Friday, October 30, 2015

#298: Dublin Dr. Peppers

I'm a Pepper! Are you a Pepper?

My recent visit to Texas got my brain thinking about those gems that are not necessarily Texas, but are specific to Texas: Blue Bell Ice Cream (the best ice cream in the country); Whataburger; Taco Cabana; and of course, Dr. Pepper [the greatest beverage ever. EVER.]

I know I've spent a lot of time in Ireland, but this time I mean Dublin, TEXAS. It's here:

For well over 100 years a small bottling plant in Dublin, TX bottled Dr. Pepper using Imperial Pure Cane Sugar rather than High Fructose Corn Syrup. For a long time, they were only available in Texas and so hard to find my aunt would ration my allotment when I visited. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when out to lunch in Boise at Jenny's Lunch Line when I noticed, among the other specialty colas, a small, glass bottle, retro Dr. Pepper-

However, when I was researching this fantastic beverage for this blog, I learned some very, very sad news. Dublin Dr. Pepper is no more. Since 2012 (Wow, have I not been paying attention!), the Dublin Bottling Works has not been bottling the famous beverage since Dr. Pepper decided to pull out after a dispute with the bottler.

It is very, very sad, but what a fantastic beverage it was! And if you are lucky enough to find Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar instead of HFCS, you are lucky, indeed!

#297: Scrabble



  • Brings families together (Scrabble World Championships every holiday in Dallas between myself and Aunt Debbie)
  • Learn new words!
  • Learn to follow rules
  • Learn to live with changing rules when other players make up new ones in the middle of the game
  • Begin to think of words in points: "That Zig Zag on that picture is pink. That's 10+1+3, or is G worth 4?..."
  • Learn to add quickly!
  • Train yourself to always look first for the Triple Letter in all you do (Triple points at Starbucks?)
  • Scrabble parties!
  • Goes great with wine!
  • Can pull families apart [read: Aunt Debbie not talking to me because I beat her for first time in years]
  • You may start counting words
  • You may start having long pauses in conversations as you calculate the points in the words you are going to use
  • People may stop playing games with you because they are afraid they will never beat you
  • May cause fatigue after all-night tournaments in Dallas with Aunt [see above] accompanied by serial episodes of The Tudors and classic movies.
  • People may stop coming to your parties because you only want to play Scrabble

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#296: Full Moons

The moon was SO humungous tonight, even MY phone found it in pictures. I'd heard it was a Harvest Moon, but upon further investigation I discovered it is not. The Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the fall equinox, which this year was September 23rd. The Harvest Moon coincided with the Lunar Eclipse a little while back.

Turns out the full moon in October is called the Hunter's Moon! Although my pictures don't show it, it was stunningly beautiful ad enormous.  For a really stunning picture of the Hunter's moon, visit the blog AJ Buruca.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#295: Greatest Video Store. Ever.

My aunt and I decided to rent some classic movies since neither one of us have people that will watch those with us. She took me to the greatest video rental store I have ever seen!!!

Thank you to Premiere Video in Dallas for an amazing experience! There were two FULL aisles of Classic movies. One entire wall is foreign films; every country seems to be represented. Serbian movies? Got 'em.

We ended up with two greats:  Stella Dallas starring Barbara Stanwyk, which is great if you want a new way to refer to people who dress garishly; also if you want to cry; also if you love fabulous movies. Our other choice was Mr. Skeffington with Bette Davis. Need I say more?

 If you are in Dallas, I urge you to go to this store, just to roam around in awe at the selection.

It. Is. Amazing.

#294: Reunions

One day I noticed that my cousin posted something on Facebook about her church. Then I noticed that a friend from [what I thought was] high school, Michael, had commented on my cousin's post. 

I had no idea they knew each other. Turns out, my friend is the priest at the Episcopal church my cousins attend!

Thus a reunion was in order on this particular trip to Texas. One of my family members met me at church on Sunday and I got to see my friend, now Father Michael, from long ago. 

As it turns out, we didn't know each other in high school like I'd thought; I was one of the youth group leaders for our church when he was in the youth group.

Not only did I get to reunite with my family this weekend, but connect with someone from the past. And hear a fabulous sermon from the associate pastor at the church. And get to spend some extra time with the cousin that met me at church.

We always get just what we need, don't we?

#293: Uncle Joe turns 95!!!!

M & M's with Uncle Joe's picture on them!!
[Great] Uncle Joe is 95!  He's still funny as ever and was dressed to the nines. Thanks to Kosta's Cafe in Plano for the use of their back room.

It was perfect: Family, Food, Football on in the corner and our own bar.

I am so grateful I made the effort and went for the weekend. It was so fulfilling to spend time with cousins I hardly ever see.

Homemade cakes-the little on was gluten free!
The men.
The game. And the bar.
Goodie bags.

Monday, October 26, 2015

#292: Family that trapses all over Dallas for you

I flew into the BIG airport, DFW, breaking the family tradition of flying Southwest [so we arrive at Dallas Love Field] to use United and Alaska Air miles.

Thank you so much Debbie, Buddy and Francesca for driving all the way out to DFW at 1 a.m. to pick me up and at 4 during rush hour on a Monday to drop me off!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

#291: airport food

Airport food had come a long way!  This salad was delicious!

#290: My students

Nine weeks into the school year I am beginning to settle into life at my new job. What I have discovered about myself and my students:
  • I am really an 8th grade girl at heart. Let me just say I wouldn't go back to junior high for all the money in the world, but so much of my personality makes sense around junior high-ers.
  • They appreciate the really simple, fun things in life, such as "color of the day".
  • They notice when today's "Number of the Day" is the same as yesterday's.
  • They read about the Mathematician of the Day only to see when he/she died.
  • They are super literal--my people.
  • They do not understand sarcasm. Not only does this force me to not use it, but often I don't get it either.
  • They sing along to the same music I like when I play it in the morning.
  • I love that many of us live in the same neighborhood. One day I encountered a skunk smell on my ride to school and got to discuss it with the students who also ride their bikes from my part of town.
  • They really want to learn.
  • They make awesome designs with their goldfish.
  • They are willing to play whatever corny game I come up with, and usually make it way better.
  • They don't mind that I mess up a lot.
  • Every day they let me start over.
  • They always forgive.
I love them. I love teaching them.

#289: The NFL in the middle of the airport!

I landed at the San Francisco airport at 3 local time, a little bit wondering what I would do for the next 4 hours [read: hoping I wouldn't just sit and eat my way through that time].

As I was headed to my gate to get my bearings then wander around, I suddenly noticed something about the Cleveland Browns. There was a jersey and a super bowl program. I looked up even further and realized there's an entire exhibit here!
Shoes that haven't been filled yet

The Super Bowl my aunt was a cheerleader in.
Remember this team!?!?
Even a team golf cart...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

#288: Finally Feeling REFRESHED!!!


Oh. My. Gosh.

I have now had 2 days of wonderful sleep and I must say I am a new woman! I dropped something this morning and it didn't make me angry. I awoke feel refreshed. REFRESHED. It's been so long since that happened [read: about 2 months] I beginning to think something was wrong with me.

"Problems" in my life I now attribute at least in part to sleep deprivation [admittedly self-imposed via caffeine] because this morning they are now gone:

  • Wanting to throw immersion blender across room when cord gets tangled in drawer
  • Feel groggy in the morning 
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Lack of productivity at school (okay, this is not ALL about sleep)
  • Feeling lonely
  • Eating my way through the day
  • Lack of hope
  • Wanting to give up
  • Lack of creativity
  • Impatience with generally everybody and everything
  • Hives
  • Getting sick
And I feel this good at 6:37 A.M.!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

#287: Not giving up

It's been almost a week since I posted on this blog and these last few days I've wanted to give it up.
However, I promised myself in January I would do this for the entire year. I've not always published on every single day, but I have mostly had the same number of blessings as the day of the year.

Holocaust Eva Kor on her visit to Boise said, Don't ever give up. When you give up, nothing happens.

I understand that sticking with a blog is quite different from sticking with surviving a concentration camp, but I believe what she said, that nothing happens when we give up, no matter what it is we give up on. Although if I gave up and stopped writing now, something would happen:

  • I'd feel guilty
  • I'd beat myself up for another thing I quit
  • I'd teach myself that when things get hard or I get behind, it's okay to just quit
  • A little bit of energy in the back of my head would always be devoted to "why didn't I just push through?"
  • It would always bother me I didn't finish
Thus I conclude: an imperfect job finished is better than a perfect unfinished job.

Or as Brene Brown said in one of her workshops, Perfectionists don't write books.  Because they don't start books. Because their idea isn't good enough. Or because they missed writing a few days. Or because their book would never be on the NYT Bestseller list. 

I don't need my "book" to be published, I just need to finish it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#286: E.T.

I'm just leaving the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise where I watched E.T. on the big screen for the first time since it was released in 1982. That's 33 years ago!

First,  I remember it being scary. Not only was it a scary, but I was terrified at the scene when their house gets wrapped in plastic and NASA people start chasing them around their house. I had bad dreams for a week, & I was always on the lookout for two skinny fingers to reach over the bed. This wasn't scary at all! In fact it was really a happy feel good movie.

Second, it was touching! I didn't remember that Elliot and ET felt the same emotions. This was my favorite part of the movie. It makes me wonder, is that how love works?  Do we feel what those we love feel? And  (spoiler alert) when the brain wave and emotion of the two separated, I thought that he was giving his life for Elliot. Which makes me cry even writing this now.

My friend looked at me toward the end and laughed, and said, you're crying? I told her I had been crying for the entire second half of the movie.

Finally, this movie reminded me of what is really important in life. I love that kids are the main characters in this movie, because kids inherently know what's most important. We grown ups tend to get wrapped up in figuring things out, to want to dissect things or so busy trying to be responsible that we don't see the good and the love and the possibilities  that are right in front of us.

Finally, finally, seeing E.T. again gave me new perspective on my students. Instead of seeing them as part of my job that I  have to deal with, I see them tonight as kids who are fascinated by the world around them and curious and loving who can teach me and love me so much if I let them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

#285: Answering the phone

This morning I was in the middle of prayer [really, not kidding here] that God would make me feel better [I hope by the end of this week or month or year I will really get that God is not about making me feel better, but for now I just keep forgetting], when my phone rang.

I, of course, thought who dare call me at 6:45 in the morning! and walked away from my phone.

Then it hit me...I'm getting an answered prayer RIGHT NOW. So I answered it and a friend was having a small crisis. I was able to be present for her, get out of myself and restart me day right then.

As usual, I'm sure I got way more out of that phone call than my friend did!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

#284: The luxury of nothing

Instead of being mad at myself for getting up at 9, I'm grateful I didn't have to get up and could sleep in.

Instead of lamenting all the things I didn't get done today, I realize I wasn't ever going to get most of that stuff done and gave myself permission to not feel bad about it.

Instead of shaming myself for sitting on the couch literally all day [minus 1 hour] I'm grateful that I am now more current on Fantasy Football stats than I ever have been.

Instead of being angry Boise didn't carry the Dallas Cowboys game, I'm grateful I didn't have to endure the humiliation of another loss.

Instead of forcing myself to go outside and run, I gave myself permission to take a nap.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself that I sat alone all day, I'm grateful I have a home to sit in and quiet to sit in.

Instead of worrying all day about what is going to happen at school tomorrow, I am grateful I didn't think about school once!

Instead of being irritable, restless and discontent all day, I am grateful I can now be alone and at peace with myself. 

#283: My little brother

Happy Birthday [Friday], Rob!  I love you tons!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#282: Discovering good friends a row in front of you at Elton John

No kidding.

Out of all the places we both could have ended up with tickets, they were sitting right in front of us!

#281: Elton John in Boise

Elton John played tonight in Boise, and we were there!
Pre-Concert festivities at Allegrezza's

No more lighters....just flashlight apps!

#280: TEXAS BEAT OU!!!!


#279: The good going on behind the scenes

I have the honor of serving on a local grants committee. Every September I get to hear about roughly 10 projects going on in Southern Idaho.

The good work that people are doing right in front of me is astounding!  Listening to these ministries for two hours this morning ended a funk/pity party/anger attack that has been going on since Tuesday. There are community gardens, Boys and Girls Clubs, music ministries, schools serving the underprivileged, programs trying to help correct the causes of homelessness. There are lots of different people working together to help all people in the community.

And what is really super cool about that is that I have been praying all week to be relieved of this anger I've been feeling, or at least to be shown why I've been so angry and ungrateful so I can do something about it. I didn't expect that it would take all week to have my prayer answered, but it was a really good lesson: sometimes we have to wait on God. My goal while I wait is just to not spew on too many people in the meantime!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#278: Reassurance

Much of my motivation in life has come from the search for reassurance. From anyone: parents, other people's parents, men, friends, teachers, random people I met on trips, men. I joined things to get reassurance I had friends. At work I would constantly need validation from bosses and coworkers. Thank God Facebook wasn't around back then, because I would have constantly posted stuff about myself seeking validation from all my "friends".

I got into relationships with men who were willing to give me that constant string of validation I required [these never lasted], and my insatiable need for reassurance led me to behaviors that I went against my inner moral fiber. I was powerless against the fulfillment I felt when someone else would assure me that I was good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, funny enough, hard working enough, whatever enough!

And then all of my reassur-ers have departed for one reason or another and I have been left with only myself. At first it was excruciatingly painful to be alone, with only myself as cheerleader and validator. Sometime while I was in Ireland, however, something inside of me healed up. I became my own validator. I have learned that only my opinion of me counts in my life. If everyone around me can see all the wonderful things about me, and share those with me, it does absolutely no good if I don't see them myself.

It seems I was playing God in a way. I was so busy seeking reassurance for myself that there was no space for God to provide me with any help. I now find that when I live through those periods that are sort of painful for lack of external reassurance, invariably the next phone call or interaction provides me with just the right amount of validation I had been chasing all along. Today, for example, I went on a hike with a lovely woman I haven't seen in a long time. Turns out we have very similar world views and she told me great stories of faith spoke exactly to what's been going on with me lately.

I am so grateful for the faith that I am doing just fine, exactly as I am. In my own life. And that the craving for external validation is being replaced with peace and contentment inside myself.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#276: New favorite sweat pants

First, I LOVE these sweatpants! I got them in June at the Snowmass Ragnar Relay [where I actually bought a lot of clothing as it was raining and thus spent lots of time in the retail tent], which was one of the best 10 experiences of my life, and so have happy memories when I wear them.

Second, these are super duper comfortable. They are the kind with all that really fuzzy material on the insides. My legs love them.

Next, I didn't feel like they fit very well when I bought them and now they fit beautifully. It also helps that they haven't been washed yet, but we'll just ignore that for now.

Finally, I used to have a pair of sweatpants that I "borrowed" forever from my brother. They were burnt orange and said "TEXAS" [as in longhorns] down the side. I LOVED THOSE PANTS. They were super comfortable, they were Texas Longhorns, but most importantly they were my brother's. We are not close; he seemed indifferent to the whole thing, but I felt connected to my brother through these sweatpants. In a moment of what I later determined was insanity I donated my beloved Texas sweatpants to charity and have spent the next 15 years trying to discover an acceptable substitute. 
Awesome sweatpants sitting on porch in beautiful weather.
Awesome sweatpants watching football.