27 March 2011

Summer Plans

For vacation this summer Husby and I are going to west Texas. Yee haw! Our vacation last year to Europe was a definitely a splurge. Being the planner that I am, tonight I decided to research a few destinations to hit. Our trip is inspired by a class trip I took in middle school.

When I was in eighth grade our science teacher took three dozen students to west Texas for a week. Can you EVEN IMAGINE taking that many middle schoolers that far away?! We traveled by Amtrak train from Dallas to Alpine, Texas, and then ventured to places including: Carlsbad Caverns, the Marfa lights, Big Bend, El Paso, and rafting down the Rio Grande for a picnic on the Mexico side (something not advised these days). We stayed at Prude Ranch--a dude ranch where they warned us not to venture from our cabins after bedtime for fear of javelinas. Amazingly, it worked, even though we were pretty sure it was a fictional animal. Turns out--they're real. (And now a HUGE problem in Texas.) They also told us ghost stories about the ranch. I realize now that was probably in an attempt to scare us into not leaving our cabins at night. Smart people.

As a side note of very little importance, I came to loathe pimiento cheese after this trip and didn't eat it for at least 15 years after. For three lunches we had a very simple pimiento cheese--grated cheese mixed with mayonnaise--on white bread. But then I somehow convinced myself to take a tiny bite of pimiento cheese from Central Market, and I liked it. They use fine grated cheese, mayonnaise, pimientos, garlic powder and dill. It's yummy on crackers. Plus it hasn't been sitting in the bottom of a chartered bus for five hours. It really makes a difference.

Now back to our trip. We've talked about visiting each of the places I did on our trip, including McDonald Observatory and Fort Davis. As well as a couple of other sites like Monahans Sandhills and Balmorhea Springs. Although it will be a lot of driving, I think it'll be fun. Plus, we can listen to some books on tape. Like every other cool couple I know. Right?

We thought it'd be super fun, as well, to camp at Big Bend National Park. So I pulled up that information to read about reservations and such. I thought it'd be wise to read about safety at Big Bend. Of course, I realize it's in the desert, so water is essential. I also realize that snakes are in the wild. And we're going into the wild. I wasn't prepared for the sentence that read: inspect your shoes and sleeping bag before use. At which point I announced to Husby that we would not be camping in a tent at Big Bend. This girl does not do rattlesnakes. (Or any other kind of snake, really.) Instead, I'll find a cute little cabin that will keep us from  lions and snakes and bears. They're all out there in the wild of west Texas.

24 March 2011

Over the past 14 days...

  • We celebrated Pi Day by ordering our favorite pizza from a local Italian restaurant. My grandparents always called it "pizza pie" so I think it's totally appropriate. Plus I didn't have to cook it. This celebration pales in comparison to previous celebrations that included: chicken pot pie, coconut cream pie, quiche and Husby's introduction to the Moon Pie. But we love pizza and Bruno's, so we'll survive. I was close to making a dessert pie, but I had zero desire to cook.
  • I've had little desire to cook until this week. The reason? The week following spring break included TIME CHANGE. To the people in Tyler who chose that week as spring break: EPIC FAIL. (All schools in Tyler [public, private and colleges] take spring break them same week.) Not only was is cold and dark outside when I left the first day after break, but all of my friends had a different spring break. It's just not fair. Well, except for the fact that I got a week off in the middle of the year.
  • I'm participating in an NCAA bracket at school. Faculty and students are able to play. I wasn't going to, but then I remembered how well I did at the Oscar party without knowing anything about the movies. I decided to choose the team either by which school I like best or which team colors I like best. Turns out that was the way to go! Out of 46, I'm in 8th place right now. And I'm leading all other faculty. I offered my boss to help him pick his bracket for next year. He asked if my final four were are still in the bracket, and I just laughed. I have NO CLUE who I put in the final four. Although I'm pretty sure I picked Ohio State to win it all.
  • We have some other really exciting stuff happening [not in the form of babies], and I hope to share it in the next few weeks.

10 March 2011


I often have fun stories after a trip to WalMart. Things just happen to me. I recently decided that I would become a WalMart shopper. I wanted to save a little cash. However, a couple of weeks later, I realized my ways and swore off WalMart once again. Mainly because of the consumerism aspect of WM and how badly they treat their employees. I've returned to the land of Target (perhaps not much better with consumerism, but they do treat employees well) and our locally owned grocery store. Even though I visit two stores for my weekly shopping, I don't have as much stress when I'm done. Mainly because the buggies don't sound like a snare drum with marbles inside being shaken.

But today, I have a great story from our grocery store. It was rather desolate because a NEW and IMPROVED store by the same company opened today. I had a cashier and bag boy immediately. As I walked out of the store, in front of my bag boy wearing a trapper hat in 68 degree weather, this was our convo:

Him (VERY excited): Have you seen Burlesque?!
Me: No, no I haven't.
Me: Oh, okay, I'll put it on my list of movies to wa---
Him: Some people say it's a chick flick, but I don't think so. IT'S JUST GOOD!
Me (smiling): Well, okay. I'll have to see i---
Him: It has Cher! CHER!
Me (smiling bigger): She is talented, isn't she?
Me: Thank you for the recommendation.

I love moments like these. Sometimes I think that there's a video camera catching my reaction when these things happen to me. And in real life, I'm a great story teller, so trust that this was absolutely hilarious!

09 March 2011

Lent & Shopping

Growing up in a Baptist church, we didn't acknowledge Lent. It just isn't practiced. I think the first time I heard about it was in college. I worked for my mom, and her Hispanic employees asked me what I planned to give up for Lent. I was challenged. Although I still didn't know exactly what Lent was, I did understand the premise of sacrifice. I knew that if it was important to these girls that I needed to do it. I'm pretty sure I gave up chocolate. H.A.R.D., also known as sacrifice.

It's been about ten years since I first started practicing Lent. And I've learned so much more about it. Now, I work at an Episcopal school where we have weekly chapel. Truth be told, I didn't enjoy chapel the first few months. It was so different than my "normal." But now, I really like it; I even look forward to it. I love certain prayers. I love the Apostles' Creed (and get a little giddy each time it's said). I love Eucharist. I love the thought that each person participating in that service on Thursdays is saying the exact same prayer. And now it's time for Lent.

A month ago, I thought I'd give up Diet Coke for Lent. I seriously had a problem. That was resolved ahead of time. I thought I might do it anyway; it'd be easy. But since Lent involves preparation for Easter, including through self-denial, I figured I should do something that will benefit me. Guess what I picked? The thing that takes up WAY to much time in my life:

That's right. I won't be on facebook for 46 days. I even deleted the app from my iPhone to avoid  temptation. Day one hasn't been super-challenging in the disconnection aspect (although I have been shopping all day). But when I get onto my computer, it's automatic for me to type "fa", hit the down arrow once and arrive at facebook. (I had a conversation with some of my students about this. We all seemed to think it's a little strange to sit down at a computer and stare at facebook without any recollection of going to the site.)

So, if you need me, you can email me or call me or text me or comment here.

(Oh, I have one caveat. I plan to go onto my account and disable my wall on my upcoming birthday. It's a whole other issue, but I don't care for 200 "friends" to wish me a good day. With that many posts, the important wishes get lost. If you are my friend and want to offer birthday wishes, text me or call me. Or send a great gift.)

Today I went shopping with my mom and mother-in-law. We shopped until we dropped. Almost literally for me. I don't always wear appropriate footwear, so my little feet were tired. My mother-in-law is able to shop at Dallas Market Center--where retailers buy their merchandise. Guess what I picked out? Christmas stuff! I have absolutely NO MORE ROOM for Christmas decorations, but I'll worry about that in a few months when it's shipped.

After Market, we lunched (very late) at Taverna. Oh, it was so YUMMY. We each ordered something different and shared. I had little pasta "pillows" filled with Gorgonzola cheese and pears topped with a cream sauce, arugula and walnuts. The two other dishes were penne with tomatoes and basil and butternut squash tortellini with fried sage. They were all amazing. We splurged with dessert and coffee, and then headed for a little more shopping at Sur la Table and Pottery Barn. In order to balance the Christmas decorations bought earlier in the day, I practiced self-control and purchased only one thing. We've been talking about it for almost 1.5 years of marriage, every time we have a watery salad, so I finally bought a salad spinner. But not just any salad spinner, I found a collaspible salad spinner.

I'm thinking functional and easy to store. Husby will love this combo. Unlike our new Christmas decorations. He just doesn't understand cute, non-functional items. Luckily he has me, both cute and functional. Now, I can make even better salads. And have an even cuter house at Christmas.

07 March 2011

Weekend Update

This weekend was so nice. I've had such a busy two weeks, especially in the evenings. Truth be told, I love staying home at night. We don't go out to dinner much, or at least we do take out. Especially on Friday nights. It's like we're retired folk. This weekend revolved around television and movies. We decided that we must see a movie or two since we didn't see any of those nominated for Academy awards. We hit up Blockbuster Express on Friday night before a quick trip to grab a burger. While we ate, we watched Top Chef All-Stars.

We're HUGE fans of Top Chef, and self-proclaimed foodies who love a drive-thru burger. After being extremely satisfied with the outcome of the episode, we popped in:

Oh, it's so good! Not like I have to announce that to my blog readers--or anyone else in the world--since we're a good year behind the curve. I admit that I cried a little, mostly at the end when Andy is playing with his toys again.

On Saturday, our plan was to see two movies, but the theater changed the times, so we were only able to see one:

It's definitely worth every award it won. I loved it. It doesn't hurt that I'd watch Colin Firth in anything; I think he's an amazing actor. I haven't seen The Fighter, but Christian Bale must have been more than fabulous to win the Academy award since Geoffrey Rush did an outstanding job in The King's Speech.

On our way home, we stopped by Blockbuster Express to return Toy Story 3, and I had a coupon code for Buy 2, Get 1 Free. So we rented three more movies. After dinner with my parents (my mom's first time for sushi, chopsticks and  martinis), Husby and I watched:

First of all, a couple of years ago I deleted Mark Zuckerburg as my facebook friend for unknown reasons except that I didn't know why he needed to be my friend. After watching this movie, I feel good about this decision. It was a good movie, but not nearly as good as The King's Speech. Oh, and this was the first time that I wanted to hit Justin Timberlake.

We watched Inception last night. Truth be told, I thought more in that 2.5 hours than I planned to think during Spring Break. Half the time, I didn't know if we were watching a dream OR a dream within a dream OR a dream within a dream within a dream without really thinking about it. Again, great movie, but I'm still glad The King's Speech won the Academy Award for Best Movie.

Confession: I love Will Ferrell. And Marky Mark. And funny movies. I can't wait to watch this.

Also, I was able to watch the premier of:

It's my guilty pleasure. I loved Bethenny Getting Married, so I'm super excited that she's on for another season.

Husby and I also watched this weeks:

If you don't watch this, you should. It is laugh out loud HILARIOUS. Every week. We laugh at it, and then look at each other and smile because the things that happen in this show are things that could (and have) happened to us.

Our goal of watching movies and TV this weekend was more than met. I think I wound up watching 11 hours total. Impressive, right? I have plans for Spring cleaning over my one week break, and maybe a couple of other movies.

Have a great Monday!

03 March 2011

It's March...

I cannot believe that it's March! And praise the Lord that I only have one more day until Spring Break! I think this has been the longest week ever. It just won't end. Normally, I'm not one that lives for the weekend, but for some reason I haven't been able to wait for a break.

I know that I'm about 5 days late for an Oscar post, but let's pretend that you're still interested. I went to a party hosted by someone in our Sunday school class. It was just the girls, so we were able to critique dresses, jewelry and hairstyles to our hearts' desire. Included with our invites were ballots for Oscar predictions. We were supposed to complete them in time for the party. I waited until the day of the party before completing mine. I did a little Googling as research, looking at a few people who are known to be spot on with their predictions. Turns out, I'm good at choosing those that others predicted. One of the prizes given at our party was for Best Predictor, and I won. Here's my cute trophy:

I guessed 20 out of 23 categories. Not too shabby! Especially since I haven't seen ANY of the Best Picture nominees. That's right, none. In fact, off of the whole ballot, I've only seen three: How to Train Your Dragon, Alice in Wonderland and Iron Man 2. I'm not sure where me and Husby have been over the past year, but it's not been at the theatre. We decided that we'll see two movies this weekend: The King's Speech and Gnomeo & Juliet. Over Spring Break, I plan to rent Toy Story 3 and maybe one other.

On Tuesday night, I went with a group of girls, including my mom and college roommate to see Mamma Mia on stage. I'll admit that I really wasn't impressed with the movie. In fact, I hated wasting two hours of my life seeing it. But the musical is better. It's not Wicked or Les Mis, but it's cute and entertaining. And the music is good. I've been humming several tunes over the past couple of days.

Adriane & me

Front Row: Mom, Velda, Bonnie (my 2nd mom)
Back Row: Me, Adriane, Allison (like a sister)

You wouldn't know it from the pictures, but during the musical, Allison and I both got sick. I got a migraine, and let me tell you, that's tons of fun while in a musical! Especially one with a dance scene at the end with lights going everywhere. We headed back to our house for a quick supper when it was over. Except that I couldn't really eat more than ice cream. (Don't ask why, but when I have a migraine, I often want ice cream.) When Adriane and I were in college, we found the best Blue Bell ice cream EVER. And for some reason, they no longer make Good Heavens: chocolate and vanilla ice cream with sugar cookie dough and chocolate chip cookie dough. It was so good. Last week I found this at the store:

It's cake batter ice cream with sugar cookie dough pieces. Umm...yes, please! It didn't disappoint.

(As a side note: in college, we'd also go to the nearby gas station for pints of vanilla ice cream and a candy bar. We made our own marble slab creations. Except that it was on formica at our apartment. Oh, the memories.)

(Also, we both LOVE Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. Although we both prefer the Little Debbie Valentine's Brownies. There may have been a box of these for decoration purposes at dinner this week.)

(One more thing...I could eat my weight in Little Debbie Fudge Rounds. I know they're not classy, but they're yummy!)

Adriane and I were able to finally exchange Christmas gifts! We gave each other books. When we went to hear Shauna Niequist speak a few months ago, she recommended a cookbook that's a fun read. I'd forgotten all about it, so I was super excited to open:

I plan to read it over Spring Break. For Adriane, I found a 60 year old book about composers. (Adriane is getting her Master's in ethnomusicology, so I know she'd appreciate it.) On the inside page was a note written from one friend to another wishing her a Merry Christmas. I was able to replicate it on the facing cover. I was so excited to give her this gift. And I found it way before Christmas, so I've told her all along about her super great present. It's a good thing she liked it! I have no shame in being proud of gifts. Ha!

I'm off to a birthday dinner. A sweet girl I used to babysit is turning TWENTY. I can't believe it. She used to get so excited making a craft from empty toilet paper rolls. Now she's in college. And I'm going to have two servings of her birthday cake to make myself feel better. :)