The things that make my heart so happy!!

Happy Friday, y'all! And can I please have a moment of silence in sweet observation of this lovely three day weekend upon us? It couldn't have come at a more much-needed time. Burgers, beverages, and books by the pool await me!

Now, I am quite the fan of Kelly and sweet baby Harper, so I'm all kinds of excited about starting to participate in her Show Us Your Life Friday posts! This week it's all about the things in your life that you love and that make you happy. I love a lot of people and a lot of things, so here we go!

my family-- they love me and support me through whatever i do!
my boy-- he's just wonderful. he knows me better than almost anyone and is my perfect opposite, in the best way possible. i overreact, he's calm. i plan too much, he goes with the flow. he's taught me to take breaths and appreciate all of the little things, and i so love him for that.

my lucy girl

my amazing, beautiful friends
the way i feel after a really great run
a perfectly crisp fall day

TEXAS, y'all!

love those cowboys!

snowy days and scarves
the perfect pair of jeans
date nights with my boy
cooking and baking new recipes

ut football (hook 'em!)

chick-fil-a (sweet tea and waffle fries? yes please!)
taking pictures
being crafty
reading and napping a rainy day away

the beach

cute summer dresses
girly movies

mexican food

the south

sweet tea
the hustle and bustle of airports

the food network

road trips
white wine
fresh towels straight out of the dryer


holidays-- valentine's day, halloween, 4th of july...
if you can cook, decorate, and celebrate, i'm there!!
an amazing pizza
staying in hotels

Have a lovely weekend, y'all!!

Hospital Interstate Town... or the place I call Home.

Temple, Texas. Growing up here was the same ole, same ole day after week after month... after year. Now that I'm living so far away from home, I've found that I really and truly miss the place that I just couldn't wait to hightail away from. There's a sense of familiarity that you can only truly feel for a place that you know inside and out, from one side of town to the next.

You know the main roads, the sidestreets, the shortcuts and the speed traps. You pass landmarks and remember the best times of your early years with the best friends you'll ever have: the houses where the crushes-of-the-moment lived, which were routinely driven by after dark as way too many girls piled into one car, fueled up on Sonic, giggled the night away and sang to burned mixed CDs; the Starbucks that you made stops at multiple days each week between 7th period dance class and after school dance team practice; the football field that claimed your Friday nights from August to November as you stood, smiling and proud, in that red lipstick, sequined cowboy hat, flouncy skirt (complete with petticoat) and white dance boots; the houses of the girls whose parents were like your own, where the living rooms held your sleepovers, the bathrooms that were stuffed to the gills with girls and outfits and makeup and hair straighteners (Lord, if those walls could talk...); the Walmart whose aisles you had memorized, as everyone knows that on a slow night in a small Texas town, the only sensible thing to do is round up your friends and head to The Walmart; the backroads that you would drive for hours, armed with Dairy Queen Blizzards, knowing that you could tell the girls anything and that they were right there to either laugh, cry, or be real with you.

You know the places that were the foundation for your childhood and family. Glenwood. The street that you learned to ride a bike on, with the big oak trees in the yards and Antennae Man down the street, where the house that you grew up in lives. The house that you learned a million lessons in, that kept you safe through impossible family times that you felt would never be okay, that taught you about loss and grieving and growing. The house where your little brother was your dog or your pupil or your child, depending on whether you were a veterinarian, a teacher, or a mommy that day. You know the church that baptized you and the church that you received First Communion from and were confirmed into; the pizza place that provided dinner every single Friday growing up; the schools that taught you, both an education and about yourself.

Temple is where Wildcat football reigns on Friday nights

Where you can pick up Chick-fil-A at one of the 3 in-town locations (despite the fact that you could drive through the entire city in about 10 minutes on a good traffic day)

Where the old/downtown area still looks just the way it did forever and a day ago... old.
This would also be the street that the annual Christmas parade (first Monday of every December) proudly marches through with the bands and the dancers and the football players and the fire engines.

There's not a whole lot to Temple. It's called the Hospital Interstate Town because you can pass through it in about 3 minutes on the interstate and our claim to fame, other than the Wildcats in the playoffs, is our hospital.

It's smallish and well-rounded. You're bound to run into someone at the HEB or at one of the town's few restaurants and people almost always know your business. I always thought that I wanted the big city life, but now that I'm away from home, few things satisfy me more than flying back to Texas, taking a deep breath of that sticky humid southern air, making my way around the town that I know like the back of my hand, and taking it all in.

P.S. East coast sunsets have nothing on this.

Mediocre Munday

Today was by far the busiest day that I've had since I started at my job... and it was NOT an enjoyable time.

From the time that I sat down and got to work at 9:15 this morning, I literally did not stop until 3:15, when I took five minutes to heat up my lunch and continued to work straight on through until 4:50 when I BOLTED out of the door to catch my shuttle. Part of my job is entering product orders for the research doctors (riveting, I know), so on top of catching up on ALL OF THE THURSDAY AND FRIDAY ORDERS, I also had to get through all of my other Monday work. Needless to say... I was glad to get out of there today.

While I thought that I might be able to come home, put on my pajamas and curl up on the bed under a blanket, I soon realized that Brian had other plans.

Oh yes. We did this. May I just preface tomorrow's potential post by saying that if I'm rambling on and on about basketball squats and ski abs, remember that I went mildly insane with these people today and threw my body to the wolves. Although it was a decent workout, I honestly wasn't overly impressed, when compared to the kind of workout that I feel that I've gotten after I run. I figure this could be a nice break from the running on my cardio/non-running days though. And regarding the skinny li'l things in this video-- I have a slight feeling that they had 12 pack stomachs and up-to-here toned hineys way before they came across the Insanity workout. But that's just my opinion.

God loves me and blessed me with a boy who likes leftovers, so he dove into his Buffalo Mac & Cheese while I threw together a pasta dish for myself: a cup of Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta, tossed with leftover roasted veggies from last night (baby bellas, squash, zucchini, vidalia onions) and sauteed spinach with garlic and mushrooms. It was pretty divine. My evening concluded with me watching a few hours of bad TV (think True Life on MTV) while browsing my new Food Network magazine. Considering my 1:15am bedtime last night, I'm off to bed. My bright and shining youth is just radiant, right?

G'night y'all.

It's all about perspective.

Every weekday morning I take a train and then a shuttle to get to my job in Boston.

One day a few months ago when I had just started commuting this way and wasn't entirely too familiar with the shuttle schedules and such, I saw a blind man getting off of my train. Let me preface this by saying that the stop that I get off at is complicated: you get off of the train, walk up two flights of stairs, walk through the turnstile, across a huge walkway, then walk either down a ramp or down two more flights of stairs to reach the ground where the shuttles and buses are waiting. Hard enough in rush hour for a non-disabled person; harder than I could imagine for someone who is.

The man had a cane that he was tapping in front of him, trying to find the stairs. In my haste and self-involved hurry to get to my shuttle, I glanced at him, saw him struggling to find his way, assumed that someone else would help him, and walked away.

To this day, I feel a pit in my stomach for that.

I made it to my shuttle and watched out of my window as a young man helped the man down the ramp and to his spot to wait for his bus. My mind thought "Good for him. Someone raised him well and should be proud," while my heart told me that MY parents raised ME well, and that that should have been me. I vowed to myself right then and there that any day after that when I might see him, I would stop and help, no matter how late or rushed I was.

A couple of weeks later I saw the man again, struggling but making a concerted effort to appear independent, and I went right over.

"Sir, would you like some help?"
"Oh yes, that would be wonderful."

He offered me the crook of his elbow, and we were off. We walked slowly up the stairs, through the turnstile, across the walkway, and down the stairs to his waiting spot. I make it a point each day to watch for him, and if I ever see him, I always stop. We take our time and chat as I walk beside him, giving dirty looks to the huffy commuters who have to walk a little slower up the stairs behind us.

This morning I learned that the man's name is Craig and he is very disappointed in the Boston Bruins. As soon as I started talking he
remembered me, which I hope isn't because so few people help him. He always says thank you, and my heart always smiles as I walk to my shuttle.

I had the worst morning today... Or so I thought. I overslept, dropped my grapes and baby carrots on the floor, flipped grape jelly on my white shirt, tripped over Brian's computer cord while making the bed, and forgot my breakfast and water bottles on the kitchen counter. Facing my commute in a grumpy mood, I read BigMama while on the train in an attempt to block everyone out. Approaching our stop, I heard the familiar "click" of a collapsible cane, and there was Craig. I offered my help at the bottom of the stairs, and off we went.

I missed my shuttle and am running a bit late because I helped Craig. Looking back on my morning compared to what he had likely already faced, I have a feeling my spilled grapes and forgotten oatmeal were a little less difficult. And the grumpiness that The Boy had to deal with all morning? It's gone.

Perspective is a funny thing.

These are a few of my favorite things!

I was blog-browsing and found this posted by Lindsay at It's Quite Lovely Being Lindsay. I'd say this is a little sad, but yay for more Sunday night blogging!

a- air conditioning, A Christmas Story, airports

b- Brian, brunch, bananas, boxers (my Lucy girl at home!), baby names, baking, blogging

c- Christmas!, children's books, cooking, clean sheets, candles, cheesecake, Chick-fil-a

d- Daddy!, dark chocolate, December, Dallas Cowboys, Diet Coke, decorating

e- East Coast, Easter, eating

f- football, fall, flats, friends

g- Giuliana and Bill, grapes, good manners

h- hotels, handwritten cards and notes, heels

i- Ireland/the Irish

j- jeans, Jack in the Box

k- kitchen utensils/decorating stuff, Kit-Kats, kittens

l- Longchamp, love

m- Mama!, Mexican food, magazines, mascara, margaritas, mob movies

n- New York City, naps

o- organizing, the ocean,

p- pasta, pedicures, pictures, Paula Deen, publishing, pearls

q- queso

r- rainy days, running, reading, road trips, the Riverwalk, recipes

s- the South, Sandy Bullock, snowy days, snail mail, scarves, sweet tea

t- TEXAS!!, toffee, towels fresh out of the dryer, traveling

u- University of Texas!!

v- Vera Bradley, Valentine's Day

w- white wine, weddings, writing

x- xtra special surprises! X is not easy...

y- Yankee Candles, yogurt (frozen and tart!), youth (on long days, I feel like I'm losin' it, y'all)

z- zest... as in for life! Z was hard, y'all...

Back to the norm.

Hi friends. Long time no talk, right? I know... no excuses really, other than being INSANELY busy with work and having my family in town for the last week and a half, which was in itself a monumental event which I am currently working on documenting. Unfortunately, it's become quite the project, considering I had to upload all of my pictures to Brian's computer (thanks, you stubborn USB ports), which means that I can only complete the blog when he's not using his laptop... which is kinda never.

But, I digress-- I'll get it done asap because it is all kinds of loveliness to see, if I do say so myself.

I have to admit that I spent the majority of Saturday completely bummed out. As fun as it is being around my family, it kills me when they leave. Brian was pretty wonderful though and offered to drive me through Taco Bell on the way home (boy knows the way to his girl's heart, that's for sure), where I picked up their new Cherry Limeade drink (not a Sonic Cherry Limeade by ANY means, but it worked). I then proceeded to come home, curl up in a ball on the couch, and watch approximately four and a half hours of bad TV. What, you may ask, did I build my brain with? True Hollywood Story: Basketball Wives, Kendra, and two hours of the Top 20 Child Killers. A ball of fun, right? If I recall correctly, I pretty much just zoned out and needed the distraction, and it worked.

But because my boy is so wonderful, I washed the tear remnants off, put new makeup on, threw on a summery skirt and accompanied him to dinner. We went to a local chain restaurant called Not Your Average Joes and can I just say that if my waistline loved me enough to allow me to exist on bread and olive oil alone, I would just move into the corner booth we sat in last night and swim in it. It is di-VINE! We headed home after that, split a chocolate pecan praline that I bought in Boston last week, turned on the movie "Everybody's Fine" with Robert DeNiro and Drew Barrymore, and I was out by approximately 9:30. Y'all, I was EXHAUSTED. I think my body was just smooth worn out after all that's been going on with the family coming, the family staying, and the family leaving.

As badly as I wanted to sleep-in this morning, my body that was so exhausted last night woke itself up at 7:23am (I did indeed look at the clock because I couldn't believe it was THAT early and I was awake)... and decided it would stay that way. Ah, well. I planned suppers for the week, made my grocery list, got ready, got Brian up and ready, and off we headed to run errands. It makes me feel so old lady-ish, but I kinda love Sundays like this.

To be honest, Sunday's aren't my favorite day of the week. Before I moved to Boston, they were always a big family day at my house. My Mama would have a roast going in the oven all day with a pot of beans or green beans and new potatoes on the stove and we'd either be cleaning around the house or in and out running errands, only for everyone to sit down together for supper that night with sweet tea, our prayers, and lots to chat about. Moving up here all by myself and being alone has been HARD (especially during the holidays and football season because HELLO Dallas Cowboys), but it's so nice to have Brian to share it with now. Sunday is our day to sleep in, get brunch or at least coffee together while we're out, do the grocery shoppin' and errand runnin', and for me to come home and cook a good supper for him. Now that I think of it, my Mama taught me well, because she passed right on to me what she did for my brother and me our whole childhood. She made it a point for Sundays to be family days... and I'll always love that.

So as I said-- I love Sundays like this, minus the whole going to sleep and waking up to a Monday thing. That's not my favorite way to wake up, especially after having been off of work for most of the last week. Today, though, was good. Brian requested Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese and y'all, it was pretty darn good. I modified it to be WW friendly-ish and made a big dish of roasted veggies-- squash, zucchini, vidalia onions and portabella mushrooms, which turned out to be sooo good, if I do say so myself.

I'm all curled up in pajama pants with a blanket and three new books that I found today at BJs (Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert/the Eat, Pray, Love author; The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells/the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood author; and a cute little teal colored journal that I felt inclined to purchase because sometimes I just need to write), getting ready to watch the last two episodes of The Pacific on HBO (NOT Band of Brothers by any means, but it's been pretty good), enjoy a bit of ice cream, then head to sleep.

Boring? Perhaps. But it's Sunday night, by gosh, and if I fall asleep at 9:30, then so be it.

Y'all have a good night.