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Archive for March, 2011

Last week was just annoying. It started with horrible allergies–which can be explained by the thin layer of yellow pollen that I see on my car every morning. I tried to solve the problem with Zyrtec, and the side effects (extreme exhaustion, irritability, etc.) ended up being worse than the allergies. Then the week kind of just went downhill: boring, uninspiring, etc. Jamey and I ended it nicely, however, with a fun Sunday afternoon kayaking jaunt on Armand Bayou. So hopefully this week will be a little less annoying for all of us.

In the meantime, enjoy this week’s lists!

top 20

  1. welcoming Kentucky, UConn, Butler and VCU to the Final Four tournament in Houston
  2. VCU. They blew everyone’s brackets (including mine), but what a great Cinderella Story!
  3. Cinnamon Dolce Lattes
  4. Exploring Armand Bayou via kayak. You can read all about our adventure (and see photos) on Jamey’s blog.
  5. Having a waterproof camera. It made taking pictures on the bayou SO much less stressful!
  6. jumping fish
  7. the OPI polish color “Chocolate Shake-speare”
  8. new green things opening up in the garden
  9. The Amazing Race
  10. pizza delivery
  11. The Chevy Traverse commercial with the Real Tuesday Weld “I Love the Rain” song. Now I have to get that song.
  12. ibuprofen
  13. An Open Letter to My Dying Ficus” on McSweeneys. It literally made me laugh out loud.
  14. educators in general, but especially public school teachers
  15. adoration from my cats
  16. HD television
  17. getting 70 points for a four letter word on Words with Friends
  18. the film The Adjustment Bureau
  19. butterflies (the insect variety, not the ones in stomach)
  20. philanthropy

bottom 10

  1. boredom
  2. diminished creativity outlets
  3. having champagne taste and a wine-cooler budget
  4. Agonizing over spring clothes shopping (see item 3, above).
  5. dehydration
  6. Being out of shape. It’s my own fault, but still worthy of the bottom ten.
  7. bad grammar
  8. Zyrtec. It helped with the allergies, but messed up my sleep, my mood, and my energy level.
  9. Trying to be civil in the morning. I generally fail miserably at it.
  10. Mondays
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Before I start this week’s list, I just want to remind you all that while the media has moved on to covering the nuclear situation in Japan and the airstrikes in Libya, the people of Japan are still in need of help as they cope with the effects of the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, as you can see on this week’s 60 Minutes. If you can possibly donate to the relief efforts, please do.

This past week just dragged on and on and on. There were lots of reasons for this: Daylight Savings Time started last week, and the Spring Forward time change is always a big adjustment to me. I also generally have a lot of meetings and mixers and social events to go to as part of my job, but this past week most of my economic development colleagues were enjoying Spring Break, so I spent the majority of the week in the office. It was good because I was able to take care of a lot of things that have been piling up on my desk, but it made for a very long week. Jamey was also enjoying Spring Break, so it made it that much more difficult to drag myself out of bed in the morning. On the upside, we did enjoy the final week of Rodeo, with great performances by Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, and Brad Paisley. I’ll have to spend two months eating salad to make up for all of the fried food I consumed, but I’m so glad we went–we had a great time. And now we can move on to the phenomenon that is March Madness. Go Cougars!

And with that, I’ll leave you with this week’s Top 20 and Bottom 10. Enjoy!

top 20

  1. March Madness. Jamey and I always fill out our brackets right before it starts, and I usually lose. But it’s fun to watch anyway.
  2. the thousands of heroic people who risked their lives to save others in Japan
  3. The American and European troops in Libya
  4. Brad Paisley
  5. Groupon
  6. Jamey’s new blog, called No regrets, in which he gives us a listen to the iPod in his head.
  7. Spring (the season, although I’ve heard the City in Texas is lovely as well)
  8. friends in high places
  9. finally getting our taxes off to our CPA
  10. The volunteers of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. They do an outstanding job each year.
  11. Jimmy Buffett
  12. This TED talk by Deb Roy. I watched it last week and I keep thinking about it.
  13. TED, in general. I try to watch those talks as often as I can because they remind me that there are inspired people doing good things in the world, local evidence to the contrary
  14. salty fried food
  15. little kids on roller coasters
  16. My cat George. She (yes, SHE–it’s a long story) was at death’s door a few weeks ago but I believe she is on the mend.
  17. baby animals–particularly baby bunnies
  18. National Geographic
  19. The Plain White T’s song Rhythm of Love. I cannot get it out of my head!
  20. the Discovery Channel program Flying Wild Alaska

bottom 10

  1. Pollen. I love Spring, but my allergies are killing me!
  2. Moammar Gadhafi
  3. long days
  4. long lines
  5. obstinate pie crusts
  6. poor, short-sighted, rash decisions with really bad, long-range consequences
  7. Small town politics. I realize this has been on the list before, and I’m sure it will be again.
  8. boredom
  9. paying the consequences from a shoe-shopping frenzy
  10. home owner associations

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I need to get some boots.

Oh, hello! Two weeks just went skating by and I didn’t even realize it. But I’ve been taking careful notes of everything good and bad so I can bring you a fabulous new Top 20/Bottom 10. You’re welcome.

It’s Rodeo time in Houston, and since Jamey got me mini-season tickets this year for Valentine’s Day, it has completely taken over our lives. Last week, when I ordinarily would have been posting my blog whilst watching the latest episode of Chuck, I was at the Rodeo, enjoying Mr. Tim McGraw in concert. We’ve also seen Clay Walker, Keith Urban, Rascall Flatts and Sugarland. This week we’ll be wrapping it up with Miranda Lambert (on Wednesday), Alan Jackson (on Friday) and Brad Paisley (on Saturday). We would have also seen Kid Rock tonight, but I have a City Council meeting.

While the performers are always awesome, the pure spectacle of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is the reason I love going so much. More than 20,000 volunteers work year-round to make this three-week spectacle happen, and boy do they put on a show. I’ve never seen anything like it: there’s a huge carnival with every ride you can imagine. There are three tents filled with food vendors selling everything from traditional Texas Barbecue to crawfish to fried (fill in your favorite food here). There’s an entire section of Reliant Arena that’s devoted to baby animals, and another section for serious shoppers: You want boots? They’ve got ’em. Hats? No problem. Purses, belts, cowhide rugs, cowboy paintings, saddles, jewelry, tractors, that dip that you test with a pretzel stick that seems to be at every home show/garden show/shopping expo in America? Yours for the taking at the Houston Rodeo.  There are over 100,000 people, most of them saying some version of “Howdy” or “Y’all” and wearing boots and hats  (I’ve been mortified every time I’ve gone because I’m the only one in the arena wearing Chucks). Oh, and then there’s a rodeo on top of it all, with very brave–or totally insane–people riding bulls, roping calves, and dodging barrels around Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans and the venue for this year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship.

I could go on and on and on, but I’ll spare you. Just suffice it to say that the Rodeo is an amazing experience, and you should totally go and see it if you every have the chance. And before next year I WILL have a pair of boots!

Enjoy the lists–y’all–and have a fantastic week!

top 20

  1. The people of Japan. We’re watching in horror as they contend with too many disasters at a single time, and in every news report we see the Japanese people facing the crisis with a quiet dignity, strength, and spirit of cooperation that are a tribute to humanity.
  2. The American Red Cross. They could use your help with relief efforts, if you’re able to give a bit.
  3. My grandmothers, Eva and Carmen. Eva turned 91 on March 5, and Carmen turns 81 on March 15. I’m aware of how lucky I am to know them both as well as I do.  
  4. roasted chicken
  5. Mimosas (the drinks and the flowers, although I’m a little baffled at why the drink is named after the flower)
  6. Kayaking. We both have kayaks now–thanks to Jamey–and we took them out yesterday for a trial run.
    This alligator was ready to eat Jamey. But he escaped.

    We had so much fun! We saw lots of egrets and several very large fish, and got up close and personal with five alligators.

  7. Space Shuttle Discovery
  8. The new iPad. Yes, Jamey got one. It’s very cool.
  9. Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout for most of my formative years, and the experiences I had with that organization were invaluable. I try to re-pay them by purchasing as many cookies as I can!
  10. Royal Rajah Ruby (the OPI nail polish color)
  11. Rodeo Volunteers
  12. Mutton Busting. It’s a rodeo event involving strapping small children to sheep to see how long they can hang on, and it’s hilarious.
  13. Peanut Butter Eggs
  14. Tornado Fries. Horribly un-nutritious, but absolutely completely delicious.
  15. The NCAA Basketball Tournament
  16. Gabriel Giffords
  17. NPR. The network has had a rough run of it, but to me NPR will always be my source for news and cultural insight (FULL DISCLOSURE: I hosted a program on the NPR affiliate in El Paso for eight years, and served as their Development Director for three, and Jamey still hosts a show on that same station)
  18. words of encouragement
  19. homemade cinnamon rolls
  20. new shoes

bottom 10

  1. devastation in the form of earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns
  2. missing my sisters
  3. bad things happening to good people
  4. weekends that go by too fast
  5. budget cuts
  6. rising gas prices
  7. Daylight Savings Time
  8. folding laundry
  9. willful ignorance
  10. accounting

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Photo: The Edge of Reason

Hello, all.  It’s been a while–two weeks–and so many things have happened! I have a new niece, Chicago has a new Mayor, Egypt has a new government, the King’s Speech and Collin Firth have new Oscar trophies, and my knees, shoulder and chin have fresh new bruises and scrapes on them. I’ll only expound here on the first and last of the above items, although it will be interesting to see the repercussions of the second and third, and I’m really happy about the fourth.

First (and most important): my new niece. Ella Rose Rich is her name, and she was born on February 9. I haven’t met her in person yet, but thanks to the wonders of digital photography and email I’ve been lucky enough to see photographs of her pretty much every day since she was born. My sister Kellie, her husband Rich, and their son Jaxon are all very happy and excited to welcome her into their lives. Ella was adopted, and Kellie and Rich were lucky enough to be there when she was born and to know her from the moment she came into the world. They consider themselves very lucky to have her, and I know that she is lucky to be with such a loving, wonderful family. So we’re all lucky.

I wasn’t especially lucky  on my recent trip to Austin for the TEDC conference. I literally fell on my face on Sixth Street–prior to visiting a drinking establishment–and ended up with extremely painful bruises on my knees and my shoulder, and a charming little scrape on the bottom of my chin. It was a spectacular fall, and right in keeping with my usual graceful way of doing things. My parents would have been so proud…

But anyway, on to the top 20 and bottom 10. That’s what you really came for, isn’t it? Have a fantastic week…and  don’t fall!

top 20

  1. Ella Rose Rich (6 lbs 6 oz 20 inches)

    Ella Rose

  2. new horizons
  3. the brisket in our booth at the La Porte Employee Chili Cook-off
  4. Shopping for promotional items. Can I interest you in a magnet with our logo on it? How about a koozie? Stress ball?
  5. visiting my father-in-law in San Antonio
  6. Rodeo time in Houston. Time to get some boots!
  7. This video from the Texas Cultural Trust that I saw at TEDC, highlighting some of my friends in the Arts community in El Paso…
  8. …and this video showing the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery–from the window seat of an airplane
  9. listening to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on the road via a station in Anchorage, AK
  10. Collin Firth’s acceptance speech at the Oscar’s
  11. the fact that both Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) AND David Pogue (@pogue) follow me on Twitter (I’m @staceyo if you care to join them)
  12. The Popcorn Board. If anyone knows how to get on it, please tell me.
  13. Scrabble Slam. Fantastic game.
  14. Oscar Night snark
  15. giving a “Marketing in the 21st Century” presentation…from my iPad
  16. clean laundry
  17. attending a Vacation Rental Presentation solely so we can get the free gift (a cruise)
  18. Sunday Brunch at Cullen’s
  19. my friend Brett, who live-tweeted packing his kitchen
  20. Easter candy

bottom 10

  1. the distressing fact that NOT ONE GIRL SCOUT has come to my door to sell me cookies

    Got cookies? No, as a matter of fact, I don't.

  2. endless City Council meetings
  3. having a well-deserved reputation as a klutz
  4. blemishes (see top 20, item # 20)
  5. excessive ellipses (see pretty much the entire top 20 list)
  6. disappointing tequila
  7. bad hair days
  8. constantly feeling like I’m not meeting the mark
  9. bullies
  10. the floozy stray cat  in our back yard who keeps having kittens, despite our lectures about abstinence (for the record, I do plan to have her spayed with the trap & release program in Houston if she’ll stop being pregnant long enough)

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