Wednesday, July 30, 2008

indie pop is back

Ladies and gentlemen... I present The Redwalls. Perhaps it's the Beatle boots, but I've liked this band for a couple of years now, and they are coming out with some new material. Download their music and show off your coolness.

Friday, July 25, 2008

garden tomatoes

They may not look as pretty as the tomatoes you buy at the store, but I guarantee they taste better. These lovely crimson and green fruits came from The In-Laws garden, and the flavor just oozes out of them. A tomato's sweetness often gets lost in a salad or cooked dish, overwhelmed by the other flavors. Not these darlings. Oh, I'm drooling right now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

lifelong love of learning

My posts have been few, I know. But there's a reason for my absence lately. I'm embarking on a new adventure, one I hope I will learn from and enjoy. For the past seven years, I've spent my time as a journalist working in book publishing, newspapers, and magazines. I even worked in radio for a short while. Media, specifically writing and editing, have always been my calling. But this summer, faced with an opportunity to try something new rather than grapple with the turbulent publishing industry, I accepted a job to teach journalism (as well as English). So in the fall, I will find myself standing in front of a room of college prep students. The thought of talking and teaching about words, literature, and writing is something I've grown increasingly excited about. For the last two weeks, I've been embedded in intense training as well as teaching summer school courses. I've also been catching myself up on some reading, such as Siddhartha and other novels I haven't cracked since college or high school. I still plan to continue writing and editing. In fact, I'm working on a piece for the Dallas Morning News right now. I'm hoping I can continue to do editorial projects and still keep my sanity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I am head over heels for the Edison Chandelier from Pottery Barn. I'm not normally a Pottery Barn type (although I do own a few select pieces that I just adore), but this light fixture really caught my attention. It has that industrial vibe, does it not? At 400 big ones, I'm not sure if I'm willing to part with the cash to see it hanging like a beacon from my dining room ceiling. But wouldn't it be glorious? Sigh.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

martha, my dear

This week I decided that I don't listen to the Beatles enough anymore. Once upon a time, I was obsessed (I guess you could say that, in a way, I still am) with all things Beatles. And if you don't know about my love and admiration for Paul McCartney, then, well, you just don't know me very well, do you? I'm still convinced that I have been cheated by the heavens for not being alive during the 60s (specifically, in swinging London). So while I've read all the great books, seen all the great films, listened to all of the incredible music, nothing seems to transport me there as much as my heart longs for it. (For those of you in the market for a great book about those times, read Many Years From Now, Paul's authorized biography.)

I am tirelessly digressing here, I know... To get to the point, this week I pulled out the White Album. It had been a seriously long time since I'd listened to a Beatles record in full (lately I've been more into McCartney, Paul's first solo record on which he played all the instruments). And I was relieved to be listening again. The songs sound just as sweet as they did when I was a child. My Mom used to put on Beatles records and dance around the house while dusting, vacuuming, or cooking, which bloomed into my own obsession with the band, so thanks, Mom!

My favorite song on the record, which, strangely, has never appealed to me much before, is "Martha, My Dear." I love how it's about Paul's English sheepdog, Martha, who lived with him on Cavendish Avenue in London when the song was recorded. When I was living in London in 1999/2000, I walked to St. John's Wood to Cavendish Avenue and stood outside the gates of Paul's former home. I stared at the lawn and windows and realized that, more than 30 years earlier, girls would stand outside and wait for Paul to emerge. It was a surreal experience.

Beatles stories? Anyone?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

a 30-minute meal

Enthused to try something new, I scoured my Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals book until I found something that seemed both interesting and easy. So last night, I prepared Chicken Paillard with Baby Greens. At first, I thought it strange that I was instructed to prepare a roux, cover the bottom of a plate with it, and then place tossed greens on top. (Really? A gravy-type substance with field greens?) But it was a real hit. We both cleaned our plates. Thanks, Rachel Ray.

(Photo courtesy Madeline.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

new curtains

Ikea has an impressive selection of unique curtains. It's a good thing, too, because I was just about to give up on my quest for living room curtains. At long last, I found these beauties. The Husband and I hung them this afternoon.

a fair park fourth

It had been years since I'd seen fireworks, so I organized a family trip to this year's Fair Park Fourth celebration downtown. My parents, brother and sister, and grandparents joined us for a family picnic on the grass. We spread a few blankets and ate sandwiches, eatZi's pasta salad, grapes, chips, and homemade cookies while a polka duo played nearby. My sister and I even did a little jig to the music. Since all the museums were free until 8 p.m., all nine of us scampered over to the Natural History Museum to gaze at preserved bison, bobcats, and dinosaur bones. It brought back memories of school fieldtrips. The fireworks started about 9:30, and we all huddled on the concrete underneath the impressive facade of the Hall of State to watch. Besides being home to my beloved State Fair of Texas, Fair Park has been around since 1886, but many of its Art Deco structures were completed in 1936 for the Texas Centennial Exposition. Interesting fact: Fair Park has the largest collection of 1930s Art Deco, exposition-style architecture in the United States! It's comforting to walk down the esplanade, which bisects the buildings, and marvel at these beautiful buildings, knowing that they're an important part of Dallas history.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

thank you, dallas city council

This is Linus. He was on the short list to be euthanized in a Dallas-area shelter earlier this year. He was rescued by City Pet Rescue and lived in our house for a short period while waiting for his forever home. Luckily for Linus, he is now living with a wonderful couple. But unfortunately for other animals like him, tens of thousands of dogs and cats are put down every year in Dallas alone due to irresponsible owners who won't get their animals spayed and neutered. Last week, the Dallas City Council overwhelmingly passed an ordinance that would require most pets in the city be spayed or neutered (unless you have a permit to breed), among other provisions. I was insanely happy upon hearing the news. Finally, the city is taking some responsibility and forcing it upon the stupid people in this city who don't care what happens to the animals in our care.

good wine under $10

I just finished a bottle of Becker Vineyards' Iconoclast Cabernet. For $9.99, it's one of the best bottles of wine you can buy under the $10 mark. If you're in Texas and near Austin, please visit the winery itself. They have a very Texas-meets-Sonoma tasting room, along with tours and even its own B&B! There's a beautiful wraparound porch where you can purchase a glass and watch grazing horses. I'm a huge Cabernet drinker, and I'm always on the lookout for a well-rounded, affordable vintage. This one fits the bill. (And I just love the label art.)
Anyone know of one I should try?