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?!

September 12, 2008

ATB ROCKS IT OUT WITH HARDWARE

I'm joining the My Husband Rocks movement.

This week, Aaron and I put hardware on the cabinets in our bathrooms. Aaron is so sweet and patient with me and he knows how to do all the manly, handy things around the house.

He knew that we needed to make a template and mark all the drawers and doors. He explained to me the difference between a wood screw and a machine screw. He showed me a little something about the different sizes of drill bits.

He knew how excited I was about this project and didn't want me to have to wait another day, so he made a special trip to Home Depot after a long day at work when he would have rather just relaxed at home.

He gently pointed out that my measuring was a little off center on one drawer. And when he figured out after drilling the hole that I totally messed up and marked the wrong side of the cabinet door, he was not mad at me and didn't make a big deal about it. Do you get what that means? That means there is hole drilled in the door where there should not be a hole. A hole that can not be un-drilled. A hole that essentially ruins the cabinet door, except that Aaron knows a way to fill it in and make it look barely noticeable.

And by the way, helloooo, how typical of me to get so excited and do things quickly and mess up because I wasn't paying close attention. Aaron is the calm one who doesn't mess up because his brain doesn't turn into skittles when he gets excited about something.

He is so laid back and smart! I appreciate him and that he is always there, helping me do things right and making it better when I mess up. And I love him.

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Lists; Uchi sushi; the perfect 2-cup coffee press; twilight in the summer; fluffy towels; fireflies; puzzles; having art in my house created by people I know; Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market; flying in airplanes; tote bags; a movie that makes you laugh and cry; Unicorns; fried okra; receiving snail mail from friends and family; football game tailgating; the Littlest Longhorn; pilates; photo albums; skirts; laughing contests; home improvement projects; patience paying off; Birthdays!; the first cold front of the season; old friends in a new town...

September 11, 2008

GUN TOTIN' MEATEATER

I saw this bumper-sticker GUN TOTIN' MEATEATER and laughed. But it got me to thinking. And what I want to know is, can I not:

want to take home the money I work hard for and be responsible for myself and my family and also know that includes being responsible for my community and caring for and giving to those who've had a hard life and are less fortunate?

believe that a woman's experience as a mother would bring something invaluable to leadership role and also think that the balance between work and family is fragile?

be against discrimination and also against affirmative action?

wear Birkenstocks and also carry an expensive leather bag?

worship the only God I believe in and also be understood that while I believe for me there is only one Way, I respect others' views and don't consider myself the one powerful enough to judge?

believe that some things are inevitable no matter who is leading our country and also believe that different choices might result in better courses of the inevitable?

support drilling for oil in Alaska and also carry re-usable bags to every store, recycle, and conserve energy?

support immigration and diversity and also be passionate about not losing my American heritage?

What I want to know is, what would my bumper-sticker say?

September 10, 2008

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW

I am a big fan of knowing random, somewhat useless, often unnecessary knowledge. You never know when you might unexpectedly find yourself at a Monday night trivia game where it pays to know some random factoids.

For instance, did you know that if you keep a Goldfish in the dark room, it will eventually turn white? Or that there are 336 dimples in a regulation golf ball? How about that the name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with? Can you say whether or not a duck's quack will echo?

Random knowledge also comes in handy when you're trying to convince your husband who has a soft heart for every creature, except scorpions, that spiders - even very small ones, in fact, especially very small ones - should not be left alone to roam the bedroom walls.

Yes, I understand that spiders are handy because they consume many other little bugs, but did you know the average human accidentally swallows 8-11 spiders while asleep during their lifetime?

I rest my case.

September 07, 2008

September 02, 2008

DOUBLE TAKE

I looked more closely at the picture in the Happy Birthday Bryan post and realized - that is RENEE' in the picture with Bryan - NOT ME!! Hahahahahaha! People say Renee' and I look alike, and we see the similarity. But never have I actually mistaken her for myself.

When I figured it out I immediately told Renee' and she said "I have been staring at the picture thinking, 'I thought that was me, but you know, I guess it does look like Angela.'"

So, I looked for some more pictures that I am actually in to illustrate my point and this is what I found.