Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm no Annalise ...

But every now and then I can fake it! I love to bake, especially at Christmas. I've been baking and cooking up a storm lately for parties and gift giving. Here's what's been going down in my kitchen.
Just a taste (pun intended) of the Christmas baking I've been doing: all manner of cookies, fudge, almond truffles, pumpkin truffles, white chocolate macadamia truffles, nutella truffles, cherry chocolate scones, turkey cheese scrolls, a white chocolate raspberry trifle ... I guess January is going to be the time to get back on the wagon with my diet. :-)

These sugar cookies were awesome!

Super simple, and a great appetizer for parties.

Where my heart will always be. :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nostalgic Music

At what point in life does some experience go from routine to past?

There are some experiences that remind me so much of home that their very mention takes me back to that time and place. This is especially true when it comes to music.

For example, this past weekend I visited Anne and Brian in MA. We had a great time exploring the cape in the frigged weather (it was 16 degrees with the wind chill) and eating some delicious cupcakes.

What was so special to me, however, was being at the Cheers bar in Boston before I had to leave on my flight Monday afternoon. The theme song, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", always reminds me of the Thursday nights I would spend at my Mom and Step-Dad's house. Even though I didn't get all the jokes, I knew all the lyrics to that song by the time I was seven years old.

As I've gotten older, I have come to appreciate the little things that take us back to when we were young. Every time I hear Billy Joel, I'll think about my friend, Ben, who always played his songs in high school. The song Dancing Queen always reminds me of Annalise, who sang it in our high school pop show (I think my Dad still has the video). And Bon Jovi's album Crossroads will forever be memorialized as the soundtrack to many drives to Hallettsville, TX to visit my Granny. (My Mom is a huge Bon Jovi fan.)

I wonder if anyone else can relate. What music takes you back?

Friday, December 5, 2008


Last week my parents came in town to visit for Thanksgiving. They brought along my brother, Reid, and it was a blast seeing all of them.

We decided to meet up in DC when they arrived and spent some time on the national mall and inside the Smithsonian. Go to my mom's blog here to see some pictures of us inside the National Art Museum. One little tip, though: if you decide to park on Ohio Ave NE on a regular work day, move your car by 4 PM. They were about to tow my car when we arrived at 4:05. They didn't tow it (thankfully) but I did get a nice little $100 ticket as a parting gift.

The Thanksgiving meal can be a little overwhelming, but with all of us cooking we pulled it off in no time. Including my roommates family, we had eight people surrounding our table. Everyone loved the dinner and we were full for days. During the meal we went around and said what we were thankful for. Everyone was so blessed and thankful for having employment, food on the table, and wonderful friends and family to share it with.

I guess most families watch football after they eat. My family got to have ECGs, blood pressure measurements and card tricks courtesy of me, Adrianne and John. Adrianne is Marie's eldest daughter and just started medical school. She was eager to try out some of the clinical procedures she'd learned and I jumped on the bandwagon with my electrophysiology background. John (Marie's boyfriend) entertained the patients with card tricks. Even though we'd just consumed a huge meal, everyone checked out great!

I look forward to next year's holiday, but I hope Adrianne isn't going to be doing a surgical rotation around that time ...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


It's been three weeks since I blogged.

Three weeks!

I could say I've been working a lot, which would be true. Try fifty hours a week at my day job and 10-20 hours a week at my night job and that adds up to a lot of time.

But, the truth is that I started reading the Twilight series when I was in Utah for Annalise's wedding and I've been obsessed with it ever since. I'm surprised my Mom didn't get any pictures of me reading while we were hiking.

I haven't been this into a book series since, well, I've never been into a book series. When I get home at night, all I want to do is get lost in the world of Edward and Bella.

It is so pathetic. And wonderful.

I finished all four books in a week and then felt a huge void so I started reading the fourth book again, slower, so I can actually get all the little side stories I missed the first time.

Everything culminated last weekend when Rachel and I saw the movie. Now my obsession is complete.

My parents are coming in town today for Thanksgiving so pictures of that are to follow.

And I'm not going to read while they are here. Well, I'm going to try...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Doing My Part ...

The election is over! I was so sick of all the ads and phone calls that I got to the point where I didn't care who won. This area is so politically charged - go figure, it's DC - and the last two years have been interesting to say the least.

Let me preface this by saying that I worked on the Hill in the spring of 2004 as an intern for a democrat from Texas. Although my time in politics was brief (four months actually), I learned a lot while I was there and I believe I have a unique perspective because I worked in the thick of things for a while.

The most important lesson I took from my time on the Hill was that regardless of party, the congressmen really believe that what they are doing is right for the country and, more importantly, right for their constituency. Having that knowledge completely changed the way I listened and participated in political discussions.

The second lesson I learned was that the media is TOTAL crap. I would watch resolutions debated on the floor of the House of Representatives and watch it later on CNN or Fox News and they would completely slice and dice sound bytes to get the story they wanted. In some cases, what they reported was almost completely fabricated from what was originally intended. I stopped watching political news after I worked on the Hill. If I have a question about a bill, I go to the text of the bill itself and draw my own conclusions. You can find this information at Also, check out, if you want to know how congressmen really vote on the issues.

I have to say that working on the Hill made me somewhat cynical about politics in general. I don't usually discuss my political leanings with acquaintances and I certainly would not argue at a bar over which party has it right. Life is too short to alienate people from you because you don't agree politically. In the end, the system has corruption and hypocrisy on both sides. But I felt that today, after this historic election, that stating some of my opinions in this venue would be beneficial.

While having people in power who support my beliefs is important to me, being a christian has given me the understanding that I answer to a higher power than the US government. Now, that's not to say that I'm above the law, however, when they conflict, God's law rules my life. In the bible, it says 'give to Caesar what is Caesar's' and 'obey the laws of the land'. As a christian and as a proud American I do this every day. However, I don't think that the government should be used to push forward religious agendas. And while there might be earthly consequences for sinning (i.e. killing someone or stealing), I don't believe that all consequences of sin or "un-christian" morality should come from the government.

For example, I am pro-life. I believe that life begins when conception occurs and it is wrong for someone to take that life away. However, I also believe that the consequences of abortion will be dealt with by God at the second coming so whether or not it is legal doesn't make a lot of difference to me. I mourn for the loss of life and for women who make that decision (because they will truly never be the same) but free will allows them to make that decision anyway. That being said, I do believe that there should be more options and more education for women considering abortion, but that is a topic for another blog.

I feel the same about gay marriage. I think it's wrong and somewhat ironic that homosexuals want to bend to the convention of marriage when their life is very unconventional compared to societal norms. And I know that people who support gay marriage will say that there are lots of happy gay marrieds with great marriages who are great parents and look at all the unhappy heterosexual marrieds who are bad parents but that argument doesn't hold a lot of weight to me. I still think it's wrong because my moral compass - the bible - tells me it is. Using bad examples of married people to support the "for gay marriage" agenda is flimsy to say the least. Yet, again, how would allowing gay people to marry affect my beliefs? How would that change my view of marriage? It wouldn't. Their number will be called on the day of judgement - just like mine.

At the end of the day, my core beliefs are rooted in my faith. I don't have hope in government or society or a good politician who is well-spoken to make my life better. I believe that Jesus is the only one who saves and gives us peace. And I don't think Jesus would picket or be aggressive towards democrats or republicans or independents or martians. He loved people (aka sinners)and built relationships with them that changed their lives forever. That is how real change happens. Not through some government resolution, but one person investing time in another.

As an American, I support President-elect Obama. As a christian, I have faith that God is in control and will lead this nation and my life according to His plan.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annalise's Wedding

Annalise with her Dad

Annalise and Steve

The setting was beautiful

Could the weather have been more perfect?!

It was beautiful. The weather was amazing! Steve and Annalise couldn't have made a more perfect couple. The pictures say it all.

Mom and me next to Bridal Veil Falls. She was my date for the wedding!

I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Congrats Annalise! Let's not wait 8 years next time ;-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My life in license plates

Virginia DMV has this great program where you can get vanity plates for relatively low cost. Consequently, there are a lot of vanity plates on the road and it's a game of mine to figure out where and how people came up with their particular plate.

Some are easy, like the name of a sports team or the initials of the auto owners. And other people choose phrases; meaningful ones usually but some times I just can't figure out why someone would put "BIG BLR" or "WAS HIS" on their plate.

There are times when I'm mulling over something while I'm driving and I look up and all the sudden I see my answer in a license plate. Case and point: tonight I was thinking about something and I look up and the license plate says "GT OVR IT".

Who knew vanity plates could be so profound?!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall is here!

Today I was "working" in my sun room, which is enclosed with windows - hence the name sun room, and I was completely distracted by how beautiful everything was outside. Every time the wind would blow, it would shake the trees so that it looked like leaves and pine needles were raining from the clouds. It was spectacular! I was so enraptured that I decided to take a break from "work" and capture some of it on my digital camera. What came out doesn't do it justice but at least you get the idea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Laura and Joe's Wedding

On October 4th, my dear friend Laura married Joe, her fiance and a dear man. The wedding was in a garden in Maryland and it was beautiful. Laura asked the girls in our small group to sing at her wedding and it went great! It was so nice to share in that day with her. Here are some of the pictures from the wedding.

We love you Laura! I hope you're having a great time in Hawaii with Joe!! :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Last weekend I decided to brave the terrible weather with some friends and go camping in the mountains. We had been planning the trip for a while and when the weather looked less than favorable, not one of us was deterred since we had been looking forward to camping for so long.

We left on Friday night after work around seven. It had stopped raining here by then so we thought it would be better in the mountains too. Well, it was supposed to take a little over two hours to get to the campsite but it ended up taking almost four because the fog was so bad it was like driving through cotton candy.

I was so frustrated but we finally made it and the guys helped us set up the tent and canopy until it started pouring down rain. I mean, it was so bad it was saturating the ground and everything else. Thankfully, our tent was dry (relatively) on the inside so when the rain subsided Rachel and I laid down for a bit. Then around 4 AM it started storming: lightning, thunder, and HARD rain for about an hour. I would have been more scared if I hadn't had my earplugs in and slept through the majority of the storm.

Saturday morning greeted us with cotton candy fog again but thankfully the rain had stopped. We had a great breakfast of pancakes and campfire cooked bacon (I don't recommend it). we went for a hike and I shot some great waterfall picks before the sky opened up again to pour on us some more.

Saturday night was spent by the campfire smoking the hookah I got last week and playing games. It was dry and awesome and probably my favorite part of the trip. It was great getting to know everyone better.

Sunday was foggy at first and then ... beautiful! Our drive home was amazing; the rain subsided completely and the sun came out and then mountains were gorgeous. Unfortunately I was driving during this time so I didn't get any pictures of it.

The other thing was that I was sick all weekend with a cold that got worse as I got more wet. I finally feel better today and as I reflect on my first camping trip in over ten years I am happy I went. It definitely wasn't ideal camping weather, but everyone made the best of it and in the end we had a great time. Hopefully I'll get more pictures for my next trip and it will be a little more dry.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frontline Fall Retreat

As promised, this is my second blog this week - go me!

This past weekend I went with five hundred other Christians to the boonies of Virginia for some fellowship and R & R. It was a great weekend, with lots of great sermons and quiet times with God. I met a lot of new people, including Nadya, who is from from eastern Europe and rode down with us. She is an au pair for a family who goes to my church.

In addition to some great spiritual growth, the retreat offered really cool recreation activities like ropes courses, a zipline, and tons of outdoor sports like beach volleyball and ultimate Frisbee.

I did the ropes course with Noelle (my dear friend from A&M who was in DC for job interviews) and we had a blast! I fell and bruised my arms a little bit but other than that we did pretty good for our first time out there.

It was a great weekend and I can't wait for the spring Frontline retreat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The End of the Season

I meant to post this last week but I never got around to it so this week you get two blogs!

I went to my last Nats game last Tuesday with Sean. It was a little sad having to say goodbye to baseball for a year (especially when the Aggies are sucking so bad in football right now) but I look forward to going to even more games next year and maybe buying some Nats gear.

We had a great time at the game, and they won again! We had hot dogs, fries, beer, and the best - funnel cake!

I managed to get more powdered sugar on my shirt than in my belly but it was so much fun. Next time I'll wear funnel-cake-eating appropriate clothes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Simple Things

I've always been moved by nature. Most people are surprised to learn that about me. I really enjoy the outdoors (when I'm dressed for it) and I love a good hike. Speaking of which - the aggies and Rachel and me are going camping in a few weeks to Shenandoah so I should get some good pictures of the leaves changing that weekend.

Last weekend I was outside and this really pretty blue butterfly landed on my hand. I let my dog, Diego, smell it and then he decided it might make a tasty snack. No worries, though, I rescued the butterfly before Diego could eat it up.

That cute little insect stayed on my hand for at least twenty minutes! My roommate snapped this picture of me before it finally decided to fly away.

Oh, I got five inches chopped off my hair last weekend, but you can't really tell. The curse of curly hair ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another Nats game

I'm getting the most out of the $40 pack of tickets I bought at the beginning of the season.

The aggies (Sean, Reagan, and Austin) and Alexis came with me to the Nats game on Saturday night. I honestly don't even remember who they were playing.

It was an incredibly hot night and for some stupid reason I decided to look cute because I'd been living in scrubs for the past week. I wore some nice jeans and this pair of boots I hadn't worn since last winter. I was so hot that I had to take off my shirt and wear the tank top I had on underneath. No worries, guys, it was totally conservative - sorry.

I think I was having a clumsy day. You ever have those? A day where you try but you just keep bumping into everything. I think I have fourteen bruises from last Saturday.

The biggest came when I was bringing my beer back to our seats and I totally ate it coming up the concrete stairs. I mean, I really went down. The only thing I could think of was, "I have to save the beer - it cost $7.50!". I managed to save about $3 of it and in the process spilled most of it on my arm and in my hair. The only silver lining was that I was so hot that it felt good to have something cool on me. Even if it was miller lite.

Back at the seats we enjoyed some good baseball, stadium food and camera time. Alexis and Austin were going crazy with the camera (I think they were a little bored).

Oh, the Nats played the Braves. And they won. Again. I think I bring them luck. :-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Nats

Ok, so I'm not a huge baseball fan but I LOVE going to baseball games. It's such a summer activity and it gives me an excuse to eat a bunch of really bad food and drink beer.

This summer I bought a pack of tickets so I could go see the Washington Nationals play whenever it worked with my schedule. It's been a little tricky getting people to go out during the week - partly because the stadium is a little far from where I live - but my friend, Jenn, was free and came with me this past Tuesday to watch the Nats take on the Dodgers.

So I'm on the metro on my way to the game and I ended up meeting these two random guys - Sean and Ron. They ended up sitting with us at the game while we downed hamburgers from Five Guys and miller light. It was great! That's one thing about DC that I love: you never know who you're going to meet but it's for sure that you'll have a story to tell about it!

We also met this guy with an owl. And these other guys who were hanging out that the bar and arguing with each other about who was a better player back in the 1940's.

I can't wait for this Saturday, when I go to my next Nats game!

Oh, by the way, the Nats beat the Dodgers 2-1. :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Fair and the Party

A lot of activities took place this weekend but I'm going to compress it somewhat so that this blog doesn't take up all the space on my page.

First, Alexis and the aggies and I went to the Prince William County Fair on Friday. The forty-five minutes we were there were a lot of fun. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and it started pouring on us so we decided to come back to my place and watch movies.

Oh, and take my advice - even if you're really hungry, do NOT eat a corn dog and then get on this centrifuge ride called the Gravitron. I seriously thought I was going to hurl.

Saturday was the big day for Rachel, the woman with whom I co-lead my bible study. We had a party/fundraiser for her at my house and it was awesome! Not only did we raise some cash for her, but we had a great time hanging out by the pool and meeting some new people.

It was the third and final party in three weekends that we've had here at the house.

On Sunday I rested.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Girls

I know I've mentioned them before, but I haven't really written much the wonderful girls in my small group. I see them every Wednesday night at 7:30 when we laugh and catch up with each other and keep each other accountable and study whatever book we're going through at the time.

The most important and most wonderful aspect of this group is how we minister to each other.

They have been with me through the break ups and the bad days. They have also been there through the excitement of new relationships and promotions. We go through all the hills and valleys together and I can't imagine a greater and more dynamic group of women than these. I hope that I give to them as much as they give to me.

We decided to take a picture of the group a few weeks ago and here it is. I love y'all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Exploring the Virginia Wine Country

I am a wine drinker. I prefer reds to whites but occasionally I'll be in the mood for a good pinot grigio or chardonnay. I have always enjoyed getting back to the source; seeing where the wine takes on its flavor and who the people are that make it.

I went to a few vineyards in Texas but I had yet to explore Virginia wine until this past weekend. My dear friend Alexis and I went to the Breaux vineyard with some friends we met at church a few weeks ago.

We had a great time getting to know these guys and learning a little more about what vintages Breaux had to offer. The wine was excellent and I even had a white wine that I really enjoyed. The day was a little hot but breezy and perfect for sitting outside and sipping on a few glasses with some good friends.

Here is a picture of all of us: Alexis, Austin, Reagan, Shani, and Sean.

By the way, these guys are all aggies who just moved to the area after finishing their masters degrees! It's so great to have a little bit of Texas right here in VA.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Road Rage

Everyone who's ever lived some where with more than one stoplight can relate to a little road rage every now and then. Unfortunately, DC is one of the worst traffic jams in the country (literally - the roads were designed to handle 10% of the current population) and therefore I experience road rage on a daily basis. Add that to the fact that my job is 40% driving (put 27,000 miles on my gas-guzzling SUV last year) and I am in a constant struggle to keep my cool and avoid the speed traps.

Well, the other day, I was coming home from work and a Miata gets right on my bumper. For those of you who don't know, a Miata is a very fruity two-seater Mazda product that can only be appropriate for old ladies to drive to their bridge clubs. And let me just say this, I drive a Mercury Mountaineer. It is a VERY large vehicle, seats 7 and has 8 inches of ground clearance. I could literally crush a Miata with one tire.

The person driving this Miata was not an old lady but a middle-aged man with a bad attitude.

This guy gets on my tail in his Miata, gets frustrated so he goes around me and while doing that gives me a dirty look. I look over and he looks like he definitely puts that car on one leg at a time; I mean, the guy is right up against the steering wheel! He looks like the type who still lives at home with Mom and plays lots of World of Warcraft: think "Comic Book Guy" from the Simpson's.

So then he gets in front of me at the toll booth and guess what - he has a handicapped license plate! I mean, what handicapped person drives a little Miata?!

Well, anyway, at the suggestion of one of my friends, I was told to blog about this incident to help me get over my annoyance at how stupid DC drivers can be. And I know, God loves stupid drivers so I should love them too.

And their Miatas.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why I love living in Great Falls

This picture was taken in my driveway looking toward the backyard.

Hard to believe I'm just a short metro ride to Washington, DC. :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


My best friend's husband selfishly moved her to Massachusetts about three months ago for a promotion with his job (I know - the nerve!). I have missed her dearly and I was so excited to fly up there this past weekend and spend some time hanging out.

The first day we water skied on her parent's boat, the second day we got pedicures and saw Sex and the City, and the third day we shopped. Par for the course when it comes to Anne and me! By the way, gratuitous cussing and nudity aside, Sex and the City was a pretty good movie.

We had a great time on the lake! I hadn't water skied in 12 years, but I got right back up. It really is like riding a bike.

Anne's parents have this raft thing that you hold on to (for dear life!) and let the boat pull you around the lake. It was awesome and I got some good shots of Brian flying over the wake.

I can't wait to see Anne and Brian again. Hopefully I can come in the fall when all the colors are changing. Or maybe I'll take that beach vacation with her that I've been blogging about for a year ...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Home Depot

Today I had to go into Home Depot to pick up a giftcard for my roommate. I don't have many occasions to go into Home Depot because I don't own a home, but I used to go there a lot with my Dad so I know my way around.

While I was waiting in line for the self-checkout (which took longer than a regular line) I was thinking about how strangely romantic it was being surrounded by all the tools and equipment. And I was thinking how much I really want to go into Home Depot with a man - a man who knows his way around. And I don't just want to pretend like we're shopping, I want to build something with a man, create something tangible and strong and enduring.

Maybe I'm going way out on a limb here, but I think there is something so sexy about a man who is handy. If you're just getting to know a guy, and you discover that he can't fix a toilet, isn't that a little bit of a let down? It's like finding out he likes to watch Gossip Girl or something. Ok, maybe that's a stretch - but I guess my type is no metro whatsoever.

And OMG I never want to hear the phrase, "I'm in touch with my feminine side", unless he's kidding. I'm from Texas, and real men are masculine. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mama Mia!

My Dad came in town this weekend to keep me company on the 4th and get me out of my mood. It was really awesome having him here. There's nothing like being with your family when you feel lonely. I felt like last week I was emotionally vomiting all over everyone because I was so sad about the break-up and it's been nice to have Dad here to get some perspective. Stu was great - truly. I was blessed to have him for the time I did, but life will go on and I will be with the right person one day.

But enough about that. Dad and I have had a lot of fun this weekend. We haven't done much - mostly because the weather hasn't been great - but we've had a good time catching up and taking it easy.

On Friday, we saw Wanted - not a good movie. The story line was ok and the special effects were good but there were so many f-bombs that it just destroyed whatever dialog might have been important to the plot. That night we came home and watched Ratatouille and it was really good! I was impressed because I'm not a huge fan of Pixar movies, but this one was awesome!!

On Saturday the weather was better so we decided to go into DC and see Mama Mia! at the National Theatre. It was a great show. My Dad knew all the ABBA songs, he said he used to listen to them in these things called records. I'm anxious to see if the movie, which comes out next weekend, lives up to the musical.

Dad leaves today. It's been wonderful having him here and having him remind me of who I am. It's always nice to have people on your team. I can't wait to go home again and be with my family. But maybe I'll wait until the fall when the weather has cooled off a bit - like to 90. :-)