Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remembering Ray Anderson

Remembering Ray Anderson:

"Ray Anderson, the advocate of sustainability in business, died on Monday at age 77. Share his powerful TEDTalk — in which he explores the personal, ethical and practical motives for building a responsible business." Truly, he was an inspirational businessman with a big heart that could change the world we live in. If you haven't heard him speak, please take a moment and learn a bit about the heart and economics of sustainable business. No excuses can be made anymore. Industry, itself is the only entity powerful enough to lead this change and it must start from within.

"If not now, then when? If not me, then who?"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse Plan

We all know it's inevitable. We're already beginning to see harbingers of its coming: The Zombie Apocalypse. So, I have to get a good handle on my options and I've been taking notes on varying plans of action. What's MY plan, you ask? I plan to be one of the first infected, so I can be the first to come after YOU! So, what's your plan?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hurricane Kit? Does it come with Rum?

It's a serious wake-up call when moving back to Houston to see so many co-workers preparing Hurricane Preparedness Kits with things like batteries, waterBOB, canned goods, extra gasoline. Wanna know what's in MY Hurricane Kit? It's a box with a note that says..."Get the hell out of Houston."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Travel Games for Kids

This is by far one of my favorite sites for travel ideas for my toddler. She is a fantastic traveler but she is still a toddler and she has her moments. As do we all. It's really unfair to expect her to keep herself entertained and happy for a simple 2-hour Sunday drive or a two-day, cross-country excursion. So, if you are in need of some creative ways to keep your little one stimulated and happy on your next trip: check this out. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Politics vs. Reality

How many people can say they've had Governor Rick Perry stop by their offices for coffee and an intimate conversation over Houston's economic future. It's funny that you can politically deplore someone and yet, still be completely star-struck when they enter the room.

Dear Abby: Is it uncouth to give a Hurricane away as a White Elephant Gift?

Awwww, how sweet. Mother Nature's giving me a welcome back to Texas present.  It's called Tropical Storm Don.  Unfortunately, I think I've had one already but I lost the gift receipt. Do you think I can return it? Or maybe re-gift it to Colorado.   Colorado won't know right?! It's totally cool. I'll just wrap it up with lots of good rainbows. She'll never know the difference.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travels with Baby Tips by Shelly Rivoli: Five ways to get your toddler to your (American Airlines) flight without the giant stroller

Travels with Baby Tips by Shelly Rivoli: Five ways to get your toddler to your (American Airlines) flight without the giant stroller

For all you nomads out there with little ones in tow, the new American Airlines regulations on 'no gate checking' for strollers may have you in a tizzy. But, never fear, Shelly Rivoli provides some ever-useful advice on how to manage and look travel-savvy while meeting ever-changing flight regulations. Go Shelly! I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strange Dreams

dreamt that Bin Laden was strutting up to the gates of Heaven expecting his 72 virgins when a radiant, shining figure emerged from the gates and stood before him. Heath Ledger, in shining armor. And, then he spoke those immortal words,..."You have been weighed. You have been measured. And, you have been found WANTON."  He turned and slammed the gates of Heaven behind him.

What does it mean? Well, obviously it means that Heath Ledger is still sexy, even posthumous.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flamingo Jockeys Unite!

Just Chillin'
I actually got to be a flamingo jockey for Randall Kent (my husband's uncle) of Stagecraft, Inc., during the Houston Halloween Show and Expo.  It was hilarious. I had a blast. Yes, I'm a ham. I admit this fact. I have embraced my inner-goober and was allowed to 'ride' a flamingo throughout the George R. Brown Convention Center. I haven't had this much fun in awhile. I met (and got pictures with) at least one celebrity, Bridget Marquardt of the TV series "The Girls Next Door" (pictures to follow soon). There were models everywhere running around in skimpy Halloween costumes or nothing at all (well, they were in full body paint but that's it).  There were raffles, prizes, elaborate costumes, acrobatic performances in mid-air (suspended from the ceiling of the expo), stilt-walkers, fashion shows, bands, open bars. It was Halloween on speed! It was a little overwhelming.

The Gang 
(Back left to right: Darcy and Kris Szecsy,
Middle left to right: Chris and me,
Far right: Uncle Randy)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peace Corps Deja Vu

This week has had three strange occurrences for me that have either involved my old Peace Corps stomping grounds (i.e. Bulgaria) or with Peace Corps itself. I know I haven't really written much if anything at all about my experiences there. I try. I really do. I begin to tell stories and I can see peoples' eyes glaze over as the words go over their heads. The old saying, "you had to be there," is an understatement in my case. But, those fellow RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) know what I'm talking about. So, let's review the past week:

#1: I get a message from a Bulgarian girl (naturalized citizen) who now lives in the U.S. She's researching the Peace Corps for a project in one of her university studies. She came across my article in A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service and was so touched by my story about her home that she almost cried and felt compelled to write me and thank me. Me?! How bizarre to have a Bulgarian thanking me for my service, which feels like it was a lifetime ago. If anything, I've always felt like I should be thanking them, all the Bulgarians that welcomed us unconditionally into their homes, hearts and lives. It was a surreal moment reading her email. Nostalgia knocking at my door. Bittersweet memories that seem to be from another life.

#2: I found out that HGTV is doing a special on home-buying in Bulgaria. Really? Bulgaria? And, not just anywhere in Bulgaria. These Brits are buying a condo in Varna. My old site. It floored me to see my old stomping grounds were both different and the same. My how Varna's changed. For the better, I hope.

#3: Last, but certainly not least our figurehead and co-founder, the head-honcho himself Sargent Shriver passed away. A great man, one we can all aspire to live our lives like. A true philanthropist and peace-maker. "One of the brightest lights of the greatest generation" ~President Barack Obama.

So, I'm beginning to feel like the circle is coming full round. Is it a sign? Or just a strange string of coincidences? I'll let you be the judge.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home, Sweet Home: It's about time.

Let's rewind to find where we last left our heroine screaming at her phone and the unfortunate loan officer who was on the receiving end of that conversation. What has become of her? Did she finally find a home? Is she homeless? And, will she ever post anything remotely interesting?

Indeed, I have FINALLY gotten the house that we originally wanted. Though it was a rough and emotionally exhausting road. Between the closing, moving in and the incoming train of holidays, our little family has barely had time to breathe. But, (big cheer) we HAVE a nice new home in a coveted, quiet and hidden part of Northeastern Houston in a lovely town called Kingwood (also known as 'the livable forest'). Nice ring to it, don't you think?!

Well, what I and many of my friends did not know about Kingwood is how beautiful it is. How did I not know about this place after living in the Galveston/ Houston area for 6 years prior to Peace Corps?  Kingwood is a suburb of Houston to be exact. Though residents don't like you bringing that up. Their annexation into Houston is a sore subject. I can understand why. There is really nothing like it around. When Kingwood was originally developed it was the 70s, clear-cutting was the ideal form of economic development. It cost less and allowed for faster land development. Cue the visionaries. In walked King Ranch, owners of the track of land who wanted a community that was literally built in the Piney Woods area of Texas with as little clear-cutting as possible. Then Friendswood Development Company stepped in to assist and eventually bought Kingwood. The community is nestled amongst old forests of tall pines, sycamores, magnolias and around 20 other types of trees. It is home to deer, fish, birds, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits...you get the picture. There are nature preserves, parks and over 75 miles of walking and biking trails amongst the woods known as the 'greenbelt'.  Don't believe me? Come and visit and see for yourself.

I've found my own piece of paradise.

As frustrating as the last couple of months have been, I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I'm happy with our decision and it was totally worth it. Every morning I enjoy my coffee, get online from my kitchen table and look out my floor-to-ceiling windows (yes, we like everything ridiculously big in Texas) to watch Blue Jays (and their mates), Cardinals (and their mates) singing and courting in my backyard which backs right up to one of the many 'greenbelts'. Bragging?  Heck ya!  Thankful?  Amen to that, too. We have been blessed, lucky, how ever you choose to see it. We have had amazing help through this process and things can only get better from here.

Here's hoping you find your own piece of paradise out there.