Ten on Tuesday

31 Aug

So.  This is my first post since April.  Some things that have changed since I last posted: I now have a dog (one of my excuses reasons for not posting); I am now thirty years old; and I received a promotion at work.  I am also involved with some new non-profits, and life is busier than ever.

However, my sister-in-law Chelsea is married, nine months pregnant, works full time, and she has still managed to update her blog nearly every weekday.  So once again, I am looking up to her good example, and will try to update around here more often.

I’ll start off small with participation in Chelsea’s fun Ten on Tuesday blog feature.  Here are the questions and my personal answers!  If you would like to play along, click here for the questions.

1. Pretend it’s Monday morning–take us through a day in the life of you.

Wake up at 7 am and let the dog out.  Brush my teeth, hair, etc.   Walk around in a daze for awhile.  Dig frantically through piles of clean clothes for something to wear to work.  Put together the things I need to take to work, including breakfast, lunch, and quantities of diet coke.  Take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood while reading Twitter and Facebook on my phone.  Feed the dog right before walking out the door.  Leave and come back in at least twice for forgotten items like cell phones, car keys, and work badges.

2. What’s your favorite reality tv show?

I don’t really watch any right now.  I know, I know.  Sacrilege.  I record most shows I watch, including: True Blood, Masterpiece Mystery, Psych, Good Eats, and Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.  haha

3. What motto do you live by?

Treat others as I would like to be treated.

4. If you knew could you try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?

Write books.

5. What was your first job?

Retail sales at Gap.

6. What is your current job?

I am in charge of Special Events for the Harris County Hospital District Foundation.  It is my favorite job in the world 🙂

7. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name (and you cannot pick the one you already have)?

It’s hard to say, probably something more unusual, like January Jones.

8. What musical instruments can you play?

I can play 3 chords on the guitar, and sing enthusiastically (if not well).

9. Is it easier to forgive or forget?

It is easier to forgive – I don’t think we control whether or not we forget.

10. What is one food you’d never want to taste again?

Vienna sausages.  Yuck.

Ten On Tuesday

13 Apr

Check out everyone’s answers at Chelsea’s blog, Roots and Rings!

1. What book, movie or song has made you want to travel to a particular place? (eg. I went to Prince Edward Island because I was such a Anne of Green Gables fan)

Every Jane Austen, murder mystery, or romance novel has made me want to travel to England. The book In A Sunburned Country made me want to return to Australia.

2. Aside from your significant other, who would you want to take with you on a dream trip?

Hmm, maybe my friend Nicole, because she is adventurous and probably wouldn’t mind my obsession with museums.

3. Where would said dream trip be to?

India, Viet Nam, Australia, and Thailand. Maybe Russia and China while I’m over there.

4. If you were hosting guests or providing tips, what three things would you show visitors to your hometown? (be it where you live now or where you grew up)

Rice University campus, Hermann Park, and queso. Houston isn’t all concrete, but some of our best destinations are food, haha!

5. If you had a long weekend ahead of you, where you head – beach, city or country/mountains?

Beach – it’s gorgeous right now!

6. Do you have a passport? If so, did you get it for a particular trip or just to have, in case?

Yes, I got my passport when I went to Australia and New Zealand in high school, and since then have used it for France, England, and Mexico.

7. Are there any travel souvenirs you collect? If not, is there something else you collect?

I used to collect spoons, haha. That might be fun to start doing again.

8. If you could name a paint colour, what colour would it be and what would you call it?

Hmm. After painting our bedroom, I have concluded that I am not creative enough to be a paint inventor. Our room color is “chopsticks” – isn’t that adorable?

9. If you were heading away for a weekend citybreak solo, where would you go? (forget about practicality here and flight times, assume you can get to any city in the world for the weekend)

I would go to San Diego to visit my friends Shorty and Jimmy!

10. Is there a song or a smell or something that you strongly associate with a particular holiday/place/time, such that it always takes you back?

Yes, tons of them. The one that comes to mind is that acrylic plastic smell from an umbrella I had when I was little. Also, the sweetpea smell of my Strawberry Shortcake shampoo is still a vivid memory.

random: it’s such a small world

12 Apr

If you click on a post on Word Press, there are a couple of “automatically generated, possibly related posts” linked underneath, before the comments.  I noticed one under this week’s “Sunday Stills” post titled Sunday Stills, so I clicked it to see what it was.  Obviously I wasn’t very creative when I came up with a title for this series last year, as there is a whole system with real photoblogs posting Sunday Stills with themes and everything.  The weird thing is – the girl whose blog I randomly clicked on has pictures from the tiny suburb of Cleveland that my boyfriend is from, right at the top of the page.  (You should definitely go look – her photographs are lovely!)  And not only that, but down the page a bit are photographs from the tiny island in Florida that he and his family have visited for 3 generations.  I’ve posted some pictures from Boca Grande here, which is where we spent Thanksgiving this year.

Seriously, what are the odds that of all the millions of blogs, I would click through to someone’s blog who is from such familiar, tiny, unlikely places?

Chagrin Falls, OH

Old Lighthouse, Boca Grande, FL

Sunday Stills

11 Apr

Golf lesson

Happy Hour at Benjy's Washington

Reliant Stadium, as seen from Community Health Choice

Make-A-Wish Barbie

Gorgeous flower - not sure what it is

guess what I’m doing right about now?

7 Apr

hint:

then, something like this:

Linky Love Wednesday

7 Apr

I have a whole bunch of stuff to share with you that I think is entertaining, amusing, and worth wasting your employer’s time looking at if hump day has got you down.  [Not my employer.  I can’t see blogs at work. plus I’m too busy doing actual work.  promise.]

Today: 6 links

Music/Video

  • [watch this video. watch it. you will be AMAZED.]

  • Best lyric changes to a cover song, ever

Interesting Stories

Blogs That Are Funny [especially if you still enjoy college humor]

Found a bar with a washer and dryer and they serve food. I never have to leave.

funny facebook fails

Got any good links to share?  Drop them in the comments.  So I can check them out, you know, after work.

Ten on Tuesday

6 Apr

Guess who wrote this week’s set of questions?  ME!  You may have guessed once you saw the completely random nature of the questions, or the possibility that one or two of them is a repeat.  Oh well, I’m still happy that I get to be a part of my fertile sister-in-law’s fun feature, Ten on Tuesday!

1.  If you could travel back in time, would you?  What decade would you visit?

Yes, I definitely would, but not to stay.  Just a visit.  It’s hard to narrow it down to one era or place, so I’ll pick three: the early 1800s in England, the 1920s in France, and the 1940s in America.  All because they were fun and social!

2. What was your best Halloween costume?  (fun to make? most creative?)

Polygamist Wife costume, Halloween 2008

3. Do you like your name?  If you weren’t called by your name, what would you want to be called?

My name is fine, but it’s just SO common.  Everyone in the 80s was saddled with a trendy moniker like Jessica, Jennifer, or Courtney.  If I could rename myself as an adult without any of the hassles, it would probably be to something a little more related to my family history and less trendy.  But as far as the name itself goes, I like it.

4. In the past year, what is the BEST recipe you made.  Please share it!

The Pioneer Woman’s Fancy Macaroni and Cheese.  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.  <- that’s a link to the full recipe on her blog with pictures and everything.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups Macaroni
  • 8 Tablespoons Butter (Salted Butter)
  • 2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
  • 10 slices Regular Bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
  • ½ cups Half-and-Half
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • ½ cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
  • 4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese)
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.

In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter (and add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease for good measure!). Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)

Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and bacon and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.

Pour into a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot. Serve with red meat or a green salad.

5. Look around – what is the nearest object or picture hanging on the wall?

The only thing on my walls is a mirror.  ONE mirror.  4 months after move-in.  Sad.

6. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?  Would you recommend it?

Avatar, and yes definitely.  We saw it in 3D, which was AMAZING.  Storyline’s kind of silly, but worth seeing.  That was months ago, so it’s about time we went to the movies!

7. Did you go to summer camp?  Will you/do you send your kids to camp?

I went to Vacation Bible School, which was about as close to summer camp I ever got.  I remember not wanting to leave home for more than one night or maybe weekend.  Based on Andrew’s amazing experiences, I’m pretty sure I will send my kids to camp.  Also, I’m planning to have children with Andrew, and he will definitely be sending his kids to the same camp he went t0, Lanakila.

8. What kind of ringtone do you have?

A beautiful Bon Iver song, Flume.  You can hear a bit of it on Amazon at the link.

9. Where is the farthest away from home you have ever been?

Australia and New Zealand.  Now, how to get back? 🙂

10. Has anyone ever written a song or a poem for or about you?

Yes.  A boy in college wrote a very sweet song for me.  And being the mature 19 year old I was, I promptly never went out with him again.  I’m guessing I was scared off.  I regret that!  If you are out there, Mike, I’m sorry!

Tragic – goodbye, 5 and 10

5 Apr

I can’t believe it.  After 60 years, the Variety Fair 5 and 10 in Rice Village is going out of business.  This has always been the place where you could find anything and everything.  In fact, I’ve mentioned the place several times here on the blog.

My dad’s criminal career began and ended one day in the Rice Village when he was about 11 years old.  He tried to shoplift some candy from the local 5 & 10, when he was caught by the proprietor, Mr. Klinger.  I’m not sure what Mr. Klinger said to my father, but it must have worked.  To my knowledge my dad was shamed and turned away from his life of crime.

Variety Fair 5 and 10, November 4, 2009

Please click the above link to read the whole thing.  I took a bunch of pictures that captured what the old store meant to me.

So sad.

Variety Fair Store Front

Variety Fair Store Front

Andrew's Halloween wig from Variety Fair

Sunday Stills

4 Apr

Clay pots in the window

View of the zoo from Ben Taub

Sneak peek - Houston Zoo African Forest Exhibit, as seen from Ben Taub General Hospital

Treasure hunt on the train tracks

Black-bellied whistling-ducks

Day In the District

31 Mar

With all the hoopla about health care reform, it seems like most Houstonians don’t understand or value the jewel in their own backyard. Harris County has safety net health care – and it is paid for with a mixture of property taxes, federal grants and reimbursements (which will change with healthcare reform), and individuals paying for care. Any resident of Harris County is eligible to apply for discounted healthcare. And the best part is, you don’t have to come through an emergency room to receive traditional care! You can call and set up an appointment at one of 14 Community Health Centers, or at the Ben Taub Urgent Care clinic, adjacent to the Emergency Center.

One of the best-kept secrets is that the poor, homeless, underinsured, and uninsured of Harris County are receiving some of the best care in the world. Why? The two major hospitals, Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson, are staffed by the best doctors in the world – the teaching staff of two top medical schools, Baylor College of Medicine and University of Texas Health Science, respectively. For example, the HCHD patients receiving cancer treatment at LBJ are being cared for MD Anderson doctors.

So, if you know someone here in Harris County who needs health care, but who is under- or uninsured, and can’t afford care, let them know about Harris County Hospital District, and have them call and get a gold card. They will begin to receive all the care they need. In addition, Ben Taub has one of the 2 level-one trauma centers in Houston. There’s a saying around town – if you get shot or in a car accident, ask to be taken to Ben Taub. In a lot of circumstances, trauma is the only situation in which members of a higher socio-economic class would experience the quality of care. Hopefully we can show the community that there is a lot more to the Hospital District than trauma services!

I work for the HCHD Foundation, and our mission is to raise awareness and funds to support the District. One way we are trying to get the word out to the philanthropic and business communities is by offering a in-depth tour of both hospitals. Participants spend the day in rotations, one on one with the doctors and nurses in various departments – trauma, neo-natal intensive care, labor and delivery, psych, nutrition, pediatrics, and surgery, just to name a few. We are hoping that we by educating a few members of the community, we can spread the word all the good that is happening right in their backyard!

CEO David Lopez helping out at the 8th Annual Texas Med 5k on the lawn of Ben Taub General Hospital

So tomorrow is the big day, and we will have about 10 members of the community doing rotations with us all day tomorrow. Wish us luck, and if you are interested in learning more about the program, or perhaps participating, contact me!

**Disclaimer** I work for the Harris County Hospital District, but all statements, opinions, comments, bad jokes, etc. are my own personal words, and not on behalf of the Hospital District.