Dec 30, 2010

2011 Reading List

I love lists and goals. I'm a sick, boring person and they are possibly two of my favorite things. So when I decided to make a New Year's Resolution (ie goal) to "read some really good books" naturally this meant I needed to create a reading list. Ta-da! A goal and a list. As we hunker down into 2011, here, in no particular order, is my reading list:

  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It's been on my reading list for at least a year and I swear, now I'm really going to read it.
  • A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain. A Christmas gift from my honey.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Neils Arden Oplev. Highly reccommended by Erin and my mother-in-law, Nancy.
  • Decision Points by George W. Bush. Ross is reading this right now and really likes it. Even though we don't see eye to eye politically, I think I'll enjoy the insight as to why President Bush thinks the way he does.
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It was on the BBC Book List and I've heard good things so why not. I think Jane and her bro love this book - Jane, is that right?
  • 33 Million People in the Room by Juliette Powell. A marketing selection on social media. Seems relevant.
  • The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. I loved the movie a million years ago and it was actually the first book from Oprah's Book Club. Pretty good endorsement I'd say.
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. We've all heard of it but I've not read it. Good enough reason for me.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett. A somewhat misc pick off Amazon's best-seller's list.
  • The Confession by John Grisham. I'm a Grisham-aholic and this is Sunday's number 2 best-seller according to the New York Times. (Odd since Sunday hasn't happened yet. I feel like a fortune teller.)
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. And then, of course, the movie.
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I started this book about three years ago because Ross swears by it but I never did finish it. In 2011, I will finish it. Maybe before/around baseball season. Maybe it will help me with a fantasy team...yes, that sounds good.
I know some people (cough cough, Jane) have reading lists that are 50+ books long but I have to admit, for what my 2011 will be, I think a 12 book reading list is good for me. And by the end of the year, I'll be a better read person (and you'll get reviews). Woohoo! Do you have any other book suggestions for when I knock out this dozen?

PS Two blog posts in one day; crazy I know. But consider - this post took me no less than three days to write! Book research is intense!

Goals, Revisited

Many moons ago I wrote some goals for this month. I've done OK.
  • Keep up 200 minutes of cardio per week.
  • Start Christmas vacation on December 18.
  • Send out the cutest Christmas cards ever.
  • Reach our savings goal. Well we knew this one would be tough. But I'm still pleased with where we'll be starting from for 2011.
  • Wine tasting.  Specically this was my wine date with Brittany. We didn't make it due to schedules and wine classes being canceled for two Saturdays due to holidays. We did however definitely drink our fair share of wine, we just had to pay for it the old fashioned way.
  • Read at least two fun books.
  • Complete all of my Women of Distinction proposals.
5 out of 7 is (findins calculator...) 71%. So I got a D for the month of December. But if I tell you that I had a (at that time) secret career goal that I have since achieved and of course that I did taste much wine with Brittany, can that count as extra credit? Maybe bring me up a letter grade?

Dec 29, 2010

The Book is ALWAYS Better than the Movie

Earlier this fall I read My Sister's Keeper which I really enjoyed and today Nichole and I watched the movie. Now admittedly we were also chatting a little and barcoding merchandise for her shop but we watched it more than we did the other things.


I like Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin and Abigail Breslin. And I loved the storyline. But I have to tell you - I did not love the movie. It was OK and if I hadn't read the book I probably would have really liked the movie.

Here are the sins committed by the flick:
  • Dramatic changing of the end. Imagine if a movie about the 2004 Red Sox included just a 5 game series against the Yankees instead of a nail-biting 7 game series. I mean...what? That's not even the same story.
  • Missing romance. Actually the least sinful of the sins but they did leave out an entire character and the love story revolving around her. The love story wasn't critical to the plot but to entirely leave it out, well, that's a bit much.
  • Big bro was all messed up. In the book he's a very troubled teen. Always drunk or high and with a tendency toward arson, which is especially poignant since the dad is a firefighter. In the movie he's just a sad kid with a stressed family and a sick sister.
  • Again, the ending. Just not OK.
To be objective, and to invoke the TriDelta tradition of "pro-con-con-pro" and attempt to end on a pro, here is what the movie did well.
  • Playing up a romance. The love tryst of Kate (the sick sister) and her also sick boyfriend, Taylor, had many more legs in the movie. I think this worked well.
  • Casting. The lawyer (Alec Baldwin), mom (Cameron Diaz), Anna (Abigail Breslin) and the dad (actor non remembered) were all cast really well. I wonder if Cameron Diaz is bummed out that she is now being cast for mom roles and not hot girl-next-door roles. Oh well, she did a good job.
Verdict: Read the book, don't bother with the movie.

Dec 28, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

Knocking out my December goal to read two fun books, I finished The Time Traveler's Wife this morning. Now my first observation is that this is a funny name for the book; it's way more about the actual time traveler than his wife. But odd title aside, it was a REALLY good book.

Given the nature of the character, the book switches narrators, times and locations frequently. When you begin it, be sure you can actually sit down and read; don't have the TV on in the background or anything. I found once I got used to the structure though I could still stay with the story and ignore distractions.

Without giving away the whole story, I'll give you the 30-second synopsis. Henry travels in time but has no control over when it happens and to what other time he'll go to. For example, he meets his future wife, Clare, when she is six and he is 30-something. The book follows their relationship, how time travel affects it and the many strange situations (and conflicts) that arise as a result.

Besides an interesting concept, the book is really well written. The characters are all very intelligent and witty, making even the most mundane conversation interesting and fun to read.

Verdict: Absolutely read.

Batting Next: The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain, a Christmas gift from my honey. I love Anthony Bourdain, especially now that he's the newest judge on Top Chef.

On deck: The film versions of The Time Traveler's Wife, My Sister's Keeper (tomorrow with Nichole) and Shutter Island (hopefully this week or next with Ross).

Dec 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A few days post-Christmas and I finally have a second to share our holiday with you.

Christmas Eve we slept in late and were lazy around the house. Then out of seemingly nowhere, a tsunami arrived in Pflugerville. We were going to wait until later in the afternoon to head down to Westlake but when Ross checked the radar it appeared that this tsunami would be hanging around for a while so we decided to head out before roads flooded. (Since it hasn't rained here in months, the ground was too dry to actually soak up the rain hence a little bigger chance of minor flooding.) We spent the afternoon and evening in Westlake with Ross' side of the family and enjoyed opening many many gifts. If there's one thing the Turner/Black clan can do, it's buy gifts!

036Nancy and Jack got Ross a PSP among other things. I got him a new wallet and games for the PSP. He got me a new digital camera (but you knew that) and earrings to match the necklace he gave me for our anniversary.

Christmas Day  I packed up the car and myself and drove to Houston. Since Ross had to work at 7 a.m. the following morning, he stayed in Austin with Lexi to hold down the fort. I started my drive by visiting my favorite barista, Chantal. She usually works at the Starbucks at the entrance to our neighborhood but this being Christmas, she was helping cover shifts at one of the few open locations a little further into Pflugerville. I love her - she usually has my drink order ready before I can even pay - so I made a point of visiting her and giving her a small Christmas gift (wine).

I made it to Houston by 12:30 and while I wasn't the first to Mom & Dad's house, not far behind either. A quick clean up and change of clothes and I was ready to let the holiday begin! We had a good crowd - Mom, Dad, Kev, me, Mike, Brenda (though they had to cattch a flight and could only stay for a brief time), Bryanna, Uncle Larry, Aunt Sandy, Megan, Rhoda, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Fran, Uncle Bob, Isaak and of course, Grandma. I think that makes 16 in all throughout the course of the afternoon. And as we've done for the past few years, we had a themed gift exchange. This year's theme was board games so everyone brought one and then we traded. Ross and I got Farkle, which I've never played but will be trying soon.

After the big Lowe family shin-dig we had small family Christmas. Thanks to Mom and Dad, I'll be going on a shopping spree in the next couple weeks.

That about wraps up the holidays. I also saw Melissa while I was in Houston and had brunch with Grandma. I got to see Kevin off to the airport this morning, fully decked out in his dress blues. Today begins about five months of A School training (ie Navy techy training) for him in Pensacola.

All in all, a super holiday(s) and looking forward to two weeks of relaxation now.

Dec 24, 2010

Top Stories of 2010

At the gym today I saw a story about the AP's Top Rated News Stories of 2010. (Spoiler Alert: The Gulf of Mexico oil spill took home the prize.) It got me thinking, what have the Black family top stories of 2010 been? The game-changers if you will.

  • Tie for First: Georgetown Fire Department Ross getting his job there was definitely a game-changer for our family. Now we have a set schedule on a three-day rotation, health insurance for him and a kick ass retirement plan. And of course, he has career satisfaction.
  • Tie for First: US Navy Kevin announcing in May that he would be enlisting in the Navy caught more than a few of us by surprise and has been one of the best decisions of his life. Possibly the absolute best. In October he went to boot camp in Illinois and now that he's home for the holidays, I can confidently say he made the right choice.
  • Second: Gramma Her declining health and eventual passing was definitely a milestone for the family. This is our first Christmas without her and I know it will be tough. From a very selfish perspective, in addition to supporting Ross through it all, losing his Gramma made me appreciate mine even more.
  • Third: My job Suffice it to say, 2010 was a more interesting year career-wise than I would have ever anticipated.
Honorable Mention
  • DSC00727Break In Mostly this just brought a crap-storm into our lives for a month but even the crap-storm cloud had a silver lining: my new TriDelta pin a la my sisters.
  • New Babies Blake, Taygan, Adele and Layla are coloring our lives a little more youthful. For where we are right now, having new babies who belong to someone else is the perfect situation :)
  • Relocation Nichole and her hubby moved to P-ville from South Austin and Brittany and Ken came back from DFW. Hurray! My social life got a big bump from both.
  • Engagements Win & MeganJane & Chris, Cason & Page and Brittney & Chad - so much love in the air!
Your top stories of 2010?

Dec 23, 2010

Holidays at our House

Christmas Eve is reserved for the Turners and Christmas Day for the Lowes but this week has been holiday happenings at the Black house.

Saturday, Dec. 18: Christmas party! You've already seen the pictures and you know Kevin and Bryanna came to visit and joint he party. Ross and I guesstimate that we had about 30-35 people over that night. The hot cider I made (spiked with bourbon) was a huge success. Two batches of 12ish cups each flew off the stove. The tortilla pinwheels also disappeared quickly...we think before Kev and Bry even arrived so I'm talking FAST.
This bone is easily 2 ft
Sunday, Dec. 19: Lunch from Chipolte/Freebirds, a disappointing Texans game but lots of relaxing. I think most of my home slept most of the day.
Monday, Dec. 20:  Ross headed out to work and I spent the day with Kev and Bry. It started with our present to Kevin: an hour massage. While he indulged in that, Bry and I finished Christmas shopping, took Lexi for a pedicure and rewarded her good behaviour with the biggest bone sold at Petsmart. Then with Lexi returned to the house and Kevin done being pampered, we headed out for lunch at Hula Hut and window shopping on South Congress. Hence the fun pics from that day. Kev caught a 5 p.m. flight back to Houston to spend some time with the rest of the family and Bry and I had a lazy evening with Love Actually.
Tuesday, Dec. 21: Bryanna, Nichole and I had lunch at the Melting Pot. Yum! The spinach artichoke cheese fondue is delish. We burned off lunch with a walk around Town Lake and stopped into Whole Foods downtown.
Georgetown Courthouse
Wednesday, Dec 22: Bryanna and I explored downtown Georgetown. Cute cute cute! I had no idea how charming that area was. It is a huge pro in the "should we move to Georgetown?" debate. Even their courthouse was cute...a nice perk if you are being dragged there for something that probably isn't too fun (why else do people go to courthouses really?). And I thoroughly hope to frequent the Georgetown Winery. We didn't try any wines but it definitely had the atmosphere that could suck you and a girlfriend in for hours. Finally, after visiting the Georgetown square, I'm vowing to do significantly more gift shopping in that local area and less at the mall. Before heading back home, Bry and I did visit corporate America again though...but for really cute shoes at DSW which I know even the biggest advocate for shopping local would understand if they saw these pumps. Finally, dinner and cheering Boise State to victory! Woohoo!
Today: Bry headed out this morning back to Houston. Ross is at work. Lexi is being rambunctious. It's a housewife day for me. I've been to the gym, mopped every moppable surface at the house, got the car inspected (in record time; I love Austin's Choice Auto Repair) and am about to settle in for some holiday baking while I indulge in a little guacamole.

The whole family really enjoyed our holiday guests, possibly most especially Lexi. She can never have too much attention. We'll have a little downtime and then tomorrow afternoon the holidays re-arrive in full force! Yay Christmas season!

Dec 21, 2010

Christmas Cocktails

Photos from our Christmas party...I only orchestrated one (but apparently posed for another). Thank you to the person who made sure we got a few more.
All dressed for the holiday
Megan (Rick's lady) and Ross
Brit and me...late in the night

Dec 20, 2010

Fun with Fam

It's a fun week with family and faux-family! Kevin and Bryanna arrived Saturday night for our Christmas party. We had a great time! Pictures of that to follow.

Right now I want to show off the photos from the sweet new camera Ross got me for Christmas. He decided to give it to me early so I got to open it yesterday. And today while Kevin, Bry and I were exploring in Austin, I took lots of photos. See?
Hot boots at Allen Boots, yours for a cool $1300
Kev & Bry, hanging out on SoCo

Dec 18, 2010

Happy Holidays

The holidays are officially here! I'm on vacation for three weeks and tonight little brother and Bryanna come into town. We're hosting our annual Christmas party and there's tons of excitment in the air. I love the holidays :)

Dec 15, 2010

Hello Convio!

I can finally blog/Facebook note write about it, and let's face it, we all know nothing's official until you blog/Facebook note post about it.

I'm soon to be leaving the world of professional Girl Scouting for a new gig at Convio.

What's Convio you ask? A super freakin' cool software and services company here in Austin. They - oops I mean we - create the software and provide the consulting to help nonprofits fundraise online and communicate online in an effective, streamlined, connected manner.

If you aren't a tech or nonprofit geek, that might not mean a whole lot to you. But for a nonprofit geek like me, that's like the holy grail of online nonprofit world.

But what is this new gig you ask? Oh right, I guess I should tell you that.

Social Media Marketing Specialist. Yup, that's right, I will Facebook, tweet, blog, youtube and more for a living. Pretty awesome right? Starting in January you'll be able to follow my Convio tweets at @Convio.

Now that you know the background, here's why I am jazzed about my new gig:
  • I can help millions. Because Convio clients are all nonprofits, our work helps all their causes. I'm not just helping one group anymore, I'm helping more than a thousand groups do their jobs better and that rocks.
  • I love marketing. Plain and simple. It's been beckoning to me.
  • It's warm and fuzzy meets biz savvy. A huge benefit of having nonprofit clients and roots is the intrinsic investment in the community and warm, fuzzy causes. We even have allotted days off to volunteer! But it's a publicly owned company with clear financial goals and a need to get business done.
  • Best place to work in Austin! The Austin Business Journal just named Convio Austin's best place to work and the more I learn, the more I see why.
I'm so thankful for the great experience I got at Girl Scouts - both as a wee little Brownie many moons ago and as a professional. I think both have prepared me well for this next chapter in my career.

And now, with great joy, I say...

Hello Convio! So nice to meet you! I think we'll be best friends.

Dec 14, 2010

Ring in the Holidays

One of the must fun things about being in your 20s at the holidays is all the engagements that occur. Yay! I once read that more engagement occur Thanksgiving-Valentine's Day than any other time of year. Fun huh?

Congrats to our friends, Cason & Paige and Brittney & Chad, the two newest happily engaged couples out there. Both boys popped the question on vacations: Cason took Paige to San Antonio to see the Transiberian Orchestra and Chad proposed while they were on a birthday-Xmas gift to selves cruise. Don't ya just love love?

Dec 11, 2010

Starting to look a lot like Christmas

This is what the holiday season is supposed to be like. New England can have its white Christmas. I'll take 75 and sunny!

Ross put a screen door on the back door yesterday so I'm cleaning house and fixing lunch to Christmas music while a wonderful breeze blows through the open back door and front window. It's great! The tree is lit, Frank Sinatra is singing to me and I'm wearing a skirt and tank top.

Lexi & Santa
Suspect #1 in chocolate eating
Another indicator of a good holiday season: this afternoon Brittany and I are going out for a wine tasting (not the coupon we have from, scheduling didn't work) and tonight Nichole and I are going to a holiday party. I love holiday parties.

Oh and I get to do a little extra Christmas shopping, courtesy of Lexi, the $15 Godiva chocolate eating, present un-wrapping reindeer puppy. Yup, she unwrapped and ate Grandma's Christmas gift. But this means I have another excuse to go to the Godiva store and yet another gift to wrap, which for me is a joy, not a chore by any means. So perhaps I should thank Lexi? (Really I'm just glad that the very expensive chocolate didn't make her sick. See it is a good holiday season.)

How are you holidays? Shaping up nicely?

Dec 9, 2010

What do you read?

Sarah Palin doesn't inspire much in me (oops! politics; bad Cheryl. Things to avoid: politics, money and religion.) but her interview with Barbara Walters included the famous "what do you read" question. She said CS Lewis, Wall Street Journal, local Alaskan newspapers. I have my opinion about what that says about her but it got me thinking, what do all of us read and what does it say about us?

I read...
  • Many Delta blogs
  • Texas Monthly
  • Fluffy girly fiction books
  • Professional advice books like Raising More Money, though I'll admit, those are the least read
I think/hope that the list of things I read says I'm a nonprofit techy with interests in my community, friends and profession.

What do you read and what do you think it says about you?

Dec 6, 2010

Deficit & Taxes - SOLVED

This weekend a local paper, Community Impact, published a nifty little chart detailing the Bush tax cuts, Obama's tax cut plans and the pre-cut tax world. And while I'm normally way into social policy and bored by economic policy, I gotta say, that chart got my attention hardcore.

Currently, under the Bush tax cuts, Ross and I are in a tax bracket that takes 15% of our taxable income. I'm cool with that. However, if nothing happens with the potential extension of the tax cuts that will jump to - are you ready - 28% of our income!

No obviously this just ticks me off. I work hard for that money and I would really prefer to keep it, thankyouverymuch. But as I'm looking at this chart, in addition to being ticked about my current tax bracket (in the non-tax cut world), I start to get ticked about my future tax brackets. I knew that it was a graduated index and in theory, back when I had zero dollars, I wasn't too bugged by this. Now that I have a few dollars though, it really ticks me off. Why do you get to take more of my money when I'm working harder to make more of it? At the end of the day, am I taking on more stress and hours so that the government can have the difference in my income? Hello, talk about no good deed goes unpunished.

So this is what I'm proposing:
  • Flat tax rate...roughly 20% which I think from the 10 minutes I spent reading this chart in the newspaper, might have a shot at meeting our federal expenses. I figure if you make $20,000, then 20% (or $4,000) hurts you just the same as someone making $100,000 (and paying $20,000 in taxes). Thus nobody is punished for working their butts off to make a good wage. That said I'm also open to there being an income level at or below which you pay no taxes. Maybe under $10,000? I'm not sure but I bet some economists out there have an idea or two about that.
  • Base unemployment on minimum wage. I realize this isn't directly related to taxes but in the blog title I promised to solve the deficit too. Hear me out. Current unemployment benefits are related to your income when you lost your gig. Employers have to pay into a fund to help support those benefits. So if Joe was making $100,000 his unemployment benefits would be costly. And Joe would have no reason to take a significantly lower paying gig because it would very likely be less than the unemployment benefits he was receiving. I'm not faulting Joe. At the end of the day, you have to do what's best for you and yours. But why should our system encourage Joe not to work? But if unemployment benefits had a closer relationship to minimum wage, then anything over minimum wage would be a step up for Joe, thus encouraging him to start working sooner and relieving the stress on the unemployment system. Further, Org X (Joe's old employer) would be paying less into unemployment, thus freeing up more of their resources to invest in capital.
I'm not an economist. Heck, I had to cheat off my high school sweetheart to pass economics. But we keep trying what the economists suggest and bad news y'all, it isn't working. So I vote we go with this plan and see how things shape up.

Thoughts? Ideas? Votes for president?

PS I fear I may be tip toeing on the line of Republicanism! But I still firmly believe in same-sex marriage and am pro-choice. That's enough to remain a registered Democrat right??

Dec 5, 2010

Et cetera

I feel like I have neglected to update you on a few misc.-etc. type things.
  • December Goals: One down and great progress on another! My boss approved my vacation time so Christmas break officially begins December 18. Woohoo! Also, I've written $65,000 in fundraising proposals for Women of Distincion. Just another $10,000 to knock out before the holidays.
  • Happy Birthday Ross: No his birthday isn't quite yet. It's in April and it's the big three-oh. To celebrate the milestone we just booked a place on Lake Travis. It sleeps 16 and is lakefront. We're super jazzed to have everyone out for rip-roaring good time. Note: Between his birthday celebration and our South Carolina trip, April is looking pretty dang fabulous.
  • My Sister's Keeper: Just finished this book and it is so good. I can't wait to watch the movie soon. I'm not really in a review mood but trust me, you should read it. It's a page-turner.
  • Lexi: Have you ever heard the theory that dogs are the manifestation of their owners? We joke that Lexi is this. She's very playful like Ross and a cuddle-bug like me. Well the vet confirmed that she is the puppy version of us when at her annual visit last week he said that she's not fat...oh but her belly has a little extra. She's healthy, no need for a diet, but she does carry her little extra in her belly. Just. Like. Us.
  • Happy Birthday Jack & Nichole!: They are birthday twinkies both with December 4 birthdays. Though they are a few decades apart in age.

Dec 4, 2010

Day with Blue Dog Rescue

iphone_picToday Ross and I helped Blue Dog Rescue with their Puppy Pictures with Santa fundraiser. I helped with the paper work and picture orders. And Ross helped dress the puppies in holiday gear.

Little did we know, he has a second career in puppy costuming. The photographer, board member, Santa and pet owners all raved about the cute cute outfits he picked out and helped dress the dogs in. Here is a picture of him and Millie who is moonlighting as Mrs. Claus.

Millie is actually a "Blue Dog," as in she's in their program at the moment. Blue Dog Rescue takes pups from all over but often shelters that aren't getting much foot traffic or families who for whatever sad circumstance can't provide a home any more (death of owner was said to be the more common in family situations). Blue Dog Rescue places them with a foster family that makes sure they are up to date on vaccines, flea treatments, etc and then brings the dogs to adoption events. If a potential forever-family is interested in the pup, the Blue Dog foster family helps evaluate whether it is a good match and ultimately helps place teh pup in a forever home. Blue Dog Rescue's budget helps relieve the foster families of the expense related to taking in a pup.

From a professional standpoint, I was really impressed with the group. They are all volunteer run and have only a five person board. With those sparse resources they help about 200 dogs per year find new homes. They've been doing it for ten years now. As a member of an all-volunteer board/organization, I know what a challenge the administrative side can be when there is no staff. So I'm very impressed with how big an impact Blue Dog Rescue is making with such limited resources.

We really liked everyone and I think we'll keep volunteering with them. Volunteer verdict: Success!

Dec 3, 2010

Santa Ross

DSC00740While I was at work this morning Santa Ross and his little elf (Lexi) bought and wrapped my Christmas presents!

Santa Ross is an excellent gift giver. He thinks on it long and hard. He even gets a little competitive - he wants to be sure that you like the gift he got you best of all. This works out great for those of us on the receiving end.

What Santa Ross is not so awesome at is wrapping gifts. Knowing this, I was very impressed by the clean, tidy wrapping job of these gifts. I complimented him on it.

DSC00741He told me to look in the kitchen.

As you can see, there are pieces of wrapping paper all over the counter and what you cannot see is that there's more on the kitchen table. He told me that while he was wrapping the presents he got so frustrated and started cursing that he scared Lexi. She ran outside and wouldn't come back in until he was done.

But she's the elf, right? Shouldn't she be wrapping the presents??

Kudos to Santa Ross though. The pieces of wrapping paper that currently decorate the kitchen are so large, I think I can use most of them to wrap other people's gifts.

Wrapping paper aside...I can't wait to see what he got me. He's also really good about not letting on as to what the gift is. I have no idea. Here's what I do know though. See if you can help me guess.
  • The lady at the store told him I was very lucky.
  • The big box is VERY light. I asked him if he got me air.
  • The smaller gift is heavier. It feels sturdy.
I got nothing else though. But I'm sure Santa Ross came through. He's a gift-giving champ.

Dec 1, 2010

Texts From Last Night, Part 2

After watching the best episode of Top Chef EVER and having lots of other things on my mind, I am far too wound up to sleep. (Bummer since tomorrow is an early morning at the office.)

So I am reading from the website And laughing. A. LOT. I want to share some of the more appropriate ones with you and encourage you to go read the inappropriate long as you are old enough and think that kinda thing is humorous.

Ahem, appropriate texts from last night (.com):
  • i am too hungover to go to class can you just call me and put it on speaker phone
  • There's a pair of socks on the bar. No-one's questioned this.
  • Hey they cleaned all the blood out of the elevator. Also could you pick up some nachos?
  • I just want to let you know it was a unanimous decision that we would eat you first if we ever turned into cannibals, we figured with all the bacon you eat you may taste like it. It's a chance we are willing to take with your life...don't forget that we love you
  • Lauren she was gnawing on a dresser. Gnawing. On. A. Dresser.
  • The toilet started ringing, I think I just found your phone.
  • We decided to go to McDs, but we only had a few minutes to make it to breakfast. We were sprinting full speed ahead when she tripped and you just yelled 'LEAVE HER' and kept your course.
Does anyone else have flashbacks to college when they read these?

December Goals

Anna and Emal have inspired this post. Congrats Anna on checking off many things on you November list and good luck Emal with your December list.

My December goals are...
  • Keep up 200 minutes of cardio per week. Hit the nail on the head in November!
  • Start Christmas vacation on December 18. Vacation request is in. Fingers crossed!
  • Send out the cutest Christmas cards ever. I won't give it all away but rest assured, they will include Lexi as she is definitely the cutest thing in our home.
  • Reach our savings goal. In July we set a goal for how much we want to save up this year. We reached that last month and then used some of it for Anna and Ben's wedding and some of it for Ross' birthday celebration. But that's what it was for. Now though, we're fairly close to still making that goal after those expenses. It's a stretch but here's to hoping! (Feel free to make a deposit into our savings account as a Christmas gift.)
  • Wine tasting. Brittany and I bought a special for a wine tasting in the downtown-ish area and I am determined that we'll actually go this month. Tentative girls' wine date is the 11th.
  • Read at least two fun books. I just started a new one this weekend. I think I'll probably have that finished by Christmas break (haha love that I still have Christmas break) and I'd like to read another over the holidays.
  • Complete all of my Women of Distinction proposals. I have about six sponsor proposals to send out before the holidays...about $75,000 worth of funding. I really need/want to finish them all.
  • Fix Flash. My computer tells me Flash is installed but things that should show in Flash do not. I will get this sorted out and fixed.

Nov 28, 2010

Giving Back

I actually just wrote and scrapped a whole blog post because as writing so often does, it inspired me to write another one. One I hope you'll give me feedback on.

I'm reading Raising More Money a la my boss, Bonnie. Great read. Highly reccommend.

One of the first chapters discusses how people tend to give to the same organizations year in and year out. (Interesting tid-bit, 75% of American households have at least one donor living in them.) This got me thinking, yup, I'm consistent.

I've been a girl member, camp counselor, volunteer, donor and finally, staff with Girl Scouts.

Every time a closet is cleaned out, the goods go to Goodwill.

I'm working on my fourth fundraising event with the American Cancer Society.

Ah but that opened a new door. I'm a donor/volunteer with the ACS. (Fabulous organization.) But I've also been at least a little active with a lot of other cancer organizations: MD Anderson Cancer Center (best Xmas cards money can buy), Jori Zemel Children's Bone Cancer Foundation, The Jimmy Fund, The Cancer Council Australia and Susan G. Komen.

So while we tend to give to the same organizations year after year, partly because it's easy I'm guessing, might we also just be addicted to a cause? How many of us make a point of supporting a particular cause and are just as happy to do it through almost any organization with that mission?

Do you tend to give to the same cause regularly or do you give to the same specific organization regularly? In either case, who do you give to and why?

Deck the Halls

Our little home is finally decorated for the holidays!

DSC00729The tree situation just got funnier. Ross also couldn't find the tree stand and was just about to say we should buy a new tree when he asked how much trees are. The minimum price of $50 really turned him off. So we ended up Liquid Nail gluing the tree into the stand. Then to help straighten the tilt, he tied strings to a few back branches and the stand to give it the right angle.

Awesome right?

The skirt covers it up so no worries.

DSC00731One room over in the kitchen/dining area I have a tablescape that I am just in love with. It really represents why I love the holidays. Because not only are you allowed to mix glitter, shimmer, metallic, candles and beads, but it is in fact, encouraged.

Also note that I love how a table runner dresses up my Craigslist table yet lets the fabulous stain job Ross did on it a couple years ago shine through. It really is the perfect tabletop linen.

We also have some kick ass LED lights on the house. I love how LED lights have this blue tint...well I love it for the multi-colored ones like we have on the house. Some neighbors have LED white icicles and that just looks weird. But our house, it looks fantastic.

And finally, because it is just too cute of a picture, I'll leave you with this: Me & my fur baby ready for Christmas!

Lexi Xmas

PS I know Lexi's eyes look wierd in this picture. The "red eye" was more of a glowing white-puppy eye reflection thing and made her look mildly possessed. I'm still fiddling with photo editing options to figure out how to best remove the demon eyes while not making her look like a pirate as she kinda does here.

Nov 26, 2010

The Tree & Me

We took a 2 day jaunt out to H-town for Turkey Day. Ross got his first taste of a Lowe Thanksgiving - tables oddly joined together, 15 and 1/2 peopl and just as many side dishes to compliment the always delicious Grandma-cooked turkey.

Back in Austin today he's at work and I'm having my own Black in the halls of the Black home got all decked out for Christmas. After starting the day off with a power breakfast of hot chocolate and pineapple upside down cake, I got crackin'.

Mistletoe in the entry way, reindeer welcome door mat outside, silver bell wreath in the guest bathroom, holiday "floral" arrangement on the living room endtable, lasso-ing Santa candle-holder thing. All the little signs of Christmas.

Time for the tree. One piece, two piece, three piece, tree. But mmmm, tree without a stand.

We thought Ross had taken all Christmas related things out of the attic before we left for Houston but somehow, there is no tree stand. So up into the attic I attempted. I didn't actually get off the ladder but I got torso-deep into the attic three times thinking I could find the tree stand. What I did find was lots of dust on my black pants.

I ended up going to Walmart and buying a stand. For $7.50, well worth not waiting for Ross to return from the fire station. Except when I got home and tried to put my tree together, I discovered pieces were missing. Critical pieces. Back to Walmart, make the exchange and finally, home again for an evening of tree decorating and red wine.

Tree in stand, pieces together, lights on. Stand back to admire my handiwork/determine areas of further need....and discover great tilt. A nudge this way, a push that way, a wall for support on this side. But alas, I could not straighten out the darn tree!

Now I'm a fairly independent gal. But at this point I did just break down and call my hubby. And I whined. I have boxes of ornaments desperate to go on the tree which at this point, is in three pieces on the floor.

He's coming home tomorrow morning and making it all better.

Nov 23, 2010

Shutter Island Review

US Marshalls Teddy and Chuck head out to Shutter Island (off the coast of Massachusetts) to help find a lost patient for the psychiatric facility housed on the island. She seems to have disappeared into thin air. Things get even more bizarre as the unfold secrets about experimental treatments of varying degrees of ethical responsibility. And when attention turns to Teddy, the plot really goes crazy.

That's the synopsis. I enjoyed the book but I'll admit, it was slow to get going. It begins with a lot of character development and learning about the demons in Teddy's past. In retrospect, very important but at the time I got a little impatient with his grief over the passing of his wife three years prior. Push through this slower part with my promise that it will play an important role later.

Also know that being based at a psychiatric facility, things can get confusing at times. Its not like the characters are always making sense when they speak or anything like that. Make sure you can really get your head into the book. No Monday Night Football playing in the background for sure.

The last 50 pages or so were amazing, especially the final 10. I won't spoil the end for you but I was blindsided in a great way. Now I'm dying to see a movie as I'm very curious to how they'll portray this on film. And upon a Google search that informed me of Leonardo DiCaprio's starring role, I am that much more interested in seeing the movie. So glad Ross promised to rent it with me ASAP.

Verdict: Prep for a slow start but definitely read.

Nov 22, 2010

BBC Book List

Inspired by Jane
Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your blog. Bold those books you've read in their entirety Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte loved this one so much I dragged my little cousin to see the play at Wellesley College one summer

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis Ugh but I hat these. Read against my will, thank you Miss Phillips

34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel - on my must read list very soon

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens Also excellent

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens I read every third page for the whole book. Does that count?

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl Ha! I only read this like 100 times.

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

At first I thought the BBC must massively underestimate us. But on second thought, I think they need to clarify. Do they mean most people in the whole world? If so, they are spot on - since many of these probably aren't translated into multiple languages and since so many people in third world countries are fighting for clean water, not good literature - then yeah, it probably averages out to less than six a person. But if they mean most people in the industrialized English-speaking world...then I sure hope it is an underestimation. Or we seriously need to up the ante on English Lit classes.

Nov 19, 2010

Delta Sparkle

There's a special thing that a gal has called Delta Sparkle. It means she rocks. She's super nice, fun and caring.

Yesterday when I got home I had a small box from TriDelta executive office. A new pin! Very exciting since during Shitstorm 2010 I lost my pin.

DSC00727Of course, I had no idea where this pin came from (other than EO, duh). It had to be someone who loved me very much and I had three suspicions: hubby, mommy, deltas. Hubby was out so I couldn't confirm or eliminate him. I got Mom on the phone and confirmed that it was not her. I called many a delta but couldn't connect with any. Until Emal called me back. IT WAS THE WONDERFUL DELTAS!

My big, Jane, orchestrated a Cheryl Pin Replacement Operation post Shitstorm 2010. She, Emal, Age and Margo made it happen for me. They all said they knew that 1) being without my TriDelta pin was very sad and 2) with everything else I had to deal with (new laptop, etc) they could probably get around to ordering me a new one before I would do it.

They were so so so right on all accounts. They have lots of Delta Sparkle.

Today I am walking on TriDelta Cloud 9. I love these girls and am so giddy with happiness and love that they went out of their way to make sure I had a TriDelta pin. And I am totally wearing a TriDelta shirt to work today in their honor.

Thank you so much to the best sisters in the world!

Nov 17, 2010

Since last time

Since my last post, here's the scoop:
  • Kevin called! Monday afternoon Kevin called from boot camp. It was fab. He is doing well. Learning weapons training, working out, other stuff. One luxury he gets is every Sunday one of the commanders (or whatever the people in charge are called) shares the week's sports scores with them. From what I gather, this is pretty nearly all they know about the real world.
  • Kevin's coming to visit! And in our conversation Kev said that he wants to make an adventure out to Austin during his 10 days of liberty around the holidays. I think he and Bry will be here at the same time. Hurray!
  • Ross cooked dinner and did lots of cleaning. Meatball sandwiches. Yum. And then when I said I think we should take turns cleaning the bathrooms - because let me tell you, he did a bang up job on the master bathroom today - he told me he'd be in charge of the guest bathroom...and still help with the master when I'm busy. I'm wondering who this bathroom cleaning fool is that wandered into my house because it certainly isn't the man I married. (But I love this version too. He can stay.)
  • I traded in happy hour for Theraflu tea. Sad huh? But probably wise. I'm already feeling better actually. Could I possibly have trumped a cold in just one afternoon? Oh God, please let it be so.
  • Just two more days of work til Thanksgiving break! Sometimes I'm amazed that I'm not a student, given all my fabulous holidays. I'm taking Tuesday & Wednesday off next week to give me a grand total of 10 days off for Thanksgiving! God bless Girl Scouts! Maybe I'll even get really crazy and take my Girl Scout email off my phone for the week...ok probably not, but a girl can dream.

Nov 14, 2010

Exceptional Productivity

Ross was/is at work today/tonight and since I'm terrible at doing nothing, I've been terribly productive. I won't bore you with the laundry list of what I did all day but I will share two with you.

DSC00724I finally did the photo display thing I saw in Real Simple magazine months ago and loved. Good timing too since we're going to have a guest (Bryanna!) for several nights next month. Her guest room is now done.

I think I'm diggin this new look. I also think that the kinda messy photo display requires the rest of the room to be very neat so it doesn't look like a torando just went through it. Still have a couple things to do - like trim that one oddly tall flower in the vase. (Floral cutters are at GSCTX office. Will do this soon, promise.) Oh yeah, also need to clean off the bed which is behind where I'm standing to take this photo. It is covered with all the things I "cleaned" off my desk in order to take the pic.

And now, way more importantly:

We have plane tickets and a hotel for Ben & Anna's wedding! 


We fly to Charleston at 11:30 a.m. on April 29 and land at dinner time. I got an amazingly good deal on the hotel we're staying in our first two nights: the Courtyard Charleston Waterfront. (Photo: view I'm expecting/hoping to have.) I went through for the first time to get this hotel. I have to say it was a little scary letting a non-refundable charge go onto my credit card without knowing the hotel for sure first. But it let me narrow it down to the neighborhood in Charleston and star rating first. And let's face it, that's about all I would have been able to go off of myself. Might as well let William Shatner negotiate for me. It turned out superbly I believe.

After our two nights in Charleston, we'll frolic over to Folly Beach for a couple nights. I've picked out our hotel for that part of the trip but won't book it until tomorrow. I want to call and see if I can negotiate half as good as old Bill Shatner did for me but I'm not willing to be so flexible with this location and thus cannot use Anyways, we'll be staying at Tides Folly Beach aka Folly Beach Holiday Inn. I can't really figure out which name the hotel goes by as I've found it under both and it is definitely the same place. Whatever it's called, we're staying there May 1 and 2. And I fully intend to soak up the beautiful South Carolina seashore for the full two days.

Now I know Ben & Anna's wedding isn't for nearly six months. And you possibly think I am crazy for just about having everything booked. Let me tell you though, I am not crazy. Ross' Aunt Kathy gave us a magazine article this summer that highly recommended booking vacations really far in advance. The logic was that once you book a vacation, the happy-go-lucky-I'm-going-on-vacation feeling begins. And you get to enjoy it for all the months leading up to your adventure. I am definitely a subscriber to this logic. I would share this article with you if I knew what magazine or what month it was from. Since I don't, you just have to trust me.

Try it for yourself. Book your trip to their wedding and see how happy it makes you. I am for one am over the moon.


The November Plan was stupid and I take it back.

Thursday night Brittany came over and we had wine while we ate dinner and watched Grey's/Private Practice. Friday night we had dinner with my in-laws and I had a cocktail. So last night when I wanted a glass of wine while I cooked dinner on a very lazy Saturday I went through an internal conflict because I pledged to only have alcohol two nights a week.

That was when I decided The November Plan was dumb.

The whole point of "alcohol two nights a week" was to consume less empty calories and nothing deeper or more profound. But obviously the number of evenings that include alcohol doesn't automatically monitor the calories - heck I could have pitcher upon pitcher of maragaritas and if I only did it twice a week, would be sticking to The Plan but probably consuming a few unnecesary calories.

So I threw The Plan right out the window and had a lovely glass of wine while I cooked. I'm done monitoring how many times in the week I consume empty alcoholic calories and am switching to how many empty alcoholic calories I consume total. That seems to really be more addressing the issue anyway.

The part of The November Plan that was not stupid though was my increase cardio. Last week I did 205 minutes of cardio exercise. Way to go me!

Nov 13, 2010

Puppy Pictures with Santa

Many moons ago, summer 2008 to be exact, Ross and I volunteered at Relay for Life together. I was the committee chair for the Survivor Dinner and he was by default a member of my committee. We had a great time volunteering together. I decided we should do something volunteer together every year.

In 2009 we didn't totally hit the nail on the head. I was busy with YNPN Austin and he was busy at Sam Bass FD as a volunteer. So we we were still giving back, just not together at the same place.

Now in 2010 the year is rapidly ending and I really wanted to get back on track. Volunteering together is so fun and its great how you both get that warm-fuzzy feeling. We talked about it a little this week and Ross really wanted to help puppies. So I took on the task of finding a one-time puppy volunteer opportunity.


Yup, on December 4 we are spending our afternoon helping Blue Dog Rescue at the Pictures with Santa fundraiser. It meets our puppy criteria, is a one-time opportunity (meaning we can successfully commit) and sounds like a whole heck of a lot of fun. What's not to love about puppies and Santa?!

I'm very excited. We'll be sure to share our pics of Lexi and Santa in a few weeks.

Nov 10, 2010

Wonderful Foolish Hubby

He did himself in on this one. He did TOO GOOD of a job cleaning the kitchen and his game room. Now I know he can do it and do it well. Ah, hubby. So wonderful and foolish of you. I love you for it.

Nov 9, 2010

Save the Date!

Ben & Anna at Jess & Rob's wedding
We just received our formal Save the Date for Ben and Anna's wedding! It's a darn good thing too because I was getting nervous that I had been cut.

But rest assured, Jane and I decided if we were cut from the guest list we were crashing the hell out of that wedding. Invitations or no, we were going to South Carolina!

Although I must say, going with an invitation and attending the wedding of two of my closest friends will be much more fun. I'm really looking forward to it. How soon do you think Ross will let me buy plane tickets?

Nov 8, 2010

S'more Soiree!

This weekend I had my first ever fundraising event (as a professional fundraiser as opposed to as a volunteer). I don't mean to brag but it went great!

I went out to camp on Friday to get the set-up underway. That was when I began to fully understand the glorious-ness of our camp staff. Through every word of this post if I say "we" I mean "90% was done by camp staff and I did a measly 10%." Camp staff rocks.

So anyways, set up Friday night and at 9 a.m. on Saturday the very first people began to arrive. By noon 90% of our 120 participants were on site. We had lunch in the dining hall - delicious - and then at 1 p.m. workshops began. I can confidently tell you now that the hardest part of the weekend is 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., the initial check in and kick off of workshops. During that we're all still wondering how its going to go, participants have lots of questions, there's lots of last minute details to scramble for, etc. Once workshops begin, piece of metaphorical cake.

Our workshops were many and varied but to give you a sampling we had high ropes challenge, horseback riding, massages, facials, a style show by Neiman Marcus, 2 cooking classes, jazzercise, yoga and much much more. It's a combo of traditional and non-traditional camp activities, most with a grown up twist.

During workshops my biggest challenge was to ensure that the volunteer facilitators arrived at camp in time and got set up. We had one hiccup here: an acupuncturist had to cancel last  minute due to a family emergency. The participants were great though. They just rolled with the punches and enjoyed other activities instead. Otherwise we had a few run a little late but all that meant was a quicker set up than initially planned. Thank goodness for working in a time cushion!

At 6 p.m. we had cocktail hour. We were really fortunate to have a caterer donate all the appetizers for this - really took some pressure off of our kitchen staff/volunteers. Then dinner at 7 p.m. and a live concert at around 8: 30 p.m. The concert was one of the best parts. Sara Hickman, a local musician played, and had everyone dancing for more than 2 hours. We had ladies dancing on chairs, conga lines and more. Obviously a big hit. Even our few male staffers got pulled into it - I mean what else could they do when the singer asked them to take the stage with her? Of course they obliged!

Then a late bedtime, breakfast at 8 a.m. and a final workshop at 9:30. Everything wrapped up around 11 a.m. 24 hours of fun and beautiful weather. (Btw, we could not have possibly had better weather! Sunny and in the 70s without a cloud in the sky!)

I haven't totally finished counting the pennies yet but I expect us to hit $70,000 in total funds raised. At my last rough count we were at $69,500 so I'm confident in $70k. The previous record for this event was $62,000 so I'm feeling great! When I have photos, I'll be sure to share them.

It was a long (though wonderful) weekend. I'm taking today for some much needed rest: hair cut, pedicure, blogging, couch-sitting, etc.

PS Last week The November Plan was 50% a success. I did exactly 200 minute of cardio but with S'more Soiree and the bar results, I required 3 nights of celebratory cocktails.

Nov 4, 2010

Don't know how she does it

Today Brittany was put in charge of discovering the results of her hubby's bar exam results. The bar association thingy posts a list of names to their website of the people who passed the bar. So you just keep refreshing that webpage, every few minutes...or every few seconds.

Ken, her hubby, took to distracting himself today. A reasonable thing given that those results would be life-changing. So Brittany was the team rep in charge of checking the results. I don't know how she did it.

I would have lost my mind.

There are good reasons why I didn't know the websites for Ross' EMT and firefighting test results. I would have been compulsive. Hats off to Brittany for being on top of that today and still maintaining her sanity.

Oh and right...
Two new lawyers in the fam. Woohoo!

Robin at our wedding

Britt & Ken at our wedding

Nov 2, 2010

The only thing I love more

DSC00718The only thing I love more than Christmas music is terribly tacky festive holiday decorations.

Hence Mr. Multi-colored Sparkley Candle-holder Metal Turkey.

Ain't he lovely? I think so...except when I light a candle in him it's weird. It's like he has a glowing butt; a turkey with a glowing butt. Weird right?

But he has his claim as my first ever strictly Thanksgiving decoration, as opposed to a generic autumn decoration. And for one month he lives on the shelf of rotating seasonal decor.

Welcome to your month of stardom Mr. Multi-colored Sparkley Candle-holder Metal Turkey. The pilgrims would be so proud.

Nov 1, 2010

The November Plan

Before Blogger and all my blog readers, I am committing to The November Plan.

The November Plan stems from my session with a personal trainer today. A 24HourFitness member perk gave me a free session today and my trainer taught me all kinds of tummy-toning and butt-building exercises. And it ended with a Cheryl-requested body fat evaluation. Uh, not so sexy.

Body Fat: 30.2% This translates into obese. (OBESE! Can you believe it? I fluctuate between a size 4 and a size 6. Those are not the sizes of an obese woman thankyouverymuch.)

Four-ish years ago, I was heavier than I am now but I dropped that to reach my ever-consistent 130-ish weight. 130 and I are very cozy. Thus you can imagine my surprise when I learned that what I consider to be my sexy healthy adult weight and body make-up actually pushed me into the obese category. FYI for a chica, 18-25% is healthy, 25-29% is overweight and 30%+ is obese.

Now I'm not going on some crazy spinach and watermelon diet or anything like that. And obese or not, I still think I look pretty damn hot. But what does make me a little nervous is all the health risks of being obese or overweight. I certainly didn't think of myself as needing to worry about those but based on the definitions of obese and overweight, well, I might need to.

Hence The November Plan. Here it is, in all its glory:
  • At least 200 minutes of cardio per week. As recommended by the trainer I met with today. I think this will average out to about an hour more per week than I currently do.
  • Alcoholic beverages two or less days per week. I do kinda feel like a lush with this one so I am going to clarify. I probably drink 3-4 days per week now. Usually a little heavier on Fridays and Saturdays and, during the week, one or two nights when I just have one drink at either happy hour or with dinner. Note: I am usually the driver so even "a little heavier" rarely means actually drunk.
I think if I can achieve both of these this month then I'll burn more calories and reduce my caloric intake by about 200-300 calories per week. Not to mention just have healthier habits.

Things I am not concerning myself with on The November Plan:
  • Chips, queso, guac, salsa and Chuy's jalapeno dip...though I will admit, this would probably cut calories a lot faster than anything else. But it would also cut into my quality of life and I am not into that.
  • Starbucks
  • Sit ups
  • Lots of other stuff that I'm just going to keep doing (or not doing in the case of sit ups) as I've always done
I'll try to report each weekend how the week has been. And maybe by December I'll have shed a couple pounds and the "obese" label and can be proudly overweight.

PS Doesn't this shed some light and perspective on the obesity epidemic we always hear about?