Sunday, November 30, 2008

Regarding Twilight

I would call this a book report, but it's probably closer to a commentary on the fact that I read a book (or really 4 books) about vampires, rather than a synopsis of the story itself.

I'm not sure what's more shocking to me: the fact that little conservative Baptist me read them or the fact that they were written by a Mormon housewife. But guess what? I liked it.

I had heard a murmuring about the series when they announced that the movie was coming out. I dismissed it immediately, but someone else gave me just the little encouragement I needed, so read them I did. I bought the book on the way out to New Orleans last weekend and finished it that night. By Monday I had purchased the last three books and finished Breaking Dawn Tuesday night. They are an easy read and really good. I don't think it's the best writing ever or that the characters are amazing, but I had just had to know how it ended, you know? Good story.

I kept thinking about Jane Eyre throughout it, so I was not surprised when I did some research and saw that the author was a fan of Bronte.

Was Bella a weak character? Yes. Girl needs to get a backbone and quit the whining. Would I recommend this for teenagers? I would say no, but I can think of several books that were accepted reading for me in high school that had much less wholesome story lines. (One author that sticks out in my head is D.H. Lawrence.) Are there some dark themes? Of course there are--it's about vampires. However, the whole book is about struggling to be good, even though you have a nature to be bad. And in the end, it's about the triumph of that good.

Have I seen the movie? How could I stay away? As I stood in the bathroom after the movie listening to three teenage girls remark (in so many words) how Kristen Stewart was a terrible Bella, I had a hard time restraining myself from jumping into their 15-year-old conversation. I agree, like, totally. But it was still really good.

And just in case there could be any question about it--I am totally Team Edward.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Big Easy

This past weekend we ventured to New Orleans to see this fun girl get married. The wedding was across Lake Ponchartrain in her hometown of Slidell, and as soon as I find some pictures from the event I will post them. (My camera went the way of my dishwasher, so I am pictureless on my own. Santa, did you hear that?)

New Orleans has always seemed haunted to me. Before it was those fascinating cemeteries, but now the ghost of Katrina lurks around every corner. Every street we travelled made me wonder what it was like during the storm. Thoughts of the Superdome make me shudder, and new construction everywhere is a reminder that things are not what they were. (Nevermind that I also started the Twilight series on the trip, so I was already in a vampire frame of mind--but that is another post for another time.)

After the beautiful wedding, we moved from our hotel in Slidell to spend Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton in the French Quarter. It was lovely, beautiful, relaxing, fabulous, and a slow-paced way to kick off the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. That night we bundled up and walked around the Quarter, taking in the sights. There is no other place quite like it, you know? As we walked down Canal St., a jazz band was leading a just-married bride and groom, along with their wedding party and guests, to their reception. The guests were waving white streamers, while the bride and groom twirled parasols as they paraded down the street. It was fun and joyful. We ended the night listening to a talented woman crooning cool jazz standards in the hotel bar.

Sunday morning we slept in, then got up and walked to Jackson Square where we dined al fresco at Cafe du Monde. Yum. We explored the narrow streets of the French Quarter a bit more, taking in the street performers and beautiful architecture before ending up at the Shops on Canal Street (yay!). After a late jazz brunch at the Palace Cafe, we left the hotel and headed for the plane to take us home to Dallas.

It was a wonderful last half of the weekend after a fast-paced, but super fun beginning!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dish Pan Hands

We pretty much sit at the table for dinner every night. The only exception is a pizza night (which was made for eating in front of the tv, right?) I think it's a good habit to get into to sit down and visit with one another, and I'm glad we're making it a priority in our home even now before we have children. To that point, I enjoy setting the table, and every night we eat off of the real stuff--no paper plates. And, I take some housewife-ly pride in that fact because my husband can't say we don't use all those dishes we (um, I) registered for.

But yesterday, it was all I could do to keep from picking up some paper plates.

You see, my dishwasher bit the big one on Saturday.

It was only 16 months old. Seriously. And seriously out of warranty.

And after washing all the dishes sitting in the washer at the time of death, along with the others that had piled up since then, my hands can't take it anymore.

So we hied ourselves to Sears yesterday and ordered a new one. It will be here Wednesday, which can't get here fast enough. I had no idea it was so critical to the orderliness of my household until I was dishwashing deficient. If I had to make a list of my favorite kitchen gadgets, I would say this is a kitchen gadget my hands cannot live without.

What's your fave kitchen gadget? I'm always looking for suggestions. A close second to the dishwasher for me would have to be my pineapple corer that I picked up in Boone, NC, and I can't remember the store name now. It rocks only slightly less than a working dishwasher.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Love A Rainy Night

If you were anywhere in our area last Monday night, you know that it downpoured all night long. It started when I got home from work and didn't let up until around 4 am or so. Don't ask why I know that or why I am so tired this week. (It will sound like pager blah blah batch job blah blah. It's a boring story.)

Due to the weather, we decided to tuck ourselves in at home for a cozy MNDN. It was my night to plan, so I decided to bring back an oldie, but a goodie--taco soup.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing dry mix
1 envelope of taco seasoning
2 cans of hominy
2 cans of Rotel
2 cans of Ranch Style Beans

Brown the ground beef and drain. Grab a large pot and add the beef, all the canned ingredients (without draining the liquids), the ranch dressing mix, and the taco seasoning. Add a couple of cans of water and heat the whole thing up to your desired soup temperature.

Easy as can be and incredibly delicious, and a great excuse to pull out my favorite soup bowls! I also mixed together a box of Jiffy cornbread muffins. They are the perfect complement.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To Do: Make To Do List

Another weekend has come and gone, and we are only 7 weekends away from 2009. I need someone to explain to me how time passes so much faster with age (or should I say maturity? That sounds better.) It seems like when I was younger, it took for-ev-er for Christmas to come, but now, I blink and I'm already packing the decorations up again, hoping that I will remember where I put what for next year. (I won't even begin to talk about how the season itself is so rushed by retailers.)

This past weekend was low key and wonderful. I had grand plans (check list in hand) to deep clean the house in preparation for the holiday season's guests and events, but it just didn't happen. And that's okay. I cleaned out at least one closet and a junk drawer, plus I did most of our laundry. As of Sunday night, I'm more than halfway done with my Christmas shopping. I also spent a therapeutic hour and a half aimlessly wandering an antique mall Saturday afternoon. My husband treated me out for dinner two nights in a row, and I spent Sunday afternoon lunching and exploring the square in Denton with Drew. These are good times.

Maybe next weekend I will make a to do list and stick with it. Then again, maybe not.

Friday, November 7, 2008


On my windshield Wednesday night after church. I love him so much.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Family Photo Shoot

It's funny the things we submit to for love. I don't like camping, but I've done it a couple of times. Brad has learned to fold towels as they are meant to be folded. I'd rather be reading a book on Sunday afternoon, but occasionally I watch football next to him on the couch. For Brad, this weekend was one of those weekends of something we do for love--a family photo session.

Our friends from church, Leslie and Brian Lane, have been doing photography for years prior to moving to Fort Worth, both professionally and for their own personal fun. They are starting their professional photography business up in Fort Worth, and we (or more accurately--I) jumped at the chance to have some portraits made by them. Saving one terrible, blue-background Olan Mills church directory photo, we haven't had real photos made since our wedding.

We met the Lanes at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens last Sunday afternoon. They are quite a team. We brought a couple of outfits (disclaimer: shirts for Brad, outfits for me) to let Leslie direct us into the best colors as we worked our way around different sites. They scouted out sites all over the Gardens. I ♥ the way our pics turned out! Here are just a few of my favorites.

If you are in the DFW area and need photos made, please check them out! Their sitting fee includes a cd with all of your photos in high-res. The pictures are all yours to order whenever you want from whatever vendor you choose (snapfish, shutterfly, etc.) for whatever reason (as in, one of these will probably be our Christmas card pic.) It's a great deal, so please let me know if you'd like their contact info.

Thanks Leslie and Brian! They are great!

MNDN: Episode 4

Oh yes, we've made it four weeks in a row for a Monday Night Date Night. It's definitely in the tradition category at this point. Sunday, we had a little "discussion" over whether or not the previous Monday night counted as the night I planned. We both finally "agreed" that it did. He's a good man.

I have been running a bit late getting home from work because of, well, work. It's busy, and that's a good thing. By the time I got home, it was dark. Am I the only one that thinks the only thing good about fall back is that you get one extra hour of sleep? That is hardly enough to outweigh the other 6 months (or whathaveyou) that it's dark when you pull in the driveway each night. No thank you.

Anyway, moving on. We went to Razzoo's. Now before you say, "What kind of date is that?" I probably should state that our goal for MNDN is to try something we've not had before. Razzoo's falls in this category somewhat since I had it only once a long, long time ago.

So we got there and ordered some fried pickles to start our fabulous date on the pseudo-bayou. The food was okay (Brad definitely out-ordered me with shrimp wrapped with bacon and jalapeno--I had a salad). But the company was fantastic, and our waiter was one of the best we've ever had. (Shout out to D @ Razzoo's.)

It was nice to slow down, take our time, and talk about things not political. (Amen?) Thanks for a great night, BWG.

Here's one of my favorite old pics of us, since I didn't take one at Razzoo's.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


HALLELUJAH, originally uploaded by emgentry02.

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