Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweet Weekend

If only all weekends could be this simple and sweet. 'Twas a weekend of:
  • Listening to presidential debates on radio (old-school)
  • Grilled turkey-guacamole-swiss sandwiches
  • Driving around Dallas helping Brad take pictures of gas stations (work)
  • No makeup
  • Messy hair
  • Banana crumb muffins, straight out of the oven
  • Working in the backyard with Brad
  • Gardening
  • 11-month anniversary
  • Cleaning the house
  • Netflix
  • Relevant church and fellowship
  • Laundry (even though I missed a pen in Brad's pocket with unfortunate consequences...)
  • Sore muscles
  • Fixing a leak
  • Soothing my soul with David Crowder Band
  • Speedwalking with hand weights
  • Drawing
  • "Mad Men" on AMC

Tomorrow I have to wear a suit. :-(

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tu t'amuse.

Stumbled across this brilliant video that anyone who depended on Babelfish (or Google Translate, etc.) while learning a language can appreciate.

These people wrote a script for a brief (3 minute) film. Then they translated the text FROM English, TO French, then TO German... then back TO French, and back to English. The result is hilarious! You need to read the "subtitles" while listening to the actors... Enjoy!

(Favorite line: "I was put in failuuuure.")

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am convinced that my husband knows every song out there. We'll be driving through East Texas and a random bluegrass song from the 1950s will come on the radio, and he will be able to more or less sing along.

Or we'll be walking through GAP and some cheesy little teenage angst love song comes on, and he whines along in unison.

I've never even heard these songs, so sometimes I'm impressed by his music knowledge. But half the time -- no, more like 90 percent of the time -- he makes the lyrics up. They're phonetic, but they're usually WAY off. For example, Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" is completely butchered by Brad. The actual lyrics are:

Blinded by the light,
Revved up like a deuce,
Another runner in the night..

But the way Brad sings it, it's:

Blinded by the light,
Wrapped up like a douche,
Another running uhhh-nuh night!

For YEARS, he actually thought those were the words. Seriously. Srsly.

Most of the time it's cute, but sometimes I can't believe that he doesn't know the words to these songs. Like, I get the feeling he'll just start singing whatever he wants.

Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" may become:

I don't care what they say I'm uhh- luhhhhhh- you.
They try to tear me apart, but I uhhh- luhhhhh you.
Keep thinking, keep, keep sinking in luhhh,
I keep dreaming, keep, keep dreaming uh-huh...

Anyway, Brad is studying at Starbucks right now and listening to Coldplay. Apparently he was wishing he could serenade me, because I returned to my computer a moment ago and was simultaneously entertained and horrified by what was on my G-chat... Coldplay lyrics. Butchered. Nay, massacred. I'm going to put the actual line, followed immediately by Brad's version in red, for two of the songs.


Lights go out and I can’t be saved
lights go out and a camping slave
Brought me down upon my knees
bought me down - oh I beg and please

Shoot an apple off my head
hoot an apple off my head

And a, trouble that can’t be named
trouble trouble can't be named.
Tigers waitin’ to be tamed
Tigers waiting to be swinged

Confusion never stops
cold fusion never stops,
Closing walls and ticking clocks
all the stuff clocks

Curse missed opportunities
curse stop, my chin-a-neese

Home, home, where I wanted to go
Comb, where I want it to be.

"Green Eyes"

Honey you are a rock
honey you are a rock
Upon which I stand...
pun witch I stan...

That green eyes, yeah the spotlight, shines upon you...
the green I's, yeah the spark light, shins up on you
I came here with a load
i came here with a lobe
And it feels so much lighter, now I’ve met you...
and it feels so much lighter now I metchu...

Sighhh... What a crazy, goofy man I have married. :-) Thanks for indulging me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We Did It!

Just wanted to give a little update on the "90 by '09" Campaign. As of last weekend, I surpassed 90 profile views! Thanks for your help in bolstering my self e-steem (Internet self esteem).

As a little reward, please enjoy this Jackson Pollock widget. Run your mouse across to splatter paint, and click to change paint colors.

Thank you for your help and your clicks! :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Shoulda Been German

I know I’m Italian. My mom’s family is from Sicily, land of gypsies and mobsters. :-) My dad’s family is from England (my maiden name is Thorne), with a little Scottish and Irish thrown into the mix.

I always wished I was French, but I don’t think I have a drop of French blood in me. Knowing my love for La Belle France, Brad told me while we were dating that the name “Gaultney” is thought to have originated from French tribes (Gaul, like early France). But he has since confessed that it’s probably Welsh. Boo.

About once a year though, I think I’m embodied by the spirit of a German woman. I grew up in South Central Texas, which has lots of German influence, so Oktoberfests, Wurstfest and German towns like Kerrville, Fredericksburg and New Braunfels bring back sweet memories for me.

Addison hosted its annual Oktoberfest celebration this weekend, and Brad and I had a great time. He did his research and figured out that if you reserve a room at the Hampton Inn for $49.00, you get:

  • Two free tickets to the festival
  • $10 in food coupons
  • A “deluxe” beer stein

That's not to mention the hot breakfast the next morning and HBO! ;-) Ha.

Since the hotel was within walking distance from the festivities, we went for it! It was a really nice Hampton Inn that felt a lot more like the chain’s older brother, the Hilton. So together Brad and I celebrated our first “stay-cation.” Ha!

We ate good German food – brats, schnitzel, streudel, kraut, etc. – and drank good German beer. We rode a Ferris wheel, I got a temporary tattoo of a dove (lame, I know), we listened to German folk music and people-watched.

When we walked back to the hotel there were a bunch of Addison Police Department cars in front of the hotel… Apparently some guests had enjoyed Oktoberfest a little too much and were being rowdy when they returned to the hotel. Anyway, one of the police officers who responded to the scene was a friend of Brad’s from college and we stopped and talked to him for a couple of minutes. Funny coincidence.

Here are some pics from our time at the festival. Loved it! Really sweet, light-hearted fun with my best friend.

I spent the morning of the festival baking bread at home to get into the German spirit. I went with a braided yeast loaf with sea salt on top. Yummo!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ode to Fro-Yo

I’m trying to listen to my body more. In the same way that pregnant women get telltale signs of vitamin deficiencies by their cravings – like women with iron deficiencies may crave chalk, dirt or even laundry detergent (a condition called pica) – I’m trying to train myself to listen to my body’s cues in terms of ways I should adjust my diet.

Some girls crave breadsticks or cake or donuts. None of those things really tempt me. I always tend to crave red meat and cheese. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been craving yogurt! I think it’s because I don’t get enough calcium, and all the women in my family end up with osteoporosis. My mom has osteopenia right now, the precursor to osteoporosis, and she’s still quite young!

(It may just be an old wives' tale that cravings signal a nutritional need, but as long as my stomach/ brain are prompting me to eat healthy things, I'll listen!)

I went to the doctor on Monday and asked him what he thinks about probiotics. I’ve been hearing so much about them lately and how they’re just healthy body miracle-workers, and I wondered if I should pick up powder or something from GNC. He said he believes in them, but that the yogurts that have probiotics in them (Activia, DanActive, etc.) are just as good as the powders and pills.

So yesterday I went to Wal-Mart and went on a yogurt-buying spree!

My love for yogurt began in France, where my French family had a serving after dinner each night. Click here to read my blog post about French people and yogurt.

Then, during Stephanie’s Dallas visit this spring, we happened upon an old-school frozen yogurt (fro-yo) place, Natsumi. I guess old-school isn’t really the right word. Its contemporary interior with white leather Barcelona chairs, concrete floors and Calypso blue accent wall makes it very up-to-date. But the yogurt pays tribute to the way frozen yogurt is SUPPOSED to taste – not like sorbet, not like light ice cream – but like yogurt! It has a sweet but tart taste, it’s fat free, and it has those live active cultures that are good for you!

In the spirit of Natsumi (or Pinkberry, OrangeCup, or whichever fro-yo purveyor you prefer), I decided to make my own frozen yogurt last night. I took two containers of the plain Greek yogurt my grocery store carries – about six cups – and to it I added one part Splenda and one part sugar, about three-fourths of a cup each (1.5 cups total). Then I added a little bit of vanilla extract, maybe a teaspoon and a half, poured it into my ice cream machine and let ‘er rip for about 25 minutes.

The result: even BETTER yogurt than Natsumi! It came out of the ice cream machine with perfect consistency, but after storing it in the freezer overnight, it was a little too hard this morning. In fact, I had to let it thaw for about 45 minutes before it was scoopable.

Here’s my breakfast: fat-free, low-sugar vanilla frozen yogurt with blueberries on top. :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Simple Joys

I have a bit of a paranoia about my Google News page. There’s that nifty little section of articles “Recommended for” me, which should be a convenient assortment of news stories that may interest me based on articles I’ve recently clicked on.

However, much of the time I find it’s filled with mindless entertainment news that, since it’s “recommended for” me, makes me feel like a total ditz. I emailed Brad a screen shot in March of this year after a particularly bad selection turned up:

But today, JOY! My Google-chosen selection of articles represented sentient, relevant news:

Is it sad that my Google News page can have such a profound effect on my self-esteem?

In other news, Brad and I have started going on a weekly date – Wednesdays or Sundays – since he’s getting busier with school and work. This way we are sure to spend some quality time together, even if it’s just a trip to White Rock Lake for a walk.

Sushi is a favorite date of ours. I was thrilled with the presentation of our BOAT-load of sushi!

And we made friends with the sushi chef, who carved some sort of animal out of oranges for each of us. He carved it right in front of us! So cool… awesome knife skills. Although I can’t really tell what this is supposed to be. Maybe a frog with an open mouth? And the orange segments are in his mouth?

What do you think?

And last, but CERTAINLY not least – I have some exciting family news. I'm going to have a sister! No, my mom is not pregnant. My older brother Matt proposed to his girlfriend of over two years in New York last week! They are planning an April wedding, and I couldn't be happier for both of them. Brittney fits in so well with the Thorne clan, and that's not easy! Here's a photo of the happy couple:

Even though Ike caused some tragic devastation, it allowed me and Brad an opportunity to spend some time with the lovebirds. They were supposed to fly back from New York to Houston, where they both live and work, but that wasn't happening! So we spent a few days together and it was cool to be the first to see the ring, the video, etc.

Praise God for simple joys!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Being Intentional

Time for that meaty post about my weekend and my friends I've been promising... Apologies in advance if it ventures into sappy territory. What can I say, my friends make me want to turn all gooey and just hug someone. :-)

I mentioned my list of life goals in an earlier post. On the list I wrote “Be an intentional friend.” Not a friend who calls when just when she’s bored; not a friend who forgets birthdays and apologizes later. I’m aiming to cultivate the type of meaningful friendships that really love unselfishly, celebrate each others’ good and call each other out on the bad, and go through life together.

During my first several months of marriage, I lived up to that statement by being very intentional in the time that I spend with and the affection I show to my best friend, Brad. But lately I’m learning the balance of doing both: making my husband a priority, but showing my good girlfriends that I cherish them.

Last weekend, I was blessed to spend quality time with three sweet friends in three different cities.

My kindred, Stephanie, and I took a cooking class at Sur La Table in Houston. So chic, so fun. I love this girl’s life: she’s a very hip, bohemian travel-loving designer, and for the first time I got to see her way cool digs that reflect her style. We made French food (we’re both gaga for all-things-French, as is our partner-in-crime, Abby) at our cooking class and stayed up late drinking wine, nibbling on imported “biscuits” and sharing our hearts. The next day my sweet friend treated me to breakfast – the most refined biscuits and gravy I’ve EVER had – and then we browsed the funky shops in Rice Village.

Here are some photos of our time together:

That afternoon, I was honored to get to celebrate my dear friend Jessica and her upcoming marriage at a bridal shower. What a joy to meet “her people” in the area where she grew up, Buffalo, Texas. The shower made me even more pumped for her wedding on October 25, where I’ll be a bridesmaid along with two other great friends, Holli and Caroline. (Sidebar: How cool is it that Jessica and I will forever celebrate our anniversaries just two days apart?!)

Here’s a photo of Jessica and her equally precious fiancé, Clay:

After leaving the shower in Buffalo, I continued up I-45 and turned on I-30 to go to Marita Cattle Ranch in Mount Vernon. Some very cool recently married friends of ours, Jed and Jen Melson, invited us to a ranch weekend with them and two other couples. They have an amazing place on 500 acres of East Texas land, with peacocks, cattle, fishing and the whole bit. The menfolk dove-hunted while we women cooked. :-) Brad and I were blown away by the Melsons’ hospitality and warmth!

Here’s a photo of Jed and Jen shortly after their engagement last October. Jed popped the question at the ranch:

I’m just sitting here reflecting on how blessed I really am to have true, lasting friendships with such remarkable people. What a weekend!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Oh, the Irony!

I'm sitting here in front of the TV, doing some research for work and eating my dinner, when this article caught my eye:

Eating too much? ‘Law & Order’ may be guilty

OMIGOSH! I'm watching Law & Order RIGHT NOW! And eating grilled cheese and a cucumber salad and drinking sugar-free grape Kool-Aid! Ooooh, what delicious, gruesome irony. :-) Who knows how many of the ten-or-so pounds I've put on over the past few years can be attributed to my Law & Order obsession?

Hmmm... do I smell a lawsuit? Perhaps I can sue NBC for my weight gain caused by LAW & Order... Irony on top of irony! Love it!

(That blog post about my friends and weekend is still coming... Sheesh, Katie, get on it!)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Motivation Lacking

I planned to write a super stellar post tonight about my wonderful weekend which led me across Texas for quality, intentional friend time.

But I just can't seem to muster the motivation. I kind of had one of those days like... well, like you bought a top that you weren't sure about, but you paid for it anyway thinking it might match an Anthropologie skirt you got on sale a few months ago but have had trouble finding coordinating pieces for... and you take the blouse home and realize it's much more mustard yellow than goldenrod, and you decide after a week or two of not wearing it to take it back. The tags are still attached and you held onto that receipt, so why not? You probably won't wear it anyway. You know what, definitely not going to wear it. It's cute, but not really you, and you don't have anything to wear it with.

So you go back to the boutique only to discover they have a weird return policy and you were supposed to return it after ten days. They can give you store credit, but the location is really not convenient for you, so you're still annoyed. All of a sudden, you hate that taxi cab-colored shirt and wish you had never laid eyes on it.

That scenario didn't happen to me to day, but as I sit here in my easy chair (hello, grandma phrase!), that's kind of how I feel. I'm sort of annoyed and dissatisfied and I think I could have avoided all of this buy just not buying that shirt on a whim.

Err, you know. Whatever.

Don't fret. That upbeat post about how much I love my friends is in the wings and shall emerge later this week!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bloom Where You’re Planted

In my constant search for new forms of creative expression, I took up gardening last spring.
(NB: I refuse to admit that “gardening” means I’m becoming domesticated. I’m not a Lands End-wearing, Tupperware-collecting Stepford wife… I’m just a nutty gal who dabbles.)
Anyway, I was interested to see if I had a green thumb. My roommate Meagan and I had a corn plant in college. We named him Cornelius. He died over Christmas break when I left him out on the balcony and he turned into a gelatinous blob of gray goop after a freeze. All of this to say, my hopes weren’t high that I would be the next blue-ribbon rose grower.

Nevertheless, I carefully planned my garden, did my research on Texas hardy perennials (NOT annuals… I refuse to start from scratch every year!), and planted everything following the directions exactly. I opted to go with purples, pinks and blues. I had to deal with a nasty little yellow lantana plant that was already there when I started. It was the only flowering plant existing at the house when we bought it.

Anyway, my garden was pretty awesome for a few months, and I was encouraged. I planted a lot from seed and I was eager to see my photosynthetic babies pop up over the soil. I also planted sunflowers along all of the fences in our backyard, but they met a sad fate at the sharp blades of Brad’s lawnmower… there were tears (mine).

BUT THEN. Despite all my care and keeping. The lantana plant grew to have tendrils SIX FEET LONG, and it covered up and choked out all of my plants, except a purple sage, a hymenocallis Brad gave me (this bulb could withstand ANYTHING) and my basil. I was SO MAD.

So two weekends ago I went out and cut the Lantana to the ground. I filled two trash bags with the carcasses, then sprayed Round Up all over the open wounds. That plant WILL die.
(NB: In my research to find the best way to kill this diabolical plant, beloved for its heat-hardiness and appearing in landscapes all over Texas, I discovered that lantana is considered a noxious weed in many parts of the world. You can be fined thousands of dollars for growing it in Australia! It’s harmful to the ecology.)

I mentioned that the purple sage, bulb and basil escaped the evil clutches of the lantana. I neglected to write that there was also a super tall plant that sprung up in my garden and resembled bamboo because of its thick, straight stalk – but it had these funny, frizzy leaves. I thought it was probably a strange weed, but I didn’t pull it because I was intrigued by its height.

I walked out this morning and it had BLOOMED over the weekend! I had no idea this was a flowering plant! Look at its amazing pinky-purple daisy blooms!
I'm including a photo of it next to Brad's ginormous truck too, so that you can have an idea of its unusual height. So tall!

The only thing I can think of as far as its origin is that I had a packet of wildflower seeds I bought in Ireland a couple of years ago and scattered them early this spring. This has to be the lone remnant from the packet.

It may sound cheesy, but that this sweet, vibrant daisy survived the hardship the lantana brought it reminded me of God’s goodness and grace in the midst of adversity. We really have the ability to thrive in difficulty because of the hope we have in Christ Jesus and his ability to carry us through. My mom has always encouraged me to “bloom where I’m planted,” meaning that no matter what situation I’m plopped into, I have the choice to become the best “whatever” I can be, and bring glory to God.

What a precious reminder that little flower was to me today!

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Excuses, excuses...

I'm LONG overdue in updating... but I think I have a good excuse. :-) I was in Mexico for the long weekend! Such a nice, needed break. I've gotten to take a lot of cool trips this year, but it seems I can never travel enough!

I'll try publish a meaty blog post later. I have another action-packed weekend coming up, so apologies if the updates are coming less frequently these days.

Bisous to you all!!!
Mugging at a botanical garden in Mexico. Believe it or not, I did NOT take this picture of myself. It looks like I did.