November 29, 2007


This is probably my most favorite Christmas decoration. About seven Christmases ago I was being crafty and making ornaments, and Aaron joined in and created this reindeer. It is really delicate, but I've kept it all these years, packing it safely away each January so as not to lose an eye or a leg or the tail. Among the ornaments we hung on the tree when I was a kid is a Santa Claus my Dad made when he was in grade school. It's an egg shell with cotton for his beard and hat fur, and sequins for the face. Pretty amazing it lasted, intact, all these years. We always take great care with it. The fact that I even have a picture of it should say something. I know it may be hard to believe, but I don't actually have pictures of all the ornaments ever hung on our Christmas Trees.

November 26, 2007



My first reaction was love at first sight.

Then I remembered how much I love the weight of a few hundred pages, the smell of old or new, physically holding onto a single story when it's over and relishing how it touched me, seeing titles stacked on my nightstand on the bookshelf on the kitchen counter in my car by the computer, loaning my favorites to friends, improving my posture by balancing words on my head, the fluttering tickle across my thumb and the ticktickticktickticktick as pages fall against one another, spending hours at BookPeople and walking out empty-handed but feeling completely satisfied, reinforcing tattered covers and worn spines with Scotch tape, finding Charlotte's Web in a box under the bed and seeing my name in my third-grade handwriting on the inside cover.

Would I give all that up? Would I become a slave to technology? Have vinyl lovers given it up to the iPod? What happens to you in the name of convenience and portability?

It's not just about the words or the stories or the reading.

I LIKE my books. No. I LOVE my books.

November 24, 2007


One million and one things to be thankful for.

Aaron and I spent Thanksgiving Day together at home this year. While we missed our families and sweet potato casserole, it was a lovely day. We had a traditional turkey dinner, minus a few of our favorites, at Hyde Park and I saved room for a scrumptious brownie instead of pumpkin pie for dessert.

Bryan called and put Aubrey on the phone for a minute. First she said "uh oh" because she'd accidentally hit a button on the phone and it made some noise; then I think she said "Turkey?" because I heard Bryan in the background say "Actually it's Aunt Gi."

On Friday, we drove down to Baytown to visit with some of Aaron's family. I had never met the family that lives there, so it was a real treat to hang out with them. We watched videos from when Aaron and the other kids (his second cousins) were young. Aaron was the cutest little boy, with his same sweet smile he has today. Then we went back another fifty years and watched film from when Aaron's mom and her sister and cousins were little. It was so cool to see Longview and East Texas in the '50s and '60s; and to see the styles of clothes and toys and houses. We were watching 8mm film that had been converted to VHS, so there was no audio with the video, which makes it even more priceless. We laughed and giggled and reminisced.

On the drive home today it was raining and we saw a guy hydroplane and crash into the concrete barrier on I-10. It was so weird to see it happen; of course I freaked out and started yelling "Call 911! Call 911!" But Aaron said, "It's ok, he got out of the truck. He's ok. See that other truck is pulling over." The man was in front of us when he started to hydroplane, and Aaron switched lanes to get out of his way and we passed him just as the truck slid across the highway into the barrier. Luckily he was not going that fast, probably 40mph or something. Not awesome to hit a wall at 40mph, but better than 65 or 70. I felt really strange after seeing it and said a quick earnest prayer for our safety and that the man was not hurt too badly.

The baby-dogs were so happy to see us when we walked in the door. How can you not love coming home to jumpin' bean body waggin'finger lickin' tail spinnin' puppies? They were well taken care of for the whole 29 hours we were away; but you would have thought we'd left them for 72 days 6 hours and 41 minutes with no food, water, toys, warm blankets or poop breaks. And you know what? I like it like that.

So our Thanksgiving holiday is winding down. Bellies full of grilled cheese and tomato soup, house beginning to look like Christmas, inside warm and dry, together...

November 21, 2007


Happy almost Turkey Day! I hope you are planning to eat some delicious turkey and all the trimmings. Then I hope you watch the football game on Friday and root for the Longhorns to beat those Aggie turkeys while you eat a leftover turkey sandwich and pumpkin pie. And if you watched Rachael Ray today you would have seen her use leftovers to make turkey Stromboli! But mostly count your blessings and be thankful for your turkey and your family and friends and that you live in the United States of Turkey, errr... America.

Turkey Talk

What It Means: expression for speaking plainly

Where I Heard It: I actually haven't heard this term before. I just happened to come across it in my Why We Say It book and thought it was appropriate for the day! But here's an example of how Aaron might use it: "Let's talk turkey and make a deal on the purchase of this deep freezer."

Why We Say It: Half a dozen anecdotes seek to explain this expression for speaking plainly. Most of them recount a conversation between an American Indian and one or more white settlers. Discussing the division of game bagged in a joint hunt, the native insists that his comrades talk turkey and hand over to him the biggest bird shot during the day.

These entertaining frontier stories bypass a skill that was long familiar--and important--to veteran woodsmen.

Many a fellow reared in the woods became an expert turkey caller. That is, he so skillfully imitated sounds made by the big wild birds that some who heard at a distance came within gun range. It was this bona fide turkey talk, not banter at the end of a day's hunt, that spawned our American expression for speaking in a clear and forthright manner.

P.S. If you watched Rachael Ray today you also saw two ladies from the Butterball Turkey-Talk Line who have been giving tips on cooking turkeys for more than twenty years!

P.P.S. I do not make it a habit of watching Rachael Ray, or DVRing her show(s). I just happened to start my Turkey Holiday early and was sitting on the couch at 3pm waiting for Oprah to come on at 4pm, so I had to fill the hour somehow.


We went to see Kevin Fowler at Nutty Brown last Saturday night. Fun times.

"Beer, bait and ammo yeah they got everything in between"

"I was born with a shot glass in my hand"

"She’s my little butterbean. The cutest thing you’ve ever seen"

November 20, 2007



29. He's kind of cute.
28. He can whistle very loud.
27. The dogs told me to.
26. His DJ mix master skills are outstanding.
25. He will not kill spiders smaller than his hand.
24. He watches campy action movies with me.
23. His favorite fall food is Frito Pie.
22. He's kind of funny.
21. I like German Chocolate cake.
20. He remembers to take out the trash.
19. He makes me mixed music CD's.
18. He's kind of sweet.
17. He can back the boat up the driveway with no do-overs.
16. He can find fossil prints in the stones on our house.
15. He says "booger" a lot.
14. He leaves funny messages on voicemail.
13. He wears breathe-right strips so I can sleep soundly.
12. He explains football to me.
11. He's kind of smart.
10. He brings home the bacon.
9. He records COPS on the DVR.
8. He's kind of sneaky.
7. He finds trash and makes it treasure.
6. He experiments with different kinds of deodorant.
5. He believes in Big Foot.
4. He can draw pretty well.
3. He does not like tomatoes.
2. He is laid back.
1. He is pretty darn special.

November 17, 2007


A lot has happened since I last posted.

We found out that Justy Tator has a brain tumor. It is scary and weird and shifted our world tremendously. But he and Audrey are shining examples of optimism. Taylor will have surgery after Thanksgiving to remove the brain booger; and will know much more about the road ahead once they have the tumor out. Please keep them in your prayers.

I also found out that I did not get accepted to the teacher certification program to which I had applied. I'm pretty disappointed on the one hand, you know. I was really excited about the prospect of going back to school and teaching by next August. But on the other hand, I just feel ok about it and I know I'm really where I'm supposed to be right now. I know God wanted me to make that commitment and decision to become a teacher and apply for that program and spend these past few months waiting and thinking about becoming a teacher and being excited about it. So the fact that this isn't the exact route or the time for me is ok. I know His plan is at work; maybe my focus will be needed elsewhere in the coming months. I gained a lot of momentum to pursue my teaching career, and I have not lost that. So all in all, I'm just at peace 'cause I'm trusting God to keep guiding me to where I'm supposed to be. Don't get me wrong, I am disappointed. But it feels more like I was really excited about going on a trip, and the plans changed.

Last Friday Aaron's company was a sponsor at a Golf Tournament, and the tournament needed someone to measure for the "longest ball" shot. Aaron got the job, so spent all day on the golf course.

Then Saturday morning, we were playing with the dogs and discovered two tics on Scoopie! EWWWWW! It makes me crazy to think there are tics around, so I had to do a thorough inspection of both dogs to make sure no gross little suckers were hiding. Aaron thought it was a prime photo op.

Aaron took Scoop to the vet yesterday because her little bottom was red and she was licking it too much for my liking. She did indeed have Swollen Anal Glands and had to have them expressed, which I think is very funny because Aaron was the one at the vet with her, and if you know Aaron, he has a very sensitive gag reflex to anything stinky and remotely having to do with bodily functions. So he had to stand there holding Scoop while the vet expressed the nasty, stinky liquid from her glands. When I got home, Aaron was showing me the medicine we have to put on her, excuse me while I giggle, anus. Of course, Aaron had out one of his leather work gloves because there was no way he was touching her poopoo-parts..heehee... but I told Scoopie it was ok, I would apply her medicine sans glove because that's what mommies do.

After the tic inspection, we headed out to the Texas Tailgaters for a little pregame fun. Scott and Gillian invited us to the game, which was a blast, especially since the Longhorns showed up and played a good game against Tech. It was the last home game of the season, so the stands were packed and the fans seemed particularly enthused. I was thankful the weather was beautiful and warm. For a mid-November game, we couldn't have asked for more perfect temperatures.

Bree and Megan were also in town for the game, Bree is a Red Raider, so we hung out with them at Scholtz's after the game. And, of course, we met for Las Manitas brunch on Sunday.

I've also started a Boot Camp class. Twice a week during lunch we run, squat, lunge, sprint, hop, lift, crunch, curl, hold, press, stretch, push, rinse and repeat for 45 minutes. A few ladies that I work with are in the class also, so we have a good time and talk about how sore we are the next day together. It's fun and it feels good to be back in the groove of some intense physical activity.

Aaron rented Spiderman 3 for me last night! Can you even believe I had not seen it yet?! Summer was kind of crazy with the opening of Pirates 3, Shrek the 3rd and Spiderman 3. We aren't the biggest movie-goers, so after our Pirates adventure, the other two tri-quel movies kind of slid under my radar. Anyway, S3 was good. I liked the twist of Peter Parker/Spidey battling an alter-ego, and that sometimes your worst foes become your best friends.


I apologize for Why We Say it Wednesday appearing on Saturday. I could give some excuses, but really, there is not one good enough.

Moving along.

Aaron worked in Dallas most of the past week. He was there training some people on a new software the company is using. It's pretty cool. I can see how Aaron would be a great teacher/trainer. And he knows this software inside and out. A few months ago, he even prompted the software company to create a whole new version of the software because it wasn't meeting his needs. So he told his software rep. what he wanted it to do; and Voila! the company adds the features and puts a new version out to the whole country!

Each evening after training, Aaron went out to eat with some of the guys to talk about how the training was going and lay out his game plan for the next day. They were sitting around shootin' the bull one night, talking about company procedures and politics, attitudes and the cliques that form, common denominators found in the people who are successful or not successful and how they behave and influence one another to behave.


What It Means: a popular or successful movement, idea or activity that gains support from those who believe they will benefit from it or gain advantages from it

Where I Heard It: "If you think those guys are doing so well, why don't you go ahead and jump on that Bandwagon?"
- A. Bussey

Why We Say It: America's first great showman, Phineas T. Barnum, didn't wait for the public to come to him. Instead, he took his attractions to the people. Arriving in a city for an engagement, he would hire a high wagon of the sorts used by local bands of musicians for outdoor performances.
Parading through streets with odd-looking men and women aboard wagons, "Barnum's Great Scientific and Musical Theater" (a Freakshow, maybe?) was a sensation. Onlookers were encouraged to hop on the bandwagons in order to ride with the performers and add to the excitement.
Many political clubs built bandwagons of their own, then gave rolling concerts to publicize candidates. The impact of Barnum and elections on speech proved lasting. Any person who agrees to become a part of a movement, campaign, or simply joins the crowd is described as climbing on the bandwagon.

November 09, 2007


My friend, Britt, and I have been wanting to visit the new candy store that recently opened on S. Congress. With it's old fashioned candy displays of vintage, hard-to-find candy, any flavor jelly bean you can imagine and genuine mahogany soda fountain where you can order a Root beer Float, Ice Cream Sundae or your favorite soda flavored with your choice of syrup (think Cherry Coke or Vanilla root beer), I was excited for my first trip to Big Top Candy Shop.

We went for lunch today. So we walk in the door of this old-time circus themed candyland and begin giggling, oohing and ahhing over the fun candy that brings back childhood memories, international treats Britt is delighted to find in the U.S. (she's Danish), and the icky stuff we couldn't imagine eating. So we're browsing around, we order "lunch" -- One Cookies 'n Cream shake and one Coke Float please -- and outside the storefront a curious group is assembling, and a camera crew.

Ok, first let me say, we live in Austin. We are not unaccustomed to seeing "weird" people. Furthermore, we are in a store on S. Congress, smack dab in the middle of the zip code that created the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign. Again, not unusual to see a unique group of people.

But this group is special. Let's see, there was a midget woman in a bustier, a large limping man with big fleshy bumps all over his neck and head, a woman with a claw like hand (as in, she didn't have five fingers, and the fingers she did have were formed more in the shape of a claw), a woman with two legs but of vastly different lenghts, a few young (seemingly normal) children, a woman with dreadlocks wearing a pirate-slash-ringleader-slash-corset getup, a man in pin-striped pants and long coat over his bare torso topped off with a red hat.

Ummmm, can you say Freakshow?

By this point, the group had made its way inside and the pirate-slash-ringleader-slash-corset getup woman was ordering ice cream floats for her posse. Well, the curiosity cat crawled up my back, and I approached the claw-hand woman to ask what they were doing. She answered with a genuine smile: "We're a freakshow. Here, let me get you a flyer. We're performing tomorrow at Rutamaya."

KaiYa! They ARE a Freakshow. It was so fascinating. We didn't spend a lot of time chatting, but the whole group seemed nice enough; they were joking around with one another, and the young'ens were like kids in a candy shop...oh, wait.

It was one of the most exciting lunches I have ever had. I mean, seriously, when you are on a jaunt to an old-timey candy shop where carnival-gypsy-circus music is playing from gramophones and everything is kind of curious and surreal anyway. . . would you ever expect to run into a Real. Life. Freakshow?! It was bizarre and titillating. I'm still reeling.

I love Austin.

A bit about my very own Freakshow:
The 999 EYES Authentic Freakshow explicitly celebrates real genetic diversity by showcasing amazing feats performed by LIVING HUMAN ODDITIES! The freaks share real stories of what it is like to be born truly different from the average 10 fingered and 10 toed genetic blueprint for humanity – giving folks from all corners a chance to realize that what is different is beautiful. In this show, one must be born physically and obviously different from the vast majority of humanity to be considered a true freak. The 999 EYES freaks are performers who choose by their own free will to celebrate their medical anomaly on stage.

November 07, 2007


Last weekend, my girlfriends and I learned that one among us knew a secret. She knew whether Baby Clay Numero Dos is a GIRL or BOY. But like the loyal and trustworthy friend she is, she kept her lips zipped.

Spill the Beans

What It Means: to release information that wasn't meant to be released; indiscretion in revealing information; confess to something

Where I Heard It: "Y'all can ask me all you want, but I won't spill the beans."
- K. Brewer

Why We Say It: Early Greek secret societies had strict membership requirements. A candidate for admission was voted upon by members, and only a few adverse ballots were required for disqualification.

In order to keep voting secret, white beans were dropped into a container by those who favored the candidate. Brown or black beans constitued negative votes. Only officials were supposed to know how many of these negative votes were cast. Occasionally, however, a clumsy voter knocked the jar or helmet over and disclosed its contents. It was embarrassing, to say the least, to spill the beans in this literal fashion.


Saturday night, like good pirates do, my Lovely girlfriends and I stayed up into the wee hours of the night gabbing and giggling, eating muffins at midnight and refilling our wine glasses probably too many times.

So when 6:45 a.m. rolled around, we were barely rolling out of bed to join the Komen Race for the Cure. After contemplating Sleeping in for the Cure instead, we decided to buck up and join the other 23,995 pink people.

Our team, aptly named Pink Pirates for various reasons depending on who you ask, also made t-shirts Saturday night, after refilling our wine glasses probably too many times. The result is what you might expect of five giggly girls ironing pink and polka-dot letters onto t-shirts.

We were chauffeured to the race by Justy Tator, and began our walk at a brisk 1 mile per hour pace. Audrey had predicted it would take us 3 hours to walk the 5K, to which some pirates had scoffed. Oh, wise Audrey, you are a regular Confucius.

About, oh, let's say a 1/4 mile into it we begin to realize that the Pink Pirates are really hungry and on the verge of hungover, meaning if we didn't do something fast, this day could go downhill quick. So as soon as Las Manitas came into view, we left our place among the Cure walkers and found a table at the back of the restaurant.

We spent the next hour Eating Breakfast for the Cure.

After huevos and beans, tortillas, chips and hot sauce, we took a shortcut back onto the Cure trail and crossed the finish line, like good pirates do.

November 03, 2007


Here are the first of my favorite Halloween Costumes 2007. Hopefully I'll have some of Z-bug and Caden Clay soon!


SUPER SILVERTHORNES! Sweatin' to the Oldies with Wonder Woman