Thoughts On A Rainy Day

Tomorrow is Jason's 29th birthday.  It is so crazy to me that he's almost thirty!  Then again, I still feel like I'm fifteen in so many ways, which is silly because I'm such an old soul at heart.  I'm usually falling asleep by 10 p.m. every night (sometimes even 8 p.m. if I'm exhausted) and my partying days are mostly over, although there are occasions when I just want to go nuts and have "just one more" margarita.  I've always been a little beyond my years.  My close friends that have known me most of my life are familiar with my wild side, but as my dear friend Taylor always used to say to me - "You're hilarious and silly, but you know when it's important to be serious too."  That has always resonated with me because it is such an accurate description of my personality.

Fun was had last night.  Jason and I met up with a friend of mine from work, Zac, his fiance, Kim, and their friend Harrison for dinner at Urban at the Domain in north Austin.  After dinner we went over to the Regal Arbor Cinema to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Having read the book years ago and remembering enjoying it, I was looking forward to the film, and it was really wonderful.  I had forgotten how deep the story goes and all of the heavy elements it focuses on.  It isn't just petty high school drama, and it's definitely something I was able to substantially relate to my freshman year of high school.

Tonight i'll just be lying low inside, maybe do some cleaning around the apartment and watch a movie or two.  Tomorrow, as per Jason's birthday request, we are going to Franklin BBQ for lunch and then participating in some serious bar-hopping.  Should be a fun time.



A Weekend of Volleyballing and Baby Showering

Me with my mom and dad circa 1990
Well, I got to spend another wonderful weekend in Houston with my favorite people.  I left straight from work on Thursday afternoon and got to catch the end of my sister's volleyball game at Barbers Hill Middle School.  It's so neat to see her play in a school team sport.  I've watched my brother his whole life on various baseball, basketball and football teams, and it's been great, but it's fun to watch Micah kick some booty on the 7th grade A-team volleyball court.  She's pretty awesome.

Friday, my mom and Micah had to go to school/work so I went over to Nana's house and picked up some lunch and groceries for her.  We had a nice little afternoon eating, chatting and watching Days of Our Lives.  Then I went back to my mom's and we celebrated her 45th birthday with appetizers, margaritas and a free birthday brownie sundae at Chili's before heading over to Micah's volleyball game in Deer Park.

Micah's volleyball tournament continued on Saturday, and I got to watch the first game before heading over to New Caney with my step-dad and his girlfriend for my cousin Katie's baby shower.  I got to see a lot of family and friends on that side of the family that I hadn't seen in so long.  It was really wonderful to catch up with everybody and watch Katie open up all of her cute little baby gifts for baby Rylie due on November 9.  Saturday night was really fun because everybody (including my mom) actually stayed up late looking through old photo albums and reminiscing.

I had to come back to Austin on Sunday, but my mom made a super delicious lunch of harvest chowder and cornbread before I left.  I love my family :)

Here are some more pictures from my trip:

Watching soaps with Nana

Funny picture competition

Katie's Baby Shower

Watching football with Kaleb

Micah and her baby, Chico



Watching:  Gossip Girl, still.  I'm about halfway through season five, finally!  Hopefully I'll be all caught up by the time season six airs live on the CW next month.  And tonight is the much-anticipated season premiere of Boardwalk Empire.  I'm itching to see what Mister Nucky Thompson is up to now.

Eating:  Tonight I'm making spiced cod cakes and scalloped corn for dinner.  I made the corn dish for Christmas dinner at Jason's parents' last year, but this will be a trial-run on the cod cakes.  Here's hoping they turn out edible!

Anticipating:  Some possible upcoming changes.  Lately I've been feeling sort of stuck in one place, paralyzed, immobile and frustrated with the inability to make things better for myself.  As cliche as it sounds, life really is way too short to waste time not doing what makes you happy.  I've got to make some changes before I end up in that awful place I was in a few years ago.  On a more chipper note, I'm also eagerly awaiting my favorite time of year, Fall, as well as my favorite holiday, Halloween.  I've been exploring costume options.  As of now, I'm thinking either a sailor girl, a fortune teller (complete with crystal ball) or Olive Oil.  We shall see what I decide on.

Reading:  I finished The Hunger Games trilogy and was planning on diving into the Fifty Shades of Grey obsession, but I temporarily changed my mind and started Sourland by one of my favorite writers, Joyce Carol Oates.  It's a beautiful collection of short stories about death and darkness, just what I need for a little perk-up, huh? 

I think I'm in love with today.  It hasn't stopped raining.  I can't remember the last time it rained this much.  There's no better feeling of comfort than being indoors with the one you love while it's rainy and chilly outside.  Hope you all are enjoying your day as well.  Love and more love.


Leif Erikson // Bathing Beauties

Sue Lyon, Lolita, 1962

"She feels that my sentimental side should be held with kids' gloves,
But she doesn't know that I left my urge in the icebox.
She swears I'm just prey to the female.
Well then hook me up and throw me, babycakes, 'cause I like to get hooked."

Rita Hayworth

"I'll bring you when my lifeboat sails through the night
That is supposing you don't sleep tonight."*

*lyrics from "Leif Erikson" by Interpol
Photo credit: filmnoirphotos.blogspot.com


Quiet Mornings & New Music

Good morning!  I just know it's going to be a fabulous day.  Jason left for work about an hour ago, and I took Fozzie out to the dog park for a bit, really just as an excuse to go outside and soak up this 66 degree weather.  Unbelievable!  I feel like it's usually still swelteringly hot at this time of year, but oh well, I'm not gonna fight it.  Yesterday morning I made a delicious egg white omelet with corn, onion and jalapeno jack cheese.  I seriously impressed myself; I'm not too experienced in the making of omelets.  And being the carb-lover that I am, I had to pair it with a piece of cinnamon-sugar toast.  Mm mm good.  Oh, and there may or may not have been a Prosecco mimosa involved.  After breakfast, I started watching Gossip Girl season five, and I am loving it!  I'm sure many will disagree with me on this, but I think the show has gradually gotten better over the seasons.  I love it now that the Upper East Siders are all in college and (a little) more mature.  When I think back to their high school days, it's kind of upsetting to me how annoying Blair was with her dictator approach to friendship and excessive headbands and/or bows.  She's calmed down a ton; I actually like her now.  The rest of my day was pretty boring.  I just did a little Target perusing and hit up Sonic for a vanilla root beer.  When J got home we made tacos and cheese dip and watched the show Parenthood for the first time.  If you haven't watched the show and have access to Netflix Instant, I highly recommend it.  Any Nate Fisher or Lorelai Gilmore fans out there?  If so, you'll enjoy it for sure.  It reminds me so much of the movie The Family Stone.  They're both about large families, the kids are grown with families and problems of their own and they're all so close-knit and spend lots of time together at their parents' house.  Oh, and Craig T. Nelson is the patriarch in both.  Anyway, Parenthood is really wonderful, and like The Family Stone, it makes me want to have a large family someday and makes me hope that my brother, sister and I are close like that when we're older and have families of our own.

Today, I just decided to go with a simple bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and a plum for breakfast.  I've been eating a lot of plums lately.  I forgot how perfect they are - sweet and tart all at once.  My plans today include getting off of the couch, going to the San Marcos outlets for a few things, lunch at my favorite sushi spot, maybe the mall for some makeup and baking cupcakes.  We'll see how much of that actually gets done.

Today is a good day for new music!  New albums from Sea Wolf and The Avett Brothers are out today, and you can stream the latest from The Killers on iTunes.  Their album Battle Born is due out Sept.18 alongside Grizzly Bear's Shields.  I'm especially in love with the track "Blue Stockings" off of the new Sea Wolf album, Old World Romance.  September always seems to be a good time of year for new tunes.  Delight in it, my friends.



Playlist Post: September 2012

It's time for this month's installment of amazing tunes that this gal can't get enough of!  Hip hip hurrah! There isn't much of a theme for this playlist.  I threw in a couple of oldies from Copeland (hello, high school) and Say Hi To Your Mom.  This is also probably one of my shortest playlists, but it'll get you dancing and probably make you cry a few times too.  Enjoy :)


Gossip Girl: Chuck and Blair

Ok, it's guilty pleasure time, guys.  You should really feel thankful that I don't bombard you with my Gossip Girl obsession more often so I think you can handle what I'm about to throw your way.  I've been watching the teen drama for the past 5-6 months or so via Netflix Instant starting with S01 E01, and I just finished the last episode available, S04 E22.  I am dying!  Season four ended with so many crazy cliffhangers I'm about to lose my mind.  Therefore I just had to jerk up my MacBook and youtube clips from season five immediately.  I won't give too much away, but I have to share with you my passion for Chuck and Blair's chaotic frenzy of a relationship.  Chuck has mommy and daddy issues GALORE, and Blair is an anal retentive head case.  Match made in heaven, my friends.  Yes, of course I love Serena and Dan, and they BETTER end up together at the show's conclusion or else.  However, in lieu of what I just witnessed on my television screen I'm a little more fixated on C+B for the time being.  I am going to share with you a few of my favorite C+B scenes throughout the show thus far.  C'mon!  Suffer with me, people.


Kousins' Kamp 2012

Oh boy, Kousins' Kamp!  Where to begin?  Back in 2008, my mom got this great idea called "Cousins' Camp" from her friend Jenelle.  It's basically a family reunion sans the creepy, distant relatives you've never met before that like to pinch your cheeks and chat about how big you've gotten...and without (most of) the drama that comes with large family gatherings.  So on my mom's side of the family, we decided to make Cousins' Camp an annual thing (as long as we could manage it) and we changed the C's in Cousins' Camp to K's because most of the Kitchen family has K names - My mom is Kary and her sisters are Kim, Kelley and Kandace.  Kelley's kids are Keller and Kirby.  Kandace's kids are Kody and Kaylie, and my mom has me (Kassie) and Kaleb.  The odd balls without K names are Esther, Sarah, Abigail and my sister, Micah.  I should have made a flow chart for better understanding, huh?!

I am basically obsessed with that side of my family.  I love how close-knit we all are and how supportive and loving everyone is toward each others, in most cases.  Our family, as a whole, has been through a lot together, lots of highs and lows, yet we've all stuck together and provided that shoulder to lean on in all situations.  Sure, we have our disagreements about lifestyle choices, religion and politics, but what's so great about us, is that we do have so many differing opinions on important matters, but we all still love and cherish each other despite everything.  We Kitchens are a force of nature.

Anyway, back to the Kamp.  Our first Kousins' Kamp was in 2008, the second in 2009, the third in 2010 and the fourth was this past weekend.  They have all been at Nana's house in Crosby, our sanctuary, the one place that ties all of us together.  That big barn house cradles many precious memories and has plenty of room for more to come.

In past Kousins' Kamps, we had more events and activities like various outdoor races, obstacle courses, hands-on cooking, scavenger hunts and more.  This year, we relaxed the schedule a little and did more catching up, chatting and reminiscing past gatherings.  We still had Krafts with Sarah; we decorated picture frames to hold pictures from Kousins' Kamp as a sort of souvenir.  We did some line dancing out in the driveway, played a few thousand rounds of Yahtzee and Scattergories, watched home videos,  played croquet out in Nana's big front yard, made ice cream sundaes, ate our traditional Kitchen family foods - chicken spaghetti, taco soup and, of course, Velveeta & Rotel cheese dip!  We even had a bit of a war - the elder and wiser females vs. the psychotic teenage boys attempting to attack us with twirling rifles and batons from the 1980s all in order to protect the large flat screen TV they stole from the living room so they could watch their inappropriate movies in the upstairs bedroom.  Tsk tsk.

Sadly, the weekend had to end a little early for some.  Esther, Sarah, Abigail and Aunt Kim left Sunday night so Esther could fly out to Florida the next morning, and Kaleb and Keller both had football practice early Monday morning.  Yesterday afternoon, the fun family-filled weekend came to an official close with the ultimate finale of delish butter burgers at Culver's with my Mom, Micah and Kirby.

Friday night after Kaleb's football game. GO EAGLES!!!

Sitting around the kitchen table as usual.

Proudly holding a painting of my mom from back in the day.

Playing a hilarious game of Scattergories!

Going on a walk around the block with sweet Nana

Brother, Sister and I with Nana

Eating ice cream sundaes!

The "little" girls with Nana

Gearing up for the Egg Toss

Micah being silly

The Masters of Croquet

The Big Girls

Lastly, I have a video montage that my brilliant 14-year-old cousin Kirby put together throughout the weekend: