Strawberry Fields Forever

Thursday, March 31, 2011

L and I have two nieces and two nephews.  Our older niece turned 3 last Saturday.  We asked my sister-in-law what the birthday girl wanted and/or needed, and the answer was shoes.  Not being a mother myself, I didn't think to ask what kind of shoes or what season she needed, so I decided to send 2 pair: some sandals (my favorites) and some more casual slip-on tennies.  Check out the fun shoes:

How cute are those??  Yes, apparently I have a thing for strawberries.  Actually, if you're my parents, sister, or L, you already know this.  I could eat them all the time (and I do and I always have).  My favorite flavor of ice cream from Baskin Robbins and Braum's has always been strawberry.  I loved Strawberry Shortcake as a little tyke, and I had an awesome swimsuit as a wee child that was a giant strawberry.  It seemed fitting to pay the love forward by way of some shoes.

Speeding Up to Slow

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Once again, I've been a bad blogger.  This is due to many things: work has gotten REALLY busy, which totally negates my desire to get on the computer again once I'm finally home; we've had a house guest; general fatigue/exhaustion from life; and just a general need for a break from a lot of things.  But I'm back, and I have a new challenge for anyone who reads this: enjoy your life.  Stop getting caught up in what other people in your life are doing that you do or don't like, stop gossipping, and find something great to do with your own time instead.  Be someone trustworthy that your friends can count on not only in good times and in bad, but also someone who your friends can trust with secrets and private information.  Don't be the middle man passing information along; seriously- even if it seems harmless, stop and ask yourself if you should be the one sharing the information or story.  I say, get over your grudges or issues with other people and accept the choices they've made.  You don't have to like those choices, so realize that they weren't your choices to make and it doesn't matter if you like them or not.  I've challenged myself to these same things many times before (most recently about 2 weeks ago), and while I may not always get a gold star at everything on the list, I usually feel better about myself and happier in general when I'm consciously thinking about living my life this way.  That's always a good thing. 

Moving on to items of more interest.  So much to share, not enough pictures to go along with the stories.  It's really been almost a month since I last gave a real update on what L and I have been doing.  I'll see if I can adequately recap...

It's been a month of trying new things.  New recipes, new restaurants, new friends, new experiences.  We ended February by heading into the city to see the Mavs take on the Wizards.  L grew up as a Lakers fan, but 15-ish years of living in Texas converted him into a kind-of Mavs fan, and I'm definitely a Mavs fan.  So off we went!  We had great seats that were right at half-court and apparently there was a big group of Mavs fans somewhere behind us.  They were quite vocal.  We also had a die-hard Wizards fan sitting one row behind us and one seat to my left.  He was loud.  And angry that the Mavs fans were sitting so close to him and yelling in unison.  Any time the Mavs fans yelled, "Let's go Mavericks," the Wiz fan would stand up and scream, "Who shot J.R.?"  Yes, THAT was his awesome come-back: referencing a TV show that ended 25-ish years ago and specifically an episode that aired 30 years, 4 months, and 9 days ago.  (If you're wondering why I know the exact date, it's because the "Who shot J.R.?" episode aired the night I was born.)  Plus, it's not even really a burn.  J.R. Ewing was apparently not a nice man.  Here's the one pic I have of the game:

If you look at the jumbo-tron, that's a little kid dancing.  Of course, you can't tell he's dancing because photos don't capture movement like that very well, but rest assured that he was AWESOME.  He had some serious skills.

Hmmm... what else.  The following weekend, I had a girls' night with several high school friends at a fab little place in Del Ray called Evening Star Cafe.  If you ever find yourself in the Del Ray area of Alexandria around dinnertime, do yourself a favor and eat here if they have a table available.  Delicious.  It doesn't hurt that the owners also own a wine store that is next door to the cafe.  You can order a bottle from the store if the restaurant's list doesn't tickle your fancy.  We had a great evening away from our husbands.  This was actually the first time since we got married that I've had a girls' night on a weekend night and left L at home (he was at home having a heart attack due to watching Baylor/UT basketball).  It's not as weird as it sounds- with the amount he was traveling last all and spring (remember those months in NYC??) and the fact that we just don't have the plethora of friends here that we had in Austin and our general fondness for spending time together, it just hadn't happened.  Good thing we really do love each other and like each other's company.  But who knows- maybe this is the start of something new for us! 

So that's where I'll stop for now.  I'll promise I'll try to be better about posting (and making them funnier) in the next few weeks. 

I Wanna Feel the Car Crash

Monday, March 21, 2011

Okay, maybe that's a touch extreme.  But I did manage to do this today:

No other cars were damaged and no one was injured.  If you find yourself wondering how that happens, here's how:  you mistakenly wear your sunglasses into the gym and accidentally leave them on top of a weight machine.  When you're almost all the way home, you realize you don't have your sunglasses and turn around to go retrieve them.  When you get the gym, the parking lot will be a disaster, as usual, so you park in the awful underground lot with 5 spaces (seriously- there are really only 5 spaces in this lot.  I wish I was joking).  To get to the lot, you'll tell your car to suck it in as you drive down the driveway to the spots and curse the Altima that is in a bad illegal parking job on one side of the driveway (along with two other cars doing the same thing, although they are as far over to the side as possible).  Then you get your sunglasses without any problem, return to your car, and then do a million-point turn to try and back out of your spot (the 5 spaces don't have ample room to easily back out of them) and the realize that getting out of the driveway is going to be trickier than getting in was, all due to the Altima.  Proceeding slowly and cautiously, you inch down the driveway, keeping an eye on the Altima to your left.  And then you hear a thunk and crunch and scrape as your right side view mirror hits a cement pole barricade thing that guards nothing (okay really it guards the empty rear side of the emergency staircase) and then the passenger doors on the right side get scraped.  So then you put the car in reverse to prevent further damage, hop out to see if anything really happened, and then the furious anger sets in. 

And that's how you scrape up the side of your car.  Anyone have any recs for companies that do good body work here?  We're taking any and all referrals.  Luckily, L is not mad.  He can't be.  He did the same thing- except worse- in the first 2 weeks of our relationship.  He was very excited to come over to my house after SRGR's 26th birthday and decided he didn't want to wait on my very slow gate to close and reopen, so he tried to follow someone else in.  Note to all in Austin: the gates at The Estates on Quarry Lake do NOT rebound or have motion sensors.  And a note for everyone in general: cement pillars will damage your car.  They aren't kidding around with those things. 

All I can say is thank goodness for insurance and thank goodness for savings accounts.

Stray Cat Strut

Monday, March 14, 2011

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back after a 10-day absence!  Sorry about that.  Last week was a really long week for me, work-wise, and we also had a house guest that occupied our evenings. 

This little lady is Allie and she belongs to Mr. and Mrs. FBI.  Mr. FBI is working on a special assignment in another state for a while, so Mrs. FBI went to go visit him for several days.  Allie needed to be tended to, so I asked L if he would mind if we cat-sat for 5 days and to my complete and total surprise, he agreed without any coercing on my part.  Back story: although he grew up with several dogs throughout the course of his childhood, he is not an animal person.  He's one of those people that doesn't dislike animals/pets, but he would absolutely be 100% okay never having a pet of his own and if we weren't married, he wouldn't ever get one.  Luckily he already knows (and has known for a long time) we will get be pet people, just not yet.

Anyway, I picked up Allie on Tuesday night and she returned to her home on Sunday night.  She really is a sweet little kitty with a gentle yet perpetually curious personality.  L and I found that she LOVES closets (she spent a large amount of time going in and out of them and even learned out to open them when they were completely shut), hiding under the guest bed, sitting in windowsills (as seen in the first picture) and behind TVs, and that she is definitely a climber, as seen here:

If I was going to give her a cheesy motivational-speaker theme for her stay, I would call it Allie: Reaching New Heights.  Because yeah, that's her at the top of a closet.  Saturday morning, I found Allie in the top of the closet in our little office/den, which was shocking in that there was no logical way for her to get up there, but somehow she managed to do it not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES.  Let me tell you, when you're responsible for someone's pet and you can't find them anywhere even though you know it is in the house, and you start looking all over the place and calling her name to no avail, it makes you panic.  But luckily she does respond to her name and when I went to the closet floor for a second search and said her name, I heard a little meow from up high, and sure enough, there she was.  Getting her down was an issue all three times (she was all about splaying all 4 legs to try and grab onto the wall and the drawer she's pictured on top of, but luckily I'm bigger and stronger than her so it wasn't much of an issue) because she really liked it up there.  She actually tried to get down on her own once, but she shifted her weight and the drawer slid, which scared her, so I still had to come to the rescue.  I expected Allie to like the windows and the TVs made sense to me (due to the warmth they radiate), but the closet fetish and climbing were new to me.  I had a cat growing up that I loved, loved, LOVED and one thing she definitely didn't do was jump/climb on furniture.  I'd occasionally catch her on my desk from time to time or I'd wake up to find her trying to drink out of my water glass on my night stand on the rare occasions I'd have one there.  Also my mom kept fresh flower arrangements on the dining room table and for a short while during my junior high years, my cat went through a phase of getting up around 6 a.m. and pulling stems out of the arrangements and trying to bring them upstairs to me before school.  Mom and Dad would find flowers strewn all up and down the staircase and down the hallway to my room.  What can I say?  She loved me and wanted to bring me presents. :)  Anyway, back to Allie.  Since my cat wasn't into walking on furniture, it was a big change to host a little kitty who is very much into that sort of thing.  Kind of annoying, but what do you do?  She's a cat.  Our solution was to crate her at night and keep her out of the bedrooms and office during the day.  This did not prevent her from learning how to open the sliding door to one of the hall closets and curling up on top of the luggage, but no harm, no foul.

L had fun playing with Allie and her ribbon.  He'd never played with a cat before, or at least not like that.  Honestly, watching cats act nonchalant while keeping one eye on their prey and then pouncing is kind of hilarious.  Allie is much more like a bull fighter (it's basically a top speed run-by pounce instead of a tackle) when she plays with her ribbon.  Here's a pic of me playing with her and the ribbon:

L went so far as to say that he enjoyed her 900 times more than he thought he would, which is pretty impressive for anyone but especially him.  We both have commented that we kind of miss her already; it's funny how quickly you get used to having a little furry friend around.  Who knows, maybe we'll be expanding our family with some kind of pet sooner than we'd thought!  Time will tell.  We need time to figure out what kind of pet we'd get, anyway.  The one thing I didn't love about Allie (besides her high closet shelf fetish) is that she sheds (and yes, I realize pretty much all animals do), which I'm not used to.  But it's part of the deal.  A factor we keep in mind on a much lesser degree is that both of our moms are allergic to cats, as is my sister and plenty of our friends.  But you know what?  None of those people live here and so far, all of them have visited once and only my parents have made plans to come back for a second visit, so we're not totally ruling out the idea.  But until we're ready and we live in a place where whatever our chosen pet is welcome (our current house is only cat-friendly), we'll continue pet sitting for our friends here.

OH- important note: In addition to helping out our friends, we had a selfish motivation here, which was seeing if Allie could eliminate our little rodent problem or at least figure out where they were coming in from. Allie recently made a name for herself as a huntress while staying at her aunt and uncle's house (we're told there was quite a bloodbath involving 2 mice... shudder), but luckily she did not find any mice to slay during her stay here.  It seems that whatever was under our bed ate the entire box of poison bait in the attic and left the house to find water/die.  Hooray!  Hopefully that's the end of that.  And now I'm too grossed out to say anything more.  Sick.  But hooray for sweet kitties!

These words are my own, from my heart

Friday, March 4, 2011

1.   The phrase or punctuation I overuse most is      not a phrase, but a word, and the word is LIKE.  This totally annoys me.  I'm sure there are other ones, but I can' t think of them right now.

2.  Today I am thankful for    Fridays!!  I'm so glad it's the end of this week.  It's been a looooooong week, especially yesterday.

3.  My best friend is   L, but since he's the husband, that's a given.  My sister and Champagne and Sprinkles are the two people I talk all the time, followed closely by Nolly and HSG.

4.  A quirky thing about me is     that I've never eaten at Chick-Fil-A and don't have plans to try it.

5.  This weekend I     am volunteering Saturday morning and playing with some high school friends Saturday night.

6.  Something that worries me is       something that is totally out of my control, but I think about it almost daily.  I won't be sharing what it is here because it's not for public discussion or really discussion of any kind.  But I pray about it all the time. 

7.  On my night stand you would find      a lamp, 3 books (Gone With the Wind, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and a Harlan Coben book I can' t think of the name of), and a big 8x10" frame with L's school picture from kindergarten matted in it because it's just so hilarious.

My world is aflood. Slowly I become one with the mud.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Subtitle: I know you like to think your sink don't stank, but lean a little bit closer.  See?  Cracked pipes really smell like poo poo poo.

Okay so that title might be a bit extreme.  (Also, those are bad lyrics when taken out of context.  They definitely don't hold up 15-ish years later.)  But we really are experiencing unwanted water problems with our house.  One of the pipes leading to (or from??  Who knows) decided to up and not cooperate Wednesday night.  I was cooking away and L came in and asked why there was water on the floor.  It's not uncommon of me to spill things while cooking, so I just assumed I'd spilled a little water... until I turned around and saw the giant puddle continuing to form.  A little detective work revealed nothing wrong under the sink but an attempt to soak up the water with paper towels told us that the water was coming from underneath our ever-so-chic linoleum flooring, and let me tell you, that is exactly what we were hoping for.  Except not really.  We have a gross basement that serves as a non-climate-controlled storage room.  It's kind of gross and creepy.  It's directly under our kitchen and dining room and only accessible from the backyard.  L trekked down there and resurfaced reporting that there was water all over the place and that it wreaked of mold and mildew.  Awesome!!  Who doesn't want to deal with potentially rotten sub-flooring in their kitchen?  It's not like you use that room very often.  Totally one you can work around while the floor is fixed. 

This all means that today, he worked from home so that the plumber and salvage company (no lie- the company has "Disaster Relief" in the title, which is probably applicable in some cases but way over the top for ours) could come check out the situation.  When I called L on the way home from work, the salvage guy had ripped out the insulation in the basement and plywood (no idea where that came from- perhaps the ceiling in the basement?) and both companies made promises to return tomorrow to fix everything, so that was good.  However, what you don't want to do is walk through your front door and be slapped across the nose with the pungent odor of what I can only describe as a cross between stinky cheese and rotten eggs.  I have absolutely no idea what it is in this equation that is resulting in that smell filling our home in such an overpowering way, but it is GRODY. JODY.  So obviously that's when I started serenading L with my own little version of Outkast's "Roses" (see subtitle).  L was smart enough to open the windows in the kitchen, turn on a fan in there, and close the door, so the smell is a little less prolific now, so thank goodness for that. 

Our landlord has always loved us for some reason, and while L and I both agree that we are quite likeable and that there is lots to love about us, she always seemed a touch overzealous.  Now we think we get it... not only do we take care of the home and act quickly on any problems that arise, but we're also patient with them and we have yet to move out (despite the fact that we've had to have plumbers come out twice for the kitchen sink getting clogged, once for the tub not draining while one of my BFFs was in town visiting- hooray for one bathroom!!, a leak in the roof in our little den/office, and our unwanted pet mice).  Yes, we just might be crazy.  Truth be told, I started looking at new places last Friday after the midnight mouse incident, but L really loves the house.  Plus, moving sucks.  But the house is also old and so it's not a surprise that it has problems.  Our landlord very kindly insisted that we go out to dinner tonight on her and for us to stay in a hotel if it was too uncomfortable to stay in the house what with the sink being out of order and the odor.  We are lucky to have a nice landlord!  We took her up on dinner but we're hanging in there at the house tonight.  We wouldn't want the still-on-the-lam mouse to be lonely!

Anyway, that's been the gross excitement of THIS week.  Hopefully this will be it for a while.  I promise that if anyone comes to visit, the stink and pets will be resolved and you won't know the difference once you are here.

Now for something fun.  I decided to peruse letterpress on Etsy in an effort to find something to hang over our bed.  I didn't find anything suitable yet, but here are two pieces that I like and that also go with our unintentionally patriotic-color-schemed bedroom:

I love light blue and red together.  We have both in our bedroom.  However, despite the fact that we both love music and I think this is a fun picture, it seems a little random for the bedroom.  But I do love it.

How is a born and raised Texas girl not supposed to love this??  And this actually would match our bedroom really well.  But we already have our Texas artwork for the house:

So this would be redundant.  And again, random for a bedroom.  No dice.  My search continues.  If anyone has any suggestions for fun artwork, send them my way!
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