Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Pig

I always say, "The BEST day of the year is the day the first cold front blows through!" Given that notion it follows that yesterday was the BEST day of the year. Right? Not so much. While the weather was divine perfection, the mood was deeply blue. I had two choices: allow the BEST day of the year to pass me by or drag my "pity party, party of one" outside to enjoy the last few minutes of the BEST day of 2010.

I rarely spend any time on my Juliet balcony. However, having recently watched Letters to Juliet I have committed to spend more time on my front porch; rather than the back courtyard. Sitting solemnly in quiet prayer I opened my eyes last night and noticed this wonder of nature.
I am not sure what happened on this last photo...but I like it! Looks like the outline of the flash? It was the only photo I took on the "manual setting." The web is MUCH larger than the photos depict. Ever the animal lover...I have left the web untouched. Anyhow...it is perfect timing. Nature provided me with Halloween decorations at no cost! Just how I like it...FREE!
I need to relax, have a cup of coffee and maybe hammer a nail into my head. -Lorelai

Rory: You know there will be food there?
Lorelai: Finger Food! AKA: Snooty Little Balls of Attitude!

Yep, it's tough when the universe is against you. It's like taking on the Manhattan Garbage Union. -Luke

When my daughter comes home broken, I get to hate the guy that broke her. -Lorelai

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My "Husband"

I once had an ex boyfriend who called my Hollywood Husband a "no talent ass clown." Well...ex boyfriend (I doubt you are reading this).....eat your words! The Town was GREAT! I highly recommend this movie....and not just for the Ben Affleck eye candy; but for the interesting story line and the inexplicable desire to root for the underdog, the bad guy. Often from the least likely of people does a genuine human being spring forth.....or at least in the movies. (I would like to believe it about real life, too.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

You Are a Lover of Words....

I have saved this card for over 12 years. Since the day I received it I have had it framed and in prominent view. Ciara gave me this card on HER graduation day (exactly one year following mine.)

She wrote, "Patty-I've been saving this card for your for quite a while. Any my graduation seems like a perfect time. Because....well, because my experiences here (Southwestern University) are wrapped up in our friendship." She went on to share her sweetest and warmest thoughts of the beginning of our friendship. She made quite a few references to knowing we would always be in each other's lives....and to this day her predictions hold true. I hadn't read the inside of the card in years...but I am humbled to tears at the value, complexity, longevity and tenderness of our friendship.

The words on the front of this card have haunted me for years. Not because I truly believe I will ever write a book (although how could we have known 12 years ago I would be writing a "blog"); but because it is a reminder of the notion of unrealized potential. I know I speak frankly and personally when I admit that fear of failure paralyzes me FAR more often than it motivates me. I get stuck and mired down in the "what if's" and the "I'll be happy when's." I am currently swimming against a VERY strong tide and I don't mind sharing that I am challenging some deep, dark, tightly held beliefs that I have allowed to weave a place into the fabric of my being. I am re-wiring in order to "get out of my own way." I don't know....I will probably never write a book; but this card reminds me that other people believe in me and that similarly I should believe in myself.
You are a Lover of Words
One Day, You Will
Write a Book

People turn to you because you give voice to dreams, notice little things, and make otherwise impossible imaginings appear real. You are a rare bid who thinks the world is beautiful enough to try to figure it out, who has the courage to dive into your wild mind and go swimming there. You are someone who still believes in cloud watching, people watching, daydreaming, tomorrow, favorite colors, silver clouds, dandelions, and sorrow. Be sacred. Be cool. Be wild. Go far. Words do more than plant miracle seeds. With you writing them, they can change the world.

Thank you for this card, Ciara. I know that you actually view "me" through the lens of these words. And I love that when I don't see myself through the same lens, you gently remind me who I am and the potential I have to realize my own personal happiness in this lifetime. I love you, sweet friend! Right now I am smilin'! We became those women you talked about in the card....and if I may....we became ever better versions than we could have imagined back then!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday, Rainy Friday

Since I am no longer one of the 500 million Facebook users; I have accumulated a number of photos I want to share. They aren't necessarily relevant to any of my blog entries; nor do they command a dedicated blog post...but I do want to share them. Given that today is Friday, I am kind of lazy, it is raining and I smashed my finger (something wicked) I figured it might be a good opportunity (ouch...there are a lot of /o/ in that last sentence and that is the smash-finger key on the keyboard) to post photos rather than words....
"All the angels on the wire,
Getting dizzy from the heights,
Go carefully, carefully,
Oh, Airstream Driver." -Gomez
This pedestrian bridge is new. It links a new section of campus housing to the corresponding parking lot. I would have loved to see some water flowing underneath the bridge; or a little pirate troll; but instead it goes over a dry creek.
Here are a few more photos from our day of fun in Bandera, TX. I liked the rustic house and door frame. I thought it was an old front door. Turns out it was a side door to a stone cottage. Around the corner was an amazing front porch and it looks the cottage is being refurbished.
I couldn't pass up an opportunity to take a photo of this squashed up Coors can. The graphic element of a Coors can reminds me a lot of my childhood. Frightening, I know, but there must be a reason this image figures so prominently in my childhood memories. I know my great-grandfather was a beer distributor and my grandfather was in his employ; but I can't remember if Coors was one of their products. Maybe this was just my dad's beer of preference when I was a little girl?
I have a thing for tricycles. Again, I think they remind me of being a little girl and feeling free; breeze on my face, wind through my pigtails.
Does this bicycle have any hope of being operational ever again? It reminded me of the Tin Man, constantly needing to be oiled. Maybe it just needs a heart?
Indeed Bandera, Tx is the Cowboy Capital. We saw people riding their horses down the main street. Every establishment had hitchin' posts and water troughs for the horses.
Check out the super, fantabulous, Stella & Dot necklace I had the pleasure of modeling at Christine and Julie's Stella & Dot party. Also....do I look like a chipmunk, or what? I am storing some sort of nuts (don't be dirty...that's what she said) in one side of my mouth...but not the other? Classic!
Sara and Danica at Stella & Dot Party.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Best Hamburger I've Ever Had.....

Here's the bad news: The best hamburger I've ever had is not in San Antonio. Here's the good news: It is just up the road (and the PERFECT way to round out a day trip) in Bandera, TX.

A little over two weeks ago my friend, Cory and I, took IH-10 up to 46, hung a left and enjoyed the view. We hung another right at 16 and enjoyed the view en route to Bandera, TX. We were STARVING but were committed to eating the BEST fare Bandera had to offer. We figured the main street would be our safest bet. We stumbled into the general store and asked the gentleman at the counter. He firmly told us to head back out of town about five miles and look for Five Mile Creek on the right. We figured, "What's five more miles? If we are going to do this; let's do it right!"
At noon, on Sunday, we pulled up to this building. There was not a car in sight. However, the sign at the door indicated they were "open." We pushed open the front door and were greeted by the owner and the cook. They assured us they were open and promised us the coldest beer we've ever had. (And oh, did they deliver on that claim. The ice was melting off the bottle and onto my hand!)
Fried mushrooms seemed a logical choice for our appetizer. They came out of the kitchen steaming hot. We sat there and looked at them adoringly, almost frightened to dig in. I made the first move and they were fried to perfection.
While Cory couldn't make a decision to save his life; I went with the basic classic all American, no fuss, no muss burger with American cheese. I won't cheapen the experience with words; to describe it would do the burger no justice whatsoever. What I will say is the combination of Bob Seeger and Bob Wills, the Eagles and Waylon Jennings, a cold beer and the mushrooms, the peppery burger and the cowboy couple next to us, the fluorescent lights and the pool tables, the football game and the fake slot machines, the weathered owner with her Virginia slims and the amiable cook and his family came together on a beautiful Sunday! It did my heart good and as always the conversation was challenging, thought provoking and much appreciated!
Thank you, friend! We both know I needed a day of fun, food and great Texas backroads. (Just like the old days!)
Suzanne, the owner, shared with us that she felt this saloon was just an extension of her living room. She invited us back and asked us to bring our friends along. Once the weather is more tolerable they have live music (local bands) on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. If you have a "hankering" for some small town Texas flavor in the form of burgers and beers...you can't go wrong at....................
Rory: Not a soul mate?
Lorelai: He's never heard of AbFab!
Rory: DEFINITELY NOT a soul mate!

Good evening, friends! I have the evening to myself and am planning on watching Letters to Juliet! Bring out the Kleenex. I am such a sucker for a chick flick!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Three Little Words

Today I celebrate three little words. The words are "I love you." Without question I have heard those three little words more often in the past few months than ever before. Now...that's not to say that those words were EVER missing from my life. Quite the contrary. I grew up in a home where "I love you" was often expressed between my parents and between my parents and I. I have been in several relationships where love was verbally expressed and goodness knows I have a number of cherished friendships where the words "I love you" are exchanged with sweet and meaningful frequency.

I have no real understanding or explanation for why "I love you" has been landing on me with greater consistency and from a variety of individuals. All I can come up with is maybe I just haven't been listening? I have prayed for an open heart, open eyes and open ears for some time now. I have also prayed to be a more open "receiver" of love. Maybe this is God's answers to my prayers....but I suspect the words have been there all along. I just needed to open up to hear them....and believe I was worth receiving them.

Last night I had the sweetest dream. Someone important told me they loved me. And in the dream I said, "Thank you." I'd like to think that expression was true and real and that even in my dreams I can be open to receiving love.
"I hope that I find what I'm reaching for the way that it is in my mind....
But I won't let it change me; not if I can.
I'd rather believe in love.
And give it away as much as I can to those that I am fondest of."
- Waylon Jennings (and also Cowboy Junkies)

Goodnight dear friends! Tomorrow I challenge you to express your love to someone....maybe someone new. It might make all the difference in the world!

The next blog entry will be far less sappy! I am excited to introduce you all to the best hamburger I have ever eaten in my entire life.............

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Christianity In Contemporary Life

Hang on friends, this one is going to be a long ride.

Shortly before the fall semester of my junior year at Southwestern two deaths occurred that would have a significant impact on my life. My grandfather died days before fall semester began. In fact, he died as I was driving back to Georgetown to get the fall semester underway. I had probably been back in the apartment for a few hours before my father called to deliver the devastating news. I remember heading over the KA house and literally drowning my sorrows. I drank cheap college beer until the sun rose. I caught a few hours of sleep and drove back home.

Another man, I didn't know, and whose name I can't even remember, died around the same time. He was the department coordinator of religious and philosophical studies at Southwestern University. I was enrolled in one of his classes called "Christianity in Contemporary Life" for the upcoming semester...but only because I HAD to take two classes in religion in order to meet the requirements of a "liberal arts" education.

I remember the faculty and staff rushing to fill the position for the year. In fact, I think the first few classes were taught by a "substitute" professor. Finally, it was announced the university had filled the slot with a Greek Orthodox Priest from Bastrop, TX named Brant Pelphrey.

What did I know...I heard the word "priest" and assumed he was Catholic like every other "priest" I knew. However, he was married. To be honest, I was too wrapped up in my own stuff to even ask how he was a married priest. I just showed up to class, I needed the credit. It was plain and simple.

I will never forget the day he walked in the door. He was tall and lanky, slightly knock kneed and denim had exploded on him from head to toe! The only thing breaking up all that denim was a sweet tie that I am certain was in some reverence to Christ.

He did present us with a syllabus; but that was an exercise in futility. The only thing we stuck to was reading Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov and writing a paper about it. One day he met me for coffee in "The Pirate's Cove" because I was having a tough time sorting through the novel. As with any good Russian novel; just getting the names sorted out requires a Ph.D.!

Basically, every M-W-F, for 50 minutes, he would inspire us to notice "Christianity in Contemporary Life." To be entirely frank I wasn't always sure where "he was going." I mean....a 20 year old brain is still developing and his big picture of how Christianity can and DOES exist in contemporary times was a concept too broad for my limited mind to comprehend. What was completely obvious to me was that this was a special person. His presence was soothing and comforting. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time; but I can now see that Dr. Pelphrey was filled with Christ's love and the Holy Spirit seemed to sit right on his chest and shine a light on you that left you with the warmest feeling of acceptance blended with love and forgiveness. He was truly a beautiful man....in the way beauty should really be defined.

Two of his classes, in particular, stand out to me. One day he arrived with a tape recorder. He walked directly to the back of the room without a word. He bowed his head and pressed play. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" breathed from the small speakers. His head never moved; he remained bowed in reverence to Dr. King allowing God to speak through him. I watched him and I thought, "He is treating this like a prayer." 30 college students sat in stunned silence. We "watched" him "listening." When the speech ended he dismissed our class. Christianity in Contemporary Life....Christ speaking through Dr. King about the basic commandment to love one another as He loves us. I am embarrassed to admit this....that day....I didn't "get it." I walked out silently and thought, "This class is going to be a breeze!"

Perhaps my favorite hour of class at Southwestern University was the day he brought in yet another tape recorder and we listened to Willie Nelson's "Till I Can Gain Control Again." It started....
"Just like the sun over the mountaintop, you know I will always come again. You know I love to spend my morning time like sunlight dancing on your skin."
My first thought was my Grandma Olga who loves to go out into her backyard and pray every morning...something about the sunlight dancing on her skin, I suppose. Anyhow...he allowed the entire song to play....and it is not a short song. Again, the class of teens and twenty somethings sat in silence; what I can imagine was mostly confused silence. Again...how many of us could really know what he was trying to teach us?

After the song ended he softly asserted that most love songs could be interpreted within the context of God's love for man and man's love for Him. He played a few more Willie Nelson songs and Iris deMent songs, as well. But I went home that afternoon and played "Till I Can Gain Control Again" over and over. (I am listening to it right now, as a matter of inspiration!) Here is the chorus:
"Out on the road that lies before me now....there are some turns where I will spin. I only hope that you will hold me now.....till I can gain control again."

I took Dr. Pelphrey's class the spring semester, as well. But for the life of me, I can't remember the title of it. I know I wrote a paper about angels. That's really all I can recall.

During his short time he developed a following of faithful young Christians who all had one thing in common; and that was "Christ was Truth." As he gained popularity administration seemed scared and uncomfortable. It was made VERY evident that his position was only for that one school year and that he would not be asked back. Students gathered in the chapel to pray that his extension be granted. I didn't understand how this kind and gentle man could be persecuted by his contemporaries. I didn't know much as a twenty year old, but I knew that God was real and I didn't "get" that God isn't always necessarily welcome at institutions of higher learning despite their religious affiliations. What I saw was ugly and in a very deep place I knew he was being treated "wrong." I understood the "year long contract" business; but I didn't understand how an entire group of adults (adults my parents trusted with their daughter, her guidance, her education and edification and most importantly, their money) were behaving in such a gross manner.

Given Dr. Pelphrey's complete devotion to Christ you can imagine how he reacted. He stood firm and gracious. He remained silent in the face of his persecutors (does this sound familiar?) because he know The Truth.

He was not asked back. I had heard that afterward he made plans to take his message to China. We were all certain he would die for Christianity. I think we were mostly shocked we actually KNEW someone willing to give his life for Christ. My friend Cory recently told me he had heard Dr. Pelphrey returned safely from China. I have no idea where he is now. I would love to sit down over coffee with him and tell him how after 15 years his message has never left me...and has finally become clear to me.

Over the last 15 years...EVERY time I hear a love song...I spin it into "The Pelphrey Context." Indulge me as I share a few of my favorites with you.....

"When you break down, I'll drive out and find you. When you forget my love, I'll try to remind you. Stay by you, when it don't come easy....when it don't come easy." -Patty Griffin

"And I will always love you. You'll always be mine. Forever and always...till the end of time. Till the mountains split open with the weight of 'the Son;' we'll rise up together; as one." -June Carter Cash

"When the road gets dark and you can no longer see; just let my love throw a spark and have a little faith in me." -John Hiatt

"It took a while to understand, the beauty of just letting go." -Patty Griffin

I could go on forever; but you get the picture. It doesn't have to come from The Hymnal to reflect Christianity in Contemporary Life. With the onslaught of rubbish in our contemporary life, it is nice to be able to find just a little glimmer of Him in the things we enjoy.

As a side note; the following year I was selected to participate in Southwestern's Study Abroad Program in London, England. Part of the application process required two recommendations from faculty members. I asked Dr. Pelphrey to write my recommendation. I have no idea what he wrote. While in London I was sharing a pint with one of the professors on the selection committee....a wonderful man....a math professor. He told me, "I almost didn't recommend you for this program because you asked Dr. Pelphrey to write your letter. I am glad I went with my gut. I am glad you are here in the program." I felt so sad for that man in that moment. He missed the opportunity to know a decent man....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Patty Vela is In it to Win It

Friends I am so tired I can barely keep a thought together. Any attempt to throw some words onto this screen is going to be feeble, at best. However, in an effort to try to keep the blog updated more frequently I humbly offer you a..........
"It's bittersweet, more sweet than bitter, bitter than sweet. It's a bittersweet...surrender"
Big Head Todd & The Monsters
and a.............
Babette: Is there a problem?
Lorelai: Nothing Shakespeare couldn't write a really good play about!

When words fail you....it's always best to borrow someone else's (Did I use that apostrophe correctly? I need an editor...)! Goodnight sweet friends. Today has wiped me out! I look forward to a good night's rest and some sweet personal time tomorrow evening. What to do? Work out? Pedicure? Read? Gilmore Girls Marathon? The possibilities are infinite!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tropical Depression Hermine

Dear Tropical Depression Hermine,

Even though the word "depression" is included in your dubious title, YOU did NOT get me down today because I prepared for YOU! Yes, YOU Hermine, were on my radar long, long ago (yesterday morning) and I stockpiled, I reconnoitered, I gathered intelligence, I strategized (brown vs black and what goes best with the school uniform?), I pillaged, I cut in lines, I weaved in and out of check out lanes in anticipation of your quick moving storm clouds and red and yellow colored rain bands! Today was great, Miss Hermine, mostly because I got to mock your name, but also because I purchased and wore my new wellies! And you know Hermine, hard as you might try to dampen my spirits, in the end I WON because they were 20% off with my work badge at Stein Mart!
Thank you for visiting, Hermine. Because of you I gathered more rain water than I could use in a week and will water my sweet plants that were under shelter all day. We are done with you and wish you well along your merry track.



Monday, September 6, 2010

Frankly, Mr. Shankly....

Happy Labor Day! Today was an exciting day at the Patty Vela house (or "Stars Hollow" as I like to call my house). I had my pond cleaned and serviced....BY A PROFESSIONAL! Kris and Lisa Jilek arrived early and within an hour and a half had my sad, broken, algae-laden, lonely, withered pond singing once again! In addition to cleaning and servicing the pond; they gave me one of their sweet goldfish to keep my lonely fish company. And they shared one of their plants with me so I now have an OFFICIAL pond plant! (And apparently this one will bloom beautiful yellow flowers!)

If you are looking to have your water feature serviced or are interested in creating a water feature; I highly recommend Kris and Lisa!
Happy Monday, friends! Ohhhhhh! The Velvet Underground version of Sweet Jane (that one is just for you Janie Worth!) just popped up on my Talking Heads station. Such precious memories. What a wonderful way to end this post. A lot of personal soul work will be taking place this week. I ask that you all keep me in your prayers and I ask for one, very specific prayer....I ask that you pray for me to learn to receive love. All types of love....and I will pray that for each of you. So simple, yet a difficult thing to do...isn't it?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Days of Rest

Today I am grateful for two days of rest. Jace' and I have a thing we call "Going MIA." Essentially I have gone MIA for the last day and a half and while that may seem strange to others; it isn't strange to me. (Nor is it strange to Jace'!)

I wish I could say that during the last day and a half I have done anything worthwhile. But the truth is, I haven't. I DID get my hair cut and colored (thank goodness...the grays were coming in BIG TIME). I also played around a bit in the backyard; but beyond that NOTHING of any great significance. I watched a movie called Multiple Sarcasms which was of little help. Story about a man with a perfectly GREAT life, great wife, neat kid and he throws it all away and doesn't do anything about it except write a play about it. I wanted to like him but I was mostly disgusted by how selfish he was and how many people he hurt....and was doing it WILLINGLY. So....I guess I don't recommend it....unless you just want to appreciate some amazing performances by Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany, Mira Sorvino, Stockard Channing and Mario van Peebles.

I have started to dip my toes into the chilly Silent Auction waters. Though mostly just ideas right now; the ideas are at least starting to take shape and force themselves into action. It feels sort of like auto-pilot right now. The beautiful part is that I have an ENTIRE village of support and I know that Silent Auction will be a success simply because of my circle of support!

Okay....this blog is taking a dip into a place I NEVER intended it to go. Remember...this is only about daily celebrations! So...it is time for me to stop typing, re-group and realize all that is right with this day.