Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au Revoir 2009

It's really hard for me to believe that in twelve hours this year will be over. 2010! This time last year I was figuring that 2009 couldn't possibly be as great as 2008 was, but it definitely proved me wrong. 2008 will remain #1, maybe because it was the first truly awesome year I've had, but 2009 absolutely didn't disappoint. Here are some highlights of this tip top twenty-oh-nine.

We bought, painted, and moved into our first house!

We found a new local restaurant we like, Chadra's.
I took several photo classes at a local camera store.
We switched to buying organic, mostly local, meats.
We vacationed in Washington DC and attended Steve & Meri's wedding.

We threw a house warming party and were so happy to have so many friends come to see the place and party with us!
We hosted a baby shower for our best friends Stephanie & Rodney and their twins, who will be here so very soon!
We spent time in California with our good pal Diggy.

In just the last 6 months I've seen Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, The Smothers Brothers, The Swell Season and WOODY ALLEN in concert.
An online travel agency picked up one of my travel photos.
We made new friends, and spent a lot of time surrounded by old and new friends this year.
I took an online photography class.
I roasted my first chicken!
My baby sister graduated from high school- salutatorian!
We celebrated our 11th year together and our 3rd wedding anniversary.
I had a Fort Worth Camera and a Photo of the Day
We had our first Christmas in the new house.

Who knows what 2010 has in store for us? We're hoping for a camping & trout fishing trip in the near future with Josh's dad. I'm hoping we'll be able to get down to see my sister's new house. I can't wait to love on Steph's coming twins, and Rob & LeAnn's little Violet (also due very soon). And I definitely can't wait for all the fun and new experiences Josh and I will get to share together. 2010, be on alert- you've got big shoes to fill! I'll be back tomorrow with my 2009 resolution accomplishments and what I hope to work on for 2010. Happy New Year everyone!!!

My Woody Allen Experience

First off, I just have to say that I have the best husband in the world. He was willing to take off work and drum lessons for me, despite having missed a lot of both lately with the holidays. He drove the three hours to Austin and back, despite having had to be and perform in Houston on Saturday and Dallas Sunday. All just to make one of my biggest dreams come true. That is the definition of love right there, and I know it.

So, one sentimental ball of mush out of the way and on to another. I spent almost two hours less than 30 feet from Woody Allen. It was one of the greatest things that I have ever experienced. When we sat down in our seats I had a moment to be elated at how good they were before I started to nearly hyperventilate with excitement at what I was about to witness. We were really as close as one could hope to get when they bought last minute tickets, and I had a completely unobstructed direct view to Woody. Clearly, he was what I was there to see, but that whole band is amazing. It was so fascinating to watch a smaller band play together, since my only other experience watching jazz performers has been the much bigger UNT band. Aside from the phenomenal music, I took so much pleasure in being able to watch Woody be Woody. I've watched so many interviews of him over the years that a lot of his little mannerisms are known to me. So when he took his sweater off about two songs in and brushed his hair back with his hand, when he slid his finger between his glasses and face to rub his left eye, when he stretched his arms down his legs and rubbed his knees- it was just him being himself right in front of my eyes. And more than that, I got to see him doing something he truly loves to do, is passionate about doing. Like I said, it was a dream come true.

They played for a little over an hour, and then did two encores which Woody claimed was a record for them, but I find that hard to believe. And they were long encores as well, adding almost 45 minutes on to the show. It's hard for me to know all the songs they played, I am not as familiar with my New Orleans jazz catalog enough to always easily recognize them- especially with a music as variable as jazz can be. I'm still trying to figure more out, but I know they played:

Ice Cream
Tie Me to Your Apron Strings Again
St. Louis Blues
Listen to the Mockingbird
Down by the Riverside
All the Whores Like the Way I Ride
My Old Kentucky Home
Home Sweet Home
Easter Parade
Sweet Georgia Brown

Again, just amazing to me that I've actually done this. It has been a dream for so long that I hardly know what to do with myself now that it's actually come true. Where does one go from here? To be honest, one still wants to go to NYC and see him at the Carlyle, to do it all over again. :)

Crappy iPhone pics from the evening.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post Christmas Catch-up

Oh my! I'm finally starting to feel back in the swing of things. Of course, it follows that there's still New Year's to get through too so who knows how long this feeling will last. Christmas eve turned out to be quite eventful, in that we practically had a blizzard in these parts. It started snowing before 10 that morning and it just kept coming. It took forever for it to start sticking, but once it did it accumulated rather quickly. The roads eventually started to ice over too. Mom and my brother Justin and his family were supposed to be coming over for dinner and presents. Mom still made it, but Justin had to make a quick stop by himself to deliver gifts since my niece came down with a bug that day. What bad luck! But we had a nice evening anyway. The snow finally eased shortly after Mom arrived. I roasted a chicken, which we had with stuffing and roasted veggies. We lit some candles and opened a bottle of wine and had a nice leisurely dinner. Afterward we played a little Beatles Rock Band to show Mom what it was like, and then we had apple cider, egg nog, and opened our presents. My bro called so my niece could say Merry Christmas to us all. We visited for a little longer and then we helped Mom out to her car. Her door was frozen shut, which took some yanking, and I had to scrape her windshield off for her. Luckily she just lives around the corner, so she didn't have far to go on the slick and slippery roads. Then Josh and I put on the new pajamas Mom gave us, had some cocoa and more nog, and watched Muppet Christmas Carol before settling in for our Christmas sleep.

Christmas morning we had a nice sleep in and woke up to glistening snow all over our yard. I previously had hopes of taking a little family portrait in front of the house, but all the cold and snow called for a quick readjustment. I set up the tripod and snapped a pic of us in our Christmas pajamas on the sidewalk instead. Then we had some bacon, hash browns, eggs and coffee for breakfast and opened our presents. We spoiled each other as usual! Josh loved all his presents, and I of course loved mine. He got me most of the stuff I posted from my wishlist. Then I got changed and went outside to make a little snowman. I just couldn't let the white stuff melt without a few minutes of fun in it. We spent the rest of the day enjoying our presents and then got ready and headed to his Mom's house that evening. I helped Deana in the kitchen while the guys watched a movie. We then had dinner and opened gifts, finished the movie over dessert, and headed back home.

Day after Christmas consisted of Josh leaving very early in the morning and me sleeping in. I spent most of the day in my pajamas with the after Christmas blues, watching movies and stuff off the DVR. Went out that night with Holly to see Holy Moly at the Aardvark, followed by some post drinking Fuzzy's Tacos and back home to bed. Josh got home on Sunday, we grabbed some lunch, and then headed back out to House of Blues for the Rock School showcase and the Back In Black concert. Monday we slept in, then got ready and hit the road to Austin to see Woody Allen. I'll write about that in another post though, cause that was a big life moment for me!

Here are a few pics from our holiday weekend. You can see a couple more here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Vacation

I will be leaving work shortly and off on my 5 day break. Hopefully be able to find some time to share Christmas photos in the next few days, but they'll be busy ones. Tonight I'll be trying to finish wrapping all the gifts and ordering a pizza so I can focus on them. Tomorrow I've got a lot of work ahead of me- cleaning house, setting the table, and preparing a Christmas Eve feast for ourselves and my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece. Josh and I will be spending the morning of our first Christmas in our new house just the two of us. Looking forward to sleeping in, breakfast, and leisurely opening our gifts to one another. Christmas night we'll be with Josh's mom, step dad, and brother- no doubt stuffing ourselves like we usually do and maybe playing some games. Josh has to jet off to Houston on Saturday, which makes me sad, but he'll be back already on Sunday. Sunday night he's got a show at the House of Blues in Dallas. Which brings us to my new most favorite part of our holiday break, Monday we'll be driving down to Austin to see Woody Allen and Eddy Davis's New Orleans Jazz Band!!! I am beyond excited for this. I discovered they were going to be in Texas today and was able to find good tickets. Not cheap, but I conveniently got a Christmas bonus yesterday that I didn't know what to do with. And Josh is taking off work and getting back on the road after one jaunt to go on another one as a special Christmas gift to me. Guys. I'm gonna be in the same room with Woody Allen. Listening to him play delicious New Orleans style jazz. So basically, I've got a date with heaven on Monday. I didn't know I could get any luckier, but then I did. Happy holidays everybody!!! I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and that your wishes come true! I know mine have.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Josh's Christmas Gifts 2009

Once again, Josh has promised to not peek so that I might share with you what he'll be finding from me under the Christmas tree this year. Josh actually asked for some stuff this year, and pretty early in the season too, so I had an easy task ahead of me. Didn't take me too long to decide what to get for him. Here's a peek at his presents. His gifts look a lot more colorful compared to last year's.

The Complete Monty Python's 16-Ton Megaset: Flying Circus, Justice, Volume 1 graphic novel, Mirror's Edge for PS3, Striped sweater from Old Navy (sold out), Moongel dampening gels (stocking stuffer), Flight of the Conchords Season 2 DVD, The Acid House by Irvine Welsh, digital tuner and metranome, Drumsticks and brushes (stocking stuffers)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekend Roundup

-Work, yuck, but leave early
-Get ready
-Head to SouthPeak Games Christmas party at Ferrari's in Grapevine
-Meet Josh's co-worker's, hang out with Lauren and Randy
-Couple glasses of champagne, some cocktails, and a shot with the ladies
-Stop for supplies and head to Omar's for after-party/30th birthday party
-Party it up with Josh's work peeps, some beers, and another shot- skittles vodka, wth
-Head home very late
-Crash in the guest room, out of fear of hangover illness the next day

-Rise and shine, in surprisingly good shape- no hangover!
-Be a bit lazy, some TV in bed
-Get ready
-Lunch at Chipotle
-Christmas shopping errands
-Wrap presents while Josh and Matt rehearse
-Late snack of cheese, sausage and crackers while we watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
-Into jammies
-Fall asleep watching The Miracle on 34th Street

-Sleep in
-Put Christmas Eve chicken in fridge
-Make menu plan and grocery list
-Have coffee and leftover Chipotle
-Grocery/stocking stuffer shopping
-Put up groceries
-Install new rain barrel, all by myself thankyouverymuch
-Start laundry
-Clean and prep veggies for the week
-Make dinner
-Eat and watch Simpsons episode with Josh
-Shower and hide out in the bedroom so Josh can wrap my gifts
-Oh, mi estomago
-Finish laundry
-Crash into bed with a tummy ache

Friday, December 18, 2009

Star Struck

How nerdy is it to be star struck after a visit to your local NPR station? Pretty nerdy I guess, but I couldn't help it! We are lucky enough here to have a new, second public radio station hit the airwaves- a sister station to our NPR affiliate KERA, called KXT. They play indie, Texas, and most importantly, local music. It is so refreshing to have a station supporting and playing good local music. They are fans of my husband's band, Fate Lions, and typically play them once or twice a day. And they are fond enough that this Wednesday they invited them into the KXT studio for an interview and to perform 3 songs live on the air. The boys let me tag along, ostensibly to take photos, but basically I was dying to see the KERA/KXT studios. I think I was possibly more impressed than all the guys!

When we got there Josh and I were escorted in by Jeff Whittington, who produces one of my favorite local KERA shows and hosts a second one. I tried to convey to Josh how exciting that was, but he doesn't really listen to as much public radio as I do. Then, when we were walking towards a conference room to wait out some of the technical set-up, we passed Krys Boyd's office while she was sitting at her desk. Niki laughed at me when I turned back and looked at him with my mouth agape, pointing back at her office door. Once they were ready for the guys I got to wait in the main studio booth, while the guys were set up next door. And as they started their In Studio performance, who should come in but the Vice President of KERA Radio, Jeff Ramirez, followed by the Vice President of all of KERA, Sylvia Komatsu. Talk about awesome, watching them listen and talk about how great they sounded! And afterward as the guys were packing up their stuff Sylvia Komatsu was telling everyone how great they were, and even introduced herself to me and shook my hand. Overall, a highly eventful afternoon that I will not soon forget.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My 2009 Christmas Wish list

This year I decided to do just one post on some of the things I put on my Christmas wish list, a la Olivia at Gnome Sweet Gnome. So, here are some of the things I am hoping to find under the tree this holiday season.

1. A set of filters and some film for my Holga camera
2. A water color set, sketch pad, and brushes (inspired by Emily)
3. I always ask for books- shown: The Groucho Letters, My Life In France, Woody Allen: A Biography, The Photographer's Eye, Blink, and Bill Wood's Business
4. Some glass replacements for my old, plastic food containers and a new compost pail from Crate & Barrel
5. New slippers with a hard sole
6. The Grab Bag of Swell Season 2008 tour posters
7. A Darcy proposal mug and Pride & Prejudice ornament from Etsy seller Brookish (currently sold out)
8. The Muppet Show Season 3 on DVD
9. Bakelite necklace from Etsy seller PetitOiseau

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Roundup

-Work, blech
-Home, watch Glee finale off DVR while waiting for Josh
-Dinner at Ocean Rock with Josh
-Pick up Christmas lights at Target
-Matt & Ashley stop by for a little bit
-Into PJs and bed

-Sleep in
-Peanut butter toast and banana breakfast
-Finish getting ready
-Amon Carter Museum for photography exhibits
-Visit with Eddie & Noakes after running into them in parking lot
-Target/Starbucks for sandwiches and coffee/hot cocoa
-Picnic and stroll at the duck pond
-Visit 2nd Target, Lowes and finally Home Depot to hunt down light hangers
-Home for some Beatles Rock Band, drum first and then sing 'til I can't anymore
-Fancy Irish cheese, summer sausage and crackers w/ beer while watching Scrooged
-Hit the hay

-Rise and shine
-Have coffee and make menu plan and grocery list
-Bowl of cereal while watching the woodpeckers and squirrels in the back yard
-Start laundry
-Grocery shopping
-Tidy up while Josh caulks the bath tub and window
-Lunch and 1 back episode of 30 Rock
-Put pork shoulder in the slow cooker
-Help Josh a little with house lights
-Clean house
-Admire Josh's house light work
-Water plants
-Clean and prep veg for the week
-Pulled Pork Tacos, black beans, chips & salsa, and salad for dinner while watching Christmas episode of 30 Rock
-Finish laundry
-Get ready for bed
-Fall asleep watching Muppet Christmas Carol

Friday, December 11, 2009

Clean Laundry

I'm having kind of a rough day so far. I left the cat outside longer than I probably should have in this cold weather, overslept this morning, and then- well, let's just say having your faults pointed out to you, while a wonderful opportunity for growth and personal improvement, isn't exactly my idea of a fun time. So, let's wash all that no-good stuff away by concentrating on my newly organized laundry area. I finally finished the little bit I had left to do on it last weekend. I knew I wanted to improve my hang drying capabilities, have a place to store my soap and other laundry accoutrement, and something on the floor so dropped clothes don't hit the concrete. Most of my problems where solved by a trip to IKEA. Well, let's face it, when does IKEA not solve most of my problems? I picked up three ANTONIUS drying racks along with the 70 7/8" wall supports to hang them. I was hoping to find the HALSTED runner, but they were out at our IKEA. Instead I picked up two of these HALSTED door mats. And then lastly I ordered a slim storage cart from Target, after not finding what I was looking for in-store or at Container Store. I've been really pleased with the efficiency of the area since the improvements. I can hang/flat dry much more than I could before, I don't have stuff piled on my washer and dryer, and I can more easily reach my cleaners since they're no longer on the shelf above. Here are some before and after pics.

laundry area before 1

laundry area after 1
Drying racks down

laundry area after 2
Drying racks up

laundry area  after 3
Cart next to washer and dryer

Thursday, December 10, 2009

War Is Over

Yoko Ono and have made the famous "WAR IS OVER" poster available on Flickr in 65 different languages. Downloadable in a full 3000 x 4000 poster size, or smaller. I find them incredibly beautiful, especially looking at the collection as a whole. Here is a sampling. View them all here. Happy Christmas.




American Sign Language

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

House Project Progress

I've finished my laundry area, but forgot to upload the pics so I'll have to wait to share that completed project. But another, bigger project is underway at the Casa de Hoover. We had our gutters installed yesterday! I didn't know it was possible to be so excited about such a thing, but I actually like to look at them. I made Josh go outside with me to see them when he got home from work last night. The color matches our siding so well, and they are so shiny and new! I was worried that I wouldn't like how they looked, that they might make our eaves look bad, but that's not the case at all. Of course now that they're up there is no rain in the forecast. But that's okay because it's still a project in progress. Last night I ordered our rain barrel for the front yard. We splurged here to have something that wouldn't be an eye sore since it will be right by our front porch. We plan to put a series of connecting rain barrels in the back yard, and we'll save by using the not as pretty, but budget and eco-friendly recycled food-grade barrels. Our front yard barrel is a real beauty though, and I can hardly wait for it to get here. Which probably means it will take forever! Once it arrives I'm hoping the weather won't be too cold to put in the french drain for the garage-side flower bed. Then the front will be done, and I'll just have to work on the rain barrel set-up in the back. Here's our lovely Cascata 65 gallon rain barrel!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Roundup

-Work, yuck
-Quick trip to Target with Mom
-Home to meet Josh
-Game Stop for his video game fix
-Central Market for bread pudding and Old Speckled Hen
-Christmas tree!
-Back home and get the tree in
-Fish & chips and pints while watching Muppet Christmas Carol
-Lights on the trees, bread pudding, apple cider and egg nog

-Up early
-Shower and get ready
-Nephew Griffin's 2nd birthday party!
-Run by in-laws for fish and veggies
-Target to get ornament hangers, a few Christmas gifts, and lunch
-Home for coffee and lunch
-Take down fall porch decorations and sweep down cobwebs
-Hang Christmas wreaths in windows, fight with porch garland, it wins
-Put together new laundry cart and finish cleaning laundry area
-Decorate for Christmas indoors
-Tidy up the mess I made
-Chips and salsa while watching Love Actually
-Into pajamas
-Fall asleep watching White Christmas

-Sleep in late with a headache
-Photo class and coffee
-Oatmeal while menu planning and grocery listing
-Get ready
-Tidy up bedroom, sort laundry
-Grocery shopping
-Start laundry
-Frozen pizza for dinner
-Clean and prep veggies while watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town
-Finish laundry
-Finally decorate the tree while watching Christmas Vacationand drinking mulled cider
-Hit the hay

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Living Room

Remember that time I bought a house, showed you some before pics and idea boards, and then never really followed up on that? Well, I'll probably be posting some more house glimpses here in the days to come, especially since there will be Christmas decorations to share and I'm near finishing my laundry area project (which has only been derailed by all the Christmas business). I finally got around to taking some photos of our mostly done living room a few weeks ago. And then last night I finally got around to uploading them, so thought I would share them with you on this fine Friday. Since it's been so darn long, here again is what our living room looked like when we bought the house, and my idea board can be seen here.



livingroom 1
View from the hall doorway

livingroom 2
View from the dining room doorway

livingroom 3
Our built-in. Such an incredible pain to sand, prime and paint.

livingroom 5
Used a picture ledge opposite the window to add a bit more architecture to that side of the room.

livingroom 4

You can see the pics bigger (and with notes!) here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Plans

The past week or so I've been trying to decide what decorations I would like to buy for Christmas this year. I cleaned out a lot of our old, discolored hand-me-down ornaments after last Christmas. It made sense to me to have a bit of a fresh start for our first Christmas in our new house. I didn't realize just how stressful I would find narrowing down my choices for our new decorations would be. Don't get me wrong, it's the fun kind of stressful! But so many ornament options! But here's the general idea I've put together. I've already gotten 4 wreaths and a roll of red velvet ribbon. I plan on hanging them in the front windows by a loop of ribbon with a bow on the bottom. I will hang our same old wreath on the front door, with the addition of an small wooden "H" that I plan to paint with gold glitter paint. I have a couple lengths of garland that I will trim the front porch in and a few faux white and red poinsettias added to it for some color. I hope to be able to put some classic white house lights up, but was waiting until we get our gutters installed and I'm waiting on the color samples to get that under way. That pretty much covers the outside decor for this year. And for the tree I think I've settled on a similarly classic selection of ornaments in red, green, silver and gold along with pine cones, snowflakes and the several boxes of icicles that we kept last year. Then our smattering of personal ornaments that always hang on our tree. I know we'll put white lights on our tree, and in the past we've also put colored lights on- not sure if I'll do that again or not. And there's definitely some bargain hunting involved here because I'm doing it all with the gift cards and money that my dad and sister's were super kind enough to give us for our housewarming. I got the wreaths and garland for 50% off and ribbon 30% off, so I'm off to a good start I think. :)

House photo found via Between Naps On The Porch

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Finally got the film I shot in San Francisco developed, along with a roll started in SF and finished off here at home during a walk around the museums. You can see the rest here.

Stow Lake Pedal Boats

Muir Woods 1

San Francisco from Twin Peaks

Kimbell Art Museum 2