Thursday, August 27, 2015

Memorial for a Friend

It's been a difficult week, friends.  One of my favorite people passed away and her burial and funeral were yesterday.

The woman who died was not related to me, but I've known her almost all of my life.  Her son is my best and longest friend and I love him and his family more than any other (except my own).

I was fine yesterday and barely cried at all, but today I had lunch with a friend and we were supposed to be talking about Community Partners of Dallas, but I just found myself talking about yesterday.

I need to let it go, so you guys get to hear a little about this wonderful woman who has now gone to be with the Lord.  A few of my favorite things I learned from her:

  • You need something Asian in every room.
  • You need something red in every room.
  • If you like something, buy it.
  • Always carry cash with you in order to make a good deal with an antiques dealer.

Those are all great, practical advice things that I fully embrace, but here are my favorite things ever and the things that have me in tears as I write:

Once when we were at a big family event at her home for Thanksgiving, I remarked on how beautiful all of her family members were and didn't she feel proud of how gorgeous they all were, etc.  And let me tell you, we were surrounded by several generations of her truly gorgeous offspring.  This is what she said back to me:

It is what is on their insides that make them beautiful.

The other image that I have never forgotten is one concerning she and her dear husband (another one of my favorite people ever -- he passed about 7 years ago) who met while she was in high school and he was in college.  They had a really wonderful love that is really rare.  Anyway, she once told me that they often awoke in the morning holding hands in their sleep.

What a woman and what a legacy she left.  I'm a better me for having known her.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dream Interpretation Hodgepodge

I'm answering the Hodgepodge again this week.  Hope you'll give me some suggestions for several of my dilemmas! 

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

I usually take a day each summer (usually in July) and clean out my office at Community Partners of Dallas.  I hate to admit it, but I think I may have skipped a couple of summers lately...

Here it is:

Anyway, I would love to get this done, but I doubt I will.

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

Week before last.

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

I was in charge of decorating a big building for Christmas once.  Believe me, decorators should be paid like kings for doing that work.

On a related note, I just hired someone to decorate my house for Christmas this year.  It will be the first time that I haven't done it myself.  I cannot wait to see how it looks!

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

The end sometimes justifies the means.

I would never again do one bit of exercise if I didn't think it was going to help me get healthier.

Did I say never?  I meant NEVER.

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

I don't think classrooms have them anymore, the squeak of chalk/nails on the chalkboard still gets me.

I'm grossing out right now just thinking about it.

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

I actually like all of these things, so it's hard to pick just one.  Probably mussels in a buttery wine sauce with saffron and pomme frites on the side would be my first choice.  I love asparagus too and we could use the egg to make hollandaise.  Guess I know what's for dinner.  Yum!

I don't think any food could put me in a bad mood if I wasn't already in one to start with.  Not saying that I like all foods -- I hate cilantro -- but it wouldn't put me in a bad mood if I had to eat it.

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

This is not a project, but I absolutely hate putting on mascara every day.  I even dreamed about it the other night -- that I had to keep applying and applying, but no mascara was getting attached to my lashes.  Of course, the mascara did go everywhere else on my face.  I may need an interpreter for this one.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I started back up exercising (walking) today and decided to take the advice of my friend Joanna and get a book on tape to listen to while walking.  How do you know what audible books are good?  I read so much that I have already read a lot of the popular ones.  Anyway, I ended up getting a book I never even heard of called Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

I've only listened to about 20 minutes of it, but I think it may be good.  I'm looking for suggestions on the next one, so fire away friends.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yoga Is My Life

Tonight, I have to go to yoga.

Now, when most people say that, they really mean:

  • That they should go to yoga -- as in I haven't been to yoga in awhile.
  • That I cannot do what you want me to do because I don't want to do what you want me to do, thus I have to go to yoga.
  • That they are meeting a friend at yoga, so that is why they have to go because their friend will kill them if they don't show up at yoga.
  • That they paid for that yoga class already and dammit they have to go to yoga.

None of these are why I have to go to yoga.

I'm going because one of my friends organized a yoga class at We Yogis to benefit the Back-to-School Drive at Community Partners of Dallas.

NOTE:  The friend who did this wonderful thing is Lilly Neubauer and she is a fantastic person and blogger -- her blog is and it is wonderful.  And I must say that she has the cutest daughter in town!  This is Lilly:

Isn't she adorable?

I'm no good at yoga.  I actually "practiced" (and I use the term so loosely that I dropped that term like a hot rock and it has rolled on down the hill to Houston) yoga for a few months about 5 years ago.  While I could do a beginners class at the time, I think the 5 years that have passed may have closed the kennel door on my downward dog.

But, I'm headed to yoga tonight.

I picture myself as this

But this is what I anticipate

If you see me over the next few days and I'm limping or my head is listing to the right, you know why.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Thinker's Hodgepodge

Another fun Hodgepodge post today, courtesy of my friend Joyce at From this Side of the Pond (see link in my favorites).  Feel free to start participating -- and let me know if you do!

1. Way back when several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question  submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!   She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   

I guess I felt most like a grown up when I got my first home back in college.  I don't mean the dorm -- I mean the first time I moved out of the dorm (Junior Year).  I still feel that way.  Having a home of your own is such a grown-up thing.

What keeps me young now is working with a lot of young women -- they make me join Instrgram, step up the fashion, etc.  Plus, they are just fun!

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

Since I am single, I only buy cars for me.  I get a new one every couple of years because I love having a new one and I hate having a car break down.  Nothing makes me madder than a car that won't work.  I should also admit that I really don't care what color I get -- someone else could even pick it out.  I do only buy the same car now.  I've had a small Lexus SUV for about 10 years, I think.  My buying experience is a 10+, as I always use Jeff Hazelwood at Sewell Lexus.  Jeff is the best!

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

Corn Chowder for sure.  Al Bernat's has the best -- they add a little crab to it too.  Delish.  I order it with the wedge salad and a slice of coconut cream pie.  It's a lunch to remember!

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Lately, it's been working on our capital campaign for Community Partners of Dallas.  This campaign is something I've never done before, so it's fun to research and get some of the best minds in Dallas helping me.  Just asking friends and donors for advice is wonderful and very thought-provoking!

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

Bring It On is one of my favorites.  Also Clueless.

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Mine have to be Resting (not enough), Ridiculing (myself -- I love self-deprecating humor) and Refrigerating (gotta have AC in Big D).

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

Water aerobics.  Loved it.  Now I just need to make myself do it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My favorite quote lately:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Much Ado About Sketches

The funniest thing I've seen in awhile is the courtroom sketch drawing of Tom Brady.

NOTE:  Of course, I couldn't even remember what his name was a minute ago.  Luckily Google was able to find it for me when I typed in "courtroom sketch of football guy".  Google knows us better than we know ourselves.

Actually the funniest thing to me is the uproar about the ugly sketch.

Yes, Tom Brady is a good looking man -- a top notch specimen -- and the sketch certainly does him no favors; however, do his fans really need to get on their high horse and complain about it?  My first thought is don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

If the accusations are true, Tom Brady cheated.  He doesn't get to have John Singer Sargent draw his face the way his fans (and probably he) would prefer it drawn.

I think the same thing about the people who abuse and neglect children.  Yes, CPS caseworkers sometimes make mistakes.  Horrible mistakes.  Life and death stuff.  But, to fry the CPS system when a child is harmed because they weren't able to intervene fast enough or (more often than not) they weren't legally able to intervene at all, pisses me off.  The parents are the ones who did the crime.

Almost every time CPS did the best they could with the information they had.  The parents are the criminals.

Recently a caseworker in Vermont (in Vermont they call their system DCF -- Department of Children and Families) was killed as she left a family court hearing.  The caseworker, Lara Sobel, was killed by the mother of the children Sobel was trying to protect by removing the kids from the mother's care.

I doubt there was a sketch artist in the courtroom from which Lara Sobel took her last steps.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hodgepodge on the move!

The Hodgepodge is back after a brief summer holiday.  Joyce, Hodgepodger-extraordinaire, moved over the weekend, so I'm glad she's back on the job!

1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?

I last moved about 9 or 10 years ago, but before that I moved about every 2 years.  I always had the move (and packing) done for me.  It was expensive, but so worth it.  I'd go to work in the morning, then come home and everything was packed. Moving van came the next day.  I will be here forever, I think, but I do love getting to learn a new city or even just a new part of town.  My least favorite part was putting away the shoes. I've never had a walk-in closet since I left my parents' home.  I need shoe space!

2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.

I can cry every day thinking about the kids we help at Community Partners of Dallas. They are the most innocent victims of domestic violence and they are so vulnerable.  

3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?

My car is always clean.  I do allow food and drinks; however, I never pick-up drinks for people when I make the lunch run.  Too risky!

4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

The Cars - Drive (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) - YouTube

5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?

The bank.  I use more cash than most people -- it keeps me on budget AND all my change goes into my Change is Good jar for CPD!  It is our fun family event in September and all the funds raised help the abused and neglected children of Dallas County.

6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?

Act now.  I always regret the things I didn't buy when I could have.  Apple stock, anyone?

7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?

Joe and I got slightly lost in Santa Fe this summer, but damn if there wasn't always a combination plate with our names on it at every turn.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm not a cat person, but I am in love with Beth Stern's cats.  She is on Instagram as @bethostern -- she fosters cats and is Howard's wife.  She is fostering a blind cat now named Buddy and he is a heartbreaker.  The Stern's own cats (Yoda and Chunk) are great too.  Kittens everywhere -- photos, videos, you name it.  Never, never, never thought I'd ever be love with cats.  Won't be getting one though -- seeing the Stern's cats on Instagram is close enough!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 22

Yes, it's that time again -- a Four Faves Post!  I've been writing these posts for a long time now, but damn if there isn't always something wonderful to pass along to you guys.  If you're new to my blog, be sure to check out the previous faves by clicking here: 

It is helpful if you live in the Dallas area for some of my favorites.  It is not so helpful if you live in the Dallas area today, as it is going to be a sunny 104 degrees in Big D.  I know people from other parts of the USA and the world don't understand why we live here with this heat.

One answer.  It's the best.  And we have air conditioning everywhere.

Alright, now on to the Four Favorites!

  1. This will be shocking to some of you, but I actually do my own fingernails.  I do get a monthly pedicure and love it -- shout out to the gals at the Lovers Lane Barber Shop -- but my fingernails just need more attention and I can't spend the time once a week letting someone else do them.  Plus, I get really mad when they chip, so I'd rather get mad at myself.  Anyway, the best thing I've ever found to keep the polish on is this Nailtiques Nail Protein polish.  I use it as a base coat and a top coat.  Also, another tip -- buy the little small bottle if you can.  It gets old and the little bottles get used up more quickly.
  2. I haven't even finished this book, but it is a must-read if you like a really good fast-moving story and characters.  It's been all I can do to come to work this week, as I just want to stay home and finish Station Eleven, but I love it so much I'm spacing it out to extend the enjoyment! It was recommended by my friend Jenny, who is my go-to person for book recs.  Here's what says:  A flight from Russia lands in middle America, its passengers carrying a virus that explodes “like a neutron bomb over the surface of the earth.” In a blink, the world as we know it collapses. “No more ballgames played under floodlights,” Emily St. John Mandel writes in this smart and sober homage to life’s smaller pleasures, brutally erased by an apocalypse. “No more trains running under the surface of cities ... No more cities ... No more Internet ... No more avatars.” Survivors become scavengers, roaming the ravaged landscape or clustering in pocket settlements, some of them welcoming, some dangerous. What’s touching about the world of Station Eleven is its ode to what survived, in particular the music and plays performed for wasteland communities by a roving Shakespeare troupe, the Traveling Symphony, whose members form a wounded family of sorts. The story shifts deftly between the fraught post-apocalyptic world and, twenty years earlier, just before the apocalypse, the death of a famous actor, which has a rippling effect across the decades. It’s heartbreaking to watch the troupe strive for more than mere survival. At once terrible and tender, dark and hopeful, Station Eleven is a tragically beautiful novel that both mourns and mocks the things we cherish. –Neal Thompson
  3. What else can I say about this one?  The dinner (in this case it was the small dinner) at Joe T. Garcia's in Ft. Worth is by far my favorite Mexican food in the world.  It will definitely be my last meal, but I just can't decide what part of that meal will be my last bite.  Looks like a bunch more decision making field work in my future...
  4. My mom bought me this stuff and it has saved my feet on so many occasions that I carry it with me in my purse at all times.  Before you even think you might get a blister, rub this stuff on your feet, toes, wherever you need it and it really helps.  There are lots of brands, but I prefer this Band-Aid Friction Block Stick the most.

What are your four faves?

P.S.  No Hodgepodge this week, as its creator is otherwise occupied.  Hope the move is going well, Joyce!