Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis the season to not blog...

Our tree!


Theodore waiting for Santa. :)

Surprise! Christmas is busy! While I've had many reflections and many potential blog posts swirling around in my head...no time to write about them. We have had a full and lovely Christmas season while trying not to over-do it. It has been quite successful so far. Our season has consisted of: Veritas girls' and guys' night, a cookie exchange/stained glass party at Linnet's, hosting our small group's Christmas pot luck, the Houston Achievement Place Gala with the Richards, Veritas Christmas party, Taft St. Art Market, Tucker's (my uncle) reception for his art at a local gallery, watching the Cowboys with the Halgrens, SNOW in Houston, Lights in the Heights, Deily Family Christmas, BSB Christmas, the Richards' party for the Thompsons...etc. etc...phew! One of my favorite parts of this season has been a pleasant surprise component of my job. I managed our holiday "Stocking Stuffer" adopt-a-family program, and it was such a daily blessing to (early on) match our client families with community donors and then watch it all come together. Cason and I were even able to contribute a bit, and it was so much fun. It's good to have that reminder of to be so thankful for what we have and to always be generous with what God has blessed us with.
Just about 2 days until Christmas...here's to the upcoming celebrations and having the 23rd-Jan.5 off!


Congrats to Miss Amanda Lewis, who will soon be Mrs. Erik Hill. I'm ecstatic for them- she will be a BEAUTIFUL bride.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brrrr!


I like this. I don't want to move to Wisconsin or anything, but I like this. It's fun while it lasts too...tomorrow it'll be 60 again, but today I get to wear my scarf and my hat and pretend like we have winter weather in Houston. It's fun around the holidays, but in February or March when it usually comes, it feels dreadfully late!

Friday, December 5, 2008

To catch a thief...

I was about to write a cute, sappy little entry on all the “little” things I love about the holidays- my own little daily pleasures: peppermint mocha coffee mate, Sunny 99.1 and KSBJ Christmas music all the time, abstract Christmas tree in the lobby of my office (built by the neighboring architects in our building) and my “Nuit de Noel” (Christmas Night) vintage perfume from Paris that I only wear in December…
But last night our Christmas lights got stolen! Off our house! I took this picture on Tuesday…

So the white ones are gone and they left the multi-colored ones in the bushes and on the posts. We didn’t get out of the car to “investigate” because we needed to get to work. We were backing out of the driveway and driving in front of the house and I said, “Hey, the lights on the eave are gone!” Cason turned around and sure enough…

Talk about feeling violated…and having so many questions! Who steals CHRISTMAS LIGHTS?! Was it a stupid teenager prank? Is there an Ebenezer Scrooge on our street? Did a family that was too poor to buy lights really want 3 strands of C9 white lights? We didn’t have five inflatable decorations or anything obnoxious…only four people on our street have lights, and we are at the VERY end…in an almost cul-de-sac.

I called the constable this morning on the way to work, just to let them know. The dispatcher was even like “Are you serious? Someone did that?” I let her know that I didn’t want to file a report, I just wanted to let them know and have their night patrol be on the lookout.

Maybe we will re-hang them. Who knows- they could be in a heap on our porch and we don’t even know yet.

Maybe we’ll leave a sign, or $10 in an envelope- “Save us both the trouble and go buy your own at Wal-Mart. Merry Christmas! Love, the Whites”

UPDATE! LIGHTS WERE FOUND IN THE BUSHES WHEN CASON AND I GOT HOME FROM WORK! mystery continues...stealer's remorse? Were they spooked when I went to the bathroom to blow my nose and get water at 3AM? The world may never know...but we have our lights!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wait- just one more about Thanksgiving--

I have to admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I didn't do my "what I am thankful for this year" post, or anything about Thanksgiving really, and it seems like Thanksgiving disappears quite quickly onces the dishes have been washed and the UT/A&M game clock has run down. So, as I stop time for a minute- I am going to celebrate Thanksgiving with 10 things I'm thankful for in 2008 (in no particular order) and then some pictures from the big day.

  • our "new" house in an old neighborhood with the opportunity to learn Houston as an adult with a new appreciation for its arts, restaurants, museums, culture and the down-to-earth nature of the city
  • we are both employed- a blessing we don't take for granted
  • our kittens, Winston and Theodore
  • we made it through Hurricane Ike with no damage (just lots of yard limbs and 10 days w/0 power)
  • our wonderful Sunday school class- Veritas...feels like we've known these couples for years!
  • Family Services allowed me to work my first 4 months part-time while I finished the school year at WJH
  • I have a family of in-laws that I am just as comfortable with/enjoy as much as my "own" family
  • our trip to Washington D.C. over Spring Break
  • that I have found a new hobby that is challenging and good for me (running!)
  • our first anniversary and a husband that I continue to fall in love with each and every day

And for our Thanksgiving Day:

To start the day...Rock Band!
The cooks! A Thanksgiving toast.Nephews...
Nap...

Nerts!

Now you may return to your regularly scheduled Christmas season... more on that soon.

OH! Before I forget...guess what we saw on Jeopardy for REAL tonight...

Alex: "In this play, the duke of Albany is Goneril’s Husband"

Cason: "what is KING LEAR!"

and he was right! It was finally the real answer...or, question rather :o)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BPMs and a "semi-cold" run

For all the time I spend running, I don't have a "running" playlist on my ipod. I still prefer the random surprise of the apple gods choosing my next song out of my 4,482 on good 'ol shuffle. Cason also thinks I should keep my ipod on my arm, but I prefer to hold it- easier to keep on shuffling if I hit a dud. More on the music in a minute. I hit 2 milestones this weekend with my run- I ran ten miles, and it was my first "semi-cold" run. I say semi-cold because it was late morning/mid-day Saturday, glorious weather in the 50s/60s at Memorial Park. A semi-cold run is interesting. Your body can't quite figure out how to process the situation (i.e. in the shade, your nose runs and your eyes tear, but in the sun, your face sweats- stay hydrated!) Back to the music. I don't know if anyone else analyzes this much, but when you have almost 2 hours of running, you think of these things.


Some songs I enjoy because of their BPMs (beats per minute.) This means my little ipod serves as a metronome for my legs and keeps my pace going at a desired speed. I think songs with about 210 bpms work well for my pace. Songs that fall right around that category: "Tequila" (yes, that "Tequila") "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray, "Are You In" by Incubus. If a song happens to be in 3/4 time, sometimes it's fun, but sometimes it's too much to keep up with the beats because I end up doing a right-left-right, left-right-left deal in my run (all those other runners don't realize I'm waltzing- ha.) "Noise and Kisses" by The Used works well- it's about 210, and it's in 3/4.

In case you couldn't already tell, I have a lot of random music on my ipod- almost every genre. I've found that my collection of Latin music works very well for running. Lots of percussion heavy stuff by bands like Buena Vista Social Club is fantastic, and there's some fast stuff by Linda Ronstadt on her "Canciones de mis Padres" album. (This is the album I would wake up to on Saturday mornings - at about 5 years old- when my dad was flipping pancakes and singing along. You pick up this stuff when your dad has Puerto Rican family and you're born in Mexico.) I also have a really fun Indian song (thanks to Aunt Sylvia) by Pan'jabi MC that has GREAT percussion/lots of energy.
Here's a summary of my run:
Mile 1-3: Body was confused by weather (snot, tears or sweat?) went clockwise around Memorial, feeling good (28:30)
Mile 4-6: Body getting into the "groove," went counter-clockwise around Memorial, started smelling someone grilling burgers in the park at the end of mile 6, wished I was cooking out instead (31:17)
Mile 7-9: No breathing/cramp problems, but joints start to stress- especially ankles and hips...or wherever your leg connects to your pelvic bone, went clockwise again (35:00)
Mile 10: Thighs and knees join in burning protest, literally just trying to get to 10, counter-clockwise (12:06- HA)
As you can see I get slower as I go...
I didn't even get into the songs that just WORK for me (correct BPMs or not!) but what works for you? What are your "get up and go" songs? Or maybe they are just "make it through mile 10, no matter how slowly." :o)

Oh yeah, walked to the Greek Festival with my team on Friday-I had a gyro, dolmades and koulourakia for lunch. Opa! Also on Friday we went to paint with Veritas at Mad Potter. Here are some pics from the event. No pictures of our final product- we don't have them yet AND they are Christmas gifts!

The group working- Bethany got very "accountant" about her wreath plate. :o)

And...go!

Cute turtle by team Houser


Erin showing us how big the DuBroc baby is with the Mad Potter sponges. :o) She's a beautiful mommy-to-be.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is JEOPARDY

One of our favorite little couple pastimes is to watch Jeopardy together. We have a few rules. You cannot shout out the "question" until Alex is finished reading the "answer." Cason gets frustrated if I accidentally jump the gun because I am a faster reader. :o) Also, it never gets old, but if Cason doesn't know the "question" he shouts out with great enthusiasm, "KING LEAR!"


It cracks me up every time, and this is one of the little snapshots of our marriage. I hope Jeopardy still exists when we are old, retired, loving married folks that start to look alike.


Oh, and have I mentioned I love my city? Especially in November. Just glorious.




Monday, November 17, 2008

Operation: Red Kitchen...Success!

Our kitchen is now "brick dust" and I am thrilled! The project didn't infringe on any weekend plans either! We still went to dinner with the Cabiros, Veritas Worship Night, had the sweet grandparents over, went to B's musical (Crazy for You,) church, vision meeting, Jamie's party, and over to the Halgrens' for the Cowboys game! phew!






Also, just to make you smile, here is a really adorable picture that my friend Tamara emailed today.

Also, while painting, I had my ipod on shuffle. A song came on that I hadn't heard in a very long time. It's the song "Brighten my Heart" by Sixpence None the Richer from the Exodus worship CD (circa 1999.) It's a really poetic song, and it's beautiful in it's simplicity and sincerity. You should get it on itunes, but until then...here is the song, and my prayer.

Brighten My Heart

My heart is as dark as the soil sodden with winter rains.

My soul is as heavy as the peat freshly dug from the bog.

My thoughts swirl like willow branches caught in autumn winds.

My body as tense as a cat's as it stalks it's prey.

Help me open my heart to You,

Help me open my heart to You,

Help me open my heart to You, oh Jesus.

It's what I long to do.

My heart is as dark as the soil sodden with winter rains.(Lord, brighten my heart)

My soul is as heavy as the peat freshly dug from the bog.(Lord, lighten my soul)

My thoughts swirl like willow branches caught in autumn winds.(Lord, still my thoughts)

My body as tense as a cat's as it stalks it's prey.(Lord relax my body)

Repeat chorus.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Five, five dollar, five dollar foot-long

That's what we were singing along with the TV last night as we stapled the material back to the underside of our box spring. First of all, I am very thankful for a husband who can be quite silly and loves to make up little songs, dance around the house, etc. Back to the original story, allow me to explain. Winston and Theodore, our little boys, decided that they wanted to make a fort out of our box matress. They somehow got the material off of the staples underneath the bed and made quite a hideout. It really wasn't a huge deal- at least it wasn't destruction that showed, but it was one of the many projects we worked on this weekend- kitty-proofing the underside of our bed. Crazy boys.

Other projects: cleaning the garage and replacing bulbs in our front yard lights... I got to start on my other two projects I mentioned before, and they are both going to be tough. As for the beginning of the stocking, Winston thought he could help. I appreciated the moral support, but not when he ran off with the thread. Cason and I also went to Lowe's (to buy the aforementioned staple gun and lawn light bulbs) and we found some potential shades of red for the kitchen. I always (as many of us have) wonder who gets to think of the names for the colors. I have been fascinated by that concept of naming things like catalogue sweater shades, lipstick colors and of course, paint swatches. I would LOVE that job. Maybe just part-time or on the weekends- spend a few hours lost in my imagination to think that that shade of red should be called "Bangkok Rust," "Sweet Spiceberry," "Barn Door" or "Spanish Tile." One of my favorite names from the swatches I pulled (a lighter shade of three) was "Cinnamon Diamonds." So much sexier than "mauve" but it was about the same color. So, I am leaning towards "Brick Dust" or "Belle Grove Flamestitch Red." The latter is too much of a mouth full. That color-namer wasn't very good, so he/she had to crowd the name with superflous words. Poor color-namer.


In other news- we had our huge fundraising event for work on Friday night, "Una Notte in Italia." It was a men's fashion show by Festari for Men featuring their suits, complete with cocktails, dinner, and dancing. 600+ were in attendance- I saw some CRAZY outfits on these ladies. Oh, society. We had some local "celebrities" in attendance (a few Houston Texans, Erica Rose, of infamous Bachelor fame, Jeff and Ericka Bagwell, and the Lopez siblings of Olympic taekwondo fame.) Our auction made over $87,000- the event in general, over $300K. It was a lot of hard work, but I learned so much and feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I really, really love my super team that I work with. One of the funnier jobs I had: along with all the crazy press, I was put in charge of four younger male models (probably our age, actually or maybe 22) and I had to tell them where to stand/how to parade the live auction boards around/monitor where they were etc. It was hilarious, and it was so awkward, I felt like we were using them, but I guess that is their livelihood- standing around and looking good. They were very nice and very compliant. :) All in all, a success, and we will do it all again next fall.




The next day, we had two more co-ed flag football games with Veritas. My sweet husband made a touchdown, but later in that game, the ref made a HORRIBLE call, so Cason made a sarcastic comment. He got an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty. Poor boys. Sometimes they forget it's just co-ed flag football for church. On Sunday afternoon, I took a crazy pill and ran nine miles. My body was very mad at me. Here's to January 18th and that silly half-marathon!



















Thursday, November 6, 2008

Can't help it, girl, can't help it

I can't help it. I love projects. It must have to be about about the process...the completion...maybe it's the same thrill of satisfaction as when I cross something off a to-do list. Something about seeing a finished product- the evidence of spending my time/energy/effort... something about the learning too, especially if it's new- something I have never done before. I love that my job is almost all projects...deadlines...a beginning and an end. Christmas season has a lot of projects with getting cards out, getting gifts together, etc. One small fall project I completed was this wreath. Nothing fancy and not much sacrificed except an hour-ish (but Brooke was over so we just talked the whole time) about $13 and a couple of burned fingers since I was out of practice with the hot glue gun.
I have two MUCH tougher, never-attempted projects coming up.

The first is Cason's stocking. This is the kit...lots to cut and sew...little beads and sequins. My great Aunt Clara made Bucilla stockings for all of us, so this one will at least be the same "genre" as mine IF I can do it. Will it be finished by this Christmas? We'll see- jury's still way out.



















The second is a red kitchen. This is a pretty bold move for me, but our tile, counter, backsplash and cabinets are all fairly neutral, so it shouldn't be overwhelming. We would also only do the kitchen- not the breakfast nook. This is the look I'm going for:

Looks like we might have to do lighting too. Eek! Yes, I know red makes you more hungry. Oh well.
Here goes nothing...where's Martha when you need her?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time...

We all have plans...short-term and long term...what I hope to do tomorrow and what I hope to do in five years. One of my new in-between-term plans is to run the Houston Half-Marathon in January. I guess one of the exciting things about life is you can always redefine things about yourself. For those of you that have known me for any length of time, you know that I am NOT athletic. As of last...MARCH I couldn't even run a mile. Due to just incremental work, since then, I have run 2 5Ks and now am planning to do a 5 mile race in December and then run this crazy half marathon in January (thank you, Bethany and Cindy.) It is VERY exciting to me, but certainly not a huge deal. This is my running sanctuary: Rice University(first picture) I also have to give credit to my first love: Memorial Park (below.)














Seriously, both are wonderful, and Rice is a perfect place to run, especially since it's on our drive home from work. The end of Daylight Savings time has since ruined THAT idea though. I mean, I can still get in 3 mi. cutting it close, but 6...MAYBE if I leave work early. Anyway...I don't like the end of Daylight Savings Time, but here are some things I do like about Fall:



I especially like this last picture. I don't know why...maybe because it's getting darker and colder, maybe because there's a bit of mischief around Halloween time, but I am always intrigued by the mystery that enters with autumn and lingers with winter until departing with spring. Maybe it's the gusts of wind that start kicking up leaves and howling about...maybe it's just my over-active imagination.
Regardless, I like it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I, I always believed in futures, I hope for better in November

Well, the election is over- I'm relieved. It's exhausting to be a political junkie. I have been extensively following this election for a year. (I realize some have followed longer, but still...it's been awhile.) I made my students keep up with primaries, and I tried to answer questions like "what's the difference between republican and democrat?" in a manner suitable/digestible for junior high students. We colored our states red and blue and kept a tally while names like Edwards, Romney, Richardson and Huckabee were still in the race. Isn't it beautiful? Don't we live in a wonderful country? I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but I hope that he does wonderful things for our nation and proves me wrong. I hope he transforms our nation in a difficult time. I hope he inspires unity and strength. Most importantly, I hope he seeks the Lord's wisdom- he has a tricky job ahead.


We went to Baylor Homecoming this weekend- such a wonderful time, as always. For those of you that don't know, this was my 24th Baylor Homecoming to attend- I've only missed one my whole life. I have tender memories from my childhood, bundling up to go to the parade and seeing the bears; fun and exhausting memories from my college years, pulling all-nighters to get the float done and performing in Pigskin; and now sweet times to reconnect with dear friends that I used to see every day...now I only see a few times/year. Anyway, this year was probably the first post-grad year that not even one little part of me still wanted to be in college. I know that sounds lame, but especially the first fall I went back, I was like "Dang it! This is so fun, why did I have to graduate?" This year had just the right amount of nostalgia but plenty of satisfaction as well. I'm content in my life stage and it is full of wonderful blessings. It was an added bonus to see my sweet little sister perform in Tridelt's Pigskin act. I love that we've both danced on that stage. As Paige mentioned, I think that Homecoming will evolve more and more into a structured reunion of friends with more plans and more intentional social gatherings as we get older. Regardless- it's always great to return to Waco.