Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Powder Room

Should we grasscloth it like this?

Turquoise it like dis?

Stripe it vertically?

Stripe it horizontally?

Monday, August 24, 2009

I went to dinner with friends.

Some bump baby bellies.

Some don't.

Baseball, Air Conditioning, and Inane Arguments

We went to see the Rangers play last week (or maybe it was the week before). We borrowed Hub's parents' car so that we could take advantage of the complimentary Lexus valet, and his friend had free extra tickets for his company's suite, so it was quite the economical evening. I pulled my spoiled rump off the cooling seats long enough to check my ticket and have my bag searched and immediately rode up the elevator to the air conditioned, food and beverage-stocked suite. To me, these things in combination make baseball considerably more enjoyable. I have absolutely no nostalgic, romantic notions about the cheap seats or peanuts or cracker jacks or whatever. I prefer an ice cold, limed Corona and a seat inside, thank you. And I wouldn't mind leaving around the 7th inning or so. Judge away.

I did not eat this food b/c we'd just had dinner at home (the mussels actually), but I did indulge in a very private and gluttonous moment with a monstrous ice cream Sundae. Caramel!

Here's Hub & Co. squabbling over correct, non-injurous workout methods or the exact wording of a Groundskeeper Willie quote or whether the term "sports dork" is an oxymoron or something equally inane and sure to make me pay more attention to the game.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Flexing my Mussels! (Ha!)

I made mussels the other night for the first time ever. I was nervous. Mussels are like lobsters for beginners. I was so nervous, in fact, that I swore to Hub that I was going to faithfully follow the recipe, measuring and timing. I tried to have all my supplies at the ready. I made Hub clean the mussels themselves, and then they started moving, opening and closing their snapping shells. (O.K. so they weren't really snapping.) I do wish I had taken pictures.

This was my method (recipe promptly out the window), and it was easy, so there was no need to be nervous.

I put a couple tablespoons of olive oil with a couple tablespoons of butter and let it warm on medium until it stopped foaming and browned slightly. I dropped in three cloves of sliced (not minced, how cloddish) garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and about a teaspoon of fennel seeds and let them all stew and soften in the fat for about a minute. Then a poured about a cup (maybe more) of white wine (I like my Chardonay like I like my men. Oaky. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Unless I meant from Oklahoma... which I didn't.)

Where was I? I let the broth reduce awhile, and then I apologized to the little guys and... dropped them all in that big steaming pot and heartlessly clamped the lid down with a clang. After the screaming subsided (just kidding), after about seven minutes, we pulled them off the heat, finished cooking the linguine, and served it all up--TA DA!--with a generous ladle of the broth and a side of whole wheat baguette. Easy. I felt very Julie and Julia.
P.S. Just so I'm clear, I want you to know that I steal all my pictures. I steal them from everywhere. I don't steal from anyone's Flickr account or anything like that, but I mean, you've got to be noticing that I'm not citing. I just wanted to confess and get it out there.


O.K., first of all, why is my nose still running? I hate sneezing nine hundred times throughout the day when other people feel obligated to "bless you." Also, I have this little cough where I have to clear my throat, not in a big hacking way, but in a little huhch, huh, huhch, humm kind of way. It's fairly quiet, like a pretend cough, a petite cough. I don't really even notice I'm doing it, which is why it's driving Hub a little crazy. I try to apologize for it, and he says it's alright, but he'll imitate me and kinda laugh at me when I do it, which is the nicest way to communicate that I need to just stop it already.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New York: Songs and Schedules

Do you know "A Heart in New York" by these two? "New York like a scene from all those movies... Here's to you, New York..." and so on. I went through a Simon & Garfunkel phase.

There's also "NYC" by these guys.

I have New York on the brain because we're going to Cooperstown and NYC in late October with some friends, which means I will be wearing a coat and boots and skipping through crisp leaves. If you're lucky, I'll post my fully gridded, labeled, verified schedule later, but our loose itinerary right now is to go to Cooperstown for the weekend, visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame (yessss!) and local brewery. Then we'll head back into Manhattan Sunday where the following will happen:

1. Carter will make out with Eric Ripert.

2. We'll rest on these benches.

3. Jen and I will take in Wicked (most likely sans spouses).

4. I will reenact this whole scene while standing in line at Zabar's... "Rose. That is a lovely name." "Zip, zip." "One dollar. That's all I have. One dollar." "And I'm Henry." "Happy Thangsgibing back." (Stop me.)

5. We'll watch this guy play young Hamlet. (Afterwards, we'll ask him if he's impregnated any more nannies lately.)

5. We'll spiral our way up to the top of the Guggenheim, muttering "I don't get it."

So what else should we do? I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Ms. Mindless likes to talk about baby names all the time, and she just mentioned Blythe as a pretty girl name. I think I love that. We're not having babies anytime soon, but isn't it pretty, and doesn't it have the nicest connotations? Sounds like blithe... joyful, carefree, mirthful. Also, reminds me of this Blythe.

Gilbert Blythe. Wonderful, destined for Anne, Gilbert Blythe. I was in LOVE with Anne of Green Gables growing up. OBSESSED. Did you read Anne? It wasn't just one book, you know. It was a whole series, and I read them all. Multiple times. I considered Anne one of my best friends. I watched her on the Disney Channel and PBS. Anne might be why I went into teaching and why I loved reading so much. Anne with an "E," struggling with her red hair and lack of puff sleeves. I loved her relationship with Gilbert: intellectually sparring, frustrating one another, eventually close friends, and later married with like eight kids or something.

Cote de Texas, Jenny, and a Few Ruffles

Do you read Cote de Texas? (Kitty, I'm thinking of you.) To me, Cote is wonderful... despite living in Houston. No offense, Houstonians. And to me, she is a fancy schmancy, but not stuffy, interior designer. Take this with a grain of salt though because in the Wooten estate, if it's not from the side of the road or Target, it's pretty fancy.

Anyway, she loves seagrass! white linen slipcovers! french antiques! I confess that I know nothing about french antiques or quality Belgian linen or much of anything that she talks about, but Cote is teaching me! I also confess that her style is not exactly my style--I have a weakness for bright colors and as many patterns as I can stuff into a room. Working on it. Moreover, I am not one for ruffles unless it's in J.Crew form. oooor Anthropologie. They have a monopoly on ruffles. Right? I know. Actually, maybe I am one for ruffles on my person but just not on my couch.

Chocolatey Anthro ruffles. Yum-O! (Here, I am making fun of, not supporting, Rachel Ray. What of it? She's a scratchy-throated irritant.)

Crew's blushing rosy ruffles. "My colors are blush and bashful."

This post just went skidding off topic. Back on track... Cote de Texas recently had a discussion on "small," stylish houses, and someone named Jenny was featured close to the end of the post. Um, I just want to mention in an nonchalant way that I KNOW JENNY! Jenny is a style queen! I met her through my equally design saavy former neighbor, and let me tell you that they are both inspirations. If you go to the link, Jenny's house is about 3/4 of the way down in the post, and you will love it. Here's a glimpse of her living room. Hope she doesn't mind that I stole her picture!
You'll want to burn your own house down. I'm not being hyperbolic--You really will. I tempted to put a link to Jenny's blog on here, but I haven't asked, and she hasn't given me permission... Maybe I'll add it later.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cough. Cough.

I think I have the swine flu. I not feelin so good... but better than yesterday. My boss was dictating an email address to me from the other room, and this is what I heard and wrote down, "jwhhean@...?" Just so you know, that wasn't the correct address. My ears are all stuffy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Little Nervous/A Little Ashamed

I just got a refurbished old school IPhone on the cheap. CHEAP! Aside from starting a blog, purchasing this phone is the biggest tech-ish step I've ever taken, and presently, I am intimidated by that leaden, glossy black mystery. So ominous! But so exciting! She makes me slightly nervous. (My phone is definitely feminine, a femme fatale, specifically. She goes by Olive. My little IPod is called Tangerine. Guess what color it is. Do you notice a theme in my naming?)
Throughout my life, I have resisted several things in the name of personal convictions: cell phones, seat belts, meats, baths. Well, maybe some of these were in the name of laziness and/or parsimony, but you get the picture. I had many convictions (albeit sometimes illogical) in college. Hub and I have discussed that had we met while we were both at A&M, things would not have turned out so romantically. We both needed time to mellow, so to speak.
In the old days, it took several major annoyances/catastrophes to convince me to 1) get a cell phone and later to 2) actually carry it with me. The most memorable being when I forgot all my students' ungraded research papers at my parents' house in Palestine, and we all had to make an hour-long emergency drive to Corsicana to hand them off. My parents saw the papers, sitting on the floor minutes after I drove down the driveway and left. If conditions had been different, they could have called, and I could have turned around before I even passed the loop. However, I was battling The Man and living life free from the shackles of technology. (I mean, I did have electricity and a car but whatever...) That drive marked a pivotal hour of my life--when the light shone down and realized cell phones really do make life easier, not harder.
They do I admit... still a little begrudgingly though. I am steadily getting better at answering my phone (but it's hard when I have Carter to deal with my calls. He's my secretary. He schedules my dates and appointments--even talks to my family for me sometimes.) I'm half-heartedly ashamed of getting this phone just like everyone else, walking around talking on my shiny phone, using all my convenient "apps" as they say. I know. I know. I do have the phone. I did say it was only half-hearted shame.
(And Hub will get mad at me for this post b/c I BEGGED for this phone. He kept telling me that I, of all people, didn't need it (He's right. Shh.) I was beguiled by all the potential apps though. I want a personal walking tour of Paris! I want help getting around on the subway! What can I say? I enjoy paradoxes. I am nothing if not conflicted.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Carter's Birthday

Here is my husband at the Gingerman with his friends on his birthday. Don't judge him based on this photo. He's the one in the scarf. He wore it all night. He is a style diva but not particularly the scarf-wearing type.
I stole this picture from Sarah's blog. Her hub is the one pointing at the camera. She recently posted about Fort Worth and the friendship between this group of guys.

I was thinking.

Well, first, Hub told me that my "Texted" post from last week was condescending. Then I was talking to one of Hub's friends this weekend who mentioned that he wouldn't want to have a blog b/c he would re-read his own posts and probably regret what he had written. And yesterday, I saw Julie & Julia at the movie theater, which (as if you didn't know) is about a girl who blogs about cooking Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Consequently, I've been thinking about my blog and blogs in general, and I feel that certainly there is a risk in sounding stupid or self-absorbed or excessively earnest. I do re-read my posts and sorta groan sometimes. Sometimes I edit and sometimes I don't. I worry about misspelling words. I put on a cloak of irony to be able to talk about some things.

Blogs, as a genre, seem to reside somewhere between diaries and letters as far as audience awareness goes. For the most part, they contain personal and private subject matter and are daily records of trivial thoughts or events and (from what I've seen) written mostly by women--very similiar to stereotypical diaries. (I took a whole literature class at A&M on diaries. It was taught by one of my favorite professors, and it was exactly the kind of class I LOVED.)

On the other hand, blogs can be very close to epistolary writing, too. While diaries (supposedly) are written just for yourself, letters do have an intended audience, and, like letters, blogs are usually written to keep friends and family up to date on your life, but again, very personal, intimate writing. I think blogs even more so than letters b/c you don't really know if anyone is reading what you write. If someone is rolling his or her eyes at my heartfelt post, I can't see the eyes. I could just be writing to myself. I will say having a blog is nice for bad communicators, too. I don't call or write anyone because I'm lazy, so this is an easy, 20 birds with one stone way to disiminate life happenings.

I can't remember where I was going with all that... I guess I'm just saying sorry if I sound stupid sometimes. I am self-absorbed and I think about home decor too much--I'm aware. I'm working on it. I think it makes it better if I'm a self-aware egomaniac.

You should...

You should go to my friend Molly's blog. Molly is my oldest friend, and she's having a baby named Jack, and her nursery is CUTE. Jack himself will no doubt be quite cute--we're talking dark hair, olive skin, and blue eyes like both his parents--the ladies will love little Jack. Additionally, Molly has one of the all time greatest dogs, Vincent, to whom I once fed so much cheese he threw up, and she has a weatherman husband who now has a beard.

Also, you should go to my beautiful sister-in-law Monique's blog. Monique is the most fashionable person I have ever known. Don't ever stand next to Monique because you will look like a giant warty troll by comparison. When my in-laws see us coming, they say, " Look, there's cute Monique, and there's that surly man-ish one." I don't know how I lucked out in getting such a fun, sweet, spunky sis-in-law.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Why didn't they think of this before?

I'm not a Baby Hater.

That's my present offering down front and center, the one in brown and avocado with the pompom in place of a bow. I consider it a masculine alternative to a bow.

I've decided these characteristics = a miserable baby shower experience for me: (and certainly all baby showers should be designed to make me and only me happy and entertained)

1) games, lots of games, games where I have to get out of my chair, and games where I have to make something out of paper products--Name one other time that you do the kind of things required in baby shower games. They are abnormal.

2) a huge guest list which translates into a 3 hour marathon gift opening/passing session--I just really don't understand the tradition of unwrapping and passing the gifts at baby or wedding showers. I know it's what everyone does. You have to do it. You would seem rude if you didn't, but it can take SO long. I guess it's social pressure not to get a cheap, loser gift.

3) no booze--Be honest. This could save the party, but it normally doesn't happen at baby showers. I understand why, but just remember the mom is getting drunk on all the great stuff she's racking up. Throw me, the guest, a bone. This is the kind of party where guests need it the most, especially if you're asking me to play all those crazy games.

Now, I may sound like a lazy, selfish drunk by saying all this, but in your heart, YOU KNOW YOU AGREE. It's a party! It should be relaxed and fun!

I went to a baby shower on Saturday that I have to say was one of THE BEST baby showers I ever attended. Here's the mom-to-be's post on it.
Cute, stylish home! No games! We wrote the little man a note, which was sweet. Small, intimate guest list! I got to talk to people and gift opening was a very reasonable amount of time (plus I had a comfortable chair). The food, as you can see, was DELICIOUS. Seriously, so good. I always eat a lot at showers, so this is important to me. Stuffing my mouth helps relieve some social anxiety and distract from my profuse sweating. Plus, wait for it, there were margaritas! And even cuter, there were mom-a-ritas, too! What considerate and perfect hostesses! Everyone was happy.
Now, I will tell a short anecdote illustrating how uncouth I am. It's always highlighted at events like these, where I'm dressed up and mildly nervous and trying to make jokes to make myself feel better. During the gift opening/passing, I jokingly told a fellow guest and new mother that I thought baby clothes were the cutest parts of babies, really just meaning that I think baby clothes are cute. Ha Ha. It came out badly I admit, but I'm not trying to knock babies, especially her baby or the baby of honor. My fellow guest didn't really laugh at my "joke." Later on, she started to ask if Hub and I were thinking a having kids sometime and then said that she guessed I wasn't having a baby anytime soon if I thought the clothes were the cutest part of babies. I think I insulted her. I cannot keep my feet out of my mouth. I tried to do damage control and explain, but I'm pretty sure she secretly thinks I'm a baby hater and a bad person. I am a fairly irreverent and sometimes I joke about things that I shouldn't, but baby hater, not really. I just stoop to get a cheap laugh.
I wish I was one of those people who always say the right thing at the right time. My mother-in-law is like that--overflowing tact in that one. You'd think it'd rub off a little.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trying to Study

I've been trying to study the quantitative section of my GRE book. Gross. I know.

Hub commented that if I keep it up, I will do GREat on the test.

Footnote on Breaking the Rules

Stop reading if you don't like sweet love poetry, but ee cummings is the obvious choice for poet-who-breaks-the-rules-with-purpose.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful
you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon
has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of a tree
called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

All these words jumbled so close together--it's written like it should be said... close in, squeezed together like a hug or faces almost touching. Awhh, my nearly thawed heart thinks that's nice.

He keeps talking about carrying her heart within his own and we see parenthesis inside parenthesis--sweetness contained within sweetness. Even the feeling that parenthesis themselves normally convey is something of extra knowledge even inside or intimate knowledge. I see what he's doing here... using punctuation with purpose. Even the shape (and cummings, like donne, is all about the shape of the printed poem) of parenthesis are like arms encircling.

And, no surprise, no end punctuation anywhere in his poem--just a sprinkling of semicolons and gobs of parenthesis. His long winding sentence doesn't particularly end anywhere. No end to his LOVE? Eh? Anyone? Even the last sentence just puts us back where we started. Another circle!

There is all this repitition and overlapping--just like their souls!

I will say even though some might think he is a little nonsensical, nothing in it is done haphazardly. If you read it using his line breaks and whatnot, it certainly has a purposeful rhythm and even if it lacks a predictable rhyme scheme, it has little bursts of surprising assonance. Although not a typical 14-line sonnet, it has an abstracted version of the three quatrains and couplet.

Eliminating Awkward Ugly

Pet peeve: "I 'text-ed' Burrel and Stella."

That invented word--you know the one--is awkward to the ear, uncomfortable to say. Haven't you stumbled over it? It just doesn't sound right to me. I have no problem with the evolution of language, no problem with nouns b/cing verbs and so forth, and I know we needed fill the void and find a term for texting in the past, but I just disagree with this particular word. (Listen, I have even gone so far as to defend "y'all" in light of the need for a second person plural. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the purpose of "vosotros" in Spanish? I think we need "y'all." It fills a vacancy. I'm open-minded about language, see? (Meanwhile, I explain my own mistakes as my "vernacular." Sometimes we purposely make mistakes in order to make someone comfortable. Ex. May I offer you a scone? vs. Can I get you a biscuit? Yes, I threw in the scone/biscuit complication, but the point stands. I'm digressing from my tangent.)What I'm saying is they're not mistakes if I can rationalize them. I used to tell my students if you know the rules and chose to break them with purpose, it makes you a poet. If you're just breaking them b/c you don't know better, then you just sound ignorant. I'm still digressing.) Back to texting... Those sounds aren't meant to be next to each other. Text-ed. It's ugly. It's not right! It's just not right! (Carter, there's an allusion to your childhood just for you.) I just believe in the least amount of ugly possible in general. Sometimes it can't be helped (my indomitable eyebrows, hello?)... but sometimes it can.

My suggestion: I sent Burrel and Stella a text.