Sunday, March 28, 2010

Online again

Just completed (almost) a week without social media. I say almost because a couple of times I forgot and checked my blog list. This week was much harder than giving up sweets, but not as hard as giving up TV/radio/music, which I totally blew. I've enjoyed catching up on my friends' blogs and seeing how everyone is celebrating spring.

We're celebrating it with sinus infections -- Caroline and Dawit. They're both like dribbling hose pipes. Well, it's probably just allergies because the pollen is now in full force, but we decided to skip out on church so I didn't have to rely on other people to wipe my kids' noses.

I had a great time with my friend Cathy in Houston. Thanks Cathy! She just told me they're thinking about widening the interstate -- like 50 lanes, I think. What I didn't tell her is that, after my heroic drive to the airport with time to spare, my flight was canceled! I stood there at the electronic check-in station, my chest all puffed with pride that I still had time to get a Starbucks and a gift for my kiddies, and the machine said, "Would you like to leave Tuesday, the 23rd, or Wednesday, the 24th?" I was all, "What a minute, what day is it? I think I want to leave on a Monday! Isn't it Monday? Where's the option for that?" There was no option for that. I think I kicked the machine. Then I noticed some other Nashvillians wigging out at their machine, and decided to be adult about it. They offered me a choice: wait a few hours, go to Dallas, wait a few more hours, get home at midnight, drag my mom out of bed to pick me up. Or get a hotel and fly out at 7:30 the next morning. I opted for the latter. I was irritated that I had to wait another day to see Caroline, but it didn't affect much else. So I ate and slept on Continental Airlines' dollar.

Anyway, made it home. Got to see C and D and S on Tuesday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Driving in Houston interesting and a tad terrifying. I set off this morning a little before 7 a.m. so I could navigate the traffic before rush hour. I was a little nervous about driving in the dark -- it's hard to read the micro-text of Google maps in the dark while merging onto a 12-lane interstate.

I needn't have worried about that! By the time I picked up my Starbucks at Kroger and merged onto I-10 East, an enormous ball of sun was peeking up from the horizon. As I drove, it peeked higher and higher until I was TOTALLY BLIND. Squinting, I could barely see the road, let alone road signs. And Houston interstates don't just go one way - they are an intricate web of merges, loops, underpasses, overpasses and splits. If you just try to go straight (seems logical!), you may end up on a toll road from which there is no escape (I learned this on Thursday, and it cost me $3). And if you're a Nashvillian and recall the I-65 entrance ramp at 3rd Ave that does not allow you access to I-65 south because you have to cross two lanes of traffic so you don't miss the split...phooey! Houston highways are ALL about crossing lanes. You merge onto I-10 east and are immediately in a one of three exit only lanes for a toll road. So you immediately have to cross SIX lanes of traffic just to stay on I-10. And at almost-rush hour in the blinding sun, this is no small feat. In fact, you can pretty much just close your eyes and go for it, because everyone else is.

So, I'm headed east, and looming overhead every 100 yards or so are big black rectangles. Behind the rectangles is an orange ball of fire. So I look away for a moment, blink a few times to clear the spots, and steal a glance again at the rectangles, praying for a few letters or numbers that confirm I'm on the right track, in the right lane. I hang out mostly in the center lane of, oh, about 12 lanes in case I have to do a miracle merge. I finally catch a glimpse of 610, my loop. But which way? I glance down at my directions, but my pupils are so dilated from the sun, I can't see the paper. So I strip off my sunglasses, blink furiously and learn I need to go north. Thank God! For one, there's a huge wreck going south, and everyone's going that way. For two, the sun is finally to my right, and my vision is starting to return. I'm the ONLY one in Houston going north, so the road is mine.

And I arrive at my destination unscathed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is us at the Sam Houston memorial something or other. I had no idea how much history Sam Houston had in Tennessee.

And this was post-meal at Blue Nile with a few of Cathy's friends. They all seemed to enjoy Ethiopian food, although this was no finicky chicken-eating group. They dove right into the lamb (the French love lamb) and Tibs, which is a raw beef and a signature dish in Ethiopia. I tried it, and it was very good.

Okay, gotta go: brunch and theater...
Miss my kiddos! And my hubby!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A break from your regularly scheduled program...

Don'tcha just want to pinch those little cheeks?

Bayou City

No offense to the rest of Texas, but I LIKE Houston. Granted I am here before the mosquitos, deer flies and stifling heat -- and it did pour rain on us for an hour of our 2-hour hike -- but it is like totally neat. See, less than 24 hours with my dear friend Cathy, whom I've known since the early 80s, and I'm already dropping 80s terms like "like totally!" So far, we've yet to see anything "grody."

Yesterday, we soaked up a beautiful afternoon in a park behind Cathy's house. You can see here that the lady we asked to take our picture did not take too kindly to having her workout interrupted.

Then we ate some great Mediterranean food for dinner. The busboy was most gracious -- Cathy's not shy about asking people to take our picture.

Then, in true Gen X (or is it Y or Z?) fashion, we curled up on her sofa with our tea and laptops and Mocha at our feet and surfed the 'net.

Today we did a two-hour hike in Hermann Park, got totally soaked, had take-out pasta for lunch, watched The Gods Must Be Crazy, and are now getting ready to head to Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant for dinner with some of Cathy's friends.

Oh my, I just got some very good news. In addition to the fact that my bro and Amy are having a BOY. Yay, boys. More on that and my Houston trip later. Doro wat calls.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

7 hours to go...or not

When I embarked on my sweets fast, I struggled with being ravenous all the time. It wasn't as much hunger as an endless stream of wants. Now, 6 days into it, my cravings have diminished in a weird and wonderful way. I mean, for the past two mornings I forgot to eat breakfast. Typically, I wake up thinking about breakfast. Now I think about breakfast about the time I used to start thinking about lunch. I think I've just revealed my life revolves around my next meal. Or at least it used to.

What's up with that? Could my daily sugarfest have been making me eat more? I know the answer is probably out there in Googleland, but instead of looking it up I'm considering extending my fast -- or at least scaling back the sugar -- for a bit longer and see what happens.

BUT -- and these are two big buts that could have detrimental effects on my ... ability to fit in my jeans --I'm having a dinner party tonight and two of my guests' daughter is sending some scrumptious desserts. I have no idea what, but she's an amazing cook so I know they'll be to die for. My plan was to hide back a portion for my Sunday feast day. Also, I have a baby shower to attend next week. That means cake. Or better yet, petit fours. I live for cake. Or better yet, icing.

I think I'll strive for a happy medium -- planned sweets, yes. Sweets with reckless abandon, no.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I accidently ate a fortune cookie

I didn't even realize it (I mean I realized I ate it; I didn't realize I ate a forbidden food) until I was on my way out of the restaurant and reached for a mint. Which I didn't take.

Technically, I screwed up. But realistically, a fortune cookie can hardly be considered a sweet. It barely ranks as a food. And this one was burned so, again, waste of calories. I'm just so programmed to not waste food, once it was opened, eating it seemed like the thing to do.

Oops! Please forgive. I promise I didn't enjoy it. And it did not relieve my craving for Peeps.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lead me not...

Why does Kroger devote two whole aisles to Easter candy? Why do they place the Little Debbies right next to the bread? Why does Trader Joe's have chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds displayed at the checkout? Why does my mom keep a bowl of Kisses on her living room end table?

Tell me why.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Giving up Peeps

My niece Jordan did this one year. I'm not a fan of Peeps. I think they're a waste of good calories. But I have a feeling by this time next week, those sugary little chicks in my pantry (courtesy of Nana for her "grands") will be looking pretty good. Not to mention the strawberry sheet cake that Caroline won in the cake walk last night at the Dodson Branch Fish Fry. But I feel certain that it won't be around by the time I need it to be gone -- for two reasons:

1. Every time I walk past it, I cut a little bite -- in preparation for my sweets fast that begins tomorrow.

2. I leave tomorrow morning for Nashville and won't be home til Wednesday night. That's more than enough time for Spence to make history of it. He's also quick good at polishing off the ice cream while I'm gone.

As far as Wed-Sat next week, I've made sure there are no other confections lingering in our kitchen, and I'm stocking up on fruit and healthy sweets substitutes like yogurt.

I can't seem to finish this post for two interruptions, so I'll just leave it at that...

Friday, March 5, 2010

No epiphanies

This week didn't bring any great insights other than the realization that I already don't indulge in a lot of luxury purchases. Hopefully, the fact that I didn't feel denied means I'm on the right track with everyday living. Even though not buying wasn't terribly hard, I was still careful to make sure every purchase fit the parameter of "necessity." I hope I can continue making only thoughtful purchases, and I hope I can instill that quality in my children.

Caroline has only an inkling of what money is for, and she watches so little commercial TV that she's not yet influenced by advertising. Santa brought Spence Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Jr. but we quickly realized Caroline's not ready for it. She has to understand money and want to buy things before we can start applying the principles of spending/saving/giving. Maybe in a few months.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easy breezy

Week one: Resolve to spend nothing on yourself but what is absolutely necessary.

So far -- um, one day -- my Lent journey has been easy. I'm not one to buy a lot of extras anyway. But I've even managed to resist some of the indulgences that already exist -- like the box of Jelly Bellies at my office.

Because I'm in Nashville Monday through Wednesday and have virtually no food in my frig, I still eat lunch out, but I'm choosing places where I can have half for lunch, the other half for dinner.

Hopefully I'll have more interesting thoughts to post in the coming days. For now, I'll end with a snippet of scripture from my Lenten reading: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Amen to that!