Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back in Session

I did not intentionally plan it to coincide with the New Year or any resolutions, but within the past few weeks I have signed up for two classes to take which both begin in January.

Just sharpening the old noggin.

Please ignore me.

My personal training sessions run through January (which has been a great experience- lost a few pounds, got a lot stronger, got back in the gym period) but since I plan to take my physical fitness into my own hands after that, I need other interests to pursue.

The first class I signed up for is a series on The Bible: A-Z (that's what I keep calling it, it's really Genesis to Revelation I think), which will be taught at my church in Dallas and covers the story of the Bible. My Community Group and I will be taking this class together as a way to start 2010 together, learning about the Lord and continuing with purpose that which we started in 2008.

Purely for my own amusement, I have also signed up to take a continuing education course to learn calligraphy at Southern Methodist University (or SMU) here in Dallas. I like my handwriting- I'm a swirly cursive kind of girl, but I would like to learn different styles, adding a certain panache to my thank-you notes and invitations. I think it's such an interesting talent.

I like that I will be learning alongside people who want to be in the classes. I graduated college two and a half years ago, so learning is no longer obligatory but elective. I get to sit among people who desire more, beyond what they know.

I turn 25 next year (and by next year, I mean two weeks from now). One of my friends said she was ready to "wreak havoc" on 25, and I'm on board with the idea.

There is no time like the present to pursue things, people and places that interest or intrigue you. And while you're at it, buy some sparkly nail polish for New Year's Eve. I know I did!

Why the heck not?

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
Albert Einstein

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry {Day After} Christmas

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders...

In the Christian story God descends to reascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders. Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too.
{C.S. Lewis- Miracles}

...And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
{Isaiah 9:6}

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

They Know Me Too Well

Last Friday night KS, MG and I celebrated roommate Christmas together. We had on Christmas music, we sat by the tree in our front room (complete with the PB couch, which arrived) and opened each other's gifts.

It was cute.

Anyway, sometimes I falsely assume that I notice things about other people, but they don't notice things about me. Like I have some personality shield that makes me impervious to observation. This is wrong, as evidenced by the gifts I received from both of them.

Apparently they've been watching me.

KS gave me a 2010 Kate Spade planner as well as some accessories from Anthropologie. I love both of those places and could outfit my entire life from either one, if possible. KS has a good read on style, both mine and her own, and her gift was a combination of both. Her gifts bring out my more girly side. Both of my sides are actually girly but KS appeals to the ruffles-and-bows- and-headbands-oh-my side. She also gave MG and I cute luggage tags with our first initials on them and Kiehl's hand cream. Every product KS uses smells good, feels good and makes you look good, so her beauty recommendations are heeded.

MG gave me a booklet of sticky notes for the kitchen and cookbooks, which combines so many things I love about cooking and note-making. Since adhering to the instructions and ingredients of any one recipe is apparently against my moral judgement, I will use them often. She also gave me a blue Martha Stewart ribbon box. Who could give a gift like that save for someone who knows how much you love the Martha Stewart aisle at Michael's, would recognize the fact that it is the perfect shade of robin's egg blue for your room and would have knowledge of the seemingly ridiculous quantity of ribbon you keep around?

It's been a great seven months with these two. They're the kind to which you can say "hm hm hmm hm-hm-hm" with a toothbrush in your mouth, and they'll respond back to you "yeah, let's do brunch tomorrow at 10" like it's totally normal.

Because it is.

Sweet hymns of joy in
Grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us
Praise His holy name!
-O Holy Night, words by Placide Cappeau

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And To All a Good Night

Remember how it was just Thanksgiving?

Yeah, me too.

I recall many years spent in eager expectation of Christmas, thinking about this time that it would never get here, whereas now I wonder how on earth it is December 20th today.

There was one year (emphasis on ONE) that my brother, cousins and I (pictured) and our cousin BG, our ring-leader (not pictured) were all under the same roof for Christmas Eve. We were all in the same room, actually, which was mistake numero uno. There was a lot of giggling, shushing and no sleeping whatsoever. We all received assignments like Flashlight Holder from BG and even after strict instructions from our parents, we still snuck downstairs at some ridiculous hour to see our presents in the living room.

This year BG is about to be a dad (in January!), my brother and I will roll downstairs at the leisurely hour of half-past whenever we wake up, but my cousins KH and BH maintain their principles of waking up in the early morning to open gifts. They are now 22 and 24-years-old, respectively. I don't know why exactly they do this, but I do recall them being beside-themselves one year when their parents sneakily turned off their alarms, causing them to sleep in heavenly peace for hours past their usual wake-up call. My poor aunt and uncle found out that spite is a beast that will unfailingly wake you up at 6am on Christmas morning.

And yes, my cousin IS wearing flip-flops in that November photo, in case anyone needed confirmation.

Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.
Charlie Brown: What is it you want?
Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.
-A Charlie Brown Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moths & Cashmere

I don't have any sisters, so sharing clothes was never something I did growing up. I didn't really have to share anything because as soon as I was old enough to establish dominance with the bathroom counter-space for all of my pre-teen accessories and hair products, my brother moved into the third upstairs bedroom. We would steal t-shirts from one another during college, when he took hostage my Aunt Carrie's shirt for a few years (it's from a restaurant in Rhode Island, it's soft, t-shirty perfection) but I won the war on that one.

A few months ago I wore a cardigan that belongs to KS a few times and then took it to the dry-cleaner. I don't take things to the cleaner's very often and it's always a massive heap when I do, so when I started examining everything as I was paying, I saw the condition of the sweater and thought it was ruined. I panicked, thinking that the sweater must be the most important and pivotal piece of her wardrobe, and I would need to take her to J.Crew and pick out something she would love, just not as much as the yellow cardigan I had destroyed. Upon further examination, it looked like they had washed it and had knotted it and let it dry and it was just terribly wrinkled.

I don't know how everyone else's dry-cleaner operates, but wrinkled is not typically the look I'm going for. Glad we are on the same page.

Ultimately they fixed the sweater (after three attempts) and ironed it to within an inch of its' life so as to get out the wrinkles and I was able to return it to KS with profuse apologies of tardiness and she was nice as could be. That's just how she is.

Fast-forward a few months to yesterday as I returned home from work and found a cardigan of mine that KS had borrowed was hanging in the laundry room. KS and MG had been cooking for MG's family who were coming over, and KS said "I have something to tell you about your sweater..."

I saw the look of fear and worry in her eyes, the very look I had when I thought I had ruined her sweater. Before she could continue, I said "The little holes in the sleeve? I did that while moving a mirror." She looked confused and said that she thought they happened when she had been holding her dog Sadie, how she had been wriggling and thought that she snagged the two little holes and how she had fretted over telling me for months. I told her for first thing that the sweater had been gone for a while and obviously I was okay without it, secondly that it was not her fault in the first place and thirdly that it would have been okay had that happened anyway.

I realized it was completely true- it would be one thing if things just disappeared all the time but were never returned, but that doesn't happen at our house. It makes life so easy. In both cardigan situations, we both spent a good deal of time worrying about something that would have been okay either way. I have become more of an advocate of borrowing from each other out of convenience and in that it is non-budget-threatening way to wear something new. We have nice things and take care of them, but accidents happen.

Moths also happen, apparently.

Evidently a moth found my favorite blue cashmere wrap in my closet recently and decided to have a snack, leaving two finger-poke sized holes behind. I will not be so forgiving, should I find him fluttering around my closet again.

The culprit is still at-large.

I've got to get home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there...
-Baby It's Cold Outside, lyrics by Frank Loesser

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wallflower Tendencies

On the precipice of a busy weekend filled with parties and holiday cheer, I find myself preparing to face an inevitable evil:

Talking to people I don't know.

Oh, the horror!

I dread small talk. Or rather, I'm not good at it.

It's not as though I dislike people on the basis of not knowing them- I just get stressed and clammed up when a meeting occurs. When it comes to small talk I am an epic fail. If I don't know someone, beyond a few intro questions I run out of things to say. For someone who had a lot of random blind dates for date parties in college, you think I would have made some improvement in this area, but you would be wrong. First impressions are rarely smooth-sailing for me; they are more like a perfect storm of uncomfortableness and forced questions.

There are things I consider myself good at, such as cooking, choosing outfits, holding my own in a sports-related conversation or giving unqualified relationship advice, and then there are things I am less-inclined to, like pop-culture references, making music recommendations and talking to strangers. Those do not come naturally for me.

I am thankful that I live with MG because my social anxiety, as I have found out, is not weird. Or maybe we are just weird together, which I can also live with because MG is very funny and likes to talk about novels and eat chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. I can appreciate all of those qualities. We have been, among other things, known to avoid random acquaintances at church, disappearing with the stealth of undercover spies until the coast is clear while one of our friends like CC, for example, hugs and greets every familiar face she sees. It's torture.

It's a deceiving sort of anxiety that we have because because we function normally in society. We both willingly joined a sorority and were actively involved in other activities in college. We have many close friends and both have jobs that involve talking to people for many hours of the day. When we are home with KS, we are rarely in our rooms because we are hanging out together. KS is good influence because she is nice to everyone, could talk to a wall if you asked her too and she's a master at flirting. Flirting is advanced on the socializing ladder, in case you were wondering.

An added issue is that most everyone by their mid-20s seems to develop the habit of saying: nice to see you. It is a practiced response and many people seem to say it without much consideration to whether they have met you or not. I like believing that politeness should be genuine, not generic. It is perfectly normal for two people to have run in similar circles and never met each other before- stranger things have happened, I assure you. My social anomalies give me a heightened sense of awareness around strangers, so I usually know if I have met you before. People who actually take the time to remember make themselves memorable to those who pay attention.

There are two things I have found that make meeting people easier: first would be that they are already a friend of a friend and you are meeting them in the context of people you already know. This makes any situation more automatically more relaxed because you are with people who put you at ease.

And the second? The second would be having a few drinks and hoping for the best.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
-Robert Frost

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stockings Hung By the Sony With Care

I feel like I have been a bit detached from the blog world the past few weeks. I don't find myself at a loss for words, it's just that not every stream on consciousness forms itself into a blog post.

My friends and acquaintances have outdone themselves with the Christmas parties this year- so much so that KS, MG and I elected to wave the white flag this December and let everyone else entertain us instead. We'll have a party when people least expect it. You just wait. Our house does have nice holiday touches throughout, though as you may have guessed our stockings are literally hanging down below our T.V. on the media console because we have no fireplace. Santa will have to ring the doorbell.

I am currently chipping away at The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. The complexity of the story reminds me why the classics are the classics, and why they continually withstand the test of time. Knowing full-well that I could not read consecutive novels this engrossing, I am still enjoying it.

There is also this new application I have downloaded on my phone called Words With Friends, which is terribly addicting. It's more about strategy than actually knowing how to spell, which I'm trying to learn. I recommend it.

I cooked Italian over the weekend- first was eggplant parmesan with BF on Friday night, which MK came over and ate with us. I had honestly never tried it before, and as MK described it: it's one of those dishes that you see on a menu and you are thankful that vegetarians have it as an option, but you don't think to order it yourself. We cooked enough to feed an army and the man at the liquor store pointed us in the direction of a huge bottle of inexpensive red wine that "all of the old Italian people" buy in his store. I had no idea there were so many old Italians in Dallas, seeing as we have Mexican food on every corner, but the wine was good both in the dish and to drink, so he seemed to know what he was talking about.

The second meal was manicotti which I helped my mom with at home yesterday while my family watched football and relaxed at home. I had never made either dish before which made them interesting, and both were delicious. I find that with new recipes I am most concerned with timing- I can tell by looking at a recipe any ingredients I want to add or omit but I always read directions multiple times to get a handle on what needs to happen when.

So if anyone needs to eat this week, please let me know. Leftovers abound, though I cannot promise garlic bread because I'm fairly confident that BF, MK and I did a number on it Friday night.

After my snow report from last week I am pleased to say that the cold weather persists. I did not love it so much when our heat was out at the end of last week and MG and I had to sleep here in the 53-degree temperatures, but now that it's working again I can fully embrace the weather outside as being frightful. It must be my winter birthday doing the talking, but I do love it.

If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.
-Victor Hugo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crying Wolf

One of the truths I hold to be self-evident as a kid born, raised and colleged in Texas is that when the local meteorologist starts talking about snow, you can't get your hopes up. You really need to get your hope down, in fact.

I cannot tell you how many mornings I woke up as a child after being lulled to sleep with promises of freezing precipitation on the news, only to wake up and find a bone-dry driveway out my window and not a flake in sight. Snow in Texas means that regular schedules cease completely. People don't know how to drive in it and we are ill-prepared for temperatures below 32 degrees.

I know better now than to dream of a day off, but if you think the possibility of an inclement weather day is not just as enticing now, as a full-time working adult, as it was when class was cancelled in elementary school, you are mistaken.

Last night the murmurings of "weather" started, but my friends and I went about our business, celebrating our friend KR's birthday unhindered by the rain and the freezing cold. This morning my mother called while I was still in bed and it was still dark outside, which would typically mean emergency because why on earth would anyone call before 7 AM? She reported that it was snowing at my parents house, 30 miles from me, and was it snowing at my house? I hopped out of bed with the enthusiasm of my younger self, only to find that no, it was raining.

I continued to get ready and did not open the blinds in my room, I was so annoyed by the false hope I had allowed myself. Keeping with my normal routine, I walked downstairs an hour later as usual, turned on the coffee machine as usual, and opened the blinds... as usual. Only then was I taken aback by the scene in the window above our kitchen sink: snow. Huge flakes of beautiful, white snow. Very few moments in life are poignant or breathtaking, but that was one of them for me- when a normal day was made surprisingly beautiful.

It was not sticking to the ground, so after walking in the backyard to be awestruck for a moment, an effect snow has always had on me, I had to leave.

Oh well, makes a normal Wednesday that much prettier...

Loralei Gilmore: The whole world changes color; flakes flurries swirls crystals. whatever form it comes in- I'll take it. We go back, snow and me, we have a beautiful history.
-Gilmore Girls

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Enjoying the View

One benefit of living in a room above your garage, affectionately known as the Tree House, is having a nice view of the neighborhood's changing foliage.

I think I'm the only person I know who takes pictures of flowers and trees on a regular basis.

It's cool.

I don't know how much my neighbors appreciated my creepy afternoon photo-op, but leaves don't always change color in Texas. Some years they are green one day and dead and brown the next day with the first cool front.

This year the they are putting on quite a show.

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Subject

I have been all over the place this week. Nothing was adding up to one cohesive post, so everyone is getting a random compilation from me today.

MG emailed me yesterday to point out that we had exercised for three consecutive days, so why not keep the dream alive and go for four? Since I've actually been in a pattern of losing, rather than gaining weight (as would be typical this time of year), I was on board with the plan. Last night we (BF, KS, MG and I) went to a Pilates class. Other women were shocked at our age, after assuming we were in high school (which I took as a compliment), and after an hour of torture our instructor pointed the four of us out and said that we need to be sure and make it back next week. Something about inflexibility and inability to hold the plank position for very long... or maybe it was the pained faces we were making at each other the whole time. Not sure.

I gave myself a break last night and after we returned home from class (followed up with a stop at Chipotle, let's be honest), I watched Twilight and read some of KS's magazines while she made homemade pecan pie. She is supposed to be delivering it to a very lucky young man today but it did not escape without us sampling it. Had to.

While reading recent issues of House Beautiful and Real Simple, I realized that I really have not taken time to explore the designer haven of Etsy. I like the idea of people being able to start out small with an online storefront as opposed to investing in actual real estate. It makes starting a small business more accessible. I love that.

In my reading I found out about a similar website, Foodzie, and now my eyes have been opened to all sorts of amazing gift ideas and things to try. Who wouldn't want an assortment of cheesecakes in jars, or skillet bacon jam? There is even a tab called "Discover" which finds you geographically and tells which vendors produce things locally in relation to you.

I leave tomorrow night to go to Houston, where I plan to see a few friends, enjoy a Friday off then head to College Station, where I attended college at Texas A&M for four years. I visited once after graduating but am sad to say that I have not been back in over two years now. AV, BF and KR will be driving down on Friday, so I'll meet them there in the evening for dinner, drinks and a favorite tradition of mine: Midnight Yell Practice. I cannot wait. College Station holds great memories for me and fostered a group of friends that has continued to grow and stay close even 2 1/2 years out of college.

A near afterthought is the fact that New Moon comes out this weekend and I have friends all aflutter with the ongoing Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate. It's very heated and there are many compelling Vanity Fair photos making the case for each.

With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.
-John Irving

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Dream


Sitting at a desk by a window... {maybe with some lovely hydrangeas?}


A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything,
should conceal it as well as she can.
-Jane Austen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Birthday Girl

A privilege of living with me includes receiving birthday tributes, so let me tell you a little bit about KS, who started her next quarter-century of life today!

There are many things you will never know about someone until you live with them. I know that KS leaves her beautiful blue topaz Yurman ring in random places throughout the house, kind of like a big Where's Waldo game, but it can most often be found in the china cup in out kitchen that holds the Splenda packets. She has ninja skills like knowing how to change a tire, assembling furniture that involves the use of power tools, swatting bugs with precision and applying flawless eyeliner. KS loves YouTube- I never knew the greatness of David After the Dentist or Kittens Inspired by Kittens until living under the same roof as her.

Thank you KS, for thinking I'm funny on occasion and for asking my opinion on things like fabric samples even though you have impeccable taste. You make people laugh at the most unexpected times. You are a calming presence and I admire your ability to be frustrated without getting angry- it's very lady-like.

Thanks for baking MG and I delicious things like homemade strawberry pie and sugar cookies and for introducing me to Tanqueray gin. I can't believe I was of legal drinking age for three years before ever trying a Tom Collins.

I love that you had polka dot tea cups and curtains displayed in our house before we even had a refrigerator, microwave or washer and dryer. Your penchant for polka dots is rivaled only by your love of monograms.

I'm jealous that you get to sleep later than I do and I'm convinced that you are always trying to put me to sleep when I am in your car by playing Ray LaMontagne.

I'm glad that you both make and understand nerdy Harry Potter references.

I'm sorry that MG and I bought you a baby turtle thinking it would be a fun gift for an animal-lover such as yourself, only to find out it's illegal and could give you salmonella poisoning. Our bad.

Happy 25th, KS. I think you are just wonderful.

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.
-La Rouchefoucauld

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Women at Sporting Events: An Exposé

Let me tell you a little story about what happens when you give 11 girls suite tickets to an NBA game.

My friend BF invited our friends and Bible study girls to go to the Mavericks vs. Rockets game last night. The company she works for has season tickets to many Dallas sporting events, and she was granted sole use of their suite, including 12 tickets, at this game.

Job perks? Check.

We all met up and BF and LB were driving us to the game, each with a full car of girls talking a mile a minute. Once we got close to the American Airlines Center, traffic picked up and LB lost sight of BF's car. Turns out we were in a turn-only lane complete with a wall of orange cones to enforce the right turn, while we actually needed to drive straight to get to our parking garage. Traffic, mind you, was horrendous and there were pedestrians everywhere. LB stopped before turning, rolled down her window to talk to the police officer directing traffic, smiled and asked if he could get us to the gold parking garage.

The man literally stopped traffic for her, moved cones and directed her into the middle of the intersection where he guarded her car until he could let us through and told her exactly where to park. This same officer blew his whistle at a guy jogging and told him to get back on the sidewalk while we were waiting. LB, happy and universally adorable as she is, thanked him with such praise as: You're my hero! and my personal favorite: You're a pal!

Lesson learned: never underestimate the advantages of being a woman. It is a powerful, powerful thing.

I already knew it was going to be an entertaining evening, not only for the fact that we would be in a suite at a Maverick's game, but also because what on Earth was going to happen with 11 girls left unchaperoned at a sporting event? It's almost confusing to people to see a bunch of women together to watch game. Shouldn't we have been dragged there by dads, husbands, boyfriends or dates?

How quickly you forget that girls will go anywhere that involves some level of sitting around, eating and socializing. Especially if you want to give us VIP entrance access and popcorn.
CC and her roommate AH were already exchanging fighting words over gmail- CC being a Dallas native and Mavericks fan; AH being a San Antonio native, NBA photographer and a Spurs fan. They are the greatest of friends, let me tell you, but they are both fiercely loyal and their NBA team rivalry is actually one of the only things they ever argue about. Thank goodness we weren't playing San Antonio or else I think we would have had to put them in separate camps.

The suite had two tables, one short and one tall, and eight chairs in the middle with a huge flat- screen T.V., then several stools and seats where you could sit and watch the game. I figured there would be lounging at the tables- girls hanging out and catching up without paying so much attention to the game hoopla, kind of how women typically congregate in the kitchen when you go to someones house and while guys watch the game.

Would you believe that every girl present eschewed network television to watch the game the entire time?

Believe it.

Of course we were chatting about life, guys, KK's impending wedding and there was talk of whether or not the tight-rope walker at half-time had reproductive capabilities after having so many unfortunate falls on the rope, but all in all everyone knew what was going on. KR and I even discussed possibly coordinating a double-date between she, Kris Humphries, Dirk Nowitzki and myself.

I honestly would not have guessed that 11 girls would be so into a basketball game. I would have predicted more bonding over Diet Cokes inside the suite, roaming around the club level, possibly browsing pink and white Nowitzki jerseys and leaving early. There was none of that, though KR did spy the dessert cart sometime during the third quarter. CC and I have a long-standing bond over our love for the Mavericks, so we sat together during the fourth quarter having a tête-à-tête to analyze our new players added this season, who on the team has shown improvement, etc. I even consider that to be quite normal though because we've been to so many games together over the years.

I've definitely been at sporting events before and heard girls mess up in asking which quarter/inning/set/period the game is in. For example, asking: Which quarter is it? at a baseball game. Along those lines would also be: Did we win? -or- Who are we playing again? How much time is left? Who has the ball? The kind of questions which make guys roll their eyes and wonder why they brought girls along in the first place. We had none of that- I was so proud.

It was a generous gesture of BF's employer to let us use his tickets- that's not the kind of thing we get to do every day and it was enjoyed by all parties... except for maybe the tight-rope guy.

He's still recovering.

Winning may not be everything, but losing has little to recommend it.
-Dianne Feinstein

Monday, November 9, 2009

Earlier Every Year

If you have had the slightest brush with retail since Halloween, you've seen that stores have their Christmas decorations out already. Everyone acts like it's so outrageous whilst secretly not skipping Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You when it pops up on shuffle in November.

My roommates and I ventured over to the Knox-Henderson shopping area of Dallas Sunday afternoon and watched it go from light to dark from the inside of Pottery Barn. Translation: we were there for about an hour and half with two detour visits to the Apple store by MG. KS was analyzing the sofa selection, seeing as we plan to have a Christmas party next month and still need to furnish our front room. KS is knowledgeable about furniture and knew to quiz the sales staff on how many times the covers had been pre-washed, how long each fabric grade would take to make, if the cushions could be ordered overstuffed, if the sofa came in other sizes than those on the floor, etc. I don't think I can ever make a major furniture decision without her again.

During her inspection I found new lampshades for my bedside table lamps (the ones they came with were cheap and dented) and ornaments with our initials on them for our impending Christmas tree purchase. While perusing the store I also came across bedside tables that I loved at first sight and momentarily deluded myself into thinking they would be a wise purchase. Thankfully MG was nearby affixing silver holiday bird clips onto various baskets and voice-of-reasoned me out of the purchase.

KS, while also getting her sofa questions answered by two Pottery Barn personnel, managed to find Christmas presents for both of her brothers and also something I can best describe only as bark hurricanes. Here is a picture of the candle version to give you an idea:

Time to spare at Pottery Barn is a dangerous thing indeed. MG and I inspected all of the holiday decor, she discovered little fur wine holders (I am terrible at naming Pottery Barn inventory) and I found oversized silver glass ornaments which I envisioned hanging from the ceilings with rich, red satin ribbon.

I looked at a bag of pine cones and automatically flashed forward to a month from now, thinking: Will I need these? Can I fill a glass container with them and set them on my mantle? We don't even have a fireplace, or a mantle for that matter. Where will the stockings go? How will Santa get in?

I think our prospective Christmas party might send MG fleeing for the hills after Thanksgiving. Her eyes get big and terrified each time she spots my copy of Williams Sonoma: Holiday Entertaining. I emailed the two of them last week about invitations and slid in MG's co-coaches and non-favorite people on the list just to see if I could get a laugh. Amusing, no?

It might be no accident if I slip some Peppermint Schnapps into her hot chocolate. That is, if it dips below 75 degrees long enough to warrant hot beverages at a Christmas party.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Literary Cardio

While doing my requisite 45 minutes of cardio activity on the elliptical at the gym tonight, I brought a book to distract me from the repetitive motion and fluorescent lighting.

In front of the digital timer and calorie-counter I placed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a novel which popped onto my radar when MG said she read it in two days, she found it so enjoyable.

Short story tiny, the fictional book is comprised entirely of correspondence written between a writer, Juliet, to friends in British territories after World War II, and to a group of people she does not know personally on the island of Guernsey. Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands off the coast of France, and the historical context of the book includes the fact that the people there were essentially cut off from outside communication and news for five years during the war.

Five whole years.

No internet.

No newspapers.

No tweets or texts.

All they had were books and each other.

Maybe I should cut myself off from communication and focus on writing with this much cleverness; anyone who can make me smile or laugh with their written words is a winner in my book. I can only hope to do the same for others one day...

From Juliet to Sophie

"Now, about Markham V. Reynolds (Junior). Your questions regarding that gentleman are very delicate, very subtle, very much like being smacked in the head with a mallet. Am I in love with him? What kind of a question is that? It's a tuba among the flutes, and I expect better of you. The first rule of snooping is to come at it sideways..."

A tuba among the flutes. I love it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Stirring the Pots

Most of what I cook is inspired by something I have had at a restaurant or someone's home.

I love to recreate dishes I have enjoyed and I search cookbooks and online recipe sources and menus for what I want. Even then I add and subtract ingredients as I see fit because I love herbs, spices and all things garlic-related. If you ask me for a recipe I'll be able to recite the ingredients but never the amounts- that's not how I operate. The exception to this would be baking, obviously, and anything my paternal grandmother made, God rest her soul, especially around this time of year for Thanksgiving. Homemade cornbread stuffing and broccoli cheese casserole are not walks in the proverbial culinary park, and I don't take liberties with her old recipes because they are sacred and already perfect.

In addition to enjoying time in the kitchen, I am also a cookbook junkie. I was at my friend LS and her husband's apartment recently and while she and other friends were whipping up chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for football-watching men-folk, I was pouring through the enviable collection of Williams-Sonoma cookbooks she received as weddings gifts.

I know you're thinking I need help but you've probably never tried truly delicious chilaquiles verdes, have you?

Anyway, in the interest of shelf space and reviewing my options, I also enjoy finding good online sources for recipes. For example, I recently discovered that the magazine Texas Monthly has a great online archive of recipes; many from Texas chefs.

One of my favorite online recipe sources for over a year now has been The Pioneer Woman's blog. KS and I made a variation of her breakfast burritos for a hungry crowd at literally four in the morning after our friend HA's wedding and the party-fatigued people were pleased.

Pioneer Woman has a huge following and just had a cookbook published, which I obviously took care of pre-ordering weeks ago from Amazon and received with glee from the hands of my postman on Saturday morning. Most of the down time I had this weekend was spent sitting on our couch with her cookbook in my lap, reading all of her hilarious commentary about her family and their life on a ranch in rural Oklahoma. I'm still deciding which recipe to try first and hoping that the Grocery Store Fairy will magically stock my kitchen with all necessary ingredients to make PW's great-looking lasagna. I'm getting over my fear of failure with recipes involving yeast and specific measurements, so hopefully I'll get to her cinnamon rolls one day soon as well.

The Pioneer Woman may never know this but she is a bit of a celebrity amongst Dallas girls my age. Something about being unfailingly funny and having a great husband and four kids; finding a sense of humor in everyday situations and loving food.

Yeah, suddenly her appeal makes perfect sense.

She probably also doesn't know that we'll be at her book-signing in Dallas next month, but if she's wondering about the 20-something clan of girls staring at her with star-struck awe and saying "you are my hero!" I can pretty much guarantee that's us.

Anyone hungry yet?

I hope you get a kick out of this book of mine. I hope it makes you smile. I hope the recipes bring you recognition, accolades, and marriage proposals. And I hope it encourages even the most harried urban cook to slow down, relish the joys of family, nature, and great food, and enjoy life.

-Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Greater Restraint

I don't talk about my weakness for shopping all that much, but be advised:

I have a weakness for shopping.

This could be brushed off as: oh, all women love to shop, or my personal favorite, which is: I need this dress because I can wear it to work OR to dinner with my friends but I have finally come to the conviction that those excuses are just that- excuses. I am a materialistic human being and while more socially acceptable, it doesn't make it any better than other vices.

I am blessed in that I have no debt and actually have money saved. I trivialize my retail spending by thinking that because of the fact that I am debt-free, I'm justified in spending what is there, when in fact I would rather be in an established pattern to tithe to my church and save first. I know what I want to do, but practicing it is a different story because that means changing my habits.

I met with my dad and my family's financial advisor last week to discuss my investments, and also moving forward what would be the best way for me to save more of my income. Saving more for me will mean actually having a budget, taking a close look at where I spend my money and deciding which areas can give a bit. I say actually having a budget because up until now, I haven't actually had one. I know- ridiculous. I like to throw out the adage used by liberal arts majors everywhere of I don't do numbers, but we're talking calculator work here. Definitely something a college graduate can handle.

Oh, math. I still don't like you.

I've have budget-related discussions with friends also recently, and found that many people are still doing what I'm doing: eye-balling their expenditures vs. their income on their online statements and just trying to keep expenses in-check. I have even started emailing my friend BF for accountability with my shopping habits- telling her what I buy when I shop, when I buy it and how much it cost. For every $100 I spend, I also have to get rid of two articles of clothing from one of my closets*. She actually called me the other day as I was departing the Anthropologie dressing room (impeccable timing) and as I confessed where she was, she replied with "this is your conscience speaking, it's time to leave."

My bank actually breaks down my monthly spending into categories online. This is great but also alarming, and as I start digging deeper into my spending and keep going into months further back I have been disappointed at how much money I spent on retail while I was living at home with my parents through May of this year. Money that could have been invested or saved for spending on more furniture for my house in Dallas. I was gchatting with KR regarding this and we were wondering how much of a disaster unchecked spending creates when women get married and have never been told "no."

I am thankful that I have much more of an awareness of spending now than I did this time two years ago, when I was fresh out of college and my parents paid for everything. It sounds elementary, but you don't understand the satisfaction and independence of financial freedom until it's actually yours. Granted, instant gratification would tell you to buy the new boots now because retirement is not any time soon, but given a bit of perspective and some financial goals, I can now more easily walk away.

{If this were a talk show, you would clap now.}

It would be bold of me to claim that Neiman Marcus and J.Crew are dead to me, but avoiding them does leave more zeroes in my bank account. I refuse to be a slave to money- a paycheck is just a means to live a life, not perpetuate a lifestyle.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
-Winston Churchill

*I have a full closet at my house in Dallas and additionally one in my room at my parents' house. I know, it's shameful.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend in Photos


Hometown football game.

RM's mom has her own box... we stayed for exactly half-time and one quarter.

Saturday DIY project: MG making a headboard.

Fetch with Ruby and her sidekick Murray.

Drilling is more glamourous when you wear Uggs.

Tennis ball.

Close monitoring... I was so helpful.

Chicken pot pie- homemade, of course.


I recommend you take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.
-Earl of Chesterfield

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bundle of Joy

My friend EL and her husband had a baby at the end of September, Lily. She told me yesterday that she was in town with the baby, staying at her parents' house, and since I was going to the suburbs to have dinner with my family for my mother's birthday I asked if I could stop by and meet the little one.

I called when I left dinner and she told me Lily was asleep and to come over. EL has twin siblings still in high school, and one of their friends was on the couch, holding the sleeping munchkin. She passed her over to me and I took her with the same carefulness I give my cup of coffee while walking to my car every morning, so as not to wake her up.

She stayed in my arms for quite a while and I talked to her closed eyelids about how much she looks like her daddy and played with her tiny hands which EL told me she likes to ball up at or around her face while she sleeps. I told EL that my dad always reminds me I would roll my wrists and ankles around as a baby as well as sleep with my arms above my head, and I still do both of those things as a 24-year-old.

Lily started getting squirmy and crying which immediately made me think I had done something wrong, but EL was unfazed, saying she was just hungry. She took her into her family's study and we sat and talked while the baby nursed for a half hour. I asked her a hundred questions about her labor and contractions and how much she's sleeping, if nursing hurts, how often you have to do it, how strange it is for someone to need you constantly, etc. Her answers confirmed that there is so much I don't know about pregnancy or babies, but even more so that things completely vary case-by-case.

It was a surreal experience to be in the room with her last night because we would sit around and talk in the same fashion when we were roommates our freshman year of college... only then it was on our twin beds with coordinating comforters. She was so calm; very much herself, just tired and with bigger boobs. (Crass and off-topic, but it's true!) EL's own mother is very calm even with four kids and she seems like she will be the same way. Lily sleeps fine on her own during the day but apparently likes to sleep on the stomach of a family member at night with her legs hiked up like a frog... a seven-pound, three-week-old frog.

Pretty stinking adorable.

I might just visit her again tomorrow to get a picture.

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
-Leo J. Burke

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend Update

I got my car back! Good as new. Literally, I mean new- I have had to reprogram all of the settings because apparently they had to take the battery out during the repairs, which resets everything. You know what's on 89.7 FM? Absolutely nothing.

I joined a flag-football team. Should be interesting and muddy, considering it will not stop raining or misting in Dallas for longer than 24 hours. I told my trainer about my new recreational adventure and being a former football player himself, he's super pumped and wants to get me in "football shape," which is frightening.

I got my chair from Crate & Barrel on Friday. Finally. I ordered the thing in July. I was concerned about the delivery people being able to get it into my room since I have the added complication of stairs, but I double-checked the chair's measurements and figured they would just have to pivot a bit. I Googled "standard doorway dimensions" on Thursday and found that people use ridiculous measurements like millimeters when describing doorways. Seriously? Save the millimeters for chemists who measure the convex meniscuses on lab-beakers. I don't have time for you and your tiny units, Wikianswers, give me feet and inches.

Diet drinks are back in my life. I think I needed a detox because for a while there I had Diet Sunkist at home and was averaging two a day. It's amazing my teeth aren't orange. I'm not drinking them everyday, but if I feel like it, I will. KR put it well when she said via gchat one day: "I don't do drugs, I'm not promiscuous... give me this." Amen.

I went to church by myself this morning and it was lovely. The sermon was on how people, us, we were made in the image of God. Our very worth is derived from this fact, and because of this every life has intrinsic value. How you treat/view/love others is inseparable from the way you treat/view/love God.

For probably over a year now some of my friends and I have talked about starting a book club. EM got on the ball and emailed a few of us to see if we would be interested, we selected a book, date and time and decided to go with it. The day was about a month ago and it came and went with no book club, but tonight we're actually meeting to discuss our first selection, The Friday Night Knitting Club. I liked it- it was not my favorite book of all-time, but it was a good read.

I think that's an important concept to learn; that not every book you read will become a favorite, but you can still enjoy it for what it is. Non-fiction, for example, is not typically a favorite of mine, but I still read it and find it interesting and informative.

To top off this random and unrelated post, MG just walked out the door to have dinner with her family and reminded me firstly that there is raw chicken in the sink and Ruby is home and secondly that there is a candle burning in the foyer, so if the house catches on fire it likely derived from said source.

Hope everyone enjoys what's left of their weekend!

It's a scary thing, when a person you admire is suddenly revealed to be absolutely, truly human."
-Kate Jacobs, The Friday Night Knitting Club

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wedding Photos

Here are a few of the pictures I took Saturday night... Enjoy!

You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine...
-Frank Sinatra, Best Is Yet To Come

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Half and Half

Half of this weekend was incredibly fun.

People started flying into Dallas late last week and KS and I decided to have our friends not in the wedding party over for dinner Friday night.

Opportunity to be hostesses? Seized.

After work that evening I prepped ingredients for salad and the pizzas we would be baking while KS nailed prints onto the wall of our small foyer and arranged a table with flowers and lovely, house-warming things. The new Michael Buble CD was bumping from the iPod dock and we were hardly speaking; the girl equivalent of being "in the zone".

KS arranged the Waterford glasses (I know, yes we have Waterford) in perfect bowling-pin formation as some of our friends began to arrive. KB, BF, JP, HR, AV and KR all came over and we enjoyed a ridiculously fun night which mainly consisted of wine refills and a spotlight on HR and JP, who entertained everyone the whole evening.

Our friends in the wedding party who were staying over at our house: AR and LB, came home with MG and also with the bride herself, HA, who was cool as a cucumber and not nervous or anxious in the least about her impending wedding the next day.

Everyone went their separate ways for the evening, and Saturday morning MG, AR and LB left for breakfast with the bride while KS and I laid on our couches drinking coffee, eating Multi-Grain Cheerios and watching College Gameday on ESPN. I was content to stay there indefinitely, until KS got a phone call from EM in Ft. Worth, reporting a sale at Neiman Marcus.

It was a false alarm, not what we were expecting, but we were there in minutes and KS consulted with her favorite Neiman's sales lady only to find out that the sale we are looking for is actually in November. We made the best of it, since we were already at the mall, and spent a solid hour looking at every single item in Anthroplogie. It was productive; dresses were purchased.

My afternoon centered mostly around picking up CC from the airport. I checked her ETA via the FlightTrack app on my iPhone (very helpful) and found that her flight was about 20 minutes late. I panicked for a moment when I realized I was an idiot and had failed to put a book in my purse for such an emergency, but thankfully I had my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in my backseat, so I was content.

CC texted me when she landed and flew threw the doors of Gate B20 minutes later wearing a dress and heels from wedding numero uno, which had been in Little Rock, Arkansas. I had her bridesmaid dress for wedding two in my backseat, and in true Katherine Heigl fashion she climbed in the backseat to transform for her next appearance, talking a mile a minute about the wedding in Little Rock (her cousin's) and asking about HA and how she was doing. Luckily CC's roommate was also one of the photographers for the wedding, so she was safe and miraculously pulled off her two weddings in two states stunt.

The wedding was beautiful- MG showed KS and I HA's bridal portraits a few weeks ago and we chose about 18 of them as favorites because she is gorgeous. Her sisters, also, look like they could be the spawn of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

The reception was a blast- there were somewhere in the ballpark of 400 people and somewhere in the ballpark of 400 bottles of wine and beer consumed. Just throwing those numbers out as a rough estimate. If it's any indication, at the end of the evening everyone was yelling "one more song" at the DJ until he played "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus. You may scoff but the crowd was loving it.

After the bride and groom left, everyone in our age bracket at the wedding moved the party over to Knox Street Pub, where dancing continued until the bar closed at 2 AM. Beyond that, some of the crowd came over to our house where KS and I made everyone potato egg and cheese breakfast tacos and everyone watched SportsCenter until 4 AM.

Seriously- the hostess gene does not turn off.

I set my alarm to wake up for brunch on Sunday morning and felt like an anvil fell on my head. It was pretty much downhill from there... and that was the other half of my weekend. Another story for another time.

Pictures tomorrow.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
-Robert Heinlein

Friday, October 9, 2009

Grand Finale

We'll keep this short and sweet because it's Friday, it's 55 degrees and there are no fewer than four bridesmaid's dresses circulating in and out of my house this weekend.

The final wedding I will attend in 2009 is tomorrow. My friend HA is getting married in Dallas and as usual, our college pals are flying in from their various corners of the U.S. to be here. She and her fiance are the same age, had overlapping groups of friends and have been dating since college, so this will be quite reminiscent of a sorority date party.

New friends, old lovers... old friends, new lovers... me driving to the airport to pick up CC tomorrow, who is attending two weddings in two states on the same day...

Should be interesting!

Jane: You write the most beautiful things. Do you actually believe in love and marriage and just pretend to be a cynic or are you actually a cynic who knows how to spin romantic crap for girls like me?
Kevin: I didn't follow that at all, but I think the second one, the spinning crap one.
-27 Dresses

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A different kind of foodie

My experience with Labrador retrievers was nearly non-existent until I started living with one.

My parents have a dog, Lucy, a 12-year-old Bichon who has been mistaken for a baby sheep by small children and Australian Shepherds in her lifetime. She's small and cotton ball-looking and not Lab-like at all.

I've mentioned before my roommate MG's black lab named Ruby who lives with us. Ruby is a two-year-old trained guide dog and she's great to have around. She is extremely active and likes to give subtle hints like "hey let's play fetch" by dropping a tennis ball into the refrigerator drawer when you're unloading groceries. She will carry newspapers, tennis shoes and even logs for firewood for you.

She also loves people food.

We have come home various times to find loaves of bread demolished, empty bags of tortilla chips and torn-open bags of powdered, white, brown and raw sugar. Anything left on the counter is fair game, but she can also get into some of the cabinets. One day she feasted on a pound of chocolate toffee, which was wrapped with a bow in a brown box, and there was also a bag of grape tomatoes squished and scattered throughout the downstairs area of our house. She likes rifling through the contents of the trash can from time to time too. She learned everything from her predecessor Belle, RIP, who was known to hide food throughout MG's family's house and once ate a squirrel whole while on a walk.

You heard me right- we're talking tail and all.

Last Friday morning I came downstairs to make coffee and found a new box of raw sugar sitting on the counter, unopened. I looked for the box I had already been using all week but it was nowhere to be found. Not up for mind games at 8 AM, I opened the new sugar and went about my day.

We spent the weekend at MG's family's lake house, and she realized she hadn't told me about the most recent sugar incident. Turns out, Ruby ate my raw sugar, a box of yellow packets of Splenda with fiber (yeah I know, fiber) and also managed to get some caramel rice cakes by opening the cabinet under our kitchen sink and pulling them out of a drawer with a small opening into the cabinet. I started calling her MacGyver after that.

Did I forget to mention that she ate a whole bag of Goldfish, a PBJ sandwich and a carton of yogurt while MG left her in her car while running an errand one morning? She also ate an entire bulk-sized bag of Frosted Mini Wheats cereal yesterday.

I learned at the lake that she's also a huge fan of swimming, seeing as she would drop a stick into the lake and launch into a full-speed belly-flop after it to get it. Her parents have another black lab puppy named Murray, who enjoyed waiting for Ruby to fetch the stick so that she could wrestle it away once she got back to the dock.

We also had a chocolate lab puppy, Sawyer, come to stay with us a few weekends ago while her owners were away for a weekend. Ruby was annoyed for a solid 48 hours and Sawyer gave my little basil plant a run for its money:

It now looks more like something in league with Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.

(This is actually Sawyer's sister Kenna, who belongs to a couple we know, but they look like twins so you get the idea.)

MG has taken some preventative measures and Ruby now has a shock-collar which works remotely, so we may or may not set her up for failure in the form of Halloween candy to deter her sneaky tendencies.

Can you really blame this little face for anything though?

"A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"
- Josh Grogan, Marley & Me

Friday, October 2, 2009


Like clockwork, I found that it had been eight weeks and I was scheduled for another hair trim yesterday. I also had Community Group so clearly I was stretching it with a two-commitment evening and a rental car with no GPS.

I should really get out more...

Or not, since I'm driving a rental car sans-rental insurance.

While robed, checking Twitter and waiting for my appointment I realized I was the only brunette getting my hair done and found myself vastly outnumbered by Dallas Blondes. It was like being stuck in Austin Powers with a room full of femme bots- only I was in the Park Cities and there were women everywhere with frozen expressions, staring into mirrors or at magazines with foil all up in their hair. Someone needs to study the effects of peroxide fumes on the brain, no?

I left to go to KR and MK's place for Community Group, and it ended up being only MK, MG, CC and myself. With the majority of the group unable to attend this week, we sat around to chat, eat grapes and sample various flavors of Braum's ice-cream. Peanut butter and Snickers? Surprisingly good.

Conversation floated and I noticed that MG was making a list in her journal; creative writing courses, calligraphy class, living in Spain, teaching English in Latin America... Just things that had been on her mind making their way to paper. We discussed continuing education, classes we would consider taking and how we just miss talking about books and literary things.

Hi, welcome to life with English nerds. Non-stop fun.

We talked about ideas for the future, in a hopeful but directional sense. I see now that graduating college and working full time puts you in a position to realize your talents and what you really care about. And while my friends have goals and dreams aplenty among us, I don't see many examples in my own life of people looking simply to climb the corporate ladder or take a job simply to make more money. This manifests itself differently depending on the person but on some level we all want our work to have meaning and purpose.

I don't mean to paint my friends as pipe-smoking philosophers because that's not the case at all, but I do find refreshing the fact that our conversations have substance. Not gossip or idle chatter but rather honest questions and genuine interest in each other's lives.

We are women and I think that makes us dreamers by nature, but I also like seeing appreciation and "carpe diem" for the now...

The peanut butter and Snicker's ice-cream doesn't hurt anything, either.

Why do so many...settle for so little? I don't understand why they're not greedy for what's inside them.
-Jack Gilbert

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I got bored.

That's not true, blogging is still my one true love. Or something like that. Just trying something new for a change...

If you have Twitter, please leave me the link to your page in the comments!

Sorry I've been MIA... will return tomorrow!

"We were on a break!"
-Ross Gellar, Friends

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Commuter Woes

Things accomplished today; Wednesday, September 23, 2009:

- TV man came to our house and mounted TVs in KS's room as well as mine. Check.
- Crate & Barrel bumped up the delivery of the chair I ordered eons ago to two weeks from now instead of another month. Check.
- Got in a car accident. Check.
- Missed training appointment because of accident. Check.
- Medicated by going to the gym with MG and subsequently ordered pizza, drank wine and watched the new episode of Glee. Check.

So yeah, productive day. Except for the whole fender bender situation. I won't rehash the whole thing because I will only get annoyed with myself and other people for not paying well-enough attention on a crowded highway to avoid it. "Sometimes these things happen," my mother reminded me one of the six times I called my parents within an hour of the accident, "you can replace cars, you can't replace people." Though she may have spoken a bit soon, considering that I am 24 and clearly still a liability.

I dragged myself home and retold the story to KS, who was getting ready for a date and MG, who was on her way out to go to the gym. KS offered for she and her date to stay and hang out with me until MG returned, which was sweet because she was concerned about leaving me alone after my rush hour trauma, but I assured her that there was no need to put me on suicide watch. I threw on gym clothes, admired my newly mounted TV for a hot minute and left with MG.

We ran a few other errands, including a trip to CVS where we purchased superfluous drinks with electrolytes in them and MG bought pencil sharpeners for her students who apparently broke hers with their ardent sharpening habits. Kids these days.

We watched Glee, which I would highly recommend if you're looking for another TV show to get addicted to, took showers and I called my parents again to get some things organized for my morning tomorrow. I got the name and number for my car insurance representative and also looked up the hours for the service department at my dealership. I took a gander at an accident reporting sheet on their website and there was actually a box on the page where it asked you to draw a sketch of what happened. Pass.

To be really Suzie Organized I got out my cute leopard agenda which has impressive space for things other than calendar days, and I found the Important Phone Numbers section. I was baffled to find that opening right-hand page of this section included places for restaurants, salons/spas, health clubs, cleaning services, garbage pickup, recycling pickup, lawn service and snow removal. Even "decorator" made it in before insurance information or even more importantly, medical information. Is the number for the recycling service seriously that important? How many months out of the year is snow removal really a pressing issue?

This is all rhetorical, of course. You wouldn't want someone who seriously debated which is better: G2 Gatorade or 10-calorie Vitamin Water long enough to fog up the freezer windows at CVS to prioritize the Important Phone Numbers in your agenda either.

"The car goes where the eyes go. It is true, my young friend. It is very, very true."
-The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thanks Eve

I have discussed before my Community Group; a Bible study of girls my age that meets every Thursday night. I love it- it's a great opportunity both to learn about God and about my friends who share that time.

We did fun, social things over the summer since the teachers who get summers off were in and out on vacation, then met a few weeks ago to get back into a routine with the fall approaching and everyone back in school mode. I may not be in school, but I like when everyone settles back down, sharpens a few #2's and restores sanity to my mind so that I don't pop a blood vessel thinking about how everyone is having the time of their life while I'm at work.

That's a big fear of mine: missing out on fun.

So Thursday night rolled around last week (which was not spent blogging, I know) and as our friends dragged themselves into our house, we fed them semi-stale kettle corn and got into our discussion. Anyone who works or goes to school knows that Thursdays are a conundrum. You are happy that the week's almost over but completely exhausted from all of the working and the waking up early; you're happy to see your friends but your eyes are only half-open.

We all recognize this delirium and abate it as best we can during our hour and a half window of Community Group. This past Thursday we were in our discussion of the first chapter of Luke, one of the Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible, and we got to talking about Mary, who found out she would become pregnant with Jesus, and Zecheriah's wife Elizabeth when she found out after a lifetime of infertility woes that she too would have a child.

Elizabeth went into seclusion during her pregnancy, which segued into how awesome it would be to sit around for months and watch movies and read books while pregnant (unlike women today who work full-time until their water breaks). Since none of us can relate to pregnancy, we then detoured into talking about how women in Biblical times who were "incapacitated" could spend that week out of every month chilling out in the red tent. A better explanation might be that the red tent predated Midol.

What brilliance, we thought, to just let women go hang out together, be hormonal and eat chocolate in peace (or cocoa beans, as someone pointed out that Hershey's was not yet in business). And let's be honest; the ability to have a baby is an amazing gift, but it is a privilege that your body prepares for and recovers from for most of your life.

People paint the red tent to seem like women were shunned back in those days and had to hide out, but we thought it sounded kind of awesome... no complaining to the outside world that your abdomen is staging a coup on your body and affecting your ability to rationalize, no having to say "it's nothing" when someone male asks you why you are in a bad mood and/or crying. Throw in masseuses and central air conditioning and I think we could sell a lot of people on the idea.

Now to convince the outside world we need 4-5 days off every month... we'll have to discuss that at a later meeting.

If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?
-Gloria Steinem

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Without an Umbrella

I was in four different states over the weekend: Texas, New Jersey, New York and Arkansas.

The weather was identical in all four locations; a slight coolness in the air and unrelenting rain. I packed poorly, seeing as this meant my favorite jeans were in various states of soaking wet for much of the weekend.

The last leg of the trip; Little Rock, Arkansas, was not a part of the original itinerary (see: weather and technical difficulties) but I made it home today and now find that it is 11:30 PM and tomorrow is indeed Monday.

I couldn't resist, I had to stay up and watch the crazies on the MTV Video Music Awards with my friends. Three words: totally worth it. Or just two: Lady Gaga.

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trust the Expert

MG came home from school yesterday, debating whether or not she should wash her hair and start all over with the getting-ready process for a date her Aunt set her up on for last night.

KS and I both responded that no, she didn't need to do that because her hair still looked good. KS also pointed out that she shouldn't look like she's trying too hard; look good but not too good, an understandable philosophy but one that confused us. When KS is the one going on a date, she's always dressed to the nines.

KS is our resident guru, mind you, concerning all things Male since they may as well be aliens as far as MG and I know. KS seems to understand them a bit better, on a non-extraterrestrial level.

Without missing a beat or looking up from her laptop, KS pointed a finger in the air and said:

Do as I say, not as I do.

Touché, my friend. Case. Closed.