from the vault

Since I'm in the midst of my busiest time at work but don't want my blog to be stuck on a post complaining about the weather, here is another "inspirational" ditty I emailed to myself 12 years ago. Funny how each paragraph resonated with me in one way or another when I was a sweet young thing. I'm pretty sure I found it after a break-up and read it all the time to remind myself that breaking up was the right thing to do. It doesn't resonate the same way or strike the same chords anymore, but it is still a good message!

About Love....(from the internet circa 1999)

If you find yourself in love with someone who does not love you, be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. Love just didn't choose to rest in the other person's heart.

If you find someone else in love with you and you don't love him/her, feel honored that love came and called at your door, but gently refuse the gift you cannot return. Do not take advantage, do not cause pain. How you deal with love is how you deal with you and all our hearts feel the same pains and joys, even if our lives and ways are different.

If you fall in love with another and he/she falls in love with you and then love chooses to leave, do not try to reclaim it or to assess blame. Let it go. There is a reason and a meaning. You will know in time.

Remember that you don't choose love. Love chooses you. All you can really do is accept it for all its mystery when it comes into your life.

Feel the way it fills you to overflowing then reach out and give it away. Give it back to the person who brought it alive in you. Give it to others who deem it poor in spirit. Give it to the world around you in anyway you can.

This is where many lovers go wrong. Having been so long without love, they understand love only as a need. They see their hearts as empty places that will be filled by love, and they begin to look at love as something that flows to them rather than from them.

The first blush of new love is filled to overflowing but as their love cools, they revert to seeing their love as need. They cease to be someone who generates love and instead become someone who seeks love.

They forget that the secret of love is that it is a gift and that it can be made to grow only by giving it away. Remember this and keep it to your heart.

Love has its own time, its own seasons and its own reason for coming and going.

You cannot bribe it or coerce it, or reason it into staying.

You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you.

But if it chooses to leave from your heart or from the heart of your lover, there is nothing you can do and there is nothing you should do... Love always has been and always will be a mystery.



H is for hot.

Not a very clever topic, but since that is the best description of the past 2 months, I figure I might as well throw it out there. From a local news blog:

We have a thermometer on the house, and Larry sent me a picture of it last Friday:

That is all.


double G

You only *thought* I was done talking about graduation! (insert evil laugh)

What else would "G" stand for besides GRATUITOUS GRADUATION recap?

Day 1: Fly to Milwaukee, check into the Astor Hotel, and walk a block to the Metro Market to load up on supplies. Let me tell you.... people aren't lying when they say Wisconsin has a lot of cheese! Basketball playoffs were on, so we went to the corner bar to watch Dallas. Turns out it was COLLEGE NIGHT - - - - $2 Miller Lites and free pizza! Yes! (Yes, you see chrome and disco lights in the place - it was as cheesy as can be, but exactly what we wanted.)

Day 2: We take the bus to visit to the campus that I'll be paying off for several more years. (To answer your question, it was the first graduate program that interested me... I didn't care that it was in Milwaukee. It was online and it worked for me! Plus, "dachshund" means "badger dog," and UW Madison are the Badgers, so it all fell together.)

We got off a few stops (8 blocks) too soon, so we got to walk through the neighborhood. It was the first sunny day these people had seen in about 7 months, so the college girls were all in lawnchairs on their front lawns. It was cute.

Once we got to campus, I visited the bookstore to buy a t-shirt and a hat and then just walked around a little. Here I am at the main sign. I'm not sure why I am posing like this. The only thing I can think of is that it was a little windy and maybe I didn't want my dress to blow up.
The bus we took to campus was the "30." We got back on it going the other direction and thought we were golden. Until we missed our stop. And slowly descended upon a part of Milwaukee that I'm pretty sure tourists are not supposed to see. We took the ENTIRE 30 route. I doubt you can tell from the tiny map below, but it is the route on the bottom. The one that takes 2.5 hours to ride.

At one point, we were the only ones on the bus. Everyone else had managed to make their exit. Even the driver got off to stretch his legs so I took a quick picture of us.

We went to dinner that night in downtown Milwaukee - but we took a cab.... The place was called Buck o'Bradys I think and it supposedly has the longest bar east of the Mississippi. It was a neat place.

Day 3: I wanted to go walk by the lake. The coolest thing about walking around was seeing surprises. Like the fact that there were tulips growing everywhere!

We walked all the way down to the lake to realize that it wasn't the lake. It was some other large body of water, but it was certainly not Lake Michigan. While we were down there, it started to rain. We tried to take cover under a weeping willow without much luck.

We went home to get cleaned up and get ready to greet my parents, who flew in that day. We enjoyed some of our traditional wine and cheese happy hour while Larry told them stories. (probably about riding the 30 for almost 3 hours.) Do you see the door? It almost looks like a coffin - it has some sort of rounded insert. All the doors were like that and we had never seen anything like it.

Fortunately my dad travels with his "MacGyver" tool, so he broke into it. It opens from each side - back in the day, I would open my side to place my soiled gloves in it so that the staff could come through, open the other side, and take them to be laundered.

My parents and I enjoyed a toast, and then we headed out to dinner.

We did not realize that Bon Jovi was in town that same night approximately 1 block from where we were trying to eat, so all the restaurants were full. We walked around for a little while and took pictures on the "riverwalk."

We finally found a place that was emptying out and had a nice dinner. The most memorable part of that experience was the wine. We ordered a carafe and it came out in the clear wine bottle labeled "3 fancy." (in middle of picture.)

Of course, since I am so fancy, I loved it. Didn't know what it meant, but my dad asked the waitress if we could have it and she basically said that if it wasn't there when they cleaned the table it wasn't going to be a big deal. Later, I looked up why it was labeled "3 fancy." Well, they serve 3 kinds of wine there.... 1-cheap, 2-fine, and 3-fancy.

Day 4: We started with mass at the beautiful Cathedral... complete with trees that made a nice photo op for my mom and I:

I had to be at the graduation place by 12:45, so the hotel staff took me by myself. (I didn't want everyone else to have to sit there forever.)

While I was backstage sweating to death in that giant gown and hat, my mom, dad, Larry and our friend Sal (who came in from Chicago) went to find seats. When they got there, they ended up waaaaay in the top bleachers. Then I guess my dad noticed a whole row of empty seats on basically the front row. There was some "caution" tape around them, but my dad figured it couldn't hurt to ask.
The people sitting around the empty seats said that the tape was there from the morning graduation and the seats were not reserved.... so everyone moved to the sweet seats. I'm not sure how long they waited, but finally they were able to catch a glimpse of me in all my glory:

Our speakers were actually pretty good. Hopefully somebody else remembers what they said, but they weren't boring or anything. I just can't remember! As I was walking up to receive my diploma, Larry took what *would* have been a perfect picture.... if my eyes were open!

We headed to get a bite to eat at the Brat House, which was surprisingly delicious. Mom, I'm assuming the pictures we took there are on your camera, because I don't have any!

Afterwards, we went to a place called The Safe House. If you are ever in Milwaukee, you have to go. It is a spy themed restaurant, complete with a password to enter and an illusionist named Scott:
I highly recommend it! (Just try not to stand next to a smelly girl like Larry had to.) One last picture in the hotel's "library" before heading to my parent's room to watch a Jesse Stone made-for-TV movie. (my choice....starring Tom Selleck.)

Day 5: we said good-bye to my parents, who hopped on some fancy boat to go see my Aunt and Uncle in Michigan. Sal packed Larry and I in the car and drove us about an hour north to Lake Geneva. (Well, he started driving us there until the hotel called and told me that they found my camera..... so we turned around to pick that up and then started all over again. Thanks Sal!) We went to a cute little place serving PBR and brats:

The next day was gorgeous - I got to lay out at the pool and read and relax for a few hours before heading into the condo to make some "Cove Kabobs."

We had our snacks and then went for some dinner before calling it a night.

Day 6: I walked around downtown Lake Geneva - they have some of the cutest little shops. My favorite was called the Cornerstone. I could have spent hours in there. The boys were waiting for me when I got back and we headed to Larry's favorite place in Fontana - a restaurant called Chucks. (This was where his favorite triathlon used to take place... they moved it to a different town up the road this year.)

I tried the cheese curds, which I had seen on every single menu up there. They were basically just like fried mozzarella sticks except they were little balls of fried cheddar. We took the obligatory pictures in front of the lake before leaving:

Day 7: Loaded up and Sal took us to the airport. It was 55 degrees and raining the entire way. When we landed back home in Austin, it was 101 degrees. (and has been just about every day since.)

Very memorable trip - so glad we went and that my parents got to come too.

And now, you can exhale a sigh of relief - the posts related to grad school, graduation parties and graduation will cease.


worst free meal ever

I got suckered.

It is no secret that I love groupon, livingsocial, and the like. I also use restaurant.com... for about $2, I get $25 gift certificates to restaurants. Well, I got one for a local mexican restaurant in a strip mall about 6 months ago. I was feeling tired and didn't want to drive far, and Larry didn't want to heat up the house by cooking, so we decided to use it. My older brother is in town and a couple friends were going to meet us.....

Fajitas for 2 were $13.99, so we got one beef and one chicken. Add a side a queso, a couple beers and a couple margaritas. Subtract the $25 coupon and I figured we'd be out of there for $20.

OR $89!!!!

$1.99 for some jalepenos
$3.50 for an extra "salad" (lettuce, guacamole and pico)
$17 for gratuity
and obviously many other charges

It wasn't even very good. We won't be going back there.



I can't remember if I already told y'all this, but I was reminded of it this morning and wanted to be sure I have it written down.

We have a good and honest mechanic named Quan. He will take a look at the problem and let us know what parts we should go get. This usually allows us to save money, because we just go to Auto Zone and bring him the parts. He is Vietnamese and his English can be difficult to understand at times.

A few months ago, Larry's truck was running horribly. He took it into Quan and was told that "the #4 pluck wire is bad." Larry knows quite a bit about cars and this seemed strange, but Quan never steered him wrong before, so he just went out to get the part. Only dealers sell individual wires, so Larry went to the Ford house and asked for a "#4 pluck wire." The guy behind the counter said, "you mean a plug wire?" And Larry said, "yeah" and acted all cool like that is what he said to begin with.

So now, anytime I hear anything about spark plugs or plug wires, I always insert the word "pluck." Try it. It's fun.



F is for friends - from Deacon Dolls to Spice Girls, I've been blessed with many...

F is for failures - from coming precariously close to my first "F" in Biology my sophomore year in college or several relationships...

F is for food - which I could go on and on about....

F is for fun - where I could talk about any number of recent activities....

There are many directions I could have gone with this post and I just can't make a decision. So instead, I'm going with:

F is for freak out.

I choose freak out because my mom got me thinking - she said something like, "wouldn't you be sad if something happened to your blog and you couldn't access it anymore?" I know that sounds like my mom lives in some sort of bubble and just discovered the internet or something, but my oldest brother is a crazy computer genius and we hear the way he talks. If the wrong kind of crazy computer genius decided to totally hack into something, Blogger really could be gone. While I use my blog as a brainless outlet, I also use it to document my life. I would love to scrapbook, but typing a few sentences and uploading a couple pictures goes a whole lot faster than meticulously cutting out borders and letters and 3-D shapes. So seriously - I want to keep my blog. I think it would be neat for my kids to read it when they were teenagers and thought I was just a boring stick-in-the-mud that never had any fun. Or if I don't have kids, I can look back on it myself when I am old and remember all of the life I was fortunate enough to experience.

My mom also said, "Maybe you can print your blog into a book or something." Can you do that? Call me paranoid if you wish. If I can, maybe I'll make a book every 5 years and keep them on the coffee table. I'll even sign a copy for you when Blogger gets hacked and you lose all your posts because I'm nice like that.



Extreme drought over the whole state of Texas = no fireworks allowed. I never thought I cared much about them, but not having the option to see any this year makes me a little sad.

But in a weird way, not being allowed to buy/shoot fireworks brings a little perspective regarding what the holiday is all about. In some countries, you're always told what to do, what to believe, how to celebrate.... if you're allowed to celebrate at all.

Happy Independence Day and thanks to all those who have made it possible for me to celebrate - with or without the fireworks.


ohmygosh - like, so totally awesome!

The New Kids on the Block / Backstreet Boys ("NKOTBSB") concert was so much fun. Pretend for a second that you are 12 years old again. Kristin and I got to be 12 again for an entire evening.

The boys did not disappoint. They can still move like it is 1990. At one point, I looked at Kristin and said, "I wonder if they feel dumb doing these cheesy dance moves?!?!" But then I looked at a sold-out American Airlines Center at roughly $100/ticket and realized that even if they did feel dumb, they didn't care.

There were costume changes, multiple stages, fireworks, giant screens - you name it. For the finale, they all came out in Dallas Maverick jerseys.

Donnie didn't keep his on very long. And let me tell you - when he ripped it off, the place went crazy. Mr. Wahlberg has aged well.

I have to say that my favorite part of the concert was when they split up and went into the audience to sing "Tonight." Our section got Joey McIntyre, my personal crush from when I was young. (I swear he looked right at me - ha!)

I could not have asked for a more ridiculously innocent and fun evening. I should really consult a thesaurus for words other than "fun," but it really is the best description. I am not the only one who thought so. Imagine the loudest noise you've ever heard ...... now multiply it by one zillion. That is how loud it was in there. It was a 99.9% female audience with an age range of about 20-45. And every single one of us was screaming like a little girl. One brave boyfriend in the row ahead of us just couldn't take it anymore:

Bless his heart.

For anyone who cares to know what NKOTB and a zillion screaming girls sound like, enjoy some snippets: