Monday, February 25, 2013

I like things that Nap.

This weekend I learned that things that nap are the very best things. I like things that nap.

We kept my 9 month old nephew Samson for 7 hours on Saturday. My sister had a wedding to shoot in Austin, and we were nominated as babysitters. I was more than happy to do it, he is a cute kid and I hadn't seen him in over a month. My limit is usually 3 weeks before I feel like I've missed too much. Since our last visit, he's started walking and eating pretty much anything you put in front of him. 

I was proud that we managed pretty easily all day, with minimal fussing. Of course, there were two of us and I did get Sam to nap for almost an hour. Nap time is when I like babies the best. I also learned that breast milk makes me gag, especially when someone squirts it across my face with the bottle. Blech. Thanks to my days as a nanny, crying does not phase me one bit, and neither do tantrums. However, poopy diapers definitely get to me, so I was very happy that the kid did not poop and I was granted that small concession. And bottom line? I was very glad Tim had this experience, if only to prove: they are fun to play with and cute to have around, but only when on loan. He loves Sam, but he was ready to give him back! Hah. I don't think Oscar will be getting any siblings any time soon.

Here's a photo run down of our day of pseudo-parenthood:

We took a walk around the neighborhood with the baby-wearing Ergo, in which I felt like Bianca from 10 Things I Hate About You having to wear the Empathy Belly Pregnancy Suit before going to a party.

Tim is the model babysitter. Clearly, the baby is being carefully monitored, and the sitter is being entirely attentive -- to his iPhone.

Oscar discovered that the best thing about babies is there is never a shortage of boogers, free for the taking. It's like an all you can eat pick buffet.

A naked baby appeared in our yard, so naturally we got out the hose to scare him off. Little did we know, naked babies love water.

After it was time to drop the munchkin off, we relaxed with an evening of nothing-ness. I wasn't as tired as I thought I'd be after 7 hours on baby duty, but I was relieved to be able to plop on the couch and cuddle with a furry creature who was not going to swipe me across the face trying to find my nose, or cry if I didn't make funny faces at him, and was perfectly happy being ignored and ignoring me as long as I shared my blanket with him.

Saturday evening after dropping Sam off, I also got a really sore throat. It came on so suddenly and was so bad that I thought I had caught a cold. I think now that it was just allergies from being outside all day and rolling around in the grass. As a result, we missed church with the Starey's on Sunday morning yet again, and slept in and recovered. Oscar was a cuddle-machine that morning. Somehow I think he always knows when I'm feeling bad. I also think he doesn't mind any excuse to lie around with another warm body. You can tell my eyes are all puffy in that morning picture.

Sunday afternoon Tim took Oscar to the park to play while I sunbathed in the yard, and then we did some yard work together. We're prepping to build a simple compost box, and put in a raised garden bed. After that, the house got quiet for a few hours while Tim and Oscar napped (again), and I did a little reading. Then we blew the whole evening finishing our taxes - hallelujah - and watching the truly boring Oscar ceremony. Not our dog, the awards. Our dog is not boring.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dreaming of Wheat

I apologize for writing so much about food and about not eating certain foods. This is not a food blog, but my psychological relationship with food is what I'm "dealing with" right now, and it's weighing on my mind... and stomach. Like a lot, a lot. Bear with me.

It's Sunday which means I've been one week "wheat free."
OH MY GAWD do I miss it. 

Side note: Sooooo, I've cheated a little bit? Because I've been eating some girl scout cookies. But, that's it. Now there will be no. more. girl scout. cookies. We have eaten all the Thin Mints, and they aren't selling them any more. Temptation gone. I will have to revert to high quality chocolate.

To take bread off my weekly grocery list was dramatic. Bread is my first love. If I could only choose one thing to ever eat again for the rest of my life it would be bread. Last meal? Fresh warm bread and salted butter. Yum.

Over the last month and a half I've stopped buying processed foods. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, actually, to cut out junk food. Although I enjoy it as I'm eating, it never makes me feel good. Initially, this transition was made easier for me by baking fresh bread in our bread-maker, and eating it when I would otherwise look to junk. In the long run, though, I can't survive on bread alone, as much as I dream about it.

How we've made the transition:
  • I switched from shopping at HEB to only shopping at Central Market, which simply doesn't carry a lot of the processed foods that tempt me. 
  • I've grown accustomed to only selecting whole foods. That doesn't mean we haven't slipped up and had one or two bags of potato chips since January 1st, but we don't keep that stuff in the house any more. 
  • Now I think about meals in very simple terms, so I don't get overwhelmed or frustrated. For example, we're okay with eating the same things over and over again, and keeping it easy for each meal: greek yogurt and bacon, boiled egg and celery sticks, chicken breast and salad. Done. 
  • I've also starting keeping more whole foods on hand in the house, so on a night when I don't have specific plans for dinner we fall back on defrosting chicken or grilling meat, rather than ordering out. 
It's starting to feel easy, although it wasn't at first. Unfortunately, it's also starting to feel expensive. I sure wish there were tax breaks for people trying to buy and eat all organic whole foods. What a reward and motivator that would be!

I always knew wheat was going to be a big hurdle. How do I have a sandwich with no bread? What about pancakes for bunch on weekends? I'm salivating just thinking about them. I don't think I'll give up wheat for good, but I'm going to make a pointed effort for at least a month to eradicate it from my diet. I want to know if it's the cause of my lethargy, my slow brain functioning, the haze that I seem to live in perpetually (or if I'm just growing stupider with age). I also want to see some weight come off. If I see that, it will be a huge encouragement to keep at it.

In the meantime, I'm torturing myself with this beautiful film from Kinfolk, makers of Food Porn. 
Join me?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

I wish I had written this response to Zero Dark Thirty sooner. We saw this movie in January, and I read multiple articles afterward and had a multitude of thoughts about it, but never got them down. So this is going to be all over the place. With the approach of the Academy Awards this weekend, it was time...

I had a really hard time with this movie. Mostly because I found that I really enjoyed it. I'm big on political films, especially if they involve any kind of conspiracy, CIA, covert operations, etc. I like the fictional ride alongside the semi-non-fictional. This one, of course, was especially intriguing because I suppose I expected something new about this particular piece of history to be revealed.

Nothing new was really revealed. Except the depravity of human nature. Wait, that's not new either. Nothing new was really revealed. Don't worry, I'm not going to go into the torture issue. I don't know enough, haven't enough checked facts or vetted sources, to speak knowledgeably about the torture issue. I'm also - as horrid as it sounds - unsure of my exact stance on torture. So I'll leave torture out of this.

What I really want to talk about is THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.

I was struck as we walked out of the theatre, where we sat for near 3 hours - our treats of warm cookies and ice cream and craft beer in front of us - that I had just paid quite a bit of money to go watch Americans do some really shitty things. This included several murders that made me devilishly satisfied. Like the author of this article, the "wrongness" of this whole picture didn't really surface until the film was over, and what we'd seen started sinking in.

As a political, war-time thriller, I really liked the movie. The dialogue was a bit Hollywood-ish at times, and there are way too many shots of Jessica Chastain's perplexed face for my taste, even though she has a nice face. Her "I'm a bad-ass" attitude sometimes rode the edge of stereotype, but I liked her and - for the most part - I appreciated her character. (I much preferred Jennifer Ehle's, though.) Like so many people have said before me, the final scenes of the raid on Osama's complex, are really brilliant. Kathryn Bigelow and her team have a knack for capturing that "you feel like you're really there," realistic vantage point during action scenes. I was shallow-breathing, just as much as I was during the Hurt Locker bomb dismantling scenes. I was glad they finally "got the bad guy." Some people applauded the film at the end. There were a couple of "whoops" when Osama got pegged. Nothing truly distasteful, or out of hand. I can't blame anyone, especially those who have veterans in the family or a personal connection to 9/11. But I think that left an impression on me as I walked away.

Without passing judgement, because I'm definitely the Pot here just as much as anyone, I'd like to point out that we pay money to go watch these things dramatized for our entertainment. We pay money to go watch ourselves torture and murder other people. By doing so, we become what the rest of the world hates about us. We're not any better than they are. We turn our dirty deeds into a billion dollar industry, and cheer when they make us feel like heroes.

For this reason, I hope Zero Dark Thirty doesn't win an Academy Award.

I can't support what it represents, no matter how much I enjoyed it as "entertainment."
Pot and Kettle, present, I know.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The one about the Teeth.

Yes, I'm aware these are not human teeth. I couldn't handle pictures of human teeth in a jar, so I went with animal. I believe these are alligator.

There are some bad dreams that are worse than dreams of falling or people you love dying. Those dreams involve teeth.

Teeth falling out, teeth rotting out, teeth knocked out, teeth pulled out, teeth becoming crooked. Oh, the variations of terror available to my morbid subconscious. I hate dreaming about my teeth. Just to reassure you, they are all still there -- for now.

Last night, I introduced a new topic for nightmares: dreams about eyeballs. In this dream (the details of which I do not recall fully), I was confused as to why - upon opening my eyes in the morning - my vision was blurry and fuzzy, and no amount of rubbing my eyeballs fixed the matter. Holy Shite.

Since I had LASIK last June, I've just added a thousand more things to worry myself about. Amongst all the possible side effects - some of which I experienced and some of which I didn't - there is the chance of vision regression. Changes in your vision post-surgery can take place usually for up to a year after surgery, sometimes longer. This of course is excluding the natural changes that will occur as you age. To my knowledge, I haven't experienced any regression, and I was clocking in at a steady 20/20 at my last appointment. But of course, that doesn't mean I can't dream up horrific scenarios about it.

I would find a way to worry about something that hasn't actually happened and that shows no signs of actually happening in the future. I really, really need to work on that.

Still, the teeth win. The teeth are the worst.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Daily's v.2

This beautiful weather we've had lately has been so invigorating. I've been pretty motivated to work outside and start preparing for our garden. We really need to get that sucker up and running if we plan to have any summer veggies. I pruned my first cactus this week. Didn't know you could or should prune cacti, but apparently it is good for the plant, and definitely necessary for container cacti or any you don't want to get out of hand. This one was out of hand - check out how big the pads were getting. And I thought this heart-shaped pad was cute - although it is sort of a stretch to call it heart-shaped.

Our rental home was built in the 1920s by our landlady's uncle. When he built the house, he also planted a lot of irises around the yard. In the many years since, and with various renter negligence, they've spread and popped up in weird places. Last time our landlady was here she mentioned we could definitely weed some of them out. So last week I took to the bed and started pulling. These were the gigantic bulbs I came up with. We're going to dry them and give them to friends and family for replanting.

Lately, Christina and I have been hitting up different cafes for brunch and coffee. We've been to Texas French Bread three times in the last two weeks! We are addicted to their banana walnut pancakes which are like nothing else I've ever eaten. They are fluffier and tastier than regular pancakes and don't leave you feeling lethargic and bloated afterward. Clear winner. On Sunday, our attempts to try a new church with Christina and her husband Earl were thwarted by the Austin Marathon and road closures, so we defaulted to TFB and banana walnut pancakes, yet again! There was this really cute, and very patient corgi named Billy Austin, which we fawned over quite a bit.

In other, even less exciting news, I scored my highest yet on a word in Words With Friends. Being Facebook free has really helped my game quite a bit. The winning (and totally unassuming) word?

This may not seem traumatic to any of you, but I had to buy new sheets. Two years I ago I found the perfect sheets. Neither Tim nor I like really soft sheets. I can't stand those silky Egyptian cotton or jersey materials. The gross slick feeling aside, I hate that they alway always appear messy. And they make me sweat. I know everyone is all about high thread count, but that doesn't always equal better sheets. The higher the thread count, the less breathable the sheets seem to get. No, we prefer a crisper - almost rough - cotton. However, with a sweaty man and a dirty dog, the white sheets I bought only stayed white if I bleached them every single time I washed them. It finally was just too much, and a month ago I found a hole. (My sad tale carries on....) The brand I bought a few years ago seems to be no longer available. This sucks big time, but I sort of wanted a patterned sheet anyway - and that company only makes solids. So while I am mourning our loss, this forced me to branch out. I finally settled on a set from West Elm, and they took some getting used to, but now I really like them! And I love having a pattern to look at everyday.

Oscar approves.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Take Heart Shop

If you live in Austin, one of my favorite little boutiques is over on East 11th Street, and you should go visit. If you don't live in Austin, plan a detour next time you're passing through. We discovered Take Heart on our first visit to Blue Dahlia, which also happens to be one of my favorite places to brunch (try the Belgian Waffles!). It's right next door to the restaurant in a modern building that caught Tim's eye, with cute signage and displays that caught my own. Nina is the owner, and she handpicks all the items sold in the store from local and non-local artisans. Much of the merchandise are handcrafted, unique items. With a tag line of Modern | Handmade | Vintage there's sure to be a little something for everyone: men, women, children, etc. Do check out the website for more pictures, and you can follow the blog to see what new items they are offering. They don't yet have an online shop up and running, but it's in the works.

What I love about this place is that it represents what I feel like the Austin art & craft scene is all about, without feeling too "Keep Austin Weird." What started as a funny phrase many, many years ago is now a bit cliche in parts of Austin. I love this shop for serving up quality finds in a beautiful and light-filled environment. The shopping experience is always a treat, and I'm usually inspired by handmade items that Nina is brave enough to chance resale on. Ultimately, Nina is a curator with a magical touch. I always know when I go in I'll find things I like, possibly gifts for other people, and there will be some consistent items right alongside new features every time.

It just makes your heart feel good!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Funny (& Furry) Valentine

Everyone has a different opinion about Valentines Day, and that's fine. I get that it's a commercialized "made up" holiday, designed purely to make money off of people. So what. It's an excuse to do nice things for people you love. I like excuses to do nice things and spend money, so I use them every chance I get. What's been exciting is teaching Tim that this is a good thing, too.

A few weeks ago I said something like "So what should we do for V-day?" And he said, "I've been thinking about that... what would you like to do?" My original thought wasn't too original: I suggested we have a nice dinner at Moonshine, a fabulous restaurant here in Austin. They have to-DIE-for Green Chili Mac n' Cheese, which I've been dreaming of since the last time I had it - back in August. Moonshine is super hip, and of course I'm all about super hip. It also happens to be slightly more expensive than places we might eat on an ordinary night out, and that is primarily what was going to make it "special."

The next day I sat down to do our bills and straighten out our budget and I decided I just didn't want to go drop a big wad on dinner. Why not do something creative and fun and free instead? I told Tim we needed a new plan. His response was "I'll take care of it." If you are a lady, and you are in a relationship, you know how swoon-worthy that phrase is. If you are a lady, and you are in a relationship, and you are an event planner, these are some of the most thrilling words a man can utter in your direction.

I wish this story went somewhere cool. It doesn't really, so you can stop reading now if you want, although I'm about to get to the pictures. Suffice it to say - Tim has been overwhelmed by work. You know in the movies where the couple come to realize they are living separate lives, barely seeing or talking to each other, and it's all because of work? That's our life right now. He gets up early, goes in to work early, works late, comes home and changes clothes, goes to work out, comes home eats dinner, does more work on his computer, and goes to bed. Awesome. I am so in love with that story. Blerg. So when I said we needed a new plan, I mentioned QUALITY TIME would be nice. 

On Valentine's Day, I was still wandering around in my PJs when Oscar went crazy announcing Tim was home on his lunch break. He had brought me a pound and a half (!) of Chewy Sprees, chocolate covered strawberries, and my favorite gourmet chocolate bar. More importantly, he had taken his short lunch break to drive home just to see me and say hello. I was surprised of course, and a little caught off guard, because I thought whatever he was "planning" was happening on Friday. More importantly, I thought MY plan was ruined. My plan that I had come up with the night before to take him fun things at work.

I don't think holidays like V-day have to be left all up to the men. I LOVE to plan things, I enjoy it, I definitely had the time, and I thought Oscar and I could treat Timmypie to a little surprise. So I was relieved that he was just home for his lunch break, and not home for good, and our covert operation was still "a go." Tim went back to work, and Oscar and I went shopping. We put together a gift basket full of healthy snacks: sunflower seeds, pine nuts, dried mango, wasabi peas, and Naked Green Machine juice. Not so healthy snacks: Aged 10 Year Kentucky Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey and a Mast Brother's handcrafted chocolate bar. And we got a balloon, for Oscar to take to Tim. I sneakily called his office manager, found out when Tim would have some free time in the afternoon, and then set off for his work.

Clockwise from Left: Oscar not happy about his balloon, us en route to surprise Tim,
Oscar wondering when his balloon was going to make him fly, and the assorted goodies we got Tim.

Oscar got super excited when we got to Tim's work. Ashley - the office manager - saw us coming, Oscar straining at the leash and me with my arms full. The "plan" was that she was going to buzz Tim and have him come into the reception area. When we got through the door, though, Oscar started his high pitched yipping and jumping around like crazy. I think he was both excited to be there and annoyed with the balloon that inexplicably followed him everywhere and kept bopping him on the head. According to Tim's co-workers, as soon as Oscar barked once, Tim popped right up out of his seat, said "That's my dog!" and set off down the hall to greet us. Oscar was a big hit. Everyone came out from their cubes to meet him, and they loved his balloon.

Oh, and thanks to Tim sharing his bottle of bourbon all afternoon, I win Most Popular Wife of the Year at the office. Liquor will always, always trump candy, ladies - in case you were wondering - especially if your husband is generous and shares with the office. Also thanks to Tim's sharing, he now has only about a 1/3 of a $40 bottle left. Clearly, he and his co-workers were playing Mad Men at work all afternoon.

That was Valentine's part uno. Part dos was our picnic today at Zilker Park. We finally used our picnic basket which was a honeymoon gift from my mom and sister for our train ride to Marfa. Unfortunately, it was a bit bulky to take on the train, so we didn't get to use it. Today we packed it full of boiled eggs, veggies and hummus, girl scout cookies, coconut water, and Sofia champagne-in-a-can.

It was such a beautiful day. So many people and dogs were out, picnicking, playing sports, and enjoying the sunshine. We spread a blanket, and soaked it up while gazing at the Austin skyline. Oscar ate THREE rawhides, and sniffed a lot of dog butts. He got the fresh air and exercise he needed, and I got the QT I had asked for with my Valentine.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Man

Almost 30 years ago, God created a Man. For 24 years, God molded that Man, and sculpted his Heart, and prepared him for A Girl. Five years and 9 months ago, God sent that Man to Dallas, TX, to set off on a road trip to California with some friends . . . and A Girl he'd never met. That Man is my man. He was created for me. His name is Tim.

How do I know this Man was created for me? For some inexplicable reason, he loves me when I am unloveable. He looks on my tempests and is never shaken. Only God could do that.

Sometimes I let myself wonder what would have happened if Tim and I had never met. Specifically,  I think about what would have happened if Tim ended up with another girl. I try to imagine what this other girl's personality would be and what qualities she might have. What's funny is, I can't really. I can't imagine Tim with anyone else but me, and I can't imagine myself with anyone else but Tim. I'm so lucky and so undeserving.

- Sonnet 116 -
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
- Will Shakespeare

 To my love, my ever-fixed mark, my foreverValentine,

I love you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Drumroll. I've decided to stop linking my blog to Facebook. Mostly because it seems like annoying self-promotion, and I never liked doing it to begin with. Like "Hey, come read my journal, cause I'm cool and shit!" With lots of "!!!!!!" of course, because I'm reeeeally that hyper and enthusiastic about anything in real life. I mean, if someone did that to me I'd immediately be turned off, in the same way that I run from overly cheery people in person. Run like the wind. So I figure - if people want to read and participate in the conversation I have going here, they will. I don't need Facebook to remind them to do so. (However, statistically I apparently DO indeed need Facebook to remind them, because I see my analytics and most people link in here through FB, which is just sad, sad, sad. So goodbye readers....)

[Sorry if you found that a convenient means of following the bloggidy. I can help you figure out other ways to be notified when there's a new post up - like entering your email address over there ⟼ in the sidebar where it says get posts via email. It will send you the entire post in an email every time I update. Easy.]

It is good for me to be writing more regularly. I'm attempting what many authors do when they need to generate content but aren't really "inspired": write as much as possible for short periods of time each day, as a forced activity. I used to let ideas sort of bubble up and roll them around a while, before I'd sit down to write them out. What ended up happening was that then I would ultimately come to a negative conclusion and rant about whatever it was in a really long post. No one really likes to listen to negativity OR ranting. I don't want to feel like I'm writing anything here that I wouldn't want to read myself on someone else's blog. I don't want to abuse the forum. That doesn't mean I feel like I have any sort of real responsibility to anyone who reads this, because I'm selfish and I'm writing pretty much for selfish reasons. BUT I did select a public venue for writing, because I value conversation and I hoped for feedback on some of the issues I struggle with and voice here. So you people do count for something. ❤

No shortage on praise around here, either.

Right now, this blog is a daily activity that I'm making a responsibility for myself. To sit down and write. Period. It's a daily clearing of whatever clutter is in my head. Make way for the new stuff of tomorrow! I like it being a part of my routine. I like tapping out my thoughts. It doesn't give me the instant gratification that FB does, where people respond right away and serve up opinions like apple pie, but I think that's actually better in the long run. This way, I'm only writing honest stuff. I'm not writing for any reason that I intend to exploit in some sham of a popularity contest. I'm writing to write. I'm writing for me. I'm writing for you, if you choose to read. This is both your warning and your choice.

My blog is growing a little backbone. I think.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In Negatives

With the arrival of the rain this morning, so came the negativity. 

You how people joke about waking up with a cloud over their heads? This morning, that was both literally and figuratively my situation.

In Austin, rain is celebrated. We worship moisture, we cheer for thunder, we drink to lightening. (Well, everyone except little old Oscar who hides under the covers.) This morning, even the rain seemed ugly. I wanted it to go away. No, this was a day that I was just going to be negative. I was going to be unhappy about every single thing. It was pre-determined.

It took effort to put clothes on. I skipped the makeup because, why even try? I didn't even want to go do the "fun" thing I had planned - eat lunch with a friend. Ugh, it was so annoying I had to actually drive somewhere and make conversation. I was irritated with our waitress who spilled my cafe mocha and then didn't wipe up the cup. How dare she? It was cold in the restaurant. The ladies sitting next to us were talking so loudly. How were we supposed to hear ourselves think? I vented about my house being dirty, and having to clean it. I complained about how frustrating marriage is, and how it should be entirely rewarding. Then, after railing at my friend, I was pissed my coffee got cold while I talked. Surely, my coffee getting cold was someone's fault. Who could I blame?

It continued when I got home: I had to start dinner. Blech. It was still wet outside, so Oscar wouldn't go for a walk. Fine! I wanted to shout at him. I didn't want to go for a walk anyway! I made up the beds (yes, plural since Oscar always unmakes the guest bed). I'm so damn sick of making up beds. My life is so unglamorous. I washed the dishes. I HATE WASHING THE DISHES. I thought about all the things I hate about this house and that I wish were different. I chopped vegetables. I hate chopping onions. My eyes stung. I vacuumed, which made my back hurt. I started a load of laundry. And then another load. I mopped, and cursed the ugly vinyl tiles. I lit some candles. Stupid candles. They don't even smell up the house! What a waste of money. Nothing good was on TV. I just wanted to take a nap.

On and on and on.

Do I feel better now, you might wonder? A little. Thank you for understanding: this day is just one day. This negativity will pass. This rain cloud will storm a little - or a lot - and then it will pitter out and dry up.

Food Porn

Over the weekend I discovered porn.

Food porn.

I've talked a lot about how much I dislike cooking, and prefer baking. While cooking is becoming more habitual for me now, I still don't enjoy it very much. That doesn't mean I don't have a healthy appetite for great food photography. A pretty picture can make anything look appealing. Well, maybe anything but Yellow Squash. I'm not sure anything could make Squash look appealing to me. Regardless, I can get stimulated just like anyone else by stunning pictures of delicious, fresh food. But this is a step above even that. This is food porn. Like full-on, turn you on: Food Porn.

Now, when this video popped up (can't remember how I linked up to it - probably Pinterest), I was already in bed with my sleeping husband. For his sake, I watched with the sound off. (Yes, I'm a good wife, unless you count the fact that I brought my computer to bed in the first place.) This was a mistake. The right music does wonders for little montage videos such as this one. It helps them feel romantic and "rad," not ridiculously hipster-ish. So from the moment "Asparagus" was introduced by name - because none of us could identify the vegetable on sight - I was inwardly giggling. There was no cool music to tell me this was cool, just the sound of Tim breathing, rather loudly. Something about the "Pine Nuts" turned my naughty brain on, and then it was all downhill from there: the dribbling of the "Olive Oil," the slicing and zealous squeezing of the "Lemon".... gutter, gutter, gutter. 

So, since this is what friends do, I had to share the wealth. Fortunately, this is one guilty pleasure you don't have to feel guilty about. After all, it's a salad.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It was fun while it lasted, junk food.

Right now I am reaping the benefits consequences of my falling off the wagon into Junkaholism this weekend. It was sooo good, and now I feel sooo bad. I had my first soda in over a month. I still love them, sadly, but I will go back to being soda-free. 

This weekend, we went to stay with my parents in New Braunfels. I would compare our house to a (certainly imperfect) rehab center - safe from (most) temptations. Then I would compare visiting my parent's house to walking fresh out of food rehab and into a convenience store: dishes of tempting chocolate on the bar, cold Dr. Pepper and beer in the downstairs fridge, fresh baked gingerbread coming out of the oven, and chips, cookies, and cereals in the pantry. As if this weren't challenging enough for my (absentee) will power, I always seem to arrive ravenous like I ran a marathon while hoisting a boulder 3 times my size over my head. Maybe it's the 45 minute drive, I haven't a clue. I know this much: I am not ready to leave food rehab yet. I need at least another 28 days, or whatever the magical number was that worked for Sandra Bullock in that movie.

My mother would kill me if I didn't insert here that my parent's house is not actually filled with junk food, and that for the average American they really do eat quite healthily. But she does keep treats in the house, and I am not to be trusted. I have the nose of a bloodhound, trained to find high fructose corn syrup - and much like Mr Dog immediately bounds into my parent's bedroom to sniff out and eat the (used) ear plugs (you think I'm kidding), my first move upon arrival is to check the candy drawer. Also worth mentioning, my parents keep us supplied with a lot of really good things: fresh farm eggs, homemade leftovers, extra grilled meat, and toilet paper. If you're an adult with bills, you know how nice it is when people give you free toilet paper. I'm not kidding.

I have learned that I just cannot buy things that tempt me anymore. I consume them at a rate that defies the speed of light. Take, for example, the box of oreos that disappeared in 24 hours, or the bag of potato chips that - between the two of us - disappeared during Downton Abbey. It is impossible to keep a treat around for "rewards" or "rare occasions." All occasions call for treats in my book, and I end up constantly rewarding myself. What can I say? I am well-behaved. EXCEPT when it comes to eating crap. So these consequences have included a tummy ache, head ache, extra lethargy, and general discomfort and irritation. Tomorrow we are back to eating out of the fridge and not out of a box. My junk-food rendezvous is no longer a secret, and we are breaking up... again.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pinning Pretty Things

Valentine's day is my favorite, made-up holiday. It's a whole celebration devoted to pretty things & chocolate. Of course, I love it more now that I actually get to celebrate it with my foreverValentine. But even if you don't have a valentine, you can still appreciate all the pretty things & the chocolate. Especially the chocolate.

So what if I like pretty things? Pretty things are my therapy. I have a whole board on Pinterest devoted to useless pretty things, titled - you guessed it - "Pretty Things." Looking just makes me feel good, so I do it. I think it's pretty harmless, considering I could be online shopping. Pinterest is the best "window shopping" out there. I don't leave my house, I don't need my wallet, I just look and pin, look and pin. And since these pretty things are all on my boards, I sort of feel like I own them (now I'm sounding crazy)... and so I've tempered the need to buy things without ever having made a purchase.

Here ... why don't you try it?

Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

White Legs + White Russians

Ah, first week of February and today I wore shorts.

I've been holding out on surrendering my sweats and skinny jeans, but today I just couldn't any longer. I was vacuuming (which now I do every other day because, thanks to our ridiculous "winter" weather, Oscar has already started his summer shed), and sweating, and running the A/C. So when I actually had to go outside and walk said shedder, I knew it was time. Time to bare the freak show that is currently my pasty white legs. I felt naked.

This was similar to how I felt last night when I attended the Bliss Bridal Magazine 2013 cover launch (it sounds swankier than it really was), and my pal spilled her White Russian right into the lap of my filmy peach dress. Which then soaked right on through to my lady parts. Cold. By the time we left my thighs were sticking together - well, more so than usual - and I looked like I'd had, um, a preeeetty nasty "accident." On the front AND the back of my dress. Oh, did you think White Russians were white? Wrong! They are a very poopy shade of brown that dries a diarrhea shade of brown, at least on filmy peach garments.

Fortunately (hmmm, that is debatable), lots of people saw it happen, as it was right as the magazine cover reveal was about to happen, so I don't think anyone actually suspected me of not making it to the bathroom in time. My ever-prepared and solution-oriented friend, the very same who spilled, whipped out a tampon, fluffed it up, and began wiping me down. "Look! It's absorbant!" she cried with glee. We were all lucky I had both a sense of humor and a couple of cocktails in me.

White legs and White Russians is a lot of white in my life, for less than 24 hours.

And that (⬆) is how I feel about that.
"Com'on, Maaaan."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Daily's

My totes lame post from yesterday reminded me that it's not often I use this forum to update on our personal lives. The sad truth behind yesterday's "Status Updates" is that I do much of my "every day writing" on Facebook, through pictures and short status updates. It's the modern day equivalent of keeping a daily journal or diary, I suppose, only not nearly as romantic or scandalous for my grandchildren to uncover in a dusty attic trunk years from now. I wax poetic here far more often than I just write about what's actually going on in my life. This is ironic, because I read many, many blogs and the ones I enjoy most are people who write about their daily life. It's like literary realityTV. Perhaps I avoid these because I just don't think anyone will find my life that interesting, but then the Kardashians DO have a mass following, so anything's possible. We'll experiment:

So here's a little bit about our January. First, enjoy a random dog butt.

Along with trying to eat better, starting back up with my trainer, and generally reevaluating our lifestyles, I've been practicing domesticity. This includes, keeping up with the house in a daily fashion, rather than once a week. It doesn't give me quite the same satisfaction as deep cleaning every weekend and then enjoying a spotless home for exactly 2 hours before it's dirty again, but I'll admit it is more manageable.

I also realized today that I can only count four times in the whole month that we ate out. (And two of those "nights out" were actually dates where we ordered food and a movie at Alamo Drafthouse - and one was on a gift card! So boom.) This is huge. Really huge. (Pssst: you should be impressed.) It's no secret I hate to make grocery lists, shop for groceries, or turn those groceries into anything but cookies and pumpkin gingerbread, so the fact that we have been eating out of our refrigerator on a seriously regular basis is a tremendous accomplishment for me and mine. More impressively, we have not only been eating out of the refrigerator, but we have been making our own food. You know, like people used to have to do, before your neighborhood Chinese takeout and hamburger joints existed.  I'm really patting myself on the back for this, and you can pat yourself, too - just so you don't feel left out.

Tim's life goes like this: Monday he hates his job, Tuesday he loves his job, Wednesday he hates his job and comes home at lunch to WFH (work from home), Thursday he likes his job okay, and Friday he usually comes home early so he hasn't decided if he loves his job or hates it yet. Then he drinks some beer and the weekend starts. And the next week it's all of those same mixed emotions but maybe in a different order, on different days. I think this is all because he's nearing the big 3-0 and still not in his dream career of brewing craft beer in the Netherlands. Just a hypothesis. We struggle for contentment in this family, we surely do. In his spare time, he's been doing crossfit workouts (on his own, not a with a CF gym - yet), and is starting to run again. He has to prepare for all that craft beer he's going to be brewing...

In the last month, I've reconnected with my old friend Katie, from my theatre days in high school. This was super fun as she hasn't changed an inkling, except she has shorter hair. So as we sat and sipped coffee, I totally felt like I was staring 16 in the face again and we were "playing adults." (Because had I actually been 16, it would have been a Dr. Pepper in front of me, not coffee.) Hopefully, when I'm 60 I'll still feel like I'm "playing adults." I can only pray I'm that young-at-heart. She brought her scrapbooks to our coffee date, and wow - let me just say - some things do improve with age up to a certain point. I'll take my almost-28-year-old-self and sense of fashion over my pre-18-self and sense of fashion any day, thank you. Cheers to old friends!

Also on a friend + coffee note, I spent many Fridays last year catching up with my friend Christina (also from high school years). We lost touch during our college and immediately-post-college years, but then found ourselves living just a few blocks away from each other in ATX in 2011. What a blessing this girl has been to me, and I'm so thankful for all the Fridays we have in 2013 to grow our friendship. We both think we're right 99% of the time, so fortunately we agree on many things. We are similarly picky, both love home interiors (although she's a professional and I'm an amateur), plants, Anthropologie, and our dogs as if they were actually birthed from our loins. Apparently taking your friendship from high school to adulthood means escaping homes, husbands, and yes - even dog-babies, on occasion - to meet up "for coffee." This usually means cake is also involved, because - oh, yes I forgot to mention - we also both loooooove cake. So nice to have a local wifey-friend to spend Friday afternoons yaking with about our middle-class domestic lives. It's just a huge plus our husbands and dogs also get along. Thank you baby Jesus!

(Are you worried about how much coffee I'm drinking?)

We spent Super Bowl Sunday with the Stareys (that sounds like the title of a book; the aforementioned Christina and her husband Earl), and their friends and relatives, in their newly acquired home. Oscar had fun running around and stealing rawhides from their long-haired dachshund, Sophie. The boys smoked brisket and ribs, and we all played washers in couples-teams. It struck me that it couldn't have been a more picturesque American Super Bowl Sunday if we tried. I was also struck by the fact that had you asked me five years ago if this was the life I imagined I would be living, my answer would have been a resounding "No." (By the way I really hearted the "God Made a Farmer" Paul Harvey commercial. What beautiful shots. Sadly, I quickly remembered, with the help of this depressing article, just how "commercial" is that commercial - you can watch the video by following that link. Also, read some Wendell Berry.)

I went to yoga twice in January, and was only reminded of how good it is for me, and how much I need to get back into practicing on a regular basis. Even if regular is just a few times a month, it does my body and soul good to get out of my head. I was "blessed" with an awful lot of free time this January. I'll summarize that situation with a quote I saw on Pinterest: "Even if you gave me 25 years to accomplish _______, I'd still wait until the night before to do it." I have periods of great productivity and energy, and periods of lethargy and melancholia. It's like transitioning from being a classroom learner, to a self-taught learner. I'm trying to enjoy it. I'm trying to remind myself I might never, ever get the chance to do whatever I want all day, every day, ever again. I'm having to motivate myself, set goals and hold myself accountable, and be patient that there is more for me on the horizon.  I'm just not sure exactly what yet.

Next time I'll try to not to give you all of the Dailys all at once. Sure, you're welcome.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Status Update"

No Facebook means more blogging. All the dozens of small updates and thoughts and ideas that get shared on Facebook each day will now be funneled into the blog. Here are a few thoughts from the last few days, in no particular order:
  1. I wonder if a study has been done to show if I am helping the environment more by using a lot of water to wash and reuse Ziploc bags, or just recycling them after one use?
  2. This article on the dangers of Diet Soda. I used to get so sick of people who thought they were besting my Dr. Pepper habit by drinking the diet version. Yeah, right. Read up, Suckers!
  3. I am going to be playing a LOT of Words With Friends this month. If you'd like to help me stay Facebook-free by challenging me to a word duel, my username is lolawhiteout.
  4. Even more than at Mitt Romney's, did I chuckle at this Bad Lip Reading: NFL Version. That is about how seriously I take NFL Football. Or football of any kind. Or sports, period.
  5. I whine all the time about how Texas winters aren't long enough. Then I'm still eager to start sunbathing on the first day of February. And a little (secretly) sad when it still gets cold again.
  6. For as much as I LOVE LISTS and making lists, and crossing things off lists... I hate making grocery lists. I hate meal planning. Blech.
  7. How is $100.00 per person per household a feasible amount to spend on groceries a month? I guess this government set average is only for people who don't buy organic, fresh foods. Maybe if all we ate were cans of tuna this would work. Not happenin'.
  8. Danielle confirmed what I always knew would be true for me (the virgin-snow skier): if you're not athletic skiing ruins your ski vacation. Danielle just doesn't realize, or give herself credit for, how funny she is - so I'm doing it for her by quoting her here. One day I will also take credit for her being famous.
  9. Saul was speaking Hebrew at the end of Homeland Season 2 - not Arabic. Don't worry - this isn't a spoiler. If you haven't seen the finale, you won't have a clue what I'm talking about. But once you do, you will realize it's crucial to know the difference.
  10. I do not yet have the will power to make cookies and not eat all of them in one sitting. Further, I do not yet have the will power to make cookie dough, freeze the remainder for a "rainy day," and not make that "rainy day" be tomorrow.
  11. Married friends make your marriage so much better. And easier to deal with. This is such a huge revelation it will have to be a post of it's own one day.
  12. I love all the crazy, fun, delightful people I meet at weddings that I then become "friends" with. Even if it is mostly through facebook, my life is fuller because of them.
  13. I am no longer a grammar-Nazi. Let others who remember grade-school grammar more clearly, and with more energy take over. I am happy to silently judge.
  14. Three weeks is too long to go without seeing my nephew.
  15. I saw this quote on Pinterest "shitty situations inspire brilliant solutions." Let's hope so -- maybe we can avoid another 20 elementary school children being executed.

My brilliance for today's post ends there.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baking is Sexy

It's a fairly common belief there are two types of people:

Those that love to cook. And those that love to bake. 

I'm sure there are a few wildcards, but I do find that this theory seems to be mostly true. I bet you can guess which category I fall into. Yes - give me enriched flour and white sugar any day, and I will make your dreams come true.

There is something so beautiful about baking, that I don't find in cooking. Baking is messy in a pretty way - spilled sugar and flour, and a little bit of sticky egg whites, doesn't make my teeth grind like raw meat juices and veggie scraps. I dread cleaning up after cooking, which is 80% of why I don't like it. The other 20% is because I'm not good at it.

It's no surprise that my Type-A mind prefers the precise weighing and measuring of baking. The fact that I can taste-test practically the whole way through the recipe also wins points. I find utter delight in pulling something, that was just 10 minutes before a ball of wet dough, out of the oven perfectly browned and smelling sweetly. And of course, the inevitable enjoyment of each concoction just takes the cake (har har).

Baking also brings up memories of standing on a stool, licking the spoon, and sharing a special moment with my mother. It takes me romantically back to my youth, while at the same time makes me feel cultured, sophisticated, elegant, and beautiful. I can imagine that any woman, no matter how much flour she has down her front, or chocolate smeared on her face, is sexy.

Enjoy the video, my sweets!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Facebook Free

If you're reading this, and you linked in from Facebook: be not alarmed! It is possible to share a blog post without actually checking my newsfeed.

People, sometimes our lives need perspective. I've started this post at least three different ways, and perspective is what I ended up with. Lord, help me. I need it. I need it every day of my life.

In an effort to substantially reduce my reliance on Facebook for entertainment and social networking, and just to refocus my priorities, I'm attempting to go Facebook-free for the month of February. I'm not going to be a Nazi about it; I accept that our society has come to a point where some things are inescapable. Some business is only managed on Facebook, as sad and depraved as that really, truly is. I have to face the fact that Facebook is free advertising and networking for my small business, and it would be bad for me to completely walk away from that for a month. However, I'm going to try to avoid all personal interaction. Really try. Yesterday was day one, and it was weird. Today was day two, and it was difficult, but easier than I expected. Do you have any idea how many times I had a mental response to something I read, overheard, or witnessed that I immediately wanted to status update?

It was gag-inducing.

Okay, sometimes I smirked. I'll have to "be okay" with finding myself funny without needing an audience to laugh with me (or at me), for at least a month. When I think about all the other really important things people have to give up every day, I believe I can manage not having a laughing audience. (And that's an exaggeration, anyway. I seriously doubt people even chuckle at most of what I say. I'm not a funny person.)

I can't believe I live my life thinking in Facebookisms! I made sure to do simple things like delete the FB app from my iphone and the bookmarked link on my browser, which has helped immensely. I must have unlocked my phone 30-40 times only to realize, I had no FB to check up on. My hope is by the end of the month I will feel so free from constant updates and notifications and statuses that I will not reinstall the app on my phone, and will only spend a small amount of time "catching up with people" (because that is how we ALL try to justify it) from my actual computer.

I'm embarrassed. Like really repulsed by myself. The only reason I'm sharing this is because I think it will hold me accountable. Actually, it already has. Today I had to check an event date on FB, and almost without thinking I responded to something in my notifications, and almost immediately my sister texts me "What happened to no Facebook?" Shit. Caught red-handed. It's okay. I'm not going to receive thrashings or time outs.... just snarky reminder texts! Good for her - that is exactly what I wanted people to do.

This all started a few weeks ago when I said to a friend - who will remained unnamed - "I'm so depressed at how much time I spend looking at other people's lives, and not living my own." Well, that's a little smarter-sounding than what I said. I think what I really said was "I hate how much time I spend on FB. Like, I don't even LIKE it! It's stupid! It's boring!" Then I mentioned I'd been thinking of giving FB up for Lent. Neither of us were sure when Lent actually started. Or when it ended. So I settled on the month of February, and she started immediately. However, this friend was smarter than I - and decided not to announce her departure, so people wouldn't freak out when she accidentally commented or posted a picture. Go friend.

Also, I had a lot more to say about perspective -- I spent all afternoon reading a mother's blog about her infant's struggles with spina bifida. That was what led me to "perspective." Giving up Facebook? No biggie. -- but in an effort to keep my posts shorter, less rambly, and more readable, I'll leave it at that for today.