Oct 30, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:  I'm not the only person to get a ticket this week.

The Bad:  The other person was my husband.  We got a ticket from a red light camera in the mail today.  

The Ugly:  Now that we are having to pay TWO tickets to the city of Dallas, our pool table fund is suffering.  Sad.

The Beautiful:  I GOT IN!!! I got my acceptance into the PPPE (Public Policy and Political Economy) PhD program today!!  YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!

Now I still need to wait and see about a TA position.  I'm praying I get one.  A TA position means free tuition (which is $5,310 a semester), free books (roughly $1000 a semester), and a monthly stipend - which since we are paying roughly $15,000 a semester for Casey's MBA right now would be really really nice!

To celebrate I made Sprinkles Mint Chocolate Cupcakes - well made is a strong word - I used the mix - yummy!

Salmon Cakes

I occasionally ask Casey if he has dinner suggestions and he is normally pretty predictable.  He likes roast, meatloaf, steaks, ribs, anything on the grill, sometimes he suggests spaghetti - all normal things.  

Occasionally I get thrown for a loop.  

A few times over the past few years he has mentioned wanting salmon cakes.  I've had crab cakes, but never salmon cakes.  I tried googling a recipe and they are all over the board. I called my MIL to ask for the recipe - and she doesn't remember making them.  Aye Carumba!

So in my quest to occasionally be a good wife I am looking for a recipe for salmon cakes.  Has anyone made these?  Eaten these?  Can you tell me anything about them?

Oct 29, 2008

Need Help

Ugh!  Yesterday I interviewed Hillary Morgan, an incredible photographer, (you should seriously check out some of her engagement shots) but way out of our price range.  (Liz - you really should interview her - she was wonderful!)  Today I interviewed another photographer who wasn't so good (although the price was certainly right!)  

These are photographers 4 and 5 in my interview process.  I thought I was done with photographer interviews after I got married - but seriously I think finding one to take pictures of my little family (me, husband, and puppy) is even harder!  My bids have ranged from $50 to $1000 for a two hour photo session!  Have prices gone up that much in the two years since I got married?!?!  I was thinking I'd pay more like $150-200 to have someone take shots of us for an hour or two.

So I found a photographer who has never shot people before (only cars) and is looking to build his portfolio.  He is willing to shoot us for free to build his portfolio.  I'm a little bit nervous about this - I've got one shot because I won't get Casey dressed without a baseball cap twice!  Have any of you ever done this?  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Does anyone know of a reasonably priced photographer in Dallas who will be able to work wonders with a non-photographic wife, a husband, and an adorable puppy?

Weigh-In Wednesday

Weighing myself is getting harder.  I've always done it with gym shorts, a t-shirt, and socks right before I leave for my walk.  Now it's cold and I'm not wearing shorts to work out - I'm going with the theory that the extra weight is ALL from my sweatpants and fleece.  The clothes obviously weigh at least 4 or  5 lbs.  

Please don't disagree with me!

Oct 28, 2008

Alexis and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."  Wait no that was Alexander's story.  This one is supposed to be mine!

I went to bed and it was cold and when I woke up it was colder.  It was so cold that when I got out of shower I could have sworn I saw icicles forming in my hair and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

If I had been able to find time for breakfast I have no doubt that I wouldn't have found anything in the box but cereal today.  No toys for me.  No breakfast either.  I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I think I'll join Alexander in Australia.  In Australia, everything is upside down, so maybe a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day can become a wonderful, terrific, really good day.

At the sample sale, Gretchen found a great $5 dress.  My mom found an incredible $10 jacket. I bought some great clothes at a sample sale too (gorgeous houdstooth 3/4 sleeve jacket for $10, jeans for $10, a few shirts ($5-$10), a great swingy corduroy jacket ($20), and two adorable $10 skirts).  I thought maybe my luck was changing.

But then - on my way home from shopping I got pulled over!! I sat through a stop light and watched all the cute kiddos being walked by the adorable old man crossing guard then I drove the 1000 or so feet to the end of the school zone.  I was waiting to exit the school zone because I wanted to return a message from my vet.  As soon as I got out of the school zone I pushed redial on my phone and pretty much immediately got pulled over.  I thought I was going to get pulled over for using my phone in the school zone (which I wasn't - I started the call as soon as I exited) but he claimed I was speeding.  He showed me his laser gun which showed that the car he tagged was 307 feet away from him and going 35mph.  I am assuming that he just pulled over the wrong car because I was getting passed by the SUV in the center lane as well as the car in the left lane when I got stopped.  I don't speed.  Ever.  People get annoyed when they ride with me because I actually go 60 on the highway.  I slow down well in advance of school zones and actually go 20 through them (not 24 or 25 like most people).  How the heck did I get pulled over?  

After letting myself cry for a little while, I went to the pet store to buy shoes for my dog (her poor little paws are turning to ice and the vet recommended little puppy shoes and until her body fat gets high enough to insulate her little self!)  They were of course out of XS.  In keeping with my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I think I'll join Alexander in Australia.

When Casey got home for dinner he shared bad news.  His company has decided that they aren't going to pay Q3 bonuses.  Umm.  Excuse me.  Isn't that something you should have told us all before Q3 was over?  Isn't that is his contract?  Why yes.  It is.  Quarterly bonuses are over 1/2 of Casey's compensation.  Not getting it certainly qualifies this as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  It may even make it a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month.

I know we should be thankful that Casey still has a job.  I know that a speeding ticket isn't the end of the world (but it's my first!  and I wasn't speeding!)  I know that I can order my puppy ridiculous looking puppy shoes online.  But none of that changes that today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I think I'll move to Australia.

What's that you say?  

They still have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in Australia?  And they have an extradition treaty so I still have to pay my speeding ticket?

Oh well.

8:00:  Wake up in the freezing cold.  Shower and get dressed (with my icicles!)
8:45: Leave for the Sample Sale
9:30: Shop
1:30: Lunch with Mom and Gretchen at Panera
3:30: Get a Ticket
3:45:  Run into Pet Store
4:00:  Meet with photographer about family photos
5:15: Throw dinner in the oven
6:00:  Casey's home - eat dinner
6:45: Casey left for a study group.  So now I'm home blogging and watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"  It's cold in my house again (63 degrees) and I'm thinking it might be time to turn the heat on!  Or better yet - maybe I'll test out my fireplace.  That's a good way to make a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day better!

Oct 27, 2008

Yard Signs

A few weeks ago I ran into my across the street neighbor while I was walking my dog.  She was outside in her front yard doing a little weeding before she stuck her Presidential yard sign in her front flowerbed.  As I was walking up my front drive her very large dog came bounding across the street to say hello (what is it that big dogs have for my dog - they should be nice to the bite-size little one!)  This forced us into an uncomfortable conversation:

Neighbor:  I see you put up your yard sign.
Me:  Yeah.  I got it when I went to te Lake Highlands Republican Womens Club meeting.  Pretty exciting.  (Why are we talking about my yard sign?  Please don't let this become an awkward political discussion.  We've only lived here a few months.  I've never had a conversation with you beyond yelling hi across the street.  Let's not start our relationship off with politics!)
Neighbor: (Awkwardly)  Yeah.  I'm putting up my yard sign today too.   You know that I'm a Republican right?
Me:  Ummmm.  Ok.  (Why are you telling me this? Won't you yard sign tell me this in a minute when you get it up?  Maybe we should end this awkward conversation so you can go put up your yard sign.)
Neghbor:  But my daughter.  Well we just don't know what to do with her.  She just turned 18 a few months ago and we really want to encourage her to vote.  But really, we raised her to think for herself and not fall for all of the hype.  How could she do it to us?
Me:  Well, gee, ummm..... (You make it sound so personal.  Is it personal that your daugher likes Obama?)
Neighbor:  I just wanted to make sure that you knew that my husband and I don't support Obama.  But we do support our daughter.  She has to make her own mistakes you know?  So if us putting up an Obama sign will encourage her to vote, then we'll do it.
Me:  Oh.  Ok.  Well have a good afternoon.  (Why would a yard sign encourage your daughter to vote?  I don't understand.  Not that I want to understand.  I really just want to escape through my front door!)

I overheard her having this conversation with my next door neighbors home nurse today.  Apparently she wants the entire neighborhood to know that her yard sign is a farce.  Weird.  Maybe this would have been easier.


A while back I saw a neat post on someone's blog (and I'm so sorry that I don't remember whose!) She had created a neat Excel spreadsheet where she kept her weekly meal plan. If she wanted to try a new recipe, she would add it a future week with a link to the blog entry she found the recipe on. 

I have always done a weekly meal plan before going to the grocery store, but I did it on scraps of paper not my computer. I've been having trouble keeping up with all of the great recipes I want to try from all of your blogs, so I created a weekly meal plan on my computer. Here is this week (click to enlarge).

I'm not trying any of your recipes this week - but next week I'm trying Brown Eyed Girl's Chili (I bought everything for it this week and I'm so excited to try it!) and if I can find ribs on sale anywhere I want to try Ruby Red Slipper's Sticky Ribs.

I did multiple tabs on an excel spreadsheet so as you all post your delicious recipes I can just plug them in!  So get posting!

I want to know your favorite recipes.  So post a comment and link to your faves -- that you've posted on your blog, that you found online, whatever - I want your ideas!

Oct 26, 2008

My Life Dream...

...To be the lowly paid grad student for a few years before becoming the lowly paid professor. 

How depressing is it that I want to go to school for 5 more years so that I can get paid less money than I made my first year out of undergrad!

Oct 25, 2008

My Inner 12 Year Old Rejoices

HSM3 In Numbers:

1: Number of Paciugo Gelatos purchased for pre-movie enjoyment
2: Number of willing adults at the movie theater.  Thanks for going with me Lauren!!  (The rest were accompanying little girls)
3: Number of times the girl behind me at the theater screamed "he's so hot!!" during the movie
200+:  Number of screaming girls at HSM3 today.  

Today in Numbers:

1:  Number of highway lanes that have to close to cause me to sit in over a hour of traffic
2:  Number of terra cotta pots I painted and personalized for my front door
3:  Number of episodes of The Starter Wife I've watched in the last 48 hours.  Correction:  apparently they are calling that first 2 hour episode two episodes.  Oh well.  Close enough.
4: Number of polling sites I visited as a Poll Watcher
5:  Number of calls traded between my mom and I - and we never managed to talk!
100+:  Number of people I spoke with or observed who were voting for the first time in this election.  I don't care who you are voting for (well I sort of do) but please just vote!  

Voting grants you the right to complain for the next four years.  So do it!

Oct 24, 2008

Wedding Gifts

When you go to a wedding or shower do you always buy off of the registry?  

I try to.  

I have heard so many horror stories of brides who end up with 100 picture frames and no china.  I know one bride who got 6 different wine decanters.  She is Mormon and doesn't drink (he had just recently converted but many of his family friends were unaware of this).  Another bride had a shower with about 30 people in attendance and I was the only person to have bought off registry! 

I did really well and actually got almost everything off of my registry (I got everything but an air mattress, a few of my crystal glasses, and my trash can - I actually got ALL of my china!)  I did get a few off registry gifts though.  Some of them I really appreciated - like a handmade afghan, a handmade stained glass cross, a set of holiday bundt pans (along with some great mixes), a springfrom pan (I hadn't thought to register for one but I love cheescake), a few of the Arthur Court Butterfly pieces (I love them but they are exclusive to Neiman's and I didn't register there), and a gorgeous crystal  pitcher that coordinated with my crystal but was bigger (I had
 already received my pitcher and she had overheard me mention that I wished it was big enough to serve sweet tea!)  My point is, that sometimes going off registry is a good thing.  

But other times you get Percy the Pig (see above photo). Someone spent a lot of money on this incredibly odd Fitz and Floyd Platter.  And I'm not sure what to do with it.  I've considered a white elephant gift but for whatever sentimental reason I can't get rid of Percy.  He sits on a shelf in my storage room and every once and while I look at him - and giggle.

What off registry gifts did you receive that made you go - huh what?  Have you regifted them, donated them, or do you have things in storage?

Trick or Treat

Feel free to laugh.  It's funny no matter what your politics are.

Oct 23, 2008


Dear Terrence's Parents,

Your son was misbehaving today in his 2nd period computer class.  The teacher called Casey's cell today thinking that perhaps Casey might be interested.  He isn't.

I am extremely curious Terrence's Dad.  Does your name happen to be Carlos?  Are you trying to take over our family plan - because let me tell you, the deal isn't that great!



Dear Carlos of the PLS Check Cashing Service on Garland Road,

I don't know what you did (and honestly I don't really care) - but please please call the cops.  They really want to speak to you (and in fact called MY cell phone looking for you at 3:15, 4:20, 4:45, 5:00, and 5:20 looking for you).  You are in trouble mister!  And not just with the cops.

No one interrupts my sleep like that without consequences.  What are you doing handing out my phone number?  I've gotten calls for you before and always been very sweet - but maybe now I'll start telling callers for Carlos that you're in the slammer.  (hmm since that might soon be true maybe I need a more embarrasing story to tell them.....)

What's that?  You say it used to be your number?  

Oh no it didn't!   I've had the same cell phone number since I was 12!  That is 11 years I've called this number mine and I'd appreciate if you stopped handing out (especially to the police - do you know what a middle of the night call from the police does to a girl!)

So Carlos turn yourself in.  Make a deal with the DA.  Run and hide in Canada (actually I'd pick Cuba - no extradition treaty).  Just please stop giving out my number!  

Oh, and once your trouble with the law is over, you're in trouble with me for giving them my phone number so they can wake me up!  

I promise you this -- if I'm ever in desperate enough financial straits to need a check cashing service - I won't use yours!

Mrs. Forever

Oct 22, 2008

A Threesome

Eeew.  Not that kind of threesome!  A tagging threesome.  Was I ever popular today - I got three tags!  Apparently blogging about sweets is a good idea.....

First, I was tagged by KLC at Tales of Northern Belle with the Bookworm Award.  
Here are the rules:  This is the "Bookward Award". here are the rules: Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!

I am a huge reader - and happen to be sitting by a stack of 6 library books, some read and some unread.  The book at the top of the stack is Party Favors by Nicole Sexton - which I plan to start as soon as finish this blog entry (while I should be starting dinner!)

And by now, your $100 contribution is worth $35.  All of which will be spent on advertising and polling and parties for people who write bigger checks than you.  And it's worse if you donate by phone.  Telemarketing companies take 90 cents on the dollar.  That's right.  You give a dollar and the War Hero gets a dime.
I pass this award onto:
Milltini (who started following me today)
The Manens (who just found out she is pregnant so go give them a big congrats)
The Shabby Princess (who apparently lives like blocks away from me!  and since she posts about working out a whole lot more than I do I'm wondering if an award works as a good "will you be my workout partner" bribe?)
Kappa Prep (who I am so sad I wasn't able to meet last night!)

Next , I was tagged by Kate at elefantitas alegres to list six random facts about me.  I've actually done this once before, but I'm pretty random, so why not play again!

1.  I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.  Actually, I wouldn't eat it all growing up and didn't develop a taste for it until I was about 14 -- gosh darn puberty changed my taste buds and made me like fattening things!  I'll eat chocolate (and even crave it occasionally) but given a choice between chocolate and almost any other dessert, I'll take the cheesecake, the pumpkin pie, the lemon meringue pie, the cantaloupe gelato, etc.

2.  My life is organized.  Disturbingly organized. My closet is all hung in ROYGBIV order (as is my husbands since I put the laundry away).  My lingerie drawer - also color sorted.  My craft room - all papers, stamps, etc. are color sorted.  You would think this means my house is perfectly clean.  It doesn't.

3.  I really love my in-laws and feel blessed to have them in my life.  Casey's parents are really great - great parents, great grand-parents, easy to talk to, always willing to help us or support us, and I couldn't have asked for better.  Casey has two older brothers as well - and I love getting together with the whole family.  I hear people talk about how awful their in-laws are and feel so much compassion for them and yet I feel so lucky at the same time.  

4.  I have Raynaud's disease.  Raynaud's is a vascular disorder which effects the blood flow to my fingers and toes and means I am ALWAYS cold.  My fingers also turn white and then blue when I am under a lot of stress, experience a change in temperature, touch ice cubes, etc.

5.  I am obsessed with children.  I worked once a week in a nursery for 6 years and I really miss all of my kiddos.  I love babysitting for the nieces and nephews and spending time with that.  I'm hoping I can get a niece to go with me to see HSM3 this week!

6.  I love the Disney Channel.  Not in an I DVR Hannah Montana sort of way, but if I'm having trouble sleeping and reach to turn the TV on I pretty much always go for the Disney Channel.  I've seen HSM and HSM2 and Camp Rock.  I watch Hannah Montana, Suite Life, and Wizards of Waverly Place.  Yep. I'm the cool aunt.  

7.  I'm obsessed with getting a good deal.  I shop Ebay, Overstocks, and Craigslist almost daily.  I LOVE to go to TJ Maxx, Marshall's, and Tuesday Morning and just wander around and see what deals they have.  I've gotten pretty jaded though.  I no longer view 50% off as a bargain.  Anyone can buy things 50% off.  It takes an experienced shopper to find 2 mens RL Polos, a Lily dress, and a pair of sevens and leave the store for under $100.

I tag anyone who hasn't already played along (or anyone who already has and is brave enough to try again!)

Last (but obviously not least), I was awarded the Kreativ Blogger (old school) Award by Missy at Confessions of an Overweight Shopaholic.  I need to list 6 things I value and 6 things I don't and then pass it along to 6 people.

6 Things I Value

* Relationships.  With friends, family, the older gentleman I say good morning to on my walk everyday.  I value them all.
* People who smile.  It truly brightens my day!
* Organization.  
*  The restorative powers of a cup of English tea
*  A southern gentleman.  Nothing beats a boy with manners!
*  Alone time with God.  We've had some rough times in our relationships, but even when I didn't want Him anymore, He waited patiently for me to come around.

6 Things I Don't Value
* Fake People
* False Pretenses
* "Friends" who don't have time for friendship
* Rude People
* Liars
* Close Mindedness

I tag
* Lis

And one last thing I don't value:
* Word Verification.  Next time I'm choosing who I tag based on who doesn't have it!  (Only kidding.  Sort of.)

Weigh In Wednesday

I had a very well thought out post explaining why I gained weight this week.
  • I got sick and so I didn't exercise.
  • I ate a pumpkin cupcake for breakfast.  Twice.  In my defense, if I didn't eat them they would have to be thrown away and we all know that throwing away a pumpkin cupcake is just wrong!  For whatever reason I was able to keep the pumpkin cupcake down (which makes no sense - plain toast wasn't acceptable but a pumpkin cupcake was)
  • I made brownies for the brunch, and obviously you can't throw away perfectly good gooey brownies decorated in icing.  So I ate one when after dinner last night.  And I ate one two on Sunday.
But I don't need to admit to all of you how awful I ate this week.  Or the number of walks I skipped this week.  I don't even have to tell you that I only made it to the gym once.  In seven days.

I don't have to confess to any of this.  Because despite it all, I lost a pound!

Woohoo!  Go me!  Maybe I'll have a cupcake for lunch today.  Don't judge - it worked for me this week......

Oct 21, 2008

Gosh darn it

I spent all day yesterday catching up on my DVR and not getting anything done because I didn't feel well.  I had big plans for today (a trip to LNT for a shower gift for Saturday, a grocery store run, a stop by HomeGoods for floor pillows, and I wanted to go to the info session for Junior League of Dallas)

Apparently my big plans are changing to a cup of tea and a nap!  

Please stomach bug go away!

5:30:  Woke up - sick - decided to forego the gym and went back to sleep
8:00: Woke up again - sick again - realized I'm not going to the ENT and went back to sleep
11:00:  Woke up again - finally got out of bed and moved to the sofa to watch some TV
2:00: tried eating some noodle soup
3:00: I felt totally better!  I spent the afternoon cleaning my house after the Sundays brunch, blogging, and getting my application submitted (grad school here I come!), made dinner for Casey (which I wasn't planning on eating but I felt totally better!) so ate veal cutlets with garlic mashed potatoes.
11:00: In bed.

This morning:
4:30: Woke up sick again.  And my alarm didn't wake me.  Ugh.  Decided to turn off my alarm and just see when I wake up.
10:30:  Finally wake up!!  That's a lot of sleeping!  Decide to come read all of your blogs and perhaps add one of my own.

Maybe today will be like yesterday and I'll feel better after I eat something so I can get my errands done and still make it to the info sesssion!

The Power of Prayer

A while back someone (I think maybe Amy at Chapters -- someone help me out here) blogged about her daily prayer list which she keeps on post-it notes on her computer at work.  I thought that was such a great idea and put it on my list of things to do.  

I decided not to do it on a post-it note (because my dog likes to eat them!) so I have put a prayer list at the top right of my blog.  I know that more people than that have been asking for prayers, but I don't remember them all!  If you have something going on in your life (serious or silly!) that you would like prayers for - let me know and I will add it to my blog so that others can see it and pray for you as well.

God Bless!

Oct 20, 2008

*Update* Joy is...

  • submitting my UTD application today!  It is such a huge relief to have it submitted and done.  Now all I can do is wait and pray that I get a TA position.
  • finding a set of 12 of my Christmas dishes on e-bay - I'm the winning bidder right now at $20 but I think I might go ahead and use the buy it now (for only $75!)  Woo Hoo!!  Scratch that - the buy it now price disappeared.  
  • spending a fantastic Friday at the State Fair with the love of my life.  (See pictures below or click here for larger view).
  • hosting a great brunch this morning.  I was asked for some of the recipes I used so I'll type them and post soon.  Sadly, I didn't get my camera out so I don't have any pictures (and I was having a great hair day!)
  • remembering to take off my Cowboys shirt before going out in public so I won't be too embarrased. (But don't worry Cowboys - I'll put it right back on next Sunday and cheering you to beat Tampa!)
  • enjoying and overall fantastic weekend.
  • realizing that it is only 40 days until the day after Thanksgiving!  Christmas decorations will be coming out soon!
  • getting tagged by two fabulous blogging friends, Lis Loves and A Pretty Peony. I actually already listed my four favorite things - so I'll direct you to this post.
  • finding out I can buy a wedding shower gift for 30% off -- although I'm sure the beautiful bride isn't so joyful that her registry store (Linens and Things) is going out of business!
  • catching up on all of my shows on the DVR this morning.  (The reason I was able to devote my morning to TV is not joy --- seriously if there is a stomach bug in the world I catch it - and then get it 10x worse than the person who gave it me!)
(click to see larger view of pictures)

Oct 18, 2008


Thanks to Patrice at Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman for this great award!
Now I need to list 6 things that make me happy and then pass this along to six other bloggers.  

1)  I'll start with the obvious.  The thing in this world that makes me happiest is my little family. I spent all day yesterday with my husband wandering around the fair together and it was fantastic.  There is no one else I would rather spend forever with.  My puppy lights up my life every day.  I'll have to get the video camera out and try and capture the incredible noises she makes when she is excited.  She makes a rar-ing sound that is adorable.  
3)  My faith is what grounds me each and every day.  Now that I am spending a lot more of time volunteering with The Salvation Army I am constantly thanking the Lord for the gifts He has given me and asking Him for the strength to go back another day and minister to and help so many people who haven't been as fortunate as I.
3)  Curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book.  I don't get to do this very often in Texas, but that just makes it even better when I do!
4) The smell of clean laundry.  I don't enjoy doing laundry but I am truly addicted to that smell when things first come out of the dryer.  mmmm
5)  Sale signs.  I love the challenge that goes a long with rummaging through sale racks and trying to get good deals.  Nothing gets me more excited that a 60% off sign... except maybe a 70% off sign!
6)  All of you!  It is so great to be able to come online and catch with your lives.  I started my blog as a way to not die of boredom during bed rest and didn't connect with other people at all until Mojito Maven convinced me at coffee one night that I need to read a few blogs.  She started her blog not too much later and that's when I started checking out other people.  It is incredible the connections that I have made with some of you even though I may not know you in real life.

Tagging 6 people is a bit harder because so many of you already have this!
3) Preppy Pettit (who found me on facebook - how cool is that!)

Raindrops on Roses...

...And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

TexasLauren77 at Must Love Dogs...and My Parakeet tagged me over the weekend to share 11 of my favorite things with all of my favorite bloggirls!

1. Clothes Shop
The place I buy the most from is probably Anne Taylor followed closely by Nordstrom.  I love the shoe department at Dillards the best though (but not just any Dillard's.  I think most Dillard's are pretty gross but I love the one at Northpark!)  I also really like looking for things at Marshalls and TJ Maxx.  I frequently leave without buying anything, but sometimes I walk out with a $30 Lilly dress, an $11 pair of sevens, or a $4 white RL polo (all things purchased in the last month).

2. Furniture Shop
It isn't a fun post since no one outside of Dallas will know it - but I love furniture shopping at Weir's.  I hate that you can't look online but they carry so much stuff - and it is all really nice!  That's where we got our leather sofa and chair and new kitchen chairs.  It's also where I fell in love with my $4000 Massoud loveseat. I also really like to shop on craigslist.  I've never bought anything off of it (although I did sell my old oven!) but I look almost every day.  Some of the prices are great, and some not too much.  Seriosuly - if you are trying to sell a 5 year old pool table for $3000 you shouldn't list the brand and include a link to the companies website that shows the table new only costs $3600.

3. City
It is isn't exactly a city, but I would say DFW.  There isn't much here for tourists to do (how many times can you go to the Sixth Floor?) but we have great shopping, great food, and my family is here!  I love to travel (I mean I REALLY love to travel and have been to all 48 mainland states and many many countries (9)) but sometimes the best part of going away is remembering what you have to come back to.

4. Sweet
I don't have an all-time favorite sweet - I love variety!  Interestingle, I'm not a huge chocolate person (as in I crave it occasionally but not the way a lot of people do!  I didn't like it at all until I was about 14.) but two of my favorite desserts is chocolate cake with peanut butter icing or red velvet cake with chocolate icing.

5. Drink
Alcoholic - Wine.
Non-alcoholic - Milk

6. Music
I listed to a lot, but mostly country and pop.  

7. TV series
Privileged, Grey's Anatomy (maybe - I'm not sold on this season yet), Numb3rs, Friday Night Lights, 24, and any trashy reality TV (Project Runway, DCC, Top Chef, etc.)

8. Film
Legally Blonde

9. Workout
I had ankle surgery earlier this year and I was on bedrest for a while, then crutches, then a boot.  I started walking again in June and I'm still not up to what you would call working out.  I walk for 30-60 minutes every day with my dog and go to the gym a few times a week.  My gym workouts mostly consist of physical therapy exercises trying to get both of my legs back to a decent strength level.  In the past I played competitive soccer, ran cross country, and I almost ran a marathon when I was 17 (I was registered to run a marathon, trained for it and got up to a 22 mile run.  On race day they wouldn't let me compete because I was 17.  Even thought both of my parents were there and my brother and sister both got to!)

10. Pastries
I love bread.  All bread.  Carbs are my favorite thing. I'm with TexasLauren66 I'm going to refer you back to #4 (I love all sweets!). Which also makes it so evidently clear why I need to do more of #9.

11. Coffee

I tag:
Katrina at My Life as a Married Girl (who may or may not want to distract herself with meaningless trivia - if you don't want to play please don't feel like you have to!)

Oct 17, 2008

It's Fair Day (and other weekend plans)

Casey is coming home at lunch time today so that we can head to the State Fair of Texas!  

My Weekend Plans:

7:15:  Rise and Shine and Give God Some Glory, Glory!
8:00: Walk and PT Exercises
9:00: Trip to the Grocery Store.  I am having a small group over for brunch on Sunday and need to go to Central Market for fruit and the grocery store for a few other things. 
10:30:  Hopefully I'll be home by 10:30 to get everything unloaded and put away so I have time to get my house straightened up and floors mopped (I cleaned everything but my bathroom mirrors yesterday - but ran out of Windex)
12:00: Casey should be home and we'll leave for a great day at the fair. Jessica Simpson performs tonight at 8:30 and I am so excited to see her.  I'm going to watch the pig racing, look at the quilts, eat a fried smore and a friend peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich, and maybe ride the ferris wheel!

9:30:  My Mom is coming over for a cup of tea and a trip to the Market in the Meadow (a craft fair with almost 200 vendors held at the middle school near my house)
12:30: Casey will get home from class (it's his first day of Module B) and we can head to Barkitecture 2008 for a bit of fun with Rory and lunch.
4:00:  Time to party on the boulevard.  I love game days!  We'll spend time with our friends on the Boulevard and then head into the game.  Even though my ponies aren't playing too well this season I have faith in them!  At halftime we'll go to the Young Alumni Happy Hour in Heritage Hall.

Sadly we'll have to skip church (our tour of Dallas area churches will continue next week with Lake Highlands Methodist followed by Watermark the week after that) because at 12:30ish we have people showing up at our house for brunch!  Hosting and then clean up will pretty much be our entire day.  

Anyone in Dallas is welcome to drop by after church for egg casserole, turkey quiche, jalapeno cheese bread, grits, fruit salad, apple bread, and then I'm making pupmkin cupcakes for everyone to snack on during the third quarter of the Cowboys game.  We all know none of the boys will want to leave in the middle of the game!

Oct 16, 2008

Tag... You're It

I was tagged by "*bloggirl*" (a cute word made up by Maegan!) Anne a few days ago to tell you all a bit more about me!

Top four wishes:
~I wish that I was ready to be pregnant.
~I wish I was already accepted into my PhD program (and had been granted a TA position!).
~I wish that it was the day after Thanksgiving so I could put out all of my Christmas decorations. I always think a house looks best when it is filled with Christmas cheer and this will be our first Christmas in our house!
~I wish I was able to look in the mirror and love what I saw unconditionally and not search my body for flaws.

Four places I want to travel to:
~I want to take my husband to Scotland. It is where I am from and I want him to see it.
~I want to return to Greece. It was the best trip of my life and I can’t wait to go back!
~I would love to see Yosemite National Park. Growing up we visited most of the National Parks in the country, except Yosemite. It was the park my Dad most wanted to visit. He never had a chance, but I would love to go and honor him.
~I hope someday I am able to tour the wineries in Australia. Australian Shiraz is my favorite wine and it is a country I have also fantasized about visiting.

Four careers I want to be involved in:
~First and foremost, I want to by a Mommy (someday!)
~I truly love what I do right now, which is volunteer. I am able to work with a number of different organizations and truly help people. I am always looking for new places to give some of my time so if any of you know of a great organization in Dallas that is in need of volunteers – let me know!
~I hope to someday be a professor. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying like crazy that I get a TA position so I can start working with students soon!
~I have always loved designing custom cards for my friends and family. I do Christmas cards, birthday cards, save the dates, invitations, etc. If I thought I could make any money at all doing it, I would.

Four things I would like God to say to me at the gates of Heaven:
~Welcome Home, My child. (I stole this one from Miss Anne. But I totally agree!)
~Your (corporeal) Dad is waiting for you. (I could also substitute Dad for Nana, Poppop, Nana M, and my grandfather who passed away before I was born)
~I love you.
~You did well, My child.

Four people I tag:
~And a real life friend - Make Mine a Mojito

Oct 15, 2008

Weigh-In Wednesday

I started trying to lose weight over Memorial Day Weekend (the start of summer).  Since then I have l have lost 19.9 lbs.  I posted my first Weigh-In Wednesday over Labor Day Weekend.  Since then I have lost 3.4 lbs. 

Apparently blogging about weight loss isn't helping me much!  

When I was doing it on my own and not talking about it I averaged a loss of 1.2 lbs a week (just under my goal of 1.5 a week).  Since I've been blogging about it I've only averaged 0.6 lbs a week.  At that rate I certainly won't reach my target weight by 2009 - but at least it keeps going in the right direction!  I was down 0.3 lbs this week.  

The chart I made 6 weeks ago when I started looks a bit daunting as I keep getting closer to the end of my time frame, but not much closer to my goal weight.  I'm wondering if I need a new goal.  

Oct 14, 2008

*Update* It's Tuesday

7:45:  Alarm went off. Seriously - my alarm wasn't supposed to go off until 8:45.  Apparently it didn't know that.

8:15:  Crawl out of bed unwillingly.  Decide I showered last night and so just throw on jeans and a t-shirt.  Head to the kitchen to eat a banana.  Take Rory on a short walk

9:30:  In the car on the way to the vet

10:00:  The vet looked at Aurora's head and said everything looks okay.  She was more concerned with why the little miss got hit. They did an eye exam and found some spotting on her retina and so they ordered some pretty extensive blood work (at the tune of $115).  We should have the results back from the lab by the end of the week.  Depending on what results say our vet may be referring us to a Doggy Opthamologist.  Oh my.  Does anyone have any idea how much that is going to set us back?

11:30:  Finally home - and of course my little girl needed all sorts of loving.  Between blood work, deworming, a fecal exam, and all of her one year boosters she is a bit traumatized!

12:00:  Catching up on all your blogs

1:00:  Lunch

2:00:  Stop at the library to return my due books and pick up the ones I have on reserve.  So excited about a few of the books I'll be reading over the next few weeks!  But not all.  One of the books I placed a request for was a recommendation from amazon and I made the mistake of not reading the full description.  Never again!  Lets keep it PG and I'll just post the last sentence of the book cover:
"Secrets of Housewife will you moist from start to finish." 
What must the librarians think of this crazy girl who apparently just checked out a porn novel!!

2:30:  Run by the tailor to pick up my jeans.  Did I mention last week that I bought a pair of 7 jeans for $11 at Marshall's.  Even with the $5 to have the altered they are such a bargain!  I don't normally buy 7s but these ones fit me really well.  And I've lost enough weight that a large portion of my closet doesn't fit!!

3:00: Head to the nail salon for a much needed mani/pedi.  After spending all day yesterday painting with my SIL, I have paint all over my fingernails and toenails!  Ick.

4:30:  Home to start cooking dinner.  I am trying the Southwestern Pot Pie that Glamorous Life of a Housewife posted last week.  It sounds so so good! If you haven't been by her blog in a while you should go stop in and offer her a big congrats.  She just found out that she is pregnant!  I can't wait to follow along with her over the next 8 months.  (A part of me is so jealous.  But Casey and I just aren't ready yet.  I'm ready to be ready!  But for now I'll keep faithfully taking by BC every night.)

6:30:  Leave the house to make it to Book Club on time.  We are going to discuss Love Walked In by Marisa de Los Santos.  It was a good read and I certainly recommend it!

9:30ish:  I figure I'll be home in time to enjoy a little Banana Pudding and maybe watch a show with my husband!

Check out this blog....

I have a few blogs I think you should all check out....

1)  The lovely Nicole at Brown Eyed Girl & Her Beau gave me this 
great award today.  She just recently started blogging and is so much fun - and you just have to love a fellow Texan!  Go check her our and read about her adorbale pup Daisy Mae!  

I am going to pass this award on to a few people....

2)  Sassy Engineer at A Pretty Peony is actually a person I know in realy life!  I was so excited when I stumbled upon her blog (totally be accident) and saw her picture.  I called me husband over and asked him if I was right.... and it was her!  (Casey and I would love to have you and Mr. Engineer over for dinner - maybe we can invite The Taylors as well)  You should all go check out how handy they are - the pictures of her brightly colored fiesta kitchen are so fun!

3)  Miss Anne at Indefinately Definite has a great blog.  Her header says "The World Needs a Little More Cupcakes and Sunshine" and I couldn't agree more.  Miss Anne leaves the sweetest comments and I really appreciate them.

4)  Lulu at Dirty Martini Diaries is so similar to me!  She is currently planning her wedding (with some great McCain currents running through it) and I am so jealous that she might get to meet Seantor McCain AND Governor Palin at a fundraiser tonight!

5) I would also like to give a shout out (wow I can't beleive I just typed that) to Nina who is hosting the most incredible giveaway.  On the basis of this giveaway alone I think she deserves a BFF award!  These republican note cards are incredible!  I could be the coolest girl at The Lake Highlands Republican Womens club if I wore her Palin pin and brought these pink and green notecards.  If her giveaway isn't for you, you should totally check out her blog anyway.

Oct 13, 2008

A Bit of a Scare

Friday was fairly uneventful - a great dinner out at Tony's.  We relaxed with our wine longer than we planned and so missed our movie and so instead we ended up at home trying to catch up on the DVR.  

Saturday we did some work around the house in the morning - but had to stop in time to watch the TX/OU game.  It's pretty fun to watch a football game when you are able to cheer for both teams!  We went to Happy Hour with friends Saturday afternoon - followed by drinks at Jess' apartment and dinner at Strong's.  It was a great evening.  When we got home (around midnight) I took Rory outside and she was running around like crazy!

I wanted to wear her down so we would have a chance of sleeping so I did what any good doggy mommy does and picked up her frisbee for a game of catch.  Rory has been getting really good at catching the frisbee in the air (which is pretty impressive when you think the frisbee isn't much smaller than her!)  On one of her attempts to catch it, she missed and it slammed into her head.  Casey and I didn't think much of this but did notice it slowed her down and so called her back inside to go to bed.  Casey walked to the back of the house to check and make sure all of the doors were locked and I followed the pup back towards the bedroom. 

We didn't make it far before she stopped walking and started coughing and hacking.  Then she collapsed. I don't mean stumpled.  I mean she fell over on her side.  Her whole little body spasmed and she tried to stand back up.  And she collapsed again.  At this point I am yelling to Casey and I have picked her up in my arms.  We immediately called the emergency clinic where they walked us through checking her vitals (count breathing, count heartrate, check her gums to make sure she is getting oxyegen).  They figured she had a concussion!!  My poor baby!

I was up most of the night with her freaking out with every noise and every cough.  I finally got to sleep around 6.  On Sunday Rory was up and doing well, even demanding her daily walk!  I however was exhausted!  We didn't manage to get much done Sunday - a trip to the pet store for more food (and a lighter/smaller frisbee), a stop at the college bookstore for Casey's textbooks for Module B, a trip to the grocery store, and we watched the Cowboys game (which we don't speak of.  at all.)

Rory has an appointment with the vet tomorrow morning so he can check out the bump on her head and so she can get all of her booster shots.  Please keep my baby girl in your prayers tonight!

Jumping on the Bandwagon - Flickr Mosaic

So here's how this game works -- head over to flickr and search using the answers to the below questions. Then you put them in a mosaic. Not too hard.

1. What is your first name? Alexis
2. What is your favorite food? chicken and dumplings
3. What high school did you attend? McKinney High School
4. What is your favorite color? yellow and pink
5. Who is your celebrity crush? I really don't have one - sad to say!  So I did my most recent girl crush -- she's smart, accomplished, a good mom, and has a great career -- I may not agree with her on every issue but I still love Sarah Palin!
6. Favorite drink? Sweet tea
7. Dream vacation? I would love to go back to Santorini
8. Favorite dessert? Red velvet cake with chocolate icing
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? a mom
10. What do you love most in life? Casey
11. One word to describe you? flawed
12. Your Flickr name? I don't have one so I used my last name instead

So now that you've gotten a great visual of me -- here is my day!

6:45am: Alarm went off
7:30am:  Finally got out of bed.  I threw on grubby clothes, brushed my teeth, added a hat and called it good enough!
8:00am: On the phone with the vet.  I needed to confirm everything the emergency clinic told me (see next post) and make an appointment.  
8:20am:  Driving to my brother and sisterin-laws house
9:00am:  I spent the entire day at Dejay and M'Lynne's house helping M'Lynne paint their kitchen table and barstools.  They have had the same table and chairs for YEARS and she was ready for a change.  We painted the table legs and barstools Regal Red (a deep red - but really burgundy but a nice deep rich red) and then distressed them and added a coat of a brown glaze.  They turned out great and I know M'Lynne is really happy with them!  I wish I had remembered to take my camera with me so I could show before and after pictures.  
4:45pm:  Driving home.  During rush hour.  In Dallas traffic.  Ugh.
6:00pm: Arrive home and get in the shower to get all of the paint off of me!
6:30pm:  AT&T repair guy arrives. Perhaps, after two weeks of my TV and Internet CONSTANTLY going out this one managed to repair it.  I'm not holding my breath though.
6:30pm: While talking to the AT&T guy and explaining our troubles I went ahead and started dinner.
7:30pm:  Yummy dinner while watching Chuck.  Or at least, while watching part of Chuck.  Apparently AT&T guy had to turn off our signal for about 30 minutes (from 7:11 to to 7:42) and so the middle of Chuck was missing.  I'm going to watch Gosspi Girl online as soon as I finish the blog entry!  We had a great dinner - steaks (Casey loves his new grill!), brown-sugar glazed carrots, green beans, a delicious tomato parmesan pasta, and I have banana pudding in the fridge that should be ready soon!
8:45pm:  Getting notes together for my vet appointment - writing down my questions, checking my supply of Revolution, etc.  
9:00pm:  Making sure I remember what happened in "Love Walked In” by Marisa De Los Santos so that I am prepared for my Book Club meeting tomorrow.
9:00pm:  While blogging.  Of Course.

Oct 10, 2008

Productive Day

9:00: Wake up.   I certainly overslept this morning - but I didn't fall asleep last night until almost 3:00 since my ankle is swollen from the needle incident.
9:15:  Walk with the dog
10:00:  Start calling ETS trying to figure out what is going on with my GRE scores.
11:00: Give up on GRE scores for a while and work on my Statement of Pupose
1:00: Start calling ETS again.  This time I was succesful!  I finally figured out why my scores were lost - they had my birthday wrong in the system when I took the test last year and I let them no at the testing center. They said they fixed it.  Apparently they didn't because my test was filed under 12/12/84.  My birthday is 12/31/84.  With that worked out I was able to get my score mailed off!  Yay!  (And I got a reminder of what my score is and it was even better than I remembered it being!  Not as good as SAT score - but gosh darn I'm a good test taker!)
1:30:  Order my transcripts and have one mailed to the house and one mailed to UTD.
1:45:  Talked to 2 of 3 Professors I would like to have write my letters of recomendation.  Both of them said yes.  Thank goodness.  I had to leave a message for the third but will hopefully hear back from him early next week.
2:30:  Lunch time!  (With a little bit of The View for entertainment.  I am so disgusted with the show - but I can't not watch the train wreck.)
3:15:  Back to my essay.  
4:00:  Take a break to update Liz's Wedding Webpage - time to add photos of the wedding party!


The Preface: 
I really like my doctor.  He's been great to be thus far - so I'm assuming yesterday was a fluke.

The Background:
As anyone who has read my blog for a while knows - 2008 was the year of the surgery.  I had ankle surgery in March and it was pretty gosh darn extensive.  Since then I haven't had any feeling in my two little toes and down the whole outside portion of my foot.  Except the little singers that shoot out and go up and down my entire leg.  My doctor started off by saying I should give it time and the feeling will come back.  I had my 6 month check-up yesterday and he changed his tune a bit and said I need to start thinking about my options.  So here they are

1)  Ignore it.  Keep praying that feeling comes back to my foot and resign myself to the fact that it might not.  Get used to the nerve shock waves that get so bad they are able to wake me up at night.  

2)  Try a cortisone injection and see if that reduces the swelling around the area enough to untrap the nerve and restore feeling.  The success rate of this isn't very high but it is a good first step because it is a non-invasive localized treatment.

3)  Take a nerve stabilizer prescription.  This also has a fairly low success rate.  For some people they take it a few months and can go off and it and are successful.  Others end up taking it the rest of their life.  Problem 1:  birth control isn't effective when you're on it.  Problem 2:  One big side effect is drowsiness which in many people is so sever they are unable to drive or function in day to day activities.

4)  Surgery.  The surgery would go in and completely deaden the nerve.  This guarantees that I never get feeling back in my foot.  But, it gets rid of the silly nerve pain that shoots up and down my entire leg.

The Story:
So during my appointment yesterday we decided to try the cortisone injection.  I really hate needles and so this was really really hard for me.  The doctor gets everything ready and plugs the needle into the little tube that holds the cortisone - and they come apart.  He plugs them in again - and they come apart.  He tries one more time and they stay plugged together.  He sticks the needle directly into my ankle and starts to slowly push the cortisone in.  If you've never had a cortisone shot you probably won't understand the level of pain and pressure I am trying to describe but lets just say it isn't pleasant.  And I had tears. Lots of tears smudging my mascara.

The doctors phone rings - and he ignores it.  A nurse then comes in and says there is an emergency and he needs to talk to this patient for a moment.  HE STOPS.  HALFWAY THROUGH MY INJECTION.  

I am left in this little room to contemplate more of this torture coming.  Oh my.

He comes back a few minutes later and re-sticks me with the needle and starts to push more cortisone into my already swollen ankle.  Then the needle breaks!  Yep that's right the needle unplugged from the tube while it was inside of me!!! The doctor had to use tweezers to get it out and at this point I was completely freaking out.

Needless to say we didn't finish the rest of the cortisone shot.  Half will just be good enough!

Oct 8, 2008

Weigh In Wednesday

1 lb isn't good - or bad.  And I've heard you are typically a bit heavier at night than in the morning so I'm believing it today and I've decided I really must have lost 2!  I still have a long way to go to reach my goal weight.  I might not quite be looking fine by 2009 - but I sure am trying!

Adventures with Rory

I have had this post written for almost a week - and keep not hitting post because I don't want you all to judge me!  But what the heck - you all know I'm seriously flawed so what's one more sin!  So thank you to McMommy whose own post about her shoplifting experience gave me the courage to post mine.


Rory and I went to Pet Supplies Plus today.  It's the only pet supply store that carries my little girls food so we are there every few weeks - and of course we can't just go grab the dog food and leave.  I have to walk through the entire store.  Rory loves this - she gets so excited when she sees where the car has landed her.  She prances down the toy aisle sampling the wares, climbs onto the display shelves in the bedding aisle trying to decide if we are depriving her of the best bed ever, and sniffs longingly as I keep her away from the rawhides. 

 If she is lucky enough to get a Merrick Dental Chew she will carry it around with her through the whole store.  (I wish I had a picture of this!  The Chews are almost as long as she is before I cut them up so walking around the store with a full one she is a hoot!)  

I end up not buying much - a bag of greenies and dog food.  At checkout, the cashier oohed and aahed over Rory and tried to give her a cookie (that of course my picky little eater would have nothing to do with).  I paid for my things and walked out to the car, where I noticed that Rory was carrying something.  Turns out she decided she needed a toy too!

I was mortified when I walked back in to pay for the silly bird.  I've heard people tell of the humiliation of admitting your child shoplifted something - well try explaining your dog is a thief.  I paid for the bird ($9.95 for a stuffed bird!) and we headed home.  Once in the car I learned why Rory liked it so much.  When you squeeze (bite) the bird tummy, it chirps.  It isn't the annoying squeak from most dog toys - it is ten million times worse.  It chirps.  And chirps.  And chirps.  

At least she likes it!  It's her favorite toy (at least today!) 

Oct 7, 2008

Why GRE scores?

I got this comment today and thought I would address it with the story of me.  Thrilling.  I know.

Its been fun reading your blog, but as an outsider, I feel like I'm missing half the story for not knowing you. Your new title bar says you have career plans... What is your plan for the GRE scores? What kinds of programs are you applying to? 
I graduated from SMU in May 2006 and started working for Robert W. Baird as an equity analyst covering Communications Services.  I covered stocks ranging from AT&T (T), Sprint (S), to Neustar (NSR) and Amdox (DOX) and loved what I did. (We covered 18 stocks in all but I didn't want to bore you with a laundry list.  If you would like the whole list e-mail me and I will be happy to share it with you.)  It was incredible to delve that deeply into the inner workings of different companies.  Every day I was on the phone with upper management of these companies, updating and tweaking models, visiting cell phone stores to get a feel for trends in the industry, talking to investors about the industry, and writing industry reports and company specific analysis.  It was wonderful.  People read what I wrote and cared about it.  They read it closely enough that they would call and ask questions and discuss.  They cared enough that these hedge fund and mutual fund managers would invest millions.  All because I (and my senior obviously) decided to rank the stock Outperform. Or raised our target price.  Can we say power rush.  Try writing a report giving a stock a new target price and talking about how people should buy it.  Then watch the next day after the report is published as people really buy the stock - and so the price goes up.  I loved my job.

What I didn't love were the hours.  I had a meeting at 6:30 AM every morning.  In order to prepare for said meeting I couldn't be at the office any later than 6:15 AM.  Most mornings I was there closer to 5:30 or 5:45 AM.  Getting there early doesn't mean you leave any earlier.  I never left before 6:30 PM.  Normally  it was closer to 7:30 PM.  Except during earnings season - the roughly 5 weeks when companies report each quarter.  Then I never left before 9:00 PM.  And frequently stayed as late as midnight.  I worked every weekend.  Thankfully I was able to work from home so it didn't seem quite so bad - but I still worked.  Every Saturday.  And every Sunday.  I worked 100-120 hours every week during earnings.  I worked 70-80 hours a week the rest of the year.  There are 168 hours in the week.  Most people sleep at least 42 of them (that's 6 hours a night).  So if I worked 120 hours and slept 42 - that left all of 6 hours to spend with my husband and friends and family.  Not so good for the marriage.  We had people who picked up and delivered our dry cleaning for goodness sakes - that's how little time I had!  I couldn't find time in my week to go to the dry cleaner - let alone dream of doing laundry (we paid someone to do that as well).  There is a reason investment banking pays well.  It's because even with the ridiculously high salary on a per hour basis you could make more at McDonald's.

We got to the point where we felt like we were no longer living our own lives.  I was working so many hours - and making all sorts of money we couldn't spend.  And it had to end.  

We were incredibly fortunate and my husband had a very nice well paying job and so when I worked, we lived solely off of his salary and mine went into savings.  When I stopped working we made some adjustments to our lifestyle (as in now I do laundry and take the dry cleaning in) but we didn't have to change much.  It has been fantastic for our marriage and we are so much happier now than we ever were when I worked.

I left my job in time to start a few "leveling classes" in math and economics.  I audited classes in Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, Calculus III, as well as the first year Economics PhD sequence at SMU.  I was fortunate enough to have left school with a great relationship with my professors and they allowed me that experience.  I took the GRE last fall and applied to a number of PhD programs in Finance in different cities.  None in Dallas though.  The plan was that we would be poor for a while and both be full time students. My husband got into the MBA program at Northwestern in Chicago (the #1 ranked program in the country).  I got into the PhD program at the University of Illinois.  We were excited.  

And then logic hit us.  We listened to the arguments from Casey's current employer and faced the facts.  It didn't make sense for him to leave his really great job (picking stocks for a mutual fund) at this point in the market.  If he left he would have to put his CFA aspirations on hold (he has one more level to go!).  He wasn't going back to change careers, he already had his dream job.  If we moved and he went to Northwestern, in August 2011 when he graduated he would have 3 years of experience picking stocks, an MBA, and have be a level-2 CFA candidate.  He could then go back and work for the same company he works for now doing the same job and make a lot more money (as in like $500k a year - we obviously don't have that kind of income now!)  If we stayed and he went part-time, in August 2011 he would have 5 years experience, an MBA, have his CFA, and have a lot less debt!  He'll still be working for the same company and be able to make a lot more money then he makes now.  So over the summer, Casey applied to the MBA program at SMU - and started his PMBA in August.  

I was left with no idea what I was doing. I spent my time finding us a house.  Painting my kitchen.  Shopping for curtains.  Looking at furniture.  You get the idea.  There aren't any well respected PhD programs in Finance in the Dallas metroplex and I had no idea what to do with myself.  Don't get me wrong - I love being a housewife and as a housewife I am shocked how full my days are.  But I allowed myself to give up on my dreams for myself and that isn't okay.  

I learned about a PhD program at The University of Texas at Dallas called Public Policy and Political Economy recently and I'm really interested in it.  It's a pretty small program and they don't take very many people each year - but I made the decision to apply.  And that dear friends is why it is a travesty that I can't find my GRE scores. The idea of taking it again makes my head spin.

Christmas at Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn put out their holiday preview today - and I love it!

Last year I got three stockings (2 big ones for Casey and I and a cute little elf shaped one for  Rory) and the matching tree skirt.  I love them both - so classic and will go with any decor theme I choose for the year!
This year I want:
This in my foyer. 
This hanging over my fireplace. 
A few of these on my mantle. 
I just love this natural, woodsy look. 

Maybe by Christmas I'll have fallen in love with a dining room table so I can have two tables to decorate - and a place to display my Christmas China.  It's unlikely considering I've been looking for months and still haven't fallen in love with anything yet.  But a girl can hope!  I would love to do the natural table in the kitchen and still have a place to display my formal table!

Oct 6, 2008

A Question for People Who Know About Dallas

So my husband and I play musical chairs every Sunday.  Lately, we go to a different church every Sunday.  We went to Lover's Lane United Methodist for about 6 weeks - we desperately wanted to like it because it was a recommendation from the pastor at my home church.  In that 6 weeks, no one ever greeted us, said hi to us, contacted us (even though I filled out the contact me card every week).  I think Lover's Lane might have had a good Sunday School class, but since no one every contacted us I'm not sure.  We think it is really important to find people to fellowship with - and are really struggling to do this.  Part of the challenge: we both prefer a traditional service (which is pretty unusual among people our age!)  We are more than willing to try contemporary services and if that is where we find the best fit, so be it, although we both love traditional hymns and would miss them!

So the question:  Does anyone go to (or know of or heard a rumor about) a good church in Dallas that has a place for a young couple with no kids to fit in?  We're looking for new places to try.  And more importantly - we want to find a place to call home!

Drama at Casa de Cass

The Good:  I am feeling really good at this point.  I'm still not back to normal - but I feel good.  Yay.

The Bad: Our A/C won't turn on.  Those of you in other parts of the country are saying "It's October who needs A/C"  well let me explain.  At 12:30 last night when I was tossing and turning in bed trying to fall asleep, my thermostat told me it was 79 degrees in my house.  It never cooled off!  It is currently 74 in Dallas.  In my house: it is 77.  This doesn't really bother me too much since I keep it at 78 during the day (I'm cheap!)  But really A/C please come back to me!

The Good:  The weather in Dallas has finally cooled off.  At least if our A/C is going to take a vacation it did it with weather in the 70s instead of last week when we were in the 90s.

The Bad:  My dishwasher is on the fritz.  My dishes don't come out clean.  Seriously?

The Good:  I'm stretching here - but I need my good to outweight my bad.  So let's see - it stopped raining long enough this morning that I was able to take my walk.  Thank goodness.  I started walking as part of my physical therapy for my ankle, but at this point if I don't do it my dog goes crazy all day.  She expects it.

The Bad:  I have a hole in my attic that looks outside.  All it needs now is a giant "vacant" sign in bright neon lights so the squirells and birds know how truly welcome they are.

The Good:  We have a home warranty that our sellers bought for us and they are sending repair folks.  The repair folks should be calling to set up appointments today and hopefully they will be able to come soon!

The Bad:  My internet and television aren't working right.  We had a U-Verse repairman here on Saturday - and obviously what he did didn't fix it.  Last night it was cutting in and out.  Again.

The Good:  Another repair person is coming today.

The Worst:  My GRE scores from last year are missing.  I took the GRE in October last year (and did REALLY well) but ETS can't find my scores.  We've moved since I took it - so asking me to find my score report is really asking a lot.  I searched for 4 hours this morning.  And still nothing.  I called ETS and they searched by both my social and my confirmation number - and both came up with nothing.  I really don't want to have to retake it (and I am super worried that if I do my score won't be as good!

The Best:  Despite all of these things my life is truly blessed.  I am 23 with the most amazing husband a girl could ever ask for.  He is my best friend and my rock.  We are blessed financially and saved enough money while I worked that we are easily living on his salary while I enjoy setting up our first house.  Despite its issues I love my house!  

I can complain about my problems but my day hasn't been that bad!

8:00:  Wake up.  Lie in bed for a while listening to the rain.
8:30:  Finally get out of bed and throw on gym clothes.
8:45:  Head to the gym
9:30:  Didn't stay long.  But at least I went!  
9:45:  Start searching for GRE scores.  
11:00:  Still looking (with a few breaks to read your blogs)
12:00:  Still looking
12:45:  Call Home Warranty and tell them my house woes.
1:00:  Take the dog out for a walk and enjoy the smell of the rain.  Yummy!
1:30:  Enjoy some blog time and update my header.
2:00 Lunch time -- I'm sitting down now to eat my lunch and watch The View.  I have a love/hate relationship with the show!
3:10:  AT&T Repairman showed up
4:00:  Cooking dinner - while watching lingo on my new kitchen TV!  I love game shows - perfect background noise for cooking.
4:30: Casey got home from work - sat and talked while I finished up dinner
5:00:  Dinner
6:00:  Clean up from dinner and do all of the dishes
6:45:  Mark calls so I'm heading to the mall with him - uhoh - I'm still in my gym clothes!  Time to change.
7:30:  Leave for the mall with Mark
9:00:  Mark and I meet Casey for an ice cream sandwich at Pokey-Os

Oct 5, 2008

Bailout Song

Maybe I think this is so funny because my husband and I both work(ed) in ther business, but when I heard this on Kiss FM I was dying laughing! Check it out. Discuss.

In other news, yeah sorry I don't have any. It was a busy weekend doing house projects - nothing very exciting happened!
  • We got the TV installed in the kitchen (yay!) I love to watch Wheel of Fortune while I cook. I swear food tastes better if I watch while I'm making it.
  • Repaired one of the outside motion sensor lights and changed lightbulbs in most of them.
  • Got the chandelier hung in the guest bath. Now all I need to do is fund hardware I like antique bronze. It sounds like an easy task - but it isn't. Not many places carry the brass anymore and a lot of the ones that do don't have backplates. Why does it matter - well that would be because all of the cabinets and drawers already have three holes drilled. So unless I want to fill them with wood putty, sand, fill, sand, fill, and then repaint, I need backplates.
  • Repaired a hole in one of our eves.
  • Took down the ugly lattice that was decorating our patio. It served no purpose, took away the access to the lights (you couldn't pt new lightbulbs in because the lattice was in the way) and was a great nesting place for creatures. I'm glad it's gone!
  • Went to our first block party as homeowners. Okoberfest was nice - but we were the youngest people there by a few decades. We didn't stay the whole time. Hopefully the neighborhood Halloweed party is better.
  • Watched the Cowboys game. Woo hoo Cowboys. Although they did make it hard to watch --- a game versus Cinci shouldn't have been close.
  • Family dinner on Sunday. It's always nice to go visit the Miller Family Zoo.
  • Now I am blogging while Casey studies - its finals week! He has his accounting final Monday and Economics final on Wednesday - wish him luck!

Oct 4, 2008

Breakfast in Bed

I slept in this morning and work up to the greatest surprise ever - breakfast in bed.  (Sorry my camera was in my purse in the kitchen so I don't have pictures.)  I love my husband so much and he is way too good to me!  What more can a girl ask for than eggs, and sausage and silver-dollar pancakes in bed.  Then - to top off his goodness he suggested we go for a walk and lead me to a yard sale.  So many of my favorite things all in one morning!  I love weekends!

Oct 2, 2008

A Long Time Coming

A LONG LONG time ago  -  I hosted a giveaway on my site for my 100th post!  It's pretty pathetic that the winner didn't get picked until post 120.  I thought a week seemed like the right amount of time to give people to enter  and didn't think about the fact that a week put it ending a day after surgery.  When I'm on that many drugs I certainly shouldn't be using scissors to cut strips of paper so that I can draw a name!

I did the drawing this morning  - and the winner is moderneve!

"to be honest, i've only recently started drinking wine and therefore have yet to appreciate truly fine wine. with that being said i always picked up a bottle of that brand bloom (i think it's a reisling) at central market when it's on sale. i just LOVE the pink packaging!"
So send me an e-mail at alexis.cass @ yahoo.com with your preferred colors and monogram and I will get it ordered for you!

I'll also share MY favorite wines.

For Summer:  I really like Sweet Pea Apple Wine.  It is a very light wine that you can just sit and drink.  It is light, fruity, and refreshing.  And at only 7.8% alcohol - you don't feel bad when you drink the whole bottle!

White: I like sweet white like Rieslings and Gewurztraminer.  One of things I like best about both of these - the cheap ones taste good too!  I buy Fetzer Gertz alot as well as a Riesling that comes in a bright blue bottle - can't remember the name.

Red:  I'm a Shiraz girl.  I've given Cabs many many chances and for whatever reason I just don't like them.  Casey and I ended up buying three cases of our favorite Shiraz last year - The Boxer from Mollydooker.  We (luckily) still have some of the 2006 left in storage because we weren't as impressed with the 2007 varietal.  Although we really like The Violinist out of Mollydooker this year which is the white that they make.

A Typical Shopping Trip

McMommy of The McMommy Chronicles posted a few weeks ago on the joys of a trip to Costco.  I'm hear to inform you that Sam's Club is no better.

12:04 -- Stand at the front of Sam's Club digging through my purse to find my wallet.  Finally find my wallet and start searching for the gosh darn Club Card.  Of course I can never remember to get it out before I stand it front of the gate keeper.   I shouldn't have to fight to get in to spend money.

12:05 -- "Would you like a Sam's Club Credit Card?  As a valued member you are already pre-approved...."  Seriously?  Still?  Isn't ridiculous lending what got our country into this mess? 
12:06 -- Suckered to start with.  Really cute Dallas Cowboys T-Shirt.  In pink.  In my cart.
12:07 -- Up and down the aisles getting really fun things - like paper towels (package of 20 rolls), kleenex (18 boxes), cascade (years supply), napkins (600), light bulbs, and other house stuff

12:38 -- Cross the very dangerous center of the store.  This is where they keep books, movies, games, kids toys, seasonal decorations, and clothing.  See this and think for only $99 it can be mine - what a steal!  A gorgeous leather jacket (in brown but I can't find a photo in brown) from Nine West.  I'm sure since it's at Sam's it's last season, but a classic cut leather jacket doesn't ever go out style!  I am strong.  I walk on without putting it in my cart.

12:43 -- And now I am confronted by this!  Another great fall jacket.  This one is a classic double breasted wool pea coat from calvin klein.  I already have this jacket in red that I bought years and adore!  Here it is in front in my for only *gasp* $49!  I can get it in grey or black.  Oh my.  I am strong.  I walk on without putting it in my cart.

12:50 -- Lunch time!  Got to love the lunch buffet at Sam's Club!   Mini-Eclairs.  Green tea.  Chicken Noodle Soup.  Chex Mix.  Chocolate Truffles.  (I didn't say it was all bad!) 

1:05  - Weave through frozen food picking up a bag of chicken breasts (6 lbs), a bag of meatballs (if you've never had the Sam's meatballs - they are really good!  I used to always do homemade and then I found these and wow!  So easy!  So good!), chicken patties (pack of 40), pork tenderloin (2 pack), rump roast (only $2.88/lb!), etc.

1:26 -- Wine.  Yum.  They have lots.  And lots.  Not impressed by the prices today though so actually leave without buying any!

1:35 -- Get in Line.  With such a HUGE and CROWDED store there are once again only 3 people checking out.  Apparently they keep prices low by employing no one.

1:42 -- Still In Line.

1:43 -- Lose all willpower while standing in line.  Return to jackets and somehow end up with both of them in my cart?  I'm not exactly sure how that happened.

1:45 -- Return to line.

2:13 -- Finally checking out -- and the grand total is *gasp* I think I'm going to faint.  How is it that every time I go to this gosh darn Member's Only Savings Club I end up spending so much money?  I'm not saving anything here.  I pay for this stinking membership every year only to then spend hundreds!! of dollars every time I go.  Oh my.  I can't afford for Sam's Club to keep saving me money.  But really, by the time I got to the checkout line I would pay anything just to be able to leave!  I've been trying to leave for 30 minutes.  And I didn't make the mistake of going on a crowded weekend.  Or a busy evening.  It's the middle of the afternoon!  On a Thursday!

2:19 -- Swipe my Amex.  Sigh.  I hate places that don't take Amex.  I use my Amex for everything.  If a place doesn't take Amex I don't shop there anymore.  Oh right.  I applied for a Discover a few years ago.  I use it one place.  Seriously - I have a credit card with one purpose.  It's my Sam's Card.  (At least it's pretty - Discover offers monogrammed credit cards!)  

2:20 -- Before my receipt prints a pre-approval prints.  "Would you like a Sam's Club Credit Card?  As a valued member you are already pre-approved...."  Seriously?  Still?  Isn't ridiculous lending what got our country into this mess? And didn't someone already show me this song and dance when I walked IN the store?  At least the person at the entrance offered my a camping chair with the Sam's Logo on it if I signed up.

2:21 -- In line again.  Note: I am waiting in line to leave.  Yep.  That's right.  The really cute old man at the door (who is obviously NOT in a hurry) has to mark off my receipt before I can go home.

2:26 -- The last straw.  I HATE feeling like a distrusted thief every time I walk out of the store.   I just spent almost $500 in your store and you want to see my receipt.  Do they think I'm smuggling the 50lb jar of tomato sauce out under my shirt?  Seriously if someone can walk out of that store with a monster box/tub/jar up their shirt - they deserve it!  

2:55 -- At home with everything unloaded from the car.  It doesn't take long when $500 only buys 27 items.   I try putting everything away, but I don't have a clue where I am supposed to store 24 cans of corn.  Thankfully my garage is big enough to hold the pallet of toilet paper.

Oct 1, 2008

How to Save the Government Money

A president's pension currently is $191,300 per year (Assuming the next president lives to age 80). Sen McCain would receive ZERO pension as he would reach 80 at the end of two terms as president.

Sen Obama would be retired for 26 years after two terms and would receive $4,973,800 in pension.

Therefore it would certainly make economic sense to elect McCain in November.

How's that for non partisan thinking? ??