Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Shake, Rattle, and Roll

It's no Halloween prank - we had an earthquake! At midnight, N. Texas experienced a magnitude 3.0 quake. Not since 1997 has Texas experienced seismic activity. The quake was centered on the Irving/Grand Prairie border. Did we feel it? Nope - or if we did, we promptly went back to bed & didn't register it in the memory bank.

In other news, today is Halloween! Halloween is one of my favorite fall holidays. There's just something about dressing up & pretending to be someone/something else. Do you guys have plans for Halloween? We're passing out candy with the neighbors - in costume, of course. Come by - we'd love to see what you've decided to be for Halloween!

Also, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF EARLY VOTING! Let your voice be heard.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every Vote Counts

I did it - I voted. Have you? I went to the downtown polling location b/c it's across the street from my office. But there are polling locations everywhere. So if you haven't voted, I recommend you do it early to avoid the predicted long lines on election day. You have TODAY and TOMORROW to early vote. Otherwise, pack your patience on Super Tuesday.

Exercising your right to vote is important. And yes, your vote matters. So let your voice be heard.

{Special thanks to fellow blogger Emily for the poster - it's from her favorite graphic artist}

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things: Installment 8

It's time again for a list of "Things" - I know you guys have missed it!

Things: I Love About Fall
  1. Crisp mornings
  2. Beautiful colors
  3. Sweaters
  4. Flannel sheets
  5. Holidays
  6. Pumpkins
  7. Daylight savings
  8. It's actually dark when I go to bed
  9. Toe socks
  10. Scarves
  11. Fleece
  12. Cuddly critters on the bed
  13. Fires in the fireplace
  14. S'mores
  15. Hayrides

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Indeed

As they say, you need only wait a little while ... fall is definitely rolling in as the wind picked up this evening & temps began dropping. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the beautiful weekend weather - though it was a bit warm (upper 80s) for my taste. I believe fall just might be here to stay tho. The weathermen are even talking about freezing temperatures for the upcoming week! Ah ... fall ... it truly is my favorite time of year!

It was a nice quiet weekend for us - one of the first we've had in a while. We finally had the time to meet a landscape designer about our backyard drainage issue. We, of course, talked about how we would address that while also dressing up the space to make it more conducive to the entertaining we enjoy. Next weekend we get to see the design & quote. I'm anticipating sticker shock in hopes that I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday I ran around with mom who came to town to do a little grocery shopping (I know that's strange, but it's hard to find celiac-friendly food in E. Texas.). And I feel compelled to recommend two places to you. First, we had lunch at a celiac-friendly bistro in Plano. 100% of the menu is gluten free - everything from bread to lunch meat to pizza to dessert. Mom had a burger & I had a sandwich & we had to try the dessert of the day - it was wonderful! They also have a bakery - and the holiday menu looks divine! This place must be pretty popular b/c they're getting ready to move to a bigger space. Delicious-n-fit is worth the drive, especially if you have friends with special dietary needs. They can make dining items to order and they also serve dinner. We then headed to Sprouts to do the grocery shopping. We've had pretty good luck finding gluten/wheat free items at both Whole Foods and Central Market, but we'd heard that Sprouts had better selection. I do think there were more items to choose from, and they were definitely easier to find. I think it's the first time that we found just about everything on mom's list in one store! Sprouts also had wonderful produce at very reasonable prices. I can't wait for the Murphy location to open.

I spent many hours in the craft room this weekend. It was time for some cleaning & reorganizing in that space, let me tell you. For one thing, I got a new toy for my birthday. It's a nifty scoring tool and it needed a home on my desk, which was a wreck. I'd neglected to clean up from recent projects & there was no way to start anything new until I got things back in order. So now I can mess it all up again! For another thing, Meeko has discovered my ribbon stash. Oh the fun he has with all those spools of ribbon. But I've put the kabosh on that - it's all in mason jars now ... take that! I spent Sunday afternoon working on the prototype for this year's Christmas card. I'm happy to say that it only took me three tries to get one I was happy with ... and it's even Derek-approved! Now I can get started on the assembly line & perhaps have those finished in about a week, if all goes as planned. Then I can get started on the Christmas gift items. I may actually have everything done before Christmas this year!

Now if I can just get the rest of my house in order....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall?

With the latest few cold fronts, it's beginning to feel a little more like fall ... or is it? I mean, the mornings are pretty crisp (in the 50s) but the afternoons are still kinda toasty (upper 70s), especially if you're in the sun. I really love fall - it's my favorite season. But I can do without this in-between stuff. I mean, I can't NOT wear a sweater - you know, being cold-natured & all - but I can't wear summer stuff either - see cold-natured reference. Even the plants are confused. Take, for instance, my rosebush - it's absolutely covered in buds & blooms. You'd think we were in its prime growing season. I guess I won't look the gift-horse in the mouth but enjoy the gifts instead.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Need a Laugh?

iGoogle

So ... am I behind the times or what? I'm just now discovering iGoogle. I'm sure the rest of you are thinking "where've you been." Well, apparently, I was hiding under a rock. My friend Emily mentioned it in her post over the weekend, and I just had to hop over to Google & check it out. Who knew Google could be so fun ... and personal?! If you like to personalize your desktop, iGoogle is for you. I'm having a blast with my current fall theme.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary


to us ... eight years today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Going Back

After reading a little blurb in today's Quick about the new Mac smear campaign, I felt obligated to reply - in snarky fashion, of course. Enjoy!



Sure, you may be a PC. But you still suck. No matter who's tapping at your keyboard - Seinfeld, Longoria-Parker. You even admitted that it took a Mac (or two hundred) to produce the very commercial that affirms you aren't the dark side. Let's not forget. You get viruses. Irreparable viruses. Viruses that require me to lose everything & start over. And you crash. A lot. In the middle of important documents. In the middle of blurfing. For no reason whatsoever. And that project I was working on? Gone. Forever to the pits of parts unknown. That new "fabulous" OS you're now shoving down my thr... *ahem* I mean, selling to the public is compatable with ... oh ... basically nothing. Not even your own brand of software. Not even your own favorite factory-installed components. And the patch you put out to fix the flaws? It did nothing but create more problems. More glitches. More "you must be an administrator" messages. So. Yeah. You might be a PC. But Mac will always be superior to you. And once your PCers figure this out, they will kiss their new, shiny, take-me-out-of-the-box-and-hook-me-up-in-two-minutes-with-two-wires Macs every day. Because they can still run their favorite PC programs on their new, stable, superior, virus-free, crash-free Mac. And you know what? They'll never ask themselves why they ditched you. They'll just wonder why they didn't do it sooner. I'm a Mac!

Quiet...perhaps

So with the recital behind me, I was under the impression things would slow down a little ... at least for a few weeks. If last week was any indication, someone lied about the slowing down part.

Actually. Last week was really just a fluke. Since my birthday fell a few days before the recital, no proper celebrating could be undertaken b/c I was holed up in the practice room every evening. And the weekend was slated for rest rather than celebration. So last week was a make-up for lost time. Tuesday we had dinner & a movie with the neighbors. (The new Indiana Jones movie is ... well ... disappointing at best.) Thursday we had Japanese with the neighbors at our favorite local restaurant. Friday we had sushi with my brother & his wife in Mesquite - who knew there was a good sushi place there?! Saturday we went to a murder mystery party - a mob wedding. It was terrific fun! Sunday I went to a show with my girlfriend Elise. The show was ... interesting. The cast was great. The musical itself ... well, the jury's still out on that one. But Elise & I always have a good time hanging out. We grabbed a snack after & sat around catching up for several hours. I'm not sure we can ever run out of things to laugh about.

But now the birthday is (mostly) celebrated and I can finally settle in to a quieter routine. But that, of course, does not mean that things have settled down that much. Nope. It's just that my next big event isn't for another eight(ish) weeks. So I have a little breathing room. A little time to stop and smell the roses, as they say. I'm looking forward to evenings at home, my favorite tv shows (aren't you just loving Fringe - ooooh, me too!!!), some time in the craft room. And I know my friends & family are excited about seeing me a little more often - and without me dashing off for an early bedtime (alright, earlier than usual).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shameless Election Plug

Ordinarily, I do not espouse to the world any kind of political anything. It's just not my thing. I figure: you have a brain, I have a brain, we'll each use our own brains coupled with our own convictions to make electoral decisions that work for us as individuals. Good policy - yes? Yes. I think so too.

This year, however, I must step out of my comfort zone & actually make an endorsement ... of sorts. You see, I work with elected officials - good, hard-working, honest people of integrity. And this year, more than any other year, the importance of the election cycle is really driven home for me. And everything is riding on YOU (and me, too). That is not to say that it does not ordinarily depend on you - of course it does. You're the voter, after all. It's just that this year things could change in my own backyard if you choose not to vote with a brain.

So, first off, GET OUT AND VOTE!

Secondly, you're probably wondering what "vote with a brain" means. Here's the simple answer. This year, I'm asking you ... no begging you ...: for the love of all things good, holy, and just, if you live in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall, or Kaufman county and you're a Democrat, DO NOT STRAIGHT TICKET VOTE!

Why? Should you choose to straight ticket vote in this election, you will, without a doubt, elect the least qualified person for the appellate bench. This has nothing to do with party affiliation. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Appellate judges make rulings based on established law and code - never on political affiliation or personal beliefs. NEVER! They claim party affiliation in elections because they are required to do so. Plain & simple: in the races for appellate benches, it has everything to do with qualifications and nothing to do with politics! So ask yourself: Should these folks have trial experience? Should they have experience in appellate law? If they are currently on a bench, should they follow established law?

I don't care if you call yourself a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, a conservative, a moderate, a liberal, or a flibberdigibbit, for the love of pete! Set aside your thoughts about the national races and put the most qualified candidates on the appellate bench. In short, for this one race, *hold your nose* and vote Republican!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whew...

Well, my birthday weekend has drawn to a close. And what a grand (and busy) weekend it was! Friday, we had a lovely steak dinner with the neighbors. Good food, good wine, good dessert. Couldn't ask for more! Thanks to my friends & family who, in one way or another, made my day a special one!

Saturday I enjoyed a nice "lie in," as the Irish call it. Derek got me breakfast since he wasn't up early enough to do that on my birthday (I guess breakfast at 5:45 a.m. is kind-of a high expectation...LOL). I spent a fair portion of the day in my pjs making cards for all the folks involved in the recital. But late in the afternoon, I had to get ready to face the world & run some errands. I managed to bribe Derek into making that trek with me. Of course, it never hurts to mention he HAD to taste test cookies. =)

And then, the big day arrived. Whitney and I sang one of our recital pieces in morning worship. It was actually nice to have a reason to roll out of bed at a reasonable hour. Both of us would have otherwise been slugs most of the day & likely not warmed up until late afternoon. Not to mention, it was also a good plug for the evening performance.

Last night's performance, while not as well-attended as we had hoped, was a smashing success! Sure, we had our bobbles here & there - welcome to live performance - but all in all, we couldn't have asked for better singing. Everyone was complimentary. So...thanks
  • to all of our tech folks who made it possible;
  • to James McQuillen who played stunningly;
  • to our boss Nicki who gives us every opportunity to stretch our wings;
  • to our voice teachers who push us to be the best we can be;
  • to our families for their support & encouragement; and

a special thanks to everyone who was able to attend!

Afterward, I celebrated my birthday with my family over pot roast and homemade birthday cake. It was a good weekend indeed!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!


Special thanks to Anna Wight - fellow Libra & animal lover - for allowing me to use the great hand-drawn birthday art above! Anna's a very talented local Texas artist, photographer, and card-maker. Hop on over & pay her a visit!

The story behind the chicken:

When I was two, I got chickens for my birthday. True story! I've always had a thing for chickens. I really like the "fancy" chickens. That probably started with my first chickens, too - they were Cochins. Did you know that chickens, like lots of domesticated animals, each have a unique personality? Yep. Sure do. Some are sassy. Some are sweet. Some like to be held. Some are divas. Well, you get the picture. I would LOVE to have chickens now. Can't you just see a bunch of fancy chickens running around my yard? But Derek says no. =( Guess they're probably not the best pets for city living....especially with a dog who likes to chase small critters.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Final Plug


Sunday. 5 p.m. Lake Highlands UMC. 9015 Plano Rd, Dallas. FREE! Be there!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yep, We're Ready

Last night's three-hour rehearsal was fantastic! We've tweaked, we've staged, we've re-lit, we've rearranged, and we've set the mic levels. From top to bottom, you'll hear some of the finest musicians in town. You're definitely in for a treat! Even the accompanist said so.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hilton Now Pet Friendly

In my latest edition of the SPCA's Paw Street Journal, there's an article about Hilton's latest endeavor to become a pet-friendly hotel. Aside from modifying policies to allow your furry friend to stay with you at any Hilton Hotel, the chain has partnered with Pet Shelters Across America. In addition to a $500,000 donation, Hilton will donate sheets, towels, and blanks to PSAA to foster a comfortable living environment for all animals in the care of participating PSAA shelters across the U.S. For more information, visit the company's website.

Beginning to Feel Ready

As you know, this is crunch week for the recital on Sunday. Just thinking about it makes me get all whoozy & have a tummy full of butterflies. And, in usual fashion, it means hours and hours of rehearsing. The three of us participating have had a few rehearsals on group numbers - the first of which was pretty sketchy and, quite frankly, made me wonder if we were going to be ready at all. But last night totally calmed the panic.

I had a voice lesson, which went smashingly well, if I do say so myself. We sang through all of my pieces and only tweaked a few here and there. It's nice to know the work you put in in the practice room is proper/correct/in the right direction to someone else's trained ear! So that was the first calming deep breath - whew, the voice teacher thinks you're ready.

I went straight from there to another group rehearsal. Our boss was kind enough to sightread music & help us tweak the group pieces. We ironed out all the rough places - have tempos set, odd key changes worked out, etc. Another deep breath - the boss is excited about the program.

To me, last night's group rehearsal was the biggest help as the group numbers were (surprisingly) the ones I've been most concerned about. Now, when we meet with our accompanist for the first time tonight, we'll be completely prepared and it will be an efficient use of everyone's time.

Every available minute today will be spent reviewing lyrics b/c those seem to go *poof* the first time you sing in front of a new set of ears. But all in all, I'm confident that we'll give you guys a great show on Sunday!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Happy (Early) Birthday and a Merry Christmas, too

So I took Friday off b/c I had tons of things to get done & likely not enough weekend to do them all. Plus, it's been super quiet at work, and I like to take advantage of quiet Fridays when I can! Did I accomplish everything on the to-do list? Uh. Not exactly. But I knocked out the big things - the taxes are (finally) off to the accountant, the house is (mostly) clean, my hair's cut & colored, and I got some time in the practice room (though not nearly enough!).

Yesterday, after I got my hair done - which is quite an affair, let me tell you - I called Derek to meet me for lunch. We ate at this great (new-to-us) burger joint at FireWheel & then I made him go shopping with me. Well, actually, he's been bugging me to tell him what I wanted him to buy me for my birthday. SO I told him it would just be easier if he went with me. =)

He's had several bees buzzing around in the bonnet - like, wouldn't I like a new purse (I'd mentioned it several weeks ago) and, oh, wouldn't it be terrific to get a new computer. I know what you're thinking. Exactly what I was thinking. I'll take the purse ... and maybe some new shoes to match the new purse and call it a day. haha Long story short, yep, I did get a new purse (and matching wallet) and decided that was plenty & actually walked out of the store without looking at the shoes. *Gasp* I know! And then.....

He talked me into going just to look at the computer he thought I needed. I tried arguing that I didn't need a new computer. Sure, I do absolutely loathe Windows Vista which is on my current desktop, but it's no reason to rush out for a new machine even if I have been reading all kinds of things I can't do on my PC that I could do on the Mac he wanted me to see.

I ultimately agreed to go look. I asked the Apple geek all the tough questions about the computer, its specs, its programs, etc. And as he put the Mac through its paces, I began to understand why people are so in love with their Macs. These machines are just pretty darn slick. (It's no wonder graphic designers won't dream of using any other machine!) When it was all said and done, I had my Christmas present, too.

So without further ado, meet the newest member in our household network (the one on the right).

I've spent a good amount of time learning about my new computer. It doesn't do things exactly the same way a PC does. (Things are easier!) Man, it's got some nifty features. Mom, photo editing is a SNAP - you have to come try this out!

Other than that, not much from here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ack! That's AWFUL!

So, I'm like 4 yrs behind. Huh, you say? Today is the first time I've (attempted) watching the 2004 movie version of Phantom of the Opera. OMG - someone stab me in the ear, shoot me, put me out of my misery! It's absolutely DREADFUL! Dreadful, I tell you. Pretty faces but absolutely horrible voices. Someone make it stop! Make the ear torture stop! For. the. love.

[realizes]

Oh wait, I have the remote.

[changes channel]

Ahhhh. Better. SO much better.

If you appreciate *good* singing, spare yourself from this one!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So Maybe I Do...

Care just a little about the upcoming election. A little. About what cuckoo might end up in office. About who might be allowed the privilege (?) to muck things up even more than they are already. Yeah. So I care. And given the current state of affairs, I'm guessing that you probably do too. So, watch this PSA (warning: some profanity). And then put your thinking cap on. B/c it's gonna take some real brains to pick the right cuckoo this time around.




(note: this is NOT, I repeat, NOT an invitation to tell me about your candidate. kthx.)