Friday, November 26, 2010


2010 brings with it a multitude of thanks, but this November I am especially grateful for:

Training. Even though I often despise it - I'm thankful for the health and ability to run.
Home. I now have a permanent residence... both now and in the life to come.
Abundance of friendships - both new and old.
New creative opportunities. (More on this topic in 2011.)
King that is coming... the Advent season is upon us!
Family - that doubled over the year!
Unbelievably wonderful husband. (Have I mentioned I love this man?)
Life. Rejoicing with those who rejoice this year and remembering those who grieve this holiday season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This year, I am extremely thankful for:

The changing fall colors of East Texas. It really has been more breathtaking than usual this year, and I've been trying to soak in all of this natural beauty!

Good water pressure in my shower at my apartment. Seriously, not matter where I go, I can find no other shower that can come close to the fire hose-like tendencies of mine at home. Talk about blessings!

A group of friends that not only agreed to spend their Monday nights watching episodes of "Veronica Mars" bit by bit, but also genuinely enjoy it. I don't take their agreeable natures or their laughter as we watch the show for granted! This group makes Mondays all the more bearable.

V8 Fruit Fusion, because how else would I get soooo many of my fruits and veggies? Certain flavors are actually really tasty- I'm lookin' at you, Peach Mango.

A job that means something, where I do something that I'm really enjoying learning about that is a truly enviable job skill. AND I get to work with a bunch of my friends. AND I have my own office. AND I get to run our company Facebook Page! Can I get a holla?

My tall brown clogs that go with everything and look especially fantastic with a pair of jeans. And they've got quite a lift to them as well- you know, for when 5'8" just isn't tall enough.

Family, OF COURSE-- what else could I end with? Seriously though, I never tire of laughing with my entire family, and couldn't imagine being part of one that I didn't genuinely enjoy being around. We have good times. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, Blog Friends!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


D and I went to an island for our Honeymoon. Question: why doesn't the continuing "honeymoon phase" also come with an island?

Ok. Just a few snippets.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Book

My heart is exploding right now, because I am reading something extraordinarily wonderful for the first time in far too long.

The Book. (No, not that one.)

Background: I was ridiculously close to my roommates in college. Like, RIDICULOUSLY. I know I’ve alluded to it on here before, but I don’t think you realize the full extent of it. Julie, Dani, Kisha, and myself were friends ALL FOUR years of college, and lived together for a huge chunk of that time, including two years at our lovely little rent house dubbed "House 9." Also including our semester spent in Oxford, England. And if living in a foreign country with your BFF’s doesn’t bring you closer, I don’t know what will. (It’s either that or kill each other, and we very nearly did that too… (aside to the roommates: Camping Fusina. Am I right or am I right?))

At the end of our four years together, we had far too many inside jokes, stories, and tidbits about the people we had come across to ever hope to remember. We never wanted to forget and not be able to remember. So while they were still fresh in our brains, we wrote them down.* And put them in a book.

It’s 150 pages long.

Reading through it now, I know this is quality stuff, and honestly, it's not all inside jokes or things you wouldn't get! I think you'd like this even if you didn't know us. :)

There are sections on…
The Stars of the Show
Supporting Cast
House 9 Culture


The Supporting Cast is the people we came across, written in glossary style entries, complete with cross references. For instance…

John Doe**: aka Mystery Man, who Julie stalked from afar for a couple years. A design major who resembles the child of Lex Luthor and Shawn Hunter. His hotness is so overwhelming that Julie almost forgot that she had a boyfriend at the Graceland Too volleyball game in 2005.

James Smith: aka Magic James, who Valerie, Julie, & Kisha loved and hung out with for a chunk of sophomore year. James does cool magic tricks and once stole a squeegee from a Shell Station. He is friends with Robert Thomas and Richard Jones.

Guy Peterson: Famous for voluntarily sporting a very Brokeback looking GAP sweater around his shoulders during pledging his sophomore year. He is also Jane Smith’s celebrity crush. (Ex: at the grocery store…)
Guy: Hey! What are you guys doing?
Jane: Um… juice.
Val: We’re buying juice.

Joey: Handsome and adventurous descendant of Italian gypsies and Mexican Vaqueros with a political mind and a sensitive stomach. Boey fixes things at Houst 9 without being asked, writes magnificent blog entries, has been known to tame a mountain bike or two, and is half the reason why everyone in House 9 adores the Britney Spears song, Toxic.

David: Brother of House 9 who has been Supreme Chancellor of Christmas Decorations and basically one of our favorite people ever since Fall of 2004. D-Pok is the best, most responsible driver in Abilene and guards House 9 with an iron fist and an arsenal of airguns. When necessary, he can maintain a pretty fierce what-what face, and also has more cool points than anyone on record. D-Pok is engaged to Stephanie.

Lara: The baby and our 5th roommate. Truly one of the most creative and unique and awesome people you'll ever meet. Loves Ramen and stopped shaving her legs in 2004. (Umm... as of 2006.)

Katie: An English major, awesome scarf maker, other 5th roommate, realist, and Oxford junkie in every way you can be.

Jill West: ACU poster girl with big hair, perfect boobs, and a beautiful voice. Much to Kisha’s chagrin, she once washed her sweaters one at a time in the Gardner laundry room.

Bottom line: if you crossed our path in college, YOU are in this book!

We kept track of the sororities and fraternities (“Famous for being bubbly and sparkly, wearing yellow, and always winning SingSong.”), popular songs sung at chapel, broken down by category (ie “Chapel songs that you have to sing standing up or you’re a bad Christian…”), memorable professors, and landmark House 9 events, and so much more.

There’s a section on who we’d be if we were _______, such as cars, office supplies, Disney princesses, or characters in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."

There are yearbook awards (Dani: Most likely to never have her electricity shut off because she didn’t pay a bill) (Val: Most likely to marry a man with really nice teeth and a polo shirt), nicknames, and pages upon PAGES of general House 9 memories (The Fusina debacle- all of it, but particularly the morning from hell where Julie tried to by Macguyver and use pretend sign language to communicate with a man who only spoke Italian, and Dani, speaking of the pay phone, said, “I’m sure I can figure it out, it’s not like Julie’s a genius!”)

We scanned in notes we passed in class, the box art for our “favorite movie,” and an extremely sexist flyer: “Women of ACU, serve your campus by inviting young men to these free events!” Mocking. SO much mocking. (Jaded? Me?)

There are heartfelt emails, things we love about each other, and so, so much more. Someone should seriously publish this thing, because it's absolutely real, strangely intriguing, and frankly, hilarious.

It's a book that means so, so much to me, and I wish I had one of these things for every stage of my life. Not many people have such amazing catalogs of... memories they can just literally flip to whenever they want.

I can't believe I do.

*Actually, Julie did about 95% of the writing and ALL of the design/layout/printing, so infinite hats off to her!
**Most names changed to protect the (mostly) innocent!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Behind the times.

I've always been ok with being a bit behind the rest of the culture curve.

I modeled my wardrobe after a cousin who was four years older than me. Only problem with that - I generally wore clothing that was in style 4-5 years prior.

I happen to be wearing a hand me down shirt from that cousin today. Not a big deal, right? I'm pretty sure I pulled it out of a bag of clothes in 1995 and I've been wearing it proudly ever since. I've also been informed that she was not the first owner of this shirt. Oh yeah.
I'm catching up after 2 years of no fiction reading and a year of no T.V. outside of LOST. Here's what I've discovered...

1. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS = AWESOME. We've watched six episodes of season one in the past week. We casually ask each other if maybe we could just do one more... who needs sleep?

2. "The Outsiders" by NEEDTOBREATH = Toe-tapping goodness. Loving this album. I've been listening to it nonstop while I write.

3. MATT COSTA = Good listening. My good friend Whitney brought me roughly 20 cds when she came out for the wedding. She informed me that it was all music I SHOULD know... but didn't. She was right.

4. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson= good beach read. This was the only book I read on the honeymoon. It was intense and made my head swim with information about Swedish business journalism. Not a "must read" in my opinion, but definitely intriguing. I will be reading the rest of the books in the trilogy.

5. Training for a 1/2 Marathon = ask me in three weeks. D and I are training for a January 1/2 marathon. I've never run more than a 10k in my whole life. D has run 2 previous 1/2 marathons. We are on a training program that adds one mile a week. This weekend we hit four miles. It was fine. In three weeks we will hit 7 miles. Ask me how much I hate it then.

6. Cooking pork chops = intimidating. I'm trying this out tonight. I've only cooked NEW recipes since coming back from vacation. So far almost everything has been a success. Tonight: pork chops with cider glaze. I can do this.

7. Recognizing that I'm really emotional = annoying. Imagine the conversation in which I admit to my husband that I am much more of a girl than I thought possible. I think I still pictured myself as the tomboy that I tried to present in 6th grade.

8. Taking a giant leap of faith = exhilarating and terrifying. I'm taking steps towards making my lifelong dreams a reality. Confession: it's harder than I thought it was going to be. I am easily frustrated. I don't like having an ambiguous due date. Basically I'm not a fan of only having to be accountable to myself for this. I would like a manager asking me what I've accomplished and guiding me along the way. Instead, I have me. Why am I not a good personal manager? I doubt that I can do this. I doubt my abilities. I doubt my drive. I question my motives.

But I'm going to keep at it. Time to play catch up on completing this project.

"Our value is not dependent on our ability to earn the fickle acceptance of people, but rather, its true source is the love and acceptance of God." - Robert S. McGee

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Casablanca en Mexico

My parents and sister and I were in Mexico a year ago this month. And I was just thinking/remembering/dreaming about this most magical moment, when I found "Casablanca" being projected onto the side of a building. I couldn't hear the dialogue from street level, but the most unlikely music serenaded the moment, and it just... fit! Who would have thought that the faint strains of mariachi music would be the perfect and unexpected soundtrack?

I happened upon the entire scene quite by accident, and stood transfixed for far too long.

An old movie playing outside? On a building? In Mexico? Accompanied by mariachi music? I am just not aware that life gets much better than that.

Sometimes its just nice to stop and remember the unexpected fun/magical/perfect moments we are blessed with.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving at the speed of really good.

Life is flying. In the past month I ended a chapter of employment with a great church, moved across town, celebrated with family and friends, married my best friend, and then went on vacation for two weeks.
It's a lot of change. I'm adjusting to a writing schedule, a 1/2 marathon training schedule, meal planning, attending church on Sundays and living with a boy. I changed my name last week and now have the new Social Security card and Drivers License to prove it. I picked up a library card, a credit card, and a dining room table. I don't really know what to say. It's good. Really good. And at times I feel guilty because it's good.

Some of my favorite people in the world are going through really crappy times right now. So I pray. I pray by myself in the shower in the morning and with my husband before bed at night. I pray in the car on my way to write at a local coffee shop and in the aisles of the grocery store. The prayer is that His good would be done... even if it looks different than the good that we thought that we wanted.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." Romans 8:28-29, NIV

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Titles Are Hard

I am a huge fan of Arrested Development and Extras. The Office is one of my all-time favorite shows. I think that Community is the best series currently on the air.

I don’t think my taste in comedic television should be called into question.

That being said, I not only think that Cougar Town is one of the funniest shows on TV right now, but I also think that YOU should be watching it.

Plagued by a terrible name and a premise completely ditched during the first season, Cougar Town is now simply about a group of friends in their thirties and forties who hang out, talk, and… that’s about it. Oh, also? Be hilarious. That’s what they do. They be hilarious.

In the first line of their review of this week’s episode, New York magazine said, “Cougar Town may have an unfortunate name, but it has become a truly wonderful, hilarious television show that everyone who likes funny TV shows should be watching.”

See??? Even New York magazine agrees with me!

Still not convinced? Okay then, consider this. The creator of the show also created a little show I like to call SCRUBS. Yep, the one and only Bill Lawrence created Cougar Town right on the heals of Scrubs.

Lawrence has had a lot to say about his regret about the original premise and title of the show. He admitted in an interview that: “We gave the show a title that not only is horrible but that, for someone who hasn't checked out the show, it's a title that says to them what the show is — even though it isn't.”

He also told Entertainment Weekly, “It might be the worst titled show of all time.”

It’s actually become a great recurring joke, and above the title on each week’s credits is a small joke that’s a fun little wink at the now well-known title gaff, like “Titles Are Hard,” "Badly Titled, or “100% Cougar Free.”

Still still not convinced? Consider the cast, which in addition to Courtney Cox includes Busy Phillips (Kim Kelly on “Freaks and Geeks”) and Christa Miller (Jordan on “Scrubs” and Kate on “The Drew Carey Show”). You’d probably recognize a lot of the rest of the cast too, and again- they’re all hilarious.

If you don't take my advice and at least try just one episode, consider the fact that you're missing out on the show that brought us the truth gun, penny can, "Slap out of it!", and the homage to a certain movie in this week's episode:

Boom. Roasted.