Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #5: Oregon Vistas

Thirteen Things about OREGON's VISTAS

I hope I'm not starting to sound like a broken record here, but my blog is one of the ways that I work through how I feel about my life, and this Thursday seems like as good a time as any to throw out some ideas, ok pictures, about my dream for the future.

I've been watching the weather buttons on my blog, and listening to a few Pacific Northwest bloggers, and I would have to say that the weather up there is making me a little nervous about living there. I will definitely have to visit in the winter/early spring to see what that actually feels like. But I'm still pretty sure that I can handle wearing gloves, scarves, boots, and jackets as long as I get to see the world looking like the photos below. Yeah baby, I want glorious natural landscapes!

And there's also the issue about how far away it is, but, well, I never let that stop me before. And I don't have to stay there forever, I suppose, but I do feel an intense pull to the West Coast, so I'm definitely going to go that way. I think I might find my village there. I can't tell you how many people from Oregon have started popping into my reality...authors, bloggers, drivers in front of me. Yes, it's true! I have NEVER seen an Oregon license plate until yesterday. My kids asked, "What are they doing HERE?" I looked at the big SUV and thought, "Oh, they've come to the right place if that's what they are driving around in!"

But seriously, I just wanted to kick back and look at some beautiful scenery today, so I went to Google's image search and typed in Oregon. Here are 13 vistas I would absolutely love to witness, in person!!!

  1. I love, love, love, love, love the ocean. And this is rugged ocean. With rocky formations for the waves to crash against! Ahhhhh!
  2. And here's one in a bluer hue...

  3. And here's one after a storm at sunset...
  4. Oh, and this one showing the crasshhhhhhhh...

  5. We now interrupt the coastal photos for the idyllic farmscape... Have I mentioned that I have always wanted to live on a farm?

  6. Back to some water, but this is falling water... falling over lush greenery...*sigh*
  7. And now for some snowy mountains and flowering meadows... are we in heaven yet?
  8. Even the manmade Janpanese Gardens are exquisite, and since Japan is farther away than Oregon...

  9. Mountains and meadows and rocks, OH MY...!!!

  10. A river, cliffs of rock, and evergreen forests anyone...???

  11. A majestic waterfall perhaps? Height is proportional to "majesty" I believe...

  12. And we can't forget the mesmerizing Crater Lake...

  13. And finally, one more luscious waterfall for good measure...

    This photographer calls the Oregon Coast "nirvana." I absolutely agree. Check out HIS righteous photos from a week-long trip down the coastline. And, as always, may you be blessed this week--with visions of the desires of your heart. May you follow your dreams in perfect joy! (Yes, you may have perfect joy. Ask and ye shall receive. Believe, and it is so.)

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I've Been MUGGED!

My new blogger friend Phyllis tagged me for this fun little meme!

Lois' Morning Mug Meme Rules:

Most folks drink some sort of a morning beverage, be it coffee or tea, and most likely from a mug.

1. Please share a photo of your favorite mug(s).
2. Tell a story about how it became your favorite. Include what you drink with this mug.
3. Be sure to link to Lois and the person who tagged you for this meme!
4. Leave a comment for Lois so she can follow her meme.

Ok, so here we go!

My first favorite mug is a replacement for my all-time absolute favorite mug that they don't carry at the Disney store anymore (and couldn't find it on eBay). The original was poorly made and the bottom broke off. However, I think I forgot and ran it through the dishwasher or something. Anyway, that one was pink inside, white outside, with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, AND Eeyore on the front of it. It was beautiful. *sigh*
So now I have this lovely, uncharacteristically happy Eeyore mug that I just love. Isn't he cute?? I used to drink tea out of this mug but then I started using a tea pot to steep my herbal tea, so now I just look at this one. Oh, and I don't drink hot beverages in the morning. I am allergic to caffeine, so to speak. I don't break out in hives, but my adrenal glands get completely overstimulated. I could have a SIP of coffee in the morning and still be up until 2am. Oh, and after prolonged exposure to caffeine (I got addicted to Dr. Pepper a couple of times...gosh I love that junk!), I become depressed. I figured this all out at 18, luckily, so I've been caffeine free all of my adult life (except for those two forays into Dr. Pepper's land of fun).

My oldest daughter and I love Eeyore and we each got this mug one day when we went to the Disney store. (She also got an Orlando Bloom [aka Will Turner] pillow, but I didn't think I could get away with that one!) See, we even got to meet Eeyore in person at Disney! =)My other favorite mug in the whole world, that I've had for a long, long time, has one of Gary Larson's Far Side comics on it. I think his are some of the funniest comics of all time and I can laugh over and over and over at the same ones. This one I loved, and it was a constant reminder that I really needed to quit smoking once and for all, which I finally did about seven months ago. (I'd quite TWICE before for three years at a time, but I know this time's the keeper because I finally replaced a bad habit with a good one--DANCING! Yay me!) So, without further adieu, here is my favorite "comedic" mug.

"The real reason dinosaurs became extinct"

I've probably had a variety of beverages in this puppy, but I remember hot chocolate the most. Oh, and yes, in case you were wondering, I know for a fact that I did use it WHILE SMOKING, just to add to the irony.

Thanks Lois and Phyllis for the fun meme!

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #4: Ryan Turns 18!!!

Thirteen Things About RYAN!

I have known Ryan since he was seven years old. Tomorrow, April 18th, he will be eighteen. I just can't believe it!

Ryan is my husband's youngest son from a previous marriage and he lived with the two of us from the time he was seven until he was fourteen. We've missed him a lot these last four years, and we are grateful when he can come and visit. He is here with us this week, for his birthday, and so I thought it only fitting that this week's thirteen would be about him.


  1. inherited his father's soft, sweet, sensitive, loving heart. (As well as his ability to wear pink and look good! You'll see what I mean at the end!) He's just as mushy on the inside as he can be, and it's just one of those things that really sets him apart from most people.

  2. said he wanted to be six feet tall, even though his dad is 5'8" and his older brother topped out at about 5'6"...and he did it. I believe it was sheer force of will. (Ok, that and he took after his mom's side more and his uncle is tall too, but still, short runs in the family way more often!)

  3. earned his letter jacket in high school swimming, which made me very proud because I had been there when he first started out on the neighborhood team at the age of 10 (I believe), cheering him on from the sidelines.

  4. loves people. He loves to be around them, to hang out with them, to talk about the fun he has with them, to listen to them if they have troubles, to support them if they need him. He's the kind of guy who, if he sees you a half a mile away, will run up to you waving and yelling, "Hi!"

  5. loves to help people. He would get up early on a Saturday morning to help the man next door make chili for the "Frontier Days" festival at the neighborhood park when most kids his age were home in bed. And he was first in line any time there were fundraisers in memoriam of James, his favorite four year old who died in a tragic accident.

  6. has a bit of a temper. But that is because he feels everything so strongly. His emotions are always visible. He cannot dissemble in appearance. Even if he doesn't say out loud what he is feeling, you can read him like a book.

  7. has big brown eyes and a mop of curly brown hair that make him irresistable in that cute puppy kind of way. (You just want to pinch his cheeks, even if you have to reach up to do it!)

  8. loves his family dearly. He clearly values them above all things. Oh, and he is hopelessly and completely wrapped around the pinky of his adorable niece Layla.

  9. is extremely his family, his friends, his sporting teams, his country. Once you are part of his life, he'll go to bat for you any time.

  10. is a very giving person. He'd give you his heart if he thought you needed it more than he did. To have Ryan as a friend is truly a gift.

  11. is also a typical teenager who has to have his cell phone and iPod with him at all times, or else he feels "naked." The boy can text with his phone in his pocket for goodness' sake! Oh, and of course he can check his myspace and send email on his phone too. Did I mention video games? He also seems to have acquired a taste for brand name clothing!

  12. is incredibly responsible. He goes to school, works over 20 hours a week, maintains a car, buys his own clothes and electronics, and still has time to nurture multiple friendships. When he was a kid, he used to say he was going to get a job at CiCi's Pizza...sure enough, that's where he works, and where he will probably still work once he starts college in the fall. Can you say responsible with a capital "R"?

  13. is an all around "good kid." He has no vices...well, except maybe eating too much fast food. He doesn't break his curfew (I don't think!). He's not a trouble maker in any sense of the word. He'll joke around, but he knows when to be serious. He'll cut up and play, but he knows when to stop. In other words, he has really grown into a fine young man.

I'm really proud of Ryan, and I'm so happy that he's here, spending time with us like the "old days" because we surely don't get to see him nearly enough now that he lives so far away and works so hard. But, I suppose that's the way it goes no matter what, now that he'll technically be all grown up. I have no doubt that he will continue to make us proud to know him as he continues finding his way in this world. I sure am grateful to know him.

Happy 18th Birthday Ryan!

Senior Prom, April 12, 2008

Muah! =D

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (leave your link in comments)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twelve Months of Personality

Hey, I've been "tagged" for the first time! Thanks Mrs. Brownstone!

Now she made a really nifty couple of paragraphs out of her list of traits, but I'm going to wimp out and just highlight the ones that fit. Wait. Hey, who made this list? Is someone stalking me? Usually the descriptions of "Aquarius" are pretty close, but this "February" list is eerily familiar to me. Ok, so I'll comment--a bit:

Abstract thoughts. (Um, check.)

Loves reality and abstract. (Yes, and isn't this an odd pairing? I mean, just because something is abstract, doesn't mean it isn't reality, so what is this really saying?)

Intelligent and clever. (So I've been told, although, often, I feel quite the opposite.)

Changing personality. (Ask anyone who has known me for more than a year. I cycle. Don't ask my husband--he might start muttering something under his breath about "Dr. Jekyl and Ms. Hyde.")

Attractive. Sexy. (I have moments when I believe this.)

Temperamental. (yep)

Quiet, shy and humble. (Often painfully so.)

Honest and loyal. (Absolutely.)

Determined to reach goals. (Ok, here's a sticky one. When I have a goal, yes. Working on having them again. Been slapped down a few times in this department.)

Loves freedom. (It's my second middle name.)

Rebellious when restricted. (OMG, yes. Ridiculously so I'm afraid.)

Loves aggressiveness. (This is one of those weird, wait, yeah, I think I do. To a point. When it's used to fence me in though, watch out, it's Tasmanian Devil time!)

Too sensitive and easily hurt. (God, yes. And this one I would love to grow out of? Please? Soon?)

Gets angry really easily but does not show it. (Yes, the G.P. --general public--is rarely alerted to the underlying fuming.)

Dislikes unnecessary things. (Another one that surprised me...yep.)

Loves making friends but rarely shows it. (Um, rarely shows it because she is so "shy" that she doesn't make friends as often as she would like, perhaps? It's a slow thing. Trust issues. Wah wah.)

Daring and stubborn. (Uh-huh. Stubborn times ten to the nth degree I'm afraid.)

Ambitious. (Not sure. This may be another subverted trait. I know I used to feel ambitious.)

Realizes dreams and hopes. (Slowly?)

Sharp. (Ouch. Sometimes. Especially in arguments involving "logic," or so I've been told.)

Loves entertainment and leisure. (Too much?)

Spendthrift. (But a thrify spender. I'd rather come home with 100 bargains than one thing for 100 dollars.)

Tries to learn to show emotions. (Gosh, ok, who the heck is in my head? Yes, it's true. It's all true. I have difficulty showing emotions. Trust issues, ok? I know. Wah wah!)

Ok, so that felt totally revealing to me on the inside. Wonder what it looks like out there. Hmm?

Back to the business then, and here's where it gets tricky. I think I know 12 people who blog! (yep, here comes the shy stuff) So, here I go!

If you read this and I did not tag you, and you would like to play along, leave me a comment and let me know you are willing to accept an "indirect tag"! =)

Have a great day!

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.


1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.

2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months (see below).

3. Pick your month of birth.

4. Highlight the traits that apply to you.

5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving them a comment.

6. Let the person who tagged you know when yours is up!

The Twelve Months

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people’s feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #3: Things I Could Have Blogged This Week

Thirteen Things I COULD HAVE blogged about this week!

So I think I want to be a blogger. For real. Talkin' up my random life, online, and hoping that it's somehow interesting. Heck, or just to keep track of my own darn self, you know? So for two weeks, since I started this Thursday Thirteen funfest, my brain has been buzzing even MORE than usual about what to blog, to blog, to blog, or not to blog!?

Thoughts like, "Hey, I wonder if I've diluted my original flavor with this little list that seems to have taken over. I wonder if I really can just talk about anything. About all those things that get stuck in my head, banging around, driving me crazy. Wouldn't it be fabulous to just send them on their way and get on with thinking new thoughts? Yeah, I think so!"

So this list is probably more for my benefit again. It's a reminder that I have plenty of things to say, I just don't find the time to sit down and let a little randomness out on the page.

Here's an idea. If ANY of these sound halfway interesting, please stop by in the comments and give me a thumbs up, ok? Then, I'll work on writing a nice short and snappy (yes, this is my curse) explanation and get the thought monkeys out of my head so you can hear them. I warn you, though, it may not be pretty.

But it might be FUN! =) Let's see:


  1. ...what the first two weeks (as of today) of eating an almost completely raw diet have been like: physically, of course, but also mentally and spiritually. As far as physically goes, the dirt is that I think I "cheated" with only a handful of items. Let's see, I had two BBQ chicken thighs, two 3oz. pieces of medium raaaare steak, a few Hershey's truffle kisses, a Cadbury cream egg (hello Valentine's and Easter candies are evil!), some yogurt pretzels (found them when I cleaned out my pantry. Gosh I love those things!), and yeah, that's ABOUT IT besides fresh fruit, veggies, raw nuts & seeds.

  2. much I love Mrs. G's Derfwad Manor and that it pained me to discover that a femiNazi had emailed her anonymously with a "shame on your unfeminist blogging practices" tirade in the dead of night. It's funny how one small, ignorant voice, even in the midst of many enlightened ones, will almost always give us pause. (hrmph)

  3. I am slowly but surely working through Step Four on my own and in my own way, learning more and more about my responsibility in creating this life I'm living. Oh me, oh my, I have been the poster child for blame!! But, better to be awakened to an ugly truth about oneself than to go on living in ignorant misery (hey, if it were bliss, it might not be so bad, but it was/isn't!).

  4. ...all the new foods I have tried since starting to eat only raw food. Always wondered what fennel bulbs were all about. Now I love them and have to have them. And how many of you have ever put raw spinach in your breakfast smoothie? You are definitely missing out. It RAWks! (I know, cheesy, or, in raw foodie talk, cheezy.)

  5. I managed to inadvertantly alienate myself from the raw food forum I joined. By being myself for a change. Um, yeah. I guess it's that whole "tone in writing" issue? Thing is, usually I'M the one misinterpreting tone, and this time, even I missed the tone coming back at me. So it was an interesting tale. No suspense and intrigue I guess, but it was yet another learning experience.

  6. ...the fact that I'm giving my dog parsley and megagreen supplements to help her naturally through her second "false pregnancy," which unfortunately means I will most likely have to get her spayed after all. She's eight and a half years old. I know, I know. I bet I could get some serious hate mail for my pet care philosophy.

  7. I "grounded" myself from the internet for a whole day because I am going through my addictions, one by one, and starting over one day at a time with healthy behaviors instead.

  8. the day I was grounded from the internet, I read a whole book on eating raw food, including every recipe. The book is Ani's Raw Food Kitchen:Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes, and it's my favorite so far. I would love to have my very own copy! She also has a few videos online that show how to prepare some of the recipes too (but I found those the next day, lol)! Check OUT this raw apple pie. Please? It's sooooooooo beautiful. And GOOD for you! Look at it. Look! =)

  9. love can surprise you, just when you think you might have given up hope that anything will ever change. Well, maybe I wouldn't blog about that specifically, but maybe I could. It's still tough for me to put myself out there in plain view sometimes. But hey, I could try. After all, there's hope that we can all change, right? Ok, enough with the suspense already. My husband did and said things this past weekend that I'd been wishin', and hopin', and prayin', he would do. Woohoo, teamwork!!!

  10. I changed out the downstairs thermostat by myself and felt really accomplished afterwards. I've had some experience with tools, so it wasn't such a big thing I guess, but it seemed so different, um, such a male-oriented thing to do? (crap, is that sexist?) Seriously though, I told my daughter I would rather do electrical work all day than clean toilets and vacuum. In my opinion, men have the brawn that gets them the better household chores sometimes. Of course, this from the woman who has painted almost every room in her home by herself (or with her DAUGHTERS), so maybe my life is way skewed on household task division; I don't know. (Ok, so I admit it, my husband takes out the trash now and everything else is mine...Christmas lights, exterior painting, lawn & garden, blah blah blah!) Not sure how that one came off. lol

  11. my husband surprised the hell out of me last weekend by doing things...wait...I said that already, right? Wow, it was just too cool! And now he can say I mentioned him MULTIPLE times in my blog. (hehe)

  12. a guy from my graduating class went trolling through myspace and sent me a message, not really remembering who I was, but just goin' through the list and playin' "look at me now." Well, I vote him "MOST CHANGED" since high school. Yep, this here's the year of the fabled 20th reunion, which I will most likely not be able to attend, although I would love to because I'm a curious FREAK who still remembers more than half of the kids in my class because I used to LIVE IN THE PAST and regarded my yearbook much too often during the first ten years after graduating. *sigh* So yeah, I didn't recognize him, but his age and location made me think, "Get the yearbook!" and I did, and, well, this definitely needs to be a blog, huh? (Hi Honey...didn't get a chance to tell you this story yet. I was going to though!)

  13. not only my husband has surprised me, but that I have done things in the last two weeks that have been on MY to-do list for WAY too long and I've been ticking them off, one by one. I attribute this windfall of personal power to the #1 and #3 working in tandem. Boy, food addictions are sneaky. They are often the last reserve in our highly addicted society. In my own experience, almost everyone I know has food addiciton issues. Becoming transparent to myself and admitting my fears, foibles, and addictions is really transforming my life from the inside out. Honest authentic living is where it's at. I hope I can put some of the transformation process into words and share. I know hearing other folks talk about their revelations has helped me get to this point, so I hope I can pass on a little of that.

Well, dear readers, I certainly appreciate your time and your thoughts, and your returns to my humble online abode. May you be blessed this week. Perhaps you will get to see something new in yourself or someone you love, and may you find great joy in the discovery!

Muah! =D

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (leave your link in comments)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #2: I Heart Houston!

Thirteen Things I Love About Living in Houston

I don't know about you, but when I start looking in a new direction, I like to spend some time reminiscing about where I've been, and how good it's been. So, now that I have officially set my eyes on leaving Texas, and The South, behind, well, I've done gone and got myself all nostalgic about it.

So far, I have lived in Texas for almost right at (I'm using my Texas lingo, can ya tell?) eleven years. Exactly nine of those have been at the same residence. Folks, that's the longest I've EVER lived in one house. It's home.

But that home is in the Houston suburbs. So, really, I feel more like a Houstonian than a Texan. (The only time I feel like a Texan is during an election, or when someone brings up where the current POTUS lives. yeesh!) So yes, Houston is home. And I have loved Houston all the while.

Here's why:

1. Proximity to Galveston

Yep, that greasy grey Limpopo version of the Gulf of Mexico coastline that made me choose Houston over Dallas, sight-unseen, when I had to choose where to live in Texas. I knew I wanted to live in "the big city" for the first time ever in my life, and, being a child of the ocean, and all things aqueous, I had to know that I could get in my car and in less than two hours, find myself toes in sand, wind in hair, surf in ears, regarding the limitless blue horizon. Ahhhhhhh! Voila...Houston!

2. The University of Houston

Ah yes, the alma mater. She taught me much. Met way cool people. Learned SO much about writing. Read LOTS of great books. "Learned" how to teach freshmen how to write better than they knew before (this was my major goal...teaching them to learn how to write excellently caused more stress...precision was up for grabs, progress was inevitable!) Oh, and got to wander aimlessly in awe while becoming intimately acquainted with the most fabulous library I have yet to lay eyes on (this in NO WAY implies that I've been to many, but it does reinforce that "small-town girl meets the big city" thing that happened to me here!).

3. FOOD: Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Forget chicken soup. If you have anything that calls for a bowl of healing soup, THIS is the soup for you. The spicy (jalapeno or serrano pepper), pungent (ginger), fresh (basil), alive (bean sprouts), flavor of this slow-cooked force of nature will have you breathing easy in no time, and feeling fine. (Did I mention it has noodles? That's the comfort part of the soup...ahhhhhhhh!)

4. ASTROWORLD (in memoriam)

Oh me, oh my! We had season passes at least two times that I remember and we loved the heck outta that place! My husband and I loved the rollercoasters (and my girls grew into them all and loved them too!). But the whole family's favorite event was Fright Fest. Every year there would be a giant black widow spider mounted on the country's oldest, and largest wooden rollercoasters, The Texas Cyclone. Eerie greyish lights illuminated all the rides and ghoulish faces covered the top of the "six flags" poles at the entry gate. Blood flowed from all of the fountains, and zombies chased you (or just stared menacingly at you, while standing in your personal space) around the park. And then there were the haunted houses. Such fiendish fun! Our very last visit, before the park closed, was on a Fright Fest night. We made t-shirts for the kids to commemorate. We miss you AstroWorld! You were a most fun friend in town!

5. The MFAH (Museum of Fine Arts Houston).

Can you say "free Thursday"? Yep, today and every Thursday, you can view the general collections for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. The building is located in the gorgeous, live oak tree-lined Museum District of Downtown Houston, right down the street from the lovely triple fountain, The Houston Zoo, The Museum of Natural Science, The Children's Museum, The Health Museum, etc. etc. etc.

6. FOOD: Sushi/Sashimi

I will never eat a California roll from the supermarket EVER AGAIN! As Dr. Seuss would say "Oh the Places You'll Go" in Houston if you love sushi, or WANT to love it. My three favorite places are: Shogun (fun for the whole family, and the family's wallet. And they have "live," hibachi dining there too--where the chef throws his knives around to impress you while cooking your food in front of you.); Sushi King (For a romantic and nearly orgasmic meal tete a tete with your schweetheart. There was much moaning and eye rolling here when hubby and I tried the waiter's recommendations. Oh, and there's a piano bar too!); and Zake Sushi Lounge (a hip, happenin' modern nightlife spot with low light, high music volume, and the most mouth watering sashimi--just fish, no roll/rice--sampler presentations.).

7. The Harris County Public Libraries

What, you ask, am I talking about? Oh yes. I love me some books, and these libraries are just a little slice of heaven on earth for bibliophiles. Singly, they aren't large, but collectively, they ammass quite a fortune in books, videos, CDs, DVDs, books on tape, and the like. And if they don't have the one you want at the branch near you? No problem. Fill out an online request form, tell them where you'd like to pick it up, and they will deliver it for you. Gives a whole new meaning to inter-library loan. My favorite one also has an amazing set of computers available to the public. We spend a lot of homeschooling time there!

8. The Dump, and other stores like it

No, it's not full of refuse. It's a giant warehouse store for designer furniture and decor at closeout prices. All the top retailers send their remnants to The Dump, and every weekend (they only open Fri., Sat., Sun.), you can go find some amazing furniture at amazing prices. I have been once to check it out, once to torture myself with longing, and once to find a nice rug to cover the pet stains in my living room carpet that should have just been taken to the real dump! Houston has lots of great outlet retailers. It's a really inexpensive place to live, and live well, in my opinion, because of places like that.

9. FOOD: South of the Border

Did you think I was snubbing? No, no, no! What would life be like without thin, warmed tortilla chips and fresh, roasted salsa, a salty and cold Margarita on the rocks, and some of the rockin'est food you've ever eaten? There's Cuban, Venezuelan, Salvadorian, and yes, Mexican food galore. Ole! That being said, I am not a big fan of the average stuff: enchiladas, tacos, fajitas. I love that stuff, but I can make that at home. When I go OUT, I'm gonna get specialty stuff. Ok, and fishy type things. The grilled tilapia (mild, but meaty white fish) dishes alone are to die for. Usually they have a lovely cream sauce with mushrooms, tomato, avocado, and some crawfish tails on top. Or maybe it's ceviche, with lots of lime juice and cilantro. Or maybe some fried octopus dipped in chili sauce. Yuuuuummmmmmm. Whatever you want in this category, Houston has got it all.

10.The Weather

I really have loved not having a winter, in terms of low atmospheric temperatures anyway. I have missed snow terribly. Skiing. But I haven't missed having three to four sets of seasonal clothing selections, buying new winter coats ( I do have gloves for those two weeks when my hands get too cold), snow tires, shoveling--that kind of thing. My birthday is in February and it was always cold, and I was always sick. Here, once I became immune to the Houston influenza (had that the first three years), I could enjoy being outside in the warm sun with only a t-shirt on in my birthday photos. We won't mention July, August, and September. I just think of it as our reverse winter, with no shoveling. Woohoo!

Birthday in Feb. Family Foto:

Best Affiliate Program

11. Neighborhood Swim Teams

This goes right along with the weather. Living in suburbia, there are not just neighborhoods, there are "housing developments," and those almost all include swimming pools. And almost all of those pools are equipped to become competition pools with lane ropes and portable diving blocks and built-in flag pole (for the backstrokers) inserts in the cement decking. Very nice! And my kids loved to swim, so there ya go, their signature sport, right in the neighborhood. Funny though, it only lasts about 10-12 weeks, from the end of April until the first Saturday in July usually. But it's great fun! And then the kids can swim on the school teams...starting in junior high. Amazing.

12. FOOD: Seafood

Ok, so I spent the last five years of my life in Massachusetts on Cape Cod. My family owned a seafood restaurant. I worked there. I love seafood. Needless to say, I was biased when I came to Texas. Having said that, I have to admit that I am a convert to Texas style seafood. Can you say Gulf Shrimp? Oysters on the half shell? Crawfish boil? Although nothing can beat Maine lobster, and you can't find a clam to save your life down here, seafood in Houston ROCKS my world! (Remember, I almost always get the fish dish at the "South of the Border" restaurants I go to.)

13. Lonestar College, North Harris

Formerly known as North Harris College, the first of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District campuses, this is the place I got my first "real" job after earning my Master's degree. I will be there again starting in June, and I'm excited. I really do love to teach, I just hate giving grades and getting paid half of what a full-time instructor gets paid to do the same job. But hey, it's "home" to me too, and I am looking forward to meeting all of my new students!

So there you have it! Thirteen good ole reasons for making Houston home. Hey, by the time I skedaddle on outta here, I will have been here for a little over thirteen years!

As one of the "fattest" cities in the country, it should really be of no surprise to you that four of my reasons are food. Honestly, I could have (maybe I should have...hmmm...) done a whole list just on food. It's just that good. And we have eaten so much of it. We have wondered if we'd like it so much if it weren't for the food sometimes, but that's why this list has other things on it--because there ARE other reasons to live here than to stuff one's face!

Where's your favorite place to live? Please leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by, if'n you got the time, ya hea? (Ok, so I laid it on a little, but trust me, it sounds like home.)

Muah! =D

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

(Sorry so late issues!)

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