I went to storage to get the travel trailer.  As soon as I hopped out of the truck I could hear a kitten mewing its heart out.  It was in the mid-90s that day and this storage is in the middle of nowhere.  I located the kitten.  Poor guy was wedged up inside the undercarriage of a van.  I got the little kitten out after a few scratches to the arm.  Poor baby was scared and skinny.

I'm not a cat person.  I'm more of a bird and reptile lady.  But I couldn't just leave it there to die.  So Chuck and I took the calico home with us.  My in-laws graciously agreed to watch it while we were gone on our trip.  I was hoping they would decide to keep it but no such luck.  In the meantime I have kids begging me the whole trip to keep this kitten.  Do you know anyone who wants a sweet, calico kitten?

It really is cute.  I'm worried about it clawing up the furniture.  It already knows how to use the litter box and follows the kids around everywhere. 
Just one more claw mark on my leather sofa and it's outta here.  But for now it has a place to stay.

We were finally on our way to Stephen F. Austin State Park.  Of course, it started to pour rain while we were setting up but you won't see Chuck nor I complaining when it comes to camping. We got everything set up and relaxed inside the trailer as the storm continued outside.  I made hot dogs in a skillet inside and every one was happy.

Every day we hiked between 2 and 2.5 miles.  And almost every day we had a good, strong thunderstorm blow in that kept the temperatures down.  It was a perfect trip.

Our campsite had plenty of shade and several types of birds that visited daily.
The trails were pretty and shaded.

Charlie discovered a cottonmouth along one trail.  Fortunately, these snakes are not very aggressive though they are venomous.
We also discovered a skink that had a tick on it.  Poor guy wasn't feeling well so we caught him and removed his tick.
Deer were everywhere!

On one hike, Rachel and I were ahead and came to a bridge.  I saw a ribbon snake and caught it.  The thing bit me!  I screamed a little and went after it again when I realized that the bite was absolutely painless.  When I caught it it bit me again.  This time its teeth got stuck on my thumb but it never hurt because the teeth are so tiny.  Here's a picture of Charlie holding the subdued serpent.
It was such a relaxing trip.  Even Spike, our bearded dragon, got in on some R&R on the hammock with Rachel.
Friday night Rachel and I were the camp cooks chefs.  I got the grill going without any problem using a chimney charcoal starter.  We made some fantastic Barbecued Dry-Rubbed Chicken and Grilled Corn with Spicy Chili Butter.  I can't wait to make them again.  The recipe for the chicken called for bone-in, skin-on chicken but all I had were boneless skinless and it still turned out terrific. The dry rub turns into a glaze that bastes the chicken. It really is good.
And the grilled corn was so great I could have made a meal just off of it.  This is one of those "must try" recipes.  It's fast and easy too.
Printer ready recipe of Barbecued Dry-Rub Chicken.

Printer ready recipe for Grilled Corn with Spicy Chili Butter.

Saturday night was Chuck's turn to cook.  We noticed when we checked in to the park that there is a burn ban.  We saw a sign that said no hardwood fires. "Great," we thought. "We're going to use charcoal so we won't need a hardwood fire."  The kids were disappointed because we love sitting around the campfire but they soon got over it.

Saturday Chuck had just poured the hot coals into our grill when a park ranger stopped by to tell us to put out our fire because of the burn ban.  Chuck says, "What am I supposed to do?  I have 4 steaks inside that I need to cook."  The guy has the nerve to tell Chuck to go to Wal Mart and buy a propane grill.  Um, no thanks.

It turns out that the judge set the burn ban on Wednesday before they got three days of rain.  The judge was off for the holiday so the decision could not be reversed.  Plus, they only meet once a week to make life or death decisions.

The ranger tells Chuck to put out the fire and leaves.  In the meantime, I rush inside and grab the steaks to throw on the grill.  Chuck and I grill the steaks and the potato packs I had prepared.  Chuck turns the steaks and I keep a watch for the park ranger.  It felt so bad and yet exhilarating to be breaking the law.  A stupid law!  It had just poured on us a couple of hours earlier!

We cooked our Outlaw Dinner giggling and complaining about the injustice done to us ("This is Texas, for crying out loud!  You're going to tell me we can't grill on Labor Day weekend?! Hogwash!").  I don't know if it was the thrill or just a darn good recipe but I can't remember ever having a steak dinner that was as good as that one.  Our nerves were so worked up that I forgot to take a picture but the memory of that dinner lives on.  We have now named our little steak and hobo potato pack dinner the Outlaw Dinner.  I think it will become a staple on our camping menu.

Part of the relaxation of camping is getting to read in a stress free environment.  I started reading John Bingham's Running for Mortals. John Bingham is known as "The Penguin."  He's in no hurry.  Just enjoying the run.  I'm starting out slow again because I'm scared to death of injuring myself.  My hips have been given me all kinds of hell when it comes to running.  I'm going to follow the weight loss schedule phase I in the back of the book.  There's a very good chance I won't be ready in time of the Galveston Seawall Half Marathon but at least I'll be working my way back to running.  It's just not worth it if I'm in pain.

I was able to get a good start on the routine over the weekend while camping.  I walked a lot and enjoyed every bit of it.  Friday my hips were bothering me but I'm not sure if it was because of bike riding, walking or the weather changes.  And today it's raining like crazy here (complete with tornado warnings and flash floods) so I might just bring the exercise indoors.  With the fall weather coming, it won't fee like torture to hit the streets again.

And last, but not least, Kristen at Kreating Kristen asked me and a few other bloggers some questions.  I'm supposed to answer them then create my own questions to ask a few of you guys.  I love these things.  I can be nosy and get away with it. :)  So here it goes:

1. Health issues aside, what is your biggest motivation to lose weight?
Clothes, my husband, and the desire to do fun things.  I want to wear cute clothes without being self conscious.  I want to live the longest life possible with Chuck.  I also want to live this life to the fullest.  No limitations.  I want to be able to hike long distances, carry heavy backpacks, paddle, etc.  I don't want to have to say, "Gosh, I'd love to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim but I'm just not in shape enough to do it." I don't want to be dependant on pills as I get older.

2. Does you family/spouse fully support your weight loss efforts or do-es s/he-they unknowingly (or even knowingly) sabotage you?
My family supports everything I do. Chuck hates to see me tired in the evenings so sometimes he suggests going out to eat but it's never an effort to sabotage me.  Besides, no food is off limits to me.  I just try to eat moderately.  Ok, maybe it wouldn't be a good idea for me to belly up to a tub of Crisco but other foods are ok.

3. What is one thing in life (people and things like air, water and food excluded) that you could not live without?
My family.  I really am not sure that I could live without my husband. 
I also need camping trips.  They are my way of escaping from all of the pressures of life.  When I camp, I am totally unplugged from everything and can just relax.  It's wonderful.
Oh, and brownies.  I don't want to live without brownies. :)

4. If you HAD to choose (not could choose- but HAD to) to be someone famous, who would you choose?
Oh gee.  That's a tough one because I do not want to be famous and I like being me.  But if I have to choose I guess I'd say Scarlett Johansson.  I'd have a kick ass body and be rich.  I'd quit working, invest my money, and have fun travelling with my family.

5. What (from the collar bones down) is your favorite part of your current body (wherever you may be in your weight loss journey)? Another tough question.  OK, I guess my legs.  They're not perfect but I like them.  They get me around.

6. What is a dirty little habit/secret that you have? (besides eating...)  How dirty?  My shower really needs to be cleaned.  That's pretty dirty.  I guess that's not what the question is asking.  I also enjoy squirt cheese (you know...the stuff in the can) on a Ritz cracker from time to time. 
Chuck and I take vodka shots in the evening to toast a particularly good weekend or day.

Now I have to make up some questions and get your answers.  I'm so terrible at this but here it goes.

1.  What was the catalyst that made you decide to lose weight/get in shape?

2.  What do you like best about yourself? (could be a physical trait or a character quality)

3.  What is your main goal with weight loss/getting in shape?

4.  What rejuvenates you?  In other words, what do you do to recharge your batteries? Relax?

5.  What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your life?

6.  For fun, what is your favorite food?

TAG, you're it. :)

1. Shelley at My Journey to Fit
2. Marisa at Loser for Life
3. Darcy at My Road to Weight Loss
4. Anne at Carb Tripper
5.  Biggest Diabetic Loser
6. Amanda at Get to Goal
7. Mae Flowers at A Journey to Thin


  1. I am so not a camper/nature person so that trip looks about as far from relaxing as the tropical storm we were in over the weekend. But you make it SOUND like it was good. Even with the stress of the Outlaw Dinner.

  2. OMG what an adorable kitty cat! I am totally a cat person and one of the first things I did when I moved to the city was adopt 1 from a shelter! I am lucky he is very well behaved and doesn't use my furniture as a scratching pad. It probably helps that I got him his own scratching post and he uses that whenever the need to scratch comes over him, so you may want to invest in one of those (nothing fancy, they make disposable ones with catnip for like $5-10).

    Good luck!

  3. I want to go camping with ya'll.
    Too cool.
    And thanks for the award!
    You r-o-c-k rock!

  4. You just had a dream weekend - love being outside! Ha, gotta love that you had an outlaw dinner - you guys are such bad asses!

    Thanks for the shout out!

  5. Girl, you are crazy...the snake BITES you and you pick it up AGAIN?!? I would have been halfway up a tree trying to get away from it! Love the outlaw dinner - too funny! And yes, the burn bans can be a bit silly when it's been raining. Gee, do you think they've lifted it after today's rain?

    OK, that kitten - what a doll! Really, she is gorgeous. You have to keep her! whispers: you can get them declawed and save your furniture...

    Thanks for tagging me for the questions, I think - LOL. Now I have to ponder!

    Glad you are running again - on your terms. I know you love the feeling of accomplishment with it so hopefully your hips will cooperate and let you do this! :)

  6. Wow- you live life on the edge! :) You have the most exotic pictures on your blog! I loved the Outlaw story! :) I'll be sure to answer the questions!

  7. Yeah, we'd have cooked our dinner on the banned fire. What are not supposed to feed your kids?!

    Y'all saw lots of great critters on your trip.


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