Monday, December 24, 2012

JOY 3.0

It's that time of year -- the annual quest to know what brings you joy. I absolutely love doing this and LOVE getting to hear everyone's answers! 2012 Bonus: some people even sent pictures. Oooo what fun! So without further adieu,

WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?

When it's 75 degrees and sunny in Texas in December

Having instant and meaningful communion with a total stranger, experienced to music that was written over 50 years ago in a different language. The world beyond the dance floor melts away, and one realizes that there is an inherent ability of people to just connect, if they are willing to meet their partner with a loving energy.

My daughter - her joy her laughs her facial expressions and her sweet sweet voice

Walking into my house after someone other than I cleaned it

This guy

Being at the beach, reading a book, doing nothing but moving the chair back as the tide comes in.

When my husband hums while studying. That's how I know it's going well.

Christmas music

Discovering new things, learning what is important in life, and sharing, giving, exuding, love

My joy!

New church community

Seeing someone you haven't seen in a long time. 

My twin niece and nephew!

McDonalds hot fudge sundaes 

My husband - his jolliness and happiness in life

The innocence of a child

Privately taking pause in the middle of an event (usually a dinner with great friends that involves good lighting) and realizing that there's something special going on and that I will always remember this moment

Puppies 

Reminders that God loves us beyond what we can imagine. Every detail.

Being known. 

My short answer is... people. Namely, my friends, my family, my church community, my classmates. Like, think about what life would be like without all of these people!?! Currently, I am sitting in a coffee shop, ferociously trying to finish a thesis proposal that is due in 48 hours. But I'm here with classmates and friends, thus making this day SO. MUCH. BETTER. Even during lame times of life, having friends around really does just make everything so much more bearable. So very thankful for those people in my life that add joy and laughter.

Christmas shopping for loved ones and rare down time with my cute husband! And waiting for our puppy to be born any day now!

Hearing that my work is making a difference

These guys

Homemade cards and letters: being able to read a heartfelt letter brings me so much joy and feeling of love, especially during the holiday season

Fresh flowers!

Generations

Warm kitties to cuddle with

Getting completely lost in a good book

My sweet family on the beach at sunrise

The lights at Highland Park Village! 

When a moment in time is so perfect, such as with a sustained musical note, or a western sunlit sky viewed from a walking summit, that time stands still, your soul is filled, and and you are renewed by the sheer beauty of life

Being married to my sweet husband and celebrating our first married Christmas together

Quiet time in a beautiful church with choir Christmas music

Passing on traditions! We had the neighborhood kids over to make gingerbread houses and candy cane cookies. Since I was very young, we always made cookies at Christmas with my mom and her friends! 

Finding out that someone I like likes me back.

My family

Fat cats that are friendly like dogs

God's continued faithfulness, my loving hubs and making love!

Getting mail from my little nieces in Denver

Dean Martin's Christmas album

Being willing to pay a certain price for something and then getting to the register and finding out it's on sale!

This little nugget

This crazy man who makes me laugh

Knowing that because of Christ, God will never leave me even though I give him a million reasons to every day.


Friday, December 14, 2012

To Skate or Not to Skate

Last night, we celebrated my birthday in a simple and wonderful way: dinner and ice-skating. Or should I say dinner and ICE-SKATING?!?!??? Are you kidding me? Are you crazy??!

I once broke my arm ice-skating (this was back before my calcium strong bones were like they are today = unbreakable. Knock on wood. I was a wisp of a child until like..... college) so it did seem a rather perilous choice on my 27th birthday.

Aside: Is 27 considered upper twenties? Oh Lordy. Hold. The. Phone.

I confess that after our cheery dinner at Farmers and Fishers (and Bakers?), I was feeling a little doubtful about the ice-skating endeavor. Btw, FFB just recently re-opened after the great flood of 2011 in Georgetown, and it basically rocks. The details put into the re-design are beautiful and so creative and fun. Liiiike, there are fake beehives in the bathroom stalls with little bees on the ceiling. Who'd da thunk? And they have celebration cake for the bday girls like me who surely frequent the premises.

So, back to skating. I was feeling quite content and snuggly warm after dinner, and the physical activity in which you strap sharp knife-like blades to your feet and supposedly "glide" on ice seemed dubious and painful. I asked my grandma earlier in the day if she liked to ice-skate. "Your ankles will hurt" was her loving reply. Oh dear me. 

Well, good thing Michael is strong because he tied my skate laces so tight that I couldn't walk.

But that's ok!

Because you skate!

Oh my gosh. Total 360 degree reversal of expectations. Ice-skating was a total blast. I am such a fan. I loved every minute of it.


Here is my main squeeze (who by the way is in the middle of med school exams and yet you wouldn't have known last night! He has this amazing ability to shut off his studying for a bit. I love this man):


Takes me back to 2nd grade:

There was only one tumble on the ice and it wasn't me! It was someone in this picture below. And it wasn't a girl and it wasn't anyone with a backpack and it wasn't the man I love.

He heee ho ho ho.

All in all, I had a wonderful birthday. I was pleased as punch to discover how much fun ice-skating is, and I felt so loved by dear friends and family. It was wonderful to receive all the texts, emails, calls, facebook posts and instagrams. What in the world. I guess people just used to send cards in the mail before technology gave us other options. (Don't get me wrong, I'll always be a sucker for snail mail - who isn't?) No matter what method, feeling celebrated on your birthday is quite special.

And guess what? My ankles aren't sore this morning. WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Parenting 101

I'm sure the post title of Parenting 101 totally gripped you. Yea, I know what you're thinking. I don't have children.

Noted.

True.

However, one of my dearest friends ever is preggo and it is high time I shared this with the world in her honor.

"How to Swaddle Your Baby" 
by yours truly and Michael. But really just Michael.

Make sure your little one is lying still in a straight line. 

This is easy for newborns, but they quickly learn the art of defiance. 

If you wish, sprinkle some baby powder over the little guy. Gotta stay dry! 

Start swaddling from the legs up. Gently wrap your babe with love and care. 

Slow and steady wins the race. 

Make sure he's tucked in good! 

Don't forget to let him breathe! Not too tight now. 

Looking good. Nice technique. What a beautiful dough baby.

All finished! Now tuck your little angel child into beddy-by. 

The End. 

Mmmmm Ok perhaps that got a little morbid at the end. Analogy over. Don't bake your child! 

I have been meaning to share these pictures from when Michael makes stuffed bread as he calls it (stromboli as I call it?) but haven't gotten around to it until now - which is of course appropriate timing as my dearest friend (fine, I'll tell you... Princess Kate!) is now pregnant. Every time I see these pics, I think: swaddling. This looks like swaddling. Therefore, this must be how you swaddle. 

Naturally. 

Anyhoo, this bread is phenomenal.

He made three versions that night. Sausage and pepper, pepperoni, and ham and cheese.

It's all we ate for dinner for a few nights in a row.

Dripping in olive oil.

And then we ran a marathon.

NOT, but I wish.

C'est tres magnifique!

Happy swaddling to Kate, and those other mothers-to-be. You know who you are. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The House at Tyneford

Need a good Christmas read? Chomping at the bit for Downton Abbey season 3? Want a glimpse into life for the coastal English elite and their servants during WWII? Ummmm want a little love story? Need I say more...

Here is your book:


Anytime my blogging falls to the wayside, there really can be one and only one reason: I'm curled up with a blanket on the sofa drinking hot tea, totally consumed in the pleasures of a good book.

Sorry I'm not sorry.

The House at Tyneford wins the prize for my favorite read since...well, since Cutting for Stone a few months ago,  which I think I forgot to mention on this blog. Cutting for Stone is absolutely GREAT, especially if you are at all medically-minded. Even if you aren't, it is truly a good read that will stick with you long after finishing it. Anyway, The House at Tyneford is easy and sweet and charming, and also soberly gives a glimpse into the tragedy of the Jewish struggle to flee Nazi territory during the war. 

In keeping with the theme of English elite and their servants, I'm now reading Wuthering Heights. No, just like Anna Karenina, I haven't read Wuthering Heights either. What happened to my education, you ask? Pray, I just don't know. However, I'm only 32 pages into WH and am very intrigued. And my vocabulary is growing my the minute since every tenth word is, ummmm how should I put it..... lugubriously perplexing.

Ok that's it. Merry reading. I'm always open to good book recs so shout them out if you have 'em! Over and out.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Magic occurred in the kitchen. 

This: 

turned into this:

which turned into this:

What in the world?? I know, mind blowing. Oh and there's a cute med student in the corner. 
Watch out!

Recipe given to me by a friend and found here.

Wand required. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Even I noticed...

Last night, my movie date friend Jenn and I went to see Anna Karenina. I had mixed expectations as I had read that the movie was too movie-esque -- so much artful cinematography that you are very aware the whole time that you are watching a movie, which makes it hard to be absorbed in the story.

Having now seen it, here is what I think:

While yes, on an artsiness scale the film would be a 10, it wasn't hallucinogenic artsiness. It wasn't like Moulin Rouge, for example. That movie is a bit eerie and dizzying and maybe it would be better if you were high as a kite while watching it. Anna Karenina is essentially set in a theater, with doors opening to new scenes and bedrooms on stage and rafter hooks and chains shown above a ball dancing room. While it may not be realistic, each transition from scene to scene is tasteful and often surprising.

Having not ever read the book or even known the plot, it was a bit confusing to know who was who at first (is Kitty a cousin, or is she Dolly's sister, or is she a princess??) but this didn't hinder my basic comprehension of what was going on. My favorite scene in the whole movie (and also the sweetest) is when Kitty and Levin are talking to each other with a mixture of whispers and alphabet blocks. It is so intimate, so secretive even though they are in a room with others, so loving --  I could tangibly feel the knot in their throats and their beating hearts as they discovered how much they deeply care for one another. That scene alone makes the movie worth seeing.


As for Anna and her lover (Vronsky... I had to look that up), I think they played their parts well. I could never quite get past the fact that Vronsky's hair was an obviously weird blondish color, and his mustache was....ummmmm....searching for the right word.... gross? It was not flattering. So that made it hard for me to understand exactly why Anna was so completely and utterly drawn to him -- aside from the fact that he certainly was dripping with sensuality and looked at Anna like she was ice-cream and he was the spoon (quoting a line from The Jane Austen Book Club.) Keira Knightley does a good job of capturing both Anna's charismatic sweetness and apparent psychosis.

For those who have read the book, I know you will have much to think about in comparing it to the movie. Having now known the ending, I'd like to watch the movie again as Jenn told me there is a lot of foreshadowing, which I completely missed. Forgiveness either given or withheld is strung from the very first scene until the last, and so much could be discussed regarding this theme. And of course, there is love. Love in all kinds of forms. If you have seen any of the movie posters like the one of Kitty and Levin above, you will know what I mean. Note Tolstoy's quote at the top of the poster...

Last but certainly not least, the jewelry and costumes alone make this film a must-see. Even I noticed Anna's jewelry -- this is saying a lot because I am often the world's most unobservant nincompoop. Granted, you would probably have to be blind to not see this:


Wow. Chanel Joaillerie. I'll take one. Ok thank you!

Fur:

Russia is freezing.

Bottom line: go see Anna Karenina. I wouldn't have written my thoughts down if it wasn't still on my mind, so it clearly isn't a movie that you can easily forget. In fact, I think a movie is a let down if you aren't thinking about it the next day.

And I'm certainly thinking about it.


Monday, November 26, 2012

You know you're in Dallas when...

We spent the Thanksgiving week at home in Dallas. I hadn't been home in 8 months and was beginning to feel like I could live in DC forever. That is, until I got back to Dallas and was reminded of the glorious joys of:

  • Not fearing the clock when you are deciding to drive somewhere or not. There is no traffic. Doesn't matter what time. I literally was so nervous that we'd be late to everything... the movies, a friend's house, church, family dinner, rushing home to meet another friend...you name it. But no, in Dallas, everything is 5 minutes away. I have no idea how that is possible but it is.
  • Not wondering if you will find a parking spot or not. Parking will be there. You have no need to pray for a parking spot -- a daily ritual here in the hood. It will just be waiting for you. Amazing. 
  • Forgetting something at the grocery store and going out to get it and being back in 10 minutes. IMPOSSIBLE. No folks, as I live and breathe, I saw it happen. I have no idea how it's possible but it is. 
  • Jogging through the neighborhood and not dodging cars or angry pedestrians. THIS IS WHAT FREEDOM FEELS LIKE. And we were in shorts and T's. In late November. Fancy that. 
  • Texas. The warm air, the friendly people, men who actually know how to properly wear jeans, Johnny Football, Mexican food, "Secede" bumper stickers (let's disregard the fact that a state cannot succeed from the Union), SUVs, the Dallas skyline at the stoplight on Preston and Lovers, HP village lit up for Christmas ("I hope Heaven is like this"), and naturally, Blue Bell Ice Cream. 

Peppermint flavor, of course. It's a holiday favorite.

Being in Dallas is restorative to the soul for all of the aforementioned reasons, but clearly and obviously there is a no-brainer reason that I haven't yet mentioned:

Family! And "family" includes friends!

Here I am with Skippy and Barbie at a new park downtown. It's pretty cool. The trees are somehow knitted.



My mom threw me a mini-surprise-early-birthday party with new friends and old. She's a tricksy one.


Even Chris showed up.

Don't worry, he only barks. No bite.

We also celebrated sweet Bekah's real birthday with seriously the best chocolate cake maybe EVER.

Here's Michael with our sweet adopted grandad, big Joel, who has the biggest heart in the whole world.


And here I am with my new "sister" Tess. My mom gave us matching sewing kits. You can tell that I am utterly thrilled with this.


Does this mean I have to learn to sew?!??! Oh lordy. Here goes nothing.

I got to hang with Claire's baby G. She ate dinner while sitting on my lap. It was an experience. 


I found mashed potato on my leg several hours later. Love it! And Gwenny Bear! 

And I got to hang with the the likes of these shady characters:


"Ah! How good it feels, the hand of an old friend." - Mary Engelbreit 

But alas, we are back in our little abode in the big city. But we are full of 


and joy because of the many people we are thankful for! And for getting to spend time in Dallas. And because really, DC isn't that bad either. Except for the traffic. And the parking. 

And the politicians. 

Oh don't get me started. 

Bonne nuit!