Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Tis Not The Season Anymore

I'm sitting here at my desk, twiddling my thumbs between client relations, wishing my abundance of vacation time wasn't staring me in the face (like the money with bug eyes from the Geico commercials. Which, by the way, I actually switched to Geico last year and saved a ton of money on my car insurance: almost $80/month). I don't regret much in life, but I do regret not utilizing my vacation days for this week. UNFORTUNATELY, I'm an overachiever of sorts. The kind that feels like I can't take vacation days unless I'm actually leaving town on vacation. Novel concept, I know. But here I am sitting at my desk, with nothing but the sounds of crickets chirping because everyone else was smart enough to take this week off, and sweet memories of my favorite season.

This Christmas was a magical one with a brand new baby and snow in Texas!!

What more could a girl ask for when she already has her two front teeth?? I was pleased as punch to see a ton of old faces at a mini high school reunion. Other than that, my 5 days were spent in the confines of our 3-acre winter wonderland with the family... playing, laughing, planning, napping, snuggling (sans Dad, of course, since he's not much of snuggler)... and I'm not so proud to say, but I'll do it anyway, the only exercise I did was the Mouth kind (i.e. sarcasm, chomping, chewing, talking). Just as it should be.

Now I'm beginning my New Years Resolutions... one of which is... I will not beat myself up about New Years Resolutions.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Short and SWEET

Cheesecake balls under my office Christmas tree? Merry Christmas to me.

These are what I lovingly refer to as "lard lollipops". One of the most delicious things I've tasted in a while.

I also have a confession. I went shopping for the first time today. And I will NEVER wait this late again. I'd venture to say it's worse out there than Black Friday! Ick.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Read My Mouth

Lately I've been over consumed with matters of the mouth.

Recently, I started preparing for my bi-annual teeth cleaning. The week before the appointment was full of avoidance. Avoidance of coffee without straws, jolly ranchers and lemon juice. Not that I eat those things regularly, but I certainly know their catastrophic affects on your enamel. Don't ever say I don't read my pamphlets! I also flossed like it was going out of style. I guess I was hoping my week of extra devotion to my mouth would would trick the dental professionals into paying me and my chops a compliment... or that somehow, a week of brushing my teeth "with soft-to-medium strokes in the correct direction of gum growth for the duration of two ABC songs" would change the amount of plaque that's accumulated on my enamel over the past 6 months. Well, it probably doesn't, but I FELT clean going into my cleaning and that's all that counts. And folks, I'm here to tell ya, I'm proof that cramming works. From studying to flossing, I've mastered the technique of pseudo-preparation. That compliment I was fishing for? I got it. From the dental assistant. When I laid down and opened up, she said "oh, pretty teeth". But right before I let my heart smile because my work didn't go unnoticed, I realized she must see the retched teeth from those "before and after" photos daily, so I took the compliment with a grain of salt.

I was also thinking about how awkward dentistry is. Almost more intimate than OB-GYN. Have you ever thought about how strange it is to have someone picking in your mouth like that? And why on earth do they try to carry on conversation with you? It's actually a form of torture for talkers like myself. I like to talk, and ask and answer without fists and metal objects in my mouth.

I'm also arriving at the big decision to have my wisdom teeth removed. I've been told I'm 3 wise, missing 1 unit of wisdom. One of my wisdom teeth is visible to me and is my favorite substitute in the chewing game when my first string is tired. (Just kidding, but I really enjoyed that metaphor). Anyway, not too long ago, I picked up my best friend from her oral surgery and had the time of my life! The girl was 2 whole minutes out of anesthesia trying to speak intelligently on the terms of her insurance coverage. Really smart things were coming out of her slow-slurring, cotton-filled mouth. It was hysterical and I'd love to provide that entertainment to someone... except I'm terrified of dry socket and not sure really smart things will come out of my mouth.

But really, there's no option. In no time at all, I'll be back in school for a year and half with no dental insurance to speak of... so now's the time... carpe diem, little tooths.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts Like A Pinball Machine

I think it's important to note that as of November 27, 2009, I know my nephew in the flesh. and the pictures scarcely do him justice. He has the sweetest, freshest, brand new warm smell that anyone with a nose and a heart can appreciate. He is adorned with the softest, little fluffy brunette hairs atop his head, which I'm not sure why, but makes me think of Steve Martin's hilarity... "Oh pointy bird. Pointy pointy. Anoint my head. Anointy nointy." At any rate, he's perfect - and I'm not just saying that to annoy my sister who will undoubtedly fight me tooth and nail to be THAT Aunt, but seriously - he's perfect. And he can already talk! Can you believe it? He says Neh, Heh, Eh, Owh, and my favorite, Eairh, which means "I have wind". All of this according to Dunstan's Baby Languages. You may be a skeptic but I really wouldn't doubt that the offspring of Brooke Honor and David Max would actually be thinking those exact words "I have wind" if he has to fart, so this whole thing probably isn't that far off.

But in other news, we're approaching the holiday party season! This is also a fun time of year for me, because there's always a smidgen of a chance someone will host a Tacky Christmas Sweater party and I'll be afforded the opportunity to dress in costume again. This year, it's our annual holiday luncheon for the office and will be my largest costume debut to date, my friends. 200 unsuspecting co-workers will get to see my holiday spirit in a neon green, zip-up sweater with tacky ribbons and offensive designs (a 2008 Marshall's purchase), complimented by candy cane stockings and costume jewelry inspired by The Who ... of The Grinch, not the rock band ... I'm pulling out all the stops - there are door prizes involved!!

I'm also brainstorming birthday celebration ideas :) January 11th is always the week of or the week before the spring semester begins, so it's a good thing I didn't drink or enjoy parties in college, huh Dad?? Because I would've been shafted as far as celebrations go!! Close call! I mean seriously, from 2001-2005, everyone was too partied out from being home and was psuedo-focused on starting classes. But I don't have to worry about all that now. I can legally and responsibly enjoy an adult beverage with all my growed-up cronies (chronologically, at least). I've got some good ideas up my sleeve for this year. Twenty-seven, 27, will be a good one. I can feel it in my left knee.

And lastly, as the monkeymind comes to a close, I experienced my favorite moment this month on my sister's couch in OKC. Holding a sweet, warm bundle of blankets and deep breaths, I was told I can have full creative reign on the color of the bedroom I'll be living in come August (and an accepted gradschool application)!!!!! My sister "thinks a butter yellow would be nice, but it's totally up to [me] and [I] can do whatever [I] want". Brooke, I hear what you're saying... but what I REALLY hear you saying is "paint the room butter yellow". hahahahahahaha that is such an inside joke for 1-3 readers. Annnyyyywaay, I've decided on gold! (true gold. like the actual color of the medals I have from years of undisputed victory). It's of the "butter yellow" family, but toned down enough that I won't jump when I open my eyes in the morning. It goes with my bedspread and my new fave purchase, my throw pillow!

Really, that is all. I have a final to study for.

Peace be with you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Must See D.V.D.!!

UPDATED with more pics :) ugh, I feel like I was disserviced by his birth 6 days before I can get up there. I mean seriously, take a look at those legs and miniature phalanges. It's like torture!!!!

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to my nephew,


...born unto a family of smartasses on...

November 19, 2009
7 lbs 5 oz
20" long

Isn't he just precious???

I think it's important to mention that on Tuesday night I begged my sister to break her water before Thanksgiving so I could snuggle a baby and eat turkey at the same time. I don't really see this as an unusual request. Despite being 3cm dilated at her appointment a few days earlier, she proceeded to shatter my hopes and dreams by reminding me of her November 30th induction.

So I did what most soon-to-be-first-time-auntie-ashes would do. I ordered a Smartzip Sleeper for the peanut and had it shipped to her. Luckily for everyone involved, the baby boutique I ordered from (www.poshtoshbaby.com) is on the ball with customer service and almost immediately sent me a personal email to clarify what size and color I ordered. Turns out I chose the Made Me Blush Pink pajamas for the boy growing in my sister. I swear it wasn't a Freudian slip.

Little did I know, my nearmistake would send shockwaves to Oklahoma and send my sister into active labor.... something about the unrealized fear of putting her son in pink pajamas and potential gender identity issues? I don't know, but her water broke Wednesday night whilst nesting in the nursery. She managed to get a few hours of shut eye before the intensifying contractions asked her to p l e a s e c a l l t h e d o c t o r. So their day started early with a 6am drive to the hospital, already dilated to 5 cm and completely effaced.

--- this would be the point I received a phone call from my mother screaming something to the affect of "HER WATER BROKE LAST NIGGGGHHTTT!!! AHAHAAHFDAFSDFAWEOBNV" ---

And the day begun.

I won't bore you with all the little details. and by "all the little details", I mean the seventy-four text message updates we received from dad between 10am-4pm. Despite his lack of attention to punctuation, he's a great story teller. Some of these are from his perspective and the others are just hospital room dialogue. HI-larious.


11:52am – We’re moving to an exercise ball contractions about 2-3 min apart

12:00pm – baby is at 128 heart rate, contraction 2 min after last one, doctor talk is head is engaged

12:11pm – Just had a 10 on the contraction scale, most had been 6

12:26pm – Brooke says ouch

12:35pm – baby is kicking the monitor

2:27pm – Just started pitocin, really small amount, to get this show on the road. Still between 8-9cm now, so hopefully soon

2:36pm – She gets to start pushing

3:16pm – Ok having a contraction almost there you’re doing good ok got one building. You’re doing a lot of work push hard again push push take a deep breath. I need a break ow.

3:26pm – big doctor is in the house

3:46pm – this is work ok almost that’s super job almost done good job all forward from here. Baby’s right there ok here we go push push this baby’s very excited about being born. Come on vincent, i’m getting a calf cramp oh shit.

3:53pm – if you got it, short little breaths, you can reach down and feel him if you want, looks like he has long dark hair, push one more and I bet we’ll have a baby. Ok ok he came further, half his head is hanging out, now take some deep breaths

3:55pm – my hand is going numb

3:58pm – the big finale, almost come on one more oh you did it here, baby crying look there baby boy, dad you want to cut the cord

After 6 hours of texting all that detail, I'm assuming the numb hand wasn't Brooke's.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Patiently Waiting for My Roommate to Get Out of Law School and Get Me Out of Tickets

Congratulations to me!! I am the lucky winner of TWO TICKETS in just TWO WEEKS from various municipal courts! My question is: where are all these so-called "women" that get out of tickets all the time and more importantly, HOW. DO. THEY. DO. IT?

During the 11 years I've been afforded the privilege of driving (and I know it's a "privilege" because that's always the first question on Defensive Driving tests), I've had 7 tickets.
  • 1999, speeding -- I should have received a citation for driving a Lebaron with gold hubcaps, but instead he clocked me at 56 in a 40. I was taking my bff home after practice and vaguely remember using the excuse that we were late for bible study . . . that excuse didn't work AND I spent 3 weeks in prayer asking for forgiveness.
  • 2001, floating a stop sign -- most embarrassing ticket of the century for a couple reasons. #1, the reason I floated the stop sign was because I just got a new jeep with a standard transmission and I was terrified of stopping. Anywhere. So naturally, I floated the stop sign in 2nd gear. #2, my dad was following me home from a soccer game when I was pulled over. Can't you just see it?? My jeep on the side of the road. A police car with fully operational lights behind me. My dad parked behind him, waiting for me to be ticketed. SO EMBARRASSING.
  • 2003, MIP -- I was the designated driver. Need I say more about this ridiculous ticket? I still haven't forgiven my intoxicated passengers for this.
  • 2006, running a red light -- I swear I entered the intersection on yellow, but wasn't in the mood to shmooze or argue (aka: I broke the law and I knew it)
  • 2007, running a red light -- Late to drop me off at the airport for a flight to California, my favorite geologist ran a red light in my car. No cop, just those pesky cameras and a superbright flash when it photographed my license plate. At the time, on top of running late, I had just realized I left my bridesmaid's dress at my apartment and would possibly have to walk down the aisle in sweatpants.... flashing lights were the last thing on my mind... it wasn't until I got a ticket in the mail a few months later that it really sunk in how much that day sucked. Damn the bad luck.
  • 2009, speeding -- on my way home from OKC via Waco. 7 hours of consecutive driving. Coming up on a small town with a speed limit drop to 55. I WAS SLOWING DOWN, PEOPLE, just not fast enough for Officer Napolean Complex. This guy actually said "have a great day" with a smirk. I threw a pitty party and cried for 30 minutes in the comfort of my own vehicle, gained control and forgave Officer Napolean for being so rude and ruining my weekend. After all, things could be worse. I could be an officer in Calvert, TX feeling justified by clocking people 2" past the speed limit sign... but either way, I broke the law and the law won... that was two weeks ago.

So imagine my dismay when I pull into a downtown Houston parking spot, ecstatic to see my mom and her friend, hop out of the car and practically sprint to their room for some quality time... then off to Azuma for a girls' sushi night... only to get back to a parking ticket from some rent-a-cop. Debbie downer. He issued me a ticket at 5:45pm when the metered parking ends at 6pm. I officially have the worst luck.

Of course I realize I broke the law in all of the cases, no matter the circumstance... but back to my original question... what's a girl gotta do to get out of a friggin ticket?!? I'm at the end of my rapidly fraying rope! I'm a good, moral person, but I'm in dire need of a script to use on the next idiot in uniform. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, I'm sticking to go-karts. I snapped this picture of me and my Little while I was driving and didn't get ticketed. I'm certain that's because I'm a safe driver (disregard her expression, please) and not because Zuma Fun Center has no laws.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Baby Boy is Brewing!

Although it may seem counter intuitive after posting "Chica Chica Boom Chic", my 2009 Halloween weekend was actually devoted to my sister's baby shower.... a far cry (pun intended) from my last handful of Halloweens, but nonetheless, a wonderful way to spend the weekend.

It started out with a bang with a red eye drive in torrential downpours from Houston to Dallas. Then to add insult to injury, at some point I picked up Dr. Laura's show on the radio and like a lightening strike to my life, I suddenly understood my father, but not through her sage advice or eye-opening commentary... in fact, it was quite the opposite.
I digress.
My dad and pretty much any liberal politician are like oil and water. He'll sit in front of the TV, brow wrinkled 10-fold, death grip on the remote as if changing the channel is a threat to them as they speak, rolling his eyes, spouting off "idiot"s and other useless cut downs. I never understood how he could get so upset at these people and never change the channel (a fun experiment would be to hook him up to a heart rate monitor and turn on CNN). It wasn't until I turned on Dr. Laura and listened to her psychological train wreck of a show that I finally empathized with my dad. At certain moments, I felt my face turn red and watched steam shoot out of my ears. She's not even a clinical psychologist! A PhD in Physiology won't do a depressed Schizophrenic any good, but she's brainwashed an entire mob of crazies to believe she knows it all through being blatantly rude!! How does this happen?? Ugh. I can feel my blood pressure rising again. Anyway, it was after 30 minutes of rotating between death grip on my steering wheel, jolting forward and glaring at the radio buttons in disbelief, and yelling at the airwaves hoping she'd pick up my signal, that I realized: Dr. Laura Schlessinger is to me what a Liberal Politician is to my dad. When I listen to her, I can't stop the madness! and what's worse is, I kinda don't want to. Passionately disagreeing with idiots is a guilty pleasure of mine. It's genetic.

-So back to the show-

I finally got to Dallas and c r a s h e d. Friday morning, I was greeted by the main reason for my northbound travel, my sister and her child. Like woah:

The next 3 days were a whirlwind of freezing soccer, long lost family, loads of hugs and sarcasm and one fantastic baby shower planned around Little Sister's soccer schedule. With an October 30th contest in Norman, a Halloween shower made most sense, so we rolled with "A Baby Boy is Brewing". Still makes me giddy with delight :) Here's the shower part of the weekend...
And evidence of the hugs and sarcasm part of the weekend...

I really don't know how to end this after posting a picture like that.

Have a great day?

Chica-Chica Boom Chic

Here they are, Exhibits A, B and C. Also known as, the only proof that I did in fact dress up as the lovely Latina, Carmen Miranda for a work function in Austin.

For reference, may I present the authentic Carmen....

And these are my scanned "Catch The Moments" (the kinds of pictures you have when you leave your camera on deep sea excursion boats in Puerto Vallarta)

And I've blessed you with this Blackberry Moment of the original fitting so you can actually see the fantastic skirt.

Fantastic, right?

anyhoo -- I've devoted this entire entry to my costume because MARK MY WORDS -- this will be the last time I ever spend $250 on Halloween. Thank you, [insert company I work for], for letting me expense this ridiculous costume.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Circle of Life

When I entered the big, bad world of Sales, I did everything but shout it from the rooftops that going back to school wasn't worth the investment for my career, and proud of that I was. All I needed to succeed in Sales was non-stop networking to build and maintain relationships for years to come! Who needs an MBA for that? Then time happened, and here I am a year and half later at the ripe old age of 26, well into my quarter-life crisis............ and back in school.

After I attended a conference in Atlanta in February that pushed us to "live our passion", my gears were in motion figuring out what my next step would be. My predecessors are in fine health and have held their positions for 20+ years, so I've reached a plateau with nowhere left to climb. Thus, I concluded, it's almost time to hit the road, Jack. After all, in this day and age, 4.5 years with a company is an eternity! I should get a plaque or something. (Love to the Babyboomers)

Then like icing on my careercake, I spent 10 days in July on the Great Recession Road Trip with the fam. The vacation afforded me plenty of time to reflect on my life and my career, and the decision was all but made. Come with me on this flashback:

It was a cool, July morning. We were operating on CST in a PST zone, expecting a nice lunch, yet offered a nice breakfast. After inhaling a huge blackbean and chicken breakfast burrito that was seriously the size of an armadillo, we headed out for a brisk walk along the Grand Canyon edge.

A chat with the maternal parent ensued. With topics ranging from daily annoyances, to exercise, to my career, we spoke . . . . . .

"Mom", as I like to call her, "I think I want to be a dietitian. What do you think?"
"Sweet, precious daughter of mine," as she likes to call me,"I think you'll be fantastic at anything you do."
Okay fine, she actually said - "well, I think that would fit you nicely, but it's quite the career change, babe..."
"yeah, but I've been thinking a lot about it and the only downfall I can see to being in nutrition is the pressure people might feel when they eat around me. I don't want a friend to stress about serving a vegetable/whole wheat option at her party just because I'm invited, ya know?"
My dearest mother said, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that, sweetie - you already make people feel like that."


I love those moments. What are parents for if not for the cold, hard truth? Love you, Mom.

But seriously, the rest is history.

I sit here today, stretched oh-so-thin between school and work and extracurriculars. . . and I love it, I really do. I never thought in a million years I'd be back in school and I especially never expected to be chasing a dream realized after college graduation... but it fits. Nicely.

This time next year I'll have a Trapper Keeper and an insulated lunch box. And I'm thinking about making my case for a school clothes allowance from the parents. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, October 16, 2009

500% Humidity

For the last few weeks, Houston has been one huge, dirty sauna . . . even the sun with its infinite power couldn't break through the mass of humidity and pollution. This affected my mood and my unfortunate skin tone. I say "unfortunate" because I can whip out my tribal card and receive funds for being American Indian, but I have nothing to show for it physically, except for a long nose. I'd give anything to skip the nose gene and get the tan-skin gene.

Either way, starting way back in 2001 when I moved here for college, I always got the same two reoccurring questions when the topic of Houston arose- which do you like better, Dallas or Houston? and doesn't the humidity just kill you? Up until a few weeks ago, I can honestly say I never noticed the humidity. Now granted, when I went home for the holidays and my skin would shrivel up and flake off by the pound if I didn't bathe in lotion, I realized there must be a teenytiny difference in atmospheres, but it never occurred to me on a day-to-day basis that I lived in one, huge dirty sauna.

Thank you October 5-15, 2009 for showing me what humidity is all about

And I hate it. I hate walking outside and "sweating" before I start running. I hate putting on my sunglasses when I get out of the car, only to be blinded by the immediate fog effect. I hate feeling sticky everywhere I go, and most of all... I hate hiding from the outside. Needless to say, I was a class-a C R A B for a couple weeks stressing out about things I didn't need to stress out about and getting more pale.

Then by the grace of God, Friday, October 16th happened.

A semi-cold front came through and washed away the dirty sauna. It was a glorious 70 degrees in the sun, 0% humidity. Smiles to be had by all! The "young-guns" took a long lunch to the Bakerstreet patio where I spied a disabled bird. You're probably thinking he had a bum wing, which I won't fault you for... that seems logical... but NO, this bird had a peg leg. Somehow he lost his 3 little, pokey toes and was moving from table to table begging for food like a homeless man at Montrose and Westheimer. I made up a little story in my head about how he lost his toes -- I think it was a tragic bird feeder accident -- but counted myself lucky for spying this freak of nature. He's kind of like a 4-leaf-clover. I mean, have YOU ever seen a bird with a peg leg? Didn't think so. Well this little birdie just added to the glorious day of October 16th, and October 16th led us into the most beautiful weekend Houston has seen in years. I spent all day each day studying outside and soaking up some vitamin D with my favorite studying partner, my Pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice Latte.

In conclusion, Houston can be humid and super gross... but the October 16ths of the year make up for it 10-fold.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sentimental Moment

About this time of year, I'm usually planning my next scandalous Halloween costume or starting a Christmas wish-list to distribute to family members.

This year, I'm planning something of greater importance.

In a little over a month, when my family is gathered around a table full of turkey and sweet potatoes and it's my turn to speak, my cup will runneth over with a laundry list of Thanks.

From the new Flavia machine in our breakroom that allows me to make my morning coffee my way, to the miracle of life that we may or may not know in the flesh on Thanksgiving day, I will rattle off my life's delights.

If not for the fleeting moment of Thanksgiving Day, I would always be the "overemotional, hypersensitive one"... but on November 26th ... I will be the "thoughtful, thankful one"

(It's just like the Whataburger commercial. He's not the guy "that's late for the meeting", he's "the guy that brought breakfast")

Timing is everything.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stood Up

I'm a Type A fighting for control of my life every day.

I have a plan for most emergency situations. First thing I'll do if I happen to OOPS, drive off a bridge over water, is hit the automatic window button. It'll save my life, people. In a previous post, I discussed my plan to run in the opposite direction if my roommate and I are attacked while running. I also think if I'm one of those unfortunate people that witnesses a man beating a woman, or man/woman beating a child, I'll approach and scream, not ignore and walk away. Now whether or not my adrenaline derails this plan in the heat of the moment is a whole other story... but the point is I have one.

So last night I found myself in an emergency situation with no plan - the cardinal sin for Type A's

I was stood up (sort of). Yes, this is an emergency for me. I like to have an obvious purpose in whatever I do. I'm just not the meandering, loitering type. I don't go to bars to enjoy watching other people have social interactions... that's what Creepers do (HOWEVER, I derive an insane amount of joy people watching at airports, but that's completely acceptable because I still have a purpose: I'm waiting for my flight and people know this). Sitting alone at a restaurant or a bar for extended periods of time is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. A true emergency. And that's what I did last night.

I was supposed to have happy hour with two new friends I met at a conference in San Antonio at 5:30pm. I was raised that "10 minutes early is on-time", and OH how I wish my parents weren't over achievers like that, because life has taught me that we're the minority in that thought process..... in every avenue of my life, most people are 10 minutes late. So I went inside, took a seat at the bar and ordered a margarita, occasionally glancing over my shoulder at the door to greet my new friends. 10, 20 minutes go by. I start getting anxious, looking at the door more often, even took a stroll around the restaurant to verify their absence. Nothin. So I scoured my blackberry for a number to call. No answer, but I kindly waited 5 minutes for a return call. Nope, nada. At this point, they're 30 minutes late and haven't tried to reach me at all, so I texted bitterly, "I'm leaving after this margarita if you guys aren't here!" even though I didn't really mean it....... if these were old friends, I would've walked out 10 minutes ago, but I can't just leave like a biatch on a new set of friends! I have to give them the shadow of a doubt -- there MUST be a valid excuse for this madness.

Thus, I've made friends with the bar back that can hardly speak english, so we're actually just exchanging awkward glances. I've looked through menu 4 times for the meal I'm not planning to have. I've chatted with my sister about her impending childbirth, chatted with my other sister about her impending travel for soccer, and chatted with my mom about how embarrassed I am that I've been sitting here alone for 38 minutes. I've responded to emails, texted friends, even pretended to enjoy the baseball game on TV.

I mean, REALLY, what in tarnation keeps someone from calling with an explanation or at least responding to my fake-threatening text?? Then, I got a call. They told me some BS story that made no sense, but ended it with "we'll be there in 10 minutes! so sorry! soooo sorry!"

Fighting back my critical instinct to scold them immediately about how being late is selfish and rude, I took a very, very deep breath and realized my social pain would be over in 10 minutes and I was happy again. First time, shame on you; second time, shame on me. I should've known "10 minutes" didn't mean 10 minutes. 25 minutes later, a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes late, they walked through the door. I smiled and hugged them, "so good to see you! It's no problem!" After all, we're all adults here and I'm a forgiver sometimes, but after an honest discussion about the real reason for their tardiness. . . . . . .

a previously scheduled hair appointment

. . . . . . . . . I presented them with the opportunity to buy my drinks and the chicken fajitas I decided to have since it was now dinner time. They happily accepted, so I think this friendship will last. And thanks to this little emergency, I now have a plan for being stood up:

1) I'll have a Glamour magazine in my car at all times for entertainment during the 10-15 minutes my friends normally make me wait
2) If our friendship/relationship is established, I will wait no longer than 30 minutes, no exceptions (well, maybe termination from a job, a car wreck or anything requiring hospitalization)
3) If you're a newby to my life and my rules, I'll wait for you, but after 30 minutes... you will buy me things. With a smile.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Burgeoning Belly

This topic has managed to squirm its way into many conversations I've had over the course of my life, mostly because I'm 'baby crazy' (as some dear friends like to call it) and I stand firm that the entire process of reproducing is the most magical of biological phenomenons out there... so as it pertains to the burgeoning belly, I'm of the cup-half-full variety. If you got it - flaunt it, or shake what your baby gave ya, whatever trips your trigger.

Sans stretch marks (since all they do is remind people of the pain and anguish your body is gradually going through), a fit pregnant woman in a tight shirt or a bikini is just as beautiful as the next, if not more... and I will declare it right here, right now, even at the risk of offending any closet readers I might have.... women that think otherwise are just plain jealous or belong in the 1800's when hiding your pregnancy was all the rage.

Now I'll admit, I've gone overboard with my pregnancy infatuations once or twice in my day. A while back, I was walking towards a running trail and passed a woman putting something away in her trunk. From behind, she looked like a marathon runner in her matching black and pink dry-fit tank and running shorts, then BAM!! she turned like an airplane and my estrogen released in vast quantities at the sight of her 8-9 month belly. I instinctively said, "oh my goodness, you are so cute pregnant". I might have sprinted at her with open arms for a hug if it weren't for the look of sheer terror on her face. A few moments later, I realized we were in a random parking lot, it was almost dark, she never saw me coming, but most importantly, Private Practice just aired their final episode where Violet was attacked a few weeks from her due date by a crazy patient that thought Violet was carrying her baby........ apparently they don't make this stuff up, it actually happens!......... so I can only imagine what was going through that poor woman's mind. So that was that.

A n y w a y

This is the inaugural Kodak moment of me with my first nephew :) The first of many precious photo ops with the little bambino. Squirm at that belly and I'll come after you. It's just Beautiful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Do you think this might be one of the reasons Baby Boomers roll their eyes at Gen Y in the office? I don't know, it just hit me as a possibility. It's not the most professional thing in the world, per se . . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Black Cats and Pumpkin Seeds

It's September 23rd. Do you know what that means?? Halloween is one month and some change away!

It's my 4th favorite holiday behind Christmas, my birthday and Thanksgiving. I'm just crazy for it. I actually get jealous of small children and little people because it's socially acceptable to trick-or-treat when you're 3'-4' tall. Soooo not fair. In fact, I think I'll plan a Halloween event catered to adults: "Trick or Treat! Give Me Something Good To Drink". I'm envisioning something like a BBQ cook-off with actual spook houses, not just tents. . a little Halloween subdivision for adults. . we'll get all the major beer, liquor and candy companies to sponsor a house. . in a field somewhere, lots of decorations, low lights. . costume-loving-grown-ups will go from house to house socializing with other costume-loving-grown-ups. . maybe some live music. . a couple outdoor scary movies. . . I'm onto something, here aren't I??

Until that dream becomes a reality, I'll settle for house parties, with the exception of this year (I'll be showering my sister and her buddahbelly with baby gifts in another state). I usually start thinking about my costume around July. It's that important. You have one chance to knock 'em dead... or sometimes 2 or 3 chances... I've been known to have multiple personalities, I mean, costumes in one year. When else is it okay for normal adults to be bi-polar, schizophrenic hussies in public? It isn't.

Now I have my frustrations about the Halloween system, too. I love creative costumes (I still have the stuff in my closet to be "Party in My Pants" - XXXXL sweatpants, put the waistband around a hoola hoop, held up by suspenders, with loads of small balloons, confetti and streamers stuffed in and overflowing, hand out real invitations that say 'You've been invited to the Party in My Pants'... I think that's a 10.0 on the Costume Richter scale), but have you noticed that ANYTHING is a costume these days if you just add "sexy" to it? Sexy Frankenstein, Sexy Lunch Lady, Sexy Tax Collector. Sex sells. I'll admit, I've fallen victim to this bandwagon a couple times, but for the record, each year I vow to wear something with more fabric than the last year as a part of my maturation process. At least I've identified the problem. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Just in case you're struggling with ideas, here are a few of my faves.

Pocahontas with a Football Player and Top Gun.....

Bubble Bath with Sloppy Joe.....

Tinkerbell with a Saloon Hussy.....

Husband/Wife Team of Chinese Gymnasts.... haha!

Bi-Partisan (Republican in the front, Democrat in the back) with a Christmas Tree.....

And since my move to sales, I also get to attend a work Halloween party in Austin every year. This was last year's Masquerade Ball...

This was my pick for GREATEST COSTUME EVER. Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They actually handmade these costumes!

This year, our theme is A Tribute To The Silver Screens... I'm going as Carmen Miranda! Not only is she in the punchline of my favorite clean joke, she dances with fruit on her head. Could it be any more perfect? Here's my FABULOUS hat...

That is all.

The Morning I Counted My Chickens

The first 2.5 hours of my day led me to believe it would be a magical one... but don't count your chickens before they hatch.

My alarm went off at 6:38am. Since we heard the news of some female runner getting robbed a few blocks away, these days my roommate and I meet in the living room at 6:45am for our pre-sunrise runs. Often times I wonder if the mere addition of 1 female truly deters a mugging attempt, but there's something about false security in numbers that I cling to. But let's be honest, even running together, K and I would be screwed if someone actually did approach us. Not too long ago we posed the "what if" to eachother on a whim... what if someone attacked us right now, should we stay together or split up?? Roommate was of the Stay Together variety. I subscribe to a different mentality: the I Love You and All, but You Go One Way, I'll Go the Other, Then We Have a 50/50 Chance of Surviving This Craziness. Given our polar opposite views, I see an attack going something like this.........

scary man that hasn't bathed or eaten in days, jumps out at us... we both scream at the top of our lungs, mine being volumes louder than hers thanks to genetics... I take off in the opposite direction with my best 40 yard dash stride, only to feel the undeniable force of K's tug on my shirt... and suddenly I'm running like I do in my dreams... expending incredible amounts of energy, but not going anywhere because I have another woman stuck to me screaming STAY TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER... I'm batting at her hand as if to say, I LOVE YOU AND ALL, BUT YOU GO ONE WAY, I'LL GO THE OTHER, THEN WE HAVE A 50/50 CHANCE OF SURVIVING THIS CRAZINESS, but what really comes out is LET GO, B!TCH........ you can imagine how the rest pans out. So maybe running with Roomate isn't so much "safe", but fun.

This was supposed to be about my magical morning. Ok.

So I get up without a single snooze, completely rested and ready rumble. I was in the living room by 6:44am, at which point K is usually up n' at 'em, feeding Bear and what not... but all I heard were crickets. Could it be? Could my totally reliable, organized, early riser roommate have slept in after we discussed meeting for a morning run??? I attributed her slumber to a Bachelorette weekend in Vegas, but nonetheless, already felt uber-accomplished that I was exercising when she wasn't... since it's usually the other way around. The run was fabulous. A cool breeze and a soft headwind. The sun rising earlier than usual so I didn't have to spend 30 minutes exhausting my Fight or Flight options in hypothetical attack situations. New music on my iPod. Life is good. I ran through the gates at my complex just in time to feel one single droplet on my skin. I beat the rain! I am accomplished, I am fit and I outsmarted Mother Nature. Magical morning?? I thought so. So I headed to the weight room to pump some iron, like a cherry on my morning sundae (by the way, in 1998 my dad helped me learn the Table of Elements with his corny word associations "Iron - feeeeeel the burn - Fe" I just can't shake it). . .

That's when I realized I counted my chickens too quickly.

Roommate was on the treadmill. I deducted a tally from my Magical Morning Point System.

After I did some weights and crunches, I realized I was 15 minutes late for my morning routine. This wouldn't have happened if the complex had replaced the clock after the weight room renovation. Either way, I deducted another tally for poor time management.

As I exited the weight room, God opened the heavens and poured his love on me. In the form of rain. So I sprinted across the complex, only to trip at a puddle in front of a distinguished business man. Shame on me for having an imaginary point system. -2 for that crap.

I rushed into the shower, rushed through my make-up, rushed through my hair, but worse -- I rushed through my outfit selection. I chose the Express slacks with pink and purple pin stripes. They were supercool 4 years ago, but there's something about how busy they are that turns me off these days. Like I'm a business version of a Candy Striper or something. But they didn't have to be ironed and I needed something form-fitting for my site visit (don't judge) and, HELLO, I was late! Thanks to the pastel pinstripes, I deducted another tally from my Magical Morning Point System.

By this point, it was pouring cats and dogs (which is a pretty sick analogy if you think about it, but it's common, so I use it). Then. THEN. I got to work and realized I left my umbrella in my trunk. I could have gotten it at home under the COVERED PARKING, but no, when I'm late, my brain shuts off. So in the parking lot at work, I decide to crawl through my secret fold-down-backseat into my trunk to get my umbrella . . . my Candy Striper @ss in the air . . . can't see a thing . . . grabbing cleats and baskets and FedEx slips? I don't know. But not one. single. umbrella. -8 points.

I ran through cats and dogs to the door. Down the long terrazo floor hallway, slipping and sliding into my office. A soaking wet Corporate Candy Striper ready to start her day.

Never never count your chickens before they hatch.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm An Addict

I need you to know about an addiction of mine, and just so we're clear... an addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

All addicts have a story, you know. A gateway drug. The beginning of the end.

For me, it started in 1991 with an ex-real-estate mogul with the mostest, my grandma's twin. Are you picturing a Century 21 billboard with a larger than life glamour shot of a high-maintenance woman looking over her shoulder in some ridiculous position, yet her smile still says, this is the most comfortable position I have ever been in ?? Yep, that's Aunt J, with a big red lipstick smile, short n' sassy auburn hair and reading glasses. (and she also had this fascinating silver necklace with a roof that opened on a mini-hinge that she'd let us play with all the time ... it had 2 silver chairs and a table inside that were freely floating about the 1 sq.in. ... is that weird? ...)

It was one cold afternoon in 1991 on Uncle J's back porch that I had a deep conversation with her (as deep as an 8 year old can get anyway), about how important it is to have nice nails and its reflection on your femininity and class. She proceeded to tell me that she paid her granddaughters $100 to stop biting their nails. Um excuse me? They were paid to grow nice nails, people. Now why couldn't the stork have put me in her direct lineage?? So I took matters into my own hands -pun intended- and said something like well, I bite my nails too which I didn't but I want to stop, Aunt J. Now it's not quite clear whether we actually shook on it, but my 8 year old brain just knew we verbally committed to a $100 transaction pending long, strong nails at the next family reunion. Something must have been lost in translation because she never paid up.... but she did create a monster.... a nail monster.

My name is Smartash and I am an addict. I am addicted to Nail Upkeep.

Clippers, hand lotions galore, cuticle tools, clear polish with vitamins for added strength... but the fairest of them all? The Nail File. Nails are body art. Like tattoos. 10 little masterpieces right there on your phalanges. Without the Nail File, sculpting soft, smooth, precise edges would be virtually impossible, and without soft, smooth, precise edges, you will never bring people back-scratching pleasure or have a pretty engagement ring picture... can you imagine a life without those things?? and don't pull the acrylics card on me here. Au natural is where it's at.

I file as a study break, during lunch breaks, while bathing, reading a magazine. Every chance I get, I will file. If I get a snag, I can't focus on anything else until I get my hands on 1 of my 7 nail files strategically placed along my life's path (in my car, in my purse, at my desk, in my bathroom, everywhere). If I have a blonde moment and forget a file, I will swipe my injured nail back and forth as quickly as possible on the closest textured surface to hold me over until I'm reunited with my Knight In Shining Emery Board.

So, you know what I wish for you? I wish that through the lense of my passion, you see how important nail upkeep should be to you and yours. Share the message, my friends.

And you know what I wish for me? I wish I would pay the same attention to my feet.

In other news, I drove the company car to San Antonio this weekend... not the coolest of cars, but it was still brand new. I was supposed to return it to security upon arrival to work on Tuesday morning. Instead, I took it shopping during lunch and returned it at 3pm. I'm just sayin. It's important that I confess that to someone.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Vacation: The Grown Up Years

I once said in a blog entry (about 2 weeks ago), "I often wonder how I'll top my Bali vacation". What I should have said was, "I often wonder how I'll top my Bali vacation, but I also wonder how I'll top The Great 2009 Anderson Family Recession Road Trip."

I should have said this because
1) it's true, but also because
2) I should've known my dad would find this blog and be "heartbroken" by the oversight

My dad is a Chevy Chase reincarnate and he planned our family vacation down to the minute. SERIOUSLY YA'LL, a 62 page pdf in chronological order, including excel spreadsheets with drive times and purposes for stopping at said places, google maps, website print outs of all restaurants and tourist stops. . . the list goes on and on. This OCD-like organization and flare for the dramatic? apple/tree, I know.

Soooo the 2 Trees and 2 of their 3 Apples (and the oldest Apple's Orange) set off on a vacation of a lifetime in June. We drove from Oklahoma City through a couple state lines to the Grand Canyon sculpted by the hand of God; on to Vegas, lured by the sites and sounds of Sin City; then through a maze of tree sprinkled mountains on the Pacific coast to Bodega Bay, affording us the opportunity to experience culture-rich San Francisco and the inebriating effects of Napa Valley.

I have to say - I think vacations are wasted on anyone under the age of 10, because I've been to the Grand Canyon before, but somehow can only remember being really hot and thirsty. Seeing it again with a new adult appreciation for all things Natural and Amazing, was amazing.
It was also my inaugural trip to Vegas. The youngest Apple couldn't join us on the entire road trip, something about supporting her college career via soccer? but somehow she managed to meet us in Vegas for that portion of the trip (funny how the timing worked out for her :) Either way, I worried about being amongst the delightful filth for the first time with my parents and sisters (19 and pregnant) ((one is 19 and the other is pregnant)), but it suddenly hit me!!

I don't have to be drunk to stay in Vegas.

It's not like they have cops at the city limits with breathalyzers, "0.08? Sorry, ma'am, you're not drunk enough to enter." I hope everyone has the chance to experience the city sober - Cirque de Soleil, french bistros, an 8am run on The Strip, actually having the inhibitions to stop gambling while you're up??? Fabulous.

I want to know where California residents go on vacation. And then I want to know why. Why do you ever leave California, Californians?? Maybe if you vacationed in your own state, it wouldn't be in debt. Ever thought about that? I l o v e Northern California.

They have San Francisco. It's always a dear joy to walk around that city and people watch! And consume Ghirardelli's best fudge, take Alcatraz tours, ride trolleys for a hot second, let crazy homeless people tell you jokes. Just a delight.
And they have big sequoias! at Sequoia National Forests! Really, really big trees. Named BIG names like "General Sherman".Then there's Napa Valley and it's oldest child, Wine. Wine is beautiful, smells good and doesn't talk back. Dad bought a million cases. That may or may not be the reason I visit Dallas so regularly these days.
And Bodega Bay -- Hitchcock's The Birds was filmed there, but I didn't have a single nightmare. In fact, it was the most peaceful sleep I had the entire trip, because I had my own FLOOR and a purple room. Luckily, we're related to the people that own the rental, so anytime I want to pretend I'm rich and stay at a mansion on a coastal golf course, I'll just scoot on over.

I was scared about being cooped up in a vehicle with my family for 10 days, but we're much more travel-compatible than I thought. And we had a DVD player with headphones, so I didn't have to converse with them much.

Thanks to these two for the vacation. And the gift of life.
(I know what you're thinking, it'd be easier to get a good pic of dad if we photographed him awake? You're probably right)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sleepless in Houston

I've fallen victim to consciousness. It's 5:04am on Sunday morning and I'm wide awake! This never happens to me!! I swear, usually my pillows are filled with the strongest active ingredient in Nyquil or something, because the moment my head hits 'em, I'm o u t... but not tonight. or more accurately, not this morning. It's probably a combination of 3 Saturday naps, a 9pm Coke and a 2am dose of Midol, but I don't blame myself. I've found it's much easier to like yourself if you never blame yourself, even for things that are obviously yourself's fault. Denial is key here.

Did you know Midol is nothing but Advil with caffeine? So who voluntarily ingests Midol at 2am? A woman in pain severe enough to wake her from a stage 3 sleep, that's who. In fact, I've often wondered if there were a graphical representation of the pain a woman accumulates over the course of womanhood, how would that compare to the pain a man accumulates in a couple swift kicks to the family jewels? I don't think I'd ever resort to coughing or anything like that, but we both end up in the fetal...... I'm just sayin, probably similar.

So at 3am, to battle my caffeine overdose, I turned on the Tube. I officially despise 3am TV for the diet infomercials and hospital trauma programs. How am I supposed to sleep after I've seen a 17 year old's brain matter protruding from his fractured scull?? Exactly. That's when it clicked - Smartash, you've spent the last 12 hours doing math homework! Make use of this time! Grab your Biology book and be a superstudent! Once I hit emergent properties, something better clicked. Smartash, update your blog. Now that's what I call good use of time, and blogging is definitely more fun, but one must wonder . . . if I kept reading, might I be asleep right now? The world may never know, but I can tell you one thing, I'm getting some good quality time with BearBear.

He's my roommate's cat. He looks more like a cotton ball on steroids with eyes and is about as long as a 3 year old is tall, but I still smile when he comes around. Funny thing is, when my roommate asked if she could get a cat, I had just one-itty-bitty request: short hair. She returned with Bear, a white cat that needs a haircut more often than I do. I actually find myself sprinting to the kitchen on weekday mornings, whipping to and fro to prepare breakfast and sprinting back to my room, all the while dodging any floating Bear-hair that threatens the integrity of my black pants. But again, I still smile when he comes around. Especially at 5:00am.

I can promise you that cats and Midol were not what I had in mind when I started this entry, but sanity isn't really a characteristic of insomnia.

Anyway, I thought for sure I'd get some sleep before my 7:15am alarm, but now it looks like I'm pulling a good old fashion all-nighter, because I couldn't be MORE awake. Maybe I'll be extra ambitious and go for a run at sunrise! Or take a morning bath and cook a big breakfast! Lord knows I'll be hitting the Starbucks before church because this less than restful night will inevitably hit me just as we bow our heads to pray... if I don't get some coffees, my head won't be coming back up... and that just wouldn't be prudent.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Buffalo My Grill

oH mY gOODNESS. I love me some Buffalo Grill.

If you've never had the opportunity to eat there, please allow me to paint the picture for you. Everything from the new parking experience to the smiley person on the microphone screaming your name... this place has it all.

First. Thanks to large corporations taking over local grass-roots (*sense sarcasm here), Buffalo Grill now has a decent parking lot. It started as a cluster of 3-point-turns and can-I-fit-in-between-this-dumpster-and-this-wall kind of parking experience, but now there are some 300 spaces, because the restaurant sits in the parking lot of the BRAND NEW BUFFALO SPEEDWAY HEB. I'm so sick of hearing their commercials, but I do have a nerdy friend that attended the VIP Grand Opening. He said it was "awesome" because they were giving away free samples on every aisle (we don't hang out much).

Once you park and make your initial descent on the front door, you're greeted by the unpretentious vibe of home. It really is something like waking up and walking down the hall to your childhood kitchen. And don't even get me started on the FUN of the new windows they installed on the West side of the restaurant. LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Now walk up to the counter, my friend. If God is on your side, there won't be a line, but don't think you're going to hell because this place is so popular, there usually is. I never look at the menu. I've ordered the same thing for 8 years. I do, however, stare at the million or so articles of restaurant awards dating back 20 years, but I don't really read them. They just remind me that I made a brilliant meal choice again. Sometimes I even say a prayer thanking Jesus for making the Buffalo Grill owners.

I'll have 2 pieces of french toast with strawberries and a side of hashbrowns, or if I'm feeling especially spontaneous, I'll get a #2 with fried eggs, over medium, grits and whole wheat toast and coffee. The cinnamon roast kind. That's what I had this morning.

Now get your drink and silverwear and find your table beneath the buffalo head or the western blanket. And just wait. Wait for your name. Be sure to listen for the vowels, because you usually can't understand the sweet lady that screams it through the microphone - "azjslee!! your order weady!!!" Like music to my ears.

I get more worked up from eating Buffalo Grill at 7am on a work day than I do most things in life... now that's good stuff.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

LOLer For Life

For gdsake, why does everyone take themselves so damn seriously? I understand there's "a time and a place" and blahblahblah, but isn't the most important thing in life to be happy... which happens to be characterized by the present day smile... which happens to be caused by HUMOR?? Lighten up.

If you're walking down the hall alone and you trip, don't pretend it didn't happen, and PLEASE don't break into a jog for 4 steps, because everyone knows what you're doing. Pretty people trip, you know. And so do smart people. Here's what you do: chuckle at yourself and say, "sniper!"

See how this humor thing can work for you?

Some professional mountain climbers that take themselves too seriously might not think this picture is particularly funny, but I do. And I'm sure it'll put a smile on the face of my 3 readers, so humor works for me.

Tim Gard was the keynote at a luncheon I attended today. The man has all the answers. I was in hysterics the entire time he was speaking, on the verge of wetting my panties even. He made me realize that I shouldn't be embarrassed about my tendency to laugh in boring or awkward situations. That loving humor, even in the workplace, doesn't make me immature. Humor works for me.

...like when we were busted by cops at our after prom house party with a margarita machine. According to the cop that took himself too seriously, this probably wasn't the best time to laugh. But I did, because something was funny. I couldn't tell you what it was because that was a decade ago, and I was drunk, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that I was laughing. And wasn't incarcerated.

Annnyyywaayy -- truth is, I officially refuse to be embarrassed that I find humor in everything.

The One Who Has Her Marbles