Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Risks of Spontaneous Pontification

There are some moments that are made for taking risks. When you completely embrace the spontaneity of life. You make a run straight for destiny.

It was in this spirit that Joey and I decided to take a leap.

We tried out a new restaurant.

I know...we're big-time risk takers.

I'm not gonna lie. We were scared. In fact, we had to talk ourselves into it while we were in the parking lot. Afterall, we knew there were a few restaurants down the road where we could walk in and high five the waiters from familiarity. Comfort and reliability were just a few blocks away.

Should we do this?

Joey was going to do a little reconnaissance before we committed. As we were talking it through and as if on cue, the hostess opened the door. She had apparently been watching us from the window. She was a smart one, she was. Or maybe she just thought we were casing the joint. Regardless, the opportunity for recon work and peeling out of the parking lot was now gone.

We were committed.

I wish I could tell you that we found a new favorite restaurant. That we struck gold. A diamond in the rough. I wish I could tell you that we found out that Bobby Flay had a secret restaurant where he liked to masquerade as an ingenue cook in Katy, Texas. It was not to be.

First off the spice level had me choking throughout dinner. Did someone spike my soup with a wicked cocktail of cayenne, jalapeno juice and a cup of black pepper?

Then upon first bite of the second entree I thought that my taste buds had been stunned into brokenness from the aforementioned soup. But no. For all the flavor of the first dish, the second had no flavor at all. It was terrible. Play-doh spaghetti noodles have more flavor and substance than these.

So I gave the waitress heck. I mean, I sent back dish after dish. Exclaiming "What do you call this mush?" while faking being a restaurant critic just to strike fear in their hearts.

Ah, you know me too well. I did absolutely nothing. Nothing! In fact, it gets worse.

The waitress comes by as I've just finished telling Joey that my tongue is permanently damaged and will never taste again. What does she ask? "How is it?"

Here's my chance. The moment of truth for this restaurant hangs on this fake restaurant critic's words.

"It's great!" I say with a numb mouth full of Play-doh noodles.

I could not bear to do it. She was too sweet. The restaurant too new. They were hoping I would like it too much.

This went on for three more waitress passes.

And it gets worse.

She looked at the uneaten food on my plate and asked me if I wanted to get a to-go box. I wish my mouth really had been numbed completely. This is practically a diner's seal of approval.

I got the box.

I'm a coward.

She still thinks their food is great.

Joey is fairly baffled by this behavior.

Odds are this restaurant's days are numbered. The Play-doh noodles and taste bud killing soup niche is already at capacity anyway. And my conflict avoidance is only delaying the inevitable. But at least the waitress isn't having a bad night because of me. Am I the only one who does this?

I could never be a food critic. Or one of those judges on Chopped. One sappy story about how they're making the vanilla bean and kale chutney over veal in honor of their mother who always believed in them and I would be done.

On the plus side, I've got Play-doh noodles for lunch tomorrow. And maybe the next day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wistfully White Weekend

Ahh...Labor Day weekend. I love it. It's a last long summer stretch that's just right.

It also happens to put an end to all things white. So like all practical girls, I wore all my white stuff out this past week until it was black and blue. I just have to make sure my summer white wardrobe has been fully taken advantage of before banishment to the back of my closet until Easter.
Am I the only one who goes into a frenzy with seasonal clothes before The Change?

My wardrobe days went like this:

Monday - white pants
Tuesday - ruffled white shirt with linen tweed paints
Wednesday - off white flowy shirt with white and taupe striped pants
You get the picture...

I wore everything white that I own with the exception of my wedding dress and had there been one more work day in the week it might have even made an appearance. Wouldn't my co-workers have been surprised if I would have shown up in my wedding dress? "Oh, this old thing?" - that's what I would have said.

I always tend to do this the week before Labor Day. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE fall and color clothing options that come with it, but I feel completely guilty about not having spent quality time with the whites in my closet. I'm hoping that this last ditch effort will prevent them from seeking therapy once placed on the back hanger. If you see them on Montel Williams you at least know I gave it a shot. Is that still on?

Meanwhile, guess what was added to Joey's wardrobe last week?

Yup. Kelly Kapowski. Apparently it was 90's week at his Crossfit gym. Joey seemed to be quite pleased with his new shirt. Kelly was his favorite on Saved by the Bell. I always thought Jessie and Lisa were prettier than Kelly, but apparently that's just me. I really think this shirts all talk. There's no way Joey would EVER wear this. I can't even get him to wear pastels or patterns so I doubt it if Kelly Kapowski comes out of the closet. If you see me on Montel Williams, you know what happened.
Hope you and your family had a great Labor Day Weekend and are well-rested! Also, I hope you wore out your whites too!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Elizabeth's Coffee

Elizabeth. I know very little about her personally. I know she likes to collect what some might consider junk and make it into something beautiful. I know she has a grandchild that lives many states away.

I would guess she's in her late fifties or early sixties, but her sparkly blue eyes could convince you that she's no more than sixteen. She's one of those people that you know has seen a lot of life. She has long thick blond hair that is always held together in a parade of ponytails. She has a a scar above her lip and walks with a slight limp. I found the latter out after several months of knowing her.

Elizabeth works behind the Cafe on the Go check-out counter at HEB. I visit two to three times each week. Now, I love the salad bar at HEB and a Sweet Leaf Tea on the go. But, honest? I go to see Elizabeth.

She knows about the odds and ends of my life. Anything beyond my routine salad and Sweet Leaf purchase and Elizabeth will get to the bottom of it. She often knows what we'll be having for dinner that night, if one of us is sick, when it's my grandmother's birthday and even when I'm having a chocolate craving. I suppose you can learn a lot about a person by what they pick up at the grocery store. It's odd to think about someone knowing so many little things about you and not even knowing their last name.

But it's Elizabeth, so it's okay.

We usually talk about the upcoming weather, how it's tough that it's a Monday or how great that we've almost made it to the weekend. When the big stuff happens in life I want to tell her. But then I remember that she doesn't know any of the big stuff.

It was mid-morning and I wasn't in work clothes. I came to her counter with a strawberry ricotta muffin and poured a cup of coffee. When it came to be my turn to check-out, Elizabeth sized me up with my out-of-routine time and out-of-the-ordinary muffin and coffee. She rang it up and smiled quietly saying "That will be a $1.50 for the muffin." I asked, "Did you add the coffee?" "Nope, you've never had coffee before." She said this with her blue eyes twinkling that told me to just go with it and she began to check-out the next person in line.

Elizabeth knew this day was very different. It was more than Muffin-and-Coffee-Out-of-the-Ordinary and probably one of the saddest and toughest days of my life up to this point. Somehow free coffee from Elizabeth made it better.

Maybe it was random kindness or maybe she saw something in my eye that was different too.  Maybe free coffee was the Band-Aid that Elizabeth had to give.

I don't need to tell Elizabeth the big stuff. Somehow she just knows.

I did learn something else about my friend that day. The line at the cafe that morning was quite long. No one went around the corner to the twenty available check-out lines.
I'm not the only that comes to see Elizabeth.

Or maybe they're just there for the coffee. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some Bright Morning

Can I share something with you? In fact, I could barely keep from the keyboard yesterday in telling you as it was such a personal testimony. I wasn't holding out on you, just plain ran out of time. You know how it is.

I witnessed the most beautiful thing on Sunday. Before I share, I must tell you about these women. Their friendship is such a blessing. They both became widows within a year or two of each other. I have watched these ladies walk through this experience together. God has been so gracious to give them each other for added comfort and gracious to me for allowing me the opportunity to witness it.

Have you ever had a friend who walked alongside you during an unexpectedly shared experience? This kind of relationship bypasses the normal paths that often lead to friendship. It's the bond that's only built by shared hardship and forged through fire.

And when the shared experience involves death?

I love my husband so much. He's my best friend. To even think of experiencing their loss brings me physical pain. And yet, to watch these women rely completely on God to get them through this has personally been such an encouragement. It's the peace that passes understanding. It definitely passes my understanding. It doesn't mean there aren't tears. It's the hope in something more.

Which brings me to Sunday. I'm thanking God now for allowing me the opportunity to be a witness to their joy and hope. Sunday was a fantastic sermon, communion and reflection, and last of all - awesome worship through song.

The closing song began. It was I'll Fly Away. Old hymn, right? One that tickled us as children in straight-backed pews. We would flap our wings and giggle. I can still hear the older gentleman in the choir with the booming bass sing the echoing part "I'll fly away" -that tickled us too. And then we would add onto the verse lines like "into the blue green yonder.". We were kids. We thought we were clever. So all this came to mind at the beginning of this song.

Then I looked at my two ladies standing up front together. It wasn't just an old hymn for them. It was their hope and joy. I saw them look at each other with understanding. And then they held hands and turned their eyes upward. Although I couldn't hear them from where I was sitting, I knew that they were singing at the top of their lungs - whether it be in voice or in spirit. And it was truth. Is truth.

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away.

One day we will be reunited. Not only with believers passed, but with our Savior. I pray that I understand this song and firmly live with its message in mind. It's not just an old hymn. As believers, it is our hope and joy.

I'll fly away, oh Glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Caramelly Delighted But No Longer Thin...Mint

I have declared war on the Girl Scouts of America. Just so you know.

Hey, how are you? Did you have a good weekend? Seriously, let me know!

And have you met my sister, JoAnna?

Friends, Joanna. Joanna, friends. Now you're acquainted.

She visited over the weekend. Joey was out of town so it was the perfect time for a girls' weekend full of fun. I love having my sister here. We're different as night and day, but there's still a similarity in our difference, if that makes sense. You know what's funny? I didn't tell Jo this, but I looked over at her during church and noticed we were doing the exact same pose with our hands. Weird.

I wish I would have documented everything through pictures, but alas.

There was this:

Margherita Pizza - my fav-or-rite

And way too much of this:

If you weren't just girls, we would come to blows. A bunch of Health Wreckers!

And we watched:

Our review? It was meh. I guess we like our Shakespeare a little more traditional.

The next day we did a TON of this:

We had this for dinner:

Don't they make THE best sweet potato fries? I actually feel sorry for the regular fries. I bet they don't get much lovin'. They're like the original sister who got passed over by the step-sister.

The next day we:

All washed down with:

And then I went to an afternoon's Body Pump class as a form of penance.

Those Girl Scouts have been wrecking my healthy eating resolve for years. We definitely have history. I did not eat a scout's worth of cookies this weekend, but rather the whole troop's. Jo did a much better job of resisting the temptation.

I think I worked off about 1 Caramel Delight and 2.5 Thin Mints. Delight, yes. Thin, no.

In other news, guess who made dinner and brought these home for me today?

Yeah, he's pretty great.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Night at the Oscars

Alright, I know you're just dying for me to weigh in on my fashion picks from the Oscars last night. It's just that I couldn't reveal my favorites until after I spoke with E.T. and People Magazine who were also dying to know my opinion.

Joey and I had a lovely evening of making dinner and watching the Oscars while playing Words with Friends against each other. We will probably being doing something similar at age 80. I don't know, maybe it will be Bingo on our iPhone 54G's.

These were hands down my favorites and there was a pretty big spread between those that I liked and those that weren't on my list.

Cameron Diaz

Gwyneth Paltrow
(Minus the cape. What is that about? A little too Star Trek for my taste. In fact, I'm talking myself out of like this longer I look at it.)

Emma Stone

Michelle Williams

And someone, please feel sorry for J. Lo. I mean, maybe the dress choice does open you up to such possibilities and yes, maybe it's a miracle that this hasn't happened before - but it's still on international TV. It's certainly mortifying to be stuck in a windy rainstorm with a white skirt with a few elderly women looking on in a parking lot, let alone unknowingly exposing yourself to all seven continents. That skirt hasn't made it off the hanger since.

One more thing, Octavia Spencer. Don't you just love-love her?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Meanest Lady You Ever Met

I met her today. The lady in customer service who is so rude that she just makes you want to forsake whatever it is you came in for just so you don't have to interact with her. Like the Grinch, a heart that seems three sizes too small if you know what I mean.

When I walked in the door she was yelling at a customer over the phone in a voice ragged with decades of cigarette smoke. She wore Wranglers and hiking boots. It was obvious that she was annoyed with the customer and licked a fingertip as she thumbed through her scheduling book pointing out in sharp words why the request just wasn't possible. Her face was weathered with wrinkles.

There was one thing that seemed out of place. Her hair. It was absolutely beautiful. Her hair was the color of honey and hung about in soft waves at her shoulders. Not one gray hair. It was the hair of Loreal commercials.

As the yelling progressed, I began to wonder if what I came in for was really worth the abuse. About the time that I had located all the emergency exits in the room, she hung up the phone. Expecting her to turn to me, I steeled myself up to be all business. Instead, she didn't even look at me and went through swinging doors into the back room. Did she not see me?

I waited a minute or two, deciding whether or not I dare "ring the bell for customer service" when the swinging doors opened. "Yeah?" - not really even looking at me. I told her I had an order to pick up. She handed me a clipboard and gruffly told me to fill out the information. No small talk. She brought out my order with no words and shoved it at me with eyes on her papers the whole time.

We stood there as she ran my card in silence. "Sign here."

I don't know what I was thinking after the customer slaughter I saw moments ago, but I couldn't help myself. I let it slip. " You have the most beautiful hair!"

That was the first time she looked at me.

And she smiled. It was an unexpectedly beautiful smile. She said thank you and explained to me that she just returned from the beauty shop. She doesn't normally have her friend do much to her hair, but this time she wanted her to make it beautiful.

She starts chemo this week.

That changed my day. Probably my week. And I hope the way I view and react to people from now on. You never know what's behind the rude. Lord, thank you for the reminder!

And if you will, please say a prayer for the lady with the beautiful hair.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I've never really believe that statement. How about you?

Our internet has been pretty spotty and AT&T can't seem to figure out what's up.

The story goes like this: They send a guy out. We explain the situation and tell him that no one else has been able to fix it. Thirty minutes later he comes back in, puffs out his chest and says that he has fixed the unsolvable problem. The euphoria in the room is palpable. He leaves our house feeling on top of the world and is now looking into solutions for world peace, hunger and why they just don't build houses like they used to.

Meanwhile, our internet goes down the next day. And repeat.

We keep saying that's it - we've had it - but...we're still with AT&T. We really like U-verse. Oh wait, now our DVR is not working. I forgot about that. You shouldn't get AT&T. Joey and I suffer from some sort of disorder.


There's not a lot to update you on as Joey and I are still mentally in December.

I wish I could say that my reasons are because I believe that Jesus shouldn't be celebrated just once per year which is true, but alas. I also wish I could tell you that my Christmas tree stand isn't right outside my front door. Or that the garland isn't wadded up in the dining room.

We may be a little behind, but next year around December 1st you'll be wishing you were us.


Things have been a little crazy around here. Joey tore his pectoral muscle about a month ago. He was doing a chest press and the muscle and tendon snapped from the bone of the bicep and curled up in his chest. Yipes, right?

While in the hospital, the only thing he would allow me to take a picture of were his hospital booties:

He had surgery a little over two weeks ago. He is currently bonding with a sling, who I believe should be given a name. Although I would never wish this to have happened to him, I will say I kind of like helping him with stuff. Usually it's the other way around - him lifting things for me. While that's nice too, there's something sweet about this time. I think he's ready for this season to be over. He's now prohibited me from singing Lean on Me.


In other news, did you watch the season finale of Downton Abbey? What did you think? My immersion in Downton Abbey has gotten so bad that I heard a friend of mine was sick and immediately my mind went to the friend that I had lost just last week from the Spanish Flu. This is similar to a problem I had while reading the Hunger Games. I kept thinking everything was caused from an uprising in one of the other districts. Sheesh. When I go there - I go there.

At the end of the finale they showed several interviews with the cast members. Here's what I have decided, we all should go back to wearing our hair and dressing like they did in the 1920's. The actresses were much more beautiful wearing the fashions then, than those now. I was not prepared to think this, but there it is. Granted, they have stylists, makeup artists, etc.


I am also excited to have started a Bible study with some of the ladies at my church. We're studying the fruit of the Spirit. The women that are in this group are fantastic and I have enjoyed getting to know each one of them. One of the reasons I love our church is that it's small enough that we're able to mix with people from all walks of life. I'm super excited to see what God has in store for us over the semester.

My sweet husband just got home from a movie, so I'm going to let you go. You know I love him, right? This is exactly why I'm only going to sing Lean On Me internally only.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Flash

My husband is not as he says, "a flashy kind of shoes guy".

And yet...

There are his pair of frog shoes, as I call them:

His lime green could be used to signal in airplane on the runway shoes:

And his most recent pair, the Minimus in highlighter yellow and black:

Should we tell him?

Just keep saying it, I'm not a flashy shoes guy, I'm not a flashy shoes guy, I'm not a flashy shoes guy...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Of Germs & Thieves & Pinky Toes

Last night was the first night since last Friday that I have gotten a good night's sleep. This is about the time that I managed to get the first sinus infection that I've had a LONG time. I don't know if it was all the holiday travel or the fact that everyone at my office has been sick over the past month, but my normally strong immune system must have fallen pray to a germ sneak attack.

Anyway, all this to say, it's a good thing I was able to rest up because I was woken up super early to Joey telling me that someone had broken into La Fonda the Honda. In our driveway. In Cinco Ranch.

They stole his laptop. Which normally he doesn't leave in his car except that his routine was thrown off yesterday and instead of carrying his briefcase inside with him he brought in his gym bag in first because he went straight from work to the gym which also isn't normally the case. It's a a story of which's and because's and all adds up to something similar to the germ sneak attack.

So today kind of started out tough.

It did get better though! Because it is supposed to super cold tonight, I decided making a soup for dinner was a must. Anything better than chicken and rice soup on a cold night?

An aside: Today I was wearing my Never-Wear-to-the-Grocery-Store heels. Where did I find myself? The grocery store. Soup, remember? Painful trip. Good thing the shopping cart also double as a walker. They should make throw away flip flops similar to those at the salon for such occasions. Check your heels at the door.

Along with suggestions, pimentos should be next to the olives. They're actually IN olives. Peas are next to carrots. It's only logical that pimentos and olives be neighbors on the grocery aisle.That's all I have to say. I may have lost two pinky toes in my condition due to a quest for said pimentos.

In other news, I found out that Joey doesn't like "red things" in soup. He's had a hard day so I made soup sans red things and didn't mention the those pinky who made sacrifices for the other 'tos.

They say you don't need pinky toes anyway.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moves Like Jogger

I love the episode of Friends where Phoebe exhibits her running moves. Maybe second to Ross and the leather pants episode as far as favorites go.

One thing I'm trying to work on in 2012 is exercising on a more regular basis. I like to think of original ideas when it comes to New Year's resolutions - you know, really think outside the box. Alright, so along with everyone and their dog I'm trying to get back to the gym. P.S. Please do not bring your dog to the gym - maybe just for a run around the block.

Figuratively, I fell of the treadmill back in October when Joey and I were one weekend of traveling away from being included in the Nomadic people group.

[An aside: In all seriousness though I do know someone who fell off a treadmill and sustained pretty bad injuries. Ouch. This is in fact why I will only run on solid ground and stick to the elliptical at the gym. Treadmill softly my friends. You've been warned.]

I really want to start running, but I have never been a runner. Can't stand it in fact. Before boredom sets in at about minute 6, I'll be doing good thinking - I got this, I can be one of those people - a Runner.

You know, Runners say things like "Oh, I've gotta go get my run in today. Hoping to shave five minutes off my time. Gotta get ready for The Boston coming up in May. Scheduled a few half-marathons in the meantime to keep me on my toes."

OK, I will NEVER be one of those people. Let's be honest. Those people blister and sacrifice toe nails to run. There are a handful of things in this world in which I would sacrifice a toe nail. If being a Runner obligates flesh wounds - I'm out.

Here's the kind of runner I want to be:

  1. Finds running refreshing and clears my mind.
  2. 3 days a week
  3. 5K wouldn't leave me home bound for the rest of the week
  4. Wears cute running gear. (so important)
  5. A toned one
For inspiration I bought this pair of running shoes for Christmas:

Cute, huh? It's amazing what a new pair of shoes can do for one's mental state. They don't know how much inspirational weight they need to bring to the table. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. Or would I?

Things I've learned so far:
  1. Don't overdress. Particularly fleece.
  2. iPod must be ready and loaded or boredom quickly ensues
  3. One should not run around the neighborhood during dinner time. You just end up hungry. Tacos across the street, Indian at the corner, steak the next block over, etc. On second thought, if I always end at the house with the curry, my appetite will probably be suppressed. Note to self.
If you have any tips to help me get them moves like Jogger, please share!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sock Monkeying Around

This is my friend, Lara. We celebrated her birthday on Saturday night at the Cheesecake Factory where I was forced to eat a Southwestern egg roll, bread, garlic noodles, some of my friend's entree, and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake - all washed down with a cafe latte. The sacrifices we make for our friends - what can I say?

You want to know a very important fact about Lara? She does not like sock monkeys. They creep her out. Now, I've never had bad feelings toward sock monkeys; however, after Lara brought this to my attention I am reconsidering the sock monkey.

I did a little research and have found that there are no moderates when it comes to the sock monkey. It seems like folks either love'em or hate'em. Some people have sock monkey-themed nurseries.

And then there's the whole group on Facebook that is devoted to hating sock monkeys. Lara's not alone.

So what is it about sock monkeys that is so creepy?
Are their limbs too long? Mouths to wedge-of-orange wide? Or is it their coal black lifeless eyes that follow you around everywhere you go? Shudder... How did I not see this before?

Next year for Lara's birthday I know exactly what to get her:

Which sock monkey camp are you in: friend or foe?
P.S. Don't even get me started on clowns...or Teddy Ruxpin...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Return of the Blog

Maybe. One can never tell. I hate to be the bearer of bad excuses, so I'm not going to give you any. I'll just jump right into catching you up on the most important things that have happened over the last few months:

I bought a pair of skinny jeans. This is a real shocker because I swore that I would never buy skinny jeans as I've never found them particularly flattering.

I bought a second pair of skinny jeans. I know. I'm one tightly clad step away from buying pajama jeans.

I went to Vegas for the first time. For work.

I decided that Vegas isn't really my thing. Too many folks hooked on machines that are hooked to breathing machines because they're hooked on cigarettes.

I think I developed asthma in Vegas.

I read the Hunger Games and absolutely love the series. Can't wait for the movies! Now I'm trying to convince everyone to read the Hunger Games. Hey, you should read the Hunger Games. No, really. You should.

I was talked into getting shellac put on my nails. You have to understand, I don't get my nails done. I have emeraphobia - that's a fear of emery boards for the layperson. I went in support of my friend who was getting her nails done in preparation for a potential engagement (P.S. happened the next week! Whew!). Being a newbie, I said "I'll have what she's having. But just as long as it's something that comes off easily and doesn't require maintenance". Result? They coated my nails in Teflon. Nail polish remover does not work. It's been two months. I'm doing the classy thing and letting it chip off. The patterns that are left right now would be suitable for a Rorschach Test. I knew I should have taken Vietnamese instead of Spanish in high school.

After seeing the Emmy nominations, I started watching and have become addicted to Dowton Abbey. Love it. I don't know what to tell you if you missed the first season. It's on PBS and they've just finished re-airing the first season. Season 2 starts this weekend. As far as I can tell it's not on Hulu or Blockbuster/Netflix. It is sooo good. It's Jane Austen meets The Help which then meets Titanic and then they all meet Dallas for tea and drama. Joey is hooked too.

That pretty much sums it up. You know, the important stuff. OK, maybe it's just the small stuff that floated to the top. Skimming the surface will have to do for today.

Happy 2012, everyone!