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photo 4

It is cold. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be something to talk about in January–it is winter, after all, and we sort of expect it to be cold, right? But here in Central East Texas we define cold differently than the rest of the country. For us, “cold” means that it’s below 60 degrees. We start to panic when it hits 40, and we start stocking up on rations when it looks like it might actually freeze. If we see a snowflake it’s an event, and ice is something we put in our drinks.photo 3

But so far this year we’ve had not one, but TWO storms (well, one and a half–the second one is moving in as I write this) that include snow, ice, and temperatures well below the freezing mark. That makes a really ugly combination. I know that all of you Northerners who have parkas and snow shovels and ice scrapers readily at hand are laughing yourselves silly at us canceling school because we might get an inch of snow, but we are seriously unprepared for freezing temperatures and subsequently icy roads. My sister who just moved here from California is equally amused by it all. But here’s a traffic map from the morning of the last storm (the one we fondly refer to as #iceoftx):

Houston on Ice

Houston on Ice

Note the number of traffic accidents. There were 200 accidents that morning because they were driving on icy roads and overpasses and bridges, which is why everyone is buckling down for this next one.

You see, we don’t have giant snow shovels and large bags of salt or whatever it is you arctic people use to make your roads drivable in this kind of weather. And to get from one place to another–especially if you live in a rural area like we do–you HAVE to travel on those roads, and go over those bridges and you have to do it in your own car because we don’t have efficient public transportation systems because this is Texas, Damn It, and we believe that freedom equals having a giant truck of your very own that you don’t have to share. So when the roads are closed or stopped up from crazy 10-car pile ups because someone slipped on the ice or have a sheet of black ice on them that make them too scary to contemplate we’re stuck at home with our substandard leftovers, a half of a bottle of vodka, and whatever we DVR-ed the night before for entertainment. It’s enough to make you crazy. Which is why we make national news when there’s a threat of freezing sleet, like tonight. We act like the world is ending because…well, it kind of is. At least for a few days.

So…I’m going to go and stock up on my groceries and DVD’s and buy some firewood for the fireplace. It may be a long two days. Y’all enjoy the lists, and stay warm!

top 20

  1. My niece Olivia, who turned NINE today (How did that happen so fast??)

    Olivia (in the middle), sitting at the park with her cousins. I can't believe she's nine already!

    Olivia (in the middle), sitting at the park with her cousins. I can’t believe she’s nine already!

  2. snow hysteria
  3. my dad calling to tell me that Huntsville made the national news because we had snow on the ground
  4. the National Weather Service
  5. a husband who builds me a warm fire on demand
  6. hot toddies
  7. my winter coat, which I’ve been able to wear regularly this winter
  8. welcoming my sister Kellie and her family to Sugar Land last October (it’s been a while since I posted–sorry!)
  9. the fabulous Pin Lim of Forest Photography, who did my new head shots and made it a relatively painless experience
  10. The Disney film Frozen. It’s a fantastic movie with a great plot, clever dialogue, strong female characters, and that damn song that won’t get out of my head (Let it Go, Let it Go!)
  11. eating out when we should be eating leftovers
  12. The Blacklist on NBC. SO good.
  13. the smell of my husband’s body wash (Bleu de Chanel)
  14. getting to watch my nephew Jaxon’s Pinewood Derby event last week–he won “Best Design” for his Batmobile
  15. planning a summer cruise to Alaska
  16. Peyton Manning
  17. cardinals (the birds, not the sports teams)
  18. lazy Sunday mornings
  19. Raven Lake at sunset
  20. this exceptionally friendly squirrel at Huntsville State Park who decided to talk a selfie with Jamey’s camera

bottom 10

  1. everything cancelled because of the weather (although I’m sure the kids love the day off)photo 5
  2. losing my favorite gloves
  3. Driving on icy roads. It really is scary.
  4. my slow computer
  5. impending allergies
  6. people who stop for no apparent reason in the middle of the road
  7. cold feet (the literal kind)
  8. abuse of political power
  9. burnt popcorn
  10. Parks and Rec sans Ann and Chris
Beautiful Puget Sound

Beautiful Puget Sound

Well isn’t this nice. The whole summer is gone and I didn’t post one blog entry in the entire three months of it. Probably better for you–while the summer as a whole went by in the blink of an eye, the individual days were kind of uneventful. We watched the birds, ate some great dinners at home, and took frequent dips in the pool…and we watched a LOT of Food Network, since that was the only thing worth watching on television. It wouldn’t have made very good reading on a regular basis. We did do a few things that made the summer fun, so I’ll give you a brief recap of the happenings since I last saw you (since we’re catching up and everything): 

Jackie and Evan at Bucee's

Jackie and Evan at Bucee’s

The ESC6 VGO robots with TEA Commissioner Williams

The ESC6 VGO robots with TEA Commissioner Williams

In June I visited with my sister Jackie and her husband Evan while they explored Austin for a possible move in the fall. They ended up deciding not to move there after all–Evan is instead going to be an awesome pilot in the Air Force–but we had a good time anyway. We went tubing on the Bastrop River (thank you Bastrop River Company!), visited the outlet mall, and introduced Jackie and Evan to the phenomenon that is Buc-ee’s. I got a terrific blister from walking around Austin all day, and had to get some new comfortable walking shoes. While in Austin, I got to accompany the ESC Region 6 Technology team and three VGO Robots at the Texas State Capitol. We gave three home-bound kids a virtual field trip, and introduced the VGO program to some pretty important people in Austin, like Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams and several of our State legislators. I also watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at the historic classic Paramount Theatre in Austin, on the same day that Wendy Davis started her historic filibuster in the Texas Senate. 

JoAn and Don in Snohomish

JoAn and Don in Snohomish

Jamey on the the whale boat. We saw three orcas, two minkes, and two bald eagles.

Jamey on the the whale boat. We saw three orcas, two minkes, and two bald eagles.

Me feeding an alpaca. Those animals crack me up for some reason.

Me feeding an alpaca. Those animals crack me up for some reason.

In July we escaped the heat for a week and went to visit my aunt and uncle JoAn and Don in Snohomish, Washington (just North of Seattle). That was SUCH a beautiful trip, and I am so glad that we went. We sat on the porch eating peanuts and solving the problems of the world, shared technology stories, toured downtown Snohomish and Seattle, drank lots of Starbucks coffee, and picked cherries and raspberries on a fantastic farm–I even got to feed an alpaca. We celebrated the Fourth of July with a marshmallow and weenie roast in my aunt and uncle’s back yard, and we went whale watching, something I highly recommend that everyone do at least once. The best part about it: the temperature didn’t get over 83 degrees the entire time we were there. The only bad part was coming home to the sauna that is Central Texas in July. Also in July: we went to a concert in Houston by pianists Michele McLaughlin and Scott D. Davis and enjoyed a really nice afternoon visiting with them the next day before they headed to Dallas. We also enjoyed visits from my cousin Troy and his fiancee Valerie, and from our friends the Geisels–we’re so glad that Nicole, Olive and Samantha stopped here on their cross-country trek, and we hope they come back again soon.

Jamey and his new toy

Jamey and his new toy

In August I co-hosted a meeting on regional economic development with Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies that proved to be a success. I think it will lead to good things in this region.  A few weeks later we went to a house concert at the lovely home of musicians Michael and Kendra Logozar in Round Rock. Stanton Lanier was the featured guest performer, and he was fabulous. As a bonus, we got to spend some quality time with Jamey’s Dad and his sister and Carly, always a good thing. Also in August: Jamey got a 3-D printer at his work, and every day he comes home with a new gadget that he printed that day. Pretty neat technology. I’ve been assured that we will have one in our home before too long. 

OK, now you’re all caught up so I will give you the lists. Hopefully in the coming months I’ll have a little bit more to say, if for no other reason than because we’ll back in prime time. In the meantime, have a great September. Enjoy!

top 20

There's nothing liked freshly-picked Washington cherries.

There’s nothing liked freshly-picked Washington cherries.

  1. The Pacific Northwest
  2. my parents, who celebrated their 41st anniversary on June 11
  3. my nephew Jaxon, who turned eight years old on July 24
  4. Jamey, who turned 51 on August 7
  5. my sister Jackie, who turned 27 on August 8
  6. my brother-in-law Craig, and his marriage to my sister Sarah–he turned 34, and they celebrated 11 years on August 9
  7. my sister Kellie, who turned 34 on August 26
  8. access to a swimming pool
  9. the sunlight shining through the forest in the morning
  10. Robert Reich. I’m nerdy enough to have a favorite economist, and he is the one.
  11. Blue jays. They crack me up.
  12. Hansen’s Tonic Water
  13. The film We’re the Millers. Ridiculous. And hilarious.
  14. Sharing Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream with Jamey–he’s informed me that he only shares it because he loves me.
  15. cold watermelon
  16. green chile chicken crepes (my own original recipe)
  17. The new HEB grocery store in Conroe. Good for my pantry, lousy for my wallet (or rather Jamey’s wallet, since mine is perpetually empty these days)
  18. John Oliver. He did a great job with The Daily Show this summer.
  19. Being able to exercise in my air conditioned living room, in front of my giant television, with my iPad. I have a short attention span and a low tolerance for discomfort, so that’s the only way calories are going to be burned.
  20. HBO’s The Newsroom. It’s been panned by journalists across the board, but I love it. I wish the news was actually like it.

bottom 10

Yeah, I lost it all. Every note that I've taken in the last eight months, gone in a flash. BACK UP YOUR iPAD!!!

Yeah, I lost it all. Every note that I’ve taken in the last eight months, gone in a flash. BACK UP YOUR iPADS, PEOPLE!!!

  1. learning the lesson…the hard way…to always back up my iPad to the Cloud
  2. bill collectors
  3. financial limbo
  4. Migraine headaches. I’ve only recently started to get them, and they are the pits.
  5. lack of cupboard space
  6. summer re-runs
  7. chemical weapons in Syria
  8. ignorance
  9. nightmares
  10. politics (and politicians) getting in the way of…pretty much everything
I love this card. You can buy it for me at the Green Grass Press store on Etsy: http://etsy.me/uOQq4O

I love this card. You can buy it for me at the Green Grass Press store on Etsy: http://etsy.me/uOQq4O

Huh. It’s already May 18. Who knew two months could fly by so fast? That seems to happen to me more and more as I get older. Speaking of which, today is the final day of my 30′s. You read correctly: tomorrow I will be the big 4-0. I was bemoaning the fact that I’ve reached this point without doing so many things I’d hoped to do, and whining about getting older. But I realized today that (a) everyone turns 40 (if they’re lucky) so it’s not just me, and (b) I’m really just getting started. I have a LOT to accomplish in the next 40 years, though, so I need to be on my game!

I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of the busy two months since I last posted. If you don’t really care about what I’ve been up to, just skip right on down to the lists. I won’t even know. 

I have been hard at work for the past two months creating a new non-profit organization that will provide economic development and community development services for rural communities in Central-East Texas. The organization is in its toddler stages at this point, but my goal is to have it up and running by the end of June. It’s going to be a good thing for this region, I think, so I’ll keep you all posted as I get things off the ground. 

In non-business, we’ve had a really busy and fun couple of months. Here are a few of the highlights:

My dad, Race Car Driver for a Day

My dad, Race Car Driver for a Day

At the end of March we went to California to see my Dad race around the Fontana race track at 128 miles per hour. My mom got him the Andretti Racing Experience for Christmas a few years ago, and my sisters and I all went out to see him race. We all wore matching t-shirts and cheered him on for the big day. It was a lot of fun. 

In April we went to San Antonio for the dual purpose of celebrating my father-in-law’s birthday and attending a house concert by Michael Logozar, Kendra Springer, and Philip Wesley at Michael and Kendra’s house. It was a great weekend, and I’m so glad we got to go and spend some time with Jamey’s family. I especially enjoyed hanging out with my step-daughter Carly, who is a great shopping and drinking companion :)

We, like the rest of the country, experienced the horrific week of April 15 that included the Boston bombings, the West plant explosion, and the delivery of two letters to lawmakers containing ricin.  It was a crazy, crazy week, and a fascinating study in social media and broadcast news. I wrote a blog post about the week’s events, commenting on the concept of breaking news.

Photo 501Last weekend we  went to New Orleans for the 9th Annual ZMR Music Awards. I don’t think I’ll ever pass up a trip to New Orleans for any reason, but this one was especially fun. Because he is the host of the very popular Audiosyncracy, Jamey is a judge for the awards, and it was really fun to meet some of the musicians he plays on his show every week and to hang out with them. And of course New Orleans was an experience in and of itself, as always.

Jamey and JJ (Jamey is on the right)

Jamey and JJ (Jamey is on the right)

Also this past week, Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt made a young cancer patient’s day in Splendora, and ESC Region 6 (where Jamey is the Director of Technology) got a really nice plug for a program they should be very proud to call theirs. Check out the video link when you get a minute, and next time you watch JJ in action, know that he’s the Real Deal. 

So that catches you up on life in the country in Huntsville. I hope all of you are enjoying your Spring, and that you have grand plans for a wonderful summer. I’ll try to post more, and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s lists. Next time you hear from me I’ll be officially old and undoubtedly very wise, so enjoy my youthful exuberance while you can! 

top 20

Me, when I was young and adorable (some 38-odd years ago)

Me, when I was young and adorable (some 39-odd years ago)

  1. Being lucky enough to turn 40. Not everyone gets that chance.
  2. starting a new venture, and having the support of my husband, family and friends as I do it
  3. JJ Watt
  4. social media
  5. Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies
  6. Citronella plants. I just got one, so I don’t know for sure that they work, but I think it’s great they exist. Damn mosquitos.
  7. The Great Gatsby (the film and the book). I adore the book and I was pleasantly surprised by the film.
  8. Dropbox
  9. timely contract work
  10. leaps of faith, which can often be liberating
  11. seeing my super cute nieces and nephews in California (and my sisters and parents too)
  12. welcoming my sister Jackie to Texas in August–I’m so excited she’ll be in Austin!
  13. New Orleans
  14. having fresh herbs at my disposal
  15. reconnecting with good friends
  16. encouragement
  17. meeting new people
  18. forgiveness
  19. government employees who keep calm and carry on despite  the general incompetence of Congress
  20. Photo Stream

bottom 10

Photo by Chris Haston/NBC (originally published on http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/arts/television/the-office-finale.html?pagewanted=all)

Photo by Chris Haston/NBC
(originally published on nytimes.com: http://nyti.ms/135K3dw)

  1. the end of The Office
  2. leaps of faith, which can sometimes be scary
  3. the effect of humidity on my hair
  4. crafty squirrels
  5. the startup disk on my computer that is perpetually “almost full”
  6. Feeling depressed about getting older. Seriously, there’s nothing to be done about it. And yet, I mope.
  7. wildfires
  8. terrorists
  9. tornados
  10. incompetent Congress
Photo 217

Our cute little patio.

Happy Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring, and it was a beautiful beginning to the season. I’m quite fond of almost everything that comes with Spring: I love beautiful weather, spring showers, beautiful wildflowers and baby animals. I love spring planting, I get strange joy from seeing new leaves on trees, and I revel in the longer afternoons and evenings (although I hate getting up in the dark). I also love the freshness of Spring, and the feeling that everything is new and exciting and full of promise.

See that green tint? It's pollen. Nice.

See that green tint on Jamey’s car? It’s pollen. Nice.

What I really don’t like so much about Spring is spring pollen. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, where we live is covered in a thin layer of green pollen. It covers our cars, coats our porch steps, gets all over the house when you leave the door open…even the little feral kittens in our complex are walking around with green-tinged fur. But in addition to being omni-present, it’s also really tough on those of us who are allergy-prone. If I forget to take an allergy pill (and sometimes even when I take it) my head gets stuffy, my ears clog, my eyes itch, and I’m generally miserable. At least I’m not alone–there are lots of allergy sufferers in the region, and we’re all simultaneously rapturous about the weather and the flowers and miserable about their effect on our sinuses. I’m just glad I live in a time when there’s such a thing as Zyrtec. Can you imagine the poor allergy sufferers who lived at the turn of the century? They probably didn’t last very long. All hail pharmaceuticals!

On a good note, we did spend last weekend sprucing up our cute little patio, planting some fresh herbs, waterproofing our deck chairs (that were a wedding present, by the way, from my uncle and aunt), and adding some really pretty potted flowers so that now it’s a little haven where we can sit and drink our coffee and watch the birds and make plans for the Spring and Summer in between sneezes. 

I hope you all are enjoying your spring, regardless of whether you suffer from an overdose of pollen or have a nice garden project to pursue. Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the lists!

Oh, PS: I have a new blog. It’s at http://www.txbizblog.com, and it will probably be really boring to you, unless you’re into business, Economic Development, Texas, or a combination of those three things. Check it out. 

You can't tell, probably, because I'm a horrible photographer, but this is a calla lily on our back patio. It's really pretty.

You can’t tell, probably, because I’m a horrible photographer, but this is a calla lily on our back patio. It’s really pretty.

top 20

  1. spring!
  2. fresh herbs
  3. being able to work from home when I need to
  4. encouragement
  5. Target
  6. Instashare. If you have an Apple device and don’t have it, get it NOW.
  7. exploring
  8. completing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle in 12 minutes
  9. Girl Scouts
  10. transforming our tiny drab back porch into tiny colorful garden patio
  11. Easter candy
  12. calla lilies
  13. Dan Pollotta’s TED Talk about how we view charity
  14. QR codes on planting guides. Brilliant.
  15. travel planning
  16. being able to listen to my favorite Dallas radio station anytime I want, thanks to Internet Radio
  17. luring cardinals to eat out of our bird-feeders
  18. recycling
  19. weekend visits from my awesome step-daughter, Carly
  20. March Madness
I now pay attention to Pollen Forecast Levels.

I now pay attention to Pollen Forecast Levels.

bottom 10

  1. spring pollen
  2. pimples
  3. doing laundry
  4. sticky movie theater floors
  5. lack of air conditioning
  6. broken elevators
  7. megalomaniacs
  8. third world plumbing
  9. management with poor communication skills
  10. vacuuming stairs
My favorite shelf at Hubble & Hudson, one of the many discoveries we've made while exploring North Houston.

My favorite shelf at Hubble & Hudson, one of the many delectable discoveries we’ve made while exploring North Houston.

Ah, the weekend. Finally. I shouldn’t complain about my weeks, I know–they technically end on Wednesdays, and I usually spend Thursday and Friday being a complete sloth. But I love the weekend, and wish that it lasted a lot longer. I’m sure I’m not alone there.

So the last time we got together you could hardly recognize me because I basically looked like a cross between a panda bear and a kickboxing match survivor. I’m sure you’ll all be glad to know that I’m cured of my mysterious allergic reaction, thanks to the miracle of Prednisone and a fantastic medicinal cream made from Mometasone and Eucerin. I’ve also learned that I’m allergic to several different trees, multiple weeds, and pretty much every kind of grass that grows in the Piney Woods. But now that we know that I can avoid the outdoors on super pollen-y days, and I’ll faithfully smear my medicine on my face every day to avoid another outbreak, and life should be good.

Life IS good, actually. We’re having a grand time, alternately exploring the area and vegging out in our cozy little apartment. We go exploring often, and the backroads drives are incredible out here. We’ve found some fun shops to visit (mostly shops involving food in some way), and we’ve had a good time looking at land and dreaming about our future house out in the country (but not TOO far out in the country).

On a professional note, I have a new blog called The Texas Business Blog. It’s designed for businesses that are locating, relocating, or expanding in the state of Texas, and it goes through all of the resources available in the Lone Star State for those types of businesses. That may bore some of you to tears, but if you’re a business or finance person, or if you’re an economic development geek, it may prove to be a good resource for you. Check it out.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Enjoy the lists!

top 20Friday

  1. Friday
  2. pre-spring weather
  3. WWNO, the public radio jazz station out of New Orleans
  4. brevity
  5. Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen in The Woodlands. Jamey took me there on Valentine’s Day and now I want to go back and eat everything on the menu!
  6. Talking to my grandfather. It gives me perspective.
  7. Melissa McCarthy
  8. Hubble & Hudson, your one-stop-shop for essentials like saffron ice cream, duck bacon, black lava salt and  truffle oil cooking spray.
  9. fresh basil
  10. Pioneer Woman recipes. I’ve never tried one that wasn’t out-of-this-world delicious.
  11. seeing deer on my way home from work
  12. having reserve funds
  13. the Academy Awards and this awesome Mashup of the Best Picture awards throughout the years
  14. taking the scenic route
  15. Patrick, our security guard, who volunteered to fetch all of our cars and park them close to the front door because it was raining.
  16. the satisfaction of a clean kitchen
  17. progress
  18. this post from my photographer friend Pin about finding a bald eagle nest
  19. Photo Stream
  20. sunsets that take your breath away

bottom 10

Not so fond of rats.

Not so fond of rats.

  1. rats (of every variety)
  2. parking in downtown Houston
  3. confusion stemming from people not reading email messages completely
  4. getting a rubber check
  5. the sequestration chicken game
  6. missing out on important family events because I live so far away from everyone
  7. people who drive really slowly in the fast lane
  8. the Apple desktop Mail client–it’s surprisingly clunky and difficult, for an Apple product
  9. megalomaniacs
  10. Doing our taxes. We don’t even technically prepare our own tax return–we send a giant pile of receipts and tax forms to our CPA and he does it for us, but I still hate it.

This looks like me right now. Only the panda is a lot more cute.

Hello! It’s me, Stacey! Oh, you don’t recognize me? Perhaps that’s because my entire face has been taken over by an allergic reaction to some yet-to-be-identified irritant. And boy, is it irritating!

I used to be not scary to look at. But now I resemble a character in a novel about weird creatures with strange eyes. Since we last chatted (does a blog count as chatting?) I have developed an allergy to…something. I have no idea what it is. Next week the allergist will poke me in the back with a million needles filled with every allergen known to man and we’ll see which one of them lights my fire. But in the meantime my skin is blotchy, my eyes are swollen, and I have rings around my eyes that make me look like a raccoon or a panda bear or some other cute animal with cute black circles around its eyes. Only my circles are red and puffy and not at all cute. I would say that I look like a victim of domestic violence, but Jamey has been the opposite of violent–he’s been super sweet and sympathetic and hasn’t laughed at me once, even though I know I look pathetic and ridiculous. So instead I’ll say that I’m the (temporary) victim of domestic allergies, and I am armed with prednisone and some sort of cream that will evidently give me some relief. I’m very grateful for those.

So many great places to explore up here!

So many great places to explore up here!

In other, non-pathetic news: We’ve discovered some great places to explore in our new neck of the woods. I learned how to make a killer calzone, and can’t wait to try it again. We found a place to recycle our cardboard in Huntsville, something we didn’t really expect to find for some reason. My niece Olivia turned eight years old and had a tea party to celebrate. And I joined the nerdiest club in the entire universe, the Houston Economics Club. So it’s not all allergies and misery. I just enjoy a good pity party. 

I’m going to go now and lie down and put cucumbers on my eyes. Y’all enjoy the lists, and maybe next week I’ll have some news about what kind of allergy shots I’m getting. I hope everyone is happy and allergy-free.

Oh, PS: I post this blog to Twitter and LinkedIn, so if you don’t already follow me, give it a try. Or you can just subscribe to the blog and it will come into your inbox unbidden. 

top 20

Olivia

Olivia

Ella

Ella

  1. My nieces: Olivia turned eight on January 27 and Ella turns two on February 9. They are the best nieces in the world, and I”m not at all biased.
  2. sympathy in my time of self pity
  3. my sisters, who go out of their way to make every birthday a special one for their kids
  4. Prednisone. Amazing stuff.
  5. Finding out that I somehow missed a new Holmes/Russell book from Laurie R. King at the end of last year. I’m so excited to read it!
  6. While we’re on the subject, the television show Elementary. I’m admittedly Sherlock Holmes-obsessed, but it’s a pretty good show.
  7. being able to work from home
  8. supportive people in my life
  9. Bob Costas
  10. nerds
  11. trailblazing
  12. rediscovering the Denise Austin Pilates/Yoga Workout (I have abs! Who knew?)
  13. Siri
  14. My fellow Board members and the Executive Director of the Texas Independence Trail Region. What a great group of people!
  15. art on the walls
  16. movie night
  17. The Da Vinci Code
  18. Anne Burrell
  19. 360i, the agency responsible for the most timely Oreo Cookie ad ever
  20. The Great SuperBowl Blackout. That was the best 35 minutes on Twitter I think I’ve ever enjoyed. Even better than the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend revelation.

bottom 10

Chart is from WILLIAM D. TOWNSEND, O.D.'s article "The Wicked Itch of the East" posted on www. optometricmanagement.com

Chart is from WILLIAM D. TOWNSEND, O.D.’s article “The Wicked Itch of the East” posted on www. optometricmanagement.com

  1. whatever evil allergen is responsible for the current state of affairs on my face
  2. SuperBowl calories
  3. disappointment
  4. insomnia
  5. rediscovering the Denise Austin Pilates/Yoga Workout (I have abs. I remember now.)
  6. The over-zealous pedicure lady who scraped my feet raw with that grater thing. Sometimes callouses built by years of wearing four-inch high heels should just stay where they are.
  7. anxiety
  8. Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti breaking up. They were such a cute couple!
  9. uncooperative yeast
  10. Go Daddy. That ad was something I wish I could un-see, and not because it was a cute girl with an un-cute guy. It would have been gross with anyone.

Hello! Look at me posting two blogs in one month. Looks like 2013 is off to a running start! 

All in all life the past few weeks has been good, with just a few small things to complain about and make it interesting. I started a new job on February 7 as the acting Director of the North Houston Economic Development Council, a job I think I can really enjoy. As some of you know, I have been in the economic development world for several years, and I’m looking forward to broadening my horizons and helping to grow the economy of the north Houston region. Watch for new economic-development type blogs coming in the next few months–I’ll expect all eight of my regular readers to follow them!

What my commute looks like on a rainy day.

What my commute looks like on a rainy day.

My job comes with an hour-long commute, something I’ve not had before and I am slowly getting used to. So far it isn’t too bad, except when it’s raining. For some reason everyone driver in Houston turns into an idiot when faced with any kind of precipitation. There’s a stretch of several miles of my commute that is a two-lane construction zone, and I drive through it with white knuckles on the best of days. So when it’s pouring outside it just stresses me out–particularly when there are large trucks on either side of me, which there often are. I have no idea how Jamey did an even longer commute every day last year. I have it much easier than he did because (a) my commute is half an hour shorter, (b) I don’t have to drive through downtown Houston, (c) my office doesn’t even open until 9 a.m., and (d) I’m only in the office three days a week.  I also know that it’s all temporary until we find a place in between our two jobs. And yet I complain. I’m the ultimate wimp.

But apart from my commute, life is pretty good. Huntsville continues to be beautiful and charming, the job is interesting and challenging, all of my bills are paid, and our little apartment is becoming more homey as we put things into their places and hang our art on the walls. It’s been pretty cold here lately, so Jamey has been making use of our little fireplace. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to come home after a long day to a warm cozy fire and the soft pretty light of our living room with Jamey and the cats waiting for me. If only I had a chauffeur, a live-in maid and a personal chef my life would be complete. 

I have to say just a quick word about football: While I have enjoyed this year’s playoff season much more than I have in the past (mostly because I actually understand the game), I have to admit that I’m a little footballed out. Also, I’m tired of the commercials. So I, for one, will be very happy to see the Super Bowl on February 3 (even if the Texans couldn’t quite get it together this year) because it will mean that football is done for a few months. 

I hope all of you have a fantastic week. Enjoy the lists!

top 20

Eat your heart out, Norman Rockwell.

Eat your heart out, Norman Rockwell.

  1. home sweet home
  2. hot cocoa
  3. using the stairs as an exercise tool
  4. having time off each week
  5. Henry and Patrick, the guards at my work who make sure I get to and from my car safely every day.
  6. my new hair salon
  7. the HEB store in The Woodlands (I refer to it as the “VersacEB”)
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. new challenges
  10. Jon Stewart. How many other comedians does Paul Krugman take to task in his column?
  11. the inclusion of poetry in the inauguration ceremonies
  12. sleeping in
  13. the Twitterverse response to Manti Te’O’s fake girlfriend revelation
  14. Tina Fey and Amy Pohler hosting the Golden Globes
  15. good examples
  16. bed linens from Restoration Hardware
  17. flexibility
  18. Evernote
  19. reconnecting with professional colleagues
  20. Google Chrome commercials

bottom 10

So cute. And so cruel.

So cute. And so cruel.

  1. the return of cute, cruel shoes
  2. being cold
  3. having skin problems all of the sudden
  4. Lance Armstrong. I hate being disappointed by people I admire.
  5. baking disasters
  6. insipid arguments
  7. sneezy cats
  8. inconsistent wireless signal
  9. commuting in general
  10. commuting in rainy day traffic
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