Monday, November 7, 2011

With love from me to you

My husband is so precious to me. He's a notes kind of guy. He surprises me with them often. A note on my mirror. Sometimes a note on my windshield. And even the occasional note in the refrigerator in front of the yogurt. Or like the one on my bag this morning.
It made my day. Little Love Notes are the best, no? The sweet husbands that write them are even better.
Check yes or no.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When in Rome vicariously...

It is taking every fiber of my being to blog right now. Why?

Are you sick?


Are you mad at your blog?

No. That was so last month.

Do you have The Blingers? (debilitating disease affecting the fingers and linked to too much blogging)

No, just fingerpad callouses.

Then what is it?

Drumroll, please....

It's this book series: The Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers.
Have you read any of these? How have I just discovered these? All the girls in my book club had read them and all loved them. So, Ashley loaned me the first two in the series.
I am addicted. This story has absolutely captivated me.
First of all, the setting is something I have never really read about in any other book. It's set in Rome shortly after Jesus' death and resurrection. It follows the lives of a young Jewish slave named Hadassah, a Germanian gladiator named Atretes and the wealthy and influential Roman family, the Valerians. It's about mistakes, forgiveness, greed, violence, cultural tension, family and it's about love - not just romantic love, but Christ's love. It's a story you have to finish.
I will tell you that at the end of the first book I was lying in bed on Sunday, my eyes glued to the final pages while Joey was sleeping. I was so impacted by the end of story that I started crying hard enough to wake Joey up from his blissful sleep. He thought I was having some sort of mental break down. (I guess he's never watched The Notebook with me)
While comforting his seemingly unstable wife, he said, baby it's just a book. These aren't real people.
But I think that might be why the story has had such an impact on me. People like this were real. Stories like this were lived out by Christians on a daily basis and in many areas, still are.
With tears still in my eyes, I picked up the second book from my nightstand. I had to know what happened next.
So, while I love blogging with you, I am going to be a little bit selfish and bid you goodnight. I've got to finish the rest of the story. What happens to Hadassah, Marcus, Julia and Atretes? If you know, shh...don't tell me yet.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SYTYCD Recap & Lady G

First off, good morning!

Secondly, did you watch So You Think You Can Dance last night? Lady Gaga was one of the guest judges and let me tell you that was interesting. I'm not really sure what to touch on - the hair, the shoes, the shoulder pads or the slightly critical comments she made about the choreography. All made my look closer and then think on it for a moment. Say whaaa-tt?

She pretty much hinted that she wasn't a fan of a lot of the choreographers' interpretations last night. I wonder if the choreographers are thinking - well, there goes our chances of ever choreographing for Lady Gaga, or if they're thinking oh well, it's Lady Gaga what do you expect? It's not like Michael Jackson saying he wasn't a fan of your moonwalk, but it's still Lady Gaga. That's gotta hurt.

Enough about Gaga! On to the dances! My favorite was Melanie and Sasha's crazy girl robot power dance. Sonia choreographed it so what's not to love? I usually love Sonia and Mandy Moore dances.

Here's a peak. Oh, and you'll also get a quick look at Lady Gaga's outfit and out there-ness.

Melanie is still my favorite. If you're watching, who's your favorite?

P.S. I'm a fan of Cat Deeley and I hope she has a good chance at the Emmy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bored Straight

I have board straight hair. Or bored straight is often what I think of when I look at my hair. Nothing to it. Left to it's own devices, my hair is the Marsha Brady. I know, I know...many pay lots of moola to have their hair straightened, but I just want a little oomph.

It all started when one of my friends said she had no idea that she had curl in her hair until one day when she was in a hurry, she left it damp and just added a friend's curl friendly hair gel. And poof, she now wears her hair curly most of the time.

Well, this little story only fed my dream of having "natural" curls or even just a little wave. Maybe this was what my hair had been waiting for: a miracle product. Maybe, just maybe - I too have an undiscovered Shirley Temple.

And so began the search to find this curly top miracle product.

I scoured shelves of hair products to find anything that said something along the lines of "Your hair may not be curly now and in fact, may be straight after days in rollers, but this product has the ability to change your hair DNA."

Here's how my results measured up in terms of Marsha Brady hair.

After curl enhancing product A:

After magnificent volume and wave product B:

After miraculous if-a-single-curled-hair-were-in a haystack-we-will-find-it product C:


I will not name the products that I tried, but I will say that as I my wavy hair dream disippated so did the amount that I was willing to spend on DNA changing products.

What I have decided is that God must have given me straight hair for a reason. Because of my bored straight hair, the routine takes me 6 minutes max: 4 to dry and 2 to "fix", a.k.a run a brush through and spray. Upon further inspection, considering that curly hair requires more skill and I have trouble mastering the round brush, it is a blessing in disguise - or should I say, in Marsha Brady hair.

Have I given up? Almost. I'm leaving it in the hands of the one who blessed me with this hair DNA. I'm now limiting my quest to prayer.

If the next time you see me and are expecting to see Marsha Brady and get Andi McDowell instead - you know what happened.

A divinely inspired product miracle.


Along with absolutely wonderful characteristics we discover about our spouses as newlyweds, there are also those little things that we uncover that, well - get under our skin. You know what I'm talking about - The Peeves. Maybe it's leaving the dirty clothes out of the hamper or the toilet seat up, but we all have certain little self-imposed guidelines for the other half's behavior.

For instance, I know a few things that Joey is particular about: wiping down the shower doors, my long hair in his hair brush tickling his face, shirts facing a certain way in his closet, me taking his good pens, etc. I try to do my best in these little areas as he does the same for me.

And then there's losing socks in the dryer.

This has long been a point of contention between us. By long, I mean almost 3 years. And by contention I'm slightly exaggerating, but what's new? Let's just say that it has caused some frustration for my hubs.

Now, my argument was that if one would not leave socks balled up in shoes, kicked under the bed or in exotic locations across the landscape of our house, one would not have this problem.

That was my case.

But then I started noticing that his socks were missing too. I would load everything into the washer, meticulously noting all the socks as they went in. And low and behold, by the time it came to folding they were Sock Singletons!

So, what does a new wife do? She stores all the Sock Singletons in the back of her own sock drawer for safe keeping. Just until they are reunited with their true love of course. No need to stress you know who out about the dwindling sock population in our house. Or confirm his idea that I lose socks for that matter.

And this cycle went on. And on. Wash. Relocate. Dry. Find Sock Singletons. Hide Sock Singletons. File a Missing Sock Report (MSR). And repeat cycle. For one year.

I was perplexed. I mean, I had heard rumors of the Sock Monster, but didn't really believe in it's existence. It's the housewife's Chupacabra or Nessie. But how else do you explain this?

I began to feel bad when putting little sock couples into our washing machine, knowing that the odds weren't in their favor. I gave the Sock Pre-Wash Address to all those about to embark on their first cycle. Look to your left. Now look to your right. Only two of you will make it out. And odds are, both of you will be Sock Singletons.

Laundry Life went on like this for quite some time. Our poor socks were shaking in our boots.

Anytime socks were brought up in conversation, I immediately broke out in a sweat. Did he notice? Thank goodness for replenishment during Christmas from his mom. I mean, at some point you just run out of matched socks.

I can't quite remember if the hubs began to notice that his sock levels were beginning to reach alarmingly low levels or maybe we were just folding laundry, but it finally came up.

He said something about how funny it was that we could never keep matched pairs of socks.

Mmmm hmmm, I said, so funny. Insert nervous laughter. It's over, I thought.

The hubs continued, saying that it had gotten so bad that he had...

This is it. My days of sock trafficking are over. The jig's up.

Wait what did he just say?

He said, it's gotten so bad that he started collecting stray socks and keeping them in the back of his drawer in hopes of coming across their match.

Yes, we were both sockpiling. You just have to laugh.

I immediately started a for socks. Over 25+ matches made!

Moral of the story? Don't keep secrets from your husband. Even if they're little ones.

Oh, and never dispose of Sock Singletons. You never know when their mate could be one sock drawer over.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My absolute favorite dance of the season on So You Think You Can Dance last night. I haven't even been a huge Sasha fan so this caught me off guard. Melanie has been my all along favorite. I still loved her dances last night too, but this one, I just loved it. It was just so easy and right!


Watch it.

Now, wasn't that good?

I'm going to ask Joey if he wants to learn the choreography with me. I have an idea of his reaction, but I just want to see what he says. C'mon, who wouldn't want to be Twitch?

P.S. You know that the reason I watch SYTYCD is because I can't really dance well, right? I dance vicariously.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Name That Corpse Flower

Remember the lovely Lois that made the news last year?

If waiting for a flower to bloom with the stench of death isn't cool enough, this year the Houston Museum of Natural Science is making it fun by letting the public vote on the new flower's name. That's nerdy cool if you ask me!

I'm torn between Clark and Hermann.

I guess Clark was suggested because of Lois and Clark. You know, the famous expeditionists? Just kidding. More like Superman. And I just think it's kind of an unexpected name for a corpse flower. Hermann is the second choice as this unnamed beauty will be a resident of Hermann Park.

I just decided that 'Clark' is a little too Rico Suave for a corpse flower. Hermann's more like it.

Meanwhile, I have my own corpse flower situation going on at work. I was hoping that maybe with a change in office, I would also be turning over a new leaf in regards to my skills as a botanist. Let's just say I'm still trying to find my inner George Washington Carver.

It needs to be taken out, but look it still has green leaves at the bottom! I had to hide it under my desk when a visitor came in yesterday. I'm waiting until this weekend to bring it back home to finish out its final days.

I'm no longer naming my plants. It's just too painful.

Meanwhile, go rock the vote!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Good Morning!

If I could have an internal alarm clock and pick its "ring tone", this would probably be it: Mandisa's Good Morning.

I am so glad there are not cameras around when this song comes on because I can't help myself!

I wish everyone a GOOD MORNING!

P.S. Doesn't Mandisa look A-Mazing?

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Very Happy Unbirthday

Did I tell you that my husband turned the big 3-0 this month? You know why this is slightly disturbing? Because this means that this very same number is right around the corner for me.

We celebrate for the whole first half of the month. Over the Fourth of July we always go to his parents' lakehouse in Louisiana where we salute all of the July birthdays in the family with a cake from their favorite bakery, Treina's. Joey and his cousin, Maggie, received their own cake as they were turning you know what.

Mr. Petey makes things like jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, gumbo and fried fish. He's like the Cajun male version of Paula Deen. And as usual, there's always a lot of this:

And it's delicious.

We had a great 4th of July and had tons of fun with family.

Last weekend we celebrated Joey's birthday officially with friends, Mexican food, golf and Settler's of Catan.

And then there was my Gift Fail. We had agreed that he would pick out his Big Gift and I would get him a Little Gift. Now, before I tell you what I got the guy who has everything, I must say that I had did not pull this gift idea out of thin air. There had been many positive comments made that led me in the direction. At the time, I felt secure in getting it. You're going to think I'm an idiot.

I got him a gift certificate for a pedicure.

Dumb idea. I'm not going to go into why I thought my manly husband would like this, but I promise it was legit. He flat out laughed when he opened it.

Well, that was because it was an empty box. The lady forgot to put the gift certificate in the box.

I told him what it was, then he laughed again!

He's turning it in for a massage.

I know. You don't have to say it. You told me so.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Piano Sweatshop

It's 9 o'clock on Saturday
and the regular crowd shuffles in.

A young boy sits at the piano, his legs dangling from the bench. A lamp illuminates the keys in yellow light.

"Have you practiced?" He hesitates. "Um, yes m'am."

She senses weakness, turns and looks at him over the glasses balancing at the end of her nose. "We shall see. Begin with an F# scale in the key of G minor and follow it up with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 15 in B flat."

Sweat begins to bead on his forehead as he brings his trembling little fingers to the keys. And the metronome begins.


Alright, you got me. I made this scene up. And I can't resist Billy Joel sometimes. You know I have a vivid imagination and tend to fill in the gaps of a story on my own. But my mind creates this dramatic scene every time I pass a house that is near the entrance to our neighborhood.

This is The Piano Sweatshop. It never fails that each time I pass this house, the front room blinds are pulled all the way up and there is a teacher and a young Asian child at the piano. It doesn't matter the time or the day. Wednesday 5:30 PM, Sunday 9:00 PM , Saturday 8:00 AM - class is ALWAYS in session.

A mini-van or two are usually waiting outside for The Exchange: one picking up and the other dropping off. It's all part of the Piano Mom Cartel. But I'm thinking about putting a sting operation together.

As I drive by at 8:30 on a Friday night and I see those little ones diligently at the piano, it makes me sad. I guess I shouldn't judge, maybe the child loves playing at all hours! But, 9:00 on Sunday night? It reminds me of the Tiger Mom. Have you read about that? Maybe it doesn't fall under child labor laws, but I'm almost positive there is something illegal going on here.

I have a friend who was raised by Tiger type parents and is adamantly opposed to this line of parenting from personal experience. My parents always forced me to try new things even if I was scared to death. Often, after I got over my fear I was grateful that they had pushed. But what is the line? I'm a dog parent, so my experience only involves strenuous hours of practicing fetch.

Will the child grow up to thank their parents for instilling discipline in order to attain a skill? Or will they grow bitter, regretting a childhood lost?

He says son can you play me a memory? I’m not really sure how it goes, but it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man’s clothes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How To Win Friends & Influence Officemates

I owe you a big update. I announce a month ago that I have a new job and then the only thing that I post is about vacuum cleaners. Lame, I know.

Sometimes there's just too much to say and too little time to say it. And besides, when I'm stressed I post about random things that don't matter. Like how I love looking at the dirt bin of a vacuum cleaner. It's my comfort post.

Things have been going great at the new job, but very very busy. I am heading up our company's marketing and am, in fact, our only marketing employee. I'm hoping to change that in the future, but for now I'm it!

I've discovered a few universal truths to making friends in any new office environment:

  1. When trying to make friends with other women in the office, bring up the thermostat. Not much in common to talk about? "Geez, it's cold in here. Wish I would've brought my snuggie." Bam and you're in. Women unite around a good complaint about the office temperature.

  2. Chocolate is a universal language. I have strategically placed a bowl of Hershey's chocolate kisses right by the door to my office. They have no choice but to come in and say hello to the new employee. If Pavlov would've used chocolate in his experiments, he would have had faster results. Oh wait, he used dogs. Nevermind then, scratch that - he was using meat.

  3. Drop a few comments about having dogs here and there to see who bites. If there are a few dog lovers in the house, you're automatically cool. At least with the dog people. Note - do not bring up Pavlovian experiments using chocolate. This will not fair well with dog lovers and you will be looked at with a wary eye for the rest of your tenure.

  4. Put a brightly colored exotic plant on your desk. There's a little bit of hummingbird in all of us. People will come by to admire it the first day and as in my case, thereafter, to slowly watch it's demise and offer helpful tips about how to possibly nurse it back to health.

  5. Wear brightly colored clothes. See previous tip regarding hummingbirds.

Now that you have these tips in your back pocket, go make friends with your officemates. I promise the world of successful scissor and hole puncher borrowing will open up to you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dust Bunnies, Meet Your Maker

Have I ever told you that I have a strange affinity for cleaning products? I am a sucker for a good vacuum. I didn’t really mean that as a pun. I’m serious! Some like to go to car shows, others the cleaning gadgets aisle. We’re not judging each other here.

This is why I’m super excited about my new Dyson vac. I was secretly pleased when our previous vacuum bit the dust. Gosh, I really am not trying to be punny here – who knew ‘vacuum’ had so many options!

With each trip to Taret I would always find myself meandering by the vacuums. I’ve been scouting the Dyson for a while, giving it long looks. Hello, Dyson DC33 with Root Technology, fancy meeting you here. I’m sure the Target employees knew me as the Strange Lady Who Stares at the Vacuum Cleaner Display and said to each other on their walkie talkies “She’s baa…ack!” Alas, there wasn’t anything wrong with my current vacuum to make this purchase practical so I settled for these “perchance” meetings.

Until now.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and no, I did not play any role in the demise of my previous vacuum. There were a few nails or screws ever so often that I might have accidently vacuumed over. Just kidding. She went on her own. And God bless her, she was a good vacuum. She’s on garage duty now, which is kind of like the Isle of Misfit Toys for her kind. I’m not planning for the two to meet. It just wouldn’t be right.

Meanwhile, back in the world of Joey, Jenny, Bogart and Gus dust, Joey and I are taking turns vacuuming. Are we weird or what? I think Joey was just excited as I was. When I got home after he had just purchased it, I walked in the door thinking that he had probably already tried it out, but what had my sweet husband done for me? He had it all put together and waiting for me so that I could take it on its virgin tour myself. In my book, that’s love.

I powered that baby up and we went out on our first spin – gliding around the living room carpet, over tiled floors and rugs and of course, using necessary attachments when needed. Dust tumbleweeds cowered in our presence.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me, there is a certain satisfaction that I have at looking at how much dirt was picked up by the vacuum. Whoever decided that the Dyson dirt container should be made of clear plastic gets this. It’s visible success. While it should be disturbing the more dirt there is in the bin, for me, this is the piece de resistance, if you will - the kind of satisfaction that Michelangelo must have felt in looking at the Sistine Chapel. Well done, my friend, well done.

Is it wrong to get so excited about a vacuum? Worse, to write a lengthy post about it? Before you say yes, I’m going to soothe myself and say it’s the little things that count.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Exciting News I Have

Things I need to say:

I could eat a caprese salad every day of my life. Fresh mozarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar...these are my kind of people. I know I have a German heritage, but is it possible that I was Italian in a past life? Maybe Jenny Boyardee?

Joey and I have now reconciled a terrible grievance that could have wreaked havoc on our marriage. Thank goodness we caught it early. The things that marriage counseling just doesn't cover, sheesh! Yes, he has finally watched the Star Wars' Trilogy. It is a miracle that we are married. What can I say? The Force is with us and it's about time because my random Yoda speak and Wookie jokes fall flat with him. Ready we are.

Things they should tell you when you purchase a yoga mat online: they put some kind of oil on it so that it doesn't stick together when rolled. Apparently you are supposed to wash this off. Again, things they should say before one tries to use it in yoga class. I was so excited to use my new mat, but let's just say that many in class probably thought I was doing the Drunken Downard Dog as my feet and hands would NOT stay put. It was more Downward Dog meets the Scooby Doo run.

Now that we have these important things out of the way, I must tell you something:

I GOT A NEW JOB! Tomorrow is my last day at my current place and I start on Monday! I'll give you more details soon.

P.S. You know that I really don't believe that I was Jenny Boyardee in a past life, right? Nah, it's more like Jenny Ragu. That's amore!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joy to the World

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

It is Good Friday. Early on Good Friday. This song woke me up today. I'll tell you about it later.

But first, a few things I want to share with you about my family.

My Mom and Dad were different. Of course, by default and as a family - we were different. And that meant, that much to my dismay I was different. I mean gosh, we were already a large homeschool family which at the time was the epitome of weird and then you throw in this? It's only inevitabe.

What do I mean by this?

My parents lived by Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." That meant that EVERYTHING was different.

The "But" implies the difference. While everyone else lives for that, we're going to live for this.

My parents met in college in the late 70's. The quirky music major fell for the pretty and popular art major. (Mom says she wasn't popular, but I don't think this is true. I've seen her in her yearbooks. And I've seen the other people in mine.) They married in 1979, toward the end of a Christan revival that swept across the nation as part of the counterculture hippie movement and changed the contemporary view of the church. One of the things that came out of this movement was contemporary Christian music. I'll get back to this.

Growing up, my Dad moonlighted as a part-time youth minister at our church and sometimes worship leader.

We were in church A LOT. For many, church may have began and ended on Sunday, but not so for the Hanks' family. Mom and Dad let us know that this was a time for worship, not Jenny's social hour.

They made the at the time unpopular decision to homeschool myself and three younger siblings because they wanted to be able to teach us about Biblical truths.

We prayed together and had evening family devotionals. It was quite normal to find my parents reading their Bibles at the kitchen table. If my sister and I got in a fight Mom would throw out things like Matthew 5:9 in a gentle voice "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Well, great. You can't argue with the Bible. I mean, what do you with that? The funny thing is that she would turn this on my Dad when he was stirring up trouble among us kids. The gentle voice then said "Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath..." Ephesians 6:4. This is really funny to me now. My Mom was wise.

You may think this is crazy, but it's true - I have never heard a curse word come out of my parents' mouths. There were a lot of TV shows we were not allowed to watch, music we couldn't listen to, attitudes we were forbidden to have and skirts I was not allowed to wear. And do not even think about asking to spending the night at a friend's house the night before Sunday. Mute point.

These were things that in the mind of an already awkward teenager, made us weird.

These are the things that to the outside world may seem restrictive. But may I say this? The thing that I remember most from my childhood was joy. My parents had joy. Joy in the hope of Christ.

I also remember music. My Mom and Dad both played guitar and sang worship songs often growing up. Our house was filled with music, but music with a purpose. We listened to KSBJ before it was cool. My parents favorite artists at the time consisted of Keith Green, Second Chapter of Acts, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant and Michael Card. At least that's what I remember. In particular the song that characterizes the memories from my childhood is the Easter Song by Keith Green.

The video below is of Keith Green live, although I encourage you to listen to the actual record track because it's pretty amazing with strings added, I wanted to show you his heart. I would turn over the back cover of my parents' Keith Green record album to read Keith's story. There was a picture of Keith and his family on the back cover. Not too long after this video was made, Keith and two of his children perished in a plane crash. As you listen to Keith, don't be sad because I think he's alright! Death has lost its sting for those who believe. I have to remind myself of that.

Get past the 70's hair and take a listen to the simple lyrics. This is the hope we have in Christ. This is our joy.

This joy is what makes us as Christians different. It is beyond just actions - it is the joy that gives birth to the choices we make.

And as I woke with joy on Good Friday of not only thinking of the cross, but the resurrection that followed, I am so grateful to my parents chose to not live like that, but like this. Isn't great to be set apart for Christ? Isn't it great to be different?

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

Monday, April 18, 2011



The day is almost finished. I'm yoga'd, showered, read and prayed up. And now, I'm feeling reflective and quiet.

And looking at yoga mats to purchase.

I know, I'm really getting into this yoga thing. Maybe it's because I can touch my toes for the first time since 8th grade. I did this accidentally when I was telling Joey how much I was improving. I said look what I can do! And much to my surprise and his, I touch the floor with straight legs. I was quite impressed with myself to be quite honest! Now of course let me add a disclaimer - this was just after yoga class so please know that if you ask me to demonstrate my moves, you may not always get this result.

This is the mat that Melissa, my favorite teacher, recommends:
This is Manduka's eKO Lite Mat. I'm hoping that with this mat I can do this:

But there's a good chance I'll still be doing a lot of this:

Thank goodness for child's pose.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sister Act, Otherwise Known As Stay Away From My Barbies

How can anyone in their right mind think that mint and chocolate are not MFEO?

My sister, JoAnna, that's who.

And it makes perfect sense that I love mint and chocolate and she doesn't. And that I love black olives and mushrooms. And she doesn't.

And that she loves Lady Gaga. And I think that wearing dead meat as a dress is grounds for detracting musical points.

If you knew us both, you would know that this makes sense.

She has pretty feet. I have two very crooked toes that make me self-conscious during sandal season.

She has a love for dark poetry that as a pre-teen was slightly alarming, but much to our relief it is just a hobby.

She used to give my Barbies haircuts. That made me mad. Then she decided to cut her own hair. That made my Mom mad.

She loves ecclectic music and may be able to sing the Evita soundtrack from memory.

She carved our brother's name into stuff all the time. Only problem was that was that he wasn't old enough to write. Classic mistake.

I'm jealous of the freckles across her nose.

And the natural honey highlights in her hair.

One thing we both have in common is that we love to write. She has recently been given the privilege of writing articles for the local newspaper and I couldn't be more proud. I just ask that she not mention my crooked toes.

We celebrated my sister this weekend and her birthday. I am so thankful to have her as a sister and a friend. Love you, Jo!

P.S. Mint + chocolate = destiny

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fools Rush In

Are you as excited about the weekend as I am?

Apparently, my co-workers know how much I am looking forward to this weekend as they played me for the fool this morning. They sent me the most serious email ever explaining that a crazy situation had come up and I would have to make an out-of-town trip to San Antonio for the weekend.

And I completely fell for it. Like a dork.

I wish I could say that I had totally forgoten that it was April Fool's Day, but we had talked about it the day before and then a million times this morning.

April Fool's! Just kidding, I mean who would be so gullible to fall for this joke! A sucka, that's who!

Aww, man...I tried. Just go ahead, pity the fool.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shake 'n Book

Last night our little book club met at Steak 'n Shake's in Katy. This was my first time at a Steak 'n Shake and I chose the shake over the steak - the Butterfinger Shake to be specific. It was de-lish! We had a great time over milkshakes and books and I bet we are the first book club to ever meet at a Steak 'n Shake. That's just how we roll.

This month we read The Scent of Rain and Lightening by Nancy Pickard.

It surprised us all by how much we enjoyed it! This is our first mystery as a group and it had all of us stumped until the very end! I felt like I was trying to play Clue - you know, Colonel Mustard with the wrench in The Library? But in a small town in Kansas so it was more like Grocer Billy with the lasso in The Piggly Wiggly. I loved Clue growing up. Sigh.

Next month we are reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand which will be our first non-fiction book.

I know, we're just living life on the edge right? First a mystery, then Steak 'n Shake and now non-fiction.

This is what I would have had to say about last night disregarding books:

Abby has the cutest Kindle cover. And get this, she made it. By hand. These kind of things amaze me. Abby, post a pic if you haven't already. And patent it. Before I learn to thread a needle.

Liz is the most adorable pregnant person ever. Little Matthew is being carried well.

Lynn has the cutest side braids. And discovers great words like 'higherest' (extreme adj., def. higher than high). I love it!

Ashley is the only one of us who doesn't have a blog? C'mon Ashley, everyone in book club's doing it! Now, that's some serious peer pressure.

And finally, I will be revisiting Steak 'n Shake and let me just say that is has nothing to do with books or milkshakes. I'm talking about eating. A burger and Fries. Despite the fact that my tummy was aching from a giant milkshake, those Fries were calling my name! As I believe in God's perfect sovereignty, I know it just wasn't our time. Until then Fries, until then. Tear.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Although this is my longest absence from the blogosphere to date, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive. But surely you know that. Surely, one of my friends would think to have contacted Joey in pure blogger etiquette to put up a post in memoriam - upon which, this blog would become instantaneously famous if my story were tragic enough. What is it about us that we are drawn to such tragedy and violence - shows like CSI and Bones and Law & Order and Criminal Minds and Project Runway?

But alas for you, there will be none of this tragic violence on this blog. At least not for now. I am still alive and kicking - just not blogging much.

In all honesty, I've just needed to be quiet for a while. Unwrap from myself a bit. Do you ever get that way?

I've taken up quiet things like yoga and gardening. And it's taking me places, let me tell you. I torture plants to their deaths with amazing agility and nimbleness.

Anyway, I need to get back to it - blogging, that is (not ninja plant homicide). It's my therapy. People ask bloggers why they blog. Maybe it's to keep up with family, friends, or memories? Because you have a hobby you want to share? We all have our reasons, our therapy. I think I keep this blog in order to make myself laugh or think - and in that rare moment, a combination of the two. It's an amusement, but it's also an exercise. And plus, I'll have a hobby to fall back on if yogardening doesn't work out.

Here's your laugh for the day at my expense:

What I discovered after being at work for almost an hour and only after a co-worker discreetly pointed it out to me. (thank you, Christy)

True love looks at his I-Phone while standing in your closet to find the shoe that matches the picture and then brings said shoe to work for you to save you from further embarassment.

- Anonymous

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Post of Posts

I know I've been a little MIA lately. Here's what's on mind:

There are just some answers to important questions that you need to have in your back pocket. Just so you know, if I had to choose to come back into this life as a vegetable, it would be as spaghetti squash. Now you know.


I'm getting into yoga. I love it. I started with a very basic intro yoga class that my friend Christy encouraged me to try with her on Friday afternoons. It's a Christ-centered yoga class so I knew it was a little different and it feels more like a support group that stretches, which is just my style and what I need to ease into it. It was quiet and relaxing. People talk in hushed, lilting voices. It's like nap time for adults.

At the very end of class the instructor has you lie down on your back and she rubs lavender on your temples. If you choose to fore go the lavender you are supposed to keep your hands on your abdomen. I thought I would file that little piece of info away as I'm a rule follower by nature. Sure enough, the next week it came in handy as we were working on leg strength and instead of lavender, the instructor said that she would give each person a leg massage. What? I wasn't prepared for this! What happened to the lavender? I panicked! I had had a very rushed few days and had not shaved my legs in two days. Plus my feet had been in work shoes. Thank God for the abdomen rule! I confidently placed my hands on my tummy and breathed a sigh of relief. And guess what? She did it anyway. What part of hands on the abdomen do you not understand?! I'm just hoping I'm not known as Prickly Leg Girl among her and her fellow yogis.


Our pastor and his wife invited us over to watch American Idol. Joey received a text that day from Mitch that literally said "Do y'all watch Idol?" Am I the only one who thinks that this is a hilarious statement coming from a pastor?! We had a great time!


I am so excited about Beth Moore's Bible study on James. This is maybe the fourth or fifth Beth Moore Bible study that I have attended and let me tell you, it's always worth it. That place is packed! There is just something about thousands of women coming together to worship God that just blows me away each time.

I thought I would be going by myself because my usual Beth Moore buddy, Becky, isn't going to be able to make it this semester. But, God placed a few new buddies in my path right when I walked through the front door that I haven't seen in a while! It was a great time to catch up and fellowship together!

I am ready to see what God will reveal to us through James. I've always loved the book of James, but have never done an in depth study on it. Beth explained that James is one of Jesus' brothers and was an unbeliever until after Jesus' resurrection when he appeared to him in the flesh. One thing I always enjoy about Beth Moore's studies is that she asks the same sort of questions that I have running around in my head on a particular text. They are usually the pretty obvious questions, but just not something I would always ask out loud.

Such as, how in the world is it possible for Jesus' own brothers to not believe in him? I have always been disturbed when I read about this in the Gospels. I mean, you LIVED with Jesus and you don't believe in him? If one of my brothers were Jesus, I think I would have figured that out a long time ago. (not to be sacrilegious in saying this, just trying to put in terms of real life)

But that's just it, I'm putting it in terms of my culture and today. Beth explained that the Jewish life during Jesus' time was so filled with religious ritual that many people appeared holy on the outside (enter Saducees, Pharisees, etc.). She gave the example of Paul who said that he knew and followed the law to the letter, but never truly grasped it until God him over the side of the head in the middle of a Damascus road.

Thank you that we have a LIVING GOD that breaks us free of a strictly ritual life!


On a pathetic note, I am no longer on the yeast-free eating program for the month. I know, Arshunda's going to kill me as I was for a brief moment a compadre in the pain of eliminating dairy and grains. BUT WAIT! I have a good excuse, I promise. I volunteered to be a guinea pig for a new type of food allergy testing at work, but I really didn't fully know what I was getting into until the day before (which was two weeks ago now). You can't eat a diet that's different from the norm before testing. AND, the testing goes on every Thursday for four weeks. So, of course I made the sacrifice for the advancement of medicine and stopped the yeast-free diet for the time being.


Don't think I'm getting off easy. Yes, I was dancing around like a little leprechaun when I found out that I had doctor's orders to not be on the eating program for now. But remember that this is because of FOOD ALLERGY testing. Well, guess what? We only got through two "foods" and I'm two for two. Apparently, I'm sensitive to glycerin, which is in EVERYTHING cosmetic. We're talking soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. Lovely. And get this, I'm sensitive to WHEAT/GLUTEN. That's right, I get the free pass on the yeast-free diet only to find out that I should basically be on the yeast-free diet for the rest of my life. The irony. Sigh. So, I need to fore go using bathing products and if the trend continues, not eat. No biggie. Even a caveman can do it. Again, the irony.


I hope y'all have a fantastic weekend! I'll leave you with this pic. Someone was ready for me to get up from a Sunday afternoon nap and play.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Well. Today is day 1. Day 1 of the the yeast-free eating program and Day 1 of getting back into the swing of things at the gym. I am just now starting my resolutions. Too busy from the holidays and I tend to want to hibernate when it's freezing outside. Do you get that way? I seriously don't want to move and could roll up like a doodle bug on the couch when it's cold.

But I've gotta start sometime!

Joey and I do the yeast-free eating program about twice a year. This time we're doing a modified version. I know all of our friends and family think we are totally weird. It's okay, we're used to the funny looks. I would probably look at me funny too. Here's the skinny:

What we can have: meat, veggies, fruit (usually after two weeks on the strict diet, but that's one of our modifications), legumes and nuts.

What we can't have: dairy, sugar, grains, simple carbs, alcohol, vinegar products (another one of our modifications that Joey and I are going to allow).

The goal is at least 30 days following this diet. There are some places that I will be cheating however, such as at book club which is being held at Oh La La. I mean, like that's going to happen. For me, the biggest effect of this eating program is de-puffing. That's the only way I can describe it.

For a day in the life of Joey and I on the diet, we had egg cups for breakfast (yummy, ask me for the recipe), I had a throw together lunch of celery and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, and dark chocolate almonds, and for dinner we had meatloaf with cauliflower and broccoli. Not bad, huh?

Now, on the gym side of things I didn't do so well. I did make it, but it didn't go as planned. But it's not my fault I promise! I can't help it that I'm a sucker for older men.

Here's the deal, the elderly gentleman who checks people in at our gym had my ear. He wanted to talk tonight and I just couldn't say I had to go. So, I missed my class and talked to Bill instead. I settled for a vigorous 30 minutes on the elliptical. Let me tell you, I worked my butt off for those 30 minutes. Or at least that was the goal. I thought I was still feeling the burn when I got in my car, but a block later I realized that I just left my seat warmer on. A girl can hope!

Now, if only the temperatures stay above freezing maybe I can stay motivated!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Houston's Best Culinary Experience: Chateau de Perot

When you come to dine at Chateau de Perot, you will be served the special cuisine of the house.

If our friend Casey would have stayed for dinner long enough, she would have been able to taste the delicacy herself. She would have also discovered the source of the mysterious smell that permeated the air two hours prior to our enlightenment.

No, it's not dark chocolate brownies.

Or chocolate cake.

Actually, not chocolate at all.

But rather, it is Blackened Jalapeno Cornbread Briquettes, which give off a lovely eau de charcoal aroma. Guests may use leftovers to balance a wobbly table, as a brillo pad, or if skilled in the art of charcoals, a self-portrait maybe done during the meal.

You may want to place your reservations to Chateau de Perot immediately before word of this culinary coup gets around and we apply for a Groupon. Bribes are accepted. I like chocolate.

We may be able to get you a table in the back around mid-April. But don't get your hopes up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday Drive

I am wearing Sponge Bob socks. I just thought you would want to know. They have little sponges (is that little Bob's?) at the heels like those strange socks with cotton balls. Except mine are cool. As cool as Sponge Bob socks can be. Nothing screams attractive to my husband more than Sponge Bob footies. He's a lucky man, what can I say? I won't post any pictures because there has been enough of that stuff going around in the media lately and I don't want it to come back to bit me later especially during my political campaign. Oddly enough, this has nothing to do with this post except that I'm looking at my crossed feet from over my laptop screen.

Here is something of slight increased importance:

We sold Joey's truck this weekend. I might have well just said "We sold Joey's only child this weekend." Goodness, he loved that truck!

But it was a wise decision. In June we will have (or would have) both of our vehicles paid off. Ugh! So close! My goal is to not have a car payment and to buy a car with cash. I've had a car payment since I was 17.

Joey's truck was having problems. My car was having problems. Our birds heads are falling off. (Dumb & Dumber reference) All this equals the need to make a vehicular (you know what? I didn't know that was a word, but spell check didn't say anything so if I have just said something lewd, please excuse my ignorance) decision.

(side note, I promise I will not include a parenthetical phrase after every sentence.)

However, we were not quite at the point to buy a car with cash - or at least not one that would get us around the block - so, we made the disciplined decision to finance a small amount and get something practical. Practical ended up being a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, which is quite a bit newer than I expected!

Joey seems to have a bit of a grudge toward this poor little car because it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Black Beauty, so naturally I have taken shine to it because I always like an underdog. I think it's a pretty car! So, Joey and I will probably switch. I just need something to get me to where I need to go with air conditioning and preferably no squealing. He'll drive La Fonda the Honda III (my baby) and I will drive Sunday the Hyundai. That's my name for it, I think. I'm still trying it out. I think all cars should have names, don't you?

Monday, January 10, 2011


Happy Monday! How was your day? Bogart and I are just hanging out on the couch waiting for Joey to come home from his new J-O-B!

That's right, that's one of the big changes for 2011. Joey's first day was today or IS today rather, as he is not home yet. He is now officially in commercial insurance. I am so excited for this new opportunity for him! It will come with a few much needed lifestyle adjustments while he gets his footing, but I'm actually excited about them! There is no better time in our lives for taking chances than now, so we are embracing them! God has worked in both of our hearts to make this a smooth and peaceful transition. Thank you, Lord!

Oh, the new employee just walked in. I need to see how it went! As long as I'm not getting any The Firm vibes, we're good to go! ;) I'll check in with you tomorrow!