Archive for June, 2011

Art by Phillip Martin

It’s June, and once again the weather is the prime topic of conversation in the Houston area. It is HOT. That isn’t exactly an unusual thing for Houston in June, but it has been exceptionally warm for this time of year lately, and the fact that it’s also DRY is making people nervous. We seriously don’t know what to do with ourselves when it hasn’t rained for 187 days and we have to resort to watering our own lawns. Worse, many cities (including La Porte) are imposing voluntary or mandated water restrictions (it’s that bad), so we’re kind of limited on our ability to even do that. But apart from making our lawns and flower beds brown and withered, this weather is just plain uncomfortable. I literally don’t want to do anything except sprawl on my couch in my central-air-conditioned house, or sit in an air conditioned movie theater. Even the beach is miserable because it’s windy, on top of everything. So BOO weather. We’re all praying for rain this week, and hoping that it doesn’t come in the form of a hurricane.

I (unlike some Texans) know and acknowledge that there are other places in the country besides Texas. I also realize that many of you are dealing with your own weather-related phenomena, like wild fires, flooding, tornadoes and other disasters that are much worse than a brown lawn and inconvenience. So if you’re suffering through one of those (and even if you’re not), please be safe and take good care of yourselves. Remember that this–weather, fires, floods and discomfort–too shall pass.

Have a great week, and enjoy the lists!

top 20

  1. My air-conditioned, couch-lounging toes

    couch lounging

  2. lime popsicles
  3. cedar plank salmon
  4. The Food Network, my salvation during summer re-run season.
  5. Rory McIlroy
  6. understanding co-workers
  7. appreciative phone calls from happy clients
  8. cool breezes
  9. pie weights
  10. Talk of the Nation on NPR. Every time I turn it on I hear something compelling.
  11. Feist
  12. the return of food in our pantry (because I finally went grocery shopping)
  13. Current TV
  14. Twitter
  15. the film Il Postino
  16. Tom Collins, and whatever he did to inspire his drink
  17. belated birthday presents
  18. the scent of purple basil
  19. Travel & Leisure Magazine
  20. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

bottom 10

  1. AP photo of the Arizona Wildfires

    the state of Arizona basically on fire

  2. The state of the ocean. I hate to go all Green-Peace on you, but it’s pretty serious and we need to pay attention.
  3. coiffure crisis
  4. beards
  5. the never-ending saga of litter box re-training
  6. voluntary water restrictions in a usually-tropical climate
  7. the irony of printing 18 copies of our recycling brochure, just to see if the edges line up properly
  8. hackers
  9. planning a holiday weekend getaway at the same time that the rest of the nation is planning a getaway
  10. disappointing literature (specifically Raymond Khoury’s novel The Last Templar)

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Happy Almost Father’s Day!

Dads put up with a lot. I think, as the dad of four daughters, my dad got an extra large helping of Things to Put Up With: bathrooms strewn with curlers, make-up, and hairspray, countless changes of clothing, fad diets, prom dresses, school performances, boyfriends, and who knows how many hours of drama over everything from best friends to bad hair days to school projects to what we were going to wear to school/Prom/work/the store. And he was awesome–he ignored our messes, applauded our performances, patiently waited for us to get our acts together, and encouraged us to be everything we wanted to be. I hope he enjoys this Sunday, because he’s certainly earned it!

A recap of last week: it was, in a word, horrid. It was just ridiculous. Almost every day last week was a day when everything that could possibly go wrong did, and I endured several humbling experiences, including a visit to the vet with two cats, a public meeting with technological difficulties, a failed test, several wrong turns and a series of mornings without coffee. The week ended on Friday with my cat Banzai biting Jamey on the finger and causing a hellacious infection, which in turn caused us an evening at the emergency room, getting Jamey a tetanus shot and some super potent antibiotics.

Happily, the weekend was fantastic. We drove up to Dallas on Saturday morning and watched the Firestone Twin 275 Races at Texas Motor Speedway. Jamey’s cousin Brian joined us, which was lots of fun. My favorite driver Dario Franchitti (aka Mr. Ashley Judd) won the first race and Will Power won the second, and they were both very exciting. And we stayed in the Dallas Renaissance Hotel, which measures up to my hotel snob standards and is delightful in every way. We spent Sunday exploring the DFW metroplex, and had a really nice drive home. Hopefully the weekend was a sign of better weeks to come!

So there you have it. Enjoy this week’s lists, have a fabulous week, and, if you’re a Dad, about to be a Dad, or celebrating a Dad in your life, have a Happy Father’s Day!

top 20

  1. My Dad

    My Dad, Rick. He’s awesome.

  2. Other notable dads in my life: my paternal grandfather Dean, my late materal grandfather Kelly, Jamey, Jamey’s Dad Jack, and my brothers-in-law Rich and Craig.
  3. Sunday’s Twitter feeds, which were split evenly between the Tony’s and the NBA
  4. Terry Gross’s interview with Stephen Colbert on today’s Fresh Air
  5. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s gleeful coverage of Anthony Weiner’s really bad judgement
  6. exploring The Big D (I mean Dallas)
  7. Renaissance hotels
  8. feather pillows
  9. The film Super 8. If you haven’t seen it, do it immediately.
  10. air conditioning
  11. the Magnolia Cafe in Pasadena
  12. Jamey, who makes me coffee in the morning even though we’re on different schedules and he’s already had his
  13. sales at Talbots
  14. Dario Franchitti (and Ashley Judd, too)
  15. super large Ziploc bags
  16. traveling
  17. the pictures I regularly get from my sisters of my adorable nieces and nephews
  18. flip flops
  19. The rest area just north of Huntsville. You laugh that it’s in my top 20, but not if you’ve been there. It’s very impressive.
  20. TED Talks. They make my day whenever I watch them.

bottom 10

  1. Really, Anthony?

    stupid politicians (in general, but particularly Anthony Weiner)

  2. disappointment (in Anthony Weiner and other stupid politicians)
  3. infidelity (just seemed to go with the theme)
  4. Banzai the Cat, even though he’s repented from biting Jamey on the finger
  5. calluses from wearing high heels
  6. this ridiculous drought
  7. Not having a chauffeur. I got lost five times last week and it would have been lovely to just make someone else drive me.
  8. learning that I’m not quite the algebra genius that I thought I was
  9. Dailys Ready to Drink Margaritas. Not as good as one might hope.
  10. coffee deprivation

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Once again, it’s been weeks and weeks with no Top 20/Bottom 10 blog from Yours Truly. It’s true–I’m guilty of being an inconsistent blogger, and I apologize to my readers for that. My only excuse is that I’ve been super busy, celebrating my birthday and traveling the country in search of entertainment. Hopefully all 12 or 13 of you will still come back and read my blog even if I don’t update it as often as a good blogger should. Perhaps if I did there would be more than 12 or 13 of you.

For those of you keeping track, my birthday was a few weeks ago and it was lovely. Jamey was a great sport and took me to all the girly, froofy places I wanted to go, like La Madeleine, dress-shopping, the movies, and The Cheesecake Factory. He also gave me mimosas in bed, since we couldn’t find a place that served brunch on a Saturday. Then my family sent me presents the next week, so I had a whole week of enjoying my birthday.

The view from our car for the three-hour, seven-mile commute to the Indy 500

For Memorial Day weekend we went to Indianapolis to watch the Indianapolis 500 race. My parents met us there, and we had a fantastic time. Those cars go SO fast, and it was hard to know who was where on the track, but it was a very exciting race, with Dan Wheldon pulling ahead of JR Hildebrand at the last minute. And it’s very cool to say that we were there. We almost weren’t–we were in a massive traffic jam that made the 7-mile trip from our hotel to the racetrack a THREE-HOUR ordeal. But we did make it, and I’m so glad. That was the second time I’d seen the Indy 500 in person, but this year was the 100th Anniversary of the very first race, and it was lots of fun to go with my parents. My dad is a huge race fan, and he really enjoyed it. My mom is more fond of shopping, so she and I took off after the 100th lap and did some of that in the track gift shops, making it back in time to see the exciting finale…so we all had a good time. It was great to see my parents and to spend time with them. I don’t get to see them very often now that I live in the Houston area, so I really enjoy the times that we get together.

Polar bear at the Indianapolis Zoo

I also really enjoyed Indianapolis. We went to two restaurants that we’d seen on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show: The Barking Dog and Three Sisters Cafe. We also explored the canal walk, and Jamey and I went to the Indianapolis Zoo on the last day were there. We got home really, really late on Monday night, so the rest of the week was a bear, but it was well worth it. Jamey took some great pictures, which I will post as soon as he has them up on the ‘net. 

Hurricane Ike, which we evacuated from in 2008

On another note, Hurricane Season officially began on June 1, which means that it’s time to drag out the emergency preparation guides and stock up the hurricane kit. We went to the Southeast Harris County Hurricane Preparation Workshop in Pasadena on Saturday, and learned a lot, as always. Then we went and bought everything we thought we might possibly need if a hurricane hits and we’re stuck without power for days on end–essentials like Velveeta and Spam and Ramen noodles made the list, as well as the normal duct tape, batteries, bleach, etc. Since we’ve actually been through a hurricane (Ike in 2008), we kind of know what to expect if one does happen to hit. But I hope that when hurricane season ends in December we can just unpack our emergency kit and have a little Velveeta and Spam party to celebrate another season without any major hurricanes hitting land in our area. Good to be prepared, though, just in case…

I’ll leave you with that little Girl Scout moment, and hope that you enjoy this week’s lists. I’ll try to be better about updating them, now that I’m home from traveling for a while. 

Have a great week!

top 20

  1. Jamey at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

    Indianapolis. Overall the people were welcoming and kind and went out of their way to welcome 400,000 race fans to their city.

  2. lazy Sunday mornings
  3. Tim Heller, the weatherman from the local ABC affiliate. I’ve seen him speak at four hurricane workshops, and his presentation is always different and very well delivered.
  4. Google
  5. Fabulous parking karma. Jamey found primo spots everywhere we went in Indianapolis.
  6. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
  7. summer grilling
  8. The sea salt caramels at Chocolates by Mark on Main Street in La Porte. Delicious.
  9. feeling useful
  10. Tigers. I just like them.
  11. Southwest Airlines Express Bag Drop
  12. The little girl at the Hurricane Workshop who covered herself from head to toe in Wally Wise stickers–that’s a safety conscious child!
  13. parades
  14. the mojitos at Don’key’s Mexican Food restaurant in Pasadena
  15. brunch
  16. Icees
  17. Biblion, the new iPad app from the NY Public Library
  18. The film Rio. I’ve been playing Angry Birds Rio for months on my iPad, and seeing the movie makes everything make sense. Except for the fact that I play that game for hours on end…
  19. lime popsicles
  20. the season finale of NBC’s Chuck

bottom 10

  1. stifling summer heat
  2. sitting in traffic
  3. limbo
  4. double standards
  5. feeling UN-useful
  6. a broken disposal
  7. George, my cat, who has decided all of the sudden that she doesn’t appreciate her litter box.
  8. the current job market
  9. political games
  10. women still getting the short end of the stick in the workplace

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