Monday, June 27, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 12

Day 12: A Picture Of Something I'm Afraid Of

The above picture represents something I am, indeed, very afraid of: Cancer. It has to be one of the most horrifying things that exists in this world. Childhood cancer is particularly detestable. Even though I am not yet a parent, I can't imagine anything more terrifying than watching your child suffer from a disease so devastating and unpredictable.

I personally know several brave people who have fought battles with cancer and won. I also know some who have lost the battle and some who are still fighting. Hopefully someday there will be a cure so that future generations will be able to fully defeat this fearsome disease.

My own personal experience with cancer was very minor compared to so many people's, and for that I feel extremely lucky. My melanoma was at an early stage, so excision was all that was needed - no scans, chemo, radiation, or any of the other horrible things so many cancer patients go through. It's been two years, and there's no sign of recurrence or spreading. And thanks to the plastic surgeon who performed the excision, my scar is very faint and flat...I could almost forget that it's there. Except I never will.

Friday, June 24, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: A Picture of Something I'd Like to Learn

I would love to learn to sew. Wouldn't it be handy to just be able to whip up a table cloth, a quilt, or a costume? The problem is, I just don't have the patience for it. Also, I don't have a sewing machine. Details, details!

Both of my grandmothers were really gifted seamstresses in their day. My Nanny was always making warm, snuggly quilts, and one time she even made me an entire family of Care Bear pillows for my bed! My Granny was the go-to costume maker. I was CLEARLY the best-dressed at every Halloween with these awesome creations.

Here I am as Snow White - check out those details - amazing, Granny!

And it would be a shame to leave out my fabulous Rainbow Brite costume, also made by Granny. Check out the leg-warmers!! Hideous bowl haircut sold separately. Let me guess, Mom...this was one of those "OK, you don't want to let me fix your hair, I'll cut it all off" situations, huh?

My mom sews a bit as well, and made me this sweet little stuffed owl when I was little - I named him Hooter. She claims that I was begging for a stuffed owl, and the only way she could get me to shut up and take a nap was to promise me she'd make me one while I was asleep! Who me, being a pest? Surely not!

Here I am with Hooter in my awesome tiger costume (not sewn by any family members...passed down from my older cousin).

I know Mom will hate that I posted a pic of Hooter on here...she thinks he's the ugliest thing ever created. And sure, maybe he's a bit homely, but he was made with love and I adored him. I'll also mention that Mom has sewn lots of other less homely things as well. She's made some great table cloths for friends' baby and wedding showers!

You would think that a little bit of sewing craftiness would just come naturally to me with talented family members like this. But no. I tried to sew a stuffed dog one time when I was younger. I wish I had a picture of it, because it was truly pathetic. I'm pretty sure I ended up sticking the legs on with toothpicks!

But I don't even need to be as good a seamstress as the women in my family. At this point, just sewing a button back onto a shirt would be an accomplishment. I have found myself in need of some sewing skills on several occasions...mostly for making my own Halloween costumes now that I am older and my grandmothers would not likely be too enthusiastic about making a "Sexy Velma" costume for a 29-yr old woman! Maybe someday I'll learn. Until then, I'll just stick to my motto regarding crafts: If it can't be done with glue and double-sided tape, just forget it!

15-Day Challenge: Day 10

Oops, I've kind of fallen behind on my posts and missed a couple days! Without further ado...Day 10: A Picture of Something I Wish I Was Better At

OK, that's just freaky.

Have you guessed what I wish I was better at yet? NO, not contortionism. Yoga! I absolutely suck at yoga. I do not find it relaxing, meditative, or enjoyable in the least.

For one thing, I am NOT flexible. At all. I spend the entire class straining to twist my body into some semblance of the different positions, sweating waaay too much for a yoga class (I've never even DONE hot yoga...I might pass out). Forget focusing on my breathing, I am lucky if I even remember to breathe at ALL while trying to figure out how to get from Warrior Pose to Triangle Pose without falling over.

Also, I suddenly develop ADD in yoga classes. I think it's because I am used to my workouts being really action-packed with loud music and lots of movement to keep my attention. Put me in a quiet yoga studio, with soft music, and I am immediately looking around the class for something to distract me. One time I almost had to leave class because I was giggling to myself about this crazy long toe the lady in front of me had! It was seriously gross. Oh, and I giggle at the cheesy crap the instructors say, too. I really just can't keep a straight face if you are telling me to "reach within myself to find my energy ball." Sorry. Just not gonna happen!

So, yeah...I think maybe yoga is not the exercise discipline for me. Even though I really think that in THEORY, it looks so nice and relaxing. Oh well. Namaste!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 9

Day 9: A Picture of My Favorite Restaurant

If you'd asked me 10 years ago if I thought my favorite restaurant would ever be a sushi joint, I'd have answered with an emphatic...BLECH! My, how things change! Fish has never really been my favorite food, and actually it still isn't - I really don't love cooked fish whatsoever. Give me the raw stuff, please! OK, OK, don't let me totally fool you...I am still not a hard-core sushi eater. I don't do sashimi - I need a little rice or some delicious avocado with my raw fish, thank you very much! Thank goodness I can actually use chopsticks now - I looked pretty lame the first few times I tried to eat it with my fingers or a fork!

If you ever go to Sushi Axiom, you absolutely MUST try these selections: Henderson Roll, Axiom Roll, Tower of Pisa, Mt. Axiom, and Rainbow Roll. Oh, and the Dragon Lady martini, of course! Actually, you can't go wrong, no matter what you order here. I pretty much love it all!

It's almost always where I have my birthday dinners. Here's a pic of this year's birthday celebration with my most lovely work girls - too bad most of us have the demon eyes in this pic!!

We just so happened to be in the middle of some of the worst weather Dallas has seen this spring/summer! As tornado sirens went off outside, we sipped our martinis and enjoyed our sushi. At one point Beverly commented " it supposed to be raining tonight?" At least if I had gotten swept away by a giant tornado, I would have really enjoyed my last meal!

Monday, June 20, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 8

Day 8: A Picture of My Most Treasured Item

I am not much of a materialist. “Things” don’t hold that much value for me – things are things and can be replaced. So, the things that are most important to me are sentimental treasures. One of my most treasured items is definitely Sweet Puppy – my very first stuffed animal! (Creative name, I know...I swear I did have a good imagination as a child!)

I carried Sweet Puppy with me everywhere when I was little - I mean everywhere. Not just around the house and to bed, but to grocery stores, friends' houses, and once, to a dressing room in Mervyn's (haha...anyone remember Mervyn's?!) where I accidentally left him. I of course realized that he was gone once we had driven away, and I spent several panicked minutes waiting for my mom to call the store. Luckily, nobody else had spotted Sweet Puppy for the true treasure that he is, so he was still there, waiting for me to come get him.

Sure, he might be a little ratty, and his eyeballs were re-painted sometime in the early 90s, but I think he looks pretty darn good for being 29 yrs old!

Here he is in his younger days (and me in mine)!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

VERY Belated Mother's Day Post

So I started writing a Father's Day post, then realized I never wrote one for Mother's Day! I had so much fun putting together the Father's Day pictures and memories that I just had to go back and do it for my mom as well. So...better late than never, right? Happy (Belated) Mother's Day!

My mom and I have always been so close - as an only child, she was my main playmate growing up. She always humored me by acting out the elaborate plays I devised, mostly based on Disney movies. And she put up with my refusal to ever have my hair fixed or wear cute, girly clothes - she even let me carry my T-Rex book bag on my first day of kindergarten (I think I compromised by wearing a dress)! She read to me every single day when I was little, making sure I had the biggest vocabulary of any toddler around (even if I did force her to read the same Winnie the Pooh book over and over and over again...sorry 'bout that, Mom!)I really feel like I am a better person because of the love, compassion, and empathy she displayed. Thanks, Mom. Love ya!

Now for the pictures...oh boy!

Here we are sporting some extremely lovely '80s hairstyles!

And here we are dressed in silly outfits for some sort of Christmas parade.

One summer when I was in college, my dad surprised us with a mom & daughter cruise to Mexico. We had a blast, though judging by our respective skin tones in this pic, Mom was a bit more diligent with the sunscreen than I was!

Here we are at my law school graduation - hey Mom, wrong camera!

Well, well, aren't we fancy and shiny?!

Mom and I have rarely laughed so hard as we did when learning to cross-country ski this past spring! At one point we both collapsed onto the trail, in hysterics brought on from sheer exhaustion and pain from the stupid ski boots! At one point, I told her to just leave me for the wolves! Thankfully, she didn't, and we managed to take a picture that made us look like we somewhat knew what we were doing!

I love you, Mom! If I can someday be even half the mom you are, my kids will be very lucky indeed!

Happy Father's Day

We're going to take a short break from our regularly scheduled programming - the 15-Day Challenge - for this Father's Day post! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially the coolest one of them all...mine!

Dad and I were best buddies when I was little. He taught me how to climb trees and let me kiss the fish he caught before turning them loose (yes, I really did kiss the fish...each and every one)!

Here we are looking all fancy for Easter. See that stuffed animal I'm holding? I have NO doubt that it was a bribe - the only way I would have considered wearing such a frilly dress and WHITE panty hose...the horror!

This is more like it - just kickin' back, relaxin' in my PJs, and Dad in his 1970s gym shorts!

He taught me how to ski when I was in high school - he is so freaking good at skiing, I could never even begin to measure up! But at least he got me from lying down on the side of the mountain, crying in frustration, to actually making it through a run!

During move-in week in college, he worked hard to make my freshman dorm room inhabitable. He replaced all the moldy ceiling tiles (and found a REALLY old bottle of whiskey stashed up there) and put a fresh coat of paint on everything! Thanks, Dad!

For my wedding, he spent hours listening to the song I'd chosen for us to dance to (Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World by Iz) and even choreographed our dance! We looked awesome out there thanks to him!

Later, all choreography went out the window as we (somewhat drunkenly) danced and sang to one of our favorite songs - Elton John's Tiny Dancer!

My dad may be a man of few words at times, but he's always been there for me through thick and thin. He is a smart, funny, hard-working man, and I'm so thankful to have him as my dad!

Here are some of the other father figures in my life - all wonderful men with a very special place in my heart.

Here's me with Great Grandaddy! I loved to tell him long, silly stories that I'm sure left him thinking "what is this crazy little kid talking about?"

We also loved sitting down to breakfast together - I felt so grown-up because I would eat the same thing he ate, which was always Raisin Bran! I had a very serious conversation with my mom one time when I was very young, asking her if she thought he and my Grandaddy were OK with the names I called them. Because when I was little, my Great Grandaddy lived with my Nanny & Grandaddy. So in the same house, we had Great Grandaddy and...Plain Grandaddy! Ha! I had to distinguish them somehow, but I was always worried that Plain Grandaddy might get offended (he didn't...he just laughed)!

Here's Grandaddy (aka "Plain Grandaddy" for a short period of time)! He is one of the funniest people I've ever met - at 90 years old, he manages to crack me up every time I see him. You'll rarely find him wearing anything other than his signature snap-up coveralls, which he has in many different colors.

This is a rare shot of him in his formal wear for my wedding! So dapper, with his Navy Submarine pin on his tie!

This is my Pa, my dad's dad. They look so much alike - I know exactly what my dad will look like when he gets older!

Here we are circa 1998, before my NHS induction ceremony, and clearly before the advent of flat-irons...ignore my hideous hair!

I love how both of my grandfathers have always had a signature "look." Pa's was a bow-tie and suspenders. I don't even think he owned a regular tie, it was always the bow-tie. So much more festive and jolly, I think! Speaking of jolly, he used to be the Santa Claus at a Christmas store called 'Tis the Season in Ft. Worth. He was perfect for the job!

Happy Father's Day! Hug your dad today!

Friday, June 17, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: Somewhere I’d Love to Travel

There are SO many destinations on the list of places I’d love to travel – but I am choosing just one for this post so as to not go on and on and on! Tahiti has been on my mind lately, since my friends John and Erin just booked a place in Bora Bora for their honeymoon! Lucky ducks!

Just LOOK at it…how much more gorgeous of a location could you want? Everything is swimming in green, aqua, and turquoise, which just so happen to be my favorite family of colors! Too bad the Texas – Tahiti flights are FOREVER long. Oh well, that’s what Ambien is for!

I picture this vacation to be the ultimate in relaxation. Reading a book in the white sand, listening to the sounds of the calm water, maaaaaaybe mustering enough energy for a couple hours of ocean kayaking in the afternoon. Warm sun. Fresh, fruity drinks. Bliss.

Over-water bungalows have to be some of the sexiest accommodations on earth! Doesn’t the water just look SO inviting? And you can just walk right down your own personal little ladder! And it totally doesn’t look like there would be many sharks in there! Yes, I am terrified of sharks. I irrationally imagine that all the sharks in the vicinity have installed some sort of GPS locator on my body and hungrily swim my way each time I get into the ocean! OK, it’s not really THAT bad…but I do get quite nervous in the water. Strangely, I would much rather jump off the back of a catamaran into clear, deep water to go snorkeling than wade out from shore up to my neck. Something about not being able to see what’s around me in the waves is just unsettling.

But I could see for miles in these blue Tahitian waters…sign me up!!

15-Day Challenge: Day 6

Day 6: A Picture of Your Night

Does anyone else find it amusing that there is a cup of Rocky Road ice cream (well...frozen yogurt actually) on top of a fitness study manual?

So yeah, this pretty much sums up my night. Breathtakingly exciting, I know! I went running, then decided I needed some junk at Target...and on the way home, TCBY was calling to me. I really love their yogurt but usually choose one of the "trendier" Fro-Yo places like Yumilicious. But TCBY is an old was there before all those hipster yogurt joints. Not to mention it's like 3 minutes from my house. I love Rocky Road; it's absolutely my favorite flavor ever. I really prefer it with the individual mini marshmallows rather than the marshmallow swirl, but beggars can't be choosers and all that! Delish! Such a good dinner!

While enjoying my sweet treat, I started reading through the fitness instructor manual I got a few months ago with intentions to get re-certified before summer. Oops, guess I procrastinated a little bit! New goal = get re-certified before fall. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a cycling class or two at a couple different gyms. I get so frustrated with about 90% of the spin classes I go to these days, mostly because the instructors just play sucky music...what is UP with that?! My classes always sounded like the dance club got unleashed in the gym, and really, if you are going to be torturing your body for an hour, wouldn't you WANT loud, bass-bumping music to get you going? Yep, I thought so!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: A Picture that Sums Up Your Childhood

This is really a series of pictures, but nothing sums up my childhood better! Like so many little girls, I LOVED horses. I had a ton of horse toys - from My Little Ponies to a wooden stable filled with different breeds of little plastic horses (which I of course memorized and quizzed my family members on). When I was old enough, my parents let me start riding lessons, and I looked forward to every afternoon I got to spend at the stables. I still love the dusty smell of sawdust mixed with horse sweat - it will always bring me back to my childhood.

Here I am practicing my riding skills on my stuffed horse, Hank, when I was about a year and a half old.

And here's my very first time to ride a horse all by myself. His name was Galko, and I fell in love! I was about 5, I think.

Here I am when I was 7, riding Snowflake in a practice "run" on the barrels at the stable where I took lessons in Georgetown, TX. Looks like more of a slow jog, but I'm sure I was having a blast!

Here I am with my horse, Chief - my birthday present when I turned 9. He was my buddy - so smart and sweet, with the wisest eyes. He did have a bit of a stubborn streak and would lie down or puff up his stomach to prevent me from putting a saddle on him whenever he preferred to be ridden bareback! Check out my pink leggings with red Justin fashionable!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

15-Day Challenge: Day 4

Day 4: A Picture of You and a Family Member

This is my cousin, Ashley. Our birthdays are only 2 weeks apart, so we’ve always been more like siblings than cousins. Lucky for Ash, I was a huge tom-boy as a kid, so we spent our days climbing trees, catching frogs, and inventing crazy, body-contorting jumps off the diving board. We also shared an intense love for the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (yes, that’s the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood…go ahead and laugh), and we literally watched it so many times that we could quote the entire thing verbatim.

I’ll never forget the day, during my sophomore year of college, that Ash called to tell me he was transferring to A&M. I asked if he was planning to live with his friend, Heath, and he said: “Well…I was kind of thinking I’d live with you, if you want to.” And so we got a condo together and lived together for the next two years…and it was awesome! Our house became the neighborhood party spot. Every weekend, you could find us sitting in the front yard in our A&M camp chairs, beer in hand, grilling burgers and listening to Pat Green – classy!! Ash got me back in touch with my country roots by dragging me along to the Texas Hall of Fame to go two-stepping with his group of friends. I ended up loving it and spent many a Friday night on the dance floor at the Hall!

Now Ash lives back in his hometown of West Columbia and has an awesome wife, Roxanna, and two adorable kids, Madilyn and Ashton. We don’t see each other as often as we’d like, but I’d be willing to bet that we could still sit down, pop in our Robin Hood VHS tape, and quote the heck out of it!

Here we are when we were just little kiddos, at my cousin Shannon's wedding! Neither of us were too happy to be wearing these fancy clothes, though he looks a little more enthusiastic than I do!

15-Day Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: A Picture of Someone You Miss

I can’t just limit this to one person...but both of these girls live in the same city, so I guess I am not breaking the rules of the blog challenge too much!

Amanda (left of me) and Alli (right of me) are my two oldest friends. They both live in Spring, TX now, and I miss them so much!

I met Amanda in 6th grade, and we were instantly friends. Every day of every summer when we were younger, we’d ride bikes to the Lucky Lady gas station for a drink or candy bar, then cool off afterwards in my pool. In high school, we suffered through embarrassing outfits on the dance team and talked on the phone about boys for hours until our parents wanted to kill us! Lucky for me, she went to college in San Marcos, so trips to visit her always meant fun times floating the river! We still love to spend hours on the phone, filling each other in on hometown gossip and laughing like crazy!

Here we are, circa 1999, in a hilarious Glamour Shots session...why on earth did we do this?!

I met Alli in 8th grade, and we’ve been partners in crime ever since! We embraced our nerdiness together in high school mock trial (what an intimidating duo) and both decided it’d be a great idea to wear crop-top dresses to senior prom (photo evidence below - what on earth were we thinking?!)!! We went off to college together, where we made some of my best memories ever. Nobody can make me laugh quite like she does…all it takes is for us to share a quick glance and we both break down in giggles, no explanation necessary!

Here we are right before our senior prom, year 2000...setting the trend for the year....or NOT! Ridiculous! At least we were super skinny!

Monday, June 13, 2011

15 Day Challenge - Day 2

Day 2: A Picture of the Cast of Your Favorite TV Show

I absolutely love Mad Men. Why, you ask? See below for my answer:

Hi, Mr. Draper…whenever you’re in the market for a new secretary, CALL ME! ;)

Actually, there are many selling points to this show besides the delicious Jon Hamm. I love shows set in a different era – this one takes place in the 1960s, and the producers have done an awesome job re-creating the booming Madison Avenue advertising business during that time period. I really can’t even explain why it’s so good…but it’s SO GOOD. Watch it, you’ll see.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

15 Day Challenge

OK, so here's how I am going to give my blog the little kick in the butt it's been needing. I'm doing a 15-Day Challenge where each day for 15 days, I blog a picture and a short post (I swear, y'all, I will keep it short, despite my tendency toward wordiness). I decided I just can't commit to the full 30-Day Challenge, so I pared down the blog categories from my friend Rachel's challenge.

So, here we go - DAY 1: A Picture of Yourself with Ten Facts

The Picture:

This is probably one of the only recent pictures I actually like (probably because my hair and make-up were professionally done)! Pretty sad since it was taken over 3 yrs ago!

And now the Facts:

1. I love to cook but am prone to kitchen injuries! I burn my fingers, hand, or arm almost every time I bake something in the oven. And if I am using the cheese grater, rest assured that I will grate off some skin and/or a fingernail in the process! Good thing I am not holding out for a career in hand-modeling…I’d never make it!

2. I hate scary movies, and I won’t watch them. Particularly ones about serial killers, rapists, or other varieties of depraved lunatics. Oh, and you can also forget it if there are demonic children and/or other freaky paranormal things. So, basically…if it can be construed as a horror film, or even remotely scary, have fun at the theater without me!

3. I have a Little Brother from Big Brothers, Big Sisters. His name is Ian, and he is the coolest kid! We share a love of Harry Potter, and he always wins me stuffed animals from those arcade grab machines!

4. I love spinning classes. I started going when I was in high school, and over the past 11 years, I probably haven’t gone more than 2-3 weeks without either attending a spin class or doing my own “class” at home on my bike. For anyone who says spinning is boring…all it takes is the right music mix to change your mind! My plan is to get re-certified sometime soon so I can start teaching again.

5. I really hate animal print. And pink. I won’t wear either.

6. I cannot stand having dirty feet! OMG it freaks me out! That gritty feeling of sand or dirt stuck to the bottoms of my feet is disgusting!! So you’ll rarely see me walking around barefoot outside. Consequently, my feet are super tender…I will cringe walking across the driveway or even grass! If I do walk outside barefoot, I’ll come right in and wash off the bottoms of my feet!

7. I am a little bit OCD. Not crazy must-wash-hands-six-times-while-standing-on-left-foot OCD, but I do have some tendencies. Like…I count stairs. If I am walking up stairs, you can bet I am counting them in my head. I won’t freak out and go back to the bottom if I lose count or forget, but it’s an unconscious habit that I ALWAYS do. Also, if you start a song lyric, a list, or a movie quote, I have to finish it. If I can’t finish it off the top of my head, I’ll look it up, and then it will inevitably get stuck in my head (I get things stuck in my head VERY easily, for HOURS, and it drives me crazy). Jeff likes to amuse himself by torturing me with this. Right now I have the ‘90s song “The Humpty Dance” stuck in my head for this very reason!

8. I am a big scaredy-cat (see #2 above re: scary movies). It is VERY easy to startle me, because I have a fear of someone sneaking up behind me or waiting unseen for me to walk by. And if you REALLY startle the heck out of me, I will probably do one, or all, of these things: 1) Jump a mile (and probably knock something over), 2) Scream or gasp loudly, 3) Start crying (not like sobbing, but my natural reaction after getting startled is that tears just pop into my eyes - but don't worry, I am usually laughing at myself at the same time). Jeff also gets endless amusement from this, even though he rarely startles me on purpose.

9. I am almost always running late. If you tell me to be at the restaurant by 7:00, expect me around 7:15. Sorry! I apologize in advance for being late!

10. I am an annoying texter – just a warning in case you were thinking of texting me! I get carried away, and before I know it, I’m sending you a long e-mail length text. I rarely abbreviate, either, and sometimes have to ask my friends what their text-speak means. I only recently figured out what SMH meant (scratching my head). My friend Chena likes to make fun of me for my novel-length, fully spelled-out texts! But I’m getting better!

Blog Neglect

OK, so I need to revive this blog. It seems like once I go a few days, then a week, without posting, I just forget about it altogether. I've never been good about regaining momentum once productivity is lost. Same goes for the gym - if I don't go for a few days, I'll just get generally discouraged and not go for like TWO weeks...then I'll start feeling fat and will WANT to work out but won't want to be seen in workout clothes. Sigh. It's a vicious cycle! a little off-track there. The point is, I am thinking of ways to inject some new life into the good old blog - maybe one of those 30 Day Blog Challenges some of my friends are doing. Suggestions welcomed!