Tuesday, November 27, 2012, i am not hunting saber-toothed rabbits.

i'm just settling in for a quiet night at home.

for those of you who know me, you know i value my alone time...peace and quiet is a very necessary component of my life.

for those of you who don't know me, my introverted self starts to malfunction after too many days without at least a few moments (ideally a minimum of 720 minutes) of solid nobody-but-me time.



do i mind being weird in this scenario?

not a bit.

i did get to go to the tech v. baylor game on saturday, which was seriously a great time. i yelled and screamed and pretended i knew about football until i was completely hoarse. the girls really got into it, too, and we won't even talk about the way the game ended. overtime was not pretty.

but jerry's world was amazing.

really - such a beautiful stadium (and yes, i have a few others with which to compare it).

and speaking of jerry's world, it's that time of year again...the little man in red is up to his usual antics.

our elf is back, and the girls are totally down with early-to-bed/early-to-rise. all i have to say is 'it looks like jerry moved last night...' and they are out of bed, on an elf hunt in the blink of an eye.

it's pretty awesome.

enough about all of that. at the present moment, every candle in my house is glowing, a fire is crackling in my fire place, the christmas tree is twinkling, and i have a glass of wine close by.

i have had the following quote in mind all day long because it's totally apropos...

'do not take anything for granted - not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed.' ~terri guillements


several things have happened in the last few days that have made me appreciate each and every breath that my loved ones (family and friends) are able to take. there are so many things that each one of us take for granted, and despite my best intentions, i need to take more time to appreciate every bit of what life provides to me...including the health and harmony of some of my very most favorite people.

on a more shallow (but equally sincere) note, i also take my bed for granted. i will, in the very near future, dive directly into my very own cozy bed in between my incredibly awesome sheets and covers, and i hope to sleep very soundly and peacefully (hopefully for about 480 minutes).

and tomorrow when i wake up, i will be a new more pleasant person than i was today.


peace (and quiet)...

grateful heart

Thursday, November 22, 2012

today (and every day), i have a million and one things for which to be thankful, with family and friends being at the top of my own list. the 'thankful in november' thing seemed to be pretty huge on facebook this year, and i love reading what everyone posted...

but it's never floated my boat because i really do make a conscious effort to appreciate what i have at the end of each day. on the good old life list, it's actually listed twice: once as 'practice daily gratitude' and the second time as 'celebrate life's gifts each day'.

i feel like a very lucky person who has been blessed probably more than necessary in too many ways to count, and i'm not complaining a single bit. i truly do appreciate each and every one of my blessings.

spending time in the middle of nowhere with the girls gave me plenty to appreciate...what a beautiful place! here are a few of my favorite pictures from our time at the ranch.

these two had a blast on the polaris...they can be so girly-girl, and then so rough and rugged. either way, it seems to be the simplest things in life that keep them happy.

the youngest gets the gate. apparently, this is a long-standing ranch rule. she was perfectly fine with that rule.

i grew up about two hours away from this ranch, so driving down the red dirt roads gave me lots of time to appreciate everything around me.

happy as a long-horned lark...

here's my quintessential texas picture: a cow (she tried to run off at first) who wanted me to get her picture by the tank and the windmill.

i think this was called dry salt creek - which made me laugh. dry. salt. creek. there's an oxymoron somewhere in there, i think, or at least a little bit of irony.

gate work isn't for the faint of heart, and after about two hours of driving around, jay was worn smooth out.

we found so many deer stands, and the views were amazing.

this was exactly how my sweet cee wanted to celebrate her 10th birthday. on a ranch, with her family, playing outside. such a simple request, and there isn't very much that i wouldn't do for her. she would eat brownies for every meal if i would let her, and i hope she enjoyed her time there as much as i think she did.

as much fun as i had, and as much time as i had to just 'be', i have to tell you that i don't do well without quick access to internet connections.

i realized that major world events could have unfolded and i would have no idea. i realized that i am a little too in to fantasy football and i don't like not being able to make roster changes. i realized that even though i'm not a huge twitter follower, i miss it when it's gone.

i realized that as long as i have the girls by my side, there isn't too much else that i need.

i realized there are so many things i take for granted, and i guess that was an unintended side effect of my journey to the unknown:

more time to appreciate things in the sense of absence makes the heart grow fonder. i'm not exactly sure where that falls on the spectrum of lessons learned, but it's definitely something.

here's jay's list of greatness, which made my heart smile...

i hope you and your families had a wonderful, safe, and relaxing thanksgiving, and i hope your turkey naps were good to you. until next time, peace...

going, going, gone...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

in just a few minutes, i'm leaving for the land of the unknown.

there's very little cell service where i'm going, and at best, there might be a dial-up connection. this alone is what i imagine that hell is probably like. you'd think i'm going on a foreign mission extravaganza to a third world country, but really, i'm only going a few hours north.

but still...

who doesn't have wireless or high speed internet access? it's 2012, people.

these two lovelies are the ultimate goal of my destination, which means that i can't wait to have them in my arms again...and that will be heavenly!

i can't wait to rescue them from the sugar and caffeine-induced madness to which they've been exposed.

not really. their dad tends to mess with me via the pictures he sends my way. he has probably been feeding them veggie dogs on organic whole grain buns with tofu cheese and a side of roasted root vegetables (also organic) and filling their days with other healthy things like sunshine and laughter and breathing in plenty of fresh, unpolluted air.

but i need to see them and hug them and hold them in my arms...just to be sure my suspicions are correct. :)


vampires, racecars, and practice turkeys

Saturday, November 17, 2012

i love sleep. a lot. i also love my friends. a lot. and i love twilight...not in a teeny-bopper way, and not in a vampire-lore kind of way, but i'm a sucker for romeo and juliet love stories.

there. i said it.


after waiting (impatiently) for over a year, thursday night, i went to see the new breaking dawn with a group of dear friends. so much fun! so worth staying up well past my bedtime! so fun to sit by someone with a british accent! so shouldn't have had the second vodka that i ordered...

and yesterday i really wasn't sure i would be able to make it through the day without dozing off.

somehow, i managed to survive, and after 12 hours of sleep last night, i feel like a new woman. i'm ready to conquer the world today!

when i say 'ready to conquer the world,' i mean that when i woke up at 7 am, i actually thought, 'i'm going to go for a jog!!' and then i checked the temperature and decided that 39 degrees wasn't ideal jogging weather, but instead an indicator that i should sleep for two more hours.

and so i did. that's how i intend to conquer the nap at a time.

i have nine days of no school, the girls are with their dad for a few days, and i have a million things i want to accomplish at home between now and tuesday.

something that's been all the buzz around austin for the last few months is finally here - formula one racing, aka f1, at circuit of the americas, aka 'cota'. it's finally here, and i think austin is going to be a huge, giant mess of people this weekend. messier than normal.

the whole home screen of today's statesman is nothing but f1...

i won't even pretend to know anything at all about f1 racing, but it has been fascinating to follow in the news. a real estate friend of mine was managing high-value properties for this week/weekend and there are ranches/estates renting for $20-150k for this event. i heard on the radio that a sheik booked the top three floors of the four seasons for the week. pocket change, i'm sure.

madness, right? i'm always amazed by events like this in the midst of a struggling economy. i can't quite put all the pieces together in my non-business-y mind, but supply and demand combined with the mindset of 'it takes money to make money' play a huge role in this, i'm certain.

my plan for the weekend is to hunker down at home (to avoid the mayhem), cross a million (or twenty-three) things off my to do list, meet up with a few friends for some much-needed catching up, fix a few things at home, and cook a few things (also at home).

cee's 10th birthday is wednesday (how is that possible?), and our thanksgiving is going to be a little different this year. i'm a creature of habit, so i'm going to have my own version of thanksgiving in advance of the real deal.

in the last few weeks, i have spent more time on hold with time warner cable than one would think was humanly possible, and i promise not to bore you with the gory details. hopefully i'm spending my last few minutes on hold with them right now, and then my weekend can officially begin.

i've been working on a couple of other posts for next week, and with any luck at all, the limited internet access i'm anticipating will allow me to get those out to you late next week. fingers crossed. :)

i am so excited for tomorrow's food network live thanksgiving show that i am literally counting down...23 hours and 53 minutes to go.

until next time, i hope your weekend and your week are filled with at least a little time to reflect on all of your own blessings and the things for which you're thankful. and i also hope that you are able to carve out some time in your life for truckloads of peace...

channeling garfield

Tuesday, November 13, 2012




it's been on my mind for the last 9 days.

the girls and their dad brought me the best lasagna ever for my birthday (which i've somehow managed not to mention until now). there is a divine little italian slice of heaven in downtown austin called carmelo's. they brought me the lasagna di manzo, and i swear it was the best thing i've ever, ever eaten.


i think the sauce had braised short ribs in it, and i think there were thinly sliced portabellas in there. regardless, whatever composed this fabulous dish was magical.

and don't even get me started on the side of broccoli mousse that came with it.

i made up my mind that i was going to recreate the lasagna on my own because i feel like something that great should be readily available to me at all times, without driving 15 miles and paying $18.

sunday i finally settled on giada's version. just to be clear, she and i have entirely different things in mind when we tell you something is easy to make.

for the next two and a half hours, i felt like martha as i bechamelled, mireproixed, and chiffonaded. i diced just like the recipe said. i tended to my sauces so they wouldn't scorch. i gently mixed this ingredient with that. i even folded and tempered.

and guess what...

it was just okay. i love giada...but this was not what i expected.


i feel like my life is suddenly incomplete - like i'm missing the keys to the universe, in the name of a recipe for the yummiest lasagna in the whole wide world.

or maybe i just need a key to carmelos. alas, my search continues.

in the meantime, if you have a great recipe for some great lasagna, feel free to share!!

peace and pasta...

friday's flock of faux-feathered friends

Saturday, November 10, 2012

yesterday, the girls and i got in the car to head to school, and when i opened the garage door, jay literally squealed. and then she said 'guys! there are flamingos in our yard!' not something i was expecting to hear.

what a super fun start to our day!!

rumor has it that mama o and her brood may have had a part in bringing these lovely visitors to our yard...the gift that keeps giving. i love them so much that i kind of want them to stay. but, knowing a good thing when i see it, i'm more than happy to donate to the cause at hand.

and speaking of getting flocked, my work email also got flocked yesterday in its own special kind of way. without getting into too much detail, a tech guy came to fix a problem with my email. in doing so, he inadvertently sent three emails to the entire district...from me.

the first one was called 'test', the second one was called 'dsgrhagrkl', and the third one was called '1234567890'. now, i'm not sure, but for some reason i feel like these emails would be been received more favorably if they at least contained a coherent, articulate message like 'testing group list'.

regardless, i had about 100 replies in less than two minutes of those emails being sent, and none of the replies i got were from people who were amused. even worse, instead of hitting reply, there are a lot of people in the district who have their settings fixed on 'reply all', so the irritated replies didn't just go to me. i may or may not have shed a few lots of tears.

among my favorite replies were:
-what are you testing and when can you stop? {wish i knew}
-have you been hacked? {yes, sort of}
-who do i contact to stop receiving your emails? {your guess is as good as mine}
-can you please unsend your original message so we stop getting all of these? {seriously? seriously.}
-please make it stop! {i would if i could}
-do you realize you're sending a lot of email messages? {again - seriously? seriously.}
-this is getting very annoying. {charming}
-followed by: i agree; and me too; and yes. {even more charming}

if it's never happened to you, trust me when i tell you that it's surprisingly alarming to get so many negative emails in such a short time frame - for something that wasn't your doing. it's weird to feel attacked and have no control over it.

i have to tell you, though, that these sweet smiles are all it takes to make everything better in my world.

and these guys also really know how to put a flocking smile on my face.

in case you were wondering what's up with the flock of flamingos, it's a fund raiser for project graduation. $10 to shoo them away, $15 to relocate them, and $20 for a no-return guarantee. this flock will be landing at a nearby elementary school in the very near future (sniff, sniff...i may need to make a flamingo purchase of my own...even my elderly neighbor friends are enjoying their company!).

today is cee's last soccer game of the season which means i'll have a few free weekends before jay's basketball season starts. always fun things to do and see. alright, we're off to enjoy our flocking weekend. hope you'll do the same!


a false sense of security?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

austin is a very liberal area. tonight, while watching the election results as they come in to cnn, i finally found something negative about living in such an amazing place as austin:

i've determined that surrounding yourself with a highly liberal demographic, while generally entertaining, exhilerating, and liberating, can create an air of a false positive.

when you see that we're a large group of blue liberals who are actually squished smack dab in the center of a bunch of 'red', you get a wicked gut-punch reality check.

no matter how you slice it, we're hunkered down on our own in a predominately red state.

and when you see the maps, even on cnn, that highlight how red your state actually is and how surrounded by red your state actually is, it causes lots of additional stress for a blue person like myself (yes, i realize my granny is probably shushing me right now).

so here's my question for you. do liberal people in the solid/consistently blue states stress as much as i do on election night? i swear i take away a few years of my life on the first tuesday of november, every four years.

it is my bed time (okay, fine - it's past my bed time), and i can't wait to wake up in the morning for some 'official' results.

peace and polling fun...

in case you were wondering...

Friday, November 2, 2012

...i managed to turn a few heads at home depot earlier this week.

usually i walk in and feel instantly invisible from the moment i cross the threshold...that place is definitely a man's world {insert james brown song}, and i'm normally more of a lowe's kind of gal.

however, if you walk in and ask for rope, duct tape, a black light, and a plastic tarp and flash an innocent smile, i guarantee that you'll garner some quick attention.

before you panic on me and think i've committed a horrible, messy crime, let me explain.

last weekend, i trimmed my front shrubs and i raked all the loose branches to the side of my house because my neighborhood has huge dumpsters this weekend (and those branches would have taken up all the extra room in my trash can). my genius plan was to wrap the branches in a plastic tarp so i didn't get leaves in my car. clean and neat.

and the rest of my mastermind supplies?

nothing more than a simple halloween decoration and a spooky light for my porch.

i'm sad to tell you that i have just relinquished my mom-of-the-year title because i did not a get a single picture of the girls dressed up in their costumes this year - while fighting a sinus infection, i've managed to have a fair amount of medicine head this week.

the great news is that i now have a z-pac and some tussin pearls (which are effective, but not nearly as glamourous as they sound like they should be)...

now i hope you'll excuse me while i wash those down with some chilly vino.

sleep awaits me in the very near future.

peace (and pearls)...

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