Monday, March 31, 2008

I finished Twilight

OK. So it was GOOD. Mom is reading it now. I'm trying to convince Ty that he needs to also before the movie comes out. Not only that, he's going to have to be our tour guide and point out the important Twilight landmarks when we're up there visiting.

Next up -- book number two in the series -- New Moon. Very addicting set of characters, for sure.

And I'm still searching for the meaning these books are supposed to have for me ... because I'm convinced there is one. It may be as simple as I'll no longer look at the Forks/La Push thing in such a loathing fashion. Who knows.

Now, on to chapter one ... I have to see if Bella gets eaten by all six of the vampires.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have yet to write about the biggest change affecting my entire life in the upcoming months and years. I avoid things I don't want to face ... in a big way.

Background: For as long as I've known her, one of my dearest friends B has talked about an author named Stephenie Meyer. To say that B is a fan of Meyer's books is way beyond an understatement. She even flew to Atlanta to attend a Meyer book-signing. That's dedication. I've never really inquired much about the author because these days my free reading time is pretty much limited to reading stuff that's been piling up on my own personal "To read" list. Taking the opportunity to read any suggestions from others is pretty much out of the question ... until yesterday. B talked me into reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

More background: Ty will be stationed and working for the next two years in a very remote part of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The main "towns" (I use that term very loosely) he'll be stomping around are Forks, Joyce, and La Push -- where the Coast Guard station is located. I've been very resentful and hurt about the entire situation, to the extent that whenever I even see a map of the U.S., like on the national weather or something, I won't even look up at the Pacific Northwest. In my mind, it's taking him away from us.

Now, on with the synchronicity part. I began reading Twilight last night. On the very first page of the prologue, there is was -- Forks, Washington. How's that for facing your demons head-on? I keep reading. Next up, page 6 -- La Push, Washington ("'Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?' La Push is the tiny Indian reservation on the coast."). WOW. Basically, the only things in La Push are the Coast Guard station and the Indian reservation. A million cliches pop into my mind, such as "Fate can be cruel," and "God has a great sense of humor."

I pretty much had to close the book at that point and take a few deep breaths. Like I told Becky this morning, I bet if you polled 1 million people, Coast Guard members excluded, and asked them if they'd ever heard of La Push, Washington, two of them, at best, would be able to answer in the affirmative. And here I am reading about it in my friend's favorite book.

I feel (and it's an over whelming feeling) like this was supposed to happen -- like I was supposed to read THIS book at THIS time in my life. If I'd read it a year ago, it would've just been another book. I know that life is full of coincidences, but this is different. I don't know why, and I can't explain the feeling. But I think I'm going to learn some things about myself along the way -- another big understatement. Should be an interesting read.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Foods you forget are good

So as I'm sitting here eating a bowl of Quaker apples & cinnamon oatmeal, I'm thinking, "This is really good. Why don't I eat it more often?" It got me thinking about other foods that on the surface don't appear to be anything special. But once you start munching on them, you remember how yummy they really are. Such as ...

canned pork & beans ... cold, fresh pears ... hard-boiled eggs ... biscuits with butter ... peanut butter & jelly sandwiches ... tomato soup ... tamales ... vanilla Blue Bell with chocolate syrup ... corn on the cob ... homemade nachos with cheese and jalapenos ... raisin bread toast with butter
(not necessarily in that order) :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Take me out to the ballgame

Today is opening day of baseball season. In honor of America's pasttime, I thought I'd compile a list of my favorite things about the game.

* the automatic, carefree feeling that comes with springtime and summertime

* the crack of the bat

* the Astros Sunday unis

* the old-school organ (duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh ... CHARGE!)

* cold beer

* Minute Maid Park

* the fans at Olsen Field in College Station

* the fact that 4-year-olds or 40-year-olds can play it -- you don't have to be a bulked-up freak of nature either (unless you're Barry Bonds)

* hot dogs

* kids waiting for autographs

* the history and spirt of the game

* did I mention cold beer?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A raw-potato Easter

I attempted to cook my first ham. It was ok -- nothing special. I wasn't overly impressed, but it was edible. A combination of Tyler Florence and Emeril Lagasse recipes helped get me through it, but I'm not sure if I'd do it again. I'm just not really a ham person.

The best part of the dinner was the fact that my potato gratin dish (again, a la Tyler Florence) was totally undercooked. There's nothing quite like serving raw potatoes to your guests! And then my wonderful father, God bless him, kept making excuses for me like, "That's easy to do. I've done it many times myself." Sweet, sweet man.

Our little one was old enough to walk this year, so the concept of an Easter egg hunt actually meant something. He even "helped" color the eggs, despite the rantings of his stressed-out father who was more concerned about spilling egg dye on the counter than obtaining the perfect shade of orange. This was the first year since our son was born that my husband hasn't been deployed on Easter. I believe the fantasy of the "perfect family Easter" wasn't quite what I'd envisioned, but it was still nice to have us all together.

The egg hunt itself was rather priceless, in a chaotic sort of way. After finding his first few eggs and getting the hang of it, Aidan begant to enthusiastically throw each egg he found into his basket, one on top of the other. There was nothing "careful" about how he did it. So rather quickly, eggs began to break, which in turn had our two dogs hot on his little trail. Of course a few broken eggs found their way back into the grass, and dogs devoured them, shell and all. Which encouraged them to push at the Easter basket. Which then encouraged my bossy two-year-old to shout at the dogs. It was quite the scene.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break at 35

Back when I was a teenager, my "big" Spring Break trips were to the Cayman Islands and to Florida with my best friend and my sister. I remember giddily planning everything down to the tiniest little detail, like what kind of sunglasses to pack and which mix tape to listen to on my Walkman on the airplane. We were silly girls with our big silver jewelry and bottles of Hawaiian Tropic, hitting the beach to bake ourselves for days and try and escape from our adult chaperones at night. Ahhh, the memories.

Spring Break still marks my calendar every year, except now I'm the school teacher, not the high school student. But rather than anticipating the number of cute guys I might run into at the Fontainbleu Hotel pool in Miami, I'm simply ecstatic these days over the thought of spending a whole week with my 2-year-old little dude, ARF. I doubt I'll put on a swim suit (no thanks necessary!), or even go anywhere near the beach. Although there is a patch of sand in the playground at the Lupe Tortilla near our home.

What I'm most looking forward to this year is the possibility of reading a good book, soaking in the tub with bubbles and a glass of wine, taking ARF to the park or the zoo, and maybe cooking a few good meals in the evenings without having to worry about packing a school lunch or getting laundry done before bedtime. Pure Heaven.

Don't get me wrong ... I could very easily be talked into a few good frozen drinks with umbrellas floating in them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Meghan McCain -- YOU ROCK!

The McCain Blogette has become one of my favorite online stomping grounds. I've had it linked for several weeks, so if you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it. It's a fun insight into life on the campain trail from the standpoint of an intelligent young American. And her taste in music is an added bonus! I love, love, love the blog.

But yesterday's entry left me compelled to post and link it. Here's an exerpt:
Of course I expected more than my fair share when I decided to put myself out there and write a blog on the campaign; however, I've been surprised by critical comments regarding my weight and body shape. It recently reached a ridiculous level when someone handed me a business card for a plastic surgeon and suggested I needed liposuction. I am proud of my curves and have always loved my fuller figure, as should every woman who is not a size "0".

What the hell are we doing as a society? Why do we continue to fall into a deeper pit of judging woman by the size of their skirts, and whether or not their bodies resemble pre-baby Nicole Ritchie? Not only that, but in some circles, it's now apparently ok to walk up to a total stranger and advise her on how to go about achieving this "perfection", even if it involves surgery. You have got to be kidding me.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take care of ourselves and do our best to shine on the inside, as well as the outside. But when did we cross the line? When did we become so skewed?

It's disgusting, and it makes me sad.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Which is the bigger story?

Ah, the good ol' New York Times. The same newspaper that printed innuendo after innuendo regarding Senator John McCain and a "female lobbyist" has now decided to apparently even the score by informing the world that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer paid thousands of dollars for the "services" of a high-end prostitute last month.

After the dust settled, no evidence revealed that McCain did anything untoward or morally sinister with said lobbyist, Iseman. Unfortunately for the Times, end of story, and the world moved on.

Now the worm has turned. Across the proverbial party aisle, Governor Spitzer, a "crusading [democratic] politician who built his career on rooting out corruption" now finds himself in the position of having to apologize to his family, his constituents, and to the world for behavior much worse than having dinner with a pretty lobbyist.

So, I guess all that drama the Times craved has now packaged itself in a pretty ribbon and landed on their doorstep. The only problem is, it's centered around a high-ranking member of the wrong party.

Be careful what you wish for, right? Karma can be a real bitch.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's election day in Texas!

The Primaries are here! Get out and vote, Texans!

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
-- John Quincy Adams, Sixth president of the United States (1767-1848)

Sidenote: WELCOME HOME to my newest, teeny, tiny nephew, Baby Grant.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday blues?

I fight it. I really do. But more often than not, I seem to be one of those "glass half-empty" kind of people. I wish I wasn't, and I really do count my blessings (of which there are many). But for some reason, I tend to lean toward the cynical side of things.

One area I have a hard time shaking this negative way of thinking is on Sundays. Rather than being able to soak in and enjoy the serenity of the day, I tend to focus on the fact that the next day is Monday. So more often than not, I end up feeling trapped by Sundays -- like I can't truly take it all in because the end is so near. It's a horrible way to end a weekend!

So today I'm turning over a new lease on life. I'm going to face my Sunday demons head-on. I'm going to make every possible effort to start soaking up more of the glory that is Sunday. I thought a good way to start would be to list my favorite things about this Day of Rest. Here goes:
  • The ability to savor and taste, not just gulp down, the perfect cup of coffee. This morning, it's nothing with foam or style -- just a simple cup of Folgers with Coffee-Mate Pralines and Cream added. Delish.

  • A trip to the local Mexican hole-in-the-wall for a big'ol' authentic Mexican breakfast. There's a dumpy place in Houston called Casa de Leon that my family regularly frequents. There's nothing quite like hearing the Spanish version of "When the Lights go Down in the City" playing on the jukebox while chowing down on a plate of breakfast tacos and, if the craving grabs you, a cold Corona (yeah, even if you want it before noon). It's one of life's great moments. I ran across a great blog this morning by Homesick Texan about the religion of Texas breakfast tacos. It's a must-read.

  • Spending quality time cuddling on the couch with my son, watching Blue's Clues.

  • In the autumn months (and the boiling days of August and September in the Lone Star State), catching up on the previous day's gridiron results ... hopefully re-living every stellar detail of a big Aggie win.
  • A quick road-trip. It doesn't have to be a grand affair. A drive down to Kemah for lunch on the water. Or heading over to beautiful Chappell Hill, Texas to spend a day at the Bluebonnet Festival in April.

  • Hanging out with my family all damn day. There's simply nothing better.
  • The Peace of the day -- Sunday is inheritantly about giving all glory to God, and there's nothing more serene and beautiful than that.