Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Good, and New Beginnings

Fall is easily my favorite season, a season for change and new beginnings, where the mornings are cool and the air is crisp. As Joe Fox says in You've Got Mail: "It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name." I know exactly how he feels.

Although still reeling from clutching the remote too tightly and crying into my Hot-n-Ready pizza last night, I think I'm strong enough now to talk about the ending of Breaking Bad. It was gut-wrenching. (Lots of SPOILER ALERTS ahead. Beware.) 

Goodbye Breaking Bad

Vince Gilligan is an evil genius, and although I jumped on the bandwagon a little late (I'm in the process of catching up), his writing is overwhelmingly heartfelt and the story ended so beautifully. It's almost poetic what that show did; it made us care about a kingpin drug dealer and sympathize with criminals. I loved everything about it, and I can't say that about very many shows or movies. I love that Jesse is free in every sense of the word. I love that Walt will take the blame for making the meth as the cops find him dead in the lab. I love that his family will get his money. I love that Elliot and Gretchen will have to look over their shoulder for the rest of their lives, even though no one is there. I love that Walt got to say goodbye to Skyler, that he got to see his kids one more time. I love that Hank's body will be found.

Most of all, I love that we finally, truly get to see who Walt is. He is no longer hiding behind the facade of his own lie, that he "did it for the family." He finally admits, after five seasons, that it was all for him. That he felt alive while he was doing it. I think his fresh answer to why he did it is the reason Skyler lets him see Holly. On the last day he was alive, his honesty, not his lies, got him what he wanted. What a beautiful lesson for him to learn after years of lies, decisions and change. As Walt said himself, "chemistry is the study of transformation," and I think he finally realizes what his transformation has done to him and to his family. He tells the truth, and because of it Skyler can finally be at peace.

As for me, many changes are coming in the next few months. Here are a few new beginnings that I'm looking forward to, besides finding a new show to watch on Sunday night:

1. Move in with these two lovely ladies!! I'm so excited to claim a room in their adorable house across town, and I can't wait to be all moved in.

On my birthday last month! 

2. Run a 5k. Around this time last year, I ran my first 5k and it was such an incredible experience. I have been a little lackluster about running/working out the past couple of months, and it's time to start back.

3. Start baking. Ever since I saw these pumpkin snickerdoodles on Pinterest, I've wanted to make them. As someone who is trying to become more domestic, this seems like a logical next step. 


Do you think fall is a good time for change? Did you love Breaking Bad as much as I did? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last night at the Emmys

If watching TV were my job, I'd be pretty close to a promotion by now. And last night was the biggest night for all my beloved TV people.

To be perfectly honest, I don't usually care about the Emmy's. They tend to come in 3rd place after the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Last night, however, it was supposed to be a big night for Breaking Bad, my newest TV obsession, as well as other shows that I love like Downton Abbey, Modern Family and Veep. After watching Breaking Bad (did we really think Walt was going to shrivel up and waste away in NH?? No way, Jose) I switched it over to CBS. Here were some of my favorite moments, fashion choices, and singing numbers. Just kidding, all the singing numbers were weird.

1. My favorite part didn't even come until the end. Let's all say it together: Will Ferrell. I love him, and he always seems to do something different and hilarious. Last night he managed to be appropriately funny without a tux and with his three kids by his side. I just can't even. He is a genius.


2. Fashion -- my favorite on the red carpet was, hands-down, Michelle Dockery. Not only do I love her as Lady Mary, but she looked classy, sophisticated, and stood out among a sea of neutrals with bold colors and that incredible silhouette. Other favorites: Rose Byrne, Kerry Washington, Christina Hendricks, Mindy Kaling, Laura Dern and Linda Cardellini.


3. a.Winners I loved: Breaking Bad, Anna Gunn, Colbert Report, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and The Voice.

    b. Losers I wanted to win and probably should have because I absolutely know what I'm talking about: Bryan Cranston (duh!); Downton Abbey was surprisingly absent from the list of winners, and I would have loved to see Lady Mary beat Claire Danes; who the hell even is Bobby Cannavale? Aaron Paul should have won supporting actor and I'm going to mourn that loss probably forever; the rest I was either okay with or couldn't care less about.

What did you think? Did you have a favorite look? Favorite winner?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Moral of the Story: Five Things To Do When It's Raining

It has been raining in Abilene non-stop for a solid 24 hours, a rarity round these parts, and I have been forced indoors. I got back from Dallas yesterday, a trip I'll discuss soon, and I have been contemplating what to do this weekend since the forecast is gray and wet. Here are some things I came up with:

1. Start a job -- So I thought for a while that I would move to Austin, one of my favorite cities in the wide world. While I still would like to live there at some point, it began to feel like wrong timing. It's one of those things that I can't really explain, except to say that I had a sudden desire to stay in Abilene. Austin will always be there, but for now, I'm going with my gut. Which, I guess, is currently in retail because I got a job at a boutique in Abilene where I've literally been shopping all my life. They sell a lot of random, fun things and I'm excited to start this afternoon! The girls who work there seem so cute and fun, and even though I don't know how it's going to fit into the overall plan, it's nice to have something to say when people ask me, "What are you doing now?"

2. Cook for myself -- My parents will be out of town this weekend, and a lot of people are going to be away for various things, so I'm looking forward to some alone time with the kitchen. I've been wanting to try these Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potatoes out, and tonight might be the perfect night for music, a glass of wine, and a new recipe.


Buy it! 

3. Finish my book, start another one -- I've been reading Lise Funderburg's incredible book, Pig Candy, for a few weeks now, and I really want to finish it this weekend. Not only was Lise a professor of mine this summer at the Paris American Academy, so I can hear her voice while I'm reading, but she is just a fantastic writer. She covers so perfectly her father's last few years struggling with advanced prostate cancer and his trips back to his hometown in Georgia. I recommend it whole-heartedly, and probably even more than that once I've finished the book.

Next up will be a novel from another PAA professor, Lauren Grodstein, whose new book, The Explanation for Everything, I can't wait to start.

4. Write! I know I say this all the time, internally if not blog-ternally (that's probably not a word, don't ask me to be an English teacher ever), but I really need to keep writing, exercising that part of my brain. Also, I was thinking about starting a writers' workshop in Abilene. If you or someone you know is in the Abilene area, a writer (beginner, professional, or anywhere in between), and would benefit from getting together with a group of writers every month or so to share our work, would you please let me know? This summer's workshop was so great and I would love to keep that going.

5. Online Shop -- I have a party next weekend, and I need to find a dress like Cinderella needs to find her goddamn fairy godmother. It is for a black-tie event whose attire is "Black Tie and Tie Dye," which is a pretty awesome idea, but also what does that even mean? I perused some shops in Dallas on Wednesday with every intention of buying a dress, but ended up walking out of Northpark Mall with a coffee mug from Anthropologie and two dresses, neither of which work for the party. Basically the story of my life... It's okay though, I will persevere and hopefully not end up with the entire new fall collection at j.crew or that elephant lamp I've been eyeing on Etsy.

Have a lovely, rain-soaked weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lubbock or Leave It

This weekend, I made a nice little trip up to Lubbock, TX. As I said before, my friend is getting married in a few months and I was thrilled to be invited to her engagement party in her hometown of Slaton, about 15 miles South of Lubbock. They had delicious BBQ that her dad made (made!), and the sangria was perfect. Most guests gathered outside around their lovely pool drinking, eating and talking the whole time. Without any tall buildings or windmills in this town of 6,000 people, I enjoyed the beautiful sky as the sun went down. Those West Texas sunsets get me every time.

It was odd going this time, however, because all of my go-to friends who would usually sweetly put me up for a night or two aren't there any more. The bride was there, of course, but is there anyone more annoying than a house guest when it's your engagement party? I don't think so. So I had a mini-vacation in a hotel room all to myself.

Despite the wind knotting my hair at every turn, the dust that gets in my contacts, or my utter indifference toward Texas Tech football (except their coach...), I love to go to Lubbock; some of my favorite people live or have lived there. I used to visit for work quite a bit, and my trips were a nice mix of seeing friends and eating good food, with a little work thrown in here and there. I'm always being taken to a new place to eat with friends (it was Lubbock Pancake House this weekend) and as a restaurant-lover, it makes my heart melt with happiness, just like the butter on those pancakes. Mmmm, now I want pancakes.

I'm sure I'll continue to visit Lubbock, and I'm sure more people I know there will move on as the years pass. I'm not saying I'm going to go on craigslist and search for new friends in Lubbock (unless Kliff is on there), it's just another reminder that people move, jobs change, and life goes on.

And now it's time for one of my favorite songs by my favorite band from Lubbock, the Josh Abbott Band. Enjoy!

I literally...

And I'm adding these, just for a reference. Just so you know who I'm talking about. No other reason.

....cannot even..

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I was in 8th grade. As an office worker for the first half of the year, I was sitting in the administrative office behind a tall reception counter waiting to be given more errands to run, when the school secretary came in and said that New York had been attacked. I don't remember her exact words, but it must have been "New York," because I had no idea what the World Trade Center was before that day.

I came home to find my mother watching the news in the living room. My dad was in Guatemala on a medical mission, and he would be delayed coming home for a week longer than planned. I don't think my 13-year-old brain understood the gravity of that day or saw the impact that it would have on the entire country. I may still not even understand it, and I certainly do not have the words to write it. How can anyone wrap their minds around such evil, such loss?

All we can do is pray for those still struggling in its aftermath, for the future of our country and for the troops defending our freedom.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Moral of the Story: It's Fall, and Time For All My Shows To Start.

This weekend, I'm looking forward to playing golf, relaxing and drinking some wine, as I usually do on the weekends (and weekdays...). Besides my amazing shows that are coming back to TV this month, here are some things that are currently all up on my radar.

1. Fall is officially here (sort of)!! The weather this week has been so pleasant with highs in the low 90s, which feels almost cold compared to the past few weeks of 100-degree days. I'm looking forward to pulling out my sweaters and jeans, cooking fall-themed food like stuffed bell peppers, and drinking a million pumpkin spice lattes.


2. The other night, I was watching The Green Mile, and I remembered that Barry Pepper existed. He is such a fantastic actor, and I wish he were in more things. Oh, you know, he was in Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers, and played Bobby Kennedy in the recent miniseries "The Kennedys." He was also in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, a 2005 film I loved about a West Texas rancher, filmed mostly at Tommy Lee Jones' ranch near San Saba.

3. Guess what's happening on January Fiiiiiiiiiiiifth???  And oooh boy I can't even talk about it I'm so excited!!!! 

4. This pretty lady is getting married next year, and I can't wait to help celebrate her engagement next weekend!!! Jaryn is my fave Lubbock/Slaton gal, and she's going to be a beautiful bride! 

5. Also, the job hunt is still happening. Yeahhhhhh...

Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

This Labor Day really snuck up on me. I mean, it's already September...what? Although I seriously thought that I had another week until this three-day weekend, I don't dare complain. After a quick trip down to Austin and an even quicker trip to Possum Kingdom Lake with my parents, I came home yesterday to have a little get together at my house. The perfect remedy for yesterday's 100-degree heat were swimming and an ice-cold cocktail that reminded me of Santa Barbara.

The best part was that I got to see a couple of friends who I hardly ever get to see. With some people, it's so easy to pick right back up, even if it's been years. Like time doesn't exist when friendships are rekindled. Today, I am going to brunch with said lovely ladies, and then having a relaxing afternoon of writing and napping... 

Have a wonderful day off!

An over-the-years mini gallery, just because I love them (also, I realize these are all at night, don't judge):