miller lite and maracas

Unfortunately, the first 5 hours of our BBQ on Sunday I spent playing "hostess." Not that I mind, I love it in fact, but it did prevent me from taking pictures. At one point I stole Sarah's camera, so hopefully she'll share. Then, when I finally did start taking pictures, I somehow managed to break my camera or lens or something - the last couple pics are all fuzzy and I can't figure out how to fix it, BOO!

I think a good time was had by all - the amount of food and drink that was consumed is unreal. All I know is that I am aware of at least 5 -18 packs of Miller Lites (what is that - almost 100 beers?) were present at one point in time and there are zero left. There is some leftover Bud Light and Modelo. (and chicken and ribs if there are any takers.)

Anyway, I won't be able to post again until next week, but I wanted to leave you with some BBQ memories.

Teal, the sweetest dog on earth that passed out on the kitchen floor. (Wish I would have gotten a picture of when she went and laid in the bathtub!)

The birthday sisters, Stephanie and Sarah.

Dale playing broom guitar while Juan plays maracas.

The one and only picture of me from the BBQ - with another birthday girl, Reyna.

I won't even go into how filthy the house was. As Larry said, "It looks like a T-Rex stormed through this place." But it was worth it. Good times with good people.


things I've learned this week

1, If you order a "cabana bowl" from Taco Cabana, it is not a taco salad. In fact, it does not contain any lettuce at all.

2. When you order a rum & diet coke and it tastes like crap, it might be because your waiter punched Bacardi "O" into the computer. Blech - no thanks on the orange flavored rum.

3. Nobody else really notices that your hair is about 10 shades lighter than it was the day before.

4. There is a band that remade Wham's "Careless Whisper." I don't know who it was and I don't feel like looking it up, but I heard it on 101x. I honestly can't tell you if it's any good or not, because I was singing at the top of my lungs. I love that song so much. "Tonight the music seems so loud, I wish that we could lose this crowd. Maybe it's better this way, we hurt each other with the things we want to say..."

5. My lit review paper is not gonna write itself.


On a roll

There are several things that have happened lately that make me think I need to buy a lottery ticket.

First, let me say that I'm digging Microsoft Word 2007. It looks like I am working, but really, I am writing a new blog post that will be published straight from Word. I don't even have to pull up my hot pink screen! Now THAT, Mr. Gates, is progress. (Not really, I'm trying to get better about taking a lunch…)

Good deal #2 - As many of you know, Larry and I are "regulars" at several places. Wednesday we usually go to Carino's, Thursday is Pluckers and Friday is either A La Carrera or Daily Grill. (Just to fill in the blanks, Monday is turkey meat loaf night at home and Tuesday depends because I work late lots of Tuesdays.) Well, we are like BFF with the bartender at Carino's, so he told us we should enter the company NCAA bracket contest. I went in and filled out a bracket and there were only like 5 other players, so I knew I would at least win one round. However, since there was low turnout in participation, they cancelled it. BUT – they are giving us all a $50 gift card for entering!

If you are my dad or brother, you might want to skip good deal #3, as I am talking about bras. So, a few weeks ago, I needed a new bra, and went to Dillards to pick a few up. (Actually, I went to Dillards because they sell the Spanx "Brallelujah" and I really wanted one. It seems I always have falling straps, and this bra has stretchy straps that you don't have to adjust. However, apparently this bra either fits you or it doesn't and it didn't fit me. (I'm still sad about it.) So anyway, after trying on at least 63 bras, I picked out a neutral one and a black one. (I'm very picky.) When I went to pay out, they said, "If you wait a few days to come get the black one, we will donate 20% to breast cancer research and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free bra and Estee Lauder products." So I said, "Sure." I went back a few days later, picked up my black bra, and called it a day. Well, they called me yesterday to tell me that I won the drawing and I get to go pick out a new bra! (One Wacoal bra or one B-Tempted Bra and panty.) Any of you who purchase bras know that they can be expensive, so that is a pretty good prize! With that being said, I just bought two brand new bras. I can always use more, but I hate to be greedy. So if I have a reader out there that is wearing a raggedy bra, or perhaps is pregnant and will need a bigger bra for awhile, or just wants to take advantage of my generosity, let me know, and I'll give you my free bra. (But if I don't get any takers, maybe I'll get a fun one for once – like hot pink or polka dotted.)

Good deal #4 – I've mentioned it before, but I'm really not kidding. You guys need to listen to the Christian radio station so that you can get hooked up. http://khfi.halfoffdeals.com/index.php?index_type=promo-detail&pid=65839 I got a $500 gift card for $200 to milk & honey Spa. (I'm using it for an upcoming spa day with friends, and we will split the $200 cost but get $500 of services!) This is also the site where I got the $50 Oasis gift card for $25.

I think I'm forgetting something, but I guess I should go pop my popcorn and eat something, so that's all for now.

UPDATED 6:00pm

Did you know that your middle name is your Guardian Angel's name? Well, that's what I think. So Helene had my back today. We were headed to our normal Wednesday spot and pulled into Wells Fargo so Larry could deposit some money from the NCAA bracket game he is running and so I could cash a reimbursement check. It wasn't even raining or anything when we pulled up. All of a sudden, Larry heard a little "click" on the car and started pulling up. I was all "Why are you leaving, I haven't gotten my money yet?" Then..... HOLY HAIL, BATMAN!!! What are the odds that you'll be under a covered bank drive-through when a hailstorm starts? It was so scary. We saw about 3 windshields get shattered. (Including the bank teller, who made her final payment on her car yesterday.) I took a picture with my phone but I don't know how to transfer it. We waited for it to end, then headed home and saw at least six busted windshields. The whole golf course looked like it was covered in snow.

Here is a close-up, and this is after it had already started melting:

Only bad thing that happened was to Larry's poor truck. Aw.

Updated 9:00pm

Just got back from Carinos, (Larry couldn't stay away) and went to the bathroom. This is where I discovered my luck has run out. The skylight got busted.

So we went to check out the other skylight in the living room. It isn't as bad, but has a few little holes and a bunch of pooled water just waiting to gush down and ruin the wood floors.

So, I know we need more rain and all, but I hope that it waits until we get the holes in our ceiling fixed. But to be honest, the first thing I thought about is all those people who got hit by the Hurricanes. I mean, we had a hailstorm and have a truck and two skylights that have to get fixed..... those people lost everything. So I guess I am lucky after all.


poor chimi

We watched basketball and ate burgers on the deck Thursday night. (see previous post for pictures.) We fired up the chimineas and relaxed.

Fast forward to Saturday, when chores were taking place. Larry wanted to power-wash the deck and patio so he can stain and seal it before we have people over next weekend, so we had to move everything:

- three patio tables
- 12 patio chairs
- three chaise lounges
- one "bistro" set
- two umbrellas
- the smoker
- the grill
- all sorts of other candles, plants, miscellaneous crap, and
- the chimineas....

He went to move one of the chimis and only half of it came with him. There was a big crack in it and Thursday night was its last occasion to provide ambiance and warmth.

This is particularly sad if you've been to our backyard and know how much Larry loves his chimineas. (close-up of his "sad face.")

That chiminea has been a part of backyard BBQs for about 10 years. He was a good chimi and will be missed. Larry says now he wants to get a fire-pit. We'll see.


the madness continues

March Madness is my boyfriend's favorite time of the year. For two days straight, he watches NCAA basketball. Me? Notsomuch. But since I was off work this year, I decided to enjoy it with him, and it has been great. Yesterday, he let me wear his "vintage" t-shirt from 1986 when Duke was in the Final Four. We sat at a bar for about 6 hours and watched games, then came home and he grilled burgers.

Blossom stole his chair when he got up to get something.

Here I am, looking dorky, in the vintage shirt. I only posted this picture so you could see how cute the mini-chiminea is.

It has been a full couple of days, and I still have Monday off! Sweet! I was going to include Juan's birthday and SXSW in this post, but the games are starting again, so we have to go.


up all night

This past Saturday, I went to the birthday party for the daughters of a friend from college. I won't give names, and I didn't get permission to show their sweet faces on my blog, but they'll probably be models someday anyway, so it should be okay:
They both have March birthdays, so they had a joint "Pirate Princess" birthday party. With a moonjump thing. And a professional face painter. And a pinata shaped like a nail polish bottle. And pony rides. And the best little treat bags I've ever seen. (Purses for the girls, treasure chests for the boys. Beer and margaritas for the adults.) It was a sweet party. But since they've spent about a zillion dollars on birthday parties the past few years, they are trying to figure out where to go from here. (Otherwise, we are bound to see them on the new version of MTV's "My Sweet Sixteen Party" in a few years...) The oldest turned 5, so soon she will be ready for slumber parties. I am psyched. I'm hoping they will move to slumber parties, and I volunteered to come help. I love slumber parties. I'll get to stay up late with my best girl friends (while listening to girls screaming over Hannah Montana) and catch up. I have so many good memories from slumber parties growing up, even though we always seemed to get yelled at during the night at some point. "GIRLS, QUIET DOWN!!!" Brooke, Gloria, Selena, Sally, Tabitha, Nicky, Margaret and Sarah will all hate me, but here is a picture - I think it is from my 11th birthday slumber party:

Yes, that's me in the hot pink with my eyes closed. Nice. I think that was the party where I got a "My Little Pony" cassette tape player. If you'll notice, I made goodie bags out of brown lunch sacks - you can see Selena in the middle holding hers up. I don't really remember, but I'm guessing we sang along to NKOTB, painted each other's nails and talked about boys. (I think I also rented "Maid to Order" and got in trouble because it was rated PG-13.)

This story really doesn't have a point, I just got really excited at the idea of a slumber party. That's all.



Is it just me, or is this "bottled water" business getting out of hand? Don't get me wrong - I love bottled water just as much as the next guy. (Especially with those nifty little skinny crystal light packets - GENIUS!) But now we have to feel bad every time we drink out of a bottled water because water bottles buried in landfills can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade and leak chemicals, yada yada yada. I'm no expert, but I already have cancer, heart disease and spinabifida in my family tree, so I'm not sure what a few plastic chemicals are going to harm, but whatever. (Yes, I want to leave a better world for my nieces and nephews and any children I might have - take a deep breath and don't take me so seriously, geez.) So now, instead of drinking out of the bottled water, we are supposed to use an aluminum one:
(I'm partial to the red one.) Or, we can spend a couple extra dollars and get a stainless steel one:

(This one is actually pretty sweet, right?) Or, we can use a Brita Fill & Go, which lasts for up to 57 uses:

OR -I just saw this today, we can now buy Water in a Box:


There is something that has been around for ages - it doesn't harm the environment, take up space in a landfill or really even cost anything. If you're hardcore, you could even re-use it, which SAVES water in the long-run. (drumroll please.....)

Introducing THE GLASS!

My goal is to become a better friend to him. Baby steps people, baby steps.


Camping with diplomats

We eat out a lot. Like at least 5 nights a week. I'm not proud of this, but the boyfriend is at home all day, and wants to get out of the house in the evenings, so off to happy hour we go. We rotate between Carinos, Saltgrass, Daily Grill, A la Carrera, and Plucker's. (And I wonder where this 20 pounds came from.) Most of the places offer half-price appetizers, so we are out of there with dinner and cocktails for less that $20. (Yes, I realize we spend quite a bit of money at restaurants. Sorry if that offends you. I look at it as supporting those waitpeople who depend on my tips to pay their rent, plus it is really none of your business.) However, I'll admit it gets a little old, so I'm always looking for new places to try.

My younger brother told us about restaurant.com, where you get gift certificates to restaurants for less than half price. Sweet deals. Then, I'm listening to "the River" radio station and they start telling me about http://aust.halfoffdeals.com/. The first time I visit, I find $50 Oasis gift certificates for half-price. Sign me up. Since it was about 80 degrees for 2 straight weeks and the forecast called for cold and rainy weather, we decided to take advantage of the last "nice" night. So on Tuesday, we decided to go see the sunset and have dinner and drinks at the Oasis. Dinner and drinks were fine but it was cloudy, so we didn't really get to see the sunset. Oh well.

However, it was an extremely memorable night, because we sat next to FOREST freaking GUMP! We didn't pay much attention when a couple was seated at the table next to us, although I did mention that they were dressed up and it looked like a first date. (He was in a lace-up shirt and sport coat, she had some sort of corduroy duster jacket on.) She ordered a glass of white wine and he ordered a cup of coffee. We were thinking AA. (Good for him for taking care of himself.) Larry and I commence to enjoying our evening, eating, talking, etc. But then, about half-way through dinner, I realized that the gentleman had been talking NON-STOP. Seriously. And we started to pick up on the stories he was telling his lady friend, and couldn't help ourselves from eavesdropping for the remainder of the time they were there. I think that the first story that caught our attention was when he was describing his job as a truck-driver. At one point, he drove something like 48 straight hours, all the way through California and Canada, only to be told "We don't need this shipment until tomorrow." Then he started talking about the time he spent as a horse trainer. He has magical hands and the horses are putty under his touch. He even worked with Jane Fonda and Ted Turner's horses. That somehow segwayed into his job on a shrimp boat, where he earned $6250. (That shouldn't be confused with the time he spent as a merchant marine and inspected cargo, where he found all sorts of contraband.) Other memorable tidbits that he claims:
- he was a bullrider. This was the one and ONLY time I heard the woman speak. She said, "I think bull-riding is cruel." He responded with, "They can't feel pain. They love to make their riders/trainers happy." She said, "I would think that if they can't feel pain, they can't feel satisfaction either." He changed the subject.
- he was a professional chef (on and off) for two years
- he has traveled the world and particularly likes Beijing and Taiwan, but there is nothing like being in the hill country
- he was hunting with a sheriff when the sheriff had to shoot somebody
- he went camping with a Russian diplomat
- swimming with the dolphins is amazing

Now I don't know. I'm not calling the fella a liar, I'm just saying that it was UNBELIEVABLE listening to him. Each story was more far-fetched than the next. I could be totally out of line, and I do feel a little bad for making fun of him. I wanted to end this post with a picture of the most interesting man in the world, but I just don't feel right about that. (But if you really want to see it, come to my house and I'll show you. I was pretending to take a picture of Larry but snapped Mr. Gump instead.) I know. Say an extra prayer for me at church tomorrow. But CAMPING WITH DIPLOMATS? Really?!?!?


The devil made me do it. I swear.

I randomly got a flier in the mail from a Baptist church for a relationship course targeted at "Newlyweds, Nearly-weds and Seriously Dating" couples and I took it as a sign. The boyfriend was receptive to trying it out with me, so we've been going the past few weeks. The topics each time range from having a relationship based on faith, dealing with finances, in-laws, communication, romance and all that kind of stuff. It has been pretty good and I'd say it has already made a positive impact on our relationship.

Yesterday was "Building a Foundation of Faith" and we talked about what cracks in the foundation of a building mean and what that looks like in a relationship, etc. (Since it is put on by a Baptist church, there is lots of scripture involved, which is a little embarrassing because it always takes me longer than everyone else to find the right page.) Yesterday we focused on Philippians 4: 4-9, which says:

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The key points of discussion were:




Well, I guess that the boyfriend and I were getting too good at these things and the devil didn't like it, so he decided to test me. And I failed miserably! To make a long story short, there was a situation in which I was neither gentle nor considerate, I was full of worry and doubt, and I had no desire to learn anything from this particular experience. I spent the entire day being upset. It didn't occur to me until I laid my head down to go to sleep that my behavior that day was the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything that we had talked about that very morning. And I realized that I was totally letting the devil win. He does not want me to be happy, he does not want us to have a relationship based on faith, he does not want us to succeed – and I was playing right into his hand. The instant I realized that, I was no longer upset. I felt calm and peaceful (and a bit stupid.)

So devil, you can take your ugliness, worry and fret and STUFF IT! It might have taken me a little while to wise up your wily ways, but I'm on to you now.


when you say nothing at all

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you had an anonymous blog so that you could say what you really wanted to without all of your co-workers and family and friends knowing exactly what was going on in that crazy mind of yours?

Me either.


I don't care what you say...

Mr. Van Winkle is still good-looking.

just braggin'

I've had a crick in my neck all week. I guess it is more like in my shoulder, but still. It prevents me from turning my head all the way to the right. So I got home from work yesterday, ready to celebrate Blossom's birthday, (HA!) and found a gift certificate for a massage on the kitchen counter. Aw, how sweet.


The "as-soon-as-I-get-around-to-its"

Am I the only one that has things sitting around the house that are just waiting to get done? Not major things, I know there are always things like laundry and home improvement that need to take care of. I'm talking more about the little things - the ones that are so insignificant that you just keep putting them off because they really aren't that big of a deal and they are really easy to do and won't take very long. That's the thing - they won't take very long, yet some of them have been sitting around for several months. Let me show you what I mean:

Christmas presents that I found when I was putting the wrapping stuff away. They just need to be mailed, but instead, they are sitting on the dresser in one of the guest rooms. (Amy, I swear I was going to mail it but have decided not to for reasons which cannot be disclosed at this point in time.)

Other examples include:

Sorting the many greeting cards that I buy when I'm hanging out in the card aisle or when they are on sale. (Found some sweet deals at Papyrus while at the Houston Galleria, I was very excited about that.) I got this cute little portfolio so that I could sort them by Birthday/Just Because/Baby Shower, etc. Seriously? That would take like 5 minutes. But eh - I'll do it as soon as I get around to it.

I dog-ear magazines when I see a recipe or gift idea or something I like. So now I have this pile of Glamour, Redbook and Rachael Ray magazines that I need to go through again and cut stuff out of. It is growing by the day, but I'll get around to it soon.

The boyfriend used to have a room where he hung all of his race medals and pictures. When he remodeled, they had to be taken down. Well, I was around when it was time to redecorate, and the room that was formerly known as "The Bragging Room" is now just a guest room. But I feel kind of bad about that, because he is a very good athlete and has lots of memorabilia to show for it. So, I decided I would make the storage/laundry room into a new bragging room. For now, the pictures are collecting dust. I'll hang them soon,as soon as I have a free weekend.

I've been in school for almost two months. Yet my textbooks and assorted resources are just sitting in a pile, waiting to be organized. I even bought a brand new copy of the APA manual, which I haven't even opened. I just fake my way through it and it is working so far. I'll get it organized before the semester ends - you guessed it.... just as soon as I get around to it.

Just curious if there is anyone else that has these piles hidden somewhere in their house. Maybe I will get off of the computer and go take care of one of them. Ha, right.


Daikon is a mild-flavored, very large, white, East Asian radish.

You were probably hoping that I would have a new, clever post since I haven't posted in a few days. Haha - SUCKA! Sorry, you're out of luck. Just me, posting random nothingness so my Ash Wednesday post won't be stuck on your Google reader anymore.

I had a pretty uneventful weekend - won't even bore you with the details. I managed to stay busy, but most of it revolved around work, so not much to share.

I don't want this post to be a utter and COMPLETE waste of your time, so I'll give you another activity to complete while you should be working. Here are directions to create your own album cover:

1. Go to http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ and the 3rd picture on the screen is your album cover art.

2. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page and click "Random Article" from the links on the left side. The article that comes up is the name of your band.

3. Go to http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 and the last 4 to 5 words of the last quote on the page is your album title.

Use photoshop or something similar to create your album cover. (I used picasa because it is free and has a text editing tool.) Here's mine: