Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thankful

Okay, so I know Thanksgiving is over.. it really is just a bleep in the calendar compared to the huge holidays of Halloween and Christmas. And while the turkey (and the corresponding leftovers) has been eaten, I'm still thinking about everything I'm thankful for. So indulge me if you will in a re-counting of recent blessings:

  • warm mochas on a cold day. Today Mary T came to my door with a wonderful mocha to fuel our trip to the beauty shop. It was a very welcome surprise.
  • Far away friends who took the time to show me the sights. It was so wonderful seeing Kealy earlier in November. She is really the most wonderful hostess. I find myself thinking of Portland often, and wanting to get back.
  • Festive pals ringing in the Christmas season. It was great to see a bunch of friends at the Nine Flags lighted Chritmas parade. The best part? Watching Rees watch the floats, watching Pat play Santa, watching our very own doll Ruby the whistler go through 2 costume changes, and eating!
  • Living vicariously. Thanks to Sonnie for sharing pics of her recent cruise. Her description of the dolphin swin was awesome.
  • Winding down the school semester. Even though I've got a lot left to do, the end is in sight!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thai one on...

Today has been a series of ups and downs. This morning I had the great pleasure to talk architecture with a reporter from the Austin-American Statesman working on a story about a building I wrote a National Register nomination for eight years ago. He found my name through my blog so that was cool. Not cool was getting to the confrence 10 minutes early, only to find 1) that almost all of the breakfast food was gone and 2) that both the sessions I was interested in were full. Portland has a strict policy that if a breakout room is full there is no standing room..I ended up coming back to the room and worked on some emails and course stuff. I tried to go to the second session of the morning only to be foiled again.. Full...

At 2:00 central I gave a long-distance lecture to my tourism class using a webcam. That worked out pretty well, and I had just enough time to catch lunch at the conference..WRoNG! They were out of lunches when I got there. They were about 50 short.. talk about mutiny. There is nothing so bad as 5o interpreters who are hungry and waiting on food...I finally was able to eat and did actually get to attend a pretty good session over technology and interpretation- using iphones, gps, and ipods to do tours at museums and nature sites.

Afterwards I met up with my good pals from High School and got to hang out at their awesome home. The highlight was a fabulous 4 course meal at a rocking Thai place. Pad Thai, Drunken Noodle, Tom Kha soup and spring rolls..yum..plus good company and the most adorable little boys ever..

Unfortunately as the evening has worn on, I am working on a raging sore throat and earache..I'm hoping that it will be gone by morning..I've got a bookstore and a whole street full of vintage clothing shops calling my name.

It's a new day

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and best of all- I'm going to get to see Kealy this weekend! Woo-HOO!!

I had a hard time sleeping last night because I kept thinking of all those books.. just sitting in that enormous bookstore, calling my name. I'm taking a tour of Portland's China town tomorrow, but hopefully I can steal away for a few more hours at Powell's. It must be love...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Portland

I'm here in Portland, and guess what? It's raining! Last night, after a full day of travel, I wasn't so sure that I was happy to be here. I gave my presentation to a packed room today and I think it went okay. I had a few questions from the audience and no one threw organic tomatos or recycled plastic ware. A few thought on Portland:

1) It's beautiful. There are gorgeous trees with leaves every shade of red, orange and yellow.

2) It prides itself on its sustainability. I ate dinner at a Burgerville last night. The menu featured sweet potato fries or regular, organic pumpkin shakes and non-hormone crazed beef..

3)People are generally very friendly and pretty talky.

Tonight I ate at this crazy restaurant called Sushiland. It had a conveyor belt resplindent with sushi, nigiri, edamame and more. I had a spicy crunchy tuna, miso soup, edamame, a veggie roll and a tempura shrimp roll plus a Black Butte Porter for $11.50. Can you believe it? Next stop was Powell's books. Apparently it is the world's largest independent bookstore. At 68,000 square feet of heaven, I can't imagine anything any bigger. I was there an hour and didn't make it out of the children's section.

I'm hoping to catch up with Kealy over the weekend and tomorrow night some friends from high school are taking me out for Thai food. I miss my family - Red Menance, the Snapper, Scotty and of course Jingo too.. as you can see, I'm salving my wounds with GOOD FOOD!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

remembering October

I've gotta tell you. I am ready for a change. Not the political kind, although I gotta say that is pretty exciting, but a change from feeling the damp cloud of sadness that came with the month of October this year.

At the beginning of the month we lost my mother's sister.. my aunt Bettye. My aunt had been ill since a stoke nearly two years ago. She was ready to go, even though the rest of us weren't ready to let her go. Her death was a surprise to me, though it shouldn't have been. My uncle, who had been her partner for over 44 years, held up remarkably well at her funeral. I offered to write the obituary, but he decided against an obituary. As it turned out, I ended up writing the eulogy, which the minister read verbatim over her grave at the funeral. It wasn't written to be a complete eulogy, and I left out some of the things I remember about my aunt: that she would always kiss our hands, close them and say "lock it up, lock it up" when we would leave their house in Dallas. That she used cameo soap. That she liked to have her feet rubbed. She never had children, and my sister and I were her closest neices to my knowlege.

I had been thinking of her, missing her most of the month when we lost our dog Pogo. So many people have sent cards, sent kind thoughts and said comforting words to us. One of the sweetest cards said that "one day we will be able to remember his antics and laugh." I know it is true..we had so many good times with him.

So as you can see, I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to get going with November.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ike!



Well, we made it through remarkably well, considering that this image is just about 75 feet from our house. We, unlike so many of our friends and famillies, have power. We were only out of power from 12:30 p.m. on Saturday until about 7:30 p.m. I have no idea how that is possible, but I'll take it.

Our neighborhood was hit really hard, with massive trees down everywhere. The Daily Sentinel has some good pics of the path of Ike as it made its way through Nac.

Last night we had some folks over for an electricity party, and my parents are staying with us. Now for the clean up!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunker down now Y'all...

I'm interested in where the term hunker down originates from. I don't recall hearing it much outside of old war movies until we waited out Hurricane Rita last time. Even thought the digital sign at Walgreens' consistently reminds us to by a NOAA weather radio for only $29.99, we still only have our regular old battery operated AM/FM deal. During Rita, we all came into the front living room, turned the radio on and listened as announcers took calls all over East Texas from those who were hunkering down. A typical call went like this..

Announcer: "Howdy, you are on KFROG FM. What's it like where you are?"
Caller: "Well Sammy Bob, the missus and I are hunkered down here in Broaddus. We're at my Aunt Lil's watching the pine trees snap like toothpicks at a Catfish King"

Since NPR had abandoned the airwaves we were stuck with *gasp* E. Texas commercial radio during the duration of Rita..Caller after caller noted how they were "hunkering down".

This time around I'm making sure we have all the essentials:

batteries - check
flashlights -check
diapers - check
Books 3 & 4 of Twillight - double check

I can't think of anything else we'd need to hunker down...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

(really) wish you were here



Greetings from Anchorage! I'm on day 4 of my 10 or so day trip and I am experiencing something I haven't had since I left Texas.. Quiet! There is a pretty big group of us here, including my major professor and her family, another graduate student and her extended family and a researcher and videographer. All in all it has been pretty good. Here are the Highlights so far:


  • Staying at this place in Cooper's Landing, and having a morning hot tub soak next to this unbelieveably blue river.

  • Eating well. We haven't eaten out once, but since we have some Taiwanese folks on the trip, they are making some really fantastic dishes. Tonight was a vegetable soup that was really good. I also had a famous Reindeer dog from M.A.'s hotdog stand. Grilled onions, cream cheese, reindeer...what more can I say?

  • The scenery. Too bad photos don't do it any justice.

  • Rees has had a good time. Today she went with all the kiddos to the Alaska Zoo. She's also hiked on the back of someone up to the rapidly receeding Exit Glacier.

The Lowlights:


  • Being away from my husband and family

  • Having to work, and not being a tourist. Interviewing is hard for me,and I'm a little uncomfrotable approaching people.

  • Not being able to hang out in Anchorage, or go on a charter boat out of Seward

  • Getting up early and working until midnight or later

Being away from Rees during the day and missing her adventures
Not making the fab joint birthday of Chrissy and Mary


I'm hoping to post more later...here are some pics from the trip so far.





Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What does it take...

To get outta town?

How about -
2 wheelchairs
1 wheelchair lift
1 high chair
1 pack n play
120 diapers
2 coolers
1 57 gallon tub full of dry goods
4 suitcases
2 laptops
4 GI joes
1 airsoft gun
2 dogs
1 5x8 U-haul

Whew! Good thing we are getting away from it all!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Week (end) wrap up

It just seems like summer is flying by, and there isn't enough time to swim, sleep and eat watermelon with pals. Make no mistake, I'm trying to make the most of long days and time off.
To that end, I'm heading northward to work on some dissertation research today. Colder climes, here I come!

Last week I got to meet a new friend who discovered my blog during her re-location to Nac efforts. She and her daughter (and husband, I'm sure, although I didn't get to meet him) are super cool. I hope she'll take part in our renagade crafting sessions. She's already scoped out Morning Glory, got a library card and joined the CSA. What more can I say? Welcome!

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the first day...

Today has been the first full day with just the Runnels' girls. This morning I got Nick shipped off to camp to join Scott, then left Reesie with her new best friend - a ninth grader she met at VBS. I had a few work meetings, came home and dropped the sitter off and Rees and I hit Walgreens.

I like Walgreen's, I just wish that
1) they weren't enemies of historic preservation
and
2) that they didn't do those buy 2 for $5.99, or 1 for $3.99 deals
what a rip. Btw - that link above is just one of the numerous examples of how Walgreen's rips up historic properties, including my beloved Frisco Shop.

My quest was some candy for my niece in China. Her favorite is M & M's but I knew they wouldn't make it in the summer heat. I settled on candy necklaces --mmm sticky sweetness, and couldn't help but pick out a Lisa Frank sticker book (1200 stickers in everyshade of bubblegum pink!) and then a Candyland watercolor book. I also picked up some Dr. Pepper flavored ice pops for my brother in law. I won't reveal the entire contents of the package to China since my sister reads this blog.. but its goood. REALLL good! The main thing is the bumpo seat which I scored at Goodwill over the weekend.

Reesie and I took a trip to the postoffice to mail the package plus 5 letters to Scott and Nick and a package too. They'll be dancing and singing until dinner if I get my way..mrahhhaa...
The postal workers were quite enamored of her and she enjoyed the change of scenery. I took her over to her grandpa's for a quick nap and ran to the libray to renew my current read, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and to return a big pile that included The Runaway Bunny and The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon.

That last one was Scott's latest book to finish. Its an alternate history to what might have happened if the Jewish state was set up in Alaska instead of Israel. He liked it I think. All I know is that he woke me up at 2 a.m. last week to tell me that it mentioned Nacogdoches. The dialogue goes something like

"Where is Palestine?"
"It's about two hours from Nacogdoches"

Obviously a play on the Palestine/Palesteen pronunciation.

Tonight I ate grilled Salmon and veggies from the CSA with my in-laws. Dessert was fresh raspberries with sour cream and brown sugar. Kroger's got raspberries on sale for $1. Woo hoo! Did I mention I love summer?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Recap

It has been one of those wonderful summer weekends. I can't complain about how I spent ANY of my time this weekend. How rare and wonderful!

Friday started off by getting jazzed at VBS then sprinting off to the Library to give a Blogging 101 workshop for the Teaching Excellence Center. The audience was filled with tenured, senior faculty and friendly faces too! Thanks Chrissy for supporting me. I want to team teach Blogging 202 with Chrissy next time. I got everyone on their way to making a new blog, then ran back to the church to pick up Nick and Rees. Nick had the very strange scent of movie theater popcorn on him. It all made sense when I learned he had been slip n' sliding in popcorn butter, ketchup and chocolate syrup with the rest of the 6th graders. He assured me that he had a shower at the church- I only learned later that it was a shower sans soap. Oh well.

We picked up Scott and headed to Lufkin so he could finish up his teaching gig at the Museum of East Texas Art Camp. After we dropped him off, Nick, Rees and I went to the Goodwill. I scored a Baby Bumpo seat for $5. Then I took Nick to the Army/Navy store. He was in hog heaven and came away with personalized dog tags and an army issue beret. We still had time to kill, so I suggested Big Lots. Much to our luck, Ruby was pulling in right as we were. She hopped in the car and we headed to the Lunch Box for lunch for her and Rees and a snack for Nick and me. Then we returned to BigLots for an hour or so of fabulous discount shopping. I scored a gorgeous package of Mrs. Sullivan's pecan pies and a few other things. We parted ways with Ruby and picked up Scott. Our destination- dinner at UFO pizza. I highly recommend this Brick oven style pizza place. We had the veggie with artichokes and peppers and also one with meats of many nations. When we got back to Nac, the boys hung out and watched the Dirty Dozen, while I hung out with some gal pals drinking wine and gabbing.

Saturday started off great too! I picked up Chrissy for a Farmer's Market expedition and got some wonderful white peaches from Promiseland orchards. YUM! I had a hankering for Fried Green tomatoes so we went to Butcher Boys for lunch then ran errands with the family. Saturday night I helped Scott and Nick pack for camp and organized my recipe box.

Today has been good too- I got Scott sent off to camp then hung out with the parents. Rees and I had a nice dinner of leftovers for me and squash, chicken and pasta, and avocado and yogurt for her. She was sleepy early and went off to bed without a bath or change of clothes.

Tonight I've been catching up on emails from work, cleaned the kitchen and watched *gasp* the Miss Texas USA pageant. Hopefully this will be the start of a great week!

Friday, June 27, 2008

V.B.S.

This week I have been a crew leader at our church's annual Vacation Bible School. It has been an interesting experience and I've actually learned a lot. Namely that teaching college students is a piece of cake compared to 6, 7, 8 and 9 year olds. Whew! It has been a wild week.

The theme for the week was Power Lab. It's actually been pretty cool. Each day we've done some experiments (today was mentos and diet coke) and then tied it back to a Bible lesson. Each day the kids have learned about being thankful, brave, helpful and so on. We do crafts, sing songs, play games and generally act silly. I drew the line today when one of my 8 year old charges announced that we would ALL be doing the crab walk down the hall way!

All in all, its been a great experience. Our church is a Free Summer Lunch site for children, and our VBSers have also participated in the free lunch this week. I think it is great that kids can have access to solid nutrition even though school is out. Today they had watermelon, apple juice, something called pizza sticks and cheese crackers.

Next week Scott and Nick leave for a week of church camp. Rees and I will be bachelorette- and I will join the ranks of my pals who have had spouse and partners gone for extended periods this summer. I'm excited for the boys, but I'm sure going to miss them - and their diaper changing skills!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Two Toed Sloth

So I buy this new pair of peep toe sandals. They are super cute, and actually fit my wide feet. Last week, as we are running out the door to a potluck, I decided at the last minute to wear them for the first time. No problem right? Except for the fact that I've put off getting that "beginning of summer" pedicure.

So I do what many a time-crunched lady would do... I paint just the 4 little piggies that actually show through the cute peep toe. Crisis averted, and my bright pink toes looked pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

Walk in to the potluck and immediate realize that I am the only one wearing peep toe sandals with bright pink toenail polish. As a matter of fact, I'm the ONLY ONE WEARING SHOES! Apparently this was a "shoes off" affair. Luckily I was ablea to curl my toes, tuck them under my jeans then finally inconpicuously scrape away the majority of the pink polish. I think I got away with it...

I've definitely learned my lesson on the old 1-2 paint job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

(re) connect

Part of the beauty of MySpace and Facebook and email and even blogs is that old friends can be "found" or re-discovered or brought up to speed on things happening. Just recently I reconnected with a friend from high school that I hadn't seen or talked to in over 15 years.

So I wonder why I'm totally down about a friend who doesn't want to reconnect? Could it be that she was a mentor of mine and more than just a friend when I was an undergrad? Could it be that we shared a lot of fun times at the Texas Association of Museum's annual conference? Could it be that I eventually followed her into architecture school and found my niche in historic preservation?

Actually, I think it has something to do with the beautiful red acrylic bowl that is currently holding our farmer's market bounty. She gave it to us for our wedding, and it's been on our counter ever since. I think it was meant for chips and dips, but the flowing organic shape of it is perfect for fruits and veggies.

She was the first person that I ever knew who brought a cooler to Central Market and stocked up on fine wine, cheese and bread long after she had left Austin. She was sort of the older sister I never had.

I last saw her in November of 2005 at her wedding. It was just perfect and everything was beautiful. We exchanged Christmas cards in 2006 and I sent her one in 2007. Sometime in 2006 we lost touch. I tried to email and even visited her museum on my way out to Guadalupe Mountains but didn't hear anything from her again.

Just recently, as I was cleaning out the red bowl, I thought to try to re-connect again. I sent an email and-

no response.

I'm thinking of sending an old fashioned letter, apologizing for whatever transgression I might have made. Any suggestions??

Thursday, June 12, 2008

(Pizza) Pie Man

You may not know this, but our very own Red Menace is not only a kid-about-town and all around good guy, he is also an award winning chef! Nick placed 1st in the Nacogdoches County Extension's Kid's cooking contest with his Double Blueberry Pizza recipe. He developed the recipe, tested two variations and cooked it to perfection. If you are interested in it I'm sure he'll be willing to share!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shhh...don't tell her


As I have chronicled here, you know that the Snapper is the happy recipient of many wonderful gently used and just plain fab clothes. Dressing her is really a delight- but I seldom get to buy her clothing myself. I'm not complaining - but with 2 grandmas and numerous "aunties" in town - her wardrobe is taken care of.

We really haven't bought many toys either- she has a few faves and LOVES books too. She's easily amused by a spoon or even the Kroger circular. But we just couldn't resist picking up the classic Fisher Price chatter telephone for her birthday recently. I know, I know, it isn't for 2 more months, but you don't see these beauties every day. The box says that it was introduced in 1962 as a way to teach children how to use a rotary dial phone. Lucky for us, we actually use a rotary dial phone.

The challenge for me is going to be keeping it a secret from a very busy baby. And from buying all the "classic" Fisher Price toys BEFORE August!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good Luck Kitty


I couldn't resist posting this shot of the Snapper, begging her daddy for a bite of Blue Bell's newest flavor, Southern Hospitality. Of course I wanted it just for the carton, but it is actually pretty good for non-homemade ice cream. It doesn't hold a candle to Kendal's ice cream creations, however.

My other motive for posting this pic is to show off my recently finished Maneki-Neko onesie that I embroidered for Reesie. I used Sublime Stitching's t-shirt stabilizer for the first time, which I HIGHLY recommend. It made stitching through jersey so much nicer.

Sad day

The fabulous-ness of the weekend (complete with Pink Panther watching, day lilly buying, onesie embroidering, and two potlucks) was completely clouded by this morning's news of the Texas Governor's Mansion burning yesterday.



The paper reports that the cause of this tragedy is suspected arson. It is a true crime against the people of Texas that this building would burn. I know the building intimately - having attended numerous functions there when I lived in Austin - and then studying it as a preservation student. Built in 1856 by msater builder Abner Cook, this Greek Revival house was elegant and stately. It stood near the capitol building, tucked away on a side street. As a student,I wrote the National Register Nomination for it's next door neighbor, the Austin Tribune Building. Right before I left Austin, I worked as an architectural historian for a downtown firm. I'd take the bus downtown from my Delwood duplex and my route would take me by the Governor's mansion each day.

Fortunately, the mansion was undergoing restoration. Most of the furnishings and even some architectural elements like doors and windows had been removed for safekeeping. The current occupants, Rick and Anita Perry, were living in a rented house in West Austin. Already, preservationists from around the state are calling for complete restoration. To lose this piece of Texas history would be a terrible terrible shame.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Gettin' it done


Frank Gehry on the Simpsons

This has been a pretty productive week, all told. I'm finally at the end of teaching a 4 week online Travel and Tourism class. I started 2 onesies for Rees, paid bills, cleaned out Rees' wardrobe, watched Nick and Scott clean Nick's room, mailed some correspondence, re-upped our subscription to the New Yorker and Preservation magazines, and got a haircut.

In between all of that I made baby food, picked up some locally grown eggs and a chicken from Heritage Farms, and went to the public library! I'm happy but beat!

Tonight I'm excited about the "Cool and Collected" closing at the Cole Art Center, followed by a screening of a film about architect Frank Gehry. Gehry is a super cool architect, famous for the Guggenheim musem in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in L. A. He makes materials do things no one else can.

Tomorrow its on to the Farmer's Market then the Daylily Farm. A church luncheon on Sunday (YUM!) and a Parenthood Juggle Teaching Circle social. Can I re-iterate my love for SUMMER??

Friday, May 23, 2008

Still Smiling

I have to admit, I was completely overwhelmed by the well-wishes, e-cards, phone calls and visits I had yesterday in celebration of the big 3-4. The day started off snuggling with Rees - then the phone rang. It was my dad. He instructed Scott to wake me up so he could be the first to wish me a happy birthday. After that, there was a steady stream of good thoughts sent my way.

M & K took Scott and I out to lunch at the best new place in town, the Garden of Good Eatin'. I feasted on chicken and dumplings, fresh squash, carrots, cornbread and buttermilk pie. YUM! I guess you could say Southern food was the theme of the day. My mom and dad made my favorite smothered steak with fresh green beans and rice, and Scott made a bananna pudding confection to die for. Then came the presents. The ever-fabulous Lee Brothers Southern cookbook (that includes a chocolate grits ice cream), a book by Madeline author Harry Bemelmans, called Hotel Bemelmans, and the New Yorker Magazine's collection of food writing. I'm set for the summer.

The best present, however was the touching tribute from my sister who lives in China. I'm not sure how to top what she wrote about me...Thanks sis! We are off to Austin to see Jack Kerouac's On the Road scroll at the Ransom Center. Hooray for summer!! Hooray for birthdays!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knights of the Roundtable

I've been thinking a lot about local food and food-ways lately, and I've been wondering why we don't have restaurants like the Columbia Roundtable that I wrote about a couple of days ago.


From the very un-scientific research I've done, it seems like these places are only found in Mississippi. There is one in Vicksburg, McComb, and of course Columbia.
We barely put a dent in it...

The best fried chicken I've ever eaten...



Sweetie pie








I've heard tell of a new restaurant here in Nacogdoches that serves good, locally grown home-cooking. I'm pretty excited to try it before it catches on and get too popular. Unfortunately for me, it is only open M-F 11 -2.





In the meantime, I plan to attend the Quantity Foods luncheon being made by our SFA hospitality students next week. Next week's theme is local food and 100% of the meal is going to come from locally produced fruits, veggies and Bellebrook farm organic beef. For $10 diners will be treated to locally grown epicurian delights. The luncheon will be held Thursday, April 17 and starts at 11:30. Let me know if you are interested in getting a ticket to this super-cool event.



Hooray!

Well, the SFASU School of Art has made a fantastic decision! They decided to hire our good neighbor (and husband of fellow crafter, Michelle) Neal Cox for a tenure track position! That means that us crafty folks will get to keep Michelle in our group and it also means that the art students at SFA will have a great faculty member.

Check out Michelle's store - she is doing some AWESOME things, especially for little ones!

Hooray!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

March Madness

What happened to March?

The month just flew by and I had every intention of at least blogging once, but you know about good intentions, right?


March was a whirlwind of babies, trips, and Easter bunnies galore. All in all it was a fun (and busy) month. Some highlights:


Welcoming Baby Ava Raye! It was fun getting to know my new neice and hanging out with my 20 month old neice Annabelle. I think my sister and her family are getting adjusted to being back in China after being in the states 6 weeks, but we miss them!


Eating our way through the south:

For spring break, we headed for Hattiesburg, MS to see Scott's grandmother. We took the scenic route through New Orleans so we could take in the National WWII museum. Wow! It was pretty incredible and 3 hours + wasn't near long enough. The day we were there, Anne Frank's step-sister was speaking. I think we all learned a lot and had a great time too.


While Scott and Nick had definite ideas about what they wanted to do, so did I. My main goal was to eat my way through the south. Using the fab website "Roadfood" as a guide we hit some fantastic places.


We started in Natchitoches at Lasyones. This small joint is known for their meat pies but the Red beans and rice aren't too shabby, either.




We stayed in Lafayette and I really fell in love with this cajun community. The night we were there, they were having an artwalk downtown and live music too. We gorged on "plate lunch" specials at Dwyer's cafe, then headed to this super-cool Borden's for ice cream sundaes (me) and double dips (Scott and Nick). That evening we scoped out Breakfast options and settled on Keller's Bakery. Wow! I'm still thinking about the sweet potato hand pies that I had, and I know the boys loved their cream puffs, elcairs and blueberry hand pies too. We washed it down with MelloJoy coffee. A smooth coffee blend exclusive to Lafayette. I'm still sad we didn't get more to bring home, since you can only get it in Lafayette.






We didn't really get to eat in New Orleans. I wanted to check out the ultra-touristy Cafe Du Monde, but the thought of finding a (close) parking spot and navigating downtown was too much for me.


In Mississippi we ate at the most exceptional restaurant - The Columbia Roundtable. This place was really unbelievable..It featured large round tables that sat 20 or more, with a huge lazy susan in the middle. The food just kept coming - fried chicken, spare ribs, beef stroganoff, shrimp, field peas, mashed potatos, sweet potatos, lima beans, beets, corn, coleslaw, greens, baked beans, mac and cheese...and then dessert- chocolate cake, banana pudding, coconut pie, chocolate pie, pecan pie, buttermilk pie, lemon pie, and gallons and gallons of tea.


We somehow made it home in a food-induced stupor...of course I'm paying mightily for it now, but boy was it fun!




Monday, March 3, 2008

Candy Man Can


Okay, so I am pitchng for *another* school fundraiser. But you were gonna buy a chocolate Easter bunny anyway, right. And these guys are guaranteed SOLID silky chocolate. None of that hollow chalky stuff you might find at say a big box retailer. The best part is, they are only $5 . I know this is a little more than you would pay at say, the Dollar Tree, but all the proceeds go to making life better for folks over at Raguet Elementary. I can hook you up, but it has to be TODAY - I'll even front the $5 and deliver them right to your door on March 19th. How can such good service be combined with such a high quality product, you might ask? I've got my own 10 year old CandyMan.. don't say I didn't ever give you a hot tip on a sweet deal!
One last thing.. check out how the bunnies are wringing their hands imploring you to buy them so you can chomp their satiny ears off.. YUM!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meet Ava Raye




Here is my beautiful new niece! Mom and baby are doing great. She was 7 lbs, 5 oz and 21 inches




Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend recap

Seems like I am finally just now catching my breath after a whirlwind weekend. Friday night was a blur of good music and seeing good friends at the Pineknot Music Co-ops 7th Anniversary Party. It was great seeing old friends Grey DeLisle and her hubby Murry Hammond, but the best part was meeting Mr. Jefferson Texas Hammond (Tex) 1 year old son of the afformentioned DeLisle-Hammond family. Tex is a cutie pie, and Rees couldn't get enough of him or Murry's harmonium. She finally conked out during Social Bliss.

Saturday we got up early and headed with my dad to Austin to celebrate his upcoming 80th birthday. Rees took in her first UT basketball game (she loved it!) and we had a nice walk through the campus afterward. That night we had dinner with my dad's brother, sister and their families then headed northward to spend the night with our pals A & P.

There are some people in this world that are truly top notch, and A & P are in that category. We've been friends for 15 years and its one of those deals where we may not talk for a while then slip right back where we left off...P made yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Sunday and we all went to University Chrisitan Church (where Scott and I married). The music was beautiful, the sermon inspring, but Rees wasn't up to being quiet for an hour.

Afterwards we made a quick stop back at the aunt and uncle's then headed north to IKEA. IKEA on a Sunday afternoon makes rollerderby look tame - especially when you are with an 80 year old and a near 7 month old. Dad made a pretty good haul- i think we ended up with a package of napkins.

It was good to be back home Sunday night but the morning came way way too early.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Uh-Oh

On her most excellent blog today, my pal Chrissy asked what "brillant nuggets" her readers have discovered. Well - today my students got me hooked up with Facebook.

I have to say, I may be addicted. Finding friends on Facebook is so much easier than myspace. Plus, within 10 minutes several folks had already confirmed my friend request. Including the sister of an old BF and the Provost of the university. Wild.

I've been a bachelorette this week. I am ready for S to come home. The Snapper's been great, but I am not cut out for single-mom-ness. I'm not so sure how my sister does it. She's here in the states, waiting to have her baby while my brother-in-law is still in China. It's esp. tough because she has a little cutie knocking on the door of the terrible twos.

Although I've got tons of work to do tonight, Ithink I'll try to snazz up my facebook profile.. uh-oh.. this could be the beginning of a major time waster.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Odds and Ends

Whew, its been a long week! Thankfully, my dad came home from the hospital yesterday. The infection was NOT in the bone, and they have sent him home with some new medicene. Hard to believe a week ago we were in ICU, wondering how things would turn out.

Today is February 1 - important for several reasons. First, it is the 5th anniversary of the Columbia accident. I'll never forget that morning when Nacogdoches was unfortunately thrust into the national spotlight. We heard the terriffic boom, and then several minutes later, our good friend Miss L called to tell us what happened. She has written a beautiful tribute to the astrounauts.

The second important thing about today is that it is the beginning of American Heart Month. Today was National Wear Red day. I made Scotty wear red too, and talk to his classes about keeping your heart healthy. It was probably lost on most of them, but it is a topic near and dear to my - uh- heart. My maternal grandmother died at the young age of 68 from heart disease, Scott's paternal grandfather and father both died from heart related illnesses and of course, my dad has had heart diesase since 1980. I applaud my pals who are shaping up for a 5K and taking better care of their tickers than I am. I hope I can get in on some excercise myself this month. I just realized this week that since I am technically a student at SFA, I get a "free" membership to the Campus rec center. Woo-hooo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hmmm

Thanks to everyone who has sent emails asking about how my dad is. He's been in pretty good spirits, but it is hard to keep it up when you are in a hospital bed. Right now we are in a holding pattern. He has a strep infection, and something called cellulitis. We are really hoping that the anti-biotics will take hold and get rid of all those strep monsters.

I've been pretty stressed with work and school. We have some big deadlines coming up on my Alaska project - so its been hard to stay focused on that with all that's going on. The Old Snapper has been really fussy lately too, I think she can feel the stress that we are all going through.

The good news.. tomorrow is a new day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

sick sick sick

I am now on day 5 of being sick. I am not a very good sickie to begin with, and this run of illness has really gotten my goat. Since I am still the Snapper's main food supply, there isn't much I can take. I've been dosing myselft with Emer-Gen-C and tylenol, but I've really just about had it. I spent all of yesterday in bed, should have stayed in this morning, but drug myself to church. Now it looks like I'm headed back to bed. grrrrr...

Last night I decided I had to do *something*, and that something was find out who sings the song on the new oreo candy commercial. Although I didn't get an answer to my query, I did discover perhaps my new favorite time waster, WikiAnswers.

I have to admit, I am fascinated to find out what people are wondering at any given moment in time. You can ask a question (like my oreo song..) or you can answer one. If you ask one, they want you to try to answer someone else's request for info. While a lot of the questions have to do with scientific stuff or car-care, there was one question I just knew I could answer - "What president was in a wheelchair?" In my excitment I pounded out the Answer - Franklin Delano Roosevelt!, hit enter, then realized I answered the WRONG question.


I hate being sick...





Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcome Back



I can't believe it is already the 4th of January...where have the holdiays gone? And more importantly, why hasn't the holiday fairy whisked away all my decorations? We really didn't get the house done until about a week before Christmas. Christmas eve was spent in a marathon of baking and wrapping. This year I attempted microwave peanut brittle, Sonnie's Red Velvet Cake balls, my dad's pralines, and stuffed dates. I'm still planning on making some sand tarts this weekend with a new recipe I found in Cook's Illustrated. Yum!

Several days after Christmas, the Rees-Runnels' family (me, the snapper, red menance, Scott and mom and dad) loaded up the van and headed out to Cloudcroft, New Mexico to retrieve my dad's electric scooter which had been abandoned there during our summer vacation. Highlights of the trip included a meal at Perini's Steak Ranch (voted number 3 steak place in Texas by Texas Monthly), a trip to the world's only Solar Observatory at Sunspot, New Mexico, Seeing a herd of elk run accross the road in front of us, and watching Scott and Nick sled in the snow. It was a great family vacation, albeit a short one.

Today I awoke with the feeling that I absolutely HAD to get going on my dissertation proposal. Since blogging seems to come easy for me, I've decided to blog about this proccess. If you are interested, you can follow my progress at http://runnelsdissertation.blogspot.com/. Any encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Now for some pics from the trip!




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