Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Belated Halloween Post

Hey all - I know I promised to post some pictures of the Halloween party and have not yet done so! I have been stealing all the pics our friends took at the party since I can't be trusted to document ANYTHING! Seriously, I am the worst with taking pictures. Every single time we have a party or get-together, I ready the camera and set it out in an obvious location so I will remember to take pics. But, I NEVER remember, and so I have to rely on friends' pics.

So, this year Jeff and I decided to go as Mario and Princess Peach (Nintendo characters, in case you didn't know). As always, we (I) decided to make our costumes; we just hate the flimsy store-bought ones, and it is always more original to create a costume! For all you DIY fans, here is what I went through to create our fab costumes: Jeff's was easy - Mario wears blue overalls, a red shirt, and a conductor's cap. I ordered the overalls from Wal-Mart, got a bright red shirt at American Apparel, and found a website that sells every color of caps and hats imaginable. Then I just added the details, like the M on the cap and the yellow oversized buttons, and his costume was complete! Of course I HAD to get him the funny cartoon hand gloves - they really topped it all off! My Princess Peach costume was NOT so simple. I studied a picture of her and compiled a list of the things I'd need: light pink dress with dark pink ruffle and accents, turqouise brooch, miniature jeweled crown, white gloves, and a blonde wig. YIKES! Luckily, I found the PERFECT pink dress on a dancewear website - it was a lyrical performance leotard/dance dress. I bought some dark pink satin and attached the ruffle with double-sided sewing tape because I can't sew to save my life. I also used the satin to fashion a sash like the one the princess wears. The same yellow foam from Mario's buttons worked perfectly as a crown, adorned with jewels from Joann Fabric. As luck would have it, I came across a bracelet made of chunky blue and turqouise ovals - after cutting the elastic, removing one oval, and backing it with the yellow foam and a safety pin, the brooch was complete! I slipped on a petticoat under the dress to get the flouncy skirt look. My get-up was complete with a trashy blonde wig and nylon elbow gloves from a costume shop. I must say that we pulled off the costumes quite nicely, and had a great time as our characters! I came to the conclusion that I am NOT meant to be a blonde in any form or fashion, however! Just look at the pic to see how unnatural it looks. Jeff thought so too...his exact words were: "eeww, I am glad you are a brunette!" ME TOO!!

In all, it was a great Halloween - most of our close friends were able to make it to the party, and there were tons of awesome costumes! Sarah and Derek came up with HILARIOUS Homer/Marge Simpson outfits; Sarah was crafty and made them herself as well (check out that hair - amazing!!) As always, John Adolph created a great home-made costume - this year, he was the child from Where the Wild Things Are. Classic!! Even though Rach and Jesse got many boos from UT fans because of their Tech t-shirts, they did look quite Olympic in their swimming gear! Our friends are definitely characters, and much fun was had by all. We had Mattito's catering, spooky punch, fierce flip-cup competitions, and general silliness. Another success (added bonus: no vomit on our walls or elsewhere)!

Derek visited Krispy Kreme a LOT that week to really get into character!

Stu and Adolph did NOT cheer for these swimmers!

A very naughty duo - PB and Paige!

Mark Antony and Cleopatra - very convincing, right?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day Tribute

Hey all, it's Veterans' Day, so I hope everyone took the time to reflect on the thanks we owe our veterans. I wanted to take this opportunity to write a short tribute to two very important veterans in my life: my grandfathers.

Casey Jones (aka Pa) was my paternal grandfather; he passed away almost a year ago. He served our country during World War II, and he was awarded several medals for his bravery. One thing that I never knew about him until his funeral was that he was willing to sacrifice himself for his fellow soldiers and almost did. There was a minefield that the men had to cross, but they were trapped and did not have the proper communication equipment to find a safe way across. My grandpa volunteered to walk across alone, leading the mule carrying their gear. He made it, and I can't even begin to fathom the courage it took to do what he did. He was a generous and loving person who spent his free time volunteering at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

Gerald Reeves (aka Grandaddy) is my maternal grandfather. He lives in Tyler, Texas and still loves to go out on his pontoon boat to fish! He served our country in World War II, helping to operate submarine missions. His ship pulled out of Pearl Harbor mere days before the tragedy that killed so many people. If he had not been on one of the ships that left the harbor, I probably would never have been born. Another time, his ship was fired upon and damaged badly; he and many of the men onboard had to swim to safety. He is one of the kindest, funniest people around; hopefully some of you got the chance to see him at my wedding!

Thanks to all our veterans! You are appreciated!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where did the month go?

After Rachel told me she was disappointed in me for not posting anything recently, I realized that it's been almost a month! I have no idea where the month of October has gone. Now that I am working (for a few more weeks, anyway) it seems that I have no extra time! The contract that I am on right now should last another couple of weeks; after that, I am not sure what's next. The contract attorney agency I work with is actually kind of busy right now, despite the terrible job market, so I might have more work through them, which would be great. Hopefully it will not be another 50-60 hr/week job though...I would like to get home before 8:30 some nights!

Anyway, as for what has been going on with us...not that much really. Jeff did buy a boat, so that is one big addition to our lives. Currently the "big addition" is hanging out in our carport/driveway because it was too big to fit in the garage. Jeff is considering finding a marina at Lake Ray Hubbard to house the boat; that way, he will have it right on the water when he wants to go out and fish. We haven't gotten to use the boat yet, unfortunately. We've had it about 2 weeks, but it's been in and out of the shop. First, a few minor maintenance issues had to be taken care of before bringing it home. Then last weekend, we did try to take it out, but we only managed to float around aimlessly since there was an electrical problem (courtesy of the wonderful mechanics that worked on it before). We had to recruit the extremely helpful marina manager to assist us in dragging the boat manually back onto the trailer since it would not go into gear once we got it into the water. Needless to say, Jeff has been rather frustrated with the situation. But once these little issues get fixed, I am sure we will have a great time catching fish! Or rather, Jeff will have a great time catching fish, and I will have a great time learning/trying to catch fish or just reading a book on the back of the boat.

In other news, our yearly Halloween party is coming up on Nov. 1 weekend, so be on the lookout for some pictures from that. We are actually going to two parties this year - one at my friend Jason's house on Friday night, then the one we are hosting at our house on Saturday. Double the costumes, double the fun! Of course we are wearing DIFFERENT costumes to both parties...couldn't repeat, now could we?! I have gotten extra crafty this year with our costumes, if I do say so myself. I'll post pics ASAP.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The ups and downs of spray tanning

So, I decided to go get a spray tan tonight after work. Cat's wedding is coming up this weekend, and since I'll be wearing a black bridesmaid dress, I wanted to bring a little color into my pasty skin. My previous experiences with spray tan have not been good. A couple years ago I tried the Mystic Tan device (twice) to disastrous results - I looked like an Oompa Loompa for several days. Apparently the tanning components do not produce a natural reaction with my skin tone. Also, the experience was scary. You stand in this capsule, press the button, and it closes around you - then an electronic countdown gives you barely enough time to take a deep breath before you are vaporized by this strong smelling, foul tasting spray. (I guess you are supposed to hold your breath since it only takes about a minute, but invariably I would panic and take a big gulping breath, allowing the toxic tasting spray to coat the inside of my mouth). After my first Mystic experience, I for some reason thought the color was not too bad, so a few weeks later I did it again. (Later I saw pictures of myself and realized that it did not, in fact, look good). I didn't enjoy my second time any more than the first - it was actually even WORSE becuase I knew what was coming. For some reason the idea of being trapped inside that booth terrified me, and again I gulped a mouthful of tanning spray. Needless to say, I decided that my Mystic tanning days were over. A couple years passed...and now they have a new device - the VersaSpa. I'd heard that it is geared towards different skin tones, and people who looked orange-y with Mystic were impressed with the natural coloration in Versa. So, I decided to try it. And....I was pleasantly surprised. The best thing about it is that the booth is open, so there is less claustrophobia and more fresh air. Also, you can pick your grade of tanning - bronzer or clear (clear), and light, medium or dark (medium). Even though I was initially feeling panicky, it was actually quick and easy. And, I managed to get a nice even tan that looks natural, not orange. The only mishap came when I tried to put on the shower cap to cover my hair before the session started. I grabbed accap out of the bin and tried to squeeze it onto my head. It would not fit. I tried it at a different angle, but it still would not fit. I eventually forced it onto my head, thinking that either it was a toddler-sized shower cap or I have a gigantic head. Turns out, neither. The "shower cap" was actually one of the disposable foot booties that you can wear if you're worried about your feet/toenails getting too dark!!!!! No wonder I could not fit the thing over my entire head (and hair) goes on your FOOT!! Anyway, I figure if that is the worst thing that happened, I am doing well - VersaSpa is a success!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bella's Bad Behavior

Animals are a lot smarter than people give them credit for...our cat Bella is a great example of this. Every night, she sleeps at the foot of our bed, and every morning between 6:00 - 7:00 she tries to get us out of bed by meowing incessantly. I don't know why she has decided that this is the perfect time to get up, no matter what day of the week it is or how much/little sleep we got that night. Most of the time, we are not quite ready to get up at 6:00 a.m. - OK, we are NEVER ready to get up that early - so we take turns getting up and locking her in the other half of the house (extra bedroom, TV room and office). That's where her food/water and cat tree perch are, so she usually settles back down and goes to sleep until we actually do get up and let her out. Lately her methods have been evolving in her quest to get us up early, and this is why I say that animals are quite clever. When we first moved into the house, she would jump onto bed with us (usually with a toy like her fuzzy mice or a hair elastic stolen from the bathroom) and meow in our faces. It was easy to just grab her and take her to "her room" for the rest of the night. Then, several months later, she started sitting in the doorway or at the foot of the bed to meow. So then we would get out of bed, grab her and put her up. WELL, she figured out quickly that every time we got out of bed to come to her, it wasn't to praise/pet/play with her, so she began sitting outside the bedroom doorway and meowing until we got up to come find her. She would make sure that we saw her as we came around the corner before taking off running down the hall, where she would either hide behind the couch or under the dining room table. I guess she thought that if she could keep us at bay for longer, we might just give up stay awake with her for good. She quickly realized that it was still pretty easy for us to reach under the table or behind the couch, so now she has figured out the BEST morning wake-up routine. What she has recently started doing is positioning herself UNDERNEATH our bed in the very center where neither of us can reach and then meowing as we stumble around in the dark and try to figure out where she is. She did this to me a few days ago, and when I could not find her after looking in all the rooms, I went back to bed. She waited about 10 minutes and then started up with the meowing again from under the bed!!!! So now when she does this, I have to go sit on the living room couch until she decides that maybe I actually did get up, at which point she saunters in to say good morning and I grab her and send her to her room!! I just have to wonder...what will she come up with next??

Monday, September 15, 2008

What is wrong with Richard Simmons?

I am not kidding...what in the world is WRONG with this guy? OK, we all know he is silly, but his appearance on David Letterman tonight was beyond anything I can describe!! Did anyone else see this? I mean, he has to be on drugs, right?! In his 5minute segment, he (while wearing a red feathered tank top and his signature striped shorts) sang ABBA songs from Mamma Mia, bounced around stage and stood on the sofa, and grinned at the camera in a great impression of a manic chipmunk. I honestly think Letterman was a bit frightened...and who could blame him? I mean, Richard Simmons is AWESOME to watch on TV (in a horribly awkward way), but you honestly have to wonder about the kind of people who go on his get-fit self-help cruises...who actually wants to encounter this man in person, much less be stuck on a boat with him for a week?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kauai here we come!

This weekend Jeff and I booked a Christmas vacation to Kauai! Our good friend Mike Morath has access to some excellent condos in Princeville, and his parents have an amazing home on the island as well. He was nice enough to invite us to stay for a while, and of course we can't wait to check out the beautiful island - hiking, kayaking, beaches...all the stuff we love! It should be awesome, and we are so excited!

Since this is our first year of holidays as a married couple, it takes some planning to coordinate visits to both families. Luckily, Tyler is only a 2 hour drive, so the Jones family is never too far away! So we will probably spend Thanksgiving out there and then do a Christmas visit in Tyler as well the weekend before actual Christmas. Our planning is also working out perfectly so that we get to have a Prudhomme family Christmas in Hawaii - Jeff's parents will be on Oahu visiting Mike and Amy (brother and sister-in-law) and their NEW BABY at that time. So, we'll be flying into Honolulu first to visit the Prudhommes and then later to Kauai to visit Mike Morath.

Now the mission is to get into great shape again before then...wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I think there is some kind of screw loose in my brain...

My mind sometimes poses questions to itself on the most random topics – they usually catch me off guard by coming to me at inexplicable times, like there is someone else in my head thinking of these ideas and springing them on me unexpectedly. Like today, I thought – “I wonder what would happen if I was forced to only breathe through a straw? How long would it be before I freaked out? Would I eventually die? It would probably be better if the straw was hard plastic, like the kind in a thermos, rather than soft plastic because the soft plastic could eventually cave in on itself or even disintegrate.” I am not sure when or if this random musing will ever be of any use to me – perhaps if I get trapped in an aquarium with only a few inches of air at the top (so likely).

Does anyone else ever think of weird stuff like this? Maybe it’s just a sign that I have too much time on my hands….but to that I can only thumb my nose at the abysmal job market.

Book Update

OK, so I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I am not going to give anything away in case anyone else wants to read it (let me know if you want to borrow my copy). It is beautifully written - the author obviously missed his calling (he was a software engineer for most of his life until publishing his first book, which is this one). I was surprised by the way it ended - anyone looking for a happy go-lucky, everything turns out perfectly type of ending will be disappointed. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down - I read it during breakfast and lunch, and then while I was riding my spin bike in the guest house! It is not the straightforward boy-and-his-dog story I expected - there are some elements of the supernatural thrown in and it's also very suspenseful. I came out of reading it a bit confused - on one hand, I was angry at the resolution of the conflict, but on the other, I couldn't deny that it is a great book! Read it for yourself to find out what I mean.

Also, I quickly read a fun little book about the secret life of children in Manhattan private schools. It's called "Schooled" by Anisha Lakhani. The basic gist is that the rich parents pay Ivy-league educated "tutors" to complete their children's homework, essays, reports, projects, etc for them so that they get better grades. The lady who wrote it is an ex-teacher/tutor from an elite private school. It is a hilarious, if disturbing, view into a world that seems totally unfathomable to me. For some reason I get immense pleasure out of books like this - others I've read include Prep and Nanny Diaries. I think I love it because even though some things seem absurd, the fact that these things actually happen makes it even more absurd. I definitely recommend it as a fun and mindless read!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yes, I admit it - I am a book nerd. I am literally ALWAYS reading, and I usually have more than one book going at a time. So, since lots of my friends/family members also love to read, I thought I would start posting about the books I am currently reading/ have just finished. Maybe you've read some of them too, or maybe you'd like to read them (or avoid them) based on my comments. If you want to borrow any of my books, let me know and we could do an exchange - I am always looking for good new reads.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (2008)
So far - love it! I saw an interview with the author on the Today show and decided to pick it up. It's his first novel; he had the idea over 10 years ago and set out to write his book, but realized he didn't know anything about being an author. So, he went back to school, went through many drafts, and eventually published the book, which is almost 600 pages. I thought it was an impressive story of a first-time writer, so I picked it up. So far it's about a little boy who was born mute in the 1960s; the book follows his life on his family's dog-breeding farm. Since he does not speak, he is very observant and insightful. He develops a close relationship with one of the family's dogs, who understands his sign language and shares a type of communication that is more intellectual than physical with the boy. I feel like something sad is bound to happen...after all, dogs' lives are short compared to humans', so I expect it may be a tear-jerker in the end. I'll let you know soon, as I think this will be one that I can't put down!

Nutrient Timing, by John Ivy, Ph.D, and Robert Portman, Ph.D. (2004)
Not a gripping read, but a necessary one, as my body is beginning to rebel against my efforts to stay fit! The scientists who wrote this book figured out a precise formula for the implementation of the key nutrients promoting lean muscle mass in your diet. Jeff has been working out according to this plan and a new weight-lifting schedule, and he is looking great! I will let you know how my quest for a hot bod goes!

All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy (1992)
Recommended: YES, but some may get frustrated with his writing style, which is compared to Faulkner (not everyone's cup of tea).
This was something different than what I usually read in that it is a true western. Cowboys, horses, gun-slinging, etc. The author has a gift for scenery description and an interesting way of telling his story. For one thing, there are NO quotation marks in the entire book. So, if there is a dialogue going on between several people, you have to pay attention more closely to follow it. It takes place in the mid-1900s in the plains and ranches of south Texas and Mexico.
Oh yeah, there is also a movie based on the book - made sometime in the 90's, starring Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (1943)
Recommended: YES, but if you like a lot of action in your books, you will be disappointed.
I had always heard about this book - I think some high schools/colleges require it, but mine didn't so I finally got around to reading it. It follows the life of a little girl born to an extremely impoverished family in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. The author grew up in the same type of conditions described in the book, so even though it's not an autobiographical novel, the setting is at least an accurate portrayal of how it was. Very interesting to read about a place which is so urbanized today - the descriptions of life in Brooklyn back then are fascinating, if a little heart-wrenching at times.