Jul 27, 2010

Favorites x 2= Love

One of my favorite photographers/deltas (Kristen) did a photo shoot of my favorite Girl Scout/Army wife/mentor (Cindy) and her family. This blog post and the photos just holler "AWESOME!"

I know this was Cindy's family's photo shoot, not mine, but it just fills me with butterflies and rainbows that the worlds of Girl Scouts and TriDelta have collided in Austin and that's making good things happen for good people. I'm thankful to Kristen for her generous photography donations to Girl Scouts (and for helping me out of sophomore slump back in college) and thankful to Cindy for her unwavering and honest mentorship, both professionally and personally. And I'm just bursting with joy that these two great ladies got to meet each other!

See Kristen's great photos of Cindy and fam: http://www.faux-toes.com/blog/2010/07/a-special-session-for-a-military-family.html

PS Another fav: planning a lunch date with my pledge class (& then some) at the BU Pub on Friday. I believe it is the official kick off to the Eddy-Porter wedding weekend and I am jazzed.

Jul 26, 2010

There are no words but I'll try anyways

During vacation I finished both books that I brought with me before the flight home. In Denver I poked my head into B&N and picked up two books.

Great, two fluffy girl books, The Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl and Hard to Get. I started reading Call Girl, was amused by some of the client scenes and finished it yesterday. It was a pretty entertaining book until the last two chapters when the character does a 180 in the span of four pages and with no explanation. I actually checked about three times that I wasn't missing pages.

And so before bed I started reading Hard to Get, a paperback about a girl who upon throwing her sister's bachelorette party discovers one of the male strippers is the former love of her life. Presumably the story is about the back and forth of getting back together.

OMG. No. I unknowingly practically bought erotica! Even as a grown, married woman I blushed uncontrollably as a I read the first two chapters. Just after the first I was thinking "my goodness" but thought I would give the second chapter a shot, maybe the author was just trying to hook me. Oh no, the second chapter was equally steamy (and raunchy and...just omigoodness)!

I don't think of myself as prudish but I just cannot read this book! What's more, I don't even think I can take it to Half Price Books as a donation. I shop at the same one every couple of weeks and while I know its probably very vain to think the salesclerks remember me, what if they do!? Then I'll become the woman who donated erotica!

So like I said, there are no words to describe my embarrassment. My solution: throw this book into the bottom of a Goodwill donation bag and be an anonymous donor of erotica.

Jul 25, 2010

Ann & Diane

Last year Ross and I watched a Diane Sawyer special on 20/20 (btw if you didn't know, I really love my ABC News people, Diane included. We're on a first name basis). The special was called "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains" and it focused on the poverty in Appalachia. What we took away from it was being baffled by the health issues in coal mines, the unspeakable conditions kids grow up in and the prevalance of drug abuse in such poor communities but what really blew us away was the use of Mountain Dew. As a rule, we don't drink cokes. Not for any kind of moral highroad or anything but I gave them up for Lent once and never went back and Ross is just actually that health conscious.

In the 20/20 Special they showed parents giving their kids Mountain Dew in sippy cups. As you can imagine, the list of issues with that is obscenely long. Poor oral health, useless calories, hyperactivity, expense of it etc. We were floored. It made us both thankful that we had parents who would never have done that and who taught us, even just by example if not by conscious lessons, that coke in sippy cups is just not OK.

Tonight on Dateline, Ann Curry ventured off to a very poor region of Ohio ("America Now: Friends and Neighbors"). She interviewed several families, among whom was a woman who runs a local food pantry. It was a good special though I can't say anything hit home quite as hard as the Mountain Dew nightmare of Diane's special. Though that said, it definitely reiterated the point that so much of this poverty is simply caused by a lack of education. Of course I don't mean fancy private university education, although yes, college would have opened more employment doors for folks, sure. But teenagers getting pregnant because they aren't educated about birth control or the challenges of being a teen parent. Parents not educated about what healthy foods they should feed their kids and why other foods are so bad.

Even though I definitely had years as an entitled jerk of a teenager, I do think I was always thankful for the advantages I had like a good school, a car at 16, a college education. I'm not sure though that I've often, then or now, really thought about the other advantages I had. I've probably just always taken loving family, well balanced meals, knowledge of budgeting and such fo granted. (I think though that this is relatively common. Right? I'm not alone in this am I?)

That said, I often get angry people's inability to care for themselves. To me, a girl with every advantage in life, it always seems so easy. I hear people say "life is hard" and frequently think "no, it isn't." It sounds harsh and judgemental and I'm not saying its the right attitude. Occassionally, I definitely need to be reminded that my life wasn't hard but that's just my life (thanks Ann and Diane for that reminder). I'm not sure if what I view as blatantly bad choices will ever stop irritating me. Frankly probably not. But I do hope I have the perspective to remember that for many it isn't all their fault. They had nobody to teach them, nobody to set a good example, not a single advantage in their childhood. Keeping that perspective I know will not only make me a less judgemental person but will help me help others and be patient. Here's to hoping I can regularly summon up that kind of perspective and realism and then act with purpose, patience and selflessness.

Jul 24, 2010


Yesterday we got back from our Colorado-extravaganza and it was awesome.

Airtram Observation DeckDay one we arrived in Denver, grabbed our rental car and drove up to Estes Park, a little touristy town on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. While we waited for the condo to be ready, we took the airtram thing up the side of a mountain and scoped out the view from the observation deck. As you can see from the pic...needless to say it was awesome. We saw little chimpmunks running around, brave little suckers. One practically ran across my foot! The we checked into our freaking amazing condo, complete with fireplace, mountain view, hot tub for two in the bathroom, marble countertops, you name it, this condo had it.

FamilyA quick cat nap later, we had after all woken up at the crack of dawn, and we went out to dinner with my cousin Winslow and his new fiance, Megan. It was great to meet her. Lovely girl. Had an excellent dinner with them. And by the way, the YMCA they work out is crazy big! Wowzas.

DSC00544Day two started with an 8 a.m. breakfast trailride. That's right, horseback trailride. With our guide and a mother-daughter pair we started out into the mountains on our horses. My horse, April, was a very nosy horse. It was a fight to keep even a foot between her and the horse in front of her. After an hour of riding we stopped for breakfast. Now here, unfortunately the daughter from the other pair realized she had a crazy rash across her whole face. A little freaked out, they called it an early day and went to the hospital. Fortunately she had no problems breathing or anything so I'm sure she's fine. Of course the result of this was Ross and I had 2.5 hours of a private horseback ride through the mountains. The views were amazing!

DSC00554Day three we got a wild hair and went on an eight mile hike. Two miles up the side of a mountain to Gem Lake, two miles across the top of the mountains to Balanced Rock and then of course, four miles to get back. The first two miles were the hardest but fortunately we were also the freshest. Despite that though when we were just a quarter mile or less from the lake, I thought I was going to die. It was so steep! I kept telling Ross to stop and he kept saying "just make it to this spot" or "baby, just a little further." Grrrr. It hurt but I did eventually make it to the top.

Coors BreweryDay four, Thursday that is, we left Estes Park and worked our way into Denver via the Coors Brewery. Ross was in love. And even as a non-beer drinker, I have to say, the brewery tour was pretty good. It was entertaining and I've never learned so much about making booze in my life. After the brewery, where Ross got enthusiastic about a Christmas ornament souvenier for the first time ever, we headed into Denver. By this point, my laid-back always relaxed husband needed some downtime. After all, in this relationship, I am the Energizer Bunny and he is the Super-Relaxo. Its a combo that usually works very well for us. So I explored the 16th Street Mall in Denver while he zoned out in the hotel to an hour of ESPN. The 16th Street Mall is great! It's like Faneuil Hall in Boston but in Denver. Shopping, coffee houses, restaurants, street performers, painted cows and pianos. It had it all. On my exploratory visit I scouted out a dinner location and after a little more ESPN with Ross in the hotel, was treated to an excellent meal downtown.

Day five we flew home, picked up our baby Lexi and wrapped up one excellent Colorado-extravaganza. Hurray!

Jul 18, 2010

Weddings and Colorado

Yesterday we hung out with friends of friends, Mike and Lindsay. On Saturday, they are getting hitched. Woohoo!

As we're chatting I mentioned that we're going to Colorado tomorrow (again...woohoo!) and Lindsay says how funny, that's where there are getting married next weekend, in Estes Park, Colorado. Well small world! We're going to Estes Park! Ha! I asked where in the town they are getting married, you know, as if I know anythng about this town and might recognized the name of someplace.

Y'all, they are getting married at the same inn we've rented our condo in!

Talk about a coinci-dink! Now we won't still be there, or trust me, we'd be wedding crashers. But yes we arrive at Black Canyon Inn Monday, check out Thursday and they get hitched there Saturday.

You know what makes this all every more odd ball? None of us are from Colorado. None of us even have family in Colorado. In fact, not one of us has even ever been to Estes Park.

On another super fun wedding/Estes Park note - we're gonna have another wedding in our family!

My cousin Winslow (Mom's bro's middle kiddo, just graduated college, going to grad school in the fall) is life-guarding at the Estes Park YMCA and his girlfriend Megan works there too. Well she's not the girlfriend anymore! On Friday he proposed! And she said yes! Woohoo! We'd already been making plans to see them while we're there next week. So I'm hoping tomorrow we can take them to dinner and congratulate them on their engagement. We'll be the first family members they'll have got to see since he popped the question so I'm looking forward to ooo-ing and awww-ing over the situation with them. Hurray weddings!

Photos of the newly engaged couple, amazing mountains and general vacationing to come soon!

Jul 14, 2010

Dos Mas Dias

I only have two more days at work until its time for VACATION. Woohoo! Since the last blog post, here's the scoop...
  • Renting a car is wicked expensive. I hadn't really even put that into our vacation budget. I figured, $25 a day, 4 days, $100. Whatever. Its vacation. $100 isn't even budget worthy when you are taking vacation; it falls into misc. Omigod. I was so wrong. I searched and initially came up with quotes for $400! Then our friend Chris, who works at Enterprise, crunched some numbers and got it down to $300. (I don't think "down" can fairly be used here but whatever.) I ended up find a Denver local place for $270 but needless to say that's a tid bit above the $100 I didn't budget. Wowzas.
  • There's a lot of poop. Both Amandas, who remember each have wee babies, have been Facebooking/blogging/texting about poop. My Amanda (the other Amanda is her bff) actually sent me a picture of Taygan's poo explosion and asking how excited I was to visit. Dear Amanda, not until I create my own baby will I deal with poo explosions. You made the baby, you clean up the explosions. (This goes on brief hiatus if I'm babysitting. I wouldn't let the kid hang out in its own poop until mom got home. But guess what. If mom or dad are home, poo explosions are all them.)
  • I won a raffle! At the charity happy hour I went to last week I won the door prize for a month of free boot-camp style workout class. But its no where near me so Brittany is going to be using it. I expect she'll have a very sore month ahead of her.
  • "Wicked" was wicked good. And now I've used "wicked" three (well actually four) times in one blog. When I got to Houston, Mom and I toasted to a "wicked good weekend" (five times). How cute is she to suggest that toast! She's so clever. And it was a wicked (six) awesome weekend with shopping, shrimp dinner by Dad, late night wine with Mom, lazy Sunday of baseball, fancy dinner out, musical downtown and breakfast with the Grandma. Fabulous darling, fabulous.

Jul 9, 2010

OMG Hot Condo

First we booked a room at the Black Bear Lodge in Grand Lake, CO which is on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Little kitchenette, hot tub, ya know good stuff. And then the next day we discovered it did not have AC. Being Texans we IMMEDIATELY canceled the reservation. July without AC equals no way Jose. The lodge owner, though very nice, implied that I might be crazy for thinking I need AC up in the mountains.

And then I found out why. Oh right, nothing in the RMNP (as the locals call Rocky Mountain National Park) has AC. But by this point I felt too silly to call the place back and request my reservation back. With Grand Lake being so small, there weren't many other lodging options left on our short notice for a July 19 vaca.

I moved on. Estes Park is the main town along RMNP and is on the east side. At first we avoided this for not wanting to be in a tourist town. But then, there are certain conveniences that come with a tourist town. Like the best hikes are in that area, hence how the town developed. More other things to do, more lodging options. So... Estes Park it is!

I perused the Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau and discovered the coolest travel tool in the world. On their site you can enter in your dates, prefered lodging type, price range and a couple other things and the hotels/lodges will EMAIL YOU if they are available. No more Google searching or visitors bureau scanning. Today I got about 25 emails from places that were a good fit for us. After narrowing it down, Ross and I picked Black Canyon Inn. We have a beautiful one-bedroom condo there for what I feel is a steal of a deal...last minute booking did come with an advantage.

We'll stay there three nights and then spend our last night in Denver. We have lodging, plane tickets, know we want to hike and take the Coors Brewery tour. And that friends, ends the planning. Colorado here we come!

Photos from blackcanyoninn.com.

Jul 6, 2010

This Month Revised

I must revise my earlier post. This month I will not smooch my hubby on his first day of work at GFD but for a good reason: the start date has been moved until August. We can handle that though, no worries. But I am doing some other fun things!

This month I will...
  • book our vacation to Colorado (done!)
  • go to Colorado!

Jul 5, 2010

Tricked Out

Who needs an expensive resort when you can trick out your backyard? We got a patio, grill, (redneck) golf course and now, a pool. Woot woot!


It may be a little redneck, what with the kiddie pool and PVC pipe yard game, but ya know, you have to embrace your inner Texan. And trick out your yard Texas style.

Hello July! I'll be spending the month with you from the convienence of my inflatable pool, complete with cup holders.

Jul 1, 2010

This Month I Will...

  • have a celebratory dinner with Ross, Ryan and Sus re: Ross' new job.
  • celebrate my 3 year anniversary at Girl Scouts. Btw, I definitely have had it in my mind that July 1 was my anniversary however thanks to the terrificness of blogs, I discovered that no, July 2 is my anniversary. However I am not going to take back all the "hey its my anniversary" statements I made today. No. We're going with I started the week of July 1...just because in 2007 July 1 was a Sunday is irrelevant.
  • celebrate 4th of July
  • celebrate 3 years since our first date on July 5, 2007 (this is actually how I realized that my GSCTX anniversary was a day off. Whatever, I knew the important anniversary, the one with my hubby)
  • finally book our trip to Cozumel, as soon as we know when Ross' medical exam for GFD is
  • see Wicked! in Houston with Mom and eat an amazing shrimp dinner cooked by dear old Dad
  • visit Grandma!
  • go to Cozumel (fingers crossed!)
  • smooch my hubby before his first day at GFD, the dream gig
  • go to Boston to see my family, eat lunch at the BU pub, watch Jess & Rob get married and meet baby Taygan
I am jazzed about July!!