Monday, June 27, 2011

Follows Directions - Needs Improvement

Warning: the sub par photos in this post are a direct result of the droid referenced in bullet point 7 of this posting...

Ahem. Sunday the awkward turtle gang (oh yes I just did) went to Painting with a Twist, where they gave 50% of their profits for the evening to the National Dating Abuse Helpline where Kristin works as a Development Officer, doing things that matter (shoutout! LOL!).

Here's what David the Instructor aka "Your Greatness" aka "Oh Wise One" (ladies, he may be single. You should totally check him out if you're into the whole inflated titles thing) guided the class of 30+ people to paint: an Austin skyline:

Lame. No offense, but really, who picked out that color scheme? When I think Austin downtown, the colors of wimpy yellow and sickly diaper brown/caramel don't come to mind. And clear blue water = Town Lake? Ah, no. Time to improvise.

And the winner is: Amy's stellar monochromatic skyline. She is so talented!!!

And the Defiant Child Award goes to Yours Truly. What do you MEAN there is no Capitol in the skyline? I'll fix yer wagon and make it as big as the Frost Building. Dang hippies. And add a sailboat, too, while we're at it.

Shockingly, Amy and I were the only two people who didn't follow Wise One's teachings. Judge accordingly.

Home again, home again, here is our mantle at StellarHouse:

Rock on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now THIS is talent.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A good day.

Hey remember that time I tried 5 times to upload one post? Yeah, that was so fun.

So yesterday was my birthday. Flag Day 2011. Fun facts: it has been said by "them" that the white on our flag signifies purity and innocence; red = hardiness and valor; blue is for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Herein endeth the lesson. Onward.

Birthdays are fun. Several observations: it's fun to get a bunch of facebook messages and wall writes from friends. I even got a message from my 6th grade English teacher, Sister Cabrini (yes, Catholic school days)! Also, I do not feel any older. In fact, I feel younger than last year. I think it's the "late 20's" calling... and I'm desperately clinging to the "mid 20s" for at least another year.

Amy gave me an artistic rendering of how I view the United States...

We enjoyed a Chick-Fil-A catered lunch!! And yes, I did invite friends....Allison not only coordinated lunch, she made patriotic cakes in mason jars!! Red velvet cake, homemade buttercream icing, fresh blueberries, and a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream on top! SO good!

Mom and Dad came in town and we went to Gumbo's... now we're talking! Topped off entirely too much (delicious) food with New Orleans custard and a glass of port wine.

But wait! There's more!! Fredericksburg peaches from Vogel Orchard!! Yes, I'm making peach cobbler very soon. Who's your friend?

Came home pleasantly plump to find that Amy made me a vat of chocolate chip cookie dough. What a day, what a day.

And THEN Kristin and Amy took me out for Thai food tonight and I showed off my new hipster shades.... and here's my new facebook profile pic:

So grateful. So richly blessed.

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
- (Alan Cohen)

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
- (Albert Schweitzer)

I have a quote at the base of my computer screen: "Enough is great riches." - (a Danish proverb). Having so much more than enough leaves me speechless. Thanks, y'all.


Want to get stressed out and start screaming or curl up in the fetal position? Check out this exciting website:

AUGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What's going to happen to us!?!?!?!?

Probably not a site I should refer constituents to, eh?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thus beginneth the rant.

I will try to be a mature adult and refrain from using expletives. Mrs. Sestak (high school math teacher) always said cuss words were for people who weren't smart enough to communicate using real words....

So here's the deal. This whole concept of "keep your expectations low" is totally new terrain to me and seems un-American, un-Christian,... un-Emily. I mean, come on: it's not just because I watched Great Expectations (the black and white version, people - it was way better) way more often than any normal child should.

And no, I'm not talking about dating either. I'm talking about every aspect of life. In having high standards, does it not go without saying that one would have high expectations? Point is this: I approach just about everything with ridiculously high expectations. Chalk it up to being an uptight perfectionist with a vivid imagination? Can I get away with it then?

Going through life expecting the best, shooting for the moon, even missing landing among the stars, right? That's what all the motivational posters and self help books (don't judge) said... and when I look back on the many, many years of my life (getting reflective, people, my birthday is a week away), I think I've been blessed with some good times.... and gone after things I wouldn't have done had I wanted to keep a dull existence.

This is what I was taught! Keep a sunny disposition, aim high, strive for greatness, etc. etc. etc.

Well now I just feel bloody confused and am not quite sure what is okay to hope for. I feel like an amorphous blob of hesitancy and it makes me want to scream. Gone is that spark that there is hope in the possibilities of great things ahead. How depressing to go through life and not expect anything great in order to be pleasantly surprised! It seems somewhat less depressing to live in hopes of great things happening, but being disappointed because rarely can things measure up to what my awesome imagination has orchestrated. Well, I can tell you that it's even more gloomy to be caught in this no-man's land confused about what I'm "supposed to" wish for.

Is it good enough to just be who I am wired to be, aim high, and have my expectations met from time to time? Or be some sort of settler (not the pioneer type) who is okay with whatever, man?

I'm conflicted (clearly). In holding myself back from hoping for great things, I feel like.... not myself. No direction, no passion. Not a fun place. It's killing me.

.... pause. Deep breaths.....

SO after working this issue out for all you loyal subjects to read, I have determined that I may AND shall return to having high expectations.

(even though I have apparently worked this issue out as mentioned in the paragraph above, I would still greatly welcome your thoughts on this subject.)

Great expectations, eh, Pip? (It's okay, they know me here...)