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Last night, my evening was spent on a blanket at the Dallas Arboretum listening to the sounds of “Elvis” with a bottle of wine, a Whole Foods salad and my besties. 

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World-renowned Elvis impersonator, Kraig Parker, performed at last night’s Cool Thursdays.  He was probably a smidge better than the Elvis impersonator I had at my 7th birthday party, but definitely didn’t call me up on stage to sing with him, nor did he give me a fake diamond ring with half the diamonds missing.  Believe me when I tell you I still have that ring.

After the concert, Mary and I went up to him to get a picture.  Being a jacka$$, I decide to ask for his signature.  I contemplate pulling my shirt down a bit and having him sign there, but instead I settled with my forearm.  Apparently, “Elvis” gets signature requests all the time… for all over the body.  I’m sure most of those fans are disappointed, much like I was, when he signs his own name and not Elvis Presley.  At what point does the fame of being an Elvis impersonator give you permission to sign your own name?  I don’t care how “world renowned” you are, sign it Elvis, dipstick.

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Minus the hot summer weather and the forgotten second bottle of wine, it was a perfect evening.

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Most days, I try to squeeze in a walk on my lunch break.  Just to get some fresh air and stretch my legs a bit.  I keep a pair of tennis shoes in my work “locker” incase I’m not wearing comfy shoes that day.  My designated walking shoes are Diesel’s and cool, yet all white. 

And so, whenever it comes time to go walk, I have to sit down and change my shoes.  And then change them back when I return, too.  Which makes me feel like Mr. Rogers.  Maybe I should get a cardigan sweater to complete the outfit.  Oh, would you be mine?  Could you be mine?

When I was a little tyke, I used to stand outside my grandparent’s house and shout to the neighbors, “This is Mr. Roger’s neighborhood!  This is Mr. Rogers neighborhood!”.  I’m not sure if this was before or after I peed in their bushes though.

On the reals, if I could go back in time and hang out with me when I was little for a day, you know it would be good times.

Over the weekend, I made my usual trip to Whole Foods for my groceries.  I picked up about a pound of raw almonds.  When I got home I decided I’d try to roast them myself. 

I heated my oven up to around 200-250*.  I put a piece of foil over my cookie sheet and drizzled it with almond oil.  Then I dumped the almonds on the sheet and tossed them around a bit, coating them in a little oil.  Then, I grabbed my new favorite marinade, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and doused the almonds.

Not sure exactly how long they were in there, cause I went to take a nap, but I’d guess they roasted for about 40-45 minutes.  Holy mackerel, those almonds were good! 

The Bragg’s are sorta soy sauce-y, so the almonds have a nice salty taste to them, without the crazy sodium!  I’ve been using this stuff to marinate chicken, salmon and veggies… it’s possibilities are endless.  Much like my old pal ketchup!

Tell ’em to try it, y’all!

Last Friday began much like any other Friday.  I got up, I worked out, I got ready and I left for work about 15 minutes late.  That is, 15 minutes later than the usual 15 minutes late I am every other day.  Instead of stressing about getting out the door on time, I say to myself, “Hey, it’s Friday, nobody cares”.

So, I went on my merry way, deciding to stop at the Starbucks that’s about half way to work.  It’s usually empty and therefore quicker to get in and out of.  When you just get regular coffee, it’s annoying to wait for 50 people to spout off their beverage order that requires a 15 word description.  Don’t get me started on the people that ask for the barista’s to put their 3 packets of Splenda in the drink for them.  Really?

After I pull into the lot, I make my way through the bank teller lanes to get to the parking lot.  Just as I’m mid-turn, I notice a huge red truck coming in my direction.  In the two seconds that felt like an eternity, I did everything but get to my horn.  I shouted, “Hey!  What are you doing?!?” and threw up my hands.  Of course, this isn’t helpful when the other driver can’t see you.  Therefore, there was the inevitable game of bumper cars.   Which isn’t as enjoyable when it’s your car and you are 1 minute away from having your day’s first sip of industrial strength coffee.

We both pulled over and got out of our cars.  It actually took him about 2-3 minutes to get out of his, while I “patiently” waited with my hands on my hips, squinting into the sun.  What the eff are you waiting on, I thought.  Bob Marley finally strolled over and we exchanged maybe 3 sentences.  Are you ok?  Yes.  Did you see me?  No.  Ok, well I’m going to call this in as soon as I get to work.  I also offered up an “I’m sorry” as in “I’m sorry you just ran into me, you’re gonna have to pay”.  He didn’t really have a response for that.  And something tells me his insurance isn’t gonna except much liability either.  Given that it’s one of those companies that doesn’t require a credit check.  Even the lady at Enterprise, who loaned me a sweet Kia, said that insurance company was trouble.  Great.

After the 5 minute encounter, I walked over to Starbucks to get what I came there for.  Except, this time I said, “Make it a Venti, please”.

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Oh, and the icing on the cake is that now when I take a left hand turn, my blinker decides to channel the obnoxious never-ending horn in the VW van from Little Miss Sunshine, and blinks at triple the speed of my other blinker.  Somehow, I forget about this everytime I need to make a turn.  And now it just makes me laugh.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think Rocky might have a career in modeling.  At least for glasses.

My Mom and I got to have some serious hanging out time with the Aggie relatives, which usually leads to a multitude of laughter.  Back when they used to live in Austin and my cousins and I were much younger, we used to make routine trips to Luby’s for dinner.  Once we finished off our liver and onions, we’d sit around the table for a while talking and wrapping our green cloth napkins around our heads Aunt Jemima style.  We’d giggle as our parents would laugh uncontrollably at us.

Saturday night, Rocky stole the show.  As we were all standing around saying our goodbyes, I decided to put my sunglasses on Rocky as he was being craddled in my Mom’s arms.  Instantly, he was surrounded by papparazzi snapping his picture.  He didn’t mind at all… in fact, he hammed it up a bit.  Anyone need a dog sunglasses model?  He’ll do reading glasses, too!

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And yes, I am completely taking credit for being one of those dog owners who dresses their dogs up.  It’s shameful, I know.

And now, we finally get to Courtney and Jeff’s wedding, the whole reason for our journey to Precious Palacios.

I’m not one to gush about weddings, so I’ll just say it was a lovely ceremony and Courtney was a beautiful bride!  The reception started around 5:30 and believe me when I say it didn’t end until about midnight.  That’s a lot of drinking and dancing, y’all. 

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The dinner fare was really good and included some shrimp.  Sadly there was no organic ketchup.  I had to suck it up and use cocktail sauce.  It’s already been over a week since that night, so my memory is starting to fade with the details.  I do recall lots of foam in my beer, and picking up 3 (count them THREE) pieces of wedding cake.  You know, just to try eat flavor.  And make my arse a little more prominent for booty shaking.

Which speaking of, the band was about 99.5% country music.  I don’t do much booty shaking in this scenario, but during the rock and roll jams, Stella got her groove back.  The highlight of the dance floor that night, for me,  was witnessing Kiera’s parents shake their rumps.  And I’m not just talking about lame two-stepping, I’m talking full out apple-bottom-jeans-boots-with-the-fur low, low, low.  It was priceless. 

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I think Daddy and Baby had a good time, too.

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Of course, there were other events on the dance floor, like the great March In and some kind of N’awlins style Mardi Gras parade.  I mean, there had to be something to fill up nearly 7 hours.  There was also some kind of Row, Row, Row Your Boat activity…

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Later on there was the TCU photo op, as well as the AXO photo.  And as a nice little trinket, we AXO’s got together and sang the sweetheart song.  It was a miracle I still knew the words.  The part of my brain that stores song lyrics is truly amazing.  It is hands down the only part of my brain that successfully retains information.

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Fast forward about 3 more hours of dancing and it was time for the newlyweds to peace out.  We gathered at the front of the reception hall and prepared ourselves to throw rice at the Kenners.  And by prepare ourselves, I clearly mean everyone throw their rice in my purse or down my dress.  Once back at the Luther, I estimated that I had at least a serving or two of rice on me.

 After another glorious night of sleep at the Luther, we were up out of that place early.  We took one more photo to document our trip, and then headed to Denny’s for breakfast.  Where we were served clumpy porridge by a meth addict.  Entertaining?  Yes.  Satisfying?  Not really.  Which I guess pretty much sums up our weekend.

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HOLY COW… How could I forget?!?!?!  The bouquet!  Sadly, I did not catch it this time.  I did everything in my power to get it (stretching, throwing ‘bows, channeling my amazing hand-eye coordination), but it just wasn’t in the cards.   You can see I tried though…

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To finish recounting our fabulous weekend in Palacios, I’m picking up where I left off. 

The three of us managed to sleep through the night on Friday, although Daddy had some weird dreams where there were rats running all around.  Baby claims that Daddy and I talked/mumbled throughout the night, but I don’t remember a thing.  Thank you, Tylenol PM.

We woke up around 8:30 or so, and we didn’t waste anytime… we got up and out of the hotel as quickly as you can say bedbugs.  After scoping out the complimentary breakfast options of the Luther (Cheerios, milk, orange juice), we decided to walk into/through town to find the Donut Palace.  Baby had been craving donuts for three weeks and I think the Luther-induced depression we all were dealing with gave way to some emotional eating.  We each got a breakfast taco, kolache and a donut.  Breakfast of champions.

We finished eating around 10 and realized we had 6 hours to kill until the wedding.  What to do, what to do?  Normally it wouldn’t be a tough decision, but when you are in Palacios and staying at the Luther, things like shopping and napping aren’t really attractive options.  So, we decided to just start walking.  We walked back to the hotel and along the water.  We even did about 30 seconds of P90X, jumping along a little pier of rocks. 

Around 11, it dawned on me that I needed to check out of my cabin and get checked into my new/real room for the night.  Bill’s wife was at the front desk when we returned to the hotel and informed me that my room was actually a suite.  Sweet, I thought.  Maybe it will be decent. 

Shaaa right.  It was in fact a suite – three rooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen.  But, it was far from decent.  And I think the fact that it was larger made it a little more creepy for just one person.  I think had Mary made the trip, we would have shared the same bed.  After much deliberation with Daddy, we decided I would try to get out of this reservation and just stay with them another night.  I hadn’t given them my credit card yet, so all I needed was a good excuse. 

We went back down to the lobby where I met Bill’s wife and proceeded to explain my new dilemma.  You see, I didn’t realize that suite would be so big, and since it’s just me staying, I don’t want to take up three beds if I’m only going to use one.  I talked to some friends who are renting a beach house and they said there was room for me to stay.  So, I want to give my room back if I could.  I’m sure there will be others who might need that much room tonight.  Obviously the last line was total B.S.  Bill’s wife wasn’t pleased with the news I delivered and responded sternly with, “We couldn’t rented this room TEN TIMES already.  I’m going to talk to Bill about this.”

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We waited in the lobby for a few minutes before Bill arrived on the scene.  He was much more cool and collected than his wife, and agreed to let me out of my reservation for the night, so long as I paid $50 bucks for Friday night’s stay in the cabin (what he figured the room was worth).  I obliged.  He wasn’t worried about the suite staying empty, “I’ll get that room rent out no problem”.  I thought to myself, whatever dip$hit.

After moving my suitcase back to the Magnolia, I came downstairs to find a family of four at the front desk signing for the keys to my recently available suite.  He rented that crap hole out in 10 minutes.  Jokes on me, I thought.  I don’t know what kind of shenanigans go down in Palacios on a regular basis, but this family had stayed here before.  And. came. back.  They originally requested to stay out in the slave quarters rooms, because they had really liked them before, but Buffalo Bill said they weren’t renting them out anymore.  Who were these people, I thought.  Daddy took the liberty of reminding us that we were all very fortunate.  Point.

During all this time in the lobby, we picked up a visitor’s guide to Palacios.  It listed the major “attractions” and place to eat.  We decided to set out, see some of the places and cruise.  After about 15 minutes, we had crossed about 82% of the items off the list.  Realizing we needed to do a better job at k.i.l.l.i.n.g. t.i.m.e., we stopped at a convenient store and grabbed some brewskis.  I believe the time was around noon.

We drove by to see Courtney’s house and then we drove out to see the shrimpin’ boats.  And of course take some pictures.  This one was for Mary…

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After all this activity, we decided to go grab lunch at the Outrigger (which was casually mispronounced all weekend, imagine that).  We were pleasantly surprised when we walked in, the joint was nice.  It was clean.  It didn’t smell.  We’re in business, we thought.  Being extremely joyful, we decided to make friends with our waitress and get her take on what’s up with this town.  She quickly informed us that she wasn’t from around here and that she came from a very rich family.  A couple of things, rich people a) don’t have to declare they are rich,  b) don’t wait tables at a place called the out*igger (whoopsies, did it again), and c) usually don’t have dirt underneath their fingernails. 

We asked how late they’d be open, thinking we might come by later for some post wedding festivities.  She said, “oh if we’re really having a busy night, we’ll stay open until 9″.  WHAT?  You have to close at 9?  Major letdown for us. 

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We finished our shrimp and catfish, then headed back to the Luther to “clean” up.   Although, I don’t know how clean you can get there, especially when you forget to pack your shower shoes.  Ick.