Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm rarely surprised

So the early birthday present that was waiting for me in the mail today from my mother and father-in-law in Oregon was especially fun!

As noted earlier, I've started collecting Mexican tin ornaments. They very kindly added to my collection with some gorgeous new ornaments! I don't know how in the world I'm going to be able to put these away after Christmas -- I may have to buy a big cactus or something that I can keep out year round, just so I can occasionally look at some of my tin!

Surprises rock.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

winter flowers

For as long as I can remember, we've had camellias blooming in the bed out in front of the house. In fact, my mother always jokes that you can always tell when the first freeze is coming because it happens right as the camellias start to bloom.

They're gorgeous, and I adore them. To me, they're winter in Texas.

This year, along with the camellia blooms, we added some cyclamen to the bed. The colors are incredible.

Cyclamen thrive in the cold. In fact, they're abundant in alpine meadows where they flower in snow melt water.

The perfect addition to a winter garden.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

aire fresco

A beautiful November day in Texas.

And we are thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

my tin ornament tree

A few years ago, a dear friend in San Antonio had a party where she decorated everything with Mexican tin ornaments.

I fell in love with them.

That year for Christmas she started my collection of (and love affair with) Mexican tin ornaments when she gave me a few as a gift.

For the past several years, whenever I've been able to find any, I've increased my collection, but they're hard to find. I'm a regular at eBay and Etsy -- two places where I seem to have the best luck in finding them.

In addition to our traditional Christmas tree, this year I felt like I finally had enough tin trinkets to put together a decent tin ornament tree.

It's going to be fun to watch the collection (and tree size!) increase every year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

so, so good

I didn't go see the midnight showing on opening night, but I just couldn't let the first weekend that New Moon was out in theaters go by without sneaking in to a showing.

And I SO wasn't disappointed.

Damn. It was good. I laughed and I cried.

It rivaled the book (and that's hard to do). Bella wasn't nearly as annoying (I never wanted to shake her), and director Chris Weitz captured so much of the emotion. Bravo all around.

I went with my sister Christine. She snagged us tickets ahead of time at a Movie Tavern in Houston. So we enjoyed a pitcher of cold beer and some munchies while we watched -- that never hurts.

I can't wait to see it again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

november 19, 1999

Ten years ago today, the Texas A&M family lost 12 young lives in a horrific accident. To many, it was a silly college tradition. To us, it represented unity and family. Out at Bonfire, we weren't Greeks, or jocks, or CTs, or BQs. We were Aggies. Memories were made out there, and lives were changed.

From its inception as a scrap heap to the more familiar and impressive stack of vertical logs, the Texas Aggie Bonfire symbolized every Aggie's "burning desire" to beat the University of Texas in football. Attracting between 30,000 and 70,000 people each year to watch it burn, Bonfire became a symbol of the deep and unique camaraderie that is the Aggie Spirit.

In preparation for the much-anticipated annual football game against "t.u.", as Aggies refer to their rival, the student-built Texas Aggie Bonfire would burn after Yell Practice. The lighting ceremony included the playing of "The Spirit of Aggieland" by the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and the traditional reading of "The Last Corps Trip" poem. An outhouse, known as the "t.u. tea room" or "t.u. frat house" was built by sophomores in the Aggie band and sat atop the completed Bonfire. Aggie lore has it that if the Bonfire stood until after midnight, they would win the game.

Since the initial Bonfire in 1909, Texas A&M students have banded together each year to build and burn the Bonfire, and in the process helped it to evolve into the largest in the world. Bonfire burned each year through 1998, with the exception of 1963. That year Bonfire was built but torn down in a tribute to President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Texas A&M Head Yell Leader Mike Marlowe said, "It is the most we have and the least we can give."

In 1967, responsibility for Bonfire construction was transferred from the Yell Leaders to "Red Pots," students specifically chosen to plan and construct the stack. The safety helmets or "pots" worn by Bonfire construction workers were painted various colors to designate the hierarchy of responsibilities.

In 1955, Bonfire was moved from Simpson Drill Field in front of the Memorial Student Center to Duncan Field, behind the Corps of Cadets area, where it was held for 37 years. The 1992 Bonfire marked the first year Bonfire was built in its final home on the Polo Fields.

The second time in A&M’s history that Bonfire did not burn was almost exactly 92 years after the first Bonfire due to its collapse on November 18th, 1999 at 2:42 a.m. The collapse killed 12 Aggies and injured 27 others.

Five years later, the
Bonfire Memorial was dedicated on the exact location of the ’99 Bonfire.

Information from the Texas A&M Hospitality Committee.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the cullen house is for sale

And only for a mere $3.3 million -- pocket change for Edward.

I want it.

Can't you just see Rosalie crushing that salad bowl in the kitchen?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

aunt belly and cupcakes

Aidan's current obsession revolves around two things: firetrucks, and Thomas (the Tank Engine). Give him a new train for his [growing] set, or any version of a big red emergency vehicle with sirens, and he's about as happy as a pig in slop.

But one of his long-time very favorite things in the world is spending time with his Aunt Beverly (or "Belly", as he says). She's been a significant part of Aidan's little life since he was literally minutes old, and they share a special bond.

Aunt Beverly moved to College Station a few years ago in order to pursue a doctorate degree. When she's not actually in class, she's studying or working on a paper. A natural and unavoidable result is that Aidan doesn't get as much "Aunt Belly time" as he used to.

So when Aunt Belly called yesterday afternoon and told Aidan that she'd be coming to town for a quick visit today, he was giddy. The first thing he asked her was if they could make "Thomas cupcakes" together. Being the good aunt that she is, Beverly of course agreed to the project, despite the fact that she's fighting a wicked cold and would rather sleep away a few hours (without the company of a three-year-old), and not to mention that she has no idea how to make a Thomas cupcake (I told her to Google it ...).

Aidan woke up this morning and instantly reminded me, in his scratchy, sleep-heavy voice, that Aunt Belly was coming home today and would be picking him up early from school. His next sentence had something to do with making cupcakes.

So it made my heart very happy when I just got home and found Aidan and Aunt Beverly crashed alseep on my bed. And in the kitchen ... blue-iced cupcakes. They weren't Thomas, but without a doubt, they were made with love.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

faces of freedom

Please take a moment to visit Faces of Freedom and learn a bit about some of our fallen American heroes. Each made the ultimate sacrifice in order to guard, protect, and keep us safe.

God bless and protect all of our veterans, as well as the millions of brave servicemen and women who are keeping us safe around the world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

tableau tuesday

In honor and memory.

Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman

Maj. Libardo Caraveo

Capt. John P. Gaffaney

Capt. Russell Seager

Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow

Sgt. Amy Krueger

Spc. Jason Hunt, 22

Spc. Frederick Greene

Pfc. Aaron Nemelka

Pfc. Michael Pearson

Spc. Kham Xiong, 23

Pvt. Francheska Velez

Chief Warrant Officer retired Michael Cahill

Monday, November 09, 2009

breaking dawn

Robert Pattinson officially let it leak that Breaking Dawn is in the works.

Q: Have you been told a tentative time that you might film Breaking

Rob: I think the tentative for Breaking Dawn is Fall of next year. I
think. They may well change that.

Here's a [fan-made] picture of the Cullen Family, post-Bella transformation.

So fun!

Friday, November 06, 2009

a family tradition

One of my favorite memories as a child was opening up the days on our family's Advent calendar every December, although waiting until the 25th was always such torture (it was the fanciest door, of course!).

I've been on a quest for the past couple of years to find one for my family, now that Aidan is getting old enough to remember and make his own memories. But good quality Advent calendars appear to be few and far between these days. Sure there's a plethora of crappy cardboard ones, but I want something we can keep from year-to-year.

Ideally, I'd love to find a Nativity-themed calendar, but so far, no dice.

But here's a mix of some of the better ones I've seen.

Next project ... finding an Advent wreath with taper candles to light -- another beloved memory from my childhood.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

horrific sadness

U.S. Army soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

God bless and hold close the families of the wounded and lost soldiers from Fort Hood today.

My heart is unspeakably heavy.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

'tis the season

It's November! Yippee! Now I can bask in the glory of wonderful music, laughter, glory and good cheer for the next 60 days or so.

I officially started playing festive music in my classroom today (... gotta love Live 365) while the kids were working -- just some gluing of fossil diagrams onto layers of rock . It's amazing how much of a good mood it put them in -- everyone left chatty, and with a smile on their sweet faces. So great. I know most people get irritated if they even hear the jingle of a single bell before Thanksgiving, but if it were up to me, I'd start playing it in June. ;)

And before anyone freaks out and goes all nuts on me for violating any separation of church and state laws, I spoke with all my kids ahead of time and let them know that they could [privately] let me know if they prefer I not play Christmas music, and I would absolutely respect their wishes. I usually choose instrumental stations anyway (how sad that I even have to make this disclaimer). Thank goodness that kids are just kids and don't get too crazy about such things.

November and December. Love, love, LOVE it! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

lord, have mercy

Robert Pattinson, Vanity Fair, 2009. Talk about an early Christmas present. I mean, the expression on his face -- he knows he's killing us.

Cant ... stop ... looking.