Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Part I: I sang out of tune.

If you've been here before, you probably know that I tend to narrate my posts (for days at times) in my head. Here's how this post has been going for awhile: 

What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.

And if you're feeling super ambitious, you can check out my full sentiments here:

Did you click? Do it. Is your mind blown?
Joe Cocker is not the Beatles, but man that's good. Said in another way: 

What would you do if I hadn't blogged?
Would you stop reading and turn on your TV? 
Lend me your eyes and I'll write you a post, 
And I'll try not be unfunny. 

I wrote that in negative six seconds, so forgive its cheesiness and just general terribleness. But you get my point, yes? My absence is so long here that I feel like I've entered into that realm of unforgivable. Is it unforgivable?  I hope not. So I guess that's my apology - a Beatles tune, a Joe Cocker cover and a terrible haiku. You're welcome. 

Forewarned: I wish I had a nice, thematic way to organize the crazy of the last few months, but it simply doesn't exist. Impossible, even for a Type A-OCD planner like myself. I've tried and scrapped it at least three times. I just....can't. Perhaps Johnny Cash says it best, hmmm? 

I've been everywhere, man.

So instead of sensory overload and mental deboggling, I've decided that I'm going to blog about the past few months in review. Not a quick, hurried, "Let's let it all hang out!" review. Instead, a review worthy of what those months, and the friends we've shared them with, have meant to us. You'll just have to come back for more. (Assuming I show up, that is. Hedge your bets.) So here we go. 

Jenny Penny got married. And then she left me. 

First up in review, my long-time friend got married. Jen and I went to law school together and have worked down the hall from each other for close to five years. For those combined eight (EIGHT) years, I probably saw her more than anyone else in the world, including Goose. She's prettier than him though, and generally more cheery, so it worked out fine for me. 

Eight years in the making.

Jen and James were married at the Messina Hoff Winery in College Station. As a lifetime Longhorn, I don't tread on that turf willingly, but I'll make an exception for these two. Jen was a gorgeous bride, and seeing her light up at becoming James's wife was such a special moment. Even if I had to do it breathing Aggie air. **Gag, cough, cough.** Hook 'Em. 

So happy for our sweet friends and so honored to have been a part of their big day....except for that nine mile aisle I had to walk down. That part I could have done without. 

I've forgiven her though, because she didn't make me wear a terrible bridesmaid dress or have horrendous wedding hair. Jen for the win. (Those for the loss, you know who you are. Ahem.) 

And then, like a water balloon to the face, Jen left us in July for greener pastures. 

She's grazing in the land of in-house counsel, putting her blackberry aside for hours at a time, taking field trips on a whim, being served by waiters in tails and white gloves and rolling her fingers together with poorly disguised evil glee. 

We hates her. 
But oh how I miss her. 

With that, cheers to Jen and James. May you have a lifetime of golden happiness. And many baby Longhorns. 
***All wedding pictures copyright Heather Curiel. I'm an attorney, after all. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Golden Nutshell

That is me, coming out of hibernation. It's been a long time, friends. Too long. My brain needs a break from the real world, and what better way than by reflecting on my two months of silence? Shall we begin?

(And, as you know, I tend to narrate these posts in my head. Have you seen The Mask? Why is it so awesome? And why is it what comes to mind here?)

On that note, we should move on.

1. My best got engaged. I hate knowing secrets. Me choca, me choca, me choca. And perhaps the hardest one I've ever known but couldn't tell was that of Monique's engagement, which had me BURSTING at the seams for a full month. J and Monique have been dating for a third of my life - their time is due. I couldn't be happier, prouder, or more excited for them. It's not often I'm a mush machine, but this wedding makes my heart flutter. The thought of getting to watch this amazing woman who is more like my sister than my friend plan her day, with me along in the peanut gallery, is one of the happiest things I can imagine.

There were about 30 of us packed into a bedroom hideout while Monique got engaged. What a sneaky sneak surprise!
Beyond the mush, I get to hang out with these crazy ladies, so that's a win for everyone. November 2013 can't come soon enough!

Now, if we could just work on this Ninimal, my life will be complete.

Clinton McGee, we love you.
2. You should try Colombia. I'm partial to Mexico, for obvious reasons. But Colombia comes in at a close second on my list of favorite Latin countries to visit. We went to Cartagena in February for the wedding of one our our sweet groomsmen. He's French, she's Colombian, and they live in Panama. Most of the guests were Swiss. You can imagine the head spin that combination creates. And, it wouldn't be a reunion with Gooses's Panamanian colleagues if the wedding night didn't end with an alarming Colombian rash spreading at terrifying rates up each of my arms and Goose's custom tuxedo split up the bottom seam due to his aggressive Michael Jackson dancing moves. Pretty standard in our world.

And felicidades to our sweet friends, O + M. We love you guys.

3. Our house has cabinets. Do not build a house. Just....don't. I'm not sure why I ever thought that after 18 months of planning a wedding, I should transition into 9 months of planning a house. I've heard people say that if your marriage can handle building, you're in the clear for the long run. Um, but what about my MIND?

Much like wedding planning, this perhaps wouldn't have been such a scratchy process if I weren't such a Type-A control freak. But, alas, I am. And so after almost a year of it, I'm ready to roll over and scream uncle.

All of that aside, the house is beautiful, and we're very blessed to own it as our first home together. With my birds-eye focus on the small (unimportant?) details, combined with our magic maker's big picture direction, we've managed to create a masterpiece in the midst of the muck. A few things we've picked up and out along the way:

And here's our Magic Makers schematic board for the downstairs. Hold on to your horses!

4. We've become the most popular people in the world. Me and Goose are in a combined EIGHT. EIGHT. weddings this year. And have I mentioned that they are all out of town? Just give me a vodka tonic and point me in the general direction of where I'm supposed to be. After eight prior trips down the aisle as a bridesmaid and once as a bride, I got this s*$t down.

In all seriousness, what a fun time for us. The older we get, the more we learn who we actually want to hang out. Lucky for us, these guys appear to feel the same. Each of them tells a part of our story, and we're stoked to help add to theirs. Cheers to you eight!

P.S. If you give me wedding hair, our friendship is over. And I will spit on its grave.

5. End of the road. I just recently returned back from the Deep South for the first time since summer 2012. I was long overdue. My baby brother met me out there, and we were able to handle a few of the final outstanding items related to Mom, plus celebrate her life in a way that we know she would have loved. It's funny, this grief thing. Have you ever been in one of those tidal wave pools at a water park? The kind that simulates waves? They start out gentle, then increase, then explode, then return to gentle? For me, that's what grief has been. There are some days where my only thoughts about Mom are happy ones. And then there are days where I'm utterly consumed by it. And then there's that range of everything else in between.

Anyways, beyond that, my trip was a stellar one. My Deep South family never ceases to amaze me. Their kindness, grace and strength are immeasurable. On that note, a few highlights from the weekend:

That's me and Baby Brother with our tree. Then, Kaylee Bug, the little rascal. I convinced her to stand still for about 3.2 seconds: "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese." Moving east, that's the door to my mom's childhood room, as decorated by her younger sister fifteen years later. The "Nana" (for us Southerners, that's pronounced "Nuh-Nuh") is what Mom's siblings and nieces and nephews called her; the "DE" are my aunt's initials. What sweet reminders of two women both taken from us too soon. Then, southward, the normal speed at which Kaylee moves. Exhausted just looking at that picture. And, finally, a spring trip wouldn't be complete without my Uncle T's amazing crawfish boils. Don't be jealous.

6. Oh, and this happened. I love Adam Levine. That is all.

So, that's the last two months in a golden nutshell, with a little side of glitter. Hope you've enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Spoils of Sweet Victory

We're two weeks into 2013, and I've successfully not entirely failed at two of my resolutions (here, for a reminder). Happens to be the two that counter-balance each other, so I think that means I'm standing at dead even. I'll count that as a win in my book.

After a morning workout with Goose (Operation Resolution Number 4: Turn That Caboose Around), I spent Sunday trying my hand at cookie decorating (Operation Resolution Number 3: Crazy Cookie Lady).

And watch out world, because I'm in love.

A few forethoughts, before my big reveal.
  • Cookies take patience. Like an agonizing amount. Turns out sometimes you have to wait overNIGHT for things. Who knew?
  • Piping is hard as sh*t.  
  • You have to have the right tools to make the cookies even remotely decent. Good thing I know the aisles of Hobby Lobby in my sleep.
  • This woman is insanely good. I watched her videos (what? I'm a dork?) over and over again. Also, special shotout to my Aunt Laurie for nudging me in the right direction. She's a cookie-making legend.
So, here we are, one batch of royal icing, one batch of sugar cookies, three shades and three consistencies later. I'm exhausted already.

Royal icing is apparently the key to cookie decorating. Look Ma, I did it!

Mine and Hers

Then came the cookies. Who knew sugar cookies could make you want to beg for mercy? I'm still finding butter in random places.
Mine and Hers. Clearly, I have some work to do.

Then, the piping and flooding. That's right, I've added cookie jargon to my vocabulary.

Not so bad, eh?

Wait overnight, wait overnight, wait overnight. Party time.

And the final results...

Mine and Hers

Icing on the cake cookie? These tasted like absolute rubbish. So pretty, yet so totally, incredibly, exhaustively inedible. K calls it sweet victory for trying to make cookies that value form over function. I call it a win and sent her the spoils.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Puppy Prozac

For all of my mom friends about to read this, stop right there. Alternatively, please check your (well-deserved) righteousness at the door. I'm about to compare my dogs to your children. If that pains your heart or offends your being, come back for the next post - promise it won't hurt as much.

For those still with me, on we go. I hope we've met in real life. If we have, chances are you've either met/puppy-sat/seen pictures/received kisses from the two most adorable yorkies on the face of the planet, Petrie and Pax. 

And, having met them, you've probably taken note that they also happen to be the most OCD yorkies on the planet. (Hmm....wonder who they may have learned that from?)

Who me? Couldn't be.

Example A: Petrie tends to compulsively focus on things. Often times I find her sitting in a corner of a closet, her back to me, intently watching my clothes. That's not weird, right? 

Those clothes, so interesting. So very, very interesting.

Example B (and the subject of this post): Paxter tends to be psychotically afraid of the following:
  • Rain;
  • Thunder;
  • The overhead fan that sometimes sounds like rain;
  • The AC unit on the bottom floor of the apartment complex that sometimes sounds like rain;
  • The tree scratching on the window that sometimes sounds like rain...
You're getting my point here, right? Paxter is TERRIFIED of all things "boom-boom" related. And the older he gets, the more obsessive-compulsive he gets. He's convinced his death by lightning strike is imminent. (Note, however, he's wise enough to realize that death by lightning strike can only occur at night while Mom and Goose are otherwise asleep. Obviously.)

Pax on high alert.

And we're not talking about a little case of the nerves here, friends. We're talking about a little: "MOM!MOM!WAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUP!IT'SRAINING!IJUSTKNOWIT!CANYOUHEARMEMOM!THERAINISGOINGTOGETMEANDYOUANDGOOSEANDSISTER!MUSTWAKEUP!MUSTWAKEUP!MOM!MOM!MOM!" accompanied by some heaving panting, some SERIOUS trembles and some Mom-face scratching (to ensure I've heard him otherwise). 

Impending doom.

We're talking the type of panting that reminds you what he's had for dinner. The type of trembles that shake the king-size bed. The type of face scratching that will make an elephant bleed. Did I mention that he's positive the only remotely safe place to intently watch for impending doom is from atop my head? Literally.atop.my.head.

Home remedies we've tried through the years:
  • Sleeping in the guest bedroom, which has no outside walls;
  • Sleeping in the master closet (ON THE FLOOR), which is even deeper in the labyrinth and even more sound-proof;
  • Being sequestered in the bathtub;
  • Taking Puppy Prozac daily;
  • Sleeping with a baby white noise machine;
  • Kenneling; and
  • Standing outside in the rain as proof he'll survive.
To no avail. None. If it's raining (or Pax has convinced himself it's raining), we're awake. Gloriously awake. 

Me at 3am.

Until recently. My heart has hardened. We've come to grips with his OCD and realized he must as well. I believe this is what some of you mothers call "Letting them cry it out?" Yes? (Has our friendship survived that comparison?)

As of late, our solution is below. Suggestions for improvements in such are, of course, encouraged but most likely rejected by Paxter. Alternatively, feel free to send high doses of sleeping medication and/or sympathy cards to my attention.
  • Layer bottom of guest room bathtub with thick, noise-insulating blanket;
  • Insert puppy kennel;
  • Wrap Paxter's feet with protective bandages (below) as protection against the inevitable escape attempts;
  • Insert Paxter into kennel;
  • Surround puppy kennel on both sides with thick, noise-insulating blankets;
  • Turn on noise-insulating vent fan;
  • Leave on overhead light (in the event that boom-booms humanize and seek out Paxter in the kennel);
  • Shut guest bathroom door;
  • Shut guest quarters door;
  • Shut master bedroom door;
  • Turn on white noise machine and noise-insulating box fan on high speed (this step not optional, even in winter months);
  • Put on winter-grade headband over eyes and ears;
  • Convince Petrie that Pax hasn't been murdered in the night and that she's surely next;
  • Attempt fitful sleep.
Paxie's feet band-aids.
The six steps of noise-insulation? Not for Paxter and the rain. He's on his own for that one. For our neighbors, so they don't report us to the SPCA for his barking and clawing at kennel door that will surely last through the night. 

Wouldn't it be awesome if that were actually us? And Goose had that sweet facial hair?

My favorite part? The next morning, when Petrie and I release Pax from puppy jail, he's so shocked that it's a new day and he's survived the night that he totally forgets that only hours ago, he just KNEW the world was ending. It's a sight to behold. He forgives me all over again. 

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for you all night!

On that note, who's ready to puppysit in the rain?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013: The year of the cookie.

Bah! Where have you been all my life?!?!

Oh wait, it's me, you say?

Indeed, it's true. I've been missing. Like lost-in-the-night missing.  I needed the year 2012 to come to a close. A peaceful close. A close that went undocumented and unnoticed by my electronic self. Like most years, 2012 was a year full of ups and downs. Unlike most years, it was a year of very high ups and very low downs. A year that I would never give up, yet never do again. It ended, and I came through it. Older, a little squishier, possibly smarter and a whole lot harder. RIP 2012, and good riddance.

Moving on...Have you met my husband? He likes lists. He has a list of lists of lists, toss in a spreadsheet or two or nine. One of those lists is his "2013 Resolutions" (which, fingers crossed, will include "Never participate in Movember again."). Jumping on his listy bandwagon, I'm sharing my own 2013 version below for, if nothing else, the public shaming I'm due when I burn the cookies and my royal icing looks like cottage cheese. 

1. Blog more. Although my posting history may lead you to believe otherwise, I do indeed like blogging. I should do more of it. Off to a good start on this one, I suppose.

2. Fully furnish the house. Have you ever bought a house before? Turns out, houses require a lot of things. Like a trillion and eight things. We've purchased a few, and the hunt for the remaining trillion and three is actively underway. A few purchases as of late include a TV for my bathroom (Matt Lauer comes on TV earlier than Goose gets up. Problem solved.) and these beauts below.

3. Become a cookie-making machine. When I take on a hobby, I'm out to master it. If you live in a 15 mile radius of me, chances are you'll be on the tasting end of this one. Good thing I have a guest house kitchen starting in March that I can set up shop in, because I've already spent a miniature fortune on cookie supplies I never knew existed. But.must.have.this.second.otherwise.my.cookies.obviously.won't.work.right.

SweetSugarBelle.....I die.
4. Obligatory weight loss. 2012 found me at my finest. As of 6pm on Saturday, June 2nd, I was the most fit I've been in my adult life. And it was all downhill from there, my feeble friends. (Goose thinks Resolutions 3 and 4 clash. I think he smells like roaches.) Cheers to turning this caboose around, no pun intended.

Body=2xArm. Bah.

5. Spanish at rest. Those Latins, they're quick. Their Spanish tends to sputter at about eight times the pace of mine, which means I'm either firing on all cylinders when I'm with my Mexican inlaws or lost in the dust. The former tends to be a bit exhausting (Don't attempt active listening for all hours of the day. Your ears will bleed and then you will die.), and the latter tends to be a bit lonely. After ten-plus years of hearing/processing/speaking decent Spanish, I'm on a quest for the peaceful kind. The kind where I can switch off my brain and still follow the flow. Wish me luck of the tongue. Those rolled-Rs are a beast.

6. Practice law like a champ. I'm now in my fourth year of law practice - isn't that crazy? Some days I feel like I would fail at 5th grade math, much less be able to provide legal counsel to some of the biggest companies in the world. (If you happen to be one of my partners and just read that, do not fear, on those days, I triple check my calculations. And then check again.) 2012 was a year that required an abnormal amount of personal focus. For 2013, capital markets, I'm looking at you, ol' chap.

And so, here we go, 2013. It shall be gold and grand. And perhaps a tad bit glittery.