Sunday, October 30, 2011

Falling Into Fall

I have no idea where October has gone, but I have stayed busy with work and play!

New Beginnings
My roomie of four years, Caroline, moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. She's going to be a production assistant for CBS Films, and I am so proud of her!
We threw her a going-away party before she headed for the West Coast:

Me, Caroline, Jenna....roomies forever!

Rachel, Kayla, Caroline, a photo bomber!
Never forget your roots!

Care and Alaina

State Fair
I went to the State Fair of Texas for the first time in many years with a few good friends. When we were leaving, we ran into one of my best friends from TCU who I had been thinking about just the night before, and who Caroline had really wanted to see before she left for LA. God is so amazing!

Me with Jessica!

Jessica and Caroline
The photographer was supposed to get Big Tex in this too, but oh well!

Last weekend was TCU Homecoming. This is my second homecoming as an alum and the first one where it didn't feel strange to not be a student anymore...guess that means I'm growing up! The weekend turned out to be a blast- I spent time with some of my favorite people and there wasn't a dull moment! My little Ashley came into town and ended staying with me for the whole weekend, which was so fun. We headed to campus Friday night for the parade and pep rally, then had delicious tex mex and margaritas at Yucatan Taco Stand, one of my faves. Saturday was the TBS alumni reception and the game, where we beat New Mexico 69-0...GO FROGS! After the game, Ashley and I had sushi at another Fort Worth favorite, Edohana, explored Charming Charlie's, and then met the rest of our TBS Pink family for dessert.

Sarah, Hannah, Me, Kim, Ashley O., Kimmy, Ashley L.

Allison and this pic of us!

My Little and I, cheering on the Frogs like old times!
Meridith, me, Ashley, Kayla, Callie, Audrey

Frogs for the Cure
I got to enjoy more Frog football on Friday night with Morgan at the Frogs for the Cure TCU vs. BYU game at Cowboys Stadium! We beat the Cougars 38-28 and it was fun to hang with Morgan--I'm so glad she's back in Dallas!

Morg and I!

I have lots of specific things to blog about, so stayed tuned! : ) Happy almost Halloween to all!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Dog's Purpose

My sweet friend, Kimmy, had to put her puppy to sleep this week. It is so hard to lose a pet, especially so young and unexpected, and my heart has been hurting for her and her dog, Coda. A mutual friend posted this story for Kimmy, and I think it is so sweet and very true, so I wanted to share it, along with a few of my own pictures. There is a reason they are called man's best friend!

A Dog's Purpose
"Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


My dog, Jager, as a puppy

Kimmy and Coda--We will miss you, Coda!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Going the Distance: My First Full Week in California!

Several weeks ago I took an entire week off of work for the very first time and went to visit Alex. This was the best decision I made in a LONG time! Normally my visits go by way too quickly and we are rushed to fit everything in, but having a whole week allowed to just relax and spend time together while also doing all sorts of fun things! Here are the highlights from my trip:

I arrived in Los Angeles bright and early Saturday morning. Alex had training for the outreach program he's involved in, so I took a nice long nap and relaxed until he was done. Later that afternoon, we went to a barbecue with Erik and Alaina, Alex's roommates. I learned to play ladder ball...has anyone else ever heard of this game? Apparently people play it at tailgates, but this was my first time playing. Basically, you have two ladder-like contraptions and small ropes with golf balls on the ends of them. You stand at opposite ends of an open area facing one of the ladders, then throw each rope and try to hook it onto one of the rungs of the ladder. The top rung is worth one point, the second one is two, and the bottom one is worth three. Once you've made your three attempts, one of your opponents next to you has their chance and tries to sling theirs onto the rungs for points, while also trying to knock yours off and reduce your points. You have another teammate and opponent on the other side who try to do the same thing with the ladder on your side of the "court." Hopefully that explaination wasn't too confusing, because it was really fun!
We also had some delicious food, and it was really nice to meet Erik and Alaina's friends. From there, we went to the LA Dodgers first one! The tickets were cheap, it was a nice night, the fans did the wave about 10 times in a row, and the Dodgers won! All in all, an excellent start to my trip.

I love Alex's church in California. I blogged about the first Sunday's sermon in my last post, so check it out if you haven't already. I think about it every day and need to keep repeating to myself, "Better than I deserve."
After church, we had a really yummy brunch with our friend Clayton and his girlfriend, Tala. Alex and I went to high school with Clayton and Alex played in a band with him, so it was great to catch up and also meet Tala. The last time I saw Clayton was when we both happened to be in the exact same museum in Paris in is crazy how small the world is!
After brunch, we headed up to USC because Alex played in a saxophone quartet for someone's doctoral recital. USC campus is so pretty, and I got to meet some of Alex's saxophone friends and hear him play. His awesome friend Ben took this picture of us that I really like!

Monday was a lazy day, which was just what I needed! Alex and I did some errands, and while he was in class, I worked out in his apartment gym. That evening we watched School of Rock, one of our favorite movies!

I spent a large portion of Tuesday taking it easy (which I was so thankful to do for a lot of this trip--I needed a break!), worked out again, and then cooked dinner for Alex. I made pork chops, asparagus, new potatoes, and sourdough bread. I still have a lot to learn, but I really enjoy cooking and baking, especially for him! : ) We ended the lovely evening by watching our favorite movie, I Love You Man. I can never watch it without Alex and am pretty sure we quote it daily.


Wednesday was an epic day! Alex and I crossed a major item off of our bucket list and went hiking! We went to Solstice Canyon in Malibu and hiked for several hours before deciding it was time to eat lunch. The weather was gorgeous, the views were incredible (as you can see from the pictures), and it felt like such an adventure. We had never done anything like that together and I loved it!

After meeting our exercise quota for the week, we had lunch at the Malibu Country Mall and saw a horror movie being filmed! We walked in the back of the shot and hung out there for a bit before we were asked to move. It was cool! We then took a stroll along Malibu Beach.
That evening, we went on a fun date--Barnes and Noble, one of our favorite places, and Indian food. It was delicious!

I relaxed and read a ton on Thursday. I love reading but hadn't been doing much of it because of "life" getting in the way. My trip allowed me to read again, and I've been making more time for it in the several weeks that I've been back home. Sometimes it just takes a little vacation to rejuvenate you!
Alex cooked for us that night. He made his amazing stir fry, and then we finished the evening with Jersey Shore and smores.


Alex and I hit up a different beach on this day that is just a few minutes from his apartment. It was gorgeous. I wish I could go to the beach all the time! There are all these homes/apartments right along the beach, and we were wondering just how much it costs to live there. If you're curious, too, we saw a sign that had an apartment (or maybe it was just part of apartment, who knows?) for rent for $3,000 per month...unreal!
We made Tex-mex that night and called it an early night because saturday was going to start bright and early..

Saturday was VERY epic! We woke up at 5:45 a.m. and got all dressed up for my childhood friend's wedding, then hit the road for San Diego! We stopped in Irvine at Cars and Coffee, which I've enjoyed attending in Dallas with Alex, and now we've been in California too. I think we should take some serious roadtrips and try to hit up others around the country too! ; )
From there, we drove the rest of the way to San Diego and made it to the naval base for the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, right on the water, and Rachel looked gorgeous and so happy! It felt surreal to be there. Rachel and I were best friends as little girls, and her family moved to Michigan when we were 7, followed by California. We lost touch for a while, but had reconnected thanks to social media. I literally hadn't seen her in 16 years until her wedding day! Thank you, Rachel (now Mrs. Rosner!) and the Bourne family for including Alex and I in your special day!

After the wedding, we headed to Pasadena for dinner with Alex's community group. They were all so nice, and it was great to see the kind of support system he has there. We finished the day by stopping by a party in Beverly Hills, then finally headed home and crashed after our epic day!

My last day : (
We went to church again, and it was another great sermon...I want my next blog to be about it and how it applies to my life these days. I also met a former Horned Frog next to me, which was so cool! After church, it was time for lunch and then Alex dropped me off at the airport. It was so hard to leave him after a wonderful week together, but he will be home in a month and I feel so fortunate to have had all that time with him. An exciting thing happened while I was in the airport...Gerard Butler was on my flight back to Dallas! I was staring at him and was literally five feet away from him at the gate... I could have been a crazy fan and touched him, but I played it cool. Still wish I had gotten an autograph or photo, but oh well...celebrity sighting success!

Alex asked me what my favorite part of the week was, and as far as activities, it was definitely our hiking excursion. I felt so alive and got to marvel at God's beautiful creation. The best part of my visit, though, was just getting to essentially live with Alex for a week and everything that our days encompassed. I hope to never take him for granted, even the little things in our daily routines, because I know what it's like to be apart, and it's hard.

Looking forward to my next California trip!