Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last minute gift idea

Ever a fan of IJM.... and procrastination when it comes to gift-giving....I have to tell you about the latest and greatest super-quick-yet-oh-so-thoughtful gift you can still give for Christmas!

Please visit this site ( where you can give. It doesn't take long at all, and you can choose where you want your money to go. How cool is that? You can also see the video here on youtube. You can see where your money will have an impact. Much better than a scratchy scarf, right?

To help in this effort, Sara Groves has so generously donated a free song download until tomorrow, Christmas Eve! "Joy Is In Our Hearts" is on the recently released Fireflies and Songs CD. You can download the track from the Holiday Gift Catalog on the IJM website above.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Random thoughts

Random thoughts, as I sit and overanalyze the world (after day three at home):
  • We need to poll the uninsureds who will likely wish to remain uninsured even if there is a public option.
  • Should the US seek to appease organizations and events that give Mugabi and Chavez standing ovations?
  • Why are people from Texas so far superior to all other states?
  • Bad jobs to have when there's a snowstorm: car sales, plant nurseries. Good jobs to have? Government jobs (and jobs that follow the federal government schedule - ie: mine).
  • Glenn Beck, though thought-provoking, reminds me of a dramatic talk show host that plays on people's emotions and spurs people to say things like, "line 'em up and shoot 'em," thus eliminating the possibility of educated debate/discussion.
  • Jimmy Stewart, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye. These men are the stuff of legend.
  • Franklin Graham is really attractive.
  • Rear-wheel drive vehicles (a la mine) function much better on ice when the back is packed down with weight. I can now speak with authority on this topic.
  • Andes mints melted over brownies make for terribly ugly but quite delicious brownies.
  • Why are "open-minded" people some of the most close-minded toward people against their point of view (who oft happen to be conservatives and God forbid Christians!?)?
  • Why are people shocked when politicians are crooked (ie: sweetheart deals on the senatorial votes on the health care bill)?? Really?
  • If mehad no morals or sense of ownership or sense of honor or sense of gratitude toward my country, methinks I should get on the Chinese side of things. They are banking on this whole America's in Debt debacle. Read my lips: Kuwait, Syria, China, India and Russia all want to get in on this, too. If we keep kissing up and apologizing, there's not going to be much that's left that's worth having. I'm just saying.
  • I'm going to stop thinking about politics or else I'll develop a stomach ulcer.
Yes, I've been watching the news again. On that note, goodnight :).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Kindness of a Stranger (or, The Return to High Standards)

Annnnd we made it outside! Though my "gear" left much to be desired (workout pants under fleece pants = not dry; non-waterproof gloves = frostbite of the fingers), Gretchen, Tara and I braved the cold and trekked out to our cars to assess the damages.

Unfortunately, shovels and plows had we none. We went armed with a broom and a pseudo-Swiffer (that I quickly broke).... but we made up for it in tenacity:

Here's my car! We had our work cut out for us.

Gretchen's wheels...

Gretchen on top of RFW with a broom

Tara the Classy New Yorker had a scraper in her car (that we retrieved once we dug through to her door)...

We soon realized we'd be out here for hours and hours with our meager supplies. Thus, we made Gretchen beg for a shovel from one of the (really gorgeous but married) neighbors working on carving his jeep out from under the snow. Not only did he let us borrow his shovel, he came over and helped us uncover Tara and Gretchen's cars! (I really have no place to go today, so we were prioritizing). He was SO kind and generous. We had a blast laughing at the humor of the situation - it looked like a bunch of coal miners out on the roads..... or Michaelangelos chiseling works of art/function out of giant white stones.

The prius was the first to be freed, thanks to Joe's mad skills...

Fact of the matter is, more charity was demonstrated by strangers today than I ever expected. People walking by with big smiles and "good morning!"s, and waves from snow plow drivers.

Wheels spinning dirty, melted snow and ice were thrown on other shoveling neighbors by big trucks with chains = not considerate.

Silly drivers leaving two feet of snow on the tops of their cars = not cool.

But for us, the kindness of a guy down the street named Joe shed new light and illustrated that yes, Virginia, there are still good men out there. We walked away from the adventure that was The Outdoors with a newfound commitment to high standards.

Providence? Definitely.

Thanks, Joe. You are awesome.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas - for real

Wow. The snow started last night around 9:30pm - about the time I was leaving the Burkhalter/Fitzpatrick Christmas Caroling Party in DC.

It kept snowing. And snowing. It has been snowing for over 24 hours now, and it's going to cease after having dumped an approximate EIGHTEEN inches in my neighborhood. The wind has blown a TON into our backyard, and I'm going to have to jump in it tomorrow. Here's the progression (ok, I was lazy and only took pictures at two intervals in the day. It's more serious than this even now):

From the bathroom (compare to this posting)

This is Robert Francis Weatherbee at about 10:00am

And at 4:00pm (it's 11:30pm now and I can only see a smidgen of the left side mirror):

The backyard at 10:00am:

And at 4:00pm (and now it looks like a flat space - no pots or chairs or bbq grills evident):

And this is where the roommates and I hung out most of the morning:

We spent the afternoon in the basement, watching White Christmas and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.... stir-craziness is starting to set in.... tomorrow will have to be more adventurous or else I'm going to go crazy. If we open the front or back door, a ton of snow will rush into the house... but... we'll be free....

Addition to Family Christmas Movie List Proposal

Dear Family:

I hereby propose we add two movies to our Family Christmas Movie List:

1. Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn
2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

#1 should make it because it has both Bing Crosby AND Fred Astaire in it.

Here's a random smattering of quotes from #2 that will no doubt soon become favorites:

"She's frozen from the waist down."
"Well, that's all part of the experience."

"I don't KNOW, Margo!"

"Get OFF me, you little fungus!"

"The funniest thing. She falls in a well, and her eyes is crossed. She gets kicked by a mule, they go back to normal."

Side note: we have the EXACT same couch as the Griswolds in Bebe!

"Take a look around, Helen. We're at the threshold of HELL!"

"How did you get through it? I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.

Respectfully submitted,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bike tour on the Mt. Vernon Trail

Yes, I went on a self-guided photography tour of the Mount Vernon Trail... which really means I rode my bike and had my camera with me. Fun ensued.

Note: I need gloves with fingers. My fingers almost froze off: it was only about 40 degrees, but with as fast as I was hauling, it seemed subzero.

Look out! Ice on the trail! I almost wiped out. Well, not really, but I imagined what it would feel like and so I so carefully tried to evenly disperse my weight in hopes of not flipping over or sliding on the ice to meet my death.

Well looky looky! It's Fort Washington! I determined that this was far enough, as it has been weeks since I last rode my bike (I mean, I could pull something and get a dreadful injury...) and it was insanely too cold to not have better protective gear (besides gloves, I need a face mask or something, and should have worn my WINDbreaker jacket instead of a cute colored jacket (when will I learn function over form?!)... and I couldn't find my "normal" sunglasses, so I was wearing my 70's-highway-patrolmanesque aviators that kept slipping down my nose. Windblock: yes. Any other function: negative).

Anyway, here's Fort Washington. First fort of its kind in its place. Came as a result of the War of 1812.



The rest I took while on my way back to my nice warm car. I think I can, I think I can....

I love these bridges.


I still love these bridges.

This is where George Winston's Plains CD plays.

Hey! It's the love van from St. Patty's Day 2008!!

What a lovely ride.

SNOW! snow...snow..snow..snow...snow!!!

Ok, so this is a week and a day old, but here are pictures from the first snow of the season!!

Here's the view of our backyard...(and no, that's not my bike)... totally enough to make a snowman! :)

And a view out my window. Awesome, yes!??

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Weinachten in der Fredericksburg

Meanwhile, back in Fredericksburg, the fat family went for a walk...

The anticlimactic lighting of the Christmas tree at Marktplatz...

The whirlygig from Germany....

Trey being culturally insensitive... (at my prompting...)

Ok I'm exhausted, but am posting nonetheless. More to come after the insanity that is this week is over....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A&M vs. t.u. - heck yes I was there.

After the Baylor weekend, I was in Austin on Monday - got most of my hair chopped off by my old hairdresser Brian (but in a good way - it's the new, daring me - complete with painted fingernails), went to the Capitol to see Shera, Allison, and Lauren (dude. I miss that place more than I thought I would. Missed seeing Shera, but was able to chat with the latter two), talked to Dennis, encouraging him to run for Governor in 2014 so I could move back and help him with human trafficking issues (hehe), went to Emerald's for a new purse, met James at Spiderhouse (I MISS AUSTIN, Austinites, friends in Austin...), and had dinner at Maudie's Mexican Food with Kyle (where we sat next to Tom and Nadine Craddick - woohoo Texas politics!).

Tuesday was a Fredericksburg day - what a wonderful town. Bought a spiffy jacket, ate lots of Mexican food.

Wednesday, Mom and I went to Austin to see Drew (sweet cousin who just had brain surgery in New York), and on to College Station where we met up with Dad and other Cav parents to transform the Louis Pearce Pavilion into a suitable place to have Thanksgiving Dinner (haha! It's an arena with stands! Just had a lambswool judging contest or something. Hey allergies!). Midnight Yell was at 8:00pm (don't ask), so the parents came along!! Afterwards we went to Northgate and had some Shiners at the Dixie Chicken with the parents. Awesome.

Thursday we headed over to Marie's precious house to see the Eckel and Ray families.... LOVE them!

Colors of fall harvest are just so dang refreshing.

Frat daddy Charles....

Charles' bonfire stack he crafted out of toothpicks:

William the Screaming Banshee.

Trey and the rest of the Cav guys took over George Bush Drive... it was pretty spiffy!

Hey Chi-Os! Hey roommates!! Hey classy maroon!

Here's the tail end of the motorcade, responsible for ensuring no crazed fans tried to hurt the tea-sips on their big bad tour bus.

Big bad tea-sip fans...sheesh.

Amy came up for some more tailgating! This time we had even more fun :). We got two tickets (worth $100 each) for $45 total! We sat on the grass on the south end of Kyle Field and watched the game on the jumbotron. This is pretty much an ideal location. Sitting on the grass as opposed to standing in stands for four hours?? No question. Well, we stayed at the Cav tent for the 1st quarter. A desperate scalper dude was cold and tired and seemed relieved to take our money. Amy and I also stood in the Senior Boot Line because I was interning my fall semester Senior year and thus missed it). Please note the classy shades of maroon Amy and I are sporting. It CAN be done!

Cool people.

Oh, Thanksgiving game. You've been a part of my life for 25 years. This year was the 10th anniversary of when Bonfire collapsed. 1999. Crazy. Dad, Trey and I were at the 1998 Bonfire - the last (University-sanctioned) one on campus. It was amazing. SO hot. SO huge. Utterly breathtaking. We also went to the 1999 A&M vs. UT Thanksgiving game... it was really special. There were several jets that flew over, and they did the Fallen Man formation (or whatever it's called - where one of the jets flies off to the side)... Mom and I were sitting high in the Zone and the planes were SO SO close. I think the UT band might have played Amazing Grace. I cried for sure - it was super moving.

Well boys, you gave them a good run for their money. At least we still won halftime.

Rosewood of New Tabor

Rosewood is fabulous.  Honey and Alvin Kutach are dear, dear friends that have been around the Eppright family for years.  Dad and Honey lived across the street from each other in Houston, Alvin used to be the vet in Caldwell, and now they've built their dream house and have a bed and breakfast.  Their guests canceled at the last minute, so we got to enjoy the cozy house Saturday night!

Kyle brought his guitar and played a ton of songs that we sang along to... here's a fuzzy yet cool picture I took while Amy was strumming...
We stayed up super late.

Dad thinking his "Cat" (Caterpillar) jacket is cool, and acting like a pterodactyl.

The Buddy Holly twins....

Amy, Kyle, Dad and I are all (in my opinion) great photographers, so we set out with our equipment and took a ton of pictures around the property Sunday morning...


Cool old truck parked under a tree

This Injun was standing guard against birds/vermin

I love the countryside.

Frog on the pier


Dewdrops on a spiderweb

Jars in the garden

God is in the details...

They grow the most beautiful orchids you've ever seen.  Here are my favorites:

I found this little book on the ground in the greenhouse...

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." ~Psalm 19:1

How cool is that.  After I'd been wandering around in God's beautiful creation all morning...

....and this.  So true.

Gig 'em!

In the Dragonfly Room (an open-air place for entertaining), they have this massive light fixture from Mexico...)

Widchimes and the Texas countryside.  Healing to the soul, I tell ya.