Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I can hear Bing Crosby now...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas??!!

Normally, that would be entirely correct, outfitted with buckets of snow, mittens galore and some holidazzle. In Houston, this phrase, 'looking like Christmas' takes on a whole new meaning. I have noticed some interesting seasonal happenings...

1. Houstonians like to decorate only the bottom of their trees. There are no pine trees here, only your basic maple, oak, cedar etc... and some non-native palm trees. I have deduced that it is too hard to try and string lights around trees that still have leaves on them, so people decorate from the base of the trunk all the way up to the thickest branches, stopping at the leaf line. I am amazed at this!

2. People hang full sized wreaths from the grille of their cars. Granted, the huge wreath with stuffed, decorative birds, plastic fruit and pine cones fits proportionately with the size of their ginormous SUV's, it's still a sight to see one driving behind you in your rear view mirror!!

3. It is very common here to hire someone to decorate your house for Christmas. Now, either I have been living under a rock, and this is common everywhere, or we have hit a new flavor of outrageous! There are billowing ribbons, cascading amongst pine boughs that weave their way up staircases, trees the size of Texas, literally...how do they get them through the door, and most decorations here are brightly colored (I'm talking rainbow) and glittery?!

4. In Minnesota, I am always so excited by the first snow of the season, waking up to a fresh blanket of snow. About the 40th blizzardy day into the season, snow begins to loose it's luster. Here in Houston, people can buy 'snow'!! It's not actually snow, but it looks like it! You rent this machine that chops up the 'snow-like- material, and promptly sprays it through a vacuum like contraption, wherever you want it in your yard. The clean up is a bitch, but these people crave the white, cold, heavy snow! :)

I love when I see something unexpected and different. I feel that it is the uniqueness of life that makes everything all the more fun, and I am so excited about Christmas this year. Every morning I blare the holiday radio stations, I am already well stocked with egg nog (a great morning drink :)) Sangam and I have decked out our apartment so it looks like Santa's workshop; I have that extra skip in my step! I'm wishing you a happy pre-Christmas season, with minimal stress!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble it up!!

Thanksgiving. The holiday that is lost between Halloween and Christmas. This year, I have made a real effort to highlight the turkey. I simply love any excuse for the inundated use of heavy whipping cream in cooking, fighting crowds in the grocery store for the best baking potatoes and wearing heavy clothing with stretchy pants to totally eat until exhaustion and idigestion!!

This year, Sangam and I traveled to Minnesota (home) to see my family for the holiday. I have never been so excited to hear the long 'o' in people's conversations, or the blinding cold that I can no longer handle apparently! Oh Houston, you have now tainted my ability to brave the cold :(.

So here is my mission this year:

1. Decorate with construction paper garland (brown, orange, yellow and green will be alternated and strung together!!)
2. Excitedly watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.
3. Subject my family to fun thanksgivingry... Here's one for you-
...How many words can you make from Happy Thanksgiving:


The truth is, that being far away from people that you truly love and care about, can really bring out the need for celebration when you are with them; I am so thankful for the gift of good people in my life, and feel like having a party in their honor!

To Jessica Runck- I hope you have such a rejuvinating time in Wimbledon with your family, you deserve some real home cookin' girl! I love and miss you dearly!!

To Bethany, Cathy and Megan- you are some of the truest, loveliest people I have ever met, I am honored to call you my friends; sad I don't get to see you every day!

To the Williams' Family- your love for each other is a blessing for all to witness. Thank you for your friendship and love. We miss you guys!

To my high school girls- your friendships are like a looking glass into all of our pasts. I am so thankful to have people like you, who will always know me for me!

To my family- your love and support make my heart hurt with joy. I am the sensitive schmuck I am because of y'all :) Cait- your wit, laugh and joy are what makes life fun...I simply love being around you. Thanks for being there for me always :)

To my husband- you are the answer to all of my prayers, dear one- I love you :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone; I hope that you are able to share how thankful you about the ones you love this season!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blogging Revisited!

So...apparently I'm overwhelmed by the blogging world and can't seem to write more than once every 4-5 months. Or could it be the inundating amount of work that always seems to pile up at school. Maybe it's because at the end of the day, my brain turns to mush; all I want to do is cuddle with my husband when I get home...hmmm....these are the questions I ponder lately.

The truth is, I am going to make a commitment, yep, I'm going to blog at least once a week. Here are some other things that I do at least once a week. If I can do them, I can blog!

1. Cut my fingernails (ok, maybe once every couple of weeks...)
2. Cycle through a couple loads of laundry
3. PROCRASTINATE grading papers :)
4. Take walks and bike rides in the 'Bayou' (the Buffalo Bayou to be exact :))
5. Get totally lost and drive 'around' for 20 minutes (Houston is sprawling!!)
6. Loose track of time while singing in the shower...a girl needs her time to wake up!
7. Chit chat with co-workers after school. I swear we just want the adult conversations!
8. People watch in grocery stores...I'd much rather watch how people pick out avocados, than actually think about what we want to eat that week!
9. Think about writing in my blog...

Well, I'm done with excuses! It's time to be honest with myself and with all 8 of you who read what I'm saying! :)

Here goes...see you next Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anniversary #2

Wow, I can't believe that Sangam and I have been married for 2 years...wow time flies when you're having fun :) I am such a lucky lady to be with a true romantic who took me on a weekend getaway to Fredricksburg, Texas. Fredricksburg is a quaint german town about an hour from Austin.

On our way we stopped at the famous roadstop Bucee's...nothing says roadtrip like a beaver themed, homemade jerky making, antler utensil selling store :) Here Sangam and I are showing our enthusiasm!

After having immersed ourselves in some Texan culture, we arrived at the Primrose Bed and Breakfast in Stonewall, TX. I immediately started to relax as the only sounds we heard became chirping birds and the sound of the grass blowing in the wind. The Fredricksburg area is known as 'hill country' in Texas; very beautiful! I have never been to a B&B like this!! The drive up to the house reminded me of what driving up to 'terra' in 'Gone With The Wind' must have looked like. This plantation style home was accompanied by 3 cottages and a library loft surrounding the property.
The food was incredible; with reduction sauce (I was amazed someone would go to the time to wait and reduce a sauce down to a succulent flavor...now that's commitment!) Sangam and I ordered a bottle of wine and challenged each other to a tipsy game of checkers on the patio...I still won! :)

Coming to such a special place really made us stop and take in all of the weekends experiences...we couldn't remember the last time we had talked about how well we had slept, or the random need to own a farm; plant our own vegetables! Both Sangam and I felt so relaxed; we had no worries...people were even cooking for us and making our bed when we left the room...wait...I think we lived like this for 18 years before college!!

All in all, it was so special to celebrate 2 years of pure happiness with my partner and my love. I am constantly amazed at how much a person is affected by those surrounding them; I have been blessed beyond belief!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Long-Distance Father's Day...

Being far from home is always the hardest during those special occasions that you can't make it home for. In my dad's case, he has his birthday, father's day and he and my mom's anniversary all within a week and a half span.

As I sat thinking about all of the special times my dad had spent with me, I thought I would jot some down; 60 in fact, for his 60th birthday :). This is for you dad, I love you!

60 memories with my dad...

  1. Toasting marshmellows on a bonfire...talking about life
  2. Picking me up and showing me the smell of pine trees and the changing of the leaves
  3. Billy Joel greatest hits in the painting truck
  4. Getting apples and picking pumpkins at Pine tree apple orchard
  5. Canoeing on the st. Croix (actually, it was more like turning in circles with the boat while you tried to teach me how to paddle!)
  6. Talking with fresh coffee in the morning
  7. Watching you expertly maneuver the lawn mower amidst the sweet smell of freshly cut grass
  8. Your calloused hands, working for my future, holding mine
  9. Whistling to mom’s piano playing on a sunday afternoon
  10. Setting up the tent in the back yard for camping
  11. Ice fishing with you, the expert guide and worm wrangler
  12. Watching your motivating force as my basketball coach...I always played my best for you
  13. Family vacations filled with tour guide dad’s excursions...
    1. pony rides
    2. double decker bus tour
    3. snow-mobiling in Arrowood, Alexandria Resort
    4. sailing in Door County
    5. traipsing through Norway
    6. waving at Queen Elizabeth’s carriage
    7. Greeting Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox
    8. camping in Glacier National Park...(oh the list could continue on!)
  14. Painting my toenails pretty pink
  15. Practicing math at the dining room table
  16. Helping me with my ‘last minute projects’...ooops!
  17. Bringing home little ducks to watch in the bathtub
  18. State Fair family Days...I actually owe my love of John Deere tractors to you!
  19. Teaching me to play cribbage
  20. Eating sunflower seeds and drinking mountain dew on car trips...I love doing that now, because it reminds me of you
  21. Tea parties with Doritoes and pop
  22. Raking leaves into giant jumping piles
  23. Armpit tickling contests...you always let me win :)
  24. Dancing to Paul Simon in the living room
  25. Making you freshly baked chocolate chip cookies just to hear you oooh and aaaah
  26. Eating at the Taco Shop in Moorhead....mmmmm grinders!
  27. Showing you my itchweed rash in Cornwall, England
  28. Countless Dr. Dad visits...you can cure just about any pain of mine!
  29. Watching a scary movie, and then making you stay in your den and pay bills until I fell asleep...I needed my protective dad to stay with me in that basement!
  30. Helping me pick out my first car...whew!
  31. Driving with me to Des Moines Iowa; supporting my overseas job fair whim!
  32. Painting with you in the summer; spending time working with my dad
  33. Taking me to Vikings games...I was so proud you would choose ME to go with!
  34. Sledding at the old house; whipping around as buster pulled me in the sled
  35. Beaver and Moose stories while I tried to fall asleep...I loved your ‘voices’ for each character the most
  36. Root Beer floats at New Year’s...what a treat!
  37. Staring up into the Christmas tree and looking at all the ornaments with you
  38. Traveling on a train to Montana with you...I still remember how fun it was to eat in the club car and sleep right next to you in our seats!
  39. Watching you take out the video camera to capture memories...I saw things as so special, that we would want to remember it!
  40. Taking golf lessons, and playing while caitlin drove the golf cart :)
  41. Feeling so thankful that I had you to help me figure out car problems, college loans, hurt feelings with friends or just needing to talk; you can always help me to see things in perspective
  42. Being amazed at how easy you make shoveling snow, raking leaves, trimming shrubs and generally knowing how to do things...I still have so much to learn from you!!
  43. Having my first beer with you in the garage, man was I a part of the club then!
  44. Helping me to give some of my easter eggs to caitlin at grandma Dorothy’s...I may have inherited a bit of your competitive nature
  45. Driving to Columbus Elementary as a family; feeling so special that I got to go to school with my mom and dad...it was like growing up with so many aunts and uncles watching out for me, because of how respected you and mom are.
  46. Giving Buster bathes in forest lake, and driving home in the truck, giving him a dairy queen cone :)
  47. Playing my little ponies with me; giving me all the time in the world :)
  48. Biking through Lansboro, MN; eating magnificent pie at a roadside stand; making family trips so much fun.
  49. Carving pumpkins each Halloween; lighting them to see their faces in the dark...I love the smell of freshly carved pumpkins and our excitement over the experience of the season!
  50. Teaching me how to balance my checkbook and how to budget money...it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save! Thanks Dad and Grandpa Walt :)
  51. Family dinners, where you say the family prayer and we all talk about our days
  52. Exuding patience when I indeed forgot something at school for the 3rd time in a week...and then driving me up to school, where you inevitably were buds with all the janitors (Columbus, Central JH and FLHS!), shooting the breeze as I grabbed my things.
  53. Sending me cards at college, valentines growing up, cute birthday cards...and words of encouragement when I am struggling...thanks dad :)
  54. Trips to the Como Zoo and riding the rides until you looked a bit green...what you and mom would do for us!
  55. Helping me look through the trash can when I lost my retainer; not even getting that mad at me!
  56. Always giving me a hug and saying you love me; I love you too dad.
  57. Taking me to the grocery store when I started teaching; getting me the essentials :)
  58. Watching funny movies with just you and me...Caddy Shack, Griswold Vacations, Planes Trains and Automobiles; Houseguest...I love to hear you laugh really hard at something :)
  59. Listen to you talk about my poopy diapers as a baby...I know you actually thought it was funny, now looking back :)
  60. Knowing that our family is so strong because you and mom love each other so much...you have made my life so happy and blessed with love.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer and the livin' is easy!!

Aaahhh, the blissful days of summer! Here are a few of my favorite things about it:)

1. Sleeping in until I naturally wake up, my what a concept!

2. Finding out that TLC has just the shows for me...I have never been able to sit down and watch the tube at 10!

3. Laying by the pool...this white girl has got to get some color!

4. Working out when I want to...well, I never want to...but choosing what time is nice :)

5. Watermelon is in season...Texas feels like 105 right now, so watermelon soothes my soul!

6. Traveling...we are planning a whitewater rafting trip to CO, a hiatus to Minnesota and a get-away to Fredericksburg....yippee!

7. Reading...normally I don't have time to use the bathroom during my workday, but now, I get to choose a book, and READ IT!!!

8. Festivals...Texas comes alive with fun events each weekend; tonight it's a dance festival in the Houston Outdoor Theatre!

9. Summer Flicks! I love going to the movie theatre, stocking up on popcorn, and subjecting Sangam to chick flicks...thank goodness he's sensitive :)!!

10. Spontaneity, the freedom to take a road trip spur of the moment...who knows...I love it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The end of the year is a bit stressful for teachers. What with having to pack up my classroom for summer remodeling BY THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, keeping my sanity when six of my students insist that I have somehow lost their late assignments and not screaming when informed that yes, I must have a portfolio to my principal by the end of the year...oh the fun! This is important to keep in mind because, it was at this yucky peak that I turned into our parking garage and saw a man sitting with a litter of labrador puppies.

Of course, I promptly stopped and held all 6 puppies like I owned the litter, and then realized I should maybe make conversation with the owner :).

Ok, in my defense, the puppies were free, they were four weeks old, and one in particular really needed me. We connected; I decided, what the hell, I am taking this puppy, quitting my job and becoming a stay at home pet owner! Fabulous, stress free and convenient! :)

I brought the puppy, whom I named Dory, up to our apartment. Yes, Sangam was shocked, but once I gave that ball of fur to him, it was over...we were sucked in.

This charade went on for about 45 minutes; then I called my dad to ask about basic dog care. To make a long story short, my dad reminded why I didn't want a dog one week ago, and that I should get a massage or give Sangam another hug...thanks dad :)

Every dog has it's day; by golly, someday the future Dory and I will bask in it's glory...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Surprise, Surprise!!

What a whirlwind weekend! Sangam's parents came in to town to surprise him for his birthday; I felt pretty awesome pulling it off without him knowing. So, on the day of the 'big event', I leave directly after school to get birthday balloons for Sangam and flowers for his mom and dad. I zoom past the traffic, excitedly singing to the radio; secretly I can't believe this is working....I spoke waaaaay too soon.

Finally, I get to the airport; naively, I pull up to the parking 'toll', and read the directions, "please insert credit card or push button for ticket." I take out my card and quickly insert it into the slot...nothing happens. I start pushing the button, still nothing. Then, on the screen pops the message, "ticket jam!" Wonderful!! I panic, and try to turn my car off, promptly locking my car keys into place. I accost the first car that pulls up next to me, a father and his young child...he replies with, "I never put my card in those things," and drives off.

At this point I am plotting how to sneak into the parking ramp behind someone, so I can talk to someone about my credit card!! Finally, and unsuspecting elderly person slowly drives through the toll next to me, and I make it to the other side!!! I talk to the nicest man at the ticket booth, who is able to retrieve my card, and assure me that no, I am not an idiot for what just happened!

Back on my game, I quickly park my car and take the elevator down to baggage claim. Waiting, I sit down and check some phone messages; one in particular from my mother in law. "I'm so sorry; I hope you get this message before you leave the airport, we are delayed here, and won't be leaving for another 2 hours!" Now, I think to myself, this seems like a surprise party I am planning. If it doesn't involve stress and sweating, don't worry, it will!

In the end everything worked out. I let Sangam in on the surprise over the phone; he drove out to the airport to pick me up for dinner. When my in-laws flight finally did come in, we had a wonderful time visiting the town of Kemah (a fun boardwalk modeled after Coney Island), eating BBQ, relaxing in the Museum District of Houston; catching up on life.

In the end, I love the planning and excitement of the surprise, and the quirky mistakes end up being great stories to tell on your blog :).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Welcome to my world!

Wow, here I am, a part of the blogging world. I have many texan stories to tell, and apparently, all the typing space to tell them! :) I am a 'twenty something' with a positive attitude (most of the time), a husband extraordinaire, I have a family and lovely friends, full of love, and in Minnesota, and the rest is details filled in to jam-pack my daily life!

Today sped by, like most of my days as a 5th grade teacher. Like clockwork, my sweet husband kisses me before he gets out of bed for the day, and I stumble like a five year old, grumpy and undone, to the bathroom. Once I make it to school, past the 'driving extremists', as I like to call my Houstonian driving buddies, the barage of children greet me at my door. They are ready for me to match their energy level; give them a purpose for their day, and I couldn't love every minute of it more... I know, slightly delusional. At the days end, I am exhausted; my brain feels fuzzy, but man do I have some stories to tell Sangam.

I am soaking up the Texas weather right now. It is in the 70s and beautiful, except for the saturated pollen that infests my nasal cavaties, and feels like stinging nettles have been shoved up my nose, and into my eyes. Sangam and I drove up to Brenham, Texas to witness the bluebells and various wildflowers as they cascade across rolling hill farmland. We stopped along the road at least a half dozen times; watched as the longhorn cattle lazily grazed among the breathtaking blues, oranges, yellows and reds. I have never seen so many wildflowers blooming so vibrantly...it took my breath away! That was...until I started feeling a funny little stinging in my nose, and frantically started walk/running towards the car for kleenex. Hey, you can't have your cake and eat it too :( Next time, I will take my zertec before entering the fields of pollen...