Friday, November 26, 2010

Phase 1: Complete.

It's pretty sad when your first step toward decorating for Christmas is boxing up your Halloween decorations!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have mercy!

And with the 24-17 loss to the aggies, my Horns finish the season 5-7. Mercifully, this ugly, abysmal, disastrous, [insert other synonyms for "really, really bad" here] 2010 campaign is OVER! It's time to find some new coaches, sign a great class of recruits and wipe the slate clean.

So how 'bout those 2011 Horns? UNDEFEATED! 0-0!!!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The 24th.

Eleven months. It's been 11 months, and I still can't believe it.

How long until I no longer breathe a sigh of relief when we make it to the 25th of each month? How long until I can see a guy in a Longhorn visor and not have to turn away? How long until I can get a text during a football game without feeling a twinge, knowing it's not from Tim?

Putting up Christmas decorations is going to take a big ol' dose of courage this year. We've only had one Christmas in this house, and that 2009 holiday will forever be HIS Christmas. I get anxious just thinking about decorating this house, seeing the trees and stockings and garland that were up during those dark days last December. But I know our friend would HATE for us to feel that way. I'm going to have to put on my big girl britches, get out those Christmas boxes and reclaim Christmas.

But it won't be easy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

We're playin' basketball...

So much for my plan to catch up on back-blogging during NaBloPoMo! Even though I still haven't posted pix from volleyball season, I just can't wait to post this highlight from Katie's first middle school basketball game this afternoon:

Props to Ryan, the videographer

Those were the first two of Katie's 14 points. What's cool is that the whole opposing team only scored 16! NRMS won, 36-16.

Oh, this is going to be FUN.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Westbound and down.

Now that I've made the Austin trip four times in five weeks, I've noticed something about I-35. As soon as it splits into 35E and 35W, I find myself surrounded by pickup trucks as we start heading northwest. It feels as if the pickups just appear out of nowhere even though I know they must've been there all along, disguised among the sedans and sports cars heading for our more cosmopolitan sister city to the east. I know it's perfectly logical that there would be more pickups heading to Fort Worth, but it still amazes me to see just how many of those trucks are heading my way. Texas, Texas, yee-haw.

It's also worth noting that if you see a vehicle with metal--ahem--testicles hanging from the trailer hitch, you know you're on 35W. I've seen that lovely choice of automotive ornamentation more than once.

Speaking of misplaced parts, what happened to the Itasca Wampus Cat statue? I've missed seeing that landmark's silhouette lately. I still miss the old Turkey Shop sign, too, but at least it's still visible, preening behind the renamed restaurant.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Insider's tip.

Since Chuy's of Austin now has two locations in our county, I figure this would be a good time to offer two recommendations for those trying my favorite Tex-Mex joint for the first time.

While the menu options (like the "Big As Yo Face" Burrito that Katie ordered today) are appetizing, my faves aren't even on the menu.

First, when your waitperson brings you chips and salsa, always ask for the creamy jalapeño sauce, too. It's free and it's YUM-O! I had already graduated from UT when I first learned about the creamy jalapeño. What's funny is to watch your waitperson's reaction. Often we'll get a sideways glance or nod that lets us know we're part of some secret society, a group with impeccable taste.

And then there's my favorite entree. When people ask me what my favorite food is, I won't say chocolate or strawberries or mac and cheese. No, I'll invariably answer, "Bean and cheese stuffed sopapilla with tomatillo sauce."

It's pretty much the perfect food. Then Chuy's took it off the menu, so perhaps others disagree. Or maybe they took it away just to avoid hurting the other menu items' feelings?

So far, none of the Chuy's I've frequented have even flinched when I order the stuffed sopa.

And man, oh MAN, is it good!

So there you have it: my best Chuy's tips.

Bonus advice: Never bet against the Horns because they NEVER LOSE--except to the Bruins, Sooners, Cyclones, Bears, Wildcats, Cowboys and quite possibly the Aggies.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Put a ring on it.

A funny thing happened on my way to my computer class today. I was at Albertson's picking up a few necessities when there was an announcement: Cowboys legend Rayfield Wright would be there for another 15 minutes, so come to the front of the store and say hello.

And so I did! He was so friendly and charming, and he even let me try on his Super Bowl and Hall of Fame rings:

How fun is that? I'm so glad my need to buy more ibuprofen led to that little encounter!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Survivor Wednesdays.

My boy LOVES Survivor. I'm talking true love here. He collects anything Survivor he can find, and he's Facebook friends with quite a few contestants and fellow Survivormaniacs.

Last year he got me to watch "Heroes vs. Villains" with him, and then over the summer, we watched the first All-Stars season on DVD. When this new season began, I promised him I would watch these episodes with him. Since the show airs on Wednesday night, we DVR it so we can watch after Wednesday night church. He's been sick all week and felt pretty rotten at school today, but he still waited up for me to get home from church so we could see the latest show tonight.

Although I don't love everything about Survivor, I have to admit it's a ton of fun to watch with Ryan! I really like the challenges, and he gets into the strategy and alliances. We were both disappointed when Jimmy Johnson was voted out so early in the season, but the Robinson Crusoe-meets-soap opera hasn't missed a beat.

I keep hoping we can watch a season of The Amazing Race together since that's really my favorite of this genre, but Sunday nights are even harder to schedule than Wednesdays. But until then, we'll make the most of this Survivor season, and I'll consider myself lucky that my boy and I can share this prime time together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I cried at the football game.

No, this isn't a joke about our joke of a football season. No, this is about something that happened before the game even began.

UT (and many other colleges, I assume) traditionally has some sort of veterans recognition at the game closest to Nov. 11. This year that ceremony involved honoring a Longhorn football player who has served in the military. Then soldiers as well as veterans in attendance were asked to stand so we could all applaud them. It was a nice tribute for the men and women who serve our country, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Then came the national anthem. During the Star-Spangled Banner, the announcer said, we would see on the big screen the names and pictures of Texas service men and women who had died in action since last Veteran's Day.

Before that announcement even registered in my brain, the anthem was playing and the names and pictures were rolling. And then I saw him.

His name is Joseph M. Lewis, but when he was in my English class, we knew him as Joey.

Seeing his picture hit me like a ton of bricks, and the tears just started flowing. When I got back to our hotel that night, I found this online:

As the first anniversary of Joey's death approaches, may God grant his family and friends a special measure of peace and comfort.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My football family.

They say friends are the family you choose for yourself, and I believe it. This weekend I got to reunite with some friends from the football branch of my family tree.

Over the years we have shared many moments before, during and after Longhorn games, and even though we live on the West Coast, East Coast and points in between, we keep in touch through email and meet for the occasional home game or postseason bowl. We have made new friends with the people who sit in our section, but there's nothing like reuniting with these special friends who go back to our original days of season-ticket-holding.

We met up at the tailgate before the Longhorn debacle game, but for more leisurely conversation, we had breakfast Sunday morning at Trudy's, one of our Austin mainstays.

It was great to catch up and find out what everyone's been up to lately.

It was extra nice that Katie was there to visit with D&K. When we went to California back in 2006, we spent our LA days as guests in their home. After the trip when we asked the kids what their favorite part had been, they said K&D's house. K&D's house is better than Disneyland!

That's why we were really sad that Ryan and Brett couldn't join us for breakfast. The Longhorns' loss wasn't nearly as painful as waking up Sunday morning to find out Ryan was sick. As nice as it was to visit with these longtime friends, it was sad to be there without Brett and Ryan.

Still, it was fantastic to spend time with these precious people, and I can't wait for our next "family reunion."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another quick post.

I'm determined to stick with NaBloPoMo, but this weekend has worn me smooth out. It was an emotional one, complete with joyful reunions, chance encounters and tearful moments, but those stories will have to wait. See, Ryan woke up with a stomach bug this morning, and I'm starting to feel a little queasy. Dun, dun, DUN!

So those stories are forthcoming, but tonight is all about a cozy blanket and a warm cat.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010


Love, love, love the chance to stroll across the UT campus! I never get tired of seeing those familiar buildings.

It's obvious that the campus has evolved somewhat since my days on the Forty Acres, but the Six Pack, the Littlefield Fountain and the Tower remind me that some things never change.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Simple math.

Time change + looooooong days at school because of the end of the trimester = daylight deprivation

Daylight deprivation + a million little frustrations - the Big Bang Theory episode I'd been looking forward to all week (DVR malfunction) = major meltdown

It all adds up to one worn-out mama. But I'd better shape up in a hurry because Katie will be home from band soon, and I'll bet she needs homework help... with math.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A grand Grandioso.

I'm interrupting my NaBloPoMo back-blogging to mark the beginning of the Rose Band's rehearsals.

The All-Birdville Marching Band will perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade on 1/1/11 in Pasadena. Tonight Ryan, along with the other 550 band members from the district's three high schools, met for their first big rehearsal.

One of their parade songs is March Grandioso. Love it—even if I do have to sit on my hands to avoid spelling Texas during it!

YouTube Video

What a sight and what a sound, and what an amazing experience their California trip will be!

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

A library is born.

It's NaBloPoMo! Nothing like posting every day to make me get around to those old pix that were getting dusty just hangin' out on the ol' hard drive. Tonight's post takes us all the way back to March!

When we first found this house, I noticed that only two rooms had color on their walls: Ryan's room (which required de-arking) and the formal living room. Our friend and agent appreciated the nice paint job in the formal space and commented that this was one room we wouldn't have to repaint.

"Um, Tim?" I asked him. "Do you see what COLOR this room is?"
MAROON. Now some would call it burgundy, but in my sports-addled mind, it was MAROON. Considering this was destined to be my Longhorn Library (a.k.a. Tacky Texas Room), the rival's color just would not do. So a mere six months after moving in and a couple of gallons of Lowe's paint later, the maroon was gone.

Ahhhh... That's better! (I went with Lowe's instead of the Home Depot super-primo paint with primer stuff because I wanted that exact Texas orange.)

It took a good chunk of my spring break, but I got that room painted. Then it was a matter of waiting for IKEA to get my Billy bookcases in stock.

In time we were finally able to borrow Papa's truck and make the big trek to Scandinavia Frisco. Construction was underway—and the room smelled like a lumber mill for weeks!

I was really pleased with the corner unit, and with some aluminum foil, I was able to darken the useless window back there. (It overlooks our neighbor's air-conditioning unit. Not exactly a priceless view.) (Besides, if we're going for tacky, shouldn't aluminum foil be involved?) (And don't you hate seeing a bunch of parenthetical statements in a row like this?) A framed poster helped conceal the window, too.

As for the finished product:

This corner houses my pop culture collection: Brady Bunch, Twin Peaks, Friends, and some of the larger national championship items.

A Pottery Barn ad inspired me to try the layered frame look. To pull it off, I used extra long nails and those sticky foam squares used for scrapbooking. The larger frames, by the way, contain prints of old football programs from calendars. For these shorter bookcases, I bought IKEA's magazine display hardware. I like the way the tilted shelves let me show off some special UT books.

On this wall are some of my "regular" books (the rest are in our bedroom), scrapbooks, photo albums, my favorite Sports Illustrated covers (Thanks, Mike!), and special ticket stubs.

This window is topped with panoramic pictures of the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl and DKR (with a photo from the '09 Fiesta Bowl thrown in for good measure). That corner also houses my laptop desk and printer. Finally, my computer stuff has a home—a real one, and not just the floor of the living room! Below the window are drawer units for storage.

I know it's not typical for a formal living area to be Texas Tackified, but it fits our collector/pop culture crazy style. And when I need to get away to work on Sunday stuff or read, this room, covered with fantastic memories, makes me feel at home. Finally.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I beg to differ.

"Bozo could be elected in Texas if he had an 'R' after his name."

I read that on Twitter today, and I have to think it's true. I did not vote to re-elect Gov. Rick Perry, but a majority of Texans did. (And no, I'm not calling our governor a Bozo. I'm just pointing out the overwhelming red-ness of this state.)

Because of polls, it's no surprise that Perry won. Still, I couldn't help but be encouraged to see that even the Dallas Morning News endorsed Bill White, the former mayor of Houston. In fact, this may be the first time in recent memory that I've voted for someone the Dallas News endorsed!

Why did I vote for Bill White and not the incumbent? I'll let these endorsements explain:

Austin American-Statesman
Dallas Morning News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Houston Chronicle
or any of the other endorsements from Texas newspapers

So once again election night has left me rethinking my residency. I let myself imagine how nice it would be to move to a blue state where I would not be so very alone in my political convictions, somewhere where people don't assume the Right is always right, that Republicans have the monopoly on morality.

Even though I feel outnumbered and disappointed, I'm so very thankful to live in this great nation that allows dissent. But much, much more than that, I am grateful to be part of God's kingdom. God is not a Republican or a Democrat; He is not even an American! Our Father reigns without regard to red or blue, and He is in control.

Monday, November 01, 2010


Pretty silly to commit to daily blogging during this crazy-busy time of year! With the end of our trimester looming, I'm drowning in research papers that need grading. And of course it's football season, so that eats up most of my downtime--not that I mind.

But this year there's something new to distract me during National Blog Posting Month: baseball! Can you believe the Rangers are in the World Series?

Who could've guessed the Rangers would still be playing in NOVEMBER?!

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