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