lindsey and andrew visit chicago!!

lindsey changes her plans:
this december has been a busy one.. i am normally much more involved in the holidays, but this year i decided to do it a little differently. almost every year, i start in early november trying to come up with the perfect gifts. i bake pies for the man at the convenience store, and i plan and plan and plan for my annual christmas party. this year, though the decorations did go up as scheduled, i decided to focus more on seeing my favorite people- rather than buying things for them. andrew and i flew to chicago on the 18th. this trip had a few purposes. the first purpose is to see alex (my favorite little brother ever) and his house and roommates.

yellow shirt saves three planes:
we had 6 am flight on thursday morning and i had a noon appointment in chicago to make (woof). we arrived at the airport with about an hour and a half to spare and walk in to see (literally) the longest line in the history of lines. it wrapped around so many gates you couldn't see the end from the beginning. it actually had to double back around because there was a wall halfway through. everyone was upset. two really nice girls behind us were extremely disappointed to be missing their ski trip in colorado. we were all lamenting and discussing what could possibly be done! when suddenly... the man in the yellow shirt appeared. he was in fact- the man- in charge- possibly only for the moment- for united airways. he stood at the highest point in the room (a chair) and said "everyone! please do not panic. we are holding the flights!" a small cheer rang out among the crowd. then he raised his arms and said "everyone going to san francisco- come up to the desk!" the mass of people headed to california rushed the desk while those of us bound for illinois and colorado stood still- holding our bags in anticipation. the word began trickling down the line from some guy at the front that needed to know all the details. through the grapevine we came to understand that we made up 97% of the passengers of these three flights and without us, each would have to depart with a mere 4 people. this was re-assuring. however, when one's blood pressure rises so significantly and their body isn't due to wake for at least another 4 hours, there is a slight feeling of anxiety coursing through one's veins. colorado came after san francisco. and headed to denver was a very large family (moving on this very day) with 2 enormous bags per person. (woof again) at last, chicago was called. we were checked in- ran to the gate- and boarded just in time. the 2.5 men that happened to arrive extra early and had been waiting on the plane for an hour were quite displeased. surprisingly enough, we made it there with only a minor delay!

a greeting on fullerton street:
we landed with plenty of time and got our bags after only a short wait. i still reject the idea of any kind of wheel-ed bag, and thus carried my incredibly heavy duffle on my back while holding a scalding hot cup of starbucks coffee (why they must make it so hot, i will never know- but i swear that lava could cool it down). for a reason unknown to myself, most airports in the world try to place as few signs as possible- perhaps out of a need for greater navigation, intuition, and patience on the part of american citizens. i have none of these things and was therefore quite frustrated at the difficulty we had locating the train. and yet after we did it was a quick ride to the california stop on the blue line! we emerged from the train and began walking toward my brother's house. he met us on the street about halfway and very willingly (or unwillingly) carried my bag the rest of the way. this is something most humans would have found frustrating, but alex too refuses to be grouped in with the rolling bag population.

the yellow house vs. the dust bunnies:
we arrive at alex's amazing yellow house (which is ironic, for i too live in a yellow house) and the first thing to be seen is the decor. there is a deer's head above the mantel (which has apparently been the object of thievery twice before) and the walls are papered in randomness. alex swears that cleaning day is sunday and that the end of the week is always the worst for the house, and i do not want him to feel i am being judgmental. however. the dust bunnies might have rivaled toby. it was the ultimate in relaxation. no need for cleanliness. only fun. i said to alex, "well at least you tidied up for us" (to which he responded with an equally sarcastic rebuttal). andrew's response? "see lindsey! i told you- this is why i miss living with the bro's." hence my reasoning for never understanding my gender's counterpoint.

ceyda has a fold-out couch:
i have yet to mention my brother's beautiful and amazing girlfriend. ceyda. she is from turkey and has the cutest accent. she only recently heard about the kkk and that martin luther king was black. she is an incredible hostess- i got to try turkish coffee and liquor! and she is absolutely the funnest (word?) person in chicago. on the way over alex was explaining (possibly complaining) how ceyda has a tendency to clean a lot. we arrived at her apartment and- as promised- the door opened onto (**angels 'ahh-ing'**) ceyda's very clean home. i stayed on the fold out couch. and alex won't read this, so i'm not too afraid of his response.
lindsey visits art school?:
so about my degree situation. i did not like UT. i enjoy claiming it as a school i was accepted to. i enjoy cheering for their football team (national championship- woot). and most of all i enjoy living in the beautiful austin texas. however, i am ready to move on. therefore, i have been considering s.a.i.c. (the school of the art institute of chicago). though the people at this school are very clever, none of them were ever good at naming things. even still, they have a painting program over which i lust. i had a visit with the admissions office (with an amazing fellow named larry lee) and was given a very thorough yet very unofficial tour by our own alexander james. i loved it. everything about the city and school- i loved it. i hope toby won't mind the cold!

j.r. and jack daniels show up for the party:
what a fantastic night! i was taken to a lovely bar downtown and got to hang out with the best of the best of alex's posse. my dearest friend j.r. (now a chicago resident) came out to see us and the night only progressed in funness. in short, it involved an expensive round of pink shots, a conversation with an cowboys fan on the train (whom accused me of rooting for the saints), a trip to 7-11 for some jack daniels, a bit of a dance party at ceyda's apartment, jenga, sun chips, and a vacuum cleaner. what a good night it was!

all things must end- with pancakes:
we wrapped up the trip with some pancakes (that i can only assume were good) and a brief trip around downtown. the cowboys played new orleans on saturday night and andrew and i forced alex's friends to watch the game with us. i appeased them with a 100+ dollar order of pizza and wings, and then everyone scattered off to fun while we sat in disbelief at the cowboys shocking win. we woke sunday morning (another early flight) to a winter wonderland. the city was blanketed with snow and the quiet morning stirred only with the arrival of our train back to o'hare. unfortunately we arrived back in dallas to a sunny 70 degrees.

looking forward:
christmas is a mere day away and i am as excited as ever. i believe my annual christmas party might be pushed into a "post-christmas party" and hopefully still be fun. my shopping is done and my presents are wrapped. the eggnog is in the fridge- chilling in preparation for the 24th. as i type a cold front should be blowing into texas, so hopefully it won't be a total bust as far as the weather is concerned. i have watched home alone 3 times each (one and two) and muppet christmas carroll 4 times. i am fully ready for st. nicholas. so to all you readers- a merry christmas indeed. i hope all of you get a chance to enjoy your families as much as i. merry christmas eve (almost) with love!


addendum to previous

lets talk real fast about frosty the snowman.
as a child, i really really loved him. i have always been most fond of snowmen in fact. everyone has the "christmas icon of choice." some people prefer santa, some angels (creepy), some like trees. some people even go for nutcrackers, which i find a terrible and frightening tradition in general. but i, my friends, prefer the snowman. there are a million and one ways to make them look ridiculously cute. last year i made andrew and myself stockings with snowmen:

you get it, i like snowmen. but i say this only for you to understand how traumatic is the idea of my beloved winter friend melting away with springs arrival. snow was not something i saw frequently as a child, unless we were skiing (and i assumed that snow in utah was year round, so that didn't count.) but one glorious year we saw an enormous amount of snow in abilene texas. this was amazing to me. i loved everything about snow. i loved that it was frozen- it was soft- you could lay in it- you could mush it into balls- you could eat it- and you could catch its flakes with your tongue. but most of all, i loved that it could become a snowman! i also was quite fond of the frosty the snowman movie (you know, the animated one). but i remember literally shedding tears thinking about frosty having to melt! thats not funny- thats tragic! the boy finds magic in the silk hat and becomes best friends with a living snow-being and he melts?! i'm telling you, its sad. and yes, i did cry when the (below) snowman of my childhood melted away (after only hours of sitting in our yard).

apparently he had been a yankees fan. and note the pinwheel. and oreo eyes? yes. the most snow to ever come to texas, i'm sure of it. and ps, why does frosty run through the square "saying catch me if you can?" sounds a bit like a trouble maker.

i was also thinking a bit about "santa baby." that one might could be considered creepy too. santa needn't be referred to as "baby." even in a different decade, i feel that is inappropriate. i mean, what if mrs. clause got her hands on that letter? and why does the young lady's christmas list consist of things like a yacht, a convertible, checks, a duplex?? and her logic here is that she hasn't been kissing "fellas." santa, this sounds like a bribe and i'm not buying it. she's a slut. the end.

the idea of a guy walking around my house while i sleep is unsettling too! i don't care how many presents he has. i was in the grocery store yesterday and i guess they thought it a good idea to hire a santa! this santa was incredibly jolly- even had a real white beard. and after asking andrew if they could trade hats, he told us he had a 7.5" head (and that is with a shaved head!). sweet santa.. he then told us he couldn't really take off his hat because it would scare *thumb point behind him* the one year old behind us in line. though jolly, santa was indeed not a perceptive one. he did not realize that his mere presence in the line was already enough to frighten the child into hysteria. in fact, if anything would calm her down, it would probably be to remove the hat! andrew and myself then had a long discussion on the topic of santa deception. we both had parents that chose honesty over christmas fun- but i saw my fair share of kiddos getting their hearts broken. doesn't that seem to betray the very spirit of the season? i mean, santa presents are fun, but no logical child past 3 really thinks someone that big can fly around the world and fit down chimneys. and if they do, then you are abusing their intellect.

ranting much? i'll stop. i still love christmas, just love to talk about its ironies too. thanks for listening! peace on earth.


the creepiness of old christmas songs

it is safe to say that i am slightly obsessed with holidays. and christmas is the superbowl of holidays. i spend days on end baking treats, perfecting my tree, shopping for the perfect present, and listening to all the classic christmas songs. and yet i would say that even people like me- those of us that really love christmas music- even they reach their limit eventually. we all find ourselves in some strip mall thinking, "i'm going to hold an employee hostage until they turn off this crap." and how many christmas songs are actually in existence? there are a total of like seven songs that have been re-sang, re-arranged, re-mastered until there is nothing left but ashes. mariah, you can sing as loud and as long and as high as you want, but you haven't improved "hark the herald angels sing." and as much as i support the idea of equality, you cannot rap christmas carols. i had the pleasure of shopping to one of those little numbers, and i barely left with my sanity in tact. country artists love christmas music. not sure why that is, but they seem to have a pretty good piece of that market covered. its probably because its so touching, and there is an unspoken law that country music must be sentimental in some way. however, to this day, no one will ever improve on "once upon a christmas with dolly and kenny." i mean, hard candy christmas? perfection.
but the point of all this rambling is that i was just listening to my mix of all the classics, and that "baby, its cold outside" song came on. definitely one that has been drug through the years of christmas because artists keep thinking they can do it better. jessica simpson and nick lachey did NOT do it better. nor did james taylor (sorry man). bette midler, war, rod stewart? please stop! but the most troubling thing of all is the lyrics to this "classic." when i hear it, all i can think about is some poor girl trapped in a creepy dude's house. she's attempting to be polite and he just won't let it go.
my mother will start to worry
my father will be pacing the floor
seriously, thats probably the point when you should just leave. but no, it goes on:
say, what's in this drink?
i wish i knew how
to break this spell
are you insane?? get out of there!
i simply must go
the answer is no.....
well maybe just a half a drink more
what?!? no means no! and then she ends up staying! and in some of the versions the dude singing is way too old to be with the chick. its unsettling.

i'll leave you with that, my friends. i hope you are all having as fabulous a christmas season as i. and to all my ladies reading- thumbs to eyes, and heel to groin. no always means no.

toby the elf- no appreciating his hat.


k is for kristen and b is for birthday

happy birthday favorite cousin!
i would like everyone to know that it is my cousin kristen's birthday today.
she and her best friend have a co-blog that is basically a handbook about how to make every day of your life fun. check it out: lullaby lubbock.
i spent about 90 percent of my childhood trying to be as cool as kristen. now that the age gap between us is less intrusive, she is one of my best friends. she spends hours and hours driving/flying here and there just to support her family and friends. she is always up for a party and makes the most of a night off. she is the ultimate in creativity and comes up with some of the cutest stuff i have ever seen. and with jeff's help, she is raising three of the most adorable children i have ever encountered- and to whom i attribute my getting over a crippling fear of babies (i am fully recovered and now am quite fond of them). when i think of my cousin, i think of someone that loves absolutely unconditionally and works every single minute of her life to be loyal and supportive of those in her life. kristen- you are such a special part of my life and i'm not the only one that thinks that. i love you to death. happy birthday!

life 70.


dirty birds

i am aware that saying i have a favorite part of the long drive down i-35 is the equivalent of saying my favorite part about a trip to the dentist is a sugar free sucker at the end. (which, i personally feel slightly strange about taking as an adult. i think i even try not to look like i care.) but i have made the drive a few times in my day, and as long as i have lived in austin, somewhere between dallas and waco, my favorite billboard has been standing in the sky. i don't know if it's the billboard that i enjoy so much, or just the hilarious place that it is advertising. i have not yet summoned the will to stop and actually purchase something, but with a bit of encouragement, i'm sure i will get there. try and take in as much as you can from the picture i snapped while trying not to run off the road:

got dirty birds? well you are in luck, because this place has birdbaths.
however, it could easily also read, "got a circus themed backyard? we have a 7 foot tall statue of a gorilla in pajamas!" if only my speedy driving did not blur the photo so much, you could see all the other gems inside these walls. there is an enormous rooster (fully painted) and a pig somehow suspended above the front door. there are a number of windmills (isn't that what those are?) and a bunny (possibly larger than the gorilla). to the right of all that is the largest selection of birdbaths i have ever witnessed. depression-shmession, if the birdbath place made it, i think we will all be fine.

in closing, i would like to salute the i-35 statuary. you make my 3 hour drive slightly less painful. now that i'm home, christmas may begin. gold christmas tree: prepare to exit the box.


fisher of treats

toby and i woke up this morning to quite a chilly day. the pond was perfectly still and we were anxious to fish. did i say fish? i meant, exploit toby by dressing him in dog-sized fishing gear and making him pose for photos. heather is my perfect partner in this scenario, for she also finds cuteness in small things and joy in photo-ing them. someday we will start a photography business in which i will business and she will photo. (more on that subject another day) on this day i will tell you, toby makes a fantastic fisher-dog. he caught nothing, but searched desperately for little swimming treats. reluctantly he turned in his pole and called it a day. but here is a taste of the greatness we captured:

kiss on the nose

thanks heather for taking such great photos!

alex hasn't made it in yet from chicago, but its safe to say that we are anxious for him to get here. the party is always bigger when alex comes in town. so hurry up brother!!
hope everyone else enjoys their thanksgiving as much as i am.


i'll never let go, tony. i'll never let go.

the enormous black hole of consumerism also known as the cowboy stadium, was hoped to become a symbol of new beginnings and a grand new start to a new chapter of cowboys history. owner, jerry jones, seems to have done everything monetarily possible to create the most perfect football environment ever. (cue blurry transition into a flashback) i seem to remember another historically great piece of construction that even all the bells and whistles could not save. (i am aware of the insensitive nature of referencing a disaster such as the titanic in comparison to my football team, but i am coldhearted and will do anything for a good analogy) as jack sinks into the water he pleads with the chick to "never let go." and sadly this is the image i conjure up when thinking about america's team. the mountainous structure is beautiful indeed, but perhaps as an act of karma, it is no power against a team that can't play the game. unfortunately, and even though a large part of my conscience cannot get past the wastefulness of this entire topic, i was raised to love the dallas cowboys. i cheered for them even before i knew what a first down was. now, having been fully educated in the sport, i still love every piece of my star spangled team. i write this now to say to wade, tony, jason, roy, flozell, and even nick folk: i forgive you. i apologize for my boo's today. i will always believe, and i will never let go. now let us climb back into the saddle and be the cowboys that all your old fans wish you still were.

moving on:
toby and i drove in for the game on saturday and as you can see, toby was incredibly excited. he jumped up to sniff and look outside as soon as we entered dallas. (he has incredible dog senses)

(cutest photo of all time)

what can i say, i have trained my dog well. i bought a sweatshirt, heather made me laugh and had a great time with the roll-up-sign, and patrick and i were possibly scrutinized for drinking whiskey at noon. andrew was greatly missed (and do not think those two sentences were sandwiched together by accident) for he was back in austin working on his enormo-paper from hell. which will forth be referred to as "e.p.f.h." i always miss andrew when he doesn't get to come to these fun things, but i am so proud of him. the e.p.f.h. is only hellish in size, and certainly not content. toby misses him too. there aren't near enough snacks and dropped food crumbs without him. i am greatly enjoying family time, which has only just begun. heather has zero school all week and crafts are already in the works. no one makes me laugh harder than my siblings, so i foresee quite a week ahead. holidays are always the best days for fun in my book. may this year be the best yet!


its beginning to look a lot like i can't figure out what holiday to celebrate

let me please begin by explaining that (as most of you probably know) i am obsessed with holidays. i told kristen the other day that i am like a single, childless, grandmother. (meaning, i'm not married- have no children- but spend most of my time decorating my house for holiday, baking things with gluten that i can't eat, and crafting) my halloween decor is still out on the front porch, and i think a large moth decided to nest inside of my lawn ghost. he has since passed away, but his little winged body is still visible through ghostie's white sheet. (bulk trash pickup anyone?) so today my dear friend, melissa, and myself went to the great land of garden ridge. they had a shockingly low selection of thanksgiving things so i came home turkey-less. all the halloween stuff was 60% off and it took every ounce of self control to keep from purchasing more ghosties (see halloween post if you're not following my logic). and yes i am aware that it is still early in november, but friends, you must understand the bargain shopper within. christmas trees were half off. melissa is now the proud owner of a giant pre-lit pink christmas tree, and i, obviously, had to have the gold one.
see photo below:


i know... gorgeous. (picture me saying that like the lady on garden state with the strong jersey accent "goy-jus") anywho, so the tree is now a part of our happy home, but will remain in the box until after thanksgiving (i hope). of course i had to accessorize with all the sparkly ornaments i could find and i left feeling a lot like christmas. i returned home however only to realize that my halloween stuff is still on the front porch and my bin of thanksgiving stuff is sitting in the living room waiting to be put up (don't you just always end up neglecting the pilgrims?) and the christmas tree is in box waiting for december. the following photo is a representation of the holiday confusion:
even tobe is confused.

i'm thinking that so as to not let thanksgiving feel left out i will cook a pre-thanksgiving meal for friends. everyone is invited- come have turkey at my house!!



the first step is admitting the problem

i'm going to let the photo do the talking first here:

now that you have taken it all in, i will explain. last year for christmas (at the peak of the snuggie phenomenon) my sweet mother (who seems to be as big a fan of the "as seen on tv" products as i- see fair blog post) got us all snuggies as joke christmas gifts. we rewound the commercial probably ten times during the thanksgiving football games, so you understand the hilarity of opening these gifts on christmas morning. however, she was either unaware of the "christmas special" taking place, or the snuggie people are just that generous; she ordered three and received six. so not only did alex, heather, and myself receive one, but andrew, the dot, and virtual sister katie lanier also became a part of this christmas miracle.
but back to the point. this morning i had to make an emergency toby food run to petsmart, because i forgot to yesterday. trust me, toby was fully aware of how late petsmart opens. he was also fully aware of the fact that some extra shopping was taking place. while browsing the aisle of dog shampoo and decorative poop pickup bags (which i bought) i came across cruel pet photography gold:

a toby sized snuggie.

toby is now a proud owner of this degrading piece of unnecessary clothing. it is the true test of how little dignity americans have, and how much money can be made out of a cheap flannel blanket with sleeves. so the next time the family is at a little league baseball game, or outside roasting marshmallows and toby seems cold- fear not. he too can be blanketed without his arms being trapped. he will never again have to sacrifice warmth to use the remote. and yes- i see the irony of a culture dependent on remote controls which has then forced a dependence on a blanket with sleeves. if only they could just come up with an iphone application that will microwave my dinner..
and do not think i mock you america, for i am one of you. i now have a 15 dollar deduction from my bank account because of this. i hope "dog snuggie" appears on my bank statement.

ps- if you did not see this video, please watch it. i salute bill maher's wit.


halloween party round two

thanks to me, andrew and jon had last minute costumes for the party on saturday night. they wore my giant adult size one-pieces from last christmas. i am ashamed to say that i own more than one, but i do, and jon and andrew became small sleepy children. jon carried jb (jammin bunny) all night and andrew wore a headband for an unknown reason.
johnny and haley both had fabulous costumes and both ended up in the same genre. mr. andrews was a news reporter and had a hilarious array of dated news-y phrases that he used throughout the evening. haley just looked really cute and did her best to get johnny's breaking stories to us on time.
sean was "early 90's guy." small ponytail, rainforest cafe t-shirt, plaid flannel around the waist. oh and tevas with socks. loved it.
me and h-bomb. i was batman, but due to the photography i didn't make it into many photos. so this is all you get of my costume. it had a cape though. and a belt. i was the hero halloween needs.
i looked over at andrew and jon at some point and found it funny how similarly they were sitting
did a little break-dancing in johnny's room.
then johnny came in and said it was time for bed. stories first though.
ryan and heather were airline employees. looking so very cute.
these were two of my favorites. may (left) is a sock monkey. she also is about the same height as me- giving you a general idea of how incredibly tall the man on the right is. he is a black white supremacist.
jon got into an epic wrestling match with bonnie. she might have won.
battle wounds.
papa smurf showed up!
it began as a small stick fire. slowly it burned down to coal and ashes. then some creative thinkers found geoff's grandma's old wooden table. it was slightly broken at one of the legs but geoff was in new orleans so that wasn't stopping anyone. after his thumbs up from the big easy, the table was thrown down the outdoor rock stairs. that did little to no damage. the empty keg was then brought out and used to break it down into smaller pieces. (reminder i was the designated driver for the evening, and had not had any alcohol.) the table was placed in the fire pit, and after a little extra lighter fluid it was a roaring pile of burning lacquer. everyone's lungs were nice and shiny.
andrew and may used the keg as a chair to watch the fire (which i found quite hilarious) and we recognized the photo-op.
good story: at one point in the evening a young man came up to talk to andrew. he said "hey man, what's your name?" andrew replied "my name is andrew." other guys says, "you mean, angie?" -andrew stares blankly- and then the guy says "well aren't you a girl?" andrew says, "no..." guy says, "why are you wearing a girl wig then?" andrew replies, "that is my hair."
jon is getting tired after all the wrestling and dancing. (and orange punch drinking)
wrapped up the night with a group photo. all my favorites in one picture. i'm back there behind johnny's ego. what? that was a joke! i love you guys!
andrew was too sleepy to make it home. daylight savings gave us one too many hours for party.
we finally got home and found toby still in his pumpkin. but the mouth was flipped around and made it look like he was bummed to miss out on the party. he was also really worried about jb- he smelled like foreign dogs, beer, and campfire.
all in all- great party! thanks to our hosts, danny, emily, and johnny.
hope everyone else had a happy halloween!