this week's wisdom

April 28, 2010

he who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
but he who trusts in the lord will be prospered.

he who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
but whoever walks wisely will be delivered
(proverbs 28:25-26).

random quarter

April 24, 2010

one. i am allergic to animal dander and lanolin. i once spent thirty minutes copping a squat on the floor of heb's woodlands market trying to find a lotion that did not have lanolin in it (although i don't have the problem of finding a good lotion now, because bath and body works has its true blue spa products, which i love).

two. eventually, i would like to have seven dogs (but they would have to be outside dogs, because of that allergy, and i would not only have to be able to afford the seven, but the house with the big enough yard to accommodate them) -- two french mastiffs (nazareth and galilee), two akitas (chew and bacca), one lab (george), one rottweiler (henry) and one boxer (ocee).

three. one of my nicknames at a former place of employment was kooky. when i became a supervisor, it became superkook.

four. if i'm overwhelmingly troubled by something, and i've got the time and the gas, i'll drive to galveston and sit on the seawall until i figure out how to fix it (or until it's too late to be sitting on the seawall by myself).

five. if i really like a movie, book or song, i'll watch, read or listen to it until i get sick of it. like the latest star trek film. i watched that one in the theaters twenty times, three in one day, back to back. and yes, i paid for every show.

six. i drove a friend of mine from san antonio to dallas and back in one day so he could see about a girl.

seven. i've yet to be able to watch all of the star wars films in one day.

eight. i don't feel comfortable asking people to spend time with me.

nine. i took a semester of spanish after having taken four years of german. i got a d.

ten. my least favorite color is barbie doll pink.

eleven. pearl jam played a free concert at kansas university in spring of ninety-two. the college i attended bused girls to the show. i didn't go because i'd never heard of them.

twelve. i've got a pretty good voice, but i'm terrified of the stage.

thirteen. i hate to cook, but i love buying things for the kitchen. they're more decorative than anything else.

fourteen. i cannot stand it when people paint wood furniture, including cabinetry. all that beautiful grain, covered up. painting on it in small doses -- accents, like flowers and stuff, that's okay, but painting it top to bottom, side to side, is inexcusable.

fifteen. my favorite piece of furniture is the antique icebox my great uncle refurbished and my great aunt painted (small doses).

sixteen. my room is in perpetual chaos.

seventeen. the more i watch the film the proposal, the more i like it.

eighteen. i have lived in nine different cities (some of them more than once). it's rare that i stay in one place for more than two years (which could be why i feel compelled to get the hell out of dodge right now).

nineteen. i have buzz-cut my hair twice -- once because i got mad it because it kept getting in my face and once because i'd bleached it and then dyed it black a month later. i loved not having to mess with it. i hated being called sir.

twenty. my three favorite characters from books and films are george doren (at least, i think that's his last name...i don't remember, and i'm too lazy to invest any more than the five seconds i invested trying to look it up) from the novel right before your eyes, henry roth from the film dedication and han solo from the star wars saga.

twenty-one. if memory serves, i've only walked out of a movie in the theater three times: mad love, meet the fockers and minority report. i should've stayed with minority report. that one's back half was much. much better than its front.

twenty-two. i don't have any depth perception. so things like three-dimensional movies...they don't do a thing for me, but i still have to wear the glasses to watch them.

twenty-three. i don't like diamonds. they're pretty enough to look at, but i like colored jewels better.

twenty-four. i don't like white walls, either.

twenty-five. every now and then, i sleep with my teddy bear.

n is for neapolitan

April 21, 2010

so i used to go to school in missouri. one of the (many) things i didn't like about being in school out of state was that i had to eat inferior--and it is inferior... all of it, even your silly ben and jerry's--ice cream.

i'm a texan, boys and girls. i might rant about the stupid pollen and the hurricanes and the flatness of it, but when it comes down to it, i was born here, and i'll die here.

because as much as i hate that blasted pollen and the stupid hurricanes and the flatness, there are three really, really great things about this place:

the abundance of trees.

the beauty of the hill country.

and the bliss that is blue bell ice cream.

that one, sometimes, i missed more than any other. even my mommy. when you've grown up with this stuff, when it's the only ice cream that's graced your freezer, you start to take it for granted.

i hated having ice cream cravings at college because i always had to settle for the cheap stuff.

my roomies and i were watching television one afternoon when a blue bell advertisement came on the tube. i jumped up, all excited, exclaiming how awesome it was. but my friends blew me off like i was nuts for getting all crazy about some ice cream.

oh, but it's not any ice cream. it's the best tasting ice cream in the country.

we used to cart the stuff up to the monastery. mom would call her brothers and take requests, and we'd go to the grocery store and buy six half gallons, and then to get the dry ice and the boxes. we'd pack it up with our luggage and head for the airport. the boxes and the suitcases were dropped on the conveyor belt for the baggage handlers, and we'd board, eager for cooler climates and better scenery (because as much as i love texas, utah's rather pretty in the summer and a heck of a lot more comfortable).

there, my relatives would argue about which flavor was the best. these debates were ongoing for the entirety of our stay. and every time another half gallon was sampled, votes would change.

this is how good the stuff is, folks.

last summer, one of my college friends who lives in oregon put some status up on her facebook page about how she'd done yardwork all day, and now she was going to sit on one of her lawn chairs with a bowl of ice cream and enjoy the fruits of her labor.

i'd commented that it was too bad she couldn't have blue bell.

one of her friends who lived in new york saw that and got all excited. she loved blue bell! she'd been trying to find a natural vanilla bean that was as good.

it's just not possible. i told her she could have some shipped. (for those of you contemplating this, it's not cheap.)

this is how good the stuff is, folks.

everything else is pathetic.

so imagine my surprise when i could not find a flavor to satisfy my palette.

i brought home mocha madness. coffee ice cream, roasted pecans, chocolate chips and caramel sauce. nope. not enough chocolate.

i brought home cake and ice cream. vanilla ice cream, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate coated cake and chocolate icing. not enough chocolate. i know, right? you'd think i would've loved it (and, of course, i do, but it did not appease my craving in the slightest.)

groom's cake is my absolute favorite, but alas, it must be one of those seasonal flavors that i won't see for another month or two. it is chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, strawberry hearts, strawberry sauce and chocolate icing. it is divine. the. best. ice. cream. ever. EVER.

i went to the store today to get some smarties for a project i'm doing for a friend. i debated getting ice cream but thought better of it. the last two times, amazingly enough, had been a bust.

and yet, for some strange reason, i found myself standing before the freezers that held my beloved blue bell (which were shockingly's coming on summer already, and we can't handle heat very well, because it's blistering, sopping, sticky, boiling, sweaty, nasty, stinky, burning, my-god-i-hate-this-place kind of heat... or maybe it's because the summer flavors are coming! one can only hope). i stood there, debating...

neapolitan? no. too boring. i used to have that one all the time. mint chocolate chip? no. too minty. banana split? no. my dad had let me have a bit of his the other day, and while it is scrumptious...not enough chocolate. strawberries and vanilla? no. did you not hear me? chocolate! then yes. i snatch it up, turn and take a few steps. then no. i want chocolate!

so i go back and grab the neapolitan.

and. oh. my. gosh. i'd forgotten how much i love this stuff. it's not exactly what i'd been craving. but it's darned close.

and you, you who don't live in the red zones:

you're probably wishing you had some in your freezer.

hah! sucks to be you.

this was a matlock project. learn about that here.

this week's wisdom

April 19, 2010

rest in the lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
do not fret -- it only causes harm.

the lord knows the days of the upright,
and their inheritance shall be forever (psalm 37:7-8, 18).

and then there's this:

this is your journey
breathe it in
experience what it feels like to be you in this exact moment (stolen from a friend's facebook page).


April 17, 2010

m is for monastery

April 15, 2010

so one of my favorite things about the holidays -- christmas and easter and whatnot -- is the phone call we get from my great uncle, a trappist monk at a monastery in huntsville, utah, outside of salt lake city. his birth name was clarence, but upon entering the monastery he became brother nicholas, or nick.

he'll call at around eight a.m. -- we are one of many families to receive the pleasure of his company via phone conversation, as he is an incredibly popular dude ... relatives from all across the country clamor for his attention, and i like to think he calls our house first, though there's this part of me that knows that's probably not the case ... still, i delude myself, and happily.

it's an hour earlier there. he's been up for probably four hours (crazy!). my family's been up for maybe one. we're sleepy and groggy and not always so happy to be up that early. but we'll wait, patiently, considering, for our turn to the talk to the man.

that image you have of a cowboy, my uncle fits it to a t. he wears chambray button down shirts and wrangler blue jeans and dirty, ole boots and a cowboy hat. he's quiet and slow and unbelievably patient. he's got this dopey grin, a contagious one. he gives the best hugs ever.

he's in his eighties now. you might think the strength of that hug might wane with age, but it's just as strong and warm and comforting -- just as bearish -- as it had been when i was three. and it's like that, regardless of how long it's been since you've seen him. the hug he gives you when he greets you at the guest house the moment you get there is the same as the one he'd give you days later when he's come back from his afternoon nap.

he was a navy boy and a pool shark. before this, he and two of his brothers (the three of them were inseparable) caused all kinds of hell, like the time one of them (the oldest of the three -- joe) stood in front of their house and put his hands up to his cheeks and wiggled his fingers and stuck out his tongue. and there's nick, standing before him, but a few feet away, armed with a giant watermelon. he hurled it. he missed. it flew through the stained glass window. great grandma was not pleased. great grandma wore a cord of rope around her waist for moments like this, and i'm sure the three of them got swatted with it often.

he's jolly. he observant. he's sensitive (in a good way). and his faith astounds me. he's awesome. so incredibly awesome.

this man is the closest thing i have to a grandfather. my mom's dad died when i was three. and even if he hadn't, he wasn't the coolest of dudes. my dad's dad died when i was in junior high.

so those phone calls we get from him make my day.
and the weekly summer trips we take to his monastery to spend time with him and his other brothers, the monks ... those are my favorite vacations -- hands down.

i don't get to go this summer, though. i'm going to europe with my cousins, which should be awesome, and i'm very excited about it, but because i'm going on this trip, i can't go see him. i'm pretty bummed. majorly bummed, actually. these summer trips have been a tradition long before i was born. my mother and her brothers and their families have a miniature family reunion at his place.
we fly to salt lake, rent a car, meet up with the others at the guest house, which is just inside the monastery's property, in a valley near ogden. it's about an hour north of salt lake. it's glorious, even in the winter. it's the epitome of peaceful. it's in the perfect place. and for a week, during the day, we help the monk out with his chores. and at night, we make g and t's and mojitos. the women cook dinner, and the boys smoke cigars, and we sit out on the hill (which is hidden by all that wonderful shade) beside the house and reminisce about all those times we made mischief.

good times.

and, oh my heavens, you should see the stars at night in this place. it's magical.

the last time i talked to him, i had to tell him i couldn't come to see him this summer. that was not a fun conversation.

maybe i can see him this fall. that would be nice. i think the monk would like that. i know i would.

you wanna see more of it? go here.

it's mentioned in a book! read it.

this was a matlock project. learn about that here.

this week's wisdom

April 14, 2010

consider the work of god;
for who can make straight what he has
made crooked?
in the day of prosperity be joyful,
but in the day of adversity consider:
surely god has appointed the one as well as
the other,
so that man can find out nothing that will
come after him (ecclesiastes 7:13-14).

and last week's

now it shall come to pass, if you diligently
obey the voice of the lord your god, to
observe carefully all his commandments
which i command you today, that the lord
your god will set you high above all nations of
the earth. and all these blessings shall come
upon you and overtake you, because you obey
the voice of the lord your god:

blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed
shall you be in the country.

blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the
produce of your ground and the increase of
your herds, the increase of your cattle and the
offspring of your flocks.

blessed shall be your basket and your
kneading bowl.

blessed shall you be when you come in,
and blessed shall you be when you go out
(deuteromy 28:1-6).

this week's wisdom

April 1, 2010

but take careful heed to do the commandment
and the law which moses the servant of
the lord commanded you, to love the lord
your god, to walk in all his ways, to keep his
commandments, to hold fast to him, and to
and to serve him with all your heart and with all your
soul (joshua 22:5).