I pledge allegiance....

I noticed something the other day when I looked at this childhood picture:

Well, the first thing I noticed was that Sarah and I were little fashionistas. We somehow knew that Sarah, with her olive skin, would look better in pastel pink than I would. (Although we did go a *bit* heavy on the rouge.) Poor Jessica got the leftovers when it came to dressing up. But she was so durn cute, so it didn't really matter what she wore. (I'm guessing that it was one of my little brothers that took this picture - based on the fact that the tops of our heads are cut off. Although, it looks like we both had questionable haircuts, so he probably did us a favor.) Anyway.... do you see what I'm doing with my hand? It's like I'm ready to say the pledge of allegiance. It wouldn't be noteworthy if it wasn't for this:

Here I am, about 20 years later, still saying the pledge in my photographs. What's up with that?

I'll be absent from the blogosphere for at least a week, as I'm headed to Knoxville to "present" my paper and get all published and what not. Try not to miss me TOO much.


oh heavenly day

So, one of my new favorite blogs to read is Enjoying the Small Things. She takes beautiful pictures and is an amazing writer. If you have any soul at all, her post about giving birth will move you. It is so raw, so honest, so touching. Read it.

But today she talks about a quote that a reader left in her comment section. The quote says:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

I read this quote and I paused. Because normal days truly are treasures. They are the way we spend the majority of our lives, yet so often we wish them away. Instead, we should all take a deep breath, listen to "Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin, look around, be thankful for all of our blessings and smile.



I used to love the Sunday comics. Did you read them? I was partial to Cathy. Maybe because she always talked about chocolate and shopping. Also because she said "ACK!"
"ACK" is about how I feel this week. Too much to do, too little time. But that is better than being bored, right??!?!


to my boy

Somewhere in a shoebox, I have a picture of orange and white roses in a glass vase with a bow made out of raffia. It was before I had a digital camera, so I don't have the picture electronically. But I don't really even need the picture - I can still see them like it was yesterday.

It was about a week after we met and you went all around town to find those orange and white roses - to rub it in a little bit more that the Longhorns had annihilated Texas Tech. We met during the game on Saturday, and then you left for Atlanta on Sunday morning. We talked for hours every night while you were gone. I was a smitten kitten. When you got back into town, we had dinner and you gave me the roses. I'd gotten flowers before, but never flowers that had so much meaning. You could have gone to the local grocery store, or even the local florist, but instead you searched for those orange roses because it was a part of our story. Our love story.

And that was the first time you went above and beyond for me. You didn't do what was easiest, you did what you thought would mean the most to me. And you continue to do it day after day. Thank you.

So, even though every day with you is a holiday - Happy St. Valentine's Day from the luckiest girl in the world. I love you. (And now it's published on a blog for everyone to see, so there's no taking it back.) xoxo


better late than never?

When I say I don't like to talk about myself, I mean it in the sense that I don't really like to talk about myself. I would rather ask you questions and listen. If you spend 3 weeks in Europe, I want to hear what you did and what you saw and how you felt. I just don't assume that you want to hear it from me.

However, I guess there are times that perhaps I should share stories with people - obviously I never told some of my best friends about rapelling in Assisi.
(Cheesy $20 souvenir photo)

Here is the 800 foot tall tower that we went down:
Looking back, I can't believe I did it. I mean, I'm not really the "outdoorsy" type if you know what I mean. (But I'm so glad I did.)

To make matters worse, not too long ago, I was talking to my parents about the time I got tear-gassed in France after they beat Brazil in the World Cup and they were all... What?!?!? So apparently I never shared that story either. If ANYONE is going to listen to your long stories and look at all 400 of your pictures, it should be your parents. But apparently I was just too worn out to fill anybody besides Larry in. I should really do this story justice, as it was AWESOME....

France was in the World Cup, playing Brazil. This was the game where the French guy head-butted the other team, do you remember that? Well, France won. I was at my "home-stay" with a French woman in Marseilles, and she barely spoke any English. I do not speak any French. (aside from "la plage," which means "the beach." I learned how to say that so I could ask people which way to walk.)

So anyway, I actually got really into this soccer game, even though it was the first one I've ever watched in my life. When France won, she made the motions like - let's go drive around and celebrate!!! So, I'm all - let's go!!! We hop into her tiny little "speck" car and drive downtown, where it is MADNESS. We go into a bar and get a drink and there are people just everywhere, celebrating. Eventually, some idiots start a fire in the street, which apparently calls for police in riot gear. Who TEAR GAS everybody in sight. We had to cover our faces with our shirts - and yes, it makes your eyes tear up really bad. We waited in the bar for a little bit, but then my hostess said - "Let's Go... RUN!" And I followed her. We were running through the streets, but every once in awhile she would say "STOP!" and I would stop and we would hide. (I have no idea what was really going on, but there were all sorts of people running and hiding so I assume we were doing the right thing.) Anyway, we finally made it back to her car and went home. Talk about an adrenaline high. I think it was just like 11pm in France, so it was about 4pm in Texas. I called Larry and was all, "I got tear-gassed!" Seriously, it was a pretty memorable evening - and I have a horrible memory. Here was the newspaper the next morning:

I was just looking through all my pictures and it brought it all back. i can't believe that I probably never told you about being on the London Eye and seeing the city from 443 feet in the air:
And did I tell you about being at Omaha Beach, picturing the sand covered with the dead bodies of our soldiers? (one of those very humbling moments where you are so grateful to be an American.)
Or being in the Palace of Versailles, in awe of it's luxury and beauty?
Surely I told you about being in Cannes and seeing Chuck Norris' palm print in the sidewalk...And if I didn't tell you, maybe you at least felt a nice warm glow when I said a prayer for you at the Cathedral of Notre Dame?Surely I mentioned the majestic Sistene chapel? I never understood just how truly amazing it was - and how small it was - until I stood in the room and stared at the ceiling.
In contrast, I never realized how ginormous St. Peter's Basilica was.
Finally, I should have told you about basically missing the tour of the Coliseum because I had to find a bathroom. Notice my pink "Italia" shirt? Italy was playing in the final game of the World Cup that day.
They won.



Nothing like a big plate of spaghetti noodles threaded through hot dogs.

(Although I c


no keychains for me

So the other day I was at work and realized that instead of my daily, conservative college ring:
I had accidentally grabbed a large cocktail ring.
A bit much for a day at the office, no?

In fact, that ring is just a bit MUCH period. But I bought it that way on purpose...

I was fortunate enough to go to Europe for 3 weeks a few summers ago. I was still teaching and on a limited budget, so I decided ahead of time that I wasn't going to waste money on lots of little trinkets. Instead, I was going to blow my souvenir money on things that lasted - that I could wear or use often. And when I wore them or used them, I would think of the beauty and the magic of being in Europe for the first time.

If you've been in the Louvre, you know that it is kind of like a mall. There are high-end shops branching from every direction of the famous inverted glass pyramid thingee. (I'm sure there is a more sophisticated way to say it, but you know what I mean.) (***Just looked it up. It's called La Pyramide Inversee. Much classier.)
So anyway, one of these shops was a swarovski crystal jewelry store. I saw the cocktail ring, and I just knew that every time I looked at the triangular crystals, I would think of the "La Pyramide Inversee." (ooooh, I'm all fancy now.) And you know what? I do. So say what you will about my somewhat gaudy ring, I don't mind. (Although I don't plan on wearing it to work again anytime soon.)

While in Italy, I got my favorite souvenirs. The souvenir I wear all the time is my leather cuff bracelet:
I love this thing. I wish I would have bought more of them. Actually, I think there were only two and I bought both of them and gave one as a gift. I love when I get complements on it or people ask where I got it - nonchalantly I'm all, "Oh, I picked this up in Italy." Because remember, I'm fancy.

Assisi was absolutely gorgeous. Gorgeous but painful. Painful because that city seriously consists of nothing but steps. You just keep climbing and climbing and climbing, but once you get there - it's worth the trip. This was basically the view:
I also went repelling. (?) You know, where they buckle you up real well and you shimmy yourself down a rope off of a really tall building? It was scary and totally out of my comfort zone, but being that high up in the sky, surrounded by nothing but beautiful countryside, feeling all brave and whatnot - well, it was incredible.

Finally, we spent our last couple days in Rome. I did buy crosses and rosaries at the Vatican, because, well - obviously. I also decided that it was time to spend my last stash of euros on some fine Italian shoes. And I'm so glad I did. I know you shouldn't love material things, but I love these shoes. I got them in a cute shop just down from the Spanish Steps. And the guy didn't speak English but he understood that I wanted to see whatever he had in a 40 or 41. (I also got the feeling that a 41 is considered a GIANT foot.) I ended up with these:
Here is what they look like when I wear them:
So anyway, those are most of my souvenirs from Europe. I'm ready to go baaaaaaaaaaaaack. Tomorrow. Please and thanks.


the body

My current fascination is the human body and everything it is capable of. (Or should that say "Everything of which it is capable?" Preposition nazis, please help!)

Anyway, I'm a sucker for those stories about a 95 year old grandmother who finished a marathon after getting her liver removed. Or more recently, those people in Haiti that survived days and days under rubble, without food or water.

But this week I am amazed by my friend Amy. She carried her twins for 36 weeks and change, was never on bedrest, and gave birth to:

Girl baby: 6 pounds, 11 oz and 20 3/4 inches.
Boy baby: 6 pounds, 4 oz and 20 inches.

This is amazing to me because Amy is tiny. Well, not tiny - I mean, she is like 5'8", which doesn't qualify as tiny. I just mean she is very fit and slender. I have no idea how her body expanded to accommodate these two little munchkins. But it did. And it's amazing.

(Not posting names or pictures because I don't want to steal her thunder. But trust me, those are some cute babies.)