Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas From Us

A little early present for the blog...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shannah the... dog photographer?

For years, I have read knitting blogs.

For years, I have also read dog photography blogs. Oh yes, dog photography.

But, lo these many years... I have knitted. I have not professionally photographed dogs (though I have amateurishly photographed Roxie and Raider more than necessary).

Today, I borrowed a camera and a dog to try my hand at something new. The camera is a Canon EOS Digital. The dog is Margot.

(click on any picture to make it bigger)

I haven't edited or cropped these or anything (I don't have photo editing software). I think they're pretty okay. It was fun, too. Margot is the perfect model. A calm, sweet beagle/whippet mix.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Here's what greets you from our balcony at night:

Who doesn't love a penguin?

(Just for you, Marsha!) :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Proof That it Does Get Cold Here

Can you spot my little Raider's nose?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Thanks-Giving for Thanksgiving

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving. I was (hopefully, understandably) a little antsy about this. But it went off without a hitch from my perspective, and I'm learning to value my perspective. Since a comprehensive journaling of everything I felt and thought might become a bit, er, boring or worse, truly revealing, I decided to put together one of my favorite things, a bulleted list, of the highlights:
  • On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving in which I was simultaneously cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, and giving the dogs a talk about how to behave, I went to the kitchen to begin making Cranberry-Orange relish, a family Thanksgiving staple that must be made the day before. After a careful search of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, I ascertained that there were no cranberries in the house. I survived a trip to the store only to return home and carefully search through the pantry for flour, which was also missing. After another trip to the store where I bumped carts, arms, and other unfortunate things with other Houstonians, I returned home to complete my duties. After the dips were made, relish refrigerated, and family arrived, I related how I had saved Thankgiving by bravely going to the grocery store. Andy promptly went to the kitchen and produced an unopened bag of flour from the freezer. No news yet on the cranberries, though.
  • After gluttonously filling our bellies with a feast of Thanksgiving favorites, I pushed back from the table and sighed with contentment. My mother-in-law followed suit. Raider, who had been begging on his hind legs for the entire meal, let out a high-pitched sigh of hunger and impatience. No comedian has ever had better timing.
  • After eating, Andy's mother brought in a tub of ornaments she had been collecting for him since he was born--a new ornament each year. When Andy was small, he helped pick out ornaments that meant something to him. Andy's mother also brought a set of tin trains (Andy's father is a train engineer). We all set up and decorated our brand new tree and spread good Christmas cheer throughout the apartment. My stepmother and brother-in-law spread icicle lights across the balcony. It means so much to look at these things and think of our family helping us put them out (what a thoughtful thing that Andy's mother did--the ornaments are so special).
  • Then, Andy and his family surprised me with a small blow-up set of penguins. I love tacky Christmas decorations. The penguins are fabulous.
  • And we went to the beach. Because we leave thirty minutes from the beach now. Can you believe it? I barely can myself. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I walked barefoot in the sand with my family along the beach, picking up shells and watching little live shell-creatures bury down deep into the sand. It was cool but not cold, a perfect time of year.
A perfect Thanksgiving! I missed some family who could not come, notably my mother, but I was so thankful for each loved one who was there and for the stories told and the memories built. I feel almost taken aback that I am now adult enough to host a Thanksgiving meal, and so grateful for the direction my life is headed. I felt insulated and warm with my family near me. And yet, looking out at the ocean on Saturday reminded me of how close even the far away things are, something indeed to be thankful for.

Monday, November 29, 2010

On Squirrels

We have a problem with squirrels in our household. We don't have a "squirrel problem," and by that I mean that there are no squirrels chewing through wires or living in the attic (we don't even have an attic). But we have a Roxie dog.

Roxie has had a problem with squirrels since the moment she moved in with me six years ago. She searches every tree in every setting for the smallest presence of a squirrel--the brush of a branch, the swish of a leaf, even the sunlight shadowing on the ground are scrutinized carefully. Obsessively.

In the morning on our walk, she stops at each tree to check. During our time on the balcony, she keeps her eyes open even if she relaxes enough to rest her chin on the railing. Right now she is sitting up straight, looking out on alert. A casual observer might think she is a great protector. Oh no, she is only a great fan of squirrels.

And my beloved but strange dog even has a squirrel noise. I've heard it twice. It is a long cooing noise, a low "ooooooooo" that I swear I have never, ever heard another dog make. The first time she made the noise I was inside a little backhouse that we shared and when I came outside she had caught a squirrel and smushed its back legs. It was crawling helplessly on the ground and Roxie, visibly upset, was circling around her, softly saying "ooOOOOooooOOOO." The second time was a few weeks ago, on the balcony. Roxie saw a squirrel, but couldn't chase it and sat and cooed for a few minutes while shaking with the intensity of her concentration.

If I were a better dog trainer, I would capitalize on Roxie's ability to fixate on one thing. I would teach her better things to do than constantly search for squirrels. I would keep her under control rather than handing Andy the leash and watching the two of them "tree" every squirrel in the park each morning.

But I'm not. I'm just going to admit that we have a problem with squirrels and leave it at that.

So why bring all this up now? Well, this post is simply a long introduction for a photo that I felt had to be shared.

We are also easily entertained in our household.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

(I'll be back soon. With completed crafts -- Christmas has made me a secret-keeper, and thus a not-very-exciting-blogger.)

I am so blessed. Grateful today for family and friends around us and for the amazing bounty we have to eat in an hour or so... ;-)

I keep humming this song from Godspell in my head as I cuddle with the dogs, as I help cook up a feast, and as I enjoy sharing our beautiful home with the family here.

We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest, our life our health our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts
But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above...
Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love...

I am blessed. I am thankful. It is good to have a day set aside to remember these things.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall (Or Not)

Well, the highs are only in the 80s these days...

ah, Texas. The church we visited last Sunday had a pumpkin patch, and we picked up some as little tokens for the little fall that we have. I guess, comparatively speaking, temperatures in the 80s are much, much cooler than the 100s we had a month or so ago. But I read about people buying their winter coats and knitting their family hats, gloves, and scarves, and I wonder why I picked knitting as my hobby. But knitting away I am! I have a pair of huge socks in progress (chalk that up to my refusal to swatch, but I believe that they are man-sized, so I'm sticking it out and hoping for a nice Christmas gift), and I've started another clapotis scarf for a more northern relative.

Maybe we'll get down to highs in the 60s for winter. Then I could break out the mittens patterns... Right?

In other news, the house is slowly coming together. After the last year of overwhelming busy it's nice to putz around with the dogs, organizing everything. Peaceful, even.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Changing My Name

When we got married, I changed my last name.

This surprised many including Andy (I think) because I am not really a "traditionalist" and I fall into the category "feminist." Several people have asked me about it, and I really do have reasons. Here they are:

  1. First, I do not like the last name I was given at birth. I love my father. I love my father's family and our wonderful family legacies, but I do not feel that that legacy is connected to the name that provided for all kinds of name-calling and obscene jokes from elementary to high school. I did not like having to spell my last name every time someone asks because they cannot believe that's really my name. Andy's last name is prettier and easier and way less conducive to name-calling. Period.
  2. I have four parents. They have different last names. We have no real "family" name.
  3. In this country, we have no matrilineal heritage through a name. I find this very sad, but that's the way it is. As far as I'm concerned, I traded one male name for another. There's no reason to be loyal or emotional or nostalgic about that.
  4. I am not famous/published/career-oriented (yet?). Might as well change now.
  5. Connected to Number two, it is important to me to have one family name to signify Andy and my new family together. I like the signs people gave us that say "The _ Family," showing that we're embarking on a unified journey together. I strongly believe in individuality (we did a unity candle at our wedding, but left the individual pillars burning to signify that though we combined our journey together, we remain unique people along the way), but I also believe strongly in community. I believe that people can be true individuals only in community (one of the wonderful paradoxes of life), and I like that we are signifying our marriage as unification through one name. Sure, we could have combined our names and achieved the same unity, but see Number 1 again.

It's interesting what an emotional, complicated issue this is for many people. It is also interesting how much I've thought about my decision in these few weeks of marriage. I have never regretted my decision or thought about changing my mind, but it is a strange thing to change your name. My name is such an integral part of my identity, and changing it is an odd thing. I am proud to sign my new name, and to be changing it everywhere, and to think about my new family and my new identity.

And really, no matter what last name we choose when we get married, all of us always get a new name. Now, Andy is Husband. I am Wife. Those are names I do not have any trouble getting used to.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting Inspired About Decorating: Kitchen

As we embark on our journey together as a family, my instinct to send down roots has been growing strong. Evidence? I cannot stop looking at design blogs/magazines and thinking about our home. I really want it to be the cleanest, prettiest, homiest, happiest place ever.

We have an apartment. A really nice one. And it is FUN thinking about how to put it together. All of those fabulous wedding presents are finding a place (you know, "a place for everything and everything in its place"--look Ma, I learned!). However, the kitchen is a tough one. It's shockingly tiny cozily quaint. I mean really cozy and maybe less quaint. And there's a desk in it, taking up needed cabinet and counter space (I don't know why).

But I love kitchen gadgets and dishes and cooking (because I love food). Our wedding registry was fun, but really hard. We had no idea where we were going to be living or what it would look like or how many bedrooms or bathrooms we would have we registered blind. For a LOT of things. Here are the fabulous kitchen things we got from our registry that I love: red KitchenAid mixer and several attachments (I got it! Yay! #1 reason to get married**), red and yellow Fiesta dishes and lots of accessories (that's fourteen place settings of Fiesta dishes--thanks, mom-in-law!), an ice cream maker, a set of new pots and pans, 12 Fiesta glasses, wine glasses (see the footnote here for more about those wine glasses), cookbooks, and, ahem, etc.

Back to that tiny kitchen...

What's a girl with fabulous new kitchen necessities, accessories, and appliances to do with her ridiculously small for such a large apartment quaint kitchen?

I'm not quite sure, actually. For now, I've made an inspiration board:

Sources and info for Mosaic:
Left picture: found here, don't know about the original source. Lovely BIG kitchen. Ahem.
From top to bottom: 1) The perfect kitchen fabric from Michael Miller (red mixer! smiling stove! :-) from Home Grown Pillows Etsy Shop), that I may use for a type of "curtain" to cover up the desk shelves. 2) Organized pantry (guess how big ours is...) from Real Simple (how I love you, Real Simple). 3) Ornamental Chilly Chili. I fell in love with these at Andy's apartment complex, where they grew so beautifully that it took everything I had not to rip one up from the ground and take it with me. The picture is from Homes and Gardens, but I found a really useful chili article on the Better Homes and Garden site with some other lovelies.

Maybe this will be helpful. Maybe it's just fun to entertain me for now.

**I'll tell you later about an embarrassing moment using this phrase at my bridal shower. Think twice about making these kind of statements in a public place.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three Weeks Married

Andy and I were married September 5, 2010, at 12:30 PM. See?

Since then, we have: changed cities, changed jobs (well, Andy has), changed names (well, I have), gone to New York and Canada for a honeymoon, and started unpacking our home.

And before the wedding, I finished up that pesky English Lit degree.

So... more on those things coming soon. And other things, since I have now finished with the school/work/wedding-planning trifecta. Hooray! The future is here!

Unpacking is Fun...

...I mean it; it really is!

Thursday we picked up a couple of furniture items (dresser, sideboard?) at Ikea and some home decor items (curtains) at Target and got to work organizing and unpacking. Our house is quickly changing from the "dumping ground" look to the "home" look. We've got curtains hung, red and yellow fiesta dishes in the kitchen cabinets, and lamps on either end of the couch.

I am absolutely stunned by the amount of wedding gifts we got. Twelve place settings of china! Fourteen place settings of fiesta! Unholy amounts of wine glasses.**

It is fun opening a box and going over what's inside. Andy and I took our combining households opportunity to each get rid of a lot of stuff, so each box is the very best representation of what we had as individuals--our most treasured keepsakes, our nicest clothing, our sturdiest pots and pans.

**In a stunning lack of foresight, Andy and I registered for all types of wine glasses, sure that no one would buy them for us. We used that merchandise gun at both Dillards and Target, selecting casual wine glasses, crystal wine glasses, burgundy wine glasses, white wine glasses... we thought we'd get some wine glasses. Well, we got all the wine glasses, including twelve crystal goblets and champagne glasses that match our china. They're beautiful. We'll use them. (In our next apartment, with a kitchen and dining room four times larger than this one. At the five course dinner that I'll learn how to make.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Changing My "About Me"

For about two years, this has been my "bio" on Facebook:
Office Manager and English Lit Student. I live in a small apartment with a very large dog, giant stack of books, huge pile of yarn, and growing stash of fabric.

Well, now I'm a married woman. At the end of this month, I won't be an office manager anymore since we've changed cities. I'm not a student anymore. I live in a larger apartment with a husband and a small dog in addition to my large dog. My books, yarn, and fabric still exist, but I also now reside with a collection of jayhawk paraphernalia. We're a family, not a "me and Rox" anymore! :-)

So, today, I change my bio. Hope I can come up with something snappy...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Old Apache Wedding Blessing

Now you will feel no rain
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now each of you will feel no cold
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your togetherness
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

The week of my wedding, I find this quite beautiful. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Late Night Update

Well, I have one last paper to write as an undergraduate student. This one on the English dialect of Cuba. And then that's it.

So many, many things are still "TBD" over the next week or so--detail things like where we're going to live in less than a month and which furniture to leave by the dumpster AND big picture stuff like what to put in the vases at the wedding and how I'm going to do my hair.

Oh wait. I may have gotten that backwards.

Well, anyhow. It's truly amazing to me all that we've done in the last, oh, year or so together. I cannot believe how different things are than they were two years ago. I've gone from being a girl with a dog to ... a "we" with two dogs. And it's so much better that way. Sometimes I feel a little new-agey and try to send all this positivity out into the Universe--I wish everyone could share in what we're becoming. But that's what the wedding is for, right? Celebrating in community.

That's not far away at all.

Edited to add: I may be slipping away into sentimentality. Oh well. I've always had tendencies toward being "that kind" of English major anyhow. Don't be surprised if some Romantic poems surface here before this whole shebang's over. You've been warned.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Handle Stress

Pet the dog:

She doesn't understand stress.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Right Now

So here's the deal.

Right now, I am very busy.

But I started this blog, years ago, because I believe there is something important about marking the passage of time. I decided to mark it publicly because I believe in community, and I like to share.

And I don't want to forget this part of time, either.

So, today, I'm going to mark time.

The last few months have been stressful, but also amazing. I started summer school, and am currently working for an hour and a half, leaving work and spending two hours in class, returning to work for four and a half more hours, and then doing homework for three to four hours each night. I am also planning a wedding for at least two hundred people (our list keeps getting longer--so many people we want to invite), and beginning to think about this major thing called Marriage and Living Together (apparently you're supposed to do that when you get married--who knew?). It's a lot. A whole lot.

But I love it. I love my life. I am grateful every day for the things I've been blessed with (not necessarily in this order): a good, flexible job doing serving others; the ability to delve into literary theory and literature in fresh, exciting ways; an amazing companion/friend that loves me as I love him; two families (and, with Andy's, a third!) that are ever more generous and loving and supportive than I deserve; and even (I know it's strange to list here here) a spontaneously ridiculous dog who guarantees that I never stop laughing. I don't know how I'll look back at these "engagement" months, but they've been more than just rushing from one thing to the next, preparing to completely flip my life. They've been packed with interesting experiences and lots of learning, and, mostly, lots of love.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not Adding You

Dear Apartment Complex,

Thank you for letting me pay you to live here, and for your offer of "free maintenance".

However, I would appreciate having the broken window fixed (it's been 5 days now).

Also, could we do something about the creepy crawly bugs (centipedes?) coming in every windowsill, doorway, and drain? And while you're at it, the mud dauber nest I asked you to remove a week ago is still there.

Furthermore, I would appreciate it if the sprinklers could be off in ONE grassy area when I take the dog out (really, all we need is one dry square foot of grass--we're not picky here).

When you have accomplished these things, I will gladly "add" you on Facebook. For now, we're not friends. Thanks for asking, though.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mustaches on a Thursday Morning

Because I believe every day is better with a little silliness... :-)

(More photos from our engagement session with Kara Mercer.)

Sorry I haven't been around the blog more. Things are going really well, but really fast. It's almost three months until: a)I've got a bachelor's degree in English Literature and b)I'm married. I can't believe it! So many, many life changes all at once. I wish I spent more time recording it. I think I'll look back at these crazy days happily.

I'm enjoying it all SO much, but I seem to be running from one list to the next. In my down time and on our trips across Texas visiting relatives (Andy's brother graduated VALEDICTORIAN from his high school last week!), I've been knitting on some socks. That helps, too. Who knew that knitting (presumably a more time consuming activity) actually helps you accomplish more other activities? I guess every knitter knows this, but it's nice to be re-reminded. Hoping to have one sock crossed off the list before classes start up next week. Maybe I'll post a picture...

Happy Mustache Thursday to you!

P.S. If you want your own "mustache on a stick," you can get them from Whiskerworks. Very high quality mustaches! ;-)

Monday, May 10, 2010


I thought Andy's beautiful choice deserved a better picture than the blurry one from the day he proposed (I might have been shaking a bit there).



Not mine! Andy's!

Andy was 30 on Saturday. Since he grew up in Kansas, we splurged on closer tickets to the Rangers/Royals game for the evening and what d'ya know...

He CAUGHT a foul ball off a Royals bat!

We've never even sat in the same section as a foul ball...this was so much fun.

(and just FYI...MY Rangers beat Andy's Royals)

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I've finished two classes' worth of papers (paper one over "whiteness" in immigrant fiction, paper two over the dominant "white patriarchal ideology" in Forrest Gump--do you see a theme?), so that leaves me with only 2 finals and 1 paper left. Whew! The last few months have been a whirlwind. I cannot believe that here we are, Spring Semester almost over, and a little over four months until "the wedding."


So I'm retreating back into the land of literature for the evening, but I plan to return soon. I started a little knitting while preparing to write that second paper (i.e. playing the DVD, knitting, listening, watching, pausing the DVD, note-taking, and knitting while watching some more). Nothing big, just a purple sock. But it's helping my sanity.

There's nothing like a little knitting. Especially when you should be planning a wedding you need a little stress relief. ;-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Engagement Pics

Just for you, blog. I come out of hiding. :-)

Friday, March 5, 2010


(I told you I'd post "the story" eventually!)

A little less than a month ago, I went without Andy all weekend—he was at his parents and I at mine. I celebrated my birthday with my family (having already scored birthday tickets to Bon Jovie from Andy the weekend before), enjoying my day off (oh, the glories of being born on what is perpetually a three-day-weekend!) and then drove to Andy’s house. I waited outside the gate to his apartment for him. He put his water and his jacket in the trunk. Roxie was shifted to the back seat and Andy and Raider and Roxie and I drove to our favorite park for a walk.

When we got to the park, we unloaded from the car. (This is always a process. Roxie likes to make spectacular exits if she can help it…leaping from the car in freedom, only to jerked back by the leash…often this results in my losing my footing, and sometimes, her gaining freedom.)

Andy took Roxie’s leash. She leaped. (He was sure footed.) Andy asked me to get Raider’s leash out of his jacket in the trunk.

“He’s wearing a leash,” I said.

“I don’t like that one,” he said.

I rolled my eyes, went to the trunk, took Raider’s leash out, and turned around to find Andy standing immediately behind me, holding Raider. I noted he seemed a bit flustered.

I clipped the leash onto Raider’s collar.

“Shannah,” Andy said, “did you see which leash I got?”

“Yes,” I said, “it’s the usual one--the Harley Davidson one.”

“Shannah, take his leash.”

I motioned that I was holding Roxie.

Andy took my hand and shoved the end of Raider’s leash into it. There, attached to the end of the leash, was a HUGE purple bow. With sequins. And a little bit of shiny white gold and diamonds. (Who knows how I missed this...!)

I started laughing and fell halfway into the car trunk with surprise as Andy got down on one knee and proposed. I pulled him back up, saying yes and laughing so that my stomach almost hurt. (I’m almost positive that I ruined the moment.) My hands were shaking, so I made him untie the bow and put the ring on my finger.

He did it! He surprised me!

The rest of the walk I barely remember. I smiled until my face was almost numb (as evidenced by the many pictures we took), we walked really far really fast, laughing and smiling and glancing at each other (I'm sure I was blushing a bit). I sent text pictures of the ring and messages to all my friends as we walked. We called our parents and sisters and brothers. It was just glorious.

That evening, we went to dinner at our favorite Indian food restaurant. We sat out on the patio together. I couldn’t stop smiling and I was still breathless.

It was truly a breathtaking day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Edited to add: I was reading through this again later and realized that I made it sound like this was all my idea. It wasn't. My friend Abby brilliantly thought to put my dog cartoons on the card, and it was a mock-up by her that inspired me to play around in Publisher. I owe her. Big time. (But what else is new?) the risk of making this a wedding blog, I'm going to share my only craft since Christmas with you:
(my camera's broken, so sorry for the poor quality of picture--they're from my cell phone)

Wording on postcard:
Outside--"Roxie and Raider are excited to announce that their people are getting married at the park! They want you to remember to..."
Inside (underneath magnet)--"Please use this magnet to help you remember to save the date for our wedding on [], September [], 2010. We hope you can come and share in our joy." (with our names and wedding web site)

How I made them:
1. I drew my cartoon Roxie and Raider by hand, and then scanned it in to the computer.
2. I don't have any fancy-pants program, so I opened up good ol' Microsoft publisher and created a business card document and a postcard document, and then used my excellent secretarial skills to produce what you see there. There was a lot of fiddling here to make everything line up right.
3. I bought card stock and magnet paper (This is what I used. I read that "glossy" magnet sheets are best, and these really did turn out well.).
4. I held my breath and printed.
5. I held my breath and cut.
6. I used a corner punch (kind of like this one) to round all the corners on the big card (you don't see this in the picture--oops--I did do this!).
7. Andy put removable glue dots on all the cards, adhering the magnets to them.
8. We compiled our lists, addressed envelopes, and stamped them with pretty king and queen of hearts stamps.
9. And we're done! :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thinking, Dreaming

I haven't had time to do much except read and watch class-assigned films and think about the wedding in September (including finding a venue, registering for gifts, searching for a theme, trying to remember I have a budget, setting up pre-marital counseling sessions, and creating and mailing out Save the Date cards). I've also been trying to actually squeeze in quality time with my love (because--DUH--he's the point). I've also been incessantly whining to any of the dear dear friends who will listen about how overwhelmed I am. Luckily, all of them are too good a friends to say what I'd be thinking if I were them: get over it--you're the one who decided to work full time AND go to school full time AND get married in September.

So, setting all of that aside, what I really want time to do, what I'm starving to do, is to create. It was so nice to be able to invest time in creating my save-the-date cards (which, perhaps, if you're lucky, I'll be able to photograph and put up for you to look at soon) -- there was drawing involved, and cutting, and assembly that felt a lot like the craft time that I've been missing. But I also want to sit at the sewing machine. I want to hold my bamboo needles in my hand. I need a paintbrush. These things have always been so integral to who I am--I miss them!

So, on the sly, when I daydream, I've been daydreaming about all the projects that I will make when I am married, when I am only working and no longer going to school. And, for now, I'm trying to plan something that I can work on in little bits, that could become a larger project--a wedding gift for my husband-to-be. I have a special gift from his mother that could be used and I really really want to create something with my own hands for him. So I'm thinking about that, too.

And I'm praying for serenity and patience with myself. And I'm grateful that everyone's being so nice and helpful. And I'm also really, really, happy...this is a very exciting and wonderful time in my life! :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alive! And Doing Swimmingly!

Greetings, blog! I am despite all odds, doing really really well...

I am schooling full time, working full time, and wedding planning part time. ;)

More on all of this soon. Currently my #1 priority is sleep.

So here, entertain yourself with a photo of my car when I went to work last week. We had a record-breaking snow in Dallas, 12+ inches:

(What is up with the weather this year?!?)

And I'm off to hit the hay for a few hours...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010



Last Sunday was my birthday, and I had a wonderful time with my family including personal chocolate lava cakes.

Then there was Martin Luther King Day on Monday and a trip to the park. And this:

And we are so happy.

And this week there's school starting and i-really-must-do-homework-right-this-very-minute.

More soon, including the proposal story. I just had to post something.

Monday, January 11, 2010

And Today Was Better

Today, in my fabulous new shoes, I:
1. Survived the car repair.
2. Took an allergy pill.
3. Got everything settled for school.
4. Realized the dog was fine.
5. Crossed things off my list at work.

And, if I do say so myself, I believe that I am doing fine.

Our crazy deep freeze appears to be over. But it's still cold. I've adopted Andy's little chiweenie, Raider, for the evening, and my plan is to stay warm tonight cuddled between a little dog on my left and a big dog on my right.

For now, I'm knitting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010



thecarwon'tstart and thedoghastogotothevet and financesarehard and schoolstartsnextweek and ithinki'mgettingsick and there'slotstodoatwork and ineedtocleanhouse and ohmyit'sallabitoverwhelming,


withmychristmasmoney ididget apair ofnew shoes

and they make me happy.

I'm going to wear them tomorrow. And every day this week.

And possibly the next. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Can you believe it? "That hammer trick" didn't hold up long term!

Sigh. Good ol' car. Got us through snow and ice and all around Texas. And so next week, she gets to go to the dealership for a new steering and ignition system (that will probably cost half of what she's worth *sigh*). Perhaps this is her just reward.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I took down all the Advent decorations tonight. And I put up some Christmas gifts, including a fantastic piece of art that my parents bought me at an art show.

It's so much more lovely (and much bigger!) than the photo shows--all my favorite colors, and little birds with button eyes. It's crafted out of handmade and painted papers, all on canvas. I admired it at the show, but didn't have the money to buy it. Imagine my shock when I opened my gift! I love it.

Another good start to 2010.

On an entirely different note, due to a manufacturing defect, I am now starting my car by putting the key in the ignition, hitting the key with a hammer, turning the wheel sharply to the right, and jiggling the steering column. Then I can turn the key and go wherever I want. Piece o' cake.

2010 is bringing many things...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year

We welcomed 2010 with another attempt at West Texas/Panhandle Christmas. And the attempt was successful. Wonderful family time with my West Texas parents that included gift opening (whoo-hoo! I got lots of wonderful things, including warm pajamas and a new coffee pot) and a game of Chickenfoot. We welcomed in the New Year at 10:00, and then again at 11:00. And then we went to bed... (What?)

Then we got up and ate wonderful things and took all food offerings for the drive to the panhandle (we learned our lesson from Christmas). I knit the whole way, which was wonderful, and there was only some snow in piles on the side of the road. It was such a cheery trip.

In the panhandle, there were more gifts! And wonderful food! And more family! I did, in fact, finish some Christmas knitting for Andy's mother:

(It's photographed there on a quilt my great-grandmother pieced that my mother had quilted. I slept under it at my parents' house and dreamed happy dreams.)

All in all, a wonderful second Merry Christmas. I feel so blessed to have so many Christmases to share in, and such lovely people to share them with.

We greet you, 2010! What a blessed year 2009 was, what gifts it brought. I can't wait to see what comes next. :)


Well, hello there.

Since my last little note I've had three Christmases and one New Year's Day. Whew! Here's a little update on Christmas.

Christmas Eve
In which Andy and I make a wise decision and have a wonderful evening safe and warm.

Our plans to travel to West Texas were thwarted by crazy, unbelievable weather. As the snow started, Andy and I headed North rather than West, to closer parents and safer driving. We (barely) beat the snow and showed up early to my parents' house, where we celebrated Christmas with white stuff on the ground (the first time I can remember), canceled the second worship service (my dad's the pastor), and all snuggled and stayed warm.

Christmas Day
In which Andy and I embark on a trip, or "the Stupidest Thing I've Done in Years"

Andy and I got up and opened gifts. I got diamond earrings from him. He got a KU sweatshirt from me. (We value different things...)

We ate a good breakfast, accepted "sandwiches for the road" from my stepmother but declined many baked goods (since part of our plan was to imbibe baked goods that Andy's mother had made), loaded up the car, and headed toward the panhandle for another Christmas celebration with Andy's parents. The snow was melting in North Texas; the roads were clear; we were happily singing Christmas carols on the radio.

And then, suddenly, the snow was not melted. There was ice on the road. We were not singing anymore. We looked at each other with alarm. Was it possible that things were getting worse? Andy's parents had said that there hadn't been any snow in North Texas...

There hadn't been any snow in North Texas. But there had been on the way to North Texas. Read this, and note the line "Things got progressively worse." We were not driving in a blizzard, but we were driving on inches of ice. It was terrifying. Texas people are not used to driving on ice, and the roads hadn't been sanded or salted or whatever they do yet. There were cars stranded twenty feet down bridges, on the left and the right of the highway, and semi-trucks were turned on their sides beside the road, or stopped in the middle of the road. The last twenty miles into Wichita Falls took us at least an hour, and we were biting our nails the whole way. Then we arrived. It was worse. Have you been to Wichita Falls? The whole city is composed of bridges and overpasses.

We realized it would be getting dark soon, and that the roads were fast getting worse. We called a hotel that would take dogs on the way and made a reservation. Did I mention we had both dogs with us?

So we arrived in Wichita Falls (if by arrived, you mean skated in by sheer determination) and took our exit, but were unable to take the road to the hotel we had reservations at--it was covered in snow. We stayed on the service road, even though parts of the snow were taller than the middle of my low Ford Focus (good little car, staying on the road!) and slid into a snowdrift in another hotel parking lot. Andy went in. I sat in the car and contemplated various methods of having a nervous breakdown in the hotel lobby if they said they didn't allow dogs. (I imagined myself saying "you don't understand--I will throw myself on the ground right now and scream until the police come.") Andy came back. The hotel was full.

But we got directions to the other hotel. We got back on the highway. I tried not to whimper and cry, but I may not have succeeded. We scooted slowly past a semi that was stranded in the middle of the highway. We took our exit. We made it to the hotel. Andy leaped a snowdrift into the parking lot. (Seriously, one of the car's wheels were off the ground. It was our action movie moment.) And slid into a parking spot. And turned off the car.

We looked at each other. We were both shaking. The dogs looked enthusiastic. We checked into the hotel.

Our room was on the fourth floor. The elevators were out. Fearing repeat of last year, I practically crawled up the snowy, icy stairs, and Andy was the hero, making trip after trip downstairs to bring up luggage, dogs, and food. Food? Well, two sandwiches and three oranges and candy from our stockings.

So on the night of Christmas, Andy and I settled in together in a seedy little hotel room with both of our dogs. We watched Christmas movies on cable, updated our statuses on Facebook, and spaced out our food as best we could (should have taken those baked goods...). The dogs were caught cuddling together for the first time:

Day After Christmas
In which Andy and I turn back around.
The next day we got up early and noticed that the roads had been sanded. We danced with joy (or something like that) and had a small breakfast. There was a "continental breakfast" at the hotel, but it had been seriously depleted by two days of snow and hungry travelers. There were so many of us that you didn't want to take too much. So we each had a small bowl of cereal, some juice, and coffee. Then we walked carefully across the iced parking lot back to the hotel room.

On the way back to the hotel room, we noted the huge ramp to get back on the highway toward North Texas. It went straight up. We watched several cars make it up the ramp and sighed little hopeful sighs of relief.

After waiting for a semi to move out of the only parking lot exit, we loaded up the car, made it up the ramp, and braced ourselves for the trip back to my parents' house (we heard it was worse the farther toward the panhandle you went, so we gave up on Andy's parents). The first bit was harrowing, but things began to thaw. So much so that I stopped gripping my seat long enough to take a picture:

And we were able to stop at Dairy Queen for french fries, gravy, and a milk shake (all that snow, you know, makes you want a milk shake...).

And then we celebrated more Christmas. I gave Andy framed pen and ink drawings of the dogs (that I forgot to photograph) and he gave me

a whole set of mustache espresso mugs. Remember my entertainment with the first mug Andy gave me, the "mustache mug"? Well, now there are six. Life will never be the same. (As my friend Erin said, "Andy deserves some kind of award.") :)

And that was Christmas.