Flashback Friday--Princess Meets Secret Agent (The Halloween Edition)


This is one of my top-three favorite Halloween pictures. 

This is my good friend Alison and I circa 1997. Sixth grade, I believe. She's some sort of agent person, and I'm wearing the princess costume my aunt made me when I was in elementary school. The original dress was so big that we hemmed it probably half a foot, and I wore it for the next four or five years in a row. The year I finally realized I was too big for it was a dark day.

This was back when short hair worked for me. 
And I hadn't yet realized how terrible I look in red.
Ah, youth. 


Jordan and I are on a budget. I believe I've mentioned this before. It's going well.

The spreadsheet I made is easy to keep track of, and after three months of budgeting, it's really just come down to a matter of remembering to ask for a receipt so I can be accurate in my accounting. I go to the grocery store and buy food for the week, and I plan meals and cook them for dinner (and recently decided I am obsessed with using my Crock-Pot). 

And every morning I pack the insulated red lunch bag that my mom got me for Christmas last year that I thought was a weird gift at first but now I love it. And every morning I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and pack my glass Pyrex bowls with grapes and cut-up peaches and strawberries and other fruits. I stuff a Ziploc bag with chips and fill up my water bottle, and then I head out to work.

It's cheap and doesn't taste greasy, and it fills me up just fine. And I like my homemade lunch.

My problem comes at 12:00.

When I'm pulling my red bag out from underneath my desk, my lively, entertaining coworkers are grabbing their purses and wallets and heading out to a restaurant together. Not everyone leaves, obviously, but still, I'm often left just me and my sandwhich, wondering this one simple question: how can these people lunch eat out every single day? Do they not have a budget?

This led to a very-but-actually-not-so thorough review of the budget and my current expenses. And so, without counting the ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR FINE I was charged for paying my car tag late (don't worry, I'm not still bitter), Jordan and I have been doing well. One of my goals was pay off my car by December. Well, I paid it off in August, so that was awesome. And now it's my student loans, which will take a while but shouldn't take as long as they would have if I could just avoid paying for things I don't need. 

Like those colorful but completely useless refrigerator magnets I bought yesterday at Staples. 

Or the cute-but-not-necessary cookie platter I bought at Target earlier this week that I found on sale for $3. 

And, oh yeah, lunch. 
Darn being a responsible adult.

B & W Wednesday--Night at the Stock Yards


A shot from the rodeo last weekend.

Black and White Wednesday

A Double Date . . . to the Rodeo


Growing up with my dad was interesting. Mostly because I never knew what was going to happen. It's been fun introducing Jordan to the randomness and spontaneity that surrounds my family. This weekend was the perfect example of what I'm talking about.

A month ago, Jordan told me about the Fort Worth air show and asked me if I wanted to go with him. I'd never been to one, but I like supporting his love of planes, so I said I'd go. We planned to stay at my parents' house and spend the weekend there. 

Days have been flying by for me lately, and Texas air show weekend was upon us before I realized it. So after work on Friday we headed for my parents' house, who live about 30 minutes away from Fort Worth. We were twentyish minutes into our drive when I got a call from my dad. 

"Where are you guys?" he asked.
"Umm...well, we'll be there in about two and a half hours. Why?" I had learned long ago to be suspicious of my dad's random questions.
"Good. Okay, so here's the deal. I forgot to get a parking ticket for the air show tomorrow." (My parents were going to come with us to the show.)
"So," he continued, "I emailed my buddy, who's in charge of parking, and he said he had an extra ticket."
I laughed. "Of course you did, Dad." My dad knows everyone. It's at once annoying and beneficial. 
"And," he said, "my buddy also said he has four box seats to the Fort Worth rodeo. Tonight. Starts at 8:00. Wanna go?"

So that's how Jordan and I ended up with all-access passes to the rodeo on Friday night, sitting with my parents in box seats just a few feet off the...floor? Arena? I don't really know what it's called.

This was a "working cowboy rodeo," so all the men participating in the rodeo were actual men who worked on a ranch all day long. These same men would then come back to the box where their wives and children were sitting. This happened to be the same box where we were sitting. 

The cowboys had on chaps and dirty hats and pointed boots. The wives had on tight jeans and fancy boots and sparkly fake diamonds on their belts.

I had on jean capris and gray converse tennis shoes. Jordan was wearing cargo shorts and a Yankees cap. It was extremely obvious that we didn't belong. 

I'd like to think that, given advance notice of the rodeo, we could have dressed a little better. But really let's be honest; we didn't and we wouldn't have anyway. Still, my all-access pass was pretty legit, the rodeo was entertaining, so I didn't care all that much.

The best part of the rodeo was called "mutton busting," where a small group of 5- to 7-year-olds took turns riding sheep. This is a safer, smaller scale of bronco riding, where the kids score points based on how long they can stay on a sheep for 8 seconds. The kids wore protective gear--a helmet and a vest--and they sat on a sheep, grabbed a fistful of hair, and held on while it raced across the arena. Watching those kids hang on for dear life as those sheep took them for a ride was absolutely hilarious, and I wish I had taken pictures, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't focus. 

After the rodeo, we got dinner and walked around the stockyards, and then we headed home. It was an unexpectedly fun evening, and once again I learned that when it comes to my dad, there's no telling what will happen. If you're Jordan and me this past Friday night, you would have ended up at a rodeo. 

Flashback Friday--A Story about Shoes


I have a thing about Pumas. 
Not the animal. That would be weird.
The shoes. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted a very distinct kind of shoe. As I write this, I realize it's a bit strange that I can so clearly recall this specific time in my life. I think the reason is because it's the only time that I've ever hunted for a particular type of shoe and been so clear and unwavering about my preference. 

What I wanted was a pair of electric-blue Pumas. 

I don't remember where I'd originally seen them, but obviously I had to have seen them somewhere on someone to know they existed. I remember going to athletic footwear store after store to discover a wall full of Pumas...none of them blue.

My mom questioned my sanity. 
"Are you sure you've seen a pair of blue pumas? You know they exist?"
"Yes, Mom, I know. I've seen them. I want them. We must press on."

I actually doubt I said anything like "we must press on." But you get the point.
What I don't specifically remember is where we ended up finding the blue Pumas. But find them we did, and I gave the sky a triumphant fist pump.

It cost me something in the area of sixty dollars to bring them home with me. But I'm still wearing them almost ten years later, so I think it was worth it. They're broken and dirty and old, but they're still just as awesome. 

And I don't know that I've seen a blue pair of Pumas since, which I guess means I'd put them in the mysterious category with the likes of the unicorn and the yeti.

{And check out the tennis shoe charm I hooked on my left shoe many years ago. I don't know where I got the charm or whether you can even buy shoe charms anymore, but I totally love it.}

Half Marathon #2 and Colors of Fall


This past weekend a friend (Kalyn) and I drove to Kansas City to visit our friend (and former coworker) Audra. She and I were going to run the Kansas City half marathon together, and Kalyn decided to tag along for moral support (and to help me out with the driving).

Unlike the Wichita course that I ran last year, the Kansas City course is hilly. Hilly as in steep, I-think-I-might-be-running-straight-up-toward-the-sky hilly. But Audra and I pressed on, and we made it to the finish. I have now completed two half marathons and am looking forward to my next race, which will most likely be the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April 2012.

Besides being a hilly half marathon course, Kansas City has a redeeming quality: it's a gorgeous place to be this time of year. I kept shouting, "I love the trees!" wherever we went pretty much all weekend.

We haven't gotten too much fall in Oklahoma this year (it's been hot, and the trees and grass are all mostly dead), and so I loved seeing colors on the trees and feeling the cool, fall breeze. I almost didn't want to leave. On Saturday afternoon after we finished the run, Audra went to take a nap, so Kalyn and I walked around for a few hours in this graveyard that's close to Audra's house. I know that sounds a bit strange that we chose to walk around in a cemetery, it was seriously the most perfect day ever, and we wanted to take advantage of it. It seemed as good a place as any to walk around.

We also ate some good food, had stimulating conversations, and just enjoyed each other's company. That's what I'd call a success. 

Following are some choice photos from the weekend. 

Book Review--Pride & Prejudice & Zombies


What I'm about to say won't make any sense, but I'll say it anyway:

I wasn't expecting the zombies. 

Jordan actually read this before I did, and he said it was pretty good. I'd heard similar reviews from numerous sources, and it was on the bestseller list too. But I still wasn't quite sure what to expect, and so I'll admit that I wasn't expecting zombies.

I actually didn't like the first few chapters. The style of Victorian literature takes a bit of getting used to, and I had to work my way back into it. But what had also failed to sink in was the fact that there were going to be actual zombies in the book. 

This is the actual story of Pride & Prejudice complete with character names, plot events, and dialogue. The difference is, when the girls are at a ball, there's a brief zombie invasion. Or when Elizabeth is walking across the field toward Netherfield, she encounters some zombies and has to fight them off.

Like I said, it took me a few chapters to get used to the randomness of the zombie appearances. My initial review (after the first few chapters) was that I wasn't sure I liked it or wanted to keep going. But after telling this to a few people and hearing them express their sadness upon hearing that I was considering quitting, I pushed on. And I am glad I did. After the experience of zombies upon the lives of the Bennet family, I'm not entirely sure I can ever read the real Pride & Prejudice again. 

As the back cover teaser of the book itself states: "Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." 

But it's not just random zombie attacks either, as I soon realized. Seth Grahame-Smith has done a fantastic job transforming the world of the novel itself with wording and death/zombie references on every single page. If you didn't know this was first a different book, you might be inclined to think this was one all of its own creation. 

Here's the first line just so you can see what I'm talking about: 

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

One thing I really liked about P&P&Z that I did not expect was the humor. I laughed out loud more than a few times while reading this, and I especially enjoyed the occasional twist off the original story, where something happened to a character that I wasn't expecting. This, obviously, would only be appreciated by someone who had read the original. 

In conclusion, I'm glad I didn't stop after the third chapter. This is a clever, humorous, well-written rendition of Jane Austen's beloved original. Yes, there are zombies, and there are a few descriptions of zombie-related activities that were a little gruesome or, for lack of a better word, disgusting. But even those were done well. 

Of course, I do have a few complaints, but they were minor and therefore not worth mentioning here. It was, overall, an enjoyable read and one I would consider again. 

Flashback Friday--Curiosity Stinks


You guys.
Tomorrow I will be in Kansas City running my second half marathon.
So...when I get back, can I put a 26.2 sticker on my car? Two half marathons = a full?
Maybe not. 

Anyhoo, moving on.
This week's flashback is a picture I put in my wedding slideshow.

But it's definitely a picture that needs its own space on my blog.


Because in this picture, I'm smelling my feet.

That's why.

Hey, sometimes you just gotta know if what you're smelling is you or your little brother.
Either that or I'm demonstrating my flexibility.

You decide. 

No Subject


This weekend I'm heading to Kansas City for half marathon #2. I honestly can't believe I would ever say I was running my second half marathon. It's awesome, and I fully support everyone running one at least once just to be able to say they did it.

On Saturday morning, as the last part of my training, I woke up at 7:30 and ran 10 miles. I had to wake up that early, because I had to be done in time to shower and get over to my in-laws' house for the 11:00 start of the Texas/OU game. College football is a huge deal down here...yet another thing I can't believe I'm into.

The run went pretty well, actually, besides me getting bored during the last half and worrying the entire time that my foot would start bleeding again and ruin my new socks. It didn't, thank goodness. And despite a few miles where I wanted to stop and go home, I ended the run almost exactly on my usual ten-min/mile pace--1:39:47. 

For my next race, I want to be faster.

The next day (Sunday), my mom came and visited me. She got stuck in the college football traffic that was coming back to Oklahoma City, so the three-hour drive took her almost four and a half, and it was raining the entire time and there were accidents everywhere, and I felt bad for her.

But she made it, and we went on a date--dinner and a movie. Except we did it backwards and had movie and dinner, so it was almost 10:00 by the time we ate, and I'm pretty sure there's been a study done that greasy eggrolls and burgers aren't good for you past 7, especially considering the large bag of movie theater popcorn we'd inhaled just an hour or two earlier. So really this is just the beginning of the end for me. At least you can say you knew me when I was skinny.

Jordan was in bed before me, because I stayed up late talking to my mom, and then the next day we hung out and went for lunch. And my mom insisted on paying for everything even though I offered. She's nice like that. 

So what's the point of all this? Well, the point is that I brought my camera with me everywhere but forgot to take any pictures. So this blog post is necessary, lest I forget it ever happened. Which I don't want to, obviously, because spending time with my mom has been one of the highlights of October.

Also, here are a few things coming soon (in my life and on this blog):

--Book review for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (I'm just a few chapters from the end!)
--Pictures of my most recent only craft project (spray paint is involved, so obviously it's legit)
--My goals for the remainder of 2011

A Pig Trophy


On Sunday, I played tennis for 6 hours in the annual Oklahoma City Tennis Association Pig Tournament. It was hot (yes, in October), and I got sunburned. And the next day I was super sore.

But it was totally worth it. 

Because my hard work earned me this:

Third place!
This is the only trophy I've ever won. 
I've gotten plaques and medals, but never a trophy. 
So of course I was pumped.

Note: the trophy says 8 [point] 0, not 80. 
Last night Jordan said, "Ha! It looks like it says 80 and up, like you're playing with 80-year-olds."
So, just to clarify, no, I wasn't playing in the 80+ group. I don't think I'd be as excited about getting 3rd place if that were the case. It's 8.0, which was the highest-ranked group.

Anyway, to conclude, obviously I'm awesome. 
And now I have an awesome trophy to prove it.