Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The shoe sagas aka What the Heel?

At the recomendation of a friend at work, I took some shoes to Tony, the shoe repair guy in the Arcade.  One pair needed some new heels, and the other were my beloved snakeskin heels that I have had forever, but the soles were really worn out on them.  I figured it would be a wiser investment to fix the shoes I already had than to go buy new ones.

I knew I was in for an interesting experience when I dropped off the shoes when through his very thick accent, a smiling Tony told me my shoes would be ready "one of these days."  "Okay," I said, a little unsure at what I was getting myself into.

Fast forward a few days.  I pick the shoes up.  Fast forward again.  I wear the snakeskin heels to church.

I made it through one hour of Sunday school in my newly-repaired shoes when all of a sudden, while walking into church, the top of my shoe completely detached from the bottom!  These are heels, people.  There is no faking it.  Either the shoe is in tact, or it is unwearable.  And so, with no other option, I sat through church with my broken "recently fixed" shoe, and walked out of church barefoot.

The next day I took both shoes back to the shoe shop, only to find that- curses!- they closed at 3:30, and it was 3:31 according to my phone.  So the NEXT business day, I hesitantly brought my shoes back to a smiling Tony.  Once I explained my predicament, he was no longer smiling.  I couldn't understand him entirely, but what I gathered was that he was not claiming responsibility for the broken shoe.  He begrudingly took only the broken shoe, and told me it wasn't his fault, but that he would fix it just this once.

I tried to be as polite as I could have been, but really, I have had these shoes for maybe 6 years, and I've never had a pair of shoes break on me, and this one just happened to come apart after he ripped out the insole and applied a new one.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Fast forward a few days (I was too chicken to go in there the very next day, for fear that he would take it as a presumption on my part that it was be ready that quickly).  I pick up my heel from a none-too-pleased Tony.  Fast forward again.

I decide to wear my snakeskin heels to work.  And THIS time, I will not be made a fool.  I will bring a spare pair of shoes with me just in case...

Good thing I did, because you guessed it, about halfway through my morning, the OTHER shoe came apart!  Now I was 100% sure my shoe repair man had somehow compromised the integrity of my formerly well-made, long-lasting shoes!  Tony was definitely not happy to see me, and although I had prepared myself for fireworks, and he was much more subdued this time.

A few days later (yep, I waited again... too scared to face the man 2 days in a row!).  This time, I took a posse with me.  On our way back from lunch, 4 of us from work went into the shoe repair shop.  One guy, a regular, chatted up Tony for a few minutes before he looked over and gave me a dirty look once he recognized me.  He gave me my shoe which I quickly stashed in my purse, and motioned for the others to get out of there now!  It was beyond awkward.  But at least now I had both of my fixed-broken-fixed-again-heels.

Now I'm at a crossroads.  Was this all for naught?  Can I ever wear these heels again without having to pack a back-up pair?  What if I let down my guard after wearing them for a few times, and don't have any extra on me, and the glue breaks down, and my shoes come apart again?!  So as of now, I haven't worn them again, meaning that perhaps instead of saving money by having them fixed, I actually wasted it.  What the heel?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Showering Rhonda Lu

Now that baby Austin is due to arrive any day now, I figured it was about time to get this blog posed about Rhonda Lu's baby shower which I co-hosted waaayyy back in June!  The BBC parlor was the spot for our gathering this June Sunday afternoon.  I pushed our other 2 hosts for a brightly colored shower theme, bypassing the blase pale blue that's all over baby shower supplies.  Happily, the other hostesses were on board.  Costco did the super-cute and very delicious cupcakes.  I fought with those hanging tissue paper flowers forever, and next time, if there is ever a next time, I will buy more tissue paper and wire 2 of what you see together to make more of a paper flower globe, which is what I was going for, but didn't really achieve this go-round.  We decorated the food table with baby Austin's ultrasound pictures, and photos of Rhonda and Joe when they were babies (get it, for the photographer couple?!)
The lime sherbet punch was a hit!  Thanks, George's mom, for the recipe.  The diaper cake shown on the gifts table, I made TWICE... once at my house, and once in the church parlor after dropping it on the way into the church, with diapers spilling All Over the BBC parking lot!!!  I was a hot, panicked mess by the time things got under way!  Pictured above is Rhonda Lu with all 3 hostesses.
For our activity, we made personalized bibs for baby Austin.  Lisa models her creation:

For the games, we played a celebrity baby guessing game with name tags that was a good icebreaker, and fun for our pop-culture-lovin' mom to be.  While Rhonda opened her presents, we played a Baby Bingo game, and we also played the Play-doh baby game where each guest had to create what they thought baby Austin was going to look like out of Play-doh. 
Far left is the winner, little Austin with his frisbee golf disc, just like his old man!  Far right is Austin posing in a Blue Steele Zoolander face!  Here, Rhonda is laughing as she tries to pick the winner.

To create a little ambiance and background noise, I updated the "baby mix" that I used for my own baby shower.  It's such an eclectic mix, but every song has the word "baby" in the title.  I had to skip past Jay-Z's I'm a Hustler Baby when that one came on because it was the un-edited version and we were in the church!  Whoops!

Serious Brown ponders her Baby Bingo card

Instead of cards, we asked each guest give Austin a signed baby book to begin his collection.
Rhonda holds up the adorable personalized burp clothes with Austin's initials on it- ARH.  Right after I snapped this photo I came to the realization that Austin's initials were very pirate-esque.  ARRRRRRGH, I shouted, to the laughter of everyone there. 

Me and my dear friends, Queen MAB and hot mom-to-be, Rhonda Lu
Little Austin, we loved showering you and your mom with lots of love and gifts, and we can't wait to meet you soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not guilty

You may not judge me, but that's okay, because I judge me enough for the both of us.

I carry around with me a tremendous amount of guilt for working outside the home and leaving Bradley at daycare every weekday.  The pangs of guilt hit me every single morning when I drop him off, and every afternoon when I rush in to see him.  But as a single parent, I just don't have that luxury of staying home with him anymore.

I walk in embarrassment and shame of being a divorced, single parent.  When I meet someone new, and it comes up in conversation that I have a 3 year old son, I instinctively hide my left hand, especially at church, lest they find out I have a kid, but (gasp!) I'm not married.  Why?  There are enough divorced people in the world that I'm sure people don't bat an eye at my bare left hand, but for some reason, I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks as I have that uncomfortable conversation in my head where I assume I know what this new acquaintance must be thinking.

For over a year I have been judging myself harshly for these two offenses, and there are many more counts I have against myself as well.

So that's why something Mike said this morning in church really struck a chord with me.  He summoned up the image of a courtroom, when he remarked to a friend years ago how he always felt like he was on trial in his head, constantly beating himself up for his failures.  God was there, sitting as the almighty judge, and there was the prosecutor, exposing every sin in accurate, truthful detail to the judge.  This friend of Mike's reminded him that it was unconstitutional to be on trial with no representation, and that he in fact, did have a defender sitting at his table.  That defender is Jesus, and he intercedes with God on our behalf.

It was such a refreshing reminder, because I too have Jesus sitting at my table, and you do too, if you allow Him to.  I wish I understood why it was so easy to preach God's grace to others, but being unable to accept that free gift myself.  I guess I just need to remember that for all those crimes I commit, someone greater than I, with the authority to do so, has already served the sentence, bailed me out, paid the price- whatever metaphor you want to use, and my record has been expunged in the eyes of the judge.  I have been declared "not guilty."  Who am I to argue with that?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's not easy bein' Green

I wish had some grandiose epiphany anecdote to explain my recent adoption of the vegetarian diet, but I don't.  Really, it's been a long time coming, ever since I read Skinny Bitch a few years ago, and since I've slowly but surely been paying closer attention to what I put in my body.  I also have this weird abhorrence for eating food that looks like the animal from whence it came that has gotten worse the older I get, so my enjoyment of meat has been dwindling for several years.  About a month ago I finally decided I would take the plunge and see what all the fuss was about with a vegetarian diet.  Here are a few things I have noticed so far:
1. Bonus number one, I am eating way more fruits and vegetables.  I mean, you have to replace the meat with something, right?
2.  My taste buds have changed, and since I've made a conscious effort to eat more fruits and veggies, a pleasant bonus is that I have discovered some new fruits and vegetables that I didn't used to care for, I tried again, and realized suddenly that I now like them. (Cucumbers and Blueberries are two)
3.  I am also eating less carbs (read: no bread for the non-existent sandwiches),  so this is also a plus, but as a result of eating less carbs, I am also getting hungrier sooner.  Let's face it, a salad just does not stick to the ole ribs for long!
4.  Just being honest- how many overweight vegetarians do you know?  I have put back on some weight in the last year, and I want to get back into my skinny jeans, and I figured this new eating regime might help jump-start that.
5.  This is something I'm passionate about:  Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in this country, and kids form their eating habits for the rest of their lives in their early years (read:  Bradley's age).  So if I model good eating habits for him now, and he is exposed to good-for-him foods now before he has any idea what Coca-Cola is, he's way more likely to continue those healthy eating habits into adulthood.
6.  Eating more healthy is a trend that tends to be circular.  If I eat healthy foods during the day, I'm less likely to binge on junk food.  I don't crave it as much, or if I do, I'm able to keep the cravings in check by eating only small portions of whatever it is, or else I remind myself how well I've eaten today, and that I don't want to blow it.

7.  One negative is that I have noticed a HUGE DROP in my energy level.  Not enough protein or iron?  I started iron supplements a week ago, so now I'm waiting to see if I notice a difference.  I cannot keep going to bed at 9 o'clock.  Something's gotta give.
So now the question of the hour:  What the heck am I supposed to bring for lunch every day?  This has been one of my biggest challenges so far.  (Well, that, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that if I keep this up, I might never eat my beloved chicken fingers ever again).  My fall-back has always been turkey sandwiches, but now 2 slices of bread with mustard and cheese and no turkey is just not an appealing lunch choice.  
At any rate, I have been surprised to learn of so many closet fellow vegetarians coming out of the wood works to support me in my endeavor and offer up recipe ideas.  To those who have suggested I try quinoa... I'm a weenie, and I've been too scared to try it, but I promise I will!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

2011 Williamson County Fair

Sunday, we took advantage of senior day, and went to the Williamson County Fair. 
The "Seniors"
It was extremely hot, so we alternated doing indoor and outdoor activities.  Indoors, we looked at, and got to pet some of the animals.  One man let us pet his prize chicken.  "What's his name?"  I asked encouragingly, as Bradley pet the bird.  The man hesitated, looking at me, and then answered, "Buffalo Wild Wings!"  This would not be the first time I asked a stupefied male the name of his accompanying animal.  Minutes earlier, I paid $5.00 to let Bradley have a pony ride.  Really, I felt sorry for the ponies.  They're hitched together and only get to walk around in a circle under a tent.  Bradley and I walked up to a sweet looking pony, but for some reason, Bradley did not want to ride.  I tried to ease him into the situation, talking to him, and letting him pet the pony.  "What's her name?"  I asked the Hispanic man who took our money.  All I got in return was a blank stare, and a glance over to another carnie.  Ahh.  No habla Englais.  Okey dokey.  Even after making up a name for the pony ("Lady") and offering to stand right next to him while he just sat on the horse, Bradley was having nothing to do with it.  So the non-English speaking carnie sadly gave us back my 5 bucks, and we walked over to ride the Nemo Ride.

Now Bradley has been talking about the Nemo Ride for days- ever since I started pumping him up about the fair, and showing him This Video from last year, I warned him that we didn't want another repeat incident!  I explained that if he didn't want to ride any rides, and if he didn't think they were fun, then he didn't have to ride them!

Luckily, B was a little more into the rides this year.  The exceptions were the roller coaster- maybe a bit too brave on my part- and the panda bear ride, which was his last one for the night, and I think he was just exhausted.

Mom and I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl again.  Standing in line for the ride, I realized it was us, and a bunch of teenage boys!  We didn't care, and the ride operator got a kick out of us.  We spun our stomach in knots and screamed with childlike glee.

A repeat shot from last year
A group shot of the six of us

So what does a vegetarian eat at the fair?  Well I had a jumbo pretzel and a large lemonade.  Not the most complete meal, but really, we were just sort of snacking.  Bradley ate a cherry Italian ice, and sported a red mouth the rest of the night!
The kids exhibit was the same as last year, but it's really educational and fun.  The kids go from station to station, gathering "fresh produce" and ultimately selling it at the market to buy a treat of their choosing.  Pictured left is Bradley getting an egg from the chicken coop, brushing a sheep to collect wool, posing with Mommy in front of the corn, feeding the cow some corn kernels, milking the cow, and proudly displaying his ice cream sandwich, his purchase at the general store. 

Another indoor activity we stumbled upon, while looking for the Native American exhibit, that ended up being a bust, was this animated clown show.  She was corny, and not at all scary as some clowns often are.  She asked for volunteers, and to my shock, Bradley raised his hand to come up and participate.  Even more hilarious was that minutes after walking to the front, he remained in the "volunteer" position with his hand in the air!  It was precious.  Two teams of kids unrolled toilet paper rolls as fast as they could while the audience cheered them on. 
An evening treat of cotton candy amidst the lights of the midway

After our tickets ran out, we sat and listened to a mediocre bluegrass band play several songs.  How can anyone now enjoy live bluegrass music, I wonder?  It's a toe-tapping warm fuzzy of stringed instruments, and tight harmonies. 

Next year, we plan on going later so we can stay for the fireworks.  Our last ride of the evening was a speedy Gator ride back to our car, thanks to the volunteers driving guests to and from the parking lots.

Once home, Bradley proudly displayed his fair prizes.  He won 2 of the animals, picking up ducks, and popping balloons with darts, and Laura won him the snake playing a different game.  The snake he has named "Ott" which is what he names every single toy these days.  The others he named, Orange Dog, and Pig.  Very original, right?

After a long sweaty evening at the fair, the end of the night showers were a refreshing treat.