I'll be watching you

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm drowning in new episodes of Fall TV shows.  I'm not used to having new episodes of my regular favorites on and there were several new shows I wanted to check out.  I love a good teen drama so you know I am game for trying out pretty much any new CW series, plus there's also NBC's and ABC's attempts to create their own versions of Mad Men, and of course I was going to check out that new show with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett because HELLO- that should be hilarious because they are hilarious. 

My sister and I just had a conversation tonight about what we're liking so far and what we're not vibing.  Definitely mixed reviews so far.  We both like Pan Am and Up All Night and we both think The Playboy Club needs some work and that we probably won't keep it on our schedules much longer. Is anyone else out there watching The Chew?  I was intrigued by the idea and decided to try out a few episodes in the hopes that I might like it- I loved Carla on both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.  I also like Michael Symon most of the time (L and I always wish he'd pick more places outside the greater Cleveland area on The Best Thing I Ever Ate). 

I've watched the first three episodes and it's just... not what I was expecting.  The whole thing seems too fast- like they don't know how to stay on pace for the allotted time for each segment.  It's also a little groan-inducing from time to time, which is sad- I shouldn't be groaning and rolling my eyes enough times in three episodes to notice.  The focus is a little too much on inexpensive cooking, which I can certainly appreciate, but sometimes, I want to be wowed with a recipe.  I wish they'd do a little of both.  And Clinton... wow.  I've never been a fan of What Not to Wear so I wasn't really familiar with him.  I'll simply say that I think he has a little too much personality for me.  He's definitely got a voice that carries.  But really, the whole cast seems a little too feel-goody for me.  I just want them to be normal.  And I want Daphne to stop with the psyllium husks.  Carla took a bite of yogurt with the psyllium husks mixed in and based on the face she made, it must not have been the best tasting yogurt ever.  I was hoping for more of a focus on sustainable and organic foods; so far, this hasn't been much of a discussion point. 

Maybe the show needs more time to find its feet.  Right now I'm underwhelmed so I think it's going to be my first casualty.  Oh well, something had to go!  I need to spend more time working out than sitting in front of the TV, so it was a given for me that not everything would last.  Anyone have any differing opinion?

Just the way you look tonight

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Totally getting my hair cut tomorrow and I'm ready for a change.  I'm kind of thinking maybe something like this:

I'm taking this in as my inspiration but who knows what I'll come out with.  I'm just tired of the length (my hair is currently about 3-4 inches longer than Reese's hair in the pic above).  I haven't significantly cut my hair since before I got married, so I'm thinking maybe it's time to kiss a few inches goodbye.

While we're chatting beauty, I've been on a kick in the last few weeks of changing up my make up and beauty regiment.  Sephora has become a new go-to place again for samples.  I'm not totally sure what kind of products I'm looking for or why; I just know I'm having fun experimenting.  I'm sure it would help if I would suck it up and get my very first facial, but I just haven't done it yet.  It's hard to justify a random, self-indulgent expense like that sometimes.  Plus, I'm afraid that if I do it once, I'll want to do it all the time, which doesn't go well with trying to save money for other big stuff.  So instead, I'm biding my time and playing with Sephora samples!  I'm thoroughly enjoying the Urban Decay eye primer that I got a couple of weeks ago - that stuff is amazing.  Jury's still out on the masks I'm trying out (Boscia Black Mask and Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, which I currently have foaming on my face).  I think I like both, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready to run right out and buy them.  I need to decide if I'm going to really use them if I buy them.  It's just not part of my regular routine yet.

What I have decided FOR CERTAIN, though, is that the next time I get my make up done professionally just for fun, I'm sticking with a counter whose products I know.  Long story short, I went to an event recently that was held in the cosmetics department at Neiman's and all attendees were able to get their hair and make-up done.  I managed to get stuck talking to someone I didn't click with for the entire evening and to escape this person, I hopped in the nearest open chair and let the make-up artist go to work.  Eyes ended up fine, lips ended up like this:

Excuse the how shiny I am (it was pouring down rain outside) and the blurriness.  And the snarl I can see I'm trying to hide.  I'm realizing now that this picture doesn't quite do justice to how orange/coral it looked in person, but it's an idea of what I came out looking like.  No idea what that make-up artist was thinking when she put that color on me (hello - totally fair skinned with blue and red undertones here.  So obvi.).  And that was the SECOND one.  I took one look at myself in the first color and told her no no no no no.  This was slightly better.  I only left it on so that I could shock L when I got home.  He was sweet and simply said I looked very different.  Glad to know he's looking out for me.

Reading Rainbow

I just had such a great and exhausting weekend, like the kind that's so packed full of stuff that you need a day off to recover from it.  It's not going to sound nearly as full in my retelling, but it felt non-stop to me.

L and I stayed in on Friday and layed low.  I knew I had to be up at 7:20 on Saturday morning because I was volunteering at the National Book Festival via JLW.  Apparently at some point on Friday night, L mentioned that he had to go in to work on Saturday morning.  I have no recollection of this.  This is just the latest in a series of events where he tells me something when I am completely awake and having a conversation with him and I end up with absolutely no memory of that entire part of the discussion. We are currently in an ongoing debate about whether I am becoming incredibly forgetful (which seems unlikely from my vantage point because have you met me?  I have a memory that tends to stun some people) or if he's having a one-sided conversation in his head.  So far, neither of us is budging on our stances.  This could all be a horridly clever joke in which L makes me believe over a span of several years that I am beginning to lose my mind at the mild age of 30.  Except that is so mean and unkind.  I'm all for jokes and cleverness and building to a punchline, but this would be excessive.  Thoughts?  Anyone out there know that maybe I really am only amazing at remembering some things and horribly forgetful with others?  Seriously, I'd like to know.  Right now I'm hearing crickets from the lack of responses. (Seriously, as I type this, the neighborhood crickets are gathering on my front porch and chirping away.  Apparently it's high cricket mating season in these parts.)

BACK TO THE POINT.  So yeah, I was up and at it at the early out of 7:20 on Saturday morning.  I debated about whether to shower, so as to be so fresh and so clean, clean, but then I did a quick weather check and opened the front door and realized that 100% humidity = not awesome for the hair, even if it was going to be under a JL hat.  Also, I'm smart enough to know that this situation would only create an extreme hat hair sitch that would require a post-volunteering shower, so instead I just dolled myself up as best as possible, threw on my NBF staff t-shirt and sassiest khaki pants (is there such a thing?), and off I went to the Metro.  I'm thrilled to say I definitely saw a girl in the midst of a ride of shame.  So far, the one great thing about having to get up early on weekends for JL activities is that EVERY TIME, I've seen someone shame riding home on the Metro.  Hilarious.  The juxtaposition of all the volunteers in our staff shirts and all the families with their small children heading off to a wholesome family event and this lovely young lady with her hair pulled back in a messy pony tail and wearing a black, lacy dress with a man's jacket of sorts over it just makes onlookers bite their lips in an attempt to not smile/laugh at the poor girl.  Yes, I was one of the onlookers.  I wanted to take a pic but I just couldn't do it.  Going home at 8:30 a.m. wearing a dress from the night before with a dude's long-sleeved shirt/jacket and messy hair and make up while you sit next to families who are just starting their days has to be mortifying.

I was excited for the National Book Festival because I missed it last year.  (If you have to miss an event you really want to go to, I highly recommend going with 3 of your closest friends to Las Vegas.  Totally worth it.)  A little background info for you: NBF was started by Laura Bush during #43's first year in office.  She also started the Texas Book Festival and NBF is based off the success of TBF.  Having never attended TBF or NBF before, I had no idea what to expect, but based on the info shared in our volunteer training last Wednesday night, I knew it was going to be a pretty sizable event.  It's held on the Mall and spans seven blocks.

I rolled in on Saturday and checked in and went to my assigned tent, the Pavilion of States.  Each state and territory sent representatives to the festival to promote literacy and reading.  Because I had the first shift of the day, I was able to choose which state's table I wanted to work at.  I chose Texas. Obvi.  The Texas table:

Sorry you can't actually see the table.  We were very popular because we were giving out a lot of free stuff, and people freak out about free stuff.  To the parents who wanted the bulk packages of bookmarks (100 in each package): what exactly does your one seven-year-old need 100 identical bookmarks for?  Those are going to get thrown in the trash.  Stop being quite so greedy and just take a handful of the single ones and let the teachers and librarians take the bulk packages.  Seriously.  Because one or two bookmarks might be cool to your child or nephew or grandchild.  One hundred of the exact same one over and over again is overwhelming and boring.  Our nextdoor neighbor was Guam.  They were pretty cool. 

I spent the morning passing out bookmarks, posters, maps, brochures, encouraging teachers and librarians (of which there were hundreds) to enter a drawing for children's books, and stamping maps for kids as part of a game sponsored by the festival where each participant got a blank map of all the states and territories and was supposed to visit each state/territory's table and receive a stamp or sticker in the state's shape on the map.  Once the map was filled in, the child received some sort of prize.  No idea what it was, but it was fun stamping the maps.  We had 3 Texas stamps: a mockingbird, a bluebonnet, and I can't remember what the other one was because we misplaced it.  Or someone stole it off the table.  Either one.  Honestly it's a toss up.  Anyway, for you Texans out there, you might notice a theme with the two stamps I can remember: state symbols (mockingbird = Texas state bird, bluebonnet = Texas state flower).  I opted to use the mockingbird stamp because it was bigger, the ink was darker, and it was just more fun.  What I learned from this is that most people are idiots when it comes to birds.  These same people think they are brilliant.  99% of the people whose maps I stamped thought it was a roadrunner.  I found this annoying.  New Mexico's bird is the roadrunner.  Yes, we have roadrunners in Texas.  We also have a gazillion other species.  It doesn't mean the stamp is a roadrunner.  That would be so random.  I may or may not have almost gotten in an argument with a lady about this.  I don't even know why she was getting the map stamped in the first place; it was an activity for children.  Regardless, this otherwise nice-looking lady insisted I was incorrect, despite my explanation that I was from Texas; the state bird is a mockingbird; mockingbirds have feet, just like roadrunners (the bird on the stamp was standing, not in flight); and that the stamps were symbols of Texas.  We seriously went back and forth for a full minute, which was a long time given the number of people that visited our table.  Most people stayed for 20 seconds or less.  FYI, this is a roadrunner:

And this is a mockingbird:

via Flickr

I suppose it's the long tails, feathers, beaks, heads, and dual feet and wings that got her.  We eventually agreed to disagree.  That was my doing.  It was time for her to move on and be an expert about some other unlucky state or territory's stamps or stickers. 

A word to the wise: do not argue with me about a state stamp.  Particularly if it's a state where I lived for 28 years and you have only visited, even if your dad did own an RV that he took to Big Bend and named "The Roadrunner."  (And if you're going to be such an expert on Texas, "that area by the river... you know, the Rio Grande" is called Big Bend.) I will not back down. I will not be mean or rude, but I will refuse to let you win.  Because you will be wrong.  Very, very wrong.  IT'S. A. MOCKINGBIRD!  After that lady left, my annoyance with every parent saying, "Oh, it's a roadrunner!" when their child proudly showed their giant Texas stamp to them only grew.  Obviously the only response to this was to beat them to the punch.  For the remaining 3 1/2 hours of my 4-hour shift, I would stamp each map and loudly say something to the effect of, "There's a MOCKINGBIRD for you!!"  It worked about 70% of the time after that.  I effectively got a child who was about 4 to correct his parents when they told him it was a roadrunner.  That was satisfying. 

You might be wondering at this point if I actually enjoyed myself or if I was just angry and contradicting patrons the entire time.  I actually had a fantastic time and met a lot of fun people.  I'm pretty sure I'll never see any of them again, but nevertheless, it was fun.  I was exhausted by the time my shift was over, though.  It's funny how just being on your feet and being "on" and bending down to talk to children will just take all your energy right out of you.  It's also un-funny how those same things will make your hamstrings tighten way up later in the day. 

If you're wondering what the big draw of the festival was, it was everything.  There were 105 authors present and all participated in book signings and readings/presentations.  Among them were Toni Morrison, Julianne Moore (yes, the actress; she has 3 children's books under her belt), Amy Chua, Tomie dePaola, Garrison Keilor, and Dave Eggers, along with all kinds of characters from kids' books, e.g., the Magic School Bus: 

I didn't see any of the aforementioned authors, to my dismay, but there were TONS of people at the festival.  This was the line to buy books at the merch tent:

You can't really tell, but there's about 6 lines of roping that stretched most of the width of an incredibly wide tent.  Insanity.

Honestly, I actually didn't know which authors were going to be there until the training session on Wednesday night and even then, I realized I was only familiar with a small handful of them.  However, I was super excited to see the name of Joe Hayes on the list.  Joe Hayes is somewhat of a legend in my family.  I have no idea how my dad found him (and rest assured it was absolutely, 100% my dad that discovered him), but we spent many an hour with Joe Hayes's stories.  If you don't know Joe Hayes (and I'd be shocked if you did), he's a children's author and storyteller.  And he's fantastic.  Mr. Hayes is from New Mexico and tells "bilingual" stories (in quotes because he interjects a line or word here and there in Spanish and immediately interprets it) about the Southwest, Hispanic, and Native American heritages and folklore.  The stories are very clever and some have a fable aspect to them in that they may have a moral to them.  My family saw him live at least twice when I was a kid and we stocked up on cassette tapes at each performance. (Is it a performance if it's a storyteller?  I have no idea.  Just go with it.)  Joe Hayes (along with Garrison Keilor and his A Prairie Home Companion) then became the entertainment of choice on family road trips.  You can imagine my delight when, upon reviewing the list of authors and seeing that both Mr. Hayes AND Mr. Keilor would be attending, I realized the sub-theme of the 2011 NBF was A Road Trip with TeamLC's Family: 1983-1988.  I went back to the festival on Sunday specifically to see Mr. Hayes and I'm so glad I did. 

In an ironic twist for me, he presented at the same time as good ol' Garrison Keilor.  Since he doesn't seem to have quite the national fame that GK holds, the crowd in the children's tent* was much more intimate.  I liked it that way.  Mr. Hayes told 3 stories and each was as entertaining as I remembered them being.  Made me feel 5-ish again.  His voice still sounds exactly the same and he still does the same funny voices.  I kind of geeked out about the whole thing.  At the end of his performance, he invited all the children to come up and shake his hand.  I hung back and waited for the kids to do their thing and then I went up and introduced myself and told him I grew up listening to his stories and that I was excited to see him again, etc.  He was so cute and nice and he hugged me and thanked me for coming.  I kind of wish I'd gotten a picture with him, but I'm okay with a handshake, a hug, 3 stories, and the pics I posted here.

If you want to check out one of his stories, watch him here:


Other weekend activities of note: watching the A&M and Baylor games.  We met the FBIs at Rhodeside for the A&M game which could only be summed up as disappointing.  Because Rhodeside hosts the official watch parties for UT, they get all Fox Sports channels and therefore they had the Baylor game showing once the A&M game concluded.  We stayed until halftime and then L decided a change of venue was a necessity because Baylor managed to blow a small portion of their massive lead over Rice, so off we went to Crystal City Sports Pub to meet up with the official Baylor watch party crew.  (In case you're wondering, L's friend date guy was there.  Things are going well and he seems nice, although he did try and trash talk A&M again.**  But I was nice and gave him back his very dirty Snuggie Sutra book.)

Off topic: a game Champagne and Sprinkles and I frequently play is, "Guess what horrible name I just stumbled across."  Basically, we text, email, or gchat each other any time we encounter an unfortunate name.  A name is considered unfortunate when the spelling is intentionally messed up or when the name is just ridiculous, and it can be ridiculous for countless reasons.  Tonight's find, courtesy of the credits of Gossip Girl's season opener: Zuzanna.  People, please don't punish your children by making up a weird name to make yourself appear unique.  You know Zuzanna has lived a lifetime of saying, "Hi, I'm Zuzanna.... Like Susanna, but with a Z."  Don't make your child clarify spelling for life, and if you must, at least keep it simple, like Sarah versus Sara (I still prefer the h - all the best Sarahs in my life have the h).

*Side note: yes, this was in the children's tent and it was attended mostly by families.  I felt slightly creepy about being the one random adult there by herself, because I totes rolled solo to this event. (L had plans to go see Wilco with a friend.) 

**For as much as people want to say all Aggies can focus on is screwing Texas by leaving the Big 12 instead of on the fact that we're having a good season, I have to say I see the same thing from many Baylor grads.  They focus on the fact that A&M lost their game instead of on the fact that Baylor pulled out another win.  CAN'T WE ALL JUST BE EXCITED FOR OUR TEAMS TO BE WINNING AND THAT WE'RE HIGHLY RANKED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS?? 

Driving slow on Sunday morning... and I never want to leave

Monday, September 19, 2011

In light of the fact that the Saturday morning date didn't pan out, L made pancakes for breakfast on Sunday.  We'd talked about making breakfast together, but he charged ahead without me and put it all together himself.  I do have to say that one of the things I love about L is when he surprises me and does something sweet. 

In this case, I was happily getting dressed for the day and suddenly L was calling me into the kitchen for coffee, pancakes, and bacon waiting for me.  This was my plate:

Yes, that's a smiley face.  He made me a smiley face pancake with the blackberries we had in the fridge.  He knows my favorite is blueberry pancakes*, but when you don't have blueberries, you just gotta make do with whatever's on hand (fyi: blackberries work well.  Good balance of sweetness in the pancake and tartness in the berries).  I immediately started laughing because how can you not laugh or at least smile when you look at your plate and see a smiley face staring up at you?  (Plus, I'm a sucker for the cuteness.)  L's explanation for the smiley face (aside from the fact that he knew I would like it): he's practicing for whenever we have kids.  Because he wants to be the kind of dad that makes pancakes for our family on the weekends.  And if our kids want a face on their pancakes, he wants to know how to make awesome faces with various kinds of fruit.

I am very lucky to have L.  He's a good man and a really good husband.  I love that he does sweet things for me when I don't expect it and I love that he has a long-term vision for us and our life together.  He will be a good dad some day.  I hope everyone is this lucky.

*Of course the best blueberry pancakes can only be had at Uncle Vernon's Kitchen** at Camp Fern, but I'll take whatever I can get. 

**Uncle Vernon's Kitchen is not an actual kitchen.  Anymore.  I think there was an actual kitchen like 60-ish years ago, but it burned down or something.  Now UVK is an open fire with a griddle over it.  You smell horrible after it, but the pancakes cannot be topped.

Baby, We've Got a Date

Sunday, September 18, 2011

L texted me on Friday and asked if he could take me on a little Saturday morning date.  I thought this was extra cute and of course said yes.  Things didn't exactly go as planned because our morning got off to a weird and consequently late start.  We will be rescheduling his original morning date plan for the first weekend that we're both here with nothing going on, which, sadly, will be in four weeks.  But oh well!  Lots of fun stuff is going on between now and then. 

Instead of doing what L had intended, we ended up just heading to a diner around the corner from our house and having a late breakfast.  While we were eating, a woman in the booth caddy corner to ours caught my eye.  The only way I can describe her is that she looked like she was a walking combo of a J. Crew catalogue and an Anthro employee, except not in a good way.  There was just a lot going on and once I noticed her, I couldn't unsee her.  This is our lovely dining neighbor:

What you can see in this picture: striped  sweater; huge, multi-strand sweater; leopard scarf; and you can kind of see her over-the-knee boots.  What you can't really see: the large-scale plaid button down under her sweater and two very large rings on her right hand (one was a green stone the size of a silver dollar; the other was indiscernible but kind of gold looking and large and round, like a golf ball but probably a little smaller).  I'm all for accessorizing and combining fun items in unconventional ways, but this was a bit much for before noon on a Saturday.  Also, we did  have a cold snap come through that prompted me to turn on the heater Friday afternoon (it was in the 40s Friday morning and I think the high was in the 60s), but it wasn't cold enough to warrant layers (one of which was a sweater) or boots.  If we break out the boots and sweaters now, it's going to be a long winter, people!  Seriously, just leave them in the closet for a few more weeks.

Sunday was my company's employee appreciation day and we (by "we", I mean my employer) rented out a theme park.  L and I slept in and headed to the event mid-afternoon.  I haven't been the driver on a road trip in years and it was fun to have a little bit of that kind of experience again.  I also haven't done the private-party-at-a-theme-park since I was a kid, so that was nice.  The adoption agency I came from used to (and maybe still does?) rent out Six Flags Over Texas for a day as a fundraiser.  It's so nice because even though there were still a TON of people there for my work thing (my company is seriously sizable), the lines were all pretty short.  We didn't have time to hit up all the roller coasters, but we did the majority of them before deciding to head home.  We figured this gives us something to look forward to for the next time we go.

We had quite a few laughs on Sunday, although only one was able to be caught on film.  While sitting in traffic on the way to the amusement park, we passed this truck:

It's hard to tell, but that's a keg decorated to look like R2D2 in the truck bed.  L saw somewhere on it that it was called Beer2D2.  It's every nerdy beer-drinker's dream.  Seriously though - why is there even a market for something like that?  Do you really need to dress your keg up as a sci-fi character?  It doesn't change the beer's flavor.  Anyway, we got a giggle out of it.  Our other laughs weren't caught on film, but we had a good time.  I will point out that after riding approximately 5 wooden roller coasters over the last 3 months, I can't imagine that it's good to ride those if you are trying to start a family.  Okay, I'm kidding.  Kind of.  There were lots of yelps on each one from both me and L.  They just rattle you around so much and I'd be lying if I said someone didn't get... um... junked a time or two.  And ladies, be sure to wear a supportive bra.  Wow.

And now, on with the week.  Ugh.  Weekends are not nearly long enough.

Teenage Dream

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I stumbled upon an amazing find on Labor Day: a marathon of one of my favorite '90s TV shows, circa 8th or 9th grade: My So-Called Life. 

Yes, for all you MSCL lovers out there, it still lives on in reruns!  I immediately alerted Nolly to my find as soon as I stumbled upon it and she immediately tuned in.  In case you're wondering, my 14-year old self freaking LOVED this show.  There was something about Angela Chase that I totally related to. Also I totally was in love with Jordan Catalano.

I might still be (don't tell L).  Except only the '90s version of JL; the 2011 version wears too much eyeliner and that makes him too emo for my tastes.

I need a man that I don't share beauty products with. (Enter L.)  While I was searching for pics of Jared Leto/Jordan Catalano, I also found this:

Apparently I'm not alone with my '90s teenage crush.  (In case you need this in your closet, buy the shirt here.)  What can I say, I chose my heart throbs well.  In case you're wondering who else made my list around that time, this would be the next one that immediately came to mind:

Apparently I dug all the boys Claire Danes got to make out with around that time.  That is a little weird.  Also, if you know me, you know that mid-'90s DiCaprio there is so not my type anymore (yes, I have a pretty definite type when it comes to what I find attractive.  I could post pics of all the boys that I have pics of that I've been on dates with or dated in the last 10 years, but I won't.  Just trust me when I tell you that it's kind of funny).  At least JL and LD are better than who my sister had hanging on her walls (she may or may not have carried a picture of Sebastian Bach in her wallet for like 3-ish years, although to be fair, I think that was between like 7th and 9th grades.  Oh and if you don't know who Sebastian Bach is, look him up on Google for a visual.  I'm sure there are pictures since he was the lead singer of a prominent late '80s hair band.).

Apparently the marathon was not random; MSCL reruns are on Sundance Channel on Monday nights at like 10 Eastern or something.  If you're feeling nostalgic for shapeless baby doll dresses, lots of plaid, and the grunge look, go set your DVR.  Why did we all wear clothes like that??  And what was with wearing button-up shirts with every single button buttoned??  Horrid.  Although I'm sure I'll be thinking the same thing in 10-ish years about what I wear now.

American Pie

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's been another nice weekend here.  After a week of nothing but exhausting, seemingly endless, torrential rain (seriously - 5 full days of non-stop rain; Texas, I wish I could have bottled it all up and sent it to you), we finally got a break and saw some sunshine on Saturday.

After finishing our morning workouts, Mrs. FBI and I decided to head to Georgetown for a little shopping before heading down to the Newseum, which was allowing free admission all weekend in remembrance of 9/11. 

Neither of us had ever been to the Newseum so we were looking forward to it.  We only made it through 3 1/2 exhibits- none of which was the special 9/11 one- before it closed for the day.  We both really enjoyed the exhibits that we did see, though.  I'd actually planned to go back on Sunday with L, but he was uneasy about the idea of being in DC on 9/11 and after accidentally watching MSNBC's re-broadcast of the real-time footage from 9/11/2001, I decided to scrap those plans and just pay to check it out some other time in the future. 

L spent Saturday at our house watching football and smoking a brisket with The Marine.  I got home a little after 6:00 and got to work creating our dessert for the evening, a hatch chili apple cobbler.  I picked this as a nod to fall, a nod to our amazing country on this weekend of remembrance, and because I recently procured some hatch chilies and was dying to use them.  It was perfect timing that I happened to find the recipe for this dessert. 

Side note: I was shocked to find hatch chilies at my local Harris Teeter a couple of weeks ago.  I really figured that would just be something I'd enjoy on visits to Texas (and New Mexico, since that's where they're grown, but I almost never go there, so really I figured I'd only be eating these in Texas, courtesy of Central Market). 

My lovely hatches, after a few days of ripening:

I found a recipe via Homesick Texan for my aforementioned cobbler.  The end result:

I used 2 green chilies (one really big, the other pretty small) in order to control the spiciness.  The Marine doesn't adore spicy food (he's from Illinois; it can't be helped) and L is sometimes sensitive to spices, so it just seemed logical to start small and know to add more or not for future recipes.  What we ended up with is a yummy pie-type cobbler (it seems more like a pie to me than a cobbler since the crust is on the bottom) that has a subtle, slow, spicy burn at the end of each bite that hits you right at the back of your tongue.  Totally a perfect pairing with the sweetness of the fruit and crust!  Hooray for sweet and savory.  It's especially tasty when paired with salted caramel ice cream, which we happened to find at Safeway (note to Nolly and Neredith: this ice cream is not nearly as good as the salted caramel ice cream Nolly and I had for dessert at August, but did we really expect it to be?  It's totally different, but still good).  If you're looking for it, it's the house label.  So in Texas, I guess it might be Randall's or Tom Thumb brands but I can't remember if they change they labels there to match the store names.  ANYWAY, it was really good!  It takes a little time to roast the chilies and peel and dice everything, but once you do that, it's super quick to put together.  If you have access to hatches, I highly recommend giving this a shot.  It's perfect for a fall dessert.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

As I mentioned earlier in the week, L and I went to a Big 12 Kickoff event two weekends ago with a fellow Aggie friend of mine and her boyfriend. We ended up sitting at a random Baylor table because the A&M table was already at capacity (in case you’re wondering, A&M definitely had the highest turnout) and also because it was a table for four and no one was sitting there. It worked out nicely since there were four of us and we could say we were legit because we had L with us. ANYWAY. The whole point of the event was to get excited about football season and for the groups from each school to sing their fight song or school song (mortifying, btw*). My friends and I were using it as an excuse for something to do and to possibly find out if there are other friends up here that we weren’t already aware of.

I’ve also mentioned several times on here that I’ve been on quite a few friend dates since moving up here. L, on the other hand, does not friend date on his own, or at least he hasn’t thus far. There’s a small possibility that he may have gone on a few FDs prior to me moving up here, but I feel like I’d remember them. Maybe not, though. So getting back to the point. Lots of Baylor people stopped by to introduce themselves since we were at one of their tables and of course they all focused in on L when they realized he was the only BU grad with us. Although he probably wouldn’t admit it, he seemed a little… um… energized? to meet some new Baylor enthusiasts once we were there. One guy came over later in the evening and told L he recognized him but couldn’t place him. They talked for a while and realized they have a lot of mutual friends. Imagine my surprise when I turned around later on and found them exchanging cards and what sounded like plans for the following weekend to watch the first football game together at the same bar.  I was quite surprised because L definitely went into the evening very begrudgingly and very much like, "I'm doing this with you because I know want to do it."  When I heard L making plans with the new guy (who shall hence forth be referred to as Mr. Snuggie), I was determined to see them through.

Fast forward a few days and L started feeling the tingles of excitement that the first weekend of college football bring each year.  I knew the Baylor game was to be held on Friday night so I started asking L what he wanted to do and where he wanted to watch it.  He was a little cagey about it and wouldn't commit... but I gently persisted and asked him if he was going to call Mr. Snuggie.  I was informed that L might need to have a private viewing of the game since he didn't know what to expect from his team (he's very emotional when he watches his Bears; the highs are very high and the lows are very low) and he didn't want to scare people if things went poorly.  And then I got some news on Thursday night!  An excerpt from a gchat conversation with Champagne and Sprinkles:

me: okay something funny

that is kind of a big deal

is that one of the baylor guys L met last week emailed L to see if he wants to meet up and watch the game tonight

they exchanged cards last week

L was being all like "meh" about it last night

and i was like, "NO, WE ARE GOING!"

that guy is not good at friend dating

Champagne & Sprinkles: hahaha

me: ("that guy" is L)

and this is totally a friend date
THAT'S RIGHT, L was totally asked out on a friend ate!  And by someone so normal!  I was excited.  I want L to have more guy friends here and it's always nice when you get asked on the friend date and don't have to do the asking.  Obviously we went and watched the game with Mr. Snuggie.  I had to put up with A LOT of trash talk about A&M (the majority of which came from Mr. Snuggie... who mistakenly thought I went to UT... and didn't realize his mistake until well into the 3rd quarter because someone was extra classy and held her tongue and close-mouth smiled through all the insults), which was so lame and annoying.  Especially since Mr. Snuggie is from California.  It's not like his whole family went to various other Texas schools and therefore he grew up with lots of animosity or rivalry towards A&M.  His is all built up from his time at Baylor.  Ridic?  I think so!  I thoroughly enjoyed the backpedalling that occurred when it finally came out that I went to A&M.  Hilarious!  I mean, if you're going to talk trash, have some conviction about it and stand behind what you're saying.  Don't change your tune just because you find out someone in your presence is part of what you're talking trash about! 
Anyway.  If you're wondering why the new guy is called Mr. Snuggie, it's because a female friend of his showed up halfway through the second quarter and brought a gift for him.  What was it?
Yeah, that's a book entitled The Snuggie Sutra.  And those are cartoon characters in snuggies sharing intimate moments together on the cover.  I have no idea why Mr. Snuggie's friend gave this to him.  They are definitely platonic friends.  I didn't probe too much about what led to this gift.  If you're wondering what the content is like, this is the introduction:
At this point, I've likely lost you because you're probably either frantically searching for where you can buy this book (I'm guessing Urban Outfitters, although that is literally just a guess) or actually grabbing your keys and getting in your car because you're so excited to get a copy for yourselves.  I know, it's that good, right?
We actually ended up bringing The Snuggie Sutra home because Mr. Snuggie accidentally left it at the bar.  And for those of you with the dirty minds wondering if we've been getting it on snuggie-style, get your heads out of the gutter.  We have not read up on any tips for how to incorporate a snuggie into our most private of moments because, much to my chagrin, I do not have a snuggie.  Footed pajamas?  Yes.  Blankets galore? You bet.  But no snuggie (mostly b/c of the plethora of throw blankets/afghans). 

*Do you find yourself wondering why on earth it would be embarrassing to sing your school’s fight song? Imagine standing up (begrudgingly) and realizing some dude is going to pretend to be a Yell Leader for your group of ~60 people. Then he leads your group in a round of BTHO TU. (Can’t even believe I just typed TU.) THEN he continues leading the group in the fight song (complete with the hand gestures to keep the time)… followed by another round of BTHO Big 12. That last part was funny. Also it was a retort to the rest of the room singing, “Na na… na na na na… hey, hey, hey… goodbye” (also funny and very clever, as it had just been unofficially announced that A&M was pursuing other conference options) to all the Aggies as we were standing up and moving together for our whole production.

Turn the Page

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I read a lot.  There's rarely a time when I'm not reading something, and actually I'm almost always re-reading something while I'm reading something new (which is exactly the case at this very moment... I'm actually 80% of the way through re-reading Bergdorff Blondes, 60% of the way through re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I am in the midst of deciding on my next new book to read).  Our Labor Day weekend was the best I could have asked for: filled with absolutely no responsibilities, plans, or obligations.  We thought at one point we'd perhaps go visit friends in Philadelphia, but ended up just staying here and while I really want to make it to Philadelphia sometime soon, I'm so glad we stayed here. We haven't had 3 days of with nothing scheduled to fill them in years. Seriously, maybe not since we were dating.

Anyway, amongst other things, I decided to hit up a pool in Clarendon on Saturday while L played golf.  It was a little rainy when I got there, so I hit up Barnes and Noble while I waited for the drizzling to pass.  After browsing for all of 3 minutes, I picked up a book because I liked the cover and tried to decipher the plot line by reading the back cover.  No luck.  The fly pages were filled with reviews, but I still couldn't figure out what the plot was, so I just opened the book up and read the first four pages.  I was hooked and immediately knew I that one was going home with me.  After killing another half hour or so, I headed to the pool and immediately continued reading where I'd left off in the book store.  I took two five minute breaks to use the restroom; an hour break to talk to Champagne and Sprinkles; and another half hour to drive home, change clothes, and catch up with L on the day's events.  I finished the book before the LSU game started that night.  The book was that. good.  What book was it?

Seriously, I can't stress enough how good this was.  I can't wait to give it to my parents and sister to read.  It's just so well-written.  I'm also craving a dog now, but we'll see... we have hesitations surrounding that at the present time.  But we know it's coming some day.  ANYWAY, I cannot recommend this book enough.  It's just so fantastic.  Especially if you're an animal lover (particularly in regards to dogs).

Other recent good reads include:


and Gone With the Wind.  It took me like 3 months to finish GWTW because it's so long (specifically 1100 pages, if you have the version pictured above.  There are shorter versions, but it's only due do page layout and font size.  Regardless, it's amazing and one of the best books I've read; READ IT if you haven't. Far, far better than the movie, which is wonderful.)

I find myself in a quandary now.  What do I read next??  Send any suggestions my way, por favor.  I didn't expect to finish Racing in the Rain so quickly so I don't have any ideas yet.  Help!
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