Mar 31, 2009

Communications Lust

Lust: overmastering craving; intense enthusiasm; zeal

I feel communications lust for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Web site. And not just because it is based out of the home of the Red Sox. No, I lust after it for real communications reasons. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. And I will tell you why it is beautiful. (Go ahead Haila, laugh. Laugh that I am at home and in love with a Girl Scout Web site. But you look at it and tell me it doesn't make your inner communicator just squeal with glee.)
  • Photography: Look at the pictures! They are clear, pretty and each one tells a story. The smiling accomplished girl, the mom-daughter team painting. I mean really, it's just beautiful.
  • RSS Feeds: OMG! I can get council news to my homepage! Girl Scout news comes to me! Hello, this is amazing.
  • Camp Search: Holy camp cow! I can search by Girl Scout level, grade level, camp theme and zip code. Are you kidding? That is actually user-friendly and presented in a clean fashion.

Many moons ago, in the pre realignment world, I volunteered with the Girl Scout council in Boston. Back then it was the Patriot's Trail Council. Their Web site was pretty sorry. Now in the realigned world, I am very impressed. I love it.

The only flaw I see is there's no easy way to navigate back to the homepage. I noticed this 1) because I was trying to do just that and 2) because we recently did an evaluation of our own Web site and this was something we did well.

Now speaking of my own council's Web site we're not so bad. We have lots and lots of content. Soemtimes we think its too much but then our volunteers tell us they want even more. I feel quantity and quality of content is our biggest strength.

We have some weaknesses too. Our department has many ideas for things we want to have happen, like adding RSS feeds and n more user friendly calendar, but development is both expensive and time consuming. One day we'll get there. But at least we have a clear way to navigate back to the homepage.

PS I told Ross I was in lust with the Eastern Mass. Girl Scout Web site and he looked at me like I was a freak.

Mar 28, 2009

T minus 7 months-ish

T minus 7 months-ish til the wedding. So I'm doing a few wedding things, including checking out the photos from my friend Henry's recent wedding. Henry and I went to high school together and stayed good friends through most of college. We've lost touch a bit in the past few years. But back in December I was playing on's discussion boards and saw a posting from his college girlfriend who had finally been upgraded to fiance. Wooho! She, Shannon, is one hell of a catch. Fantastic for Henry who is also one hell of a catch. Henry and I caught up within about a week after that discovery and updated each other on life. He and Shannon were planning a January wedding so now that it's March, they are hitched. I just hunted down the photos and they are lovely. What a beautiful wedding. If you love beautiful weddings with beautiful people (inside and out, I know its cheesy but I adore these two) then I highly suggest checking out their wedding photos at You'll get all warm and fuzzy inside.

I know looking at other people's wedding photos may not seem like planning my own, but really, it is. I sent the photos to my photographer with a note that read "I love the bridal party poses!" See, I am working on my wedding.

I'm also going to dinner with Nancy tonight so she can show me the rehearsal dinner location. It is a Mexican restaurant which believe it or not, since Ross works at a Mexican restaurant, he has no desire to eat at. He likes the restaurant, don't get me wrong, but with 5 days a week of chips, salsa and margaritas, he said he'd pass on the chance for more of the same.

Tomorrow I believe we are having our wedding consultation with our bagpiper. Nick is a great guy and apparently he is THE BAGPIPER for all of Austin. I'm excited to check this item off our list but I really don't know what my role will be in the meeting. It's not like I have an ear for bagpiping or know any of the songs. I guess I'll sit there, nod my head and answer logistical questions like what time is the ceremony. Either way, it will be nice to do a wedding something with Ross. He's into us getting married but as you can imagine, hours upon hours of tablecloths, flowers and invitations just isn't his thing. Go figure.

I'm also hoping to reserve our wedding night hotel room soon and find my shoes. Together we need to finish the rehearsal dinner guest list for his mom and Ross needs to build the bachelor party guest list for Rick. Rick's doing a great job of fulfilling the best man role. He's actually on top of it. I know any guy should be on top of planning a weekend trip to New Orleans with hus buddies but you know how guys are. Planning just isn't their thing. So I'm very pleased by and impressed with Rick for being so proactive. Way to go Rick.

I'm also working on my honeymoon body. I'm certainly not one of those brides who wants to lose like 50 pounds for her wedding. Really, for the wedding itself I feel pretty good. But if at all possible I would like a flatter stomach and bigger booty for the week of bikini wearing I'll have in the Bahamas. Nothing wrong with adding a few sit-ups and squats to one's work out routine.

On a completly un-wedding related note, I have to tell you about our great good fortune. We received a letter about renewing our lease yesterday with what our new rates would be. OUR RENT IS DROPPING MORE THAN 200 DOLLARS! Who would have guessed?! We thought it would go up because 1) we already feel like we're getting a great deal and 2) with all the foreclosures more people may be looking to move into apartments. We sure are glad we were wrong. We'll take this new rent happily.

Mar 26, 2009

The Newlywed Game

I know we aren't real technical newlyweds yet. But who are we kidding? We live together; we do chores together; we budget together. The only thing changing on October 25 is my last name and our tax status. Heck, his friends even call me his wife already.

That said I am so happy that we have newlywed friends. Ross and I had a conversation today that could have turned to a fight. I was all ready, getting my boxing gloves on, and I told a newlywed friend/coworker about it. She laughed! She agreed that he was being ridiculous but pointed out how funny my stubbornness also was. She said it sounded like a conversation she and her hubby would have but also like a hilarious sitcom. Could I not see the absurdity here? By the end of chatting with her, I was also thoroughly amused by the situation. And to think it almost became a fight!

So yeah, I'm really happy we have newlywed friends who go through the same things. They can empathize; they can offer advice and they can laugh at you because they've probably done the same thing very recently.

Mar 24, 2009

Evening News Edition

I'm writing this entry as I do several other things... a little work, some dinner cooking, evening news watching. That said, to help you read I'll be using my much loved bullet points.
  • In Texas we have this law, that I think is quite silly, called the top 10% law. If you've read this blog for a while, you may be familiar with it. In a nutshell, every public high school graduate in the top 10% of their class is automatically accepted into any/every public Texas college. It's aim was to help underserved populations get into college. All fine and dandy. What it really does, in my opinion, is admit kids from schools that can't/aren't properly preparing them into really hard schools like UT. These kids are set up for failure. They don't know how to study. They've never seen an AP class. And kids from academically challenging high schools who are not in the top 10% but who are well prepared can't get in. Those kids often leave the state for good schools which does not keep our talent local. (Hmm was I one of those kids? Yes.) About 75% of UT students are currently admitted under this law. But it's up for review! (Read the Statesman article) With the revisions only 50% of a public Texas college would be filled by top 10%ers, starting with the top percent and working down until 50% is filled. The other 50% would be admitted the old fashioned way - a combo of class rank, SAT scores, leadership, extra-curriculars etc. I am pumped. I hope the revisions pass!
  • When I was in college my friends could count on me for a few things NO MATTER WHAT. One was that I would enjoy eating chips and salsa. It was like the Cheryl thing. Every get together included tortilla chips and salsa. Well some things don't change. I craved chips, salsa and guacamole (expanding my horizons obviously) like nothing else when I left work today. And let me tell you, chips, salsa, guac and a margarita have never tasted soooo good. See, clearly, I was meant to live in Texas.
  • I started to think about one bullet point and it led me to this one. Snobbery. I'm going to go out on a limb with this and say, it ain't all bad. Really. Say you think your college is the best, the most awesome. Some would call it pride, others would call it snobbiness. Of course you think its the best one; its the one you picked! Call it what you like but thinking your choice was the best choice, is OK with me.
  • Leads me to this: Houston. I know some snobs (and hey its ok) who think Houston is way down on the list. They think, depending on their subject of snobbery, that New England is way better; that California is way better; that Austin is way better. But I'm here to tell you, Houston is all right. Now granted, I chose to live in Austin. I like Austin, its got rivers and lakes, its politically liberal, its a university town. I'm totally into it. I'm a bit of an Austin snob perhaps (God knows I am a Texas snob). But Houston ain't all bad. Good people live in Houston - my parents and Grandma for example. They basically rock. And the seafood there, especially shrimp, is delicious and fresh. I'll also bet Houston sends more people to outerspace than your town, heck more than even your whole state. Take that! And as Charlie Gibson reported tonight on the world news, Houston does OK during a recession. We've got oil, high tech and lots of stuff to help us be nice and diverse. (Uh oh see that, I am assuming a Houston identity by switching to the first person.) We've also got cheap housing which means our prices didn't have far to fall. I'm just saying, Houston is OK. It may be a fat city, it may have pollution but its got some pros too and as a grown up Houstonian, I feel the need to defend my hometown. So Houston, consider yourself defended.
  • Going public. I recently added my blog to a feed on Facebook. Now I've realized how much more public I am. That's all. I'm super public now so I can't say anything else.
  • Babies! I have a baby; she is furry and has four legs. But my cousin, Becca, is about to have a real baby. As I said to her via Facebook "little baby little baby come out come out where ever you are!" It's like a darn game of hide-and-go-seek with that baby! Come on out already! We want to meet you little baby!

That's all.

PS Houston also has the BEST RODEO EVER.

Mar 21, 2009

Don't let the cuteness fool you, she's a terror

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
A terror. A little monster. And while I usually say these things as terms of endearment right now I cannot say she is too dear to me.

For the third time in two days Lexi decided to knock over our kitchen trash can and cover our floor with its contents. All three times she's been alone for not too long. The first time, probably home alone for 3 hours, second time 2 and this last time, just a little over an hour. And the last time she even had part of a bone to keep her busy while I was out!

I guess we can say she is getting more efficient but this is one talent I wish she would not practice. It is not fun coming home to all of my trash on the floor. There's been a limeade container which left my floors sticky and limey. There's been a ranch style beans can which left orange goop on my white carpets and on the puppy's face. Caught orange faced she was! She's even chewed a hole into the bottom corner of the trash can.

People say she's just at that age where she is teething. And that may be so. But can't she teeth on something not the trash? I know, careful what I wish for; better the trash than say computer cables or the couch.

I'm starting to think she needs to go into her crate when we are gone, at least until this passes, but she cries something awful when she is locked in there. I don't want the neighbors to think we beat her and I don't want to torture my puppy (even though her vet recommended the crate) because she's being a puppy. Sigh.

She may be cute but she can be a little monster when she puts her little puppy mind to it. And for that, she is in time out.

Mar 18, 2009

worn out

worn out
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
When I blog with a photo, the title of the blog is by default the title of the photo. I always change it since my photo titles are usually "JPG009723" or "flowers_2." But this photo is titled "worn out" and though that wasn't what I intended on titling this blog, it works.

I'm a wee bit sleepy because I got up very very early this morning to do a TV interview about Operation Cookie. Operation Cookie is GSCTX's program for collecting and sending cookies to soldiers. It's fantastic. We're sending more than 35,000 boxes out of Austin this year. And since this is all pretty impressive, the TV people want to talk to me about it. After I do an interview everyone always asks me how it went. Fortunately, they almost always go well. Girl Scouts is the token feel good story. The reporter is not out to get us. They want to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside by hearing cute kids talk about cookies. It could only get better if we added puppies or kittens to it.

But I have to take my hat off to our cookie department. Cookie interviews are especially easy and especially fantastic. Our cookie staff (technically called Product Sales but the "Cookie Department" is so much more fun to say) rocks. They do an awesome job teaching the girls about marketing techniques, money management skills, public speaking and lots of other good stuff. I mean heck, they created a program to send cookies to soldiers. They are obviously rockstars. The story sells itself and on the odd chance that it lacks something, the really cute girl in a uniform takes care of that. Cookie interviews, though they keep me VERY busy for a few months, are one of the easiest parts of my job. There's just no fight.

Today was no exception. We got called for the interview late yesterday and within 20 minutes the cookie manager had a girl lined up to take the interview with me. And the girl was awesome! Even if I did have to get up at a disturbingly early hour, I hung out with a fun reporter, saw an awesome kid have her first TV interview (which tickled her mom pink) and informed the community of a swell program that really makes a difference. What could possibly be better? (Doing it at 10 a.m. you say...and sure, yeah that would be better but eh, I was off by 10 a.m. today so life could be worse.)

So here's to the GSCTX Cookie Department for providing me with awesome material and helping me reach half my annual media clip goal in a mere 8 weeks. Y'all rock.

Mar 15, 2009


I know it may be hard to believe, but I've discovered people are different (ok, duh). But really, one of the biggest things I have learned since being with Ross is how differently we handle arguments.

Last night, on our way home from Ryan and Susannah's, we got in a stupid argument. But we argued about it because we are both stubborn, it was 1 a.m. and I was tipsy, making me in all honesty, that much more stubborn. Again, I reiterate that this was a dumb argument and nothing that will matter long-term at all.

But consequently we went to bed annoyed with each other. I woke up just fine. Not worried about the night before at all. I still stood by my opinion from the night before but realized how little it mattered and how much energy fighting took. Ross woke up still irritated. This boggles me. Still mad overnight over something so silly? It just takes him longer to shake things off than it does me.

I say I can shake it off quickly because I am resilient. Ross says I'm moody. He says going from irritated to happy and lovey in no time flat is just plain moody. I say staying irritated is exhausting. Either way, we are who we are. I have to give him his space to be irritated and not take it too personally. He has, to his credit, done a great job of getting over things quicker than he used to.

And we both have to remember not to pick stupid fights at 1 a.m. Its just foolish. I'm sure we'll outgrow it; we have already gotten smarter about it and we've been together less than two years.

Speaking of that, yup, we've still not even reached the two year mark. I think for having been together for 20 months, we've grown quite a bit. Even just since moving in together almost a year ago we've learned so much about each other and function so much better. We really are a little family now. I know we aren't perfect but dang, I think we are getting close. :)

Mar 14, 2009

Ring ring ring!

My honey works hard. Last night he worked at the bar for 9 hours even though he's not quite over the flu. I know its hard to be on his feet, serving people, being pleasant for that long. I saw people argue over the check with him while I was there having a couple drinks. That's not easy. It's not the exact career he wants (ie he isn't running into burning buildings) but its paying the bills and he's working hard. I really appreciate how hard he is working to keep us in the black and to start saving for our long-term goals, like a beautiful house.

And because I love him so much, today we went shopping for his wedding ring. I was ready to visit Zales, James Avery and Helzburg. But he's a man; he knows what he wants and once he found it no reason to keep looking. (As a side note, this works well for me. He knows he wants me and he doesn't need to keep looking; I like it that way.) We walked into one store and while I chatted with the salesman, looked at a few rings out of curiosity, Ross looked quietly. When he pointed to one he liked that was it. He tried it on and said that was it. All done. It even fit! Didn't even need to resize it. Its a dark silvery charcoaly color band. Its not perfectly plain, the middle of it stands slightly higher than the sides to create a banded look. I really like it but most importantly, he likes it. I asked if he would wear it 2 out of every 3 days for the rest of his life and he said yes. (2 out of 3!? you say? He cannot wear it firefighting which will be the other day out of every 3.)

All three rings are now in our possession. 1 engagement ring and 2 wedding rings. Ring ring ring!

Mar 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
I love her but puppy farts are awful.

I know this is not an insightful blog but she broke into her food container (second time this week, this time she actually chewed the lock apart) and now is a very smelly pup. Goodness.

Mar 8, 2009

Comin' Up Rosco

Rock Placement 2
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.

This is one of my dear darling's favorite phrases when things start lookin up. And I like it. "Comin' Up Cheryl" just doesn't have the same ring. We also high five and say "Go Team Black!" or "TB!" (for Team Black, Ross' last name is Black...just in case you were trying to figure that one out). And lately folks, things are comin' up Rosco, lookin' up for old Team Black. We're excited.

  • Ross has applications in at Georgetown and Kyle. We are optimistic about both. We are waiting on the paperwork from Waco (thank you little bro) so that he can apply there too. The firefighting quest is going swimmingly well.
  • I am getting a blackberry for my birthday! Woohoo!!! I've been telling Ross since Christmas that I want one. He hadn't committed either way but on Friday, he finally did. He said that's what he'll get me for my birthday! I am so excited. Jane, Christen and a few others from college know how excited I used to get about buying planners. I realize this is odd, its kinda like a disease. I love to have things pretty and organized. That said, just imagine what having my Outlook calendar and all my email IN MY PURSE will be for me. Holy cow. A thing of electronic beauty.
  • Ross' grandma is renewing his passport for his birthday. One step closer to the Bahamas.
  • I am going to DC in about 6 weeks. With my blackberry. (!!!)
  • I got a new vacuum cleaner which in itself is not that exciting. But our carpets have not been this puppy fur free since we got her. It's fantastic.

So that folks is why things are comin up Rosco (and Cheryl) and why we have a random Ross pic with this blog entry. And also Haila did a check in meeting with us last week asking us to each give our personal update a "blog title" and this is what I used. I've been meaning to make it a real blog ever since. Now I can check "write a comin' up Rosco blog" off my to-do list...which in Outlook is a task list and will soon be available to me on my new blackberry. Because I am getting one for my birthday, in case I didn't already tell you.

Mar 5, 2009

I woke up at 3:30a today and now my mouth is numb

Actually the two are not related but it made for a fun title.

I woke up very very very early today because our local CBS affiliate did a story on LMK, new Girl Scout program all about online safety. The interview went great! And I got to work with my fav cameraman (Ben) and met an awesome new reporter (Bettie). Apparently I made Ben's day last week when I specifically asked Bettie if he would be the cameraman. She said its not often that cameramen get requested.

And now I can't feel my mouth because I went to the dentist and had to get fillings (lame). I was looking forward to coming home and seeing my honey but since I only have mild control over my mouth I'm kinda glad he's out playing softball. Maybe by the time he gets home, I'll be able to smile or pucker up for a kiss. Both are just comical at the moment.

In other news, I picked up a relationship advice book the other day (Ross and I are doing great, I just figure you can't read too much or be too prepared for the biggest day of your life). Actually I was looking for a wedding planning book and stumbled upon this. It's got two titles, one side is "Dumb things she does" and the other is "Dumb things he does." I was inspired to pick it up after seeing the chapter title "not knowing your place" under "dumb things she does." Rest assured fellow feminists, I was outraged. Outraged and curious so I started reading it there in the bookstore to see what this crazy conservative backwards writer had to say. What I learned was the writer, Holly Wagner, is neither crazy nor backwards though in all fairness, a little conservative. But despite my liberal political views, Ross and I do have a more conservative and traditional relationship.

Anyway, knowing your place, that terribly threatening title was not such a threatening chapter. It discussed the need to yield to one another and in this case, the need of the wife to yield to the husband at times. She gave the metaphor of two cars, a little car and a semi, driving down a two lane road that suddenly goes down to one lane. SOMEONE has to yield and by traffic laws, that's the semi. That doesn't mean the semi is a lesser vehicle or a weaker vehicle, just that someone had to yield to avoid a crash. That's Holly's (we're on a first name basis) whole point; when you come to a stand off someone has to yield and its ok to be that person. She does favor the wife yielding to the husband which if I had read the chapters in order I would have understood her reasoning at that moment. I didn't understand her reasoning at that moment but did understand her point that it is ok to yield to your partner. You don't have to stand your ground just for the sake of standing your ground.

Now in her earlier chapters she discusses the man's somewhat innate desire to be the leader in the family and if that is a role you agree with, the importance of the wife letting him lead. If you don't want a man who is the leader of the family, well, that particular chapter may not be for you. But that is why she favors the wife yielding to the husband, because he has assumed the role of family leader. For us, I do want Ross to be the leader. I don't want to be a doormat and I don't want to be a second-class member of our relationship. But I do crave a man, and fortunately have one, who can make hard decisions, hold his ground and will take responsibility for our family. So for us, I think this particular lesson resonates. I don't have to be the one to yield all the time, certainly I shouldn't be, but its ok if I do yield to him and let him lead our family.

I don't know that I am quite explaining all this well. I think it may sound like I plan on letting Ross make all the decisions. That's not the case at all. In short, I think the big take home point from this little wise book for me was if you say you want your man to be a leader in the family, LET HIM LEAD. Support him, respect him and don't insist on always being the leader yourself. Give him the opportunity to lead you and your family. If he is a good leader, which I know Ross is, he will ask for your opinion as an equal, just as you ask for his. He will make decisions based on what is best for the family and everyone will win.

And so you don't think old Holly was just out to get us girls, she told the men that they have to be good leaders, have to take responsibility for their families and must must must court their wives always and forever. I think that's a lot of expectations for the old boys but expectations that they must live up to if they are going to be the much respected man of the house.

There you have it, my personal relationship revelation of the week. Whew.

Mar 1, 2009

In like a lion

bouquet 2
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
March came in like a lion...well like a lion cub I suppose. It was 80+ for most the week here and this weekend was in the 60s. Nothing compared to the snow on the east coast, but enough of the weather.

Mom came in for the day yesterday and we picked up my wedding dress. It needs a few alterations, which I was disappointed by, but I guess that's par for the course. I had this vision though of picking up my dress and having everything be perfect, this happy perfect moment with a perfect fitting dress. It was happy but it was not perfect fitting. Oh well, I think most brides have a few alterations to their dress. So long as the wedding is perfect, I can forgive a dress that needs a couple alterations.

We also looked at invitations. After chatting with Nikki and Mom, I think we might do online RSVPing. What are y'all's thoughts? (See our wedding Web site which I did massive updates on this weekend.)We're not having a crazy formal black tie wedding so it isn't necessary to have formal invitations and response cards. I really want everyone to sign our online guestbook so making them go to the Web to RSVP helps get them to the guestbook. I also don't want to include a lot of inserts in the invitations, I want to just have that all online. Again, RSVPing online helps drive people to the Web site. And finally, though this isn't really an issue, just the icing on the cake, it is greener and reduces postage costs. I don't want to be tacky though. Please give feedback on this one. If you think it's terribly tacky, now's the time to tell me, to help me not be that tacky bride.

Oh yes and this is my bouquet (almost) for the wedding. We're switching out the calla lilies and replacing them with the starbursty kind which the florist says (ie warns) will give it a pretty different look. But I just love the starbursty lilies and I'm sure it will turn out beautiful. I trust my florist to make it so.

As a final footnote, Rick got a job at Dell! Woohoo! Maybe we can finally get him to move to north Austin now.