Friday, May 28, 2010

why i don't link to my blog on facebook

People don't have to agree with me. That's fine. Honestly. I don't mind if we have differing opinions. One day, though, perhaps I'll stop trying to expose people to opinions different from their own when I know that it won't make a bit of difference. Some people are just really closed off. Here's my latest, sad FB battle [with additional commentary by me]:

Person From HS (PFHS): WTF have you heard that they are going to build a mosque at the site of ground zero!!??
Stranger to Me: PFHS! Ur mouth! I never thought I would see the day that u would say "wtf"!! [Can I interject here that I love people who comment on something that isn't the real issue?]
cjm: Yes, it's actually 2 blocks from ground zero and will be a multi-faith community and cultural center. A quote from a man who lost a nephew in 9/11: “The moderate Muslim voice has been squashed in America,” he said. “Here is a chance to allow moderate Muslims to teach people that not all Muslims are terrorists.” [You know, foolishly backed by facts from news sources.]
Stranger 2: omg!!!! that is a slap in the face to all the poor people that died!!! disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Nice use of exclamation points.]
PFHS's Husband: Since the IRA quieted down you could say all recent terrorist attacks have been carried out by muslims. I would like to meet a moderate muslim, but I think that is a oxymoron. [Can I use "WTF?" now?]
cjm: I have worked with, gone to school with, and been friends with folks of all different races and religions, including Muslims. I'm fairly certain none were terrorists. They make crazies of every type. Christians, too.
PFHS's Husband: Did not say every muslim is a terrorist but 99% of all terrorist are muslim and yes there are crazy Christians (Joel Osteen [Ok, I don't know the demographic breakdown of all terrorists. Is there a census for terrorists? Some questionnaire they have to complete that states their race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation? But whatever. Let's say 99% of terrorists are Muslims. Does that mean no other Muslim can worship where they want?]
PFHS: [Comment regarding cursing.]
PFHS: To me it's kind of like having the family of the murderer of your children move in your neighborhood. They didn't actually do the killing but they are firm reminders of the act. [Wow, I like this comment. Analogy? Good. Seems to be acknowledging that not all Muslims are terrorists.]
cjm: Hmm, that's an interesting point. But should the family be stereotyped against or mistreated or given fewer rights simply because of a commonality?
PFHS: Husband, how dare you hurt the feelings of muslim extremists. Who cares about the feelings of the victims of and families of 911. Remember our talk about political correctness? [Huh, ok. Nevermind re: the previous comment that I was impressed by. Who was talking about hurting the feelings of Muslim extremists?!]
PFHS: Ok seriously though...the attackers did it "for" the muslim faith. Putting a mosque close to the site is plain disrespectful and not a good PR move for their faith. If a catholic did the same thing for their faith it would be disrespectful to put a catholic church near the site. plain and simple....have a little taste and respect for the victims....

Sigh... I just disagree but know it's a losing battle. The responses aren't even really responding to previous comments. Why? Why do I even try? Again, if you disagree with me that's fine. I know you, my lovely readers, will actually use logic instead of whatever this is above. Venting over. I'll move on now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

wedding thursday: let them eat cake(s)

Trying to find a baker was a semi-long process. I think Hubby just wanted to try a lot of cake. We went to a few places that were definitely not right. Not good cake. Too expensive. We found one that I really liked but Hubby wanted to keep looking. I'm so glad we did because we found a very talented lady who made reasonably-priced yet impressive cakes.

My cake was perhaps the one part of the wedding that I didn't have a clear picture on at the outset of planning. I looked at tons of pictures and just didn't feel strongly about any of them. I knew I didn't want fondant since buttercream tastes so much better. But that was about it.

At some point along the way, I found the Goose Grease shop on etsy. I loved her wedding cake toppers but there were a little pricey and I know lots of crafty people. So I bought her "naked" wooden figures and The Brother's MIL painted them for us. They. Were. Awesome. And I guess since I wanted to feature them, I decided on a pretty simple cake.

I loved how the cake turned out. That's a fun part about the wedding. You rely on another artist to make your vision come to life. And then you just have to wait (like everyone else) to see it at the actual reception.

Our cake stands were also pieces of logs from Ike-fallen trees. We're so green. Another thing I wish I could go back and change? Tell the baker to make her bases of the cake (the things covered in silver) either as small as possible or wrapped in brown paper. I hated how they stood out. Oh, well.

Hmm, what's with the ice cream toppings? Well, down south, folks also have a groom's cake. Traditionally, it's either red velvet or chocolate. I think this is fantastic--people have a choice in cake and, um, it just means more cake. Usually men pick something more lighthearted, something that fits their personality. Some pay homage to their alma mater. Others depict a hobby. My groom had a really hard time figuring out what he wanted. At some point he got it in his head that is would be funny to have a cake shaped like a stack of pancakes. "Why?" I asked. It would just be funny. "But do pancakes have any special meaning?" Not really. His dad made them pancakes on the weekends growing up but really he just liked the play on words. Me? Less so.

I was driving back home from Louisiana one day after stopping for a drink at Sonic. It hit me. If he likes the play on words and we wanted to incorporate something about his personality, we should go with an "ice cream cake." I immediately called him and he was on board. He is a serious lover of ice cream. After consulting with our baker, this is what she came up with:

Yep, even the ice cream carton was cake. (And, yes, Blue Bell did have a flavor named Groom's Cake shortly before we got married.) Except for the ice cream scoop and the bowl that the "ice cream" was in, all edible. Here are my aunts not believing it. (I love that we have this picture.)

One funny aside--no one wanted to cut up the ice cream carton part. We ended up having the whole thing to take home. And we ate it all.

Our whole set up:

What do you do with beautiful cakes like these? Cut 'em up and eat 'em! That's what we did.

And, yes, the top tier is locked away in our freezer. About 2 1/2 months to go! (I better hurry these recaps along...)

Monday, May 24, 2010

life list: kansas city's kauffman stadium

On Saturday, I crossed ballpark #8 off the list. Hubby got me tickets to a Royals game for my birthday (back in February) and we finally made good on the gift. We made it to Kansas City early Friday evening. We actually stayed in Independence, a small town to the east. Our room at The Inn at Ophelia's was very nice and comfortable and ended up luring us in for a more relaxing weekend than we had originally planned (but was much needed).

On Friday night we walked around Independence's little square and had a nice Italian dinner. Then we just lounged about. On Saturday, we had the head chef at Ophelia's cook us breakfast (we were the only guests at the inn) before browsing some of the shops. Hubby got a root beer phosphate float at Clinton's, a soda shop that was formerly a drug store that employed Harry Truman. Then we headed to Kansas City to tour Boulevard Brewing Company and then score some Arthur Bryant BBQ. And we were off to the ballpark for an afternoon game.

When you drive by Kauffman Stadium (which is right next to the Chiefs stadium), it seems kind of small. I guess the distinguishing feature is that they installed some fountains in the outfield. Oh, and their silly scoreboard with the Royals' crown. We originally had seats out there but oh my goodness it was hot. No shade, only the occasional spray of the fountains when the wind caught the water. After about an inning we headed to seats in the shade. The game wasn't that exciting. Royals vs. Rockies. No score until the 6th. Rockies took it 3-0. Their fans were fine. Mild-mannered. Nothing terribly memorable. We didn't even have any snacks.

That night we had planned on going out in the Power and Light district but I convinced Hubby that we should just order from the restaurant downstairs and hang out. He was nice enough to oblige and we had another good meal and some vegging time. Woohoo. Then we just headed home on Sunday. Even though it wasn't the most action-packed trip (or maybe because of that), it was a good one.

Friday, May 21, 2010

we're off

Heading out for a 3-day weekend to: - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Looking forward to the B&B, BBQ, and baseball.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

life list: rangers ballpark in arlington

I'm totally off track with this blogging thing lately. No Wedding Wednesday this week. We're about to leave town again tomorrow and I figure I should blog about the last Life List item before I mark off another one...

We went up to Dallas the weekend before last. Hubby's sister lives there and we hadn't visited her there yet. And she got tickets to the Rangers game. Hadn't visited them yet either. So we packed our bags, loaded the dog in the car, and drove up to the Big D.

The three of us (we exchanged Maggie for SIL) headed to Arlington to visit the ballpark that afternoon. The super awesome part about going up that weekend was that SIL had passes from her company that would get us on the field to play catch prior to the game. Now, I don't know if it was because it was about 5 hours before the game or if it was because there was a Boy Scout event being held there or if the Rangers are just super trusting, but we waltzed right into the ballpark (with a cooler, no less) with nary a security person in sight. No one asked for our tickets. No one wanted to search our bags and cooler. Nothing.

Then we find a man near one entrance to the field and he sends us to another man along the first baseline. While we only had 2 passes to get on the field, this guy didn't care. He just took our word for it that we could go on the field. (Now--before these folks get in trouble--let me say that when we went back for the game later that night, all normal security measures were in place.)

So we headed on to the field (on the field!) to play catch with one another.

After our field time was up, we had a picnic lunch on the grassy hill outside the ballpark. It was freakishly good weather for Texas in May. Then we headed next door to the new Cowboys Stadium. SIL had done a little research and found out that there were self-guided tours. We got to wander around the stadium, see that ginormous TV everyone has been talking about, throw the football around, try to kick a field goal (SIL), and tour the locker room and the cheerleaders' dressing room. Add all of that to a list of firsts. Fun times.

We went on back to SIL's to feed and walk Maggie before grabbing dinner for ourselves. Then headed back for the game.

The Rangers were playing Kansas City (clue to the next Life List item). It was interesting to be at the other Texas ballpark (as opposed to our local one). Pretty easy to cheer for another Texas team. The ballpark is beautiful. It was pretty chilly that night, though, what with the crazy wind. We had good seats and people even came to wait on us. Fancy! They, too, sing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and played a little Pat Green immediately following the game. Folks are nice and laid back just like at home. Texas ended up winning 3-2 (not "just like at home" this season).

The trip ended with a fabulous brunch on Sunday. Thanks again, SIL, for a great weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

wedding wednesday, er, thursday: reception details

I have fallen off the blogging wagon. There really have been things to write about but I've been crazy busy with work and travel. With this job, a person needs an occasional office day. Or even an office half-day. Or, as a last resort, a few hours of work over a weekend. By "occasional" I mean it would be awesome to have 2 a week. I'm coming off of 8 days without one (including the weekend) followed by about a day of intermittent internet access. With the super long To Do list, this apparently makes for a sleepless cjm...

But! To get back to wedding recaps. We made it through the ceremony and we were married! We took some quick post-ceremony photographs and were on to the reception (which was held in the ballroom of a nearby college).

Like I've mentioned before, I didn't want our wedding to feel like every other wedding people had been to (although it may have...I'll just ignore that thought). One of the ways I tried to be original was with a little crafting. First up? My reception hair accessory. I got rid of the veil and added this:

Can I say again how much I loved my hair that day? Anyway, yes, I made that. A couple of fake flowers from a craft store and centers of earrings that belonged to my mother's mother. I found those fun, wispy feathers later and went back and added them. I think they gave it a little something extra. Hubby didn't realize it wasn't my hair. In all fairness, they were quite close in color. Loved how this turned out and it was really so easy to make.

Next up, favors. This is one of those things I think people could get away with skipping at a wedding but something about my Southern upbringing wouldn't let me. At least folks are generally moving away from weird little memorabilia-type favors and toward consumables. We're not sure if we broke any liquor laws/rules but we decided to go with rum.

Now, I wasn't the girl who had my entire wedding planned prior to getting engaged. I bought no bridal magazines in advance. I've heard of people buying their dress or booking a venue without that ring on their finger. Was not that person. However, I had thought that this would be a cute idea prior to saying "yes."

This wasn't just any rum. It was the rum from the local distillery that you may remember from here. May I add that we STILL haven't been inside this place? Sheesh. So, yes, local rum from a place that meant something in our relationship. Does the distillery sell cute, customized little bottles? Nope. We purchased regular ol' full-sized bottles of their dark rum, hundreds of tiny glass bottles from the internet (including shrink wrap to keep the cork on), and printed our own labels. It was an oddly satisfying task. The label on the bottle included the phrase "where it all started...almost...twice." The little tag tied to the neck of the bottle with twine said either "'rum' us to you" or "thanks for 'rum'-ing." There may have been a third possibility but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

If you remember the engagement story (see link above), you won't be surprised to see that a snowglobe made it to the wedding. My Maid of Honor gave this to me for the previous Christmas. It's a digital picture frame inside a snowglobe. I glued on a little ribbon and the requisite butterfly, loaded it with what pictures we had left after the great computer crash of '09, and called it a day.

Here's one thing that I would have done differently if we were getting married now instead of 9 months (!!!) ago. We served dinner buffet-style and had clear plastic plates per my country roots. The caterer would have provided white paper plates but who wants to pre-set the tables with that? They also provided "picnic packs"--those little clear plastic packets with plasticware, a napkin, and tiny salt & pepper. Again, doesn't make for a pretty table. I had seen online where a woman had the ingenious idea of putting these items in a set-up like this:

Loved it. Scoured the internet for manila envelopes of the right size (and with the opening being on the short side of the envelope) only to get them in and they were orange. Eh, whatever. Orange was one of our colors so no biggie. I hemmed and hawed FOREVER trying to figure out how I wanted to finish them. Ended up using more twine, printing out a quick tag, and punching them with that cute little fork-knife-spoon punch (also found after an exhaustive internet search). What would I do today, you ask? I would buy these cute bamboo utensils they make for really cheap these days and forgo the envelope altogether. (Do you have a wedding for me to plan? Because, really, I have tons of ideas for things and I'm not planning on a 2nd one for myself.)

And last but certainly not least, I give you this picture:

Swoon. So, those candles? They and their holders are all from IKEA--votives, regular tealights, and these giant, oversized tealights they have (that I love). The thing is, tealights are shiny and silver and that didn't really go with our decor. I cut strips of paper to mask their shiny exterior and am happy to say that none of them caught fire in an inappropriate way--even with my aunt as a guest. You know, the aunt who set fire to a tablecloth at another family wedding. And there was A LOT of candlelight. I think 7 per table.

Hey, what's that candle kind of in the left foreground? The 4th picture here. I knew I wanted a rustic feel to the reception and wanted to incorporate a lot of wood. Hurricane Ike provided me with tons of fallen trees that Hubby collected and The Brother turned into candle holders (from one of my personal trees) and those awesome disks for the flowers to rest upon. He made those with a chainsaw. Pretty awesome, right? At some point, I thought it would be cute to add a little woodburned "carving" on the candle holders. It was easy, fun, and smelled great while woodburning. I guess our wedding was a little green despite the disposable plates...

And finally, those flowers up there? All the arrangements were done by my bridesmaids and a few other helpful mom-figures. They did a fantastic job. I had ordered some flowers online and the rest from a local grocery store. The greenery came from my yard. Seeing that tiny white flower at the top left of the picture up there makes me weirdly giddy knowing that I cut it from a plant that's at the end of our driveway.

So, was that a long enough post? I'll hopefully have another this week as I marked another item off the Life List last weekend (and will cross off another next weekend).

Up next for wedding recaps? How about our amazing cakes? And this time I'll actually aim for Wednesday...

Monday, May 03, 2010

garden by the sea

Do we work in the yard every weekend? Um, pretty much. It was a beautiful weekend for it, though. And I like being in the yard when lots of the neighbors are working on their places, too.

We now have a few peas!

And these guys? I bought them last year and apparently their labels did not indicate that they flowers. Or that they got this big. Who knew? So they're planted a little too close to the sidewalk. I'll end up hacking them back after they're done blooming. I just can't cut off flowers for no reason. Funny that one ended up being pink and one is white.

We have a few new additions after yesterday. A baby mandevilla:

And these super cute little guys. I don't know what they are. (I can't remember what the tag said and I'm not feeling the need to head out to the garage to read it. But I do remember it was something cutsie instead of an actual name.) They look like miniature bachelor buttons--each little yellow ball is about the size of a pencil eraser. Love the contrasting, almost-grey foliage. So cute! I bought three.

Hubby transplanted one of the tree babies. It's not looking so good but hopefully it will pull through. And I also planted a knock-out rose. Have to fill in where we ripped out the dead stuff.

On Saturday, a group of us did the Galveston Historic Homes tour. We made it to 8 out of 10 homes. It was a really good day. I love looking in people's houses. We also saw a few of the carved tree sculptures. These are amazing... check out the article (photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle).