Sunday, April 29, 2007

it's gettin' hot in here

I had my housewarming party yesterday afternoon. It was a good time. I definitely wouldn't have been able to pull it off without the help of the brother, the brother's girlfriend, the brother's girlfriend's mom (especially), and cph. So props to you guys.

It was probably a dumb idea to be out of town last Thursday-Sunday and then again Tuesday-Thursday. That certainly didn't leave a bunch of time to get ready for a parade of 24 adults, one adorable toddler, and one super cute DrewBear. Friday and right up to the wire on Saturday I had some help getting a million last-minute projects completed and getting the house cleaned. I know no one would have pointed out a dirty floor or said "this wall sure looks bare" but I wanted the house to look her best. (I know no one would have said those things because no one said "wow, why didn't anyone weed these flower beds?")

But I had the time (sort of) to get all those things finished because the brother's girlfriend's mom rocks. She was my caterer and also crafted little recipe books for favors for the guests. I mean, seriously. How nice is that? And her daughter was kind enough to frantically get the food presentable because when guests arrived, they needed a tour and then some snacks.

Everything turned out really well and I'm grateful so many people came. Everyone was more than generous with their time and their gifts. Yes, my house is now very warm indeed.

(For those of you who were there, how funny is it to picture the next line of the song in the title up there? heehee)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

10 on tuesday (1)

Yeah, on Wednesday. How did I miss Tuesday? I was awake for almost its entirety. Anyway, this week's topic is:

10 Things You Like to Do Alone

  1. Read
  2. Drive
  3. Travel
  4. Watch embarrassingly cheesy reality TV shows
  5. Craft
  6. Paint (walls, furniture, canvases)
  7. Eat a full order of dessert
  8. Go to the museum
  9. Take pictures
  10. Sit on the porch

Some of these things I like to do with other people, too. Probably the thing I enjoy the most on that list is #8. I love going to the Museum of Fine Arts in the middle of a workday. I don't get the opportunity to do that very often but maybe I should try to work it in. I like it because of all the beautiful art, because it's always the perfect temperature and humidity, and because it's quiet. I love the sound of only my feet hitting the wood floors. I love turning the corners through the maze of walls only to find yet another empty room. I love the sneakiness of not being "productive" during a workday. It's great.

I must say that when I saw this topic it made me think of Sex and the City and secret single behavior. I'll have you know that I do not stare at my pores for an hour every night. Wow, would that make me depressed. What do you like to do alone?

Monday, April 23, 2007

10 things--seattle

I got back to my beloved South yesterday evening. It was a really good trip--so good that it kind of made me want to stay up north. Are they still yankees if they are from the northwest? I know, anything north of Dallas... So 200 pictures, two sore legs, and not enough sleep later, these are my 10 Things for Seattle.
  1. Praise whoever you worship, but I got bumped up to first class both ways. I cannot say how much I appreciated that on a 4-hour flight. From my comfy, roomy leather seat, I was able to see out the window (beyond this woman who was annoying not taking advantage of the great view), to see my first glimpse of Mt. Rainier. It was stunning. Because I wasn't at the window seat, I didn't take a picture. On the way back, Mt. Rainier wasn't out. Here's a picture taken by someone smarter than's just the peak coming through the clouds. Like an iceberg, so much more of it lay between the clouds and the ground.
  2. They have fantastic mass transit. I took a shuttle that runs from the airport to the downtown hotels. I rode a ferry. And the light rail. You can fly places. And they have trains. And buses. Oh, and cars and bikes and people on foot. The options are amazing.
  3. It is really stunningly beautiful. The mountains. The valleys. The water. The skyline. You can't help but say "It's so beautiful" over and over again. You feel that there are not words to describe it. You become very jealous of the rich people's views from their front and backyards.
  4. Coffee. You can get it everywhere. Since Starbucks and Seattle's Best started there, those are rampant. Occasionally you get an indie shop and that's nice, too. I went to one but I couldn't avoid beaming myself back to the mother ship--the birthplace of Starbucks. I asked and they said they sell way more in merchandise than they do in coffee. I took a few pictures and ordered a tall Pikes Place blend and was on my way.
  5. Pikes Place Market. It's open 7 days a week and starts out quiet and slow in the early morning hours. As time goes by, more vendors open their booths and the place is bustling. You can watch fish getting thrown, buy beautiful (cheap!) locally grown flowers, a do some fantastic people watching.
  6. The Underground. Informative and entertaining tour. It's amazing to see the history of a city.
  7. Bainbridge Island. Look up "quaint" in the dictionary and there's a picture of this place. It's a 35-minute ferry ride across the Sound and offers really breathtaking views of the skyline. The island itself has a small town feel. Lots of shops and friendly people.
  8. Downtown. It's a respectable size. Clean. Easily navigable on foot. Well, it's easy to navigate based on the grid of streets. Not so easy given the changes in elevation. It's like San Francisco that way. I think they should install benches at the top of every block so people can rest a bit. But because of this stadium-style topography, you get a view of water from many, many streets. And near downtown, the Needle. I was there on the anniversary of it opening. Great view and makes for an easily recognizable skyline.
  9. The wine country. Getting outside the city offers even more beauty. Everything is so green (thus, the Emerald City nickname). The wine was good; the vineyards and grounds were picturesque. One even boasted a group of peacocks.
  10. Snoqualmie Falls. Again with the beauty. The falls are 100 feet higher than Niagara's, although not nearly as wide (or as busy of a tourist spot). It was easy to enjoy without feeling crowded.

I'll do my best to get some pictures up by the end of the week.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

realization of the day

I would not be a good twin (which works out fine since I'm not one).

I'm leaving today for Seattle. I normally don't post that I'm going out of town, just that I've arrived back home. Since there's a picture of my house on here and terribly intelligent yet criminal minds in cyberspace, I'd like to avoid being robbed blind. Please don't rob me, intelligent criminals.

For some reason, leaving to go on a trip for leisure instead of business makes me want to get more things in order around here. It's not like I'll be gone longer than some of my regular business trips. I won't. It's not like I'm traveling overseas or something. I'm not. Maybe it's because I'm losing a weekend at home. I'll get back only to turn around again (at some point during the next week--shame on you criminals for trying to figure out when).

As I was getting a few things done around the house this morning, I was thinking about going on this trip alone. One of my best friends told me she could take off tomorrow and she could go, too. The thing is, sometimes I just need something for myself. I need to have something the next guy doesn't. At this stage in my life, where everyone around me is getting married and/or having babies, it feels harder to say that I have one up on the next guy (at least with important things). So this one I'm claiming for myself. A few days in Seattle. With a snazzy (yet discounted) hotel room. And limited plans. Just a little information about the area, my camera, and blessedly good weather.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

virginia tech

I don't really know what to say about all of this. The generic "my thoughts and prayers go out to the families" comes to mind. And I do mean it. I don't know what it would be like to lose a loved one that way. So violently. So senselessly. I also can't imagine how horrible it would have been to be in one of those classrooms, whether you were able to walk out of it or not. These people just thought they were going to class... I just can't wrap my mind around it.

What I am annoyed about is, as always, the media coverage. Way to go, people. Let's focus on the killer instead of the victims. Let's talk about it being a record. Like was mentioned on the news last night, this will inevitably lead to someone trying to break it. Let's turn this guy into a celebrity when that's exactly what he wanted--to be seen, to be talked about. Let's focus on him being Korean instead of the fact that he's been in the US since he was 8. Let's make a big deal about someone who isn't a US citizen being able to easily buy a gun--as if all Americans are completely sane and only foreigners commit mass shootings. Let's try to figure out who to blame--his parents? Korea? The gun shop? Mental health staff? Perhaps the person who was pulling the trigger? Good grief.

For every 50 or so stories about the wrong thing, you get one like this. One that should be the focus. I can only hope that this link stays active instead of being replaced with a less important part of the story.

Monday, April 16, 2007

10 on tuesday

Because I've been at a loss regarding what to write about lately (with the exception of a few days last week--thanks, Ted), I decided to browse some other blogs out there. It seems that there's this whole category of blogging of which I was unaware. These posts are called memes. Who knew? Don't answer that; I'm sure I'm the last...

For those of you who aren't in the know, a meme (rhymes with "team" from what I can tell but I'd rather it be "me" twice) is a list of questions posted by someone that the blogger (me) is supposed to answer. It seems like kind of a jumping off point. I think the word "meme" is annoying and makes me sound a little dorky so I won't mention it again. Anyway, after some searching, I decided to start doing one. The one that seemed the most interesting was Ten on Tuesday. I'm not going to add myself to their little community or anything but I thought I'd give you guys an explanation so this won't be out of left field.

There's also another one here. I think I may try that one, too. But making the list will take awhile. The last one is IMDb's list of the top 100 movies. You try to see all of them. I thought that one would be fun...if only my DVD player was working properly. You can see the picture and hear background noise but no dialogue. For some movies, that might be better.

So starting next week I'll do the 10 on Tuesday. (This week's topic wasn't very exciting to me so I'm postponing it.) Things are getting spiced up around here. Maybe.

Friday, April 13, 2007

it's friday

And I'm glad. Being gone for four days is too long, especially when you have so much work to do. The leisure side of the trip was enjoyable since I got to live with Ted and a co-worker for a few days. And the B&B was nice. These people haven't even owned it for a year (and it's their first B&B) but they're doing a good job. Very friendly, good breakfasts. They have two houses--one built in the 1870s and one in the 1890s. This old area of Shreveport really is quite picturesque. It's funny how there are parts of the city that are so run down and yet this part--with buildings 100 years older--are beautiful and maintained. It was also nice to be able to talk to the owner about living in an old house and to browse around for ideas.

Yesterday morning we also met the new local news reporter who was staying in the B&B. And I forgot to mention that last Thursday we went to see Larry Joe Taylor (for the umpteenth time) in Kemah. We sat in the front row with none other than Larry Dierker. I must be giving off pseudo-celebrity vibes.

So now I'm back to the real world a there sure is a long to-do list. Some of it is work stuff including calling IT because of more computer problems. A lot of it is personal stuff. I need to prioritize. There's all the regular life stuff like sorting mail, paying bills, wrapping presents, etc. Then there's the whole other (larger) category of house stuff. I really need to just draw a line and say "this is all I can do before the housewarming" and "this is all I can do between the housewarming and the baby shower." I know people won't care if I don't get these things done but it would just be nice...

Off to work. I may only focus on the work that needs limited mental effort and save the rest for next week. Have a good weekend! And happy birthday to the brother.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

where everybody knows your name

I'm in Shreveport. Nothing exciting to report from here, right? WRONG!!!

I'm staying at a B&B with a co-worker and--wait for it--TED DANSON. How funny is that?! I even spoke to him. "If we get annoyingly loud just let us know." He said, "You do the same." And then he said goodnight and we did as well.

I can only hope he'll be at breakfast in the morning. I'm freakishly giddy. It's a good thing it wasn't Brad Pitt, George Clooney, etc. My job rocks.

**UPDATE** Ok, I'm a little less excited about this tonight so I can provide a few more details. He looks good--tall like you would expect and we decided he may have had plugs or else his hairpiece is the best ever. We don't know why he's in Shreveport. One theory we heard today is that his wife's family is here. I don't know about that. He's also got a project in production and had a script with him. (I don't know, maybe all actors carry them around as props.) We heard from the owner that Ted's in town for a month and just wanted to get away from where he's staying for a night. Turns out that he's still here today. There was another sighting but no conversation. We didn't get pictures with him or do anything more than small talk. We didn't want to encroach since he's trying to lay low.

There really isn't anything exciting in Shreveport. However, many movies and tv shows have been filmed here post-Katrina. It's being called "Hollywood South" (by whom I'm not sure). Apparently Katie Holmes (accompanied by crazy Tom Cruise?) is going to be filming starting this month. This concludes today's Shreveport Trivia.

***UPDATE #2*** For anyone still interested, here's the scoop on Ted...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

one more time--we are family

So remember that last post? I'm going to boil it down to just being how those specific members of the family are (at least with us). I think it's a person thing instead of a family thing. Here's why...

Last night the brother and I had 9 members of our family down. First, if you know me, you think it's weird that I've seen this much family in so short a time. It is. Anyway, we had our twin cousins and their husbands (all in their 40s) and their 5 kids (approximately 12 and 17-20). We had a really good time.

These were some family members we were closest to before Mom died. (I'd like to interject here that it really was such a defining moment that--especially with family--there was life before it and life after.) When we get together it's more like no time has passed. It has, of course, because we've only seen each other maybe once every 18 months or longer over the last 10 years. But we talk about more meaningful stuff. I do leave feeling like I know these people a little better. And I like that. That's the kind of person I am...all superficial conversation all the time bothers me. Maybe that's why I majored in psychology.

It was a good visit, and I hope we get together more often like was always say we should. Because we really are family.

Monday, April 02, 2007

we are family

Other than my brother, I hardly ever see or talk to any family. It's not that I dislike them or anything. I usually enjoy the time I spend with them--we just don't have a lot of contact.

We were/are kind of estranged from my dad's sister and her family but Mom had 5 siblings. They all have children and grandchildren and one even has a great grandchild as of last Wednesday. Most live in Texas so geography isn't a big issue either. I've been trying to think of what is...

It isn't that they remind me of Mom. Sometimes they do but it's not like I avoid them to avoid thinking about her. I think about her all the time. Some of the family bring her up every time we see them--in a we-still-can't-believe-she's-gone kind of way. To them, it's as if I'm still 19 and dealing with that immediate grief, that my life has been on hold since then. Others have never mentioned her at all (that I can remember) in the last 10 years. Not even in passing.

I think the best answer I could come up with is that they don't really know me. It's as if they have read a description of me from 10 years ago (perhaps with a few addendums along the way). And that description wasn't even written by me. It was written casting me in a role of some sort. Or maybe not a role. Maybe it's just superficial. It doesn't include my emotions or deeply personal experiences.

I guess when I'm with them I'm me but filtered. I rarely get into discussions that reveal how liberal I am. I reel in my sense of humor a bit because I'm not sure some of them will get it. I don't mean that negatively toward them, just referring to the weirdness that is me. I don't talk about my feelings at all. Just the facts, ma'am.

I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it, too. They don't know me because I'm not letting them. The thing is, they don't let me either. I spent five hours with my aunt yesterday and I can't tell you anything about her feelings. I can tell you about where they've traveled on vacation, what the school district wants to spend money on, how unattractive So-n-so's wife is... Can I tell you her secret to a 49-year marriage or her favorite memory of her mother (my grandmother) or if she has any regrets? Not at all. Have I ever asked? No. And I think I've never asked because I've never been asked. I'm not sure if it would make her uncomfortable or if she'd be happy to share those things.

It's just all very strange to think about. My friends and even some of their parents know me so much better than my own extended family. Am I alone in this or do you think this is just the way it is with families?