December 31, 2008

CONTENT TO THINK ABOUT

Strange, the content for this New Year's Eve post came to me as I was thinking about the past year, and I remembered Steinbeck's novel The Winter of our Discontent and the lesson found in that story.

Strange because I looked back at my New Year's Eve 2007 post, which also contained Steinbeck and Scripture.

I think I can sum up my biggest lessons from 2008 by quoting the apostle Paul:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~ Philippians 4:12-13
Happy New Year! I wish you joy and contentment in 2009!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.

Philippians 4:4-8

December 30, 2008

HAPPY THOUGHTS

turtleneck sweaters; reminiscing with girlfriends; caroling around a Christmas Tree; an unexpected compliment; Handel's Messiah; snow globes; making new friends; twinkle lights; Christmas movies; peppermint bark; bedtime stories; Frosty the Snowman; Wiiing; singing Silent Night at a Christmas Eve candlelight service; scarves; Twenty-four-hour-a-day Holiday music; freshly baked bread; wishing; puzzles; fires in the fireplace; hot chocolate spiked with a touch of cinnamon liqueur; festive hats; sister time; watching kids open presents; playing; luminaries; family photos; a baby sleeping on your shoulder; Christmas cards in the mail; new puppies; Christmas cookies; Champagne; old friends; traditions; falling snow; a Holy Night; a star brightly shining; a thrill of hope; a weary world rejoicing; a new and glorious morn; angel voices; the night when Christ was born. . .

November 24, 2008

STANKY

Hi. I'm Sadie. I'm going for the title of World's Best Skunkerator.
I added another spraying to my record tonight. Awesome.

November 21, 2008

LAUGHING

We had an Internet technician come to our house a few days ago. When the man arrived, Aaron told the dogs to sit. And they did! Instead of bouncing off the walls, crotch-sniffing and panting in crazy circles, they both sat, very ladylike. The technician commented on what good, pretty dogs they were.

Then, right as Aaron was saying thank you, Scoop let one rip.

November 20, 2008

THREE OH!

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Thirty years ago today
the world was changed in a special way.
You were born to shine your flashlight
and help others in the dark of night.

You came along to play practical jokes
and bring out the laughter in regular folks.
Your sweet smile appeared to spread joy and cheer.
Your aim was perfected to bring home a deer.

Some doggies now have a very great home
because you were born to feed them Ham bones.
And all the neglected junk in the subdivision
gets to be treasure because of your vision.

My husband was born, 'though I didn't know it.
But I know now and I'm thankful for it.
I think I'm the luckiest girl around,
'cause God made YOU the man I found.

Thirty years ago today
the world was changed in a special way.
Along came a very bright star,
That is you - the most wonderful person you are!



I love you ATB.

November 17, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT AS A HELPER

A few weeks ago, one of the employees at the car wash where Aaron worked was let go. The man lives in the trailer park near the car wash, which is also near our house. Aaron would often give him a ride home from work so the man wouldn't have to ride his bike on the busy highway. Aaron would also buy him lunch occasionally. And Aaron even cleaned out his closet so he could give a bunch of his clothes to the man. I have been asking Aaron to clean out his closet for eight years.

After this man was let go, he called Aaron to find out if there was anything he could do for Aaron to earn a little money while he looked for another job. Aaron agreed to have the man come do some yard work at our house, and paid him generously for the two and a half hours of labor. I was skeptical at first. I wasn't sure I wanted this man to know where we lived. I wasn't sure I could justify paying him to do work Aaron could easily do. But I trust Aaron's judgement, and he knew this man was in need. So he came and worked hard, did a really good job, and I never had the feeling that it was a bad idea.

-------

Recently, Aaron told me he had conquered one of his fears and done something he'd never done before. He picked up a hitchhiker. Aaron ran into a man at a gas station who looked like he needed a ride, so Aaron asked him where he was going and took him there. It wasn't far, but Aaron said his own heart was pounding the whole time they were driving. They arrived at the destination and the man was very appreciative.

Aaron does stuff like this all the time. More often than I'm aware, I'm sure of it. He is a true servant. He is generous and unselfish and I love him.

November 14, 2008

LISTENING

Here I am.

DO YOU SEE THAT FIRE?

Yes, it looks very hot.

I WANT YOU TO WALK THROUGH IT.

What?! Why?

BECAUSE I HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO TEACH YOU.

By walking through fire? There has to be an easier way.

WILL YOU DO IT?

Do I have a choice?

YES.

What happens if I decide to leave this place so I don't have to walk through that fire? What if I don't want to know what you have to teach me?

I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND.

What happens if I do it?

YOU WILL BE REWARDED BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS.

Will it hurt?

IT WILL BE PAINFUL, BUT I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.

Will you go with me?

YES. I WILL EVEN CARRY YOU WHEN IT GETS TOO HOT.

I'm scared.

I KNOW. TRUST ME. I LOVE YOU.

Okay, here I go. Are you there?

I AM.

November 12, 2008

GET OUTTA HERE

I'm sorry the grossest post ever has been the top post for so long. I truly did not intend to leave that as tops. We've been busy...

hanging with our neighbors and their cute son Ethan...
he was having so much fun

having dinner with friends...
I get your tongue

cheering for the Longhorns...
G and Ang

hearing live music during lunch...
Live on the Plaza

loving on the puppies...
greetings


What else? Add in ripped boots, a speeding ticket, a parade, a hero of chicken broth, a pan of chicken spaghetti, a giant stuffed bunny, several nights of wine where there is usually not wine, lounge music at the Belmont, a CPR class, sushi, public transportation workers on strike, and two bookclub meetings.

November 06, 2008

I TOLD YOU THINGS WOULD GET SERIOUS

WARNING! WARNING! THIS POST IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

Within 24 hours, I saw three things that made me shake in my boots. No, one was not Barak Obama giving his acceptance speech.

One: A Tarantula hanging out on the ceiling of our back porch. Ask me how long I stood out there looking up at it while the possibility of it falling down from the ceiling onto my face raced through my mind. The answer would be I did not go outside at all. Aaron took this picture, because well, OF COURSE he would.

Shakin' in my boots factor: 4









Two: A Opossum hanging out in a trashcan. (I'm having a really hard time typing a opossum instead of an opossum...) Aaron and I walked out of a bookstore last night and were greeted by a weasely, or I guess a opossumy little head and paws peeking out of a nearby trashcan. I squealed, which must have startled the thing because he lost his grip and fell back down into the can. So I stuck my hand in and snapped a photo.

You might know that if you click on photos, a larger version opens. The large version of this photo makes me scream out loud! Eeeeeeeeeek!

Shakin' in my boots factor: 7




Three: A Rat, a dead one. Aaron trapped the rat that was sneaking into our garage. I was thankful Aaron had disposed of the evidence before I got home yesterday so I wouldn't happen upon the scene. But after seeing the tarantula and the opossum, I could not miss the opportunity to blog about all these gross things, so I went to the garbage and took this picture.

The large version of this photo makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Groooosss!

Shakin' in my boots factor: 9.5 (only because it was not alive)

This is possibly the grossest post ever on this blog. I wish the pictures of the animals weren't in dark trashcans. I wish I'd been able to catch the opossum peeking out of the trashcan, because that was more funny than gross. And if I'd been able to snap a shot of the dead rodent during daylight and from an angle that didn't have its beady little eyes glaring at you.... anyway, here's a cute picture of Scoopie to make up for the gross pictures.

The larger version of this picture melts my heart. Awwwwwww.

November 03, 2008

NDN GIVER

In lieu of dressing up like ghosts, bobbing for apples or tricking anyone, Aaron and I decided to watch a scary movie on Halloween night to be in the spooky spirit of things. Aaron rented a scary movie and also The Hulk, which we ended up watching instead of the scary one. If you know me, you know I love campy action movies. The Hulk did not disappoint. Plus, hellooo, Edward Norton. We watched Iron Man a few weeks ago and it was also super-duper. On Friday, I was so glad we had seen Iron Man because the best part of The Hulk is literally the very last line of the whole movie - but you wouldn't know if you had not seen Iron Man. I love it and it makes me very excited. And if you don't know why, then get yourself down to the movie store and rent Iron Man and The Hulk then watch them in that order.

Saturday evening we met Rhett and Taylor at the 17th Annual Indian Powwow. It was interesting and I learned about the different costumes worn for the different dances, what the dances represent and that each Indian interprets the music uniquely. I also tried a traditional Indian food called Fry Bread. It's fried bread, like a bigger version of a Mexican sopapilla.

Aaron and Rhett sat watching seriously intent.

Meanwhile, Taylor and I sat on what we like to call 'the fun row'. We even joined the Indians during a "blanket dance" when the audience is invited to come to the floor and dance and leave a donation on a blanket for the tribe who is drumming and singing. It was very cool to walk along Indian-style in the midst of beautifully adorned dancers. The drum beat was entrancing. Okay, maybe not entrancing, but it sure was hard not to do the half-step and crouch.


Sunday morning, Aaron and I Walked for the Cure.
Aaron stopped along the route and bought me a latte at Jo's. We crossed the finish line, then took our time strolling along Town Lake to get back to the car before heading to Pluckers for some hot wings. Mmmmm, messy.

We spent the rest of the afternoon piddling around, doing errands. One of which was purchasing a rat trap! Eeeeeeeek!

Aaron has been doing some testing with peanuts and dog food and has come to the conclusion there is a rat sneaking into the garage at night. Aaron put the trap out last night, and I heard it snap while I was up at 3:30 a.m. (see next paragraph), but I did not dare go look because I was too scared. I told Aaron I'd heard it snap, but when we checked, the bait was gone, the trap was snapped, but no critter! Hmmmm, I'm sure things will get serious with the baiting and trapping tonight. Whatever it is, it doesn't know who they are messing with.

I won't go into detail about what we came home to Sunday afternoon. I'll just tell you that Scoopie kept us up all last night because she is diarreahific and needed to go outside every hour. Awesome.

November 01, 2008

SHE CALLS ME ANGIE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREA!

This was Dre when I first met her. It was easy to see from the moment we met why Bryan had instantly fallen in love with her.


And now, more lovable and beautiful!


We've had some fun adventures together, and I look forward to many more.


And a Happy Birthday to Drew, too! Andrea came with a boatload of wonderful siblings (here with her twin brother) that have grown into boatloads of wonderful kiddos!

October 31, 2008

SHARP

Okay, this is SOOO COOOOL! My brother got hooked up with Yellowpages.com to do freelance/contract work for their advertisers who want a short video to appear with their online listing. This is the first video Bryan filmed and produced! It's so impressive and really shows Bryan's talent. He is one of those lucky people who truly has IT. He has that gift, that eye, that talent that not everyone is blessed with. Lots of people can go to school and learn techniques and principles of design and creativity - and do well with that. But when it comes naturally to someone....it is so obvious.

I have a chip in my windshield right now, and I might drive to Texarkana, AR to have it fixed.

DO THE MONSTER MASH

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE HALLOWEINERS!








This is my friend Staci. She made this scccaaaarrry Spider Dip to bring to work today.

And I just couldn't resist posting this picture of the cousins!


October 30, 2008

TAKE A NUMBER

I heard this song for the first time in the movie Fireproof and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. When I asked the Internet about it, I found the song had touched other people like it touched me. I guess because it's the human condition to be waiting...waiting for something to happen...waiting for something to get better...waiting for something to change...waiting for someone to call...waiting for someone to arrive...waiting for some sign...waiting for some door to open...waiting for something to start...waiting for something to be over...waiting with uncertainty...waiting with excitement...

waiting...waiting...waiting

the lyrics to While I’m Waiting

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord


Sometimes I get off track, and I was having a hard time finding my feet on solid ground; but by simple request for a reminder that He has a purpose for everything, He wooed me back, and I was humbled to hear this song in a movie. My reminder that in all the things I'm waiting for, really I'm waiting for God to say "okay, it's time." And in the meantime, I just trust and obey.

It comforts me to have this perspective of waiting faithfully - obediently - patiently - not losing sight of what I can be doing while I wait. It helps me to remember to joyfully walk the journey laid before me even though I can't see the whole story. I know I'm in the right story, His story. And I know He'll meet me in the trenches when I need Him. He always does. He never makes me wait alone.

Funny how when I change my focus to worship...the hours don't seem so long. I can listen more. I can hear better. I can see more clearly.

We are told to pray with expectation, to believe that our prayers will be answered, one way or another.

So if you need me, I'll be over here. Waiting.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

October 27, 2008

YOU PEOPLE WORK ON COMMISSION, RIGHT?

I recently spent a few days in Los Angeles. I was there for work, but got in some sight-seeing and even frolicked in the Pacific Ocean a bit.



Although I did not run into Johnny Depp on Sunset Blvd., I did spot Justin Long having lunch with friends at the L.A. Farmer's Market.


And I did find Godzilla's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the famed Chinese Theater.


While I enjoyed staying in a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills and hanging out with the friends I've made in this group I meet with twice a year, and I did think of Pretty Woman about 294 times in the three days I was there and sang "Wild Women Do" in the shower, I was really glad to get home to my regular life.

October 21, 2008

I FELL IN TO A BURNING RING OF FIRE

Aaron and I went to see the movie Fireproof last night. Oh, it is so good on so many levels.

from the movie's website:
FIREPROOF is the third feature film from Sherwood Pictures, the creators of FACING THE GIANTS and FLYWHEEL. With hope-filled, heartfelt storytelling, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church continues to touch the world from Albany, Georgia.

An action-packed love story, FIREPROOF will have audiences laughing, crying, and inching toward the edge of their seats as they are drawn into the world of a firefighter, his wife ... and a marriage worth rescuing.
I've been wanting to see this movie for a while, and I have to admit, I was a little unsure of what Aaron's reaction would be. I mean, come on, it's a story about luuuuv, it's dramaaaatic, it's touching...it stars Kirk Cameron. Not exactly Aaron's top pick.

The movie is so well done.

It really is action-packed. And the action is centered around firefighters, people you actually know. Real heroes putting their life on the line. You know I love Spiderman. I want to be Spiderman. I gasp and clench my fists hoping Spidey can stop Green Goblin from terrorizing the city. But the Spiderman movies seem like cupcakes compared to how I feel watching a fireman trapped in a burning house find a way to drag a little girl to safety.

It really is funny - as in, Aaron laughed out loud. Out loud. We even left the movie with a few quotable one-liners.

It really does draw you in. I'm not absolutely positive, but I'm pretty sure I noticed Aaron choke back a lump in his throat at least once. He could have been trying to swallow a popcorn kernel that was stuck, but I doubt it.

When the movie was over and we filtered out of the theater among the other couples, Aaron looked over at me and asked if I liked it. Yes! Did he like it? Yes. It was good. He thought it had a good message.

I was so glad he liked it.

Then as we were driving home he asked what was my favorite part and told me his favorite part. We laughed recalling a few of the scenes. We talked about how amazing the Sherwood movies are considering they are amateur.

I was so glad he liked it enough to keep talking about it.

Then Aaron said, "There sure was a lot of crying at the end. It seemed like the last thirty minutes was nothing but people crying."

I laughed, agreed, and thought to myself, There's my sweet husband. A sensitive soft-hearted man, but a man nonetheless, who can only take so much crying in one movie.

And I like him like that.


p.s. If you have not seen Facing the Giants, it is an equally remarkable movie and well worth watching.

October 20, 2008

SMITTEN

I love this picture of Reid and her Dad. Casey has been head-over-heels in love with his little girl since the moment she was born. Believe me, I was there. I had the privilege of being there during the precious first hours when Casey became a father. And during those hours my heart was filled with so much happiness because I saw what kind of Dad my precious niece was lucky enough to have and I knew that she will be spoiled rotten, not with material things, but with love.


I am so thankful that God gave my sister the perfect partner, and that he made Casey the Dad of one of the most important people in the world to me.

October 18, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT WITH NATURE

Most of you know Aaron and know that he would be happy to live his life in a tent under God's big sky next to a river surrounded by deer, birds, bugs, critters and fish (provided that tent had a cable connection so he could watch COPS and a microwave for burritos). He would spend his days exploring, turning over rocks, poking a fire, fishing, building contraptions to lure animals near or just sitting and watching.

Our yard is one of the top reasons we bought the house we live in. When we first looked at this house, I saw rockets shooting off the top of Aaron's head at the prospect of a deer wandering to his doorstep. And this location has proved to provide an abundance of God's creatures.

Aaron keeps the deer feeder full of corn and even after three years, we still get excited every time we see a deer. Aaron built a bird house and keeps two other bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder for our little winged friends, paying close attention to hang them out of reach of deer and coyotes. Yes, I said coyotes. We have frequent coyotes and an occasional fox - which Aaron loves to see. Most of the neighbors complain about the coyotes, and maybe if we had small pets we would too, but Aaron keeps a sharp eye out for the mangy four-legged menace and instead appreciates its prowess.

Aaron traps and inspects tarantulas, he plays with a praying mantis, he feeds spiders. Feeds spiders! I mean, he actually catches moths and other little bugs and puts them in spider webs on the porch to help out our friendly arachnids!

He fills water containers for frogs and keeps the geckos out of harm's way (i.e. the dogs).

Speaking of the dogs, and harm's way, let's talk about the rabbits. Aaron's love for animals gives him the strength to put injured baby rabbits out of their misery.

Or maybe it's just that he understands nature. He is so in tune with how nature works, that even when I figured out that by providing a bounty of seed for the finches and blue birds, we were actually providing a buffet for the resident Hawk, and I got a little upset about that - Aaron responded with his usual calm, reasonable, logical tone "Yeah, a Hawk will eat anything smaller than itself. Wouldn't you rather have the Hawk around because he also eats the snakes and mice?"

Ummm, sure, but can't we tell him that birds are off limits in this yard?

I love that my husband is a nature encyclopedia. I love that he has Eagle eyes and can spot wildlife fifty yards off the road behind some trees while driving 60 miles an hour in the dark. I love that he is gentle and contemplative, which I believe comes from his observation and awareness of his surroundings. I love that he appreciates the circle of life and the role each one of God's creations plays on Earth; that he sees the benefit and purpose where I might only see pretty, cute, icky, creepy, crawly, mangy, scary, dangerous. He is a lover of all things. And I love him.

October 04, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT WITH THOUGHTS

Aaron went to do a few errands last night. When he came home, he had picked up two things for me while he was out. Two things I had not mentioned that I needed or wanted; two things I had not asked him to get while he was out.

My hair dryer died a few weeks ago, so I started using my travel hair dryer. It's perfectly fine, except that it doesn't seem to work well if I'm not holding it exactly upright. Have you ever blow dried your hair? Have you ever been able to do it without tilting the dryer a little bit or even turning it upside down, especially if you're trying to master those fancy styling techniques your hairdresser uses in the salon? Needless to say, I've been struggling a little bit with the hair dryer.

Aaron brought me an awesome new hair dryer last night. Just exactly what I would've picked out, with the little extender attachment and everything. The cool thing about this is that I never so much as peeped about the crazy dryer to Aaron. He just noticed that I was having trouble in the mornings and probably witnessed a few frustrated harrumphs! and so last night while he was at the store, he thoughtfully wandered over to the hair dryer aisle and pondered which model and wattage would be best and picked one for me.

--

I love making my coffee in a coffee press. I mean, I really really leeerrrv it. I make it every morning. And sometimes in the evening. I usually hand wash (or kind of slosh water around to rinse out) my press every day, but for some reason the other night I decided to stick it in the dishwasher. Bad idea. I'm pretty sure it's dishwasher safe, but I was kicking myself when the delicate glass beaker came out cracked because I knew, I knew, as I was putting it in that it probably wasn't a good idea.

So yesterday morning, Aaron walked in the kitchen as I stood with half-dry hair crying into my cracked coffee press. He did some testing and determined it would be okay to use. (For the record, I wasn't really crying. I was actually standing stone still staring intently at the crack as though I could melt the glass back together if I just wanted it badly enough.)

Last night, after Aaron gave me the hair-dryer and I had calmed down and was done gushing about how awesome and thoughtful he was and how sweet to notice my hair-drying woes, he goes and pulls out a new coffee press! Now even though he knew how distraught I had been over the cracked beaker, I had not mentioned getting a new one. Especially since I could still (carefully) use the cracked one. But Aaron was so sweet to know how much I enjoy my coffee and that I would eventually need a new one, and that, Heaven forbid, he walk in the kitchen on the morning the crack becomes a break and there is coffee, coffee grinds, glass and one upset un-caffeinated wife staring intently at the mess.

I am so glad I married such a thoughtful man. He is always thinking of others - offering a coworker a ride home, sharing things (books, music, cheese) with his friends he thinks they might enjoy, emailing a YouTube link to make someone laugh, noticing when anyone needs a koozie.

He is always showing me in little ways that he is paying attention to who I am and thinking of me. (Now if I can just get him to catch on that putting his dishes in the dishwasher would put me over the moon. Just kidding. kind of.) Seriously, though, this is about how much my husband rocks, and He Does. I appreciate his thoughtful thoughts. And I love him.

October 02, 2008

EL GALLO (DAY 7)

Day Seven. I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into my daily days.
Peace out, homie.




p.s. This is Aaron's impression of my artistic-y self-takes:

September 30, 2008

I JUST LIKE TO EAT THE BREAD (DAY 5)

I made bread last night.

And when I say last night, I actually mean in the middle of the night and into part of this morning.

At about 9:00 p.m. I got really excited about using the bread machine my mother-in-law let me have, and true to form, I could not wait and my brain turned to skittles. I got everything out and put all the ingredients in and pushed Start before I really knew what I was doing. About thirty minutes into the kneading and rising, after reading the instructions thoroughly, (my mom and dad will appreciate that) I discovered the whole process would take a little more than three hours.

So I set my alarm for 12:30 a.m., went to bed and got up a few hours later to take the finished loaf out of the machine. It smelled heavenly and was so warm. My mom had warned me that I'd want to eat the whole thing right when it came out of the oven. She was right. I couldn't resist slathering a little butter on a slice for a midnight snack.

p.s. Sadie's tail is on the mend. And Scoop is back in turbo mode.

September 29, 2008

HALCYON (DAY 4)

Maybe we don't have four seasons in Texas, but in my book there are always a few days, if not weeks, of transition between hot and cold. On these gloriously crisp, chilly-morning-warm-afternoon-cool-night days in the Spring and Fall I often find myself forgoing a lunch hour for an afternoon stroll. The streets quiet down after the rush of lunch-goers and the sun is lower in the sky creating slow, cool pockets of shade perfect for a siesta.

Today I walked down to Halcyon. I really like this corner coffee shop for several reasons, not the least of which is that they serve S'Mores(!). The shop-owners remodeled the place about two years ago and hit dead-on the funky, eclectic, laid-back vibe of Austin. The side that faces the street has two sets of giant doors designed to stay open on nice days so the inside and outside space become one. The walls serve as a gallery for local artists with the pieces changing regularly. The atmosphere has that special something which makes it easy to enjoy lunch with a group or just hang out by yourself surfing the Internet, people watching, daydreaming or reading a book - or in my case, pretending to read a book while you take self-photos.

Halcyon (Hal-see-yon): adj - Peaceful, Carefree, Untroubled, Golden

self-taken using the timer

September 28, 2008

SALTY DOG (DAY 3)

Yesterday morning Scott and Gillian called and asked if we wanted to join them at the beach in Port Aransas. An hour later we were in the car on our way! We arrived just in time to take the dogs on a beach walk as the sun set. Scott and Gillian have two labs and all four dogs loved running in the ocean chasing one another and trying to catch seagulls.

This morning, Sadie's tail was mysteriously immobile. Usually it is a curly cue and wags almost constantly, but today it just hangs limp. I remember that this exact thing happened to B,D,A&P's dog, Buck, and his tail came back online after a few days. I don't think she knows her tail is not wagging, so we're in a holding pattern to see how it's doing tomorrow. I miss her waggly tail.

We spent most of today on the beach and the dogs wore themselves out again. As soon as we got in the car to leave they conked out and literally did not move the entire four hour drive home. Not even to sniff a french fry when we stopped at Whataburger.

September 27, 2008

SPONTANEOUS (DAY 2)


This is me. On the way out the door to the beach! WOO HOO!

p.s. note my new shorter hair do

More tomorrow!

September 26, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT WITH CRANKY BEANS

I was cranky a few times this week. I know, unbelievable. But it's true. I think I was a little stressed out about my big event at work. And there was also a little bit of After Taste from our weekend visit with family.

When I'm in a poopy mood, Aaron says I've been eating cranky beans. Then he cheers me up in a multitude of ways.

Once this week he asked if I wanted to jump on the bed. I did. So we did. Until we heard some cracking noises and then I got cranky again because I thought we'd busted the bed frame and we had to spend the next thirty minutes taking the mattress off, inspecting the cross boards, repositioning them and screwing them down, then putting everything back together. And Aaron was quick to do every bit of it with a smile on his face and didn't even wince when I might have screeched a little bit and he never pointed out that I was being unreasonable and none of this was really necessary.

Another time he got my super new camera and videoed me while I was making dinner. I would post it, but I have my poopy face on in the whole thing, which is not cute at all, and I also get a little crass a few times and I wouldn't want to shock my parents. I answer his questions with smart aleck remarks. At one point I ask Aaron "why are you trying to piss me off?" Then he asks me to do this hand thing that we watched on YouTube with Bryan and Andrea, and I might have skipped over most of it and given him a different hand signal. I think somewhere in there I also dramatically say "don't patronize me!" which I'm sure I picked up from a Lifetime movie and tucked away for an occasion just as this.

Aaron thinks all of this is very funny. And throughout the whole 5 minutes he's videoing, I burst into giggles and then go back to my poopy face. Because we have instant gratification-digitization of things, we watched the video immediately, and I really cracked up at how ridiculous I was behaving, and actually how funny I was being in my responses to his prods.

Later in the week, he made me this mini-koozie to fit on my special 8 oz. Halloween sodas.


And his new favorite way to cheer me up? He does the Aubrey-laughing-contest-face. I'm sorry for all of you who don't know how that face goes - but just imagine a 2.5 year old making faces to get you to laugh and imagine what she might come up with - then imagine Aaron making that face. (Dre, it's the twirly finger one)

I'm so thankful that I married a man who can cheer me up. For the days when I've had some cranky beans, he is there, ready with the Bean-O. And I love him.

THE DAY I OVERHEARD CRAPPER (DAY 1)

Last night my firm hosted its 9th annual fundraiser. Coordinating and organizing this event is a big part of my job, and every year all of the planning and preparation I have done over the last ten months culminates in a wonderfully enjoyable evening.

We hold the dinner at a swanky downtown venue every year. It's a fancy old club on the top floor of an office building showcasing spectacular views of Austin. It's a place where politicians and high-powered business people negotiate over cocktails and dinner.

Huge J. Harvey originals hang on the walls along side funky abstracts by local artists. Plush arm chairs, rich dark furniture, ornate lighting fixtures and jazzy lounge music add to the ambiance.

I always love primping in the huge bathroom before guests arrive. It's so lavish and makes me feel like I'm in Paris in 1893. The walls are upholstered and there are two seating areas with ladylike chaises. The stalls are in another area and are each very private. And as you can see, there are ample opportunities to view oneself from any angle.



Do you like my pose? I learned that from all those US Weekly magazines - the most flattering position in which to stand and be photographed.

And how 'bout that beautiful string o' pearls? Yesterday morning I was telling my boss how I had tried to channel my sister's accessorizing sense, but in the end I just didn't have a necklace that would do. Luckily my boss happened to have an extra string of pearls with her. Voila! I think this would have Renee's stamp of approval. I was glad because you kind of feel like you must be properly adorned to enter this bathroom.

After dinner, as we bid our guests farewell, two women were entering the lavish lavatory. Mind you, these are two mature women who have just attended a fundraiser where they donated a nice sum of money and are certainly properly adorned. As they pushed the door open, I overheard one of them say exclaim loudly to the other "Well, I've got to see what a $72,000 crapper looks like!" I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.

September 25, 2008

REFELCTION

I was recently looking in the mirror at my thirty-year-old self and pondering what I saw. Okay, I was really investigating a new pimple, but it did inspire this post, not the pimple, but my reflection. And "looking in the mirror pondering my reflection" sets the stage much better than "looking in the mirror cursing adult-acne."

So, back to pondering and what I saw:

a woman, who behaves as such only most of the time
a daughter to two of the most wonderful parents to ever walk the planet
a wife to a man who loves her unconditionally
a sister, the luckiest sister alive
an aunt to three children who explode her heart and constantly amaze her
a granddaughter, niece, cousin and in-law who is infinitely thankful for the family with which she's been blessed
a friend inspired by her Lovely friends Every. Single. Day.
a Christian on whom God is still working
a doggie-momma, surprised by her capacity for love for these animals
a smile that I'm proud of
a few laugh lines, which I've earned
a strong and healthy body that I will not take for granted
a seeker who still has much to learn
a bookworm who delights in the weight of a story
an eternal optimist, a glass-half-full kinda gal
a singer, a joyful soul
a person who longs to be gentle with her Earth

What I mostly see, though, are reflections of all the people who love me and make me who I am. (and some frustrating skin issues.)

I've recently been in conversations about the art of a self-take picture, where the photographer is in the photograph - whether it be the hold-the-camera-out-in-front method, with the help of a timer or by capturing a reflection. Jessica is a pro at the self-take - I think she's probably who unintentionally inspired me to start doing more self-takes.

For the next seven days, I'm going to take pictures of myself and post them. I have this grand idea that I will think of interesting instances in which to take the pictures and that they'll be reflections of my daily life and show glimpses of who I am. I think it will be fun and I like doing things like this because it makes me pay uber-attention to my surroundings and what is going on in my life. And because I'm addicted to my new camera.

Of course, you could end up just seeing random pictures of me eating pancakes or standing awkwardly beside what seems to be a topiary but it's hard to know for sure because my teeth are taking up most of the frame.

Oh, and it would be fun if anyone else out there wants to do this too!

September 19, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT AS A SNUGGLEMUFFIN

My husband is a snuggler. Or, when I really think about it, maybe he is just a very good snugglee. I like to hug and hold hands and sit on the same couch cushion as him even though the whole rest of the couch is available. I like to lean on him and stand with his arm around me when we're just hanging out. I like to crowd his elbow room when we're out to eat and I always find a reason why I need to sit on his lap and look at what he's doing while he's on the computer. It's true. Just ask him.

And the great things is, he doesn't mind having me all up in his biz. I even think he kinda likes it most of the time.

Aaron is definitely a hugger. We hug at all the usual moments, but he also hugs me a lot for 'no reason' - except the reason is because he loves me and he's sweet. This is really lucky for me because I grew up in a family of random-incident huggers and I start to have serious emotional issues when I don't get enough hugs. I remember my first semester in college, I drove home almost every weekend just to fill up on hugs from my parents because a week without hugs was seriously incapacitating.

I'm glad I married a snugglemuffin. A very manly, arrgh arrgh arrgh, snugglemuffin. And I love him.

September 18, 2008

SNEAK

Sadie: This looks like a good spot to eat my bone.

Scoop: Do de do

Scoop: Don't mind me, I'm just posing for the camera.

Scoop: Oh, hey Sadie. I didn't know you were over here. Whatcha doin'?

Scoop: Yoink!

Scoop: What? I'm just a baby.

September 15, 2008

ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE

As if I needed a reminder of how wonderfully blessed I am, my family and friends go and make my birthday weekend fun and fantastic and make me feel like the most special Princess in all of Fairy Rainbow Land. I mean, wow, who knew I could talk on the phone so much in one day?!

My parents came to Austin especially to take me to a birthday dinner, then we relaxed on Saturday morning and headed to pick out a camera. And when I say 'pick out,' I mean that we spent about two hours in the store doing some "testing" of different cameras - complete with control points and placebos. Aaron knew I could be neurotic about things, but I think this camera-selecting incident took it to a new level. In the end, I came home with this cute blue creature that is everything I wanted in a camera, including, but not limited to, good sound quality with the video function. Thank you Mom and Dad!


Saturday evening the Austinites gathered at our house and I was surprised with flowers and Birthday Cake and ZBug says my name! Did you hear? Did you hear? Zbug says my name! She knows my name! Aaannngie. Oh such a sweet sound.

The festivities continued on the Big Day with brunch at Fonda San Miguel, which was quite possibly the most fun place I've ever had a meal. What a spread! And the company could not be beat. Taylor requested that the Mariachis sing Happy Birthday to me. I sang along.


After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, Megan and I decided to relax with a margarita at Shady Grove then a pedicure. Peek-a-culah! That's for Renee'. The first color I picked up was called "Oh to be 25 again." How appropriate. Done deal.


To finish off the day, Aaron took me for Amy's Ice Cream. Mexican Vanilla with Plain M&Ms, dead.


Oh, but the fun does not stop there! When I arrived at work today this beautiful bouquet was on my desk. Several co-workers all brought in different flowers and put them together. Doesn't it look like a big burst of fun?!