Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roughing It

On any given weekday morning, my roommates and I don't cross paths with one another. Our schedules are different enough that we shuffle around our respective morning routines without running into each others coffee cups and hair-dryers.

Last Friday, however, I had taken the day off from work to wake up extra-early, shower, wake up KS at the offensive hour of 6:15 AM and get the car packed to leave for the airport. Our flight destination was San Antonio, but our final destination was Whisper Valley Ranch in Camp Verde, Texas, where we were to congregate with our friends for our third annual reunion with our girl-friends from college.

We all knew this year was going to be different than the past for two small reasons: Lydia and Staples.

"Who are Lydia and Staples?" you ask. Lydia is the 6 1/2-month-old daughter of our friend KM, and Staples is the 5-week-old daughter of my dear old roommate, KB.

To put things in perspective as to just how much of a difference a year makes: last August, KM was barely showing at the reunion and KB wasn't even pregnant yet.

Thursday night before our departure, KS had made homemade cinnamon rolls to bring along for breakfast one morning of the weekend. Because I'm evil, I posted a photo on Twitter of the final product just as the maple and coffee-enhanced frosting was poured on, and after generous sampling we dropped them off at KR's house on Friday morning because she was going to be driving down to the ranch later in the day, with AV and BF and her own homemade peanut butter cup cookies and AV's homemade brownies. Just imagine what their car smelled like for six whole hours. The repetition of the word "homemade" should not be lost on anyone, either.

Some of our friends had flown/driven in the Thursday night prior, but KS and I were the first to arrive on Friday around lunchtime. The ranch we were staying at for the weekend belongs to KB's grandparents-in-law and she and her husband got married there a little over two years ago.

So if you're paying attention, KB gave birth to her first child five weeks ago and is hosting her college friends at a ranch for the weekend. Just pause and consider, if you will, all that caring for a newborn entails, and then pause and consider the pandemonium that 16 girls are capable of creating. Now think about the limits of one's sanity.

Mr. B, the darling man who owns the place, came to the ranch for the weekend, and took those of us in town on Friday afternoon on a Jeep-tour of the property. It felt like being on safari because we saw everything from whitetail deer (which are native to Texas) to more exotic game like blackbeak antelope, scimitar oryx and lechwe.

It took a lot of brain cells for me to remember the names of animals I'd never seen before and more than a few Google searches to get the spelling down, so I felt the need to list all of them. High-five.

We knew going into the weekend that activities like horseback riding, fishing, and skeet-shooting were options, and after our guided tour, Mr. B took us to shoot skeet. Mike and Kenny, who work at the ranch, already had everything set up for us: guns, ammo and shooting earmuffs. After receiving the Reader's Digest version of gun safety (always keep the gun pointed down-range, etc.) they let us take turns practicing. I was less than great- I'm sure it had nothing to do with the ruffly white dress and red t-strap sandals I was wearing and more to do with "holding your left elbow too high" as my brother and father critiqued from the pictures I showed them after the trip.

And people wonder why I quit the golf team after my sophomore year of high school.

I got over my nervousness on Saturday morning because I didn't want to be the lame one of the bunch, so after Mike reminded me for the fourth time to shut my left eye and aim with my right, I ended up hitting five of them.

The rest of our friends starting arriving throughout the day on Friday and we sat and ate enchiladas, drank margarita bombs (don't ask) and talked and migrated around the house well into the night.

Saturday morning I woke up at a leisurely hour to a mostly-quiet house and a "gone fishin'" note from a few of our friends who had decided to get out early. A few of us got the coffee pot brewing and sat down to a Saturday morning free of errands, phone calls and obligations.

I don't know if there are many better weekend mornings that I could imagine than that one of drinking coffee, eating a warm cinnamon roll, staring out huge bay windows at a view of nothing but grass, trees and sky with my favorite people wandering in one-by-one. I challenge anyone to find better than that.

I neglected to mention that The Lodge (the house we were staying in) also had a pool in the backyard, so if you weren't inclined to the ranch-ier activities, you could lie in a lounge chair with a beer and a book.

KB would bring the Staples back and forth with her from the main house the entire weekend so that we could coo at the baby and ask her all of the things you never wanted to know about being a new mom. Lydia slept like a champ (12 hours at night + two daytime naps) and KM would even bring her in the pool with us to play, which she loved. Both moms somehow managed to juggle their always-moving little ones without missing the slightest beat in conversation.

After a full day of ranch activities on Saturday, KB's brother-in-law was nice enough to pick up barbecue for us from a nearby town. He's a year younger than us and most likely thought we were crazy, but he stuck around to make us a campfire for s'mores and stayed around to listen to the cadence of 16 girls talking at the same time.

Truth be told, the entire weekend was a blur of friends, babies, wilderness, good food and rest. This year has been lighter on weddings than the past two, so with friends that don't live in my Dallas radius, I hadn't seen many of them in quite a while. It was easier to part ways this time, knowing that even if I don't see some of them over the course of the next year, I know there will be another reunion.

Come what may: be it weddings, babies or different zip codes... none can stop what was started the day we met each other in College Station, all those years ago.

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
-Henry James

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Since You've Been Gone

{Disclaimer: MG left for Australia a week ago and will be there, on an internship, for five months. We miss her terribly.}

Dear MG-

Hi! How are you? How's tomorrow going so far (since it's still 11 PM in Dallas)?

A great many changes have happened in the neighborhood since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and settled; and one of my own daughters. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be.

Oh wait, no, I think I stole that from someone.

So you emailed me to blog and update you on what's going on around our lovely home- I'm glad you did since it's forcing me to sit and write, which I haven't had the patience to do recently.

We have been readjusting a bit since you left- getting used to the extra 5'10, 25-year-old girl-sized space that we have to fill. KS is slowly but surely transforming the downstairs hallway where your bedrooms are into a suite for she and Ruby. Valuable air conditioning and closet space should never go to waste, after all.

We went to Northpark together to go shopping last weekend (I know- who let that happen?) and we did the most damage at Lululemon, of all places. There's nothing like skin-tight yoga clothes to keep you motivated and attending bi-weekly power yoga classes though, I will say that. I'm also mere centimeters from being able to touch my toes, which I consider an accomplishment since my hamstrings have the natural flexibility of a 2 X 4.

We saw Inception last Friday night- have you seen it yet? I thought it was great, but the most recent movies I had seen prior to it were Charlie St. Cloud (I know, don't judge me) and Eclipse, so the bar was embarrassingly low. We went with AW, KR, MK and CC- MK was the only one who has seen it already and she took a 30-minute field trip in the middle of the movie to go check out a shirt she wanted from J.Crew.

You'll be pleased to hear that the Rangers are still playing well, though I went to the game last night and watched them lose 7-6 after being up 6-1 over the Yankees. It was frustrating but still a good game and they're still playing well with a good lead in the AL-West. KS kindly lets me turn on the games seemingly every night, and the length of the 162-game-long season is not lost on her at all. She is a saint.

You should check the weather to give yourself a good laugh- it's unbelievably hot here. Snuggle up in your North-Face when the temperatures get into the 50's at night in Sydney tonight and congratulate yourself on migrating to another hemisphere. That was a brilliant move on your part.

Ruby is still alive and told me to send you her love and favorite tennis ball... though you could probably do without the tennis ball.

Tomorrow night I'm going out for our friend RM's bachelor party. Yes, you read that correctly: bachelor party. He's doing a bigger, more bachelor-y weekend in Norman next month with his groomsmen, but he wanted a fun night out in Dallas with his best girl friends as well. I don't really know what to expect, since in the words of MK: "For this night, if we are asking ourselves if it's too much, it's just right."

Wish me luck? I'll need it: I'll be in heels.

I miss you dearly, but I'm excited for you. I can't wait to hear more about Sydney very soon- do we need to start skype-ing? Hope you have a great Friday, M.



One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.
-Andre Gide

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Thing About Roller-Skating

One of my best friends from college, KB, is supposedly having a baby tonight, though I wouldn't know because apparently you don't text when you're having contractions and under the influence of an epidural.

Who knew?

Also: please don't Google Image "epidural"- just take my word for it.

She is experiencing her first night as an almost-mother, I found myself needing to make my first trip to American Apparel.

My how things have changed.

So yes: American Apparel. I needed to make a trip to the store because there is an 80's-themed roller-skating birthday party for my friends CC and MK on Friday night (yes- we are 25-year-olds) and American Apparel is nothing if not known for their outlandish leggings/leotards/cropped t-shirts.

I thought I could find something that would work. I thought wrong.

I found myself in the back of the store with a dude wearing a tank top with a sleeveless button-down sweater vest and loose khakis that look like they had been rolled almost to his knees. What for? I don't know. Maybe he had to cross a river on his way to work (on foot) today. Maybe he really likes the Huck Finn look.

Anyway- Huck Finn was telling me about a girl getting ready for an 80's party who had come in and purchased the black lace leggings with a tutu, some random top, a leather jacket and accessories to look like Madonna. From what I could tell, that was an expensive costume.

The shiny leggings that he was showing me were $42 alone. $42 for terrible spandex pants in colors that cannot be named.

I should also mention that I have no plans to actually roller-skate at this party. My last roller-skating experience came and went at another birthday party for a friend (I think we were 6 or 7) and some maniac racing across the rink flew across traffic on the floor, taking me out with him, and resulting in a broken arm for me. The following day was also the first time I ever fainted in my life, so all-in-all it was a great weekend.

The whole point of this story is really the fact that my 80's outfit will not actually see any action on Friday night- I will be content to hang out with my friend AS, who is pregnant, or MG's boyfriend, who wears a size 17 shoe and suspects that the local roller rink does not carry that size.

I eventually gave up on AA after giving it a five-minute window of opportunity, so I headed to my happy place: Nordstrom, where I was pleasantly surprised to find that their Anniversary Sale is still going on.

And maybe I bought this:

While I'm proud to be a child of the 80's, I thankfully don't have to dress like one.

Farmer Ted: You wanna know what happened? Buy the book.
-Sixteen Candles, 1984

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

I haven't been taking the time to blog recently. Probably because... oh, I don't know, I was underwhelmed by Eclipse? I've given yoga a second chance? I've been baking birthday cakes? I've been watching soccer and baseball and wondering what in the world LeBron James is thinking?

And of course, it's summer, and since I spend all day working, the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit in front of a computer.

There it is, and here we are.

So: down to business.

Let's start with Eclipse. I started reading the Twilight series in the first place because I missed the thrill of the Harry Potter novels (which I started reading as a teenager). I read all four Twilight novels and liked them well enough, but I knew even two years ago that they paled in comparison to what J.K. Rowling created. Are Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner attractive? Yes. Did I leave the movie theater Sunday night swooning over fictional predators? No.

I've also been on a birthday-cake-making kick recently.

KS and I made Ina Garten's Double-Chocolate Layer Cake for MG's birthday about a month ago (which I would highly recommend if you enjoy the combination of coffee and chocolate) and I also made BF a red velvet cake a few weeks ago using this recipe I found via TasteSpotting. I can't recommend that website enough, by the way.

After being disappointed over the lackluster showing of Eclipse, I asked KS if she would want to try another nearby yoga studio on Monday morning, since we had it as a holiday.

(MG has been gone a lot recently, if you can't tell. Come home soon, dear friend!)

We found a power yoga studio near us and ended up in an 8:30am class which was thankfully about 25 degrees cooler and far less crowded than the Bikram class we took a few months ago. And you know what? I liked it. A lot. All I needed was a little climate control.

As for the world of sports: the World Cup final is this Sunday. Spain will take on The Netherlands and both teams will be battling for their first-ever World Cup Final win. It's compelling and rich.

The Texas Rangers are currently leading the AL West and have been fun to watch the past six weeks or so from the comfort of my couch in my air-conditioned house, because did I mention how much I enjoy climate-controlled rooms? (Even though, as I type this, they are having an 8th inning melt-down against the Baltimore Orioles).

Regarding LeBron James, NBA free-agent extraordinaire who created quite the circus and landed himself an hour-long show tonight on ESPN called "The Decision"- I'd love to know what he is thinking. He just left a solid career with a team built around him (players, coaches, GM) for Miami, where he undoubtedly hopes to win championships by joining forces with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. He essentially broke-up with the city of Cleveland on live television.

Is he deliberately trying to alienate himself from his home state? What does his behavior say about kids my age (we are both 25 year old)? And why does he wear so much Louis Vuitton?

So many rhetorical questions; even fewer answers.

Good night, world.

Ousier: I'm not speakin' to you.
Drum: Oh, what a shame!
Ousier: I mean it, Drum.
Drum: Ouiser, can we call a truce long enough for me to get a piece of cake?
[Ouiser slices him the tail piece of red velvet armadillo cake]
Drum: Aww, thanks Ouiser. Nothin' like a good piece of ass*.
-Steel Magnolias, 1989

*Please pardon the French.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sonnet #18

I had to memorize this as a 5th grader and I still know it to this day. Since summer officially began this week, I thought it was appropriate- it's one of my favorites.

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Leftovers

For all their transience, I still love having fresh flowers around the house.

One of KS's best friends from college, AL, got married on Saturday. KS hosted a brunch for her at our house the morning of the wedding (and gets top-marks for pulling it off as she was also a co-Maid-of-Honor and understandably busy).

As KS and I were up assembling tea sandwiches until about half-past midnight on Friday, we had to laugh at the number of late nights we've spent in the kitchen in the name of being good hostesses and wanting people to feel welcome in our home.

And we love it.

I sadly did not manage to take any photos at the wedding, but KS and our fun guest for the weekend, Dani (who flew in from England to attend the wedding) brought home about eight vases full of flowers from the reception.

Dani was darling to have around and even left us chocolate that she brought over from London as a gift.

In all my admiring of the flowers, I didn't look over to the couch in our front room until later in the evening, asking aloud: "K- is that AL's veil?" K: "Oh yeah, I had to grab it before she went into the reception- it ended up in my backseat."

And now it has its own couch.

And we have flowers and chocolate.

Everyone wins.

Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nacogdoches, Texas

My roommate and fellow World Cup (ahem- Fernando Torres) lover, KS, invited all of the Community Group girls down to her hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas last weekend.

We happily obliged and left directly after work on Friday- piling seven girls in one Suburban and hitting the road. (And get this- we didn't. Stop. Once. It was a Christmas miracle.)

KS left on Thursday to prepare for our arrival and greeted us right at the sun was going down, at her parents' lovely home on the end of a one-lane road in East Texas, three little King Charles spaniels right at her heels.

Nacogdoches was the place to be this weekend because of the annual Blueberry Festival that was going on. There was blueberry pie, cobbler, ice-cream, lemonade and anything else you could dream of that would be good with fruit on it. It was fantastic.

Nacogdoches is also the proud hometown of US Soccer Team star, The Deuce: Clint Dempsey, if you've been following the World Cup. Apparently we brought him luck, since he scored against England to tie the game on Saturday afternoon.

We spent the better part of Saturday afternoon, evening and night next to the pool in the S's backyard- laying out, chatting, grilling burgers, corn and peaches that tasted burger-ish (but tasted great with Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell), then settling in for a great late-night chat until about 3 AM.

We had agreed to wake up and get going Sunday morning for the girls who needed to be back for church commitments- so we were up by 7 and on the road by 7:45 AM and once again made it home without stopping. Instead, we ate our body weight in pretzel sticks and listened to a WoW 2000 CD that MK's mom had in the car.

It took us back to the good old days of high school youth group- when four hours was considered a sufficient night's sleep and didn't cause you to collapse on a Sunday afternoon and be completely out of commission for an entire day... like it does when you're in your mid-twenties, evidently.

It was just what we all needed...

No errands to run or places to be but on pool rafts and patio chairs.

No people to worry about but each other.

The perfect little getaway.

It is only in the country that we can get to know a person...
-Cyril Connolly

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Throwing Like a Girl- World Cup Preview

I did some purging of the DVR recordings tonight.

Why, you ask? Because the World Cup is starting.

I think it's safe to say that I enjoy watching the World Cup more than the Olympics. Bold claim? Maybe- but I stand by it.

No matter where in the world you live, the chances are that one of the many televisions you will pass in the next month will be broadcasting one of many World Cup games. Though not every game is an elimination game, each one, each goal even, is still critical.

The World Cup only comes around once every four years. This time four years ago I was taking finance in College Station. In preparing for the second half of my summer, to be spent in Europe, I decided to embrace a huge part of their culture: soccer. Or football, depending on which side of the Atlantic you grew up on. Fast forward a month and a half to mid-July 2006 and I watched in the most crowded bar of all time in Caen, France with one large screen showing the game, as France lost to Italy in the finals. It was one of the most heated sports-viewing environments I had ever experienced, and I knew I would forever be hooked.

Daily Candy sent out a great little snippet of a video the other day with a skimming overview of things to know and players to watch. It would be wise to heed their advice and not ask if one team or another is off-sides.

Personally, my loyalty is to the U.S., but I'll have a close eye on Christiano Ronaldo (see below- shirtless...) and basically all of the players from Argentina and Brazil (see above.)

This is the first World Cup that does not include any teams that are qualifying for the first time (all of these teams have competed in the World Cup before.)

Teams from 32 nations will be competing.

This will be the first time that the tournament has been hosted by an African nation. (South Africa)

The team of the country hosting the World Cup automatically qualifies for the tournament.

Until 2006, the defending champion from the previous tournament also received automatic qualification, but the rules were changed and that team has to qualify as well.

The defending champion from 2006 is Italy.

Brazil has won more World Cup titles than any other country.

The much-anticipated first-round match-up of the U.S. vs. England is this Saturday!

Feel free to read more on Wikipedia about how the actual tournament works- they explain the round-robin and the single-elimination better that I can (and I must credit them for some of these facts, but some of them I also knew on my own, thankyouverymuch.)

If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.
-Bill Shankly

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three-Ring Circus

Friday night around 8:30 PM, KS, MG and I were all home for the evening.

I mean, you know- we were painting the town red: dancing the night away, flirting with boys in button-down shirts and were dropped off at our house by a cab just before sunrise.

(No but seriously, we were all home for the night at 8:30 PM.)

MG finished up school last week and we were all ready to wind down and hang out, so we ventured into the backyard with Ruby and Michelangelo (our turtle).

Poor Mike lives a pretty limited existence because he resides in a cage with some rocks and shallow water, next to a tea light and a hoard of cookbooks. We've recently been letting him "play" in the backyard, but he has to be supervised because he's about the size of a pocket watch and can be easily misplaced.

A month ago we got three plastic Adirondack chairs for our little porch and have thus been spending more evenings outside recently, so while Ruby was running around and Michael was trying to flee (he's surprisingly fast), we sat down to sit and chat.

Soon enough, we saw something scamper across the fence furthest from us, and subsequently heard rustling in the tree in the far corner of our yard. Squirrels don't really come out at night, so we thought it was a little odd, and then we remembered the ominous words of a recent exterminator who came to assess our ant problem: "You need to have someone come and check the attic- there are a few holes to the outside, which suggests there might be rats."


KS, who is fascinated by things that make me cringe, ran inside to grab a flashlight and investigate. Still in her work clothes, which included a floral-print pencil skirt and a ruffly cream-colored top (her four-inch Michael Kors heels were discarded by this time) she started creeping towards the noise with the stealth of her former life as a ballerina, holding the flashlight behind her back. MG was trying to make sure Ruby stayed away from Mike and that we knew where he was- lest we lose or step on him.

Not long after, KS and her flashlight indeed spotted a rat.

Then another, then another.

I was horrified by this point and MG brought her Mac outside and started Googling what to do when you have a rat problem. The idea of getting an outdoor cat was thrown out as a possibility but quickly disregarded because we decided that KS would probably secretly bring it inside during days that were too hot or too cold- feeding it warm milk and coddling it until it was fat and no longer had a rat-killer instinct.

Plus- can you even train a cat? That just sounds like work.

Because of Ruby, we can't just throw around rat poison either. She eats any and everything and while she has survived a harrowing Halloween candy-debacle, and trash and pantry raids, our neighbor told us that they attempted using rat poison once and their dog had to go to the animal hospital twice.

At some point MG went over to check out the rats and Ruby was cowering near the porch with me while I was trying to find the turtle, which I had misplaced. Poor Michael probably felt like Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Meanwhile, we had visitors arriving. Our friend AL came over with her fiance, and MG's boyfriend Z stopped by to see what was going on. I picked up Michael since there were way too many feet in the backyard at that point, and immediately Ruby became curious as to the edibility of the squirmy thing I was holding that was trying to swim through the air.

We took a tour of the perimeter of the house so that KS could show us where each of the alleged rat holes had been found.

Since there was nothing we could do about it at the time and KS "didn't have her BB-gun," we retired indoors for root beer and peach tea.

Because we all know that ignoring a problem is the best way to make it go away.

It is cheering to see that the rats are still around- the ship is not sinking.
-Eric Hoffer

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's Old is New Again

I spotted this little framed piece of greatness at an antique store in my hometown over the weekend:

I considered buying it, but I was already purchasing a few framed prints from other vendors for my newest home decorating project: my staircase. We just signed on for another year in our rental house and I'll be darned if I didn't walk into the newly renovated Kate Spade store in Northpark mall the other day and see this decorated wall and immediately decide to attempt something similar:

Forgive the poor iPhone photo- it was taken surreptitiously. You get the idea.

Oh and I bought this chair at an estate sale last Saturday. For $24:

Who wants to go look at fabric samples tomorrow? Nothing against the color pink but this fabric has seen better days. The better days were probably 40 years ago.

Have a great weekend!

A cheerful disposition is one that allows a tea kettle to sing while up to its neck in hot water.

-Unknown (from first photo)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day {Photos}

I figured that the day after Memorial Day would be the best for sharing some of the photos I took when I visited Pearl Harbor last month...

I think it's one of those places every American should visit once in their life.

And this is actually a photo of Omaha Beach from my study-abroad trip to France. It has to be one of the most peaceful places on Earth.

Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.
-John A. Logan

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Birthday Girl

As is customary for a roommate birthday, I have dedicated a post to MG, who is 25 today!

It has now officially been a year since MG, KS and I moved in together, and about a year and a half since MG and I were talking after Community Group one Thursday night and she introduced the idea of us living together.

I remember someone once asking us about the worst roommate argument we've had, and we all looked at each other like "Argue? We don't argue." It's true- maybe it's the fact that we each have our own bathroom, maybe it's that we all agree on the thermostat or pizza toppings or maybe three really IS a magic number- I don't know.

I'm glad that whatever we have, works.

Once again, I have to note that there are funny things you'll never know about people until you live with them. MG practices what she has coined "preemptive pepperminting"- grabbing a handful of mints upon entrance to a restaurant and eating them on the way to the table. She does not own a pair of plain white socks- they are all colored and patterned and there are dozens of them. MG loves anything she can buy in bulk and will also buy anything Cath Kidston puts her name on.

Every night when we are sitting around, chatting and winding down from the day, all 65 pounds of Ruby will climb on MG's lap and cuddle like a child. MG is the sun around which Ruby's whole existence rotates.

It frustrates you, MG, that I will never battle you over riding shot-gun, when in fact I prefer the back seat because it relieves me of navigational duties, it means I don't have to crane my neck around to talk to anyone and it allows me to smile conspiratorially at the drive in the rear-view mirror.

I'm thankful to have a friend like you who seems to be always on my wavelength. It's good to know that someone else in the world who understands what it is to love friends, love family and still crave time alone. We took the childhood lesson of not talking to strangers to a whole new level.

I love that literature has had the influence on your life that it has had on mine- that we can talk about anything from our favorite childhood books to our recent favorites. I think that both of us reading The Fountainhead even originated from taking a walk together and saying how grating it is when people are discussing a classic we haven't read.

Music, on the other hand, neither of us know anything about.

I hope that the teenagers in your classroom will one day overcome their apathy and understand how much they can learn from you. You are so darn smart.

I have a tendency of saying: "Surely not..." and you always cut me off with: "Don't call me Shirley." It never fails.

Should you ever end up living in a foreign country for a while, you can bet that KS and I will be your first visitors.

I am thankful for that semester we spent saving each other seats in freshman history, even though we were both too reserved and serious to actually talk to each other. It could seem like an odd beginning to great friendship, but I think for us it's pretty fitting.

Happy 25th birthday to someone who likes to fly under the radar. You give and serve and love in a real and genuine way, but your faith is what I admire most about you.

Hugging you will always be weird.

I love you, MG!

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'
-C.S. Lewis

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Secondary Comfort

It's just a fact of life you learn when you are a woman, that certain clothes were never meant to have a functional purpose.

When you were little, it was probably the tights your mother insisted you wear to Sunday School at church every week.

As you got older, you realized that while high-heels make for a more visually-appealing look, several hours in them at the expense of foot-circulation is a high price indeed.

I bought a printed sundress recently and loved the fit of it in the dressing room. Strapless, structured without being formal, interesting print, fitted from the top to the waist, then allowing for more movement and give from the waist down to where it hit right above the knees.

I put the dress in my closet where I left it to wait for warmer summer temperatures.

The other night I was at dinner with my parents, my mom's sisters and their families. My cousin KH and I were at one end of the table eating guacamole and talking about how irresponsible we feel for shopping when we have clothes with tags still on them, just sitting in our closet.

Then MK and I were emailing and she said that she needs a new hobby "other than, you know, spending money." And, again, I found myself agreeing.

So as I was getting ready for work yesterday morning I resolved to take a fresh look at my clothes and wear one of my recent purchases from the past few months.

I spotted the strapless dress and threw it on for work with a black cardigan and gray flats, then congratulated myself on a cute, work-appropriate outfit.

I wasn't paying attention to the binding nature of the top of the dress while driving, but after sitting at my desk and work, I became acutely aware of the boning in the top of the dress.

You see, this dress was not meant for the practical, everyday occurence of sitting down.

It's meant for a bridal shower, a night out with friends on a patio perhaps, or window shopping in a beachy locale. The boning makes you stand up straight and I would imagine it looks good with heels, therefore gives you a more flattering overall look.

It was not, however, intended for someone to wear while working on spreadsheets, sitting at a desk for 7-8 hours a day.

Hencefore I'll prefer my daytime, non-event dresses to be boneless.

The dress must not hang on the body but follow its lines. It must accompany its wearer and when a woman smiles the dress must smile with her.
-Madeleine Vionnet

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Team Players

I made pulled pork for dinner on Sunday night.

It was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I don't do a lot of slow-cooking for the sake of timing, but on a Sunday afternoon, it's completely doable.

Unfortunately for everyone else, the only photo I took was of the noble clean-up efforts by Ruby. MG, KS, BF and Molly's boyfriend Z ate the entire 2 1/2 pounds of it. Oh and myself, I may have helped a bit too.

With peach cobbler made by MG and homemade vanilla Blue Bell for dessert.

I plan to make it again soon, since it was so easy and delicious. I'll be sure to get photographic evidence and post the recipe since it would seem downright unfair to keep it to myself.

BF also had us over Friday night for a cookout- sliders with all sorts of burger-topping options and anything you could ever want to eat with burgers, so we were really just returning the favor.

I adore nights like those- I wish I could make them happen more during the week days, when a home-cooked meal is exactly what everyone needs.

Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.
-Walt Kelly

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Tarzan

There was a sale that started at Neiman Marcus today.

If a panic just set in and you're screaming: "Why did no one tell me?" please just know that I did it for your own good. Believe me.

KS has a radar unlike anything you've ever seen as to the goings-on at Neiman's. She already had a few things on hold a few days ago, when MG popped in last night with two dresses- one to keep and wear to a graduation she is speaking at for an elementary school that is uber old-school and requires a demure, non-pants-wearing dress code for their teachers. Oh and she's supposed to return the other one.

Right. Mhmm. I know that game- I've played it well.

So anyway, while she was trying the dresses on to get our votes, KS filled me in on the sale: today all of the new Neiman's merchandise would be 40% off. Shop early and find a well-stocked store waiting to take your money. Shop late and they'll have nothing left.

Equally frightening prospects.

I looked online and found that one Ali Ro dress I had spied recently fell under the umbrella of this sale. It's the only thing I allowed myself to consider purchasing because I knew if I started in with the Rebecca Taylor dresses and the Tory Burch sandals, then that would be the end of my bank account. The problem with ordering it online was that I hadn't tried it on- so I made my way to a nearby Neiman's location during my lunch hour.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not sure which, they did not have the dress, period. When I glanced back at the online listing in my phone, I noticed that they were out of all but one size online and it wasn't mine.

Did you hear that noise? That was a sigh of relief from my checking account. It will live to see another day.

While scanning the racks for my elusive dress, I noticed one-shoulder dresses everywhere, or as my friend AS called them in high school: "Tarzan dresses." I would by no means make an entire wardrobe out of them, but I think one could make a nice addition to my closet this summer.

Particularly there is pink dress one I keep seeing on SJP in the SATC 2 trailers, which I believe to be the Halston Heritage dress I found on Net-A-Porter, below...

This one is aiming a bit high for me but I would love a more casual version of a one-shouldered look.

Particularly with the long sleeve too. It might not go so well with the backyard cookout I'm attending this weekend... but I never really need an excuse to wear a dress, anyhow.

If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late?
-J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Monday, May 10, 2010


I was going through my photos from the past few months and realized that most of the ones I take I don't end up posting.

Possibly because I'm not too quick with the camera-to-laptop upload. There is some bureaucracy that involves me not always being able to find that particular USB cord.


I found a few photos of twosomes that I particularly liked, so I wanted to share...

In an old house in Paris
That was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines.
-Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans