Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dealing with Unprofessionals

I'm trying not to stress out.

The florist that we're supposed to use for the wedding is being difficult. Some initial conversations did not go well with the lady saying "those flowers are not included in your package" about a million times. I finally decided on "cheap" flowers and tried to call her last Monday. No answer. Tuesday: no answer. I left a message. Wednesday: no call back and no answer. Thursday: no call back and no answer. Friday: emailed wedding coordinator to say what was happening. Late in the day, I got an email from the florist, saying I must have the wrong number (I did not) and she could do whatever I wanted, but none of my flowers were included.

I was incensed. Rightly so! I called three different florists in the area of the wedding and got very reasonable quotes for the flowers I originally wanted - and all were much cheaper than the florist I was being told to use. On Monday I called and left a message with the wedding coordinator. On Tuesday, the phone lines were down so I was unable to reach the wedding coordinator. Yesterday, I emailed her to - finally! - see if we could get a credit if we did not use her florist. I haven't heard back.

There are 31 days until the wedding. I'm trying not to freak out.

I'm extremely frustrated.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh My Goodness!!

This is what I found living behind the garbage cans at the house I'm house-sitting. I couldn't believe it! My heart immediately broke.

The mama kitty was born only last summer, shortly after I moved in. Now she's had her own kittens - four of them! Three are all black - or grey - and one is black and white like it's mama.

The neighbor said she thought the kittens were 2-3 weeks old. They had just opened their eyes. Two of them came out to play while their mama ate. They can barely walk - they teeter and list to the side - but they manage to play and wrestle with each other.

Their blue eyes are adorable!

I'd hate for these kittens to never know humans. Their mama is very scared of me and always has been. I'll play with the little ones when I can so they'll know that humans aren't bad. And hopefully someone will adopt these precious things. It breaks my heart to see them living behind the garbage bin.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

World War Z

I was a little hesitant about reading a zombie book (ew!), a genre in which I don't usually have any interest. However, after hearing Mr. Higgins and his friends talk about World War Z, my interest grew, mainly because this book sounded truly unique.

Max Brooks' World War Z is an oral history of a war we learn about only after the fact. There is no narrative, no easy time line to follow... We must piece all this together from the accounts of dozens of eyewitnesses from all over the globe. Yes, this is a book about zombies but it's really a book about humanity and how we overcome and succumb to tragedy and hardship. The survival stories are raw, the details gory, but this book never left me bored. I always wanted more.

For instance... No zombie book or movie (Brooks' included) ever explains how a zombie epidemic begins, or where the first zombie comes from. This would be intriguing in itself.

Brad Pitt is trying to make a movie out of World War Z and I hope he succeeds, though I'm not a Pitt fan. It would be an interesting movie to watch, for sure.

I would definitely recommend Brooks' tale. It's engrossing...and gory.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Portraits and Cake!

I survived a weekend of wedding stuff. Yay!

My bridal portraits went very well. There were so many things to worry about: flowers for the bouquet, hair, makeup, the weather, the amount of people at the gardens.... But it turned out great. In the past two weeks everything has burst into glorious bloom and the gardens were spectacular. And crowded. But, thankfully, we had very few problems getting pictures, even with people everywhere. Several little kids came up to say how pretty I looked, which was sweet.

Anyway, I can't wait to see the proofs!

On Sunday we had a cake tasting. Oh, my goodness!! Our cake lady is so very talented. I was looking for a white cake and decided on almond cake with strawberry filling and white chocolate icing. Yum! My favorite flavor, however, was probably the kahlua cake. So good! I want a kahlua birthday cake this year! I'd like to try some of her other flavors as well!

It was a productive, good weekend.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soda Tax

So, test this logic. The Texas legislature cannot balance the budget and is looking at a huge deficit. The first thing that comes to mind to some legislators is to tax soft drinks. Seriously. Rick Perry screwed us over so now we're going to have to pay more for food.

I don't care if soft drinks are bad for you. Twinkies are, as well. So is basic sugar. Are we going to have a Sugar Tax next?

I would like to remind our esteemed legislature (cough!) of a little party that happened in Boston a couple hundred years ago because of a similar tax. And I would remind them that no one is pleased with Rick Perry, especially educators. Look at it from their perspective: many will lose their jobs due to your incompetence and then they'll go to the grocery store and find new taxes on common food items!

You can kiss my Diet Coke-drinking ass, you retarded "legislators." You, who decided to debate abortion - again! - at the beginning of the legislative session instead of focusing on the glaring problems with the budget. You suck.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


If there's one thing that's driving me crazy about the wedding, it's flowers. The florist who contracts with the hotel (who's organizing the wedding) is atrocious and completely unprofessional. They never return phone calls - and don't answer the phone during their business hours - nor can they write an email to save their lives. Oh, yes, and I'm not getting the flowers I wanted because their prices are astronomical. I'm willing to concede on the flowers....but this is still getting to be ridiculous.

Yes, I could take my business elsewhere. But I fear I've waited too long, even with the florist who has my name on the books. To go somewhere else would just be too risky, I think.

Ah, the joys of planning a wedding. It's amazing how many of these things we've avoided by doing a destination wedding. But some things, it seems, are unavoidable.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I heard on the news this morning that undergrads at Southern Methodist University will be required to take two ethics courses to graduate. One will be on the philosophy of ethics, the other about practicing ethics.

Other courses will also tie ethics into their syllabi, namely business. It seems that one effect of the financial crisis is the idea that we've lost our ethical foundation in business. No, really? Whatever turns a profit goes. SMU has decided to do their part to stop this irresponsibility.

I find this refreshing. In my department, we have a Christian ethicist. His classes routinely get high marks from students....but we do not require ethics courses.

Perhaps, as a society, we've lost sight of what is "right," instead focusing on what is due to us, no matter the means. It's food for thought.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Craft Report

Update on all crafty things...

-I finished and mailed all the bridal shower thank-yous. Hand-stamped! It was a great way to break in my new craft desk!

-On my quiet Friday night at home, I got into some knitting, finally! It turns out a blanket I start long ago will match the colors of the master bedroom in the new house. Cool, huh? I did three pattern repeats....which seemed like a lot! This blanket is going to take a while!

-I have a gift idea inspired by my friend Kerin. I don't want to tell you what it is in case I can actually make some up for gifts.....but it would mean branching out into a new kind of craft. More crafts mean less time for each so I'm a little hesitant. We'll see.

That's about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Scary Times

Last week ended up being an insane time. On Wednesday night, I got a frantic call from my mom saying my dad had had what appeared to be a stroke and she was following the ambulance to the hospital.

My shock could not have been any greater. My dad is getting older, sure, at 69...but a stroke? After a night of tests in the ER and all of Thursday filled with more tests, there were no answers except one dad had not had a stroke. It was something else, possibly heart related. This, also, made no sense to me. My dad is not obese, he's active, and he doesn't have bad eating habits.

I left on Thursday morning to be with my parents in the hospital. It was a long day . My dad is set to see more doctors this week, so hopefully we'll figure out what happened.

It seems too early to be having parental health issues and I'm not at all sure I'm ready to start down this road. My dad has always been an omniscient presence, someone who can fix anything, do anything, and advise on everything. It was very traumatic to see him in the hospital.

But he's alright.....and for that I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Zombie Invasion!

Zombies are all trendy now. They've even surpassed vampires! Thank goodness zombies aren't at all romantic or we'd be suffering through another Robert Pattinson fanaticism.

If you didn't see AMC's "The Walking Dead" last year, it's now out of DVD and Blu-Ray for your viewing pleasure....or disgust. It's a very good show, despite the gross subject matter. Just a little tip....don't try to eat while watching it!

Along those lines, World War Z by Max Brooks has gotten rave reviews. Mr. Higgins read it and now I'm starting to delve into it's fascinating pages. So far, it's utterly addicting in the way the story unfolds - as an oral history after a global zombie war.

I've never been at all fascinated by zombies, but they've popped up on my radar through various books and TV shows. It's entertaining and disturbing and sometimes downright laughable.

But at least zombies don't glow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jewel of Medina

I was really looking forward to reading Sherry Jones' The Jewel of Medina - about Muhammad's child bride, Aisha...

But Jones gives us little more than a juvenile love story. The exciting historical events during Muhammad's lifetime are pushed into the background in favor of childish infatuations and impetuousness. I wanted to like Aisha but her story was just too typical: girl dreams of being warrior, girl forced into arranged marriage, girl and husband don't mesh well, girl tries to escape marriage, girl and husband reconcile. Sigh.

What's interesting is that this book was under contract with a big publisher for years. Then, at the last minute, they pulled out, fearing a Muslim retaliation to the story. Did they really think the Muslim community would get upset over a lame love story? Published by a smaller company, there has been no such retaliation. Big surprise.

There is a sequel that may be more interesting since it takes place after the death of Muhammad. His wives cannot remarry so it will lack a love story - or one can at least hope! Instead, it focuses on the struggles of Islam after the death of the prophet. As you know, Muhammad died in 632 AD and by 732 the Muslims had crossed over from Africa to Spain, only to be defeated by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours. It was an amazing one hundred years! Surely Jones can capture a bit of that excitement!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Well, it's Spring Break - for everyone in my building but me. Yay.

Wedding details took up some weekend time and then it was house stuff with Mr. Higgins. We had a very productive weekend....though it all went way too fast. About the only craft thing I got done was fifteen minutes of yarn organization. I also pulled out some UFOs I want to work on....whenever I have a free moment, which rarely happens these days.

But with only a month and a half until the wedding, there's going to be even more to do. Bridal portraits this coming weekend, cake tasting the next... Maybe in two months I can finally get back to my hobbies. Ha!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warm Thoughts

Breaking in my new craft desk last weekend was so much fun! This is one of the cards I made, using the Stampin' Up! set "Like it a Latte." I've always loved this stamp set, but it's always been a hard one for me to use. I cheated a bit on this card, looking and looking online until I finally found a design that would work. And it turned out okay!

I'd really like to start a new scrapbook but there's too many things to choose from - the cruise, Colorado... Not to mention that I'll probably want to do the wedding/honeymoon as soon as we get back. Sigh. So, perhaps I should wait and not get started on anything.

But it's great - GREAT - having my new craft desk. I love it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Appointment

As you can see, I've changed my blog layout. I figured, given all the changes (and upcoming changes) in my life, it was time to change the blog as well.

In other news.... My string of bad luck at doctors/dentists continues. I went for an eye doctor appointment yesterday. I walked in and noticed two people waiting. "Uh-oh," I thought. I asked the receptionist if the doctor was running late and she said she'd ask his tech. A few minutes later his tech confirmed that, yes, he was running late due to some patients who were late arriving.

I told them that last year, at my last appointment, I waited thirty minutes and wasn't going to do it again. "People have jobs and can't wait around forever," I said. They were apologetic and completely understanding. "His appointments are in fifteen minute increments so if things get off schedule it cascades very quickly," they said. Well, perhaps they should leave a break here and there for late patients, I thought. They rescheduled me for just after lunch on Wednesday. Normally such an appointment time would be impossible, but since it's Spring Break for the kiddos, there's a 75% chance I'll actually be able to park once I return to campus.

Sigh. I really need to get my eyes checked. My contact prescription was wrong from the start. But I didn't want to go back to get it fixed.....because I'd have to go through all this. Again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Over the weekend, I got to break in my new craft area by doing some stamping. It was a lot of fun once I figured out where I'd put everything! Ha! After I get some cards sent out, I'll post some pictures of what I worked on.

Now, though, I need to focus on some projects for the wedding. It should be fun if I can get over the hump of actually starting the projects. Getting going is usually the hardest part for me!

On top of that, I got an email from the stamping club lady, which always makes me feel guilty. I wish I could attend the monthly meetings more regularly but my schedule has been too hectic of late. Perhaps next year, when things calm down, I can become an official member of the club. Then I won't feel like a flighty loser!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bridal Shower

My weekend - and Monday - was filled with wedding planning and events. On Saturday, my two best friends threw me the best bridal shower a girl could want.

I was highly impressed and so very touched by their efforts and thoughtfulness. They went above and beyond any idea I ever had of a bridal shower. Truly, they're wonderful women, my friends, and I feel very undeserving of such efforts.

Not only me, but Mr. Higgins too was excited by the gifts we received. I have very generous friends and family!! Thank you!

Friday, March 4, 2011


It's been a very long week.

I don't have much to say today except, "Thank goodness it's Friday!!"

My mom is coming into town and we're going to finalize as much with the wedding as we can in a weekend! Also, my two best friends are throwing me a shower. They are such lovely women and I'm so grateful for all their hard work.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I feel like I fell asleep in a logical world and awoke in a completely different universe. Since when did it become popular for Republicans to bash teachers? Bush never bashed teachers. He may have had the wrong idea on some points of education, but never teachers.

I'm appalled. I used to think that teachers had it easy (free summers, early afternoons)...until three of my friends became teachers and I saw just how hard they worked. Not to mention the teachers who deal with the unsafe realities of inner-city high schools. Or normal high schools. In East Texas, a high school teacher was stabbed a few years ago!

These politicians and commentators need a reality check. Or they can go watch old episodes of "Boston Public."

In a world where parents have little time for their childrens' after-school learning, our teachers are the only ones making sure they know how to read, write, and do basic math. These children will be solving our national and global problems in thirty years. Shut up and invest in them. Invest in teachers.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fire Damage

I was able to get some pictures of the fire damage at my parents' place last weekend. The fire consumed about 3/4 of this wooded area that shares a property boundary with the neighbors. Thankfully, the fire never moved across the road - er, driveway - where there are even more trees!

The trees are still alive, thank goodness. The brush underneath is mostly dead (outside of this little patch) which is actually good: less work to do for my parents! And at least this happened in the late winter so my parents don't have to stare at burnt brush for a year.

It's still a bit scary when this happens so close - so very close - to home!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Texas Misstep

I meant to post some pictures today but time has gotten away from me.

Instead, I suggest you look at this editorial about Texas' budget cuts and education predicament. It's just so much fun reading about how incompetent Rick Perry is....and how George Bush was less than truthful regarding education. Politicians, it seems, are all the same after all.

Hopefully, the nation won't follow in Texas' budget and education missteps.