December 22, 2011

last night

last night, we went to rahr for tasting and touring. it was so much fun! it was really crowded for a wednesday night.
rahr & sons is a local brewery and for $7 (cash), you get a souvenir glass and 3 and a half beers. there was also a tour, but it was so noisy and crowded, i think we decided not to do that. the best beer, to me, is ugly pug. it's velvety and dark.

there was also a special beer to taste that had been aged in these old whiskey casks, called winter warmer. it was really strong. i didn't like it but, son-in-law dru liked it.
oh, and speaking of dru, he was stopped by some men and asked if he would like to join the north texas beard alliance.
i don't know why.

funny...husband scott wasn't asked.

after 3 and a half beers (okay...i only had 1 and a half, and i gave two of them away), we all ended up at buffalo wild wings for wings, onion rings and football (yea tcu!).

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

this is part of the refrigerator after going grocery shopping today. funny, it doesn't look so full in the photo. believe is chock-a-block. not another thing can fit in it. the other refrigerator looks as full. i am hoping there is room for ice in the other refrigerator because the freezer in this one if full.

normally, it doesn't look like this at all. it usually looks empty. but, we are having 9 for dinner tomorrow night, 19 on christmas eve and 9 again on christmas night. plus, you gotta' have eggnog and royal icing for the gingerbread cookies...right?

i will post dinner pics, if it all turns out.
until then, happy cooking (and baking)!

December 20, 2011

so much fun

guess what is in my purse?
daughter michelle wanted to go to mellow mushroom for pizza tonight. son-in-law used to work there and we used to go a lot. they have trivia tuesday there. we decided to go and play and eat. if you haven't been there, you must go. i forgot how good their pizza is. they have new flavors and we tried 2 of them - red skin potato pie and the philosopher's. husband scott ordered his usual - might meaty. i bet you can guess what is on THAT one. on the red skin potato was a garlic based sauce with red skin potatoes cut really thin, cheddar & mozzarella cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and drizzled with sour cream and spicy ranch dressing. it was sooooooooooooooooooo good. philosopher's had steak, portabello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and mozzarella cheese on garlic based sauce. it was good, too, but not as good as the other one.

i left my camera and phone at home, so no photos. i never have my camera around when i really need it.

so why the gift card?

we won the trivia game!!! we were in 4th or 5th place at halftime and were getting discouraged. we didn't turn in one answer and were considering just guessing, but not turning in the answer for the rest of the game. before the final question, we were still in 4th or 5th place, so we put up all our points for the last question and we won! thanks to son-in-law dru, we got the last question.

what was the question? name in order from the most to the least the following animals with the most mass: giraffe, walrus, hippopotamus and crocodile.

yea! we won!!!

December 18, 2011


a christmas tradition. first off, which way are you supposed to pronounce caramels? i always say 'carmels' and others say 'car-a-mels'. so...which is it? is it a regional thing?

I started making these caramels probably about 10 years ago. i still get nervous making them. they take a long, long time to make and what if they don't turn out right because of one thing...did i stir it as much as i should, did i pour in the cream mixture too fast, did i accidentally shake it?

this is a christmas tradition on my father-in-law's side. his mother would make MORE THAN ONE BATCH. i don't know how she does it. she makes, at least 2 batches: one with nuts and one without. when she passed away, i decided to try make them for christmas. sometimes the task seems daunting when i don't think i have the time, but almost every christmas i make them. i use martha stewart's recipe for golden caramels (btw, this recipe was published in 1995/96 issue of her living magazine, so...i guess that is how long i have been making them. that makes it 15 years - and i still have the page from the magazine). i don't deviate from the recipe at all...too scared.

grandma nancy's recipe is basically the same. only difference she has in her recipe is: "be sure to go to the bathroom before starting this recipe." and she is right. it takes FOREVER for the candy thermometer to go up those last few degrees.
i made up the batch this morning because i have husband scott, daughter michelle and son-in-law dru to help me wrap them up. usually, i make son jason help wrap and he complains the whole entire time because he doesn't even like caramels and why does he have to wrap them up?

i love how smooth the surface is. i am so very tempted to touch it. it is in the utility room because it is supposed to be not disturbed for 24 hours and since i am having a birthday party at my house for my mom, i didn't want it in the kitchen. even so, i am nervous. what happens if it gets disturbed?

and look how tempting it is. it's taunting me. it wants to be disturbed so it can laugh at me later when it doesn't do what is supposed to do during its 24 hour rest.

p s...see the squares of wax paper on the side? if you do decide to make these caramels, it is so easy to cut these up, using a paper cutter. i use the fiskars roller blade kind that is big enough to cut the wax paper. it looks all anal and stuff, but it really is easier. and, i cut several sheets at one time since wax paper is soooooo much thinner than cardstock.

December 16, 2011


i just got back from eating a really yummy lunch here in fort worth.

lanny's alta cocina. was so very delicious!

i knew it was going to be good when i ordered the iced tea and my glass came like this...

it was perfect. the iced tea was not muddy nor too strong and with the iced tea cubes, it never watered down. it is a very nice touch.

i keep thinking i need to do this when entertaining. it really does make a difference.

this what i ordered...

roasted chicken breast with nopal cactus and mushroom risotto. the nopales were diced small so it didn't overwhelm the dish and the risotto was so creamy. i almost forgot to take a photo before inhaling it. actually, i ate very slowly so that i could enjoy every bite. for dessert, we all had the black and white creme brulee. it was a regular creme brulee, but with a chocolate layer underneath it. as you can see, there is no photo because i did inhale it AND i did the annoying scrape scrape scraping thing to get every last bit.


i highly recommend eating at lanny's alta cocina.

December 14, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

got the outside lights up and out. i went with the runway lights again. it is soooooooo much easier than having to get up on the roof. i miss the roof lights, but i don't miss watching husband scott hanging upside down from the roof trying to put them up.

i also put up lights on 2 small trees.

notice that i am wearing loafers without socks? it's 60 degrees outside! it better cool down soon.

December 10, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

not really.

i have been busy shopping for christmas gifts (done nearly! just one left) and wrapping them all up (done nearly! just waiting for the rest to be delivered) and cleaning the house. we are getting our tree tomorrow and i will be decorating it and the house, plus cleaning the rest of the house before daughter michelle and son-in-law dru come in (yea!)

none the less, the house looks christmas-sy:

nothing says christmas like fried green tomatoes. just kidding.

i didn't have any tomatoes at all during the summer (waaaaaaay too hot and dry, just in case you didn't read all my complaints about this last summer's weather) and now, after the freeze browned up the plants...i have about 25 green tomatoes. so, i fried me up a batch and learned a very valuable lesson. here it is:

don't make something for the first time without reading a few recipes first. panko bread crumbs may be a good idea, but how do you make it stick? i think the only way to make it stick is to scuff up the tomatoes first with know, like one would prep a surface to paint?

also, i have been driving a car with frost on the windshield almost every morning. pretty, but aggravating all at the same time.

i have a sofa in my car spot in the garage. if anyone wants it, it's $200 and it's a white ikea one. let me know.

i cleaned out my raised bed today and pulled out all the dead plants. then, i went to the nursery to pick up some tulips. i'm planting them tomorrow. i have never been successful with tulips, but here's hoping.

anyhow, i got these hellebores. there was a sign that said to keep them indoors and plant later. they are pretty, aren't they? i hope they last through christmas. then i will plant them in the garden. i sure hope we can continue with the landscaping that we started until it came to a halt with the drought and the heat (did i mention how hot it was this last summer? it was so hot).

every december, i look at all the traffic lights differently at night. because of the red and green, i think they look like christmas. every other month, they just look like traffic lights. event the brake lights look like christmas at night in december, but other months...nope.

so, since i haven't put up any christmas decorations, here are some christmas-y looks in everyday things:

green tea frappuccino with half the sugar and no whipped new favorite and it is so delicious. it's even more delicious when shared with a friend who is enjoying her latte.

guacamole and chips.

see? it's beginning to look like christmas every where i go (even with the ordinary things).

November 26, 2011

2 movies in one weekend

because son jason was in town (yea!) and loves movies just as much as husband scott and i do, we saw tower heist and the muppet movie. both were light and fun, but i noticed that in both movies the bad guys are now wall street and oil men. funny how our bad guys change with the times, hunh?

anyway, i had fun squeezed between my 2 leaning-in-men (not leading men, ha!) and watching the movies. i especially enjoyed the song - 'am i a man or a muppet?'. i think i will be downloading that one soon.

here's what you do when you are waiting to go into the theatre...

pretty hilarious!

November 23, 2011

happy day before thanksgiving

i just came home from central market and it was actually a very pleasant experience. yes, it was chock-a-block, but still maneuverable. there were actual gaps or empty spaces in parts of the store AND when i got to the butcher section and pulled number 45 and the sign said they were on 41 (and not 20 like normal holiday shopping time), i smiled. no lines at check out and 3 "have a great thanksgivings" and i was out the door. so very pleasant. i must have timed it juuuuuuussssssssttttttttttt right, which is my first thank you for thanksgiving.

this isn't a thanksgiving photo, but as i parked my car in the driveway, i caught sight of this dandelion and thought it was kinda' pretty, so i took a photo.

this year, we are not hosting thanksgiving, and somehow, i got out of having to make anything, too. another thanksgiving thank you.

so, now you are wondering why i even attempted to go to the grocery store on the day before thanksgiving, aren't you? i am not having thanksgiving at my house, i am not bringing any dishes to the host and hostess of thanksgiving, and daughter michelle and her dru are not coming :-(.

so why fight the crowds?

son jason!

ooooops, i mean son jason!

how did THAT happen?

when he visits my dreams, he is usually the little one.

cannot wait! another great big thanks on thanksgiving.

hope you all have a great thanksgiving and your loved ones are together and you can give lots o' thanks this year.

November 21, 2011

monday, monday

this could have very easily been a 'i hate mondays' post. first day of the work week and one team member is on vacation. husband scott loooooovvvvvvveeeeeeeesssssss to assign something to me to do 15 minutes before i leave for the day and because it's thanksgiving week, i am on hold forever. plus i am a little tense about returning a pair of 'wore-all-day' boots back to j crew because there is popped nail head sticking out under the leather label in the sole. plus, i had a pap smear (yea! always fun!) scheduled today and since i was running late, i was worried i wouldn't be able to shower before my appointment. AND, the weather looks like this...
see that cypress to the left. it is showing you that we are having drizzly gray weather where one feels a little droopy.

it makes the house cold inside, but i feel funny putting on the heat when it is really not THAT cold outside. it's in the high 50's. northerners would scoff if they knew how i long to turn on the heat.

i do have my fake little fire roaring in my fireplace. i, actually, love gas logs. no mess, no smoke, no having to go outside and get logs, no worries of smoldering cinders when it's time for bed. i can just turn it on and off...just like that. it's warm and cozy. it doesn't have the crackle and pop or that nice smell. i can light my favorite candle for this time of the year - Thymes Fir. it smells like the holidays when it's lit.


i got side tracked. what was i saying - that this could have been an icky monday. it really really could have been.


j crew took back the boots without a single hitch! my wait at the gyno was relatively short (obstetrics really slows down the process). my regular doctor just had a baby, so i saw another, instead.


she was so nice.

you know how, at times, you can instantly like a person? she had that open, fresh, sweet face and personality (although, now that i am old, the doctors are starting to look like children to me). i have been feeling sorry for myself and my GERD diagnosis and the doctor was sympathetic, saying that she has battled acid reflux since she was a child and just recently had surgery to correct it. that pretty much made my complaint seem very very small. just as i start to feel sorry for myself, someone comes along with a much bigger problem than me. sometimes that can make me feel like i'm whinging (i like that word better than's australian for whining). but my doctor was so nice, she made me feel better and she was so nice.

did i tell you how nice she was?

so, it just goes to show can never know when you can make someone feel better at the end of a bad day by just being nice. i need to be nice more often.

November 16, 2011

deflated, defeated

i don't know if it's just the post-back-from-a-fun-trip-blues, the loads of laundry waiting to be washed, dried and folded, being diagnosed with GERD, the heartburn that feels like a heart attack or coming home, today, and noticing a, and i am not kidding, half inch black hair growing out of my chin.

i will post more cheery posts, later, about my fun trip to chicago, etc.

bye, for now...

November 07, 2011

and i'm out

today is monday and i almost titled this post as 'i hate mondays'. this is becoming a trend and i don't like it. is how my monday went. let me preface this with this: i was thinking that, for once, i had everything organized and ready to go this morning as i left for work.

after work, i left, ON TIME FOR ONCE, to the gym to work out...started to change and wha'! i forgot to pack a pair of pants! i have forgotten socks a couple of times, but never have i forgotten to pack a pair of shorts or workout pants. so, trainer/friend kelly asked a friend if she had something i could borrow and here is what i wore for working out...

her son's gym shorts! yea! (first strike)

so, i did get to work out.

then, i showered and left for my doctor's appointment and realized i had missed it. i thought it was at another time and it wasn't. (second strike)

after this, i was so looking forward to my manicure appointment. i was treating myself to some polish done right after my great mani at the beach (not...i will post that later). i got there and they had cancelled on me. to be fair, they did call me on my phone, but i didn't get the message, so they had tried to reach me.  (third strike)

rats! i hate mondays.

then i saw a friend at j crew where i was looking for a warm hat for chicago and oooops! a little retail therapy and a nice chat with a friend.

heh heh heh

October 24, 2011

you can't go home again, sorta'

this is a photo of my landmark for waukomis where my mom grew up and i spent a week or two in the summer with my great grandmother and aunt, when i was old enough to not be too homesick without mom and dad (my mom also worked here weighing the of the few things that hasn't changed... except for the satellite dish, of course).

husband scott and i drove up to enid, oklahoma, saturday to celebrate with my aunt and uncle and their 50th wedding anniversary. i haven't seen my cousins since the last family reunion which was about 10 years ago. some had changed enough for me to almost not recognize them and some looked exactly like they have been for so long, making me wonder which category i fell in...i hope it was the latter.

i hadn't seen one aunt since i was a little girl and couldn't place her until my mom told me who she was and then, it clicked. of course. she had hardly changed at all. i don't know why i don't keep in touch with cousins and aunts and uncles. they are family that i have so many warm and fuzzy memories with them and they are so nice!

at the same time, it's distressing to see who is still alive and who isn't and how some have struggled with health issues. i want time to stand still to be able to go back and see that nothing has changed, but it does.

i don't like it...not one bit.

the party was held at the church where my aunt and uncle were married, and i was baptized, and where my mom and dad were married, and where we went to mass every time we were in enid on a sunday or sometimes, saturday. and...we went to oklahoma a lot while i was growing up.

during mass, i would look at the stations of the cross and try to memorize the order (i still don't know them all). in the70's or 80's, the stations were painted over in brown and i was soooooo disappointed. i loved the painted surface. brother john went into the sanctuary before mass to show my sister-in-law and he came back to tell me that they had all been stripped and brought back to their original state. i was so excited. i hate change, especially when it interferes with my childhood memories. however, i noticed during the service that the altar looked different. uncle gene told me that it was all taken down and now, it just doesn't look right. i hate change. luckily, the stained glass windows are the same. they are amazing and the pews are still as uncomfortable as ever which i didn't mind since that is how i remember them.

i wish that we had more time to go to my aunt and uncle's home. they live in the same house that my grandparents lived and farmed and where my uncle and dad grew up with 6 other siblings!!!

but, husband scott had tickets for the rangers game (go rangers!) and we had to get back. (he gave up his world series ranger ticket for saturday's game to go to the celebration).

on our way home, we went through waukomis and snapped a few photos.
this is where my mom grew up. i have always liked the shingled sides. mom says that the chapmans live here now, but do you see? the screen door is still the same with a 'p' for pittman on it. the flower garden is gone and it needs a coat of paint, but it still looks enough the same to bring back good memories.

so you can go back home again...sorta'

i'm off to florida to celebrate turning sister that is...not me (i get to look forward to 55 next birthday...rats).

October 20, 2011

show and tell

guess what i got today...

here are some hints (and don't scroll down too fast)

1. it required a signature from fedex to receive it.

2. it was worth driving a 1 hour round trip to the fedex place to pick it up, when it got delivered before i got home.

3. it was worth driving through all the traffic and NOT stopping to take a photo of a girl in front of a tattoo place holding a great big ol' snake. was totally hoping she would still be there when i came back, but she wasn't. but oh well...

4. it was worth having to drive back to the stockyards to find her another day.

5. i kept fiddling with the package, but it was taped up too well and the traffic lights kept turning green before i could get a good hold of the tape. here is a trick to hitting only green traffic lights while driving: hold a tube of red lipstick in your hand, hoping for a red light to put it on. red lipstick works best because it's harder to put on without looking closely in the mirror. you're welcome.

6. i have never owned a 'smart ' one before, much less a really cool 'smart' one.

7. in fact, mine is a hand-me-down from daughter michelle when my free one broke.

have you figured it out, yet?

it's a fluffin' iphone 4s!!!
(watched 'man up' last night, hence the fluffin' and is it my imagination or is the main family in 'man up' look exactly like the dunfee's? seriously, the father and mr dunfee could play brothers.)

i'm so excited and now i must end this post because i cannot wait any longer to finger it and figure out how it works!

one more thing...any apps that are totally new iphone worthy?

October 19, 2011

pillow talk

are you a cuddler (spell check doesn't like this word, either)?

i'm not really. i have never been. even my mom said that i wasn't much of a hugger when i was way little. i think that i really only cuddled with my children when they were so very young. daughter michelle is more like me, but son jason is like his dad. when i go to a ranger game (go rangers!) in those squozed in seats with husband scott and son jason on either side, i get claustrophobic. they even lean way in at the movies and i have to split us up on an airplane or i start to panic.


can you tell on which side of the bed i sleep?

fall (yea!)

i think that fall has arrived enough for me to clean out my closet and pack up sandals and shorts (as soon as i return from's still in the 80's there). we are now in the high 60's and it feels soooooo good. i am one of the few texans who hope it just keeps getting colder and colder. no more 70's and 80's, please, until next march. let me wear coats, scarves and mittens, please.


my first go-to in the fall is this and pumpkin soup (i will talk about this another day). today, husband scott mentioned chili and watching the world series (go rangers!!), so that's what we are doing...oh wait, the game is still going on. i must admit i am watching it only once in a while. i can't watch the whole makes me nervous (i watched the mavericks with my back to the tv, so actually, i didn't watch...just listened).

my first go-to for recipes and got this one with a few changes:

it's called real-deal chili and it was pretty good and the easiest recipe

2 slices bacon, cut in 1/4" pieces
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic (i used 2 because garlic and i don't combine well)
2 T paprika
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne pepper (i used closer to a teaspoon and i added a teaspoon of chili powder)
1 1/4 t salt (i ended up using closer to a tablespoon. i need lots o' salt)
1/2 t pepper
2 lbs ground chuck (i used extra lean...really, there is plenty fat in the bacon)
3 c water (i used 1 14oz can diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 c water)
2 T fine cornmeal or masa harina (i used cornmeal and will continue to until they sell masa harina in a much smaller size...not everyone needs a pound)
1 1/2 T cider vinegar

grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges and sour cream

in a dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. add onion and garlic (be sure to leave garlic skin on the side of your pot so it looks like bird poop in your photo like mine above - okay, you really want to. be sure that there is NO garlic skin), and cook for 30 seconds. add spices, salt and ground beef. cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until the beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

stir in water/tomatoes, cornmeal and vinegar, and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes. serve hot (which means let it sit for a while because otherwise you will burn your tongue like i did), garnished with desired toppings:

so let the fall cooking commence!

and so...what do i do about this:

after having no tomatoes all summer (too hot), i have this. will they ripen before it gets too cold? do i pick them green (sigh)? the hail we had the night before last kinda' knocked them about and i was considering pulling them out, but i just can't do it. oh and i took this photo at night. i kinda' like the contrast, don't you?

oh...and this is a ps to my sister laura. i was getting son jason up and out of the chair at barnes and noble and noticed this:

i was pretending to take a photo of son jason and this table, but i was really taking a photo you see it? sister laura and i have the shortest toes in the world, so laura and i have to be careful when wearing sandals because sometimes, the sandal straps are situated just so...and our little toes don't stay contained, but apparently, one doesn't need the shortest toes in the world to have this occur. ouch! isn't that uncomfortable?

October 12, 2011

our state fair is great state fair. don't miss it. don't even be late*

howdy, big tex!

today is husband scott's 55th birthday. he wanted to go to six flags, but it's not open on the week days now that summer is over, so........we went to the state fair.

we started out the night before with a movie and dinner. then, sister-in-law mary treated us to a sleep over at the mansion. we sat out on the patio and talked and talked. then, to bed.

it rained that night, so that we couldn't breakfast outside, but i really didn't mind because we need as much rain as possible.

so...we ate in the hotel restaurant, where mary introduced us all to everyone, "this is my brother-in-law, scott. it's his birthday today." she teased him by saying it was his 56th birthday instead of 55th because husband scott has been saying that he's almost 55 so much that he thought he already was. so earlier in the month, he had someone say that they had turned 56 and scott says, "me, too!" and i'm, like, "no you didn't." i HAD to correct him, so that people won't think i was turning 56 soon, because i'm NOT!

so, we had a nice breakfast and after the plates were cleared, out came this...

emily at the restaurant did this! i asked sister-in-law mary if she did this and she swore that she didn't. this is what a first class is. seriously, it was done at the spur of the moment. love, love, love, nice places!

then it was off to the grocery store to buy some canned foods because today was 3 cans for $2 at the fair, which means that it costs 3 cans plus $2 to get into the fair. then we did what we do every time at the fair. okay, that makes it sound that we are always going to the fair, but to be fair (ha ha...see what i did there?), it is our second time to do this with the first one being a year or two back.

we have to go see the animals, eat fletcher's corny dogs,
try to decide if we want the fried butter or...
we picked... fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich which was pretty good. a family next to us had the fried butter and fried pizza, too. i must admit, the fried butter looked pretty good. we wanted to try the fried salsa, but after the corny dog and sandwich...our stomachs were pretty much rebelling. daughter michelle and i wished that we had split a corny dog rather than eat one each. although, it sure was good and fresh and just the right crunch on the outside. all four of us split the sandwich, but still...

husband scott also had a sausage on a stick, too.

we walked around, looked at the cars, played one game where michelle and i won a little domo guy by popping balloons. and we finished off the day with a ride on the ferris wheel. i still have to grip the seat really tightly even though we are in a completely caged in pod thingy. it is soooo scary for me.

not for michelle and mary.

seriously, look how tall it is!

it is sooooo tall...

and scary...

must. grip. the. seat. at. all. times.

while in line, we met the cutest. couple. ever.

so, trying not to be a creeper, i snapped a photo, pretending that i wasn't taking a photo of them, so, now you have to guess who i am talking about. can you figure it out?

i will give you a hint.

they are super nice and waaaaaaaay cuter than they appear in this photo.

* and btw, the quote in the title, know what this is from?


it's from 'state fair'.

October 07, 2011


just noticed that i didn't relate the title of my last post to the post itself.

that happens a lot.

i start out one way and end up another.

have you ever noticed how a habit that is good or bad is equally hard to start as well as stop? i need to stop some of my bad habits and start some good well as getting back onto the ol' proverbial wagon and get going at my second half of life. that is the "i've fallen and i can't get up."

i am working on getting back up.

did you notice that i didn't blog for the entire month of september?

i haven't, actually, done much of anything at all, lately. it all started with the heat. yes, i am going to complain, again, about it was too hot to do anything because it was. we are just now having temperatures under 90 degrees and boy does it feel good.

this week i went with my mom to dallas and met up with my sister-in-law mary for a spontaneous really fun time. it all started with an email from mary saying, "i can get tickets for west side story for tomorrow...interested?"

i am not the spontaneous type. i may wait till the last minute to do something, but will have lined up my ducks in a row several months earlier.

so...we said, yes, and since it wasn't starting till 8:00pm, was there a chance to stay over at the hotel, so we wouldn't have to drive back at 11:30pm? mary says, "i'll let you know"."

mom asks if we can stop in highland park to pick up some shoes that were being repaired before checking in and i said, "of course." we call mary to say where we were and she says, "i'll meet you there."

we pick up mom's shoes, we walk around highland park and mary says, "oh! it's open! and oh! there's eric!"

we stop and we have the most wonderful lunch/dinner at a new restaurant called bistro 31. here are the details:
loved the menu.

we started off with a cocktail made with cocchi aperitivo americano.

look at how pretty it is. it was refreshing, not too strong and had a great balance of grapefruit, lemon and orange. as the waiter said, it was to stimulate your appetite (although, i don't need anything to help me get in the mood to eat). so yummy, i am now going to try to make my own at home. first though, i asked my mom if she was going to finish hers, since i had finished mine already.

then came the appetizer...
trofie with roasted cauliflower and pancetta in the lightest creamiest yummiest sauce i have ever eaten. it was perfect.
the executive chef, eric brandt, is amazing! and, he is really really nice, too.

we dined al fresco because it was in the low 80's! highland park is a perfect place to dine outside. it was a beautiful fall day. i must admit texas does have great springs and falls...i just wish they were longer than a day or two.

then, we saw west side story at the musical hall at state fair park.

the music and dancing was so good. and as mom says, there are no do overs on stage and the performances were so good. i forget how good the music is (i just put it on this very moment...i have more musical music on my ipod than any other kind). and the dancing...stephen sondheim, leonard bernstein and jerome robbins are geniuses.

then, we tucked in at the hotel, woke up and mary had us on our merry way with coffee and the best hotel blueberry muffins in hand.

mom says, quoting bert, "oh, it's a jolly holiday with mary. when the day is gray and ordinary, mary makes the sunshine bright."

yes, indeed...thank you, mary, so very much for making an ordinary tuesday into a holiday.

help...i have fallen and i can't get up

i just got through listening to npr's special about steve jobs. i had to sit in my driveway in my car to listen to the rest of the excerpts from his stanford commencement address. he is so smart! in retrospect, i think that he knew, somehow, that he would not live a very long life. some very much younger people will think that 56 is old, but from someone like me, who will be turning 55, it is not very old at all...not even close. he did so much in his short life and he did it well. as he said in his speech, one can only connect the dots in hindsight. one can see that what one did in the past will be a component for success in the future. with dropping out of college, getting fired from apple and being diagnosed with prostatic cancer, he realized that these things were needed to achieve what he did. when things go wrong in my life, i will look to his example.

when i drove up my driveway, i noticed that the pear tree across the street was in bloom. i looked around the neighborhood at the other pear trees, but this is the only one. i promise you that i took this photo yesterday and not last spring. you can tell by looking at the neighbor's yard. they don't have a sprinkler system and water by hand, but i don't think they watered the yard very much this summer. you can see bare spots of dirt where there is usually grass and the cypress looks a lot like ours with portions of it dying. the drought, even if one has a sprinkler system, took a toll on the trees. we watered extensively because we had planted 12 (!) new trees in the yard in early spring not knowing that we were going to have the hottest and driest summer on record.

anyhoo, the blooming pear tree across the you think, like steve jobs, it knows that it is dying and is giving us one more look at what it can do?

rest in peace, mr jobs, you made great use of your time here and i thank you.

August 29, 2011

eye candy

i know i am not supposed to post any eye candy. supposedly a married woman shouldn't do that (yes...i was born in the 1800's...juuuuuuuust kidding). but, i am making an exception. there are very few actors that i would break my promise not to post about. lots of blogs will post about paul newman.

who wouldn't? he is THE most handsome man ever born...ever.

(okay, aside from my husband and my son, who are the most handsome men, ever - that's just in case either of them ever read this)

but, this post is not about him. i have fallen in love with another man.

gary cooper

he is my jimmy stewart. i have seen 'sergeant york', 'meet john doe' and i cried and cried while watching gary cooper play lou gehrig in 'the pride of the yankees'. his speech at the end made me burst into tears. also when he hugged his mother and asked her to his best gal.

i, now, am setting my queue to watch a few more films with of my hero.

has he ever played a villain?

how can he with those dimples?

i am a sucker for dimples. that's one of husband scott's best traits...his dimples and his smile. daughter michelle and son jason were lucky enough to inherit both those traits from him.

if this photo isn't enough to convince you, watch his appearance on 'what's my line'. he was 58 years old at the time and i believe the whole panal melted when they took off their blind folds.

do you ever...

watch a movie over and over again and never get tired of it? i have a few that i can do that. i have watched 'drive me crazy' a gazillion times and it isn't even a great movie. i also have another that is a really really great movie that i just watched twice this weekend. it is funny, heart wrenching and true. 

muriel's wedding

the first time i saw it i didn't know who toni collette was. she is such a good actor. i loved her character. i am not much of an abba fan, but i love all the songs in this movie. in fact, i have never watched 'mama mia' because i want the abba songs to only relate to 'muriel's wedding'. 

this time around, i took note of something that muriel says in the movie that resonated with me more than ever. she is talking to rachel griffiths' character, rachel, who has asked muriel how she can stand taking care of her (rachel)...

and she says, "i'd just stay in my room for hours and listen to abba songs. sometimes, i would stay in there all day. since i've met you and moved to sydney, i haven't listened to one abba song...because now my life is as good as an abba song. it's as good as dancing queen."

that's what i want in my life. i want it to be as good as dancing queen, don't you?

August 23, 2011

i love tuesdays

have you ever notice that how one little event can change the whole emotion of the day?

i was checking my emails and there was an email from a friend that i have not seen in 17 - 18 years. i was really close to them and their younger son was really close to mine. we were living in syria at the time when we met. it was sad to leave and say good bye because i knew that the chance of us ever seeing them was really really really remote. they are from australia and after their stint in syria, they moved to hong kong and then back to oz. we moved from syria back to the states and that is where we've been since...albeit we went from syria to oklahoma to california and now in texas (not near as exotic as syria to hong kong and now in australia, is it?)

anyhoo, the email was to say that after spending the christmas and new year holiday up north, they were flying into dallas and driving down to austin, fredericksburg and san antonio!!!!!!

omg! omg! omg! must call husband scott...rats...he's tied up in meetings. who can i call! who? can't contain myself...aaaaaaaaaaagh!

so i call sister laura and we have a really nice talk. i am now on cloud very happy.

then, husband scott came home. i tell them the great news! he was excited...i guess. then, he proceeds to tell me my skirt is too short...really?!
i shouldn't wear short skirts at my age...

have you ever noticed how one little event can change the whole emotion of the day?

btw, it is not a short goes to just above the knees. it was the way i was sitting that hiked it up AND i am at home, a place where i can wear my pj's for crying out loud.

he later apologized, but i am not accepting any apologies around here unless this is attached to it:

thank you very much                     

August 22, 2011

i hate mondays

sorry for no posts for the whole week...did you miss me? i am sure you did (not).

i had a good reason for not posting. i was moving daughter michelle from here to utah with me driving a truck, by. my. self. that's right, i drove 20 hours in 3 days in a 16ft rental truck with daughter michelle's possessions in my, well, possession. it was a first for me. more on that for a later post...i promise.

i got back last night and now i am tired. i've got a whole bunch of laundry to do tomorrow...i didn't feel like  doing it today. husband scott went out and bought new underwear so he would not have to do laundry while i was gone. he told me that he thought about calling me and asking me how to use the washing machine, but changed his mind and went shopping instead. i said i got back last night. i had never been to utah until last week. i enjoyed being with michelle for the whole week, driving, unpacking, organizing, exploring the place and just sitting around watching last season's mad men. (i cannot believe i have to wait until 2012 to see more...seriously.) i guess i am glad to be home. i already miss my daughter. empty nesting sucks!

so i went from this:

so much fun!

to the saddest photo in the world:
so why is this so sad?

it's a photo of me waiting in the las vegas airport...for 2 hours...leaving michelle in utah...while drinking a $3.50 iced tea (really? $3.50 tea).

then being home, without children, on a monday...i hate mondays.