Saturday, June 27, 2009


This week has just flown by. . . I feel like I hardly got anything done.

Here's a summary:

~ I rode my bike to campus 4 times this week. I wanted to do this everyday, but it just was not possible. I am quite proud of though, especially since our average high temperature this week has been 105.

~ I started swimming at the pool, and absolutely love it.

~ I FINALLY got my fat quarters for the fat quarter swap all packaged and sent.

~ getting in the mindset to get the materials and start Alyssa's project. She just arrived in Kodiak, Alaska yesterday!

~ Ryan's little sister is here in Austin to spend some time with him before his birthday. We went to the Alamo drafthouse last night and saw The Proposal, which I thought was really funny and cute and I enjoyed. Today they will probably be hanging out by the pool or go to Barton Springs, while I am here at work. But tonight we will get something to eat, go see the bats and try to find some live music somewhere.

~ Tomorrow, the plan is to go shooting. I know Ryan is thrilled about this.

Maybe it's because his sister is here, and because I feel like I have missed out on the summer vacation since my family already did the whole Jalama thing and I couldn't go, but I am really missing family today. While I saw my mom, sisters, and others in Connecticut for Alyssa's graduation, I haven't seen my dad, brother, Briana, Michelle, Oom Tiki and even more family since Christmas. I miss you guys!

The Williams kids at Ben's Pepperdine graduation, 2007
(Chanelle, Ashley, Ben, me, Ingrid)

Dad and his number 1.
(Taken late one night while I had been packing to move to Texas)

me and Briana, my cousin who is less than a month older than me.
Playmates since we were babies, and my closest cousin.

Michelle, a college girlfriend, celebrating her birthday with my family.
Mom is pictured here with her, and five bucks says that's Michelle's favorite confetti cake.

me and Oom Tiki, my mom's baby brother.
He got me tickets to the 2005 Rose Bowl USC/UT national championship.
Best. game. ever.

Michelle and I before I moved to Texas.

Banana and I last winter break.

Ben and David (Briana's brother), in their crazy stunt photo in Audrey's (their older sister) wedding photo booth. Her wedding was recently highlighted in Southern Weddings!

Baba and I the summer after I moved out here. I miss that kind of color.

At least I'll get a good dose at Aaron's wedding in August...though this will only be my mom's side of the family and I won't see any of the Williams side. Hopefully I can make it out to Cali in September! I love you guys.

Ryan, his little sis and my kitties will have to be enough for now. Happy weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Sigh. I've mentioned how poor graduate students are, right? I know I have.
Things are especially lean in the summer months when I am not on a teaching assistantship. Man, I cannot wait to get out of here and into the real world, with a real job, real salary and a life!

Ok, enough whining. Until I can buy, I can wish. Here is a list of things I would either 1) like for my birthday or 2) buy if I had some extra spending cash.

~Lady Antebellum's album. I have heard that it is really good, and I love their song "Run to You".

This costs what, 10 bucks? sad. Usually I treat myself to a new music album every month, but I can't this summer. It'll have to wait until fall.

~ JoAnn gift card. I need to buy a ton of fabric for Alyssa's duvet cover that I promised to make her. I have settled on a color scheme (red, aqua, black and cream), and now need to get the fabrics. I've started scoping out online for pretty designer fabrics that are on sale. I'll have to mix it up because you really cannot beat some of these prints.

Alexander Henry - reminiscent of gulls at the beach?

Alexander Henry - I really like this light fabric!

Joel Dewberry deer valley - Antler Damask

Alexander Henry

Joel Dewberry deer valley - I love this red

Alexander Henry

The pattern for her duvet cover calls for 13 different fabrics, 5 for the foundation, and 4 each of light and dark prints for the "bobbles". By the way, I plan to make the patchwork duvet cover from Amy Butler's In Stitches. I'm not gonna lie....I'm kinda freaking out about this project (and I haven't even started on it!) First, I have never done anything patchwork am I supposed to make sure all the fabrics match? Maybe that's the beauty of patchwork...they don't have to? Like the ones I have selected from SMS and Pink Chalk Studios stores that fit my color scheme.... birds, what looks like a cotton plant, scallops, big aqua flowers, etc. It seems like too much, like maybe I should just stick with flowers, and some "shape" sort of prints. When I look at other projects in blogland, there are all sorts of prints within a given quilt or blanket, so maybe this will be ok. I'm just scared that I will spend all this money to put something together and have it turn out looking absolutely crazy. Or I will like it but Alyssa won't. Maybe it's just that activation barrier that one must overcome when it comes to starting something new, that you have no idea how to do, and you come up with reasons not to start, and so you get stuck. Either way, I can't work on it until I get the fabrics, and getting them has its own activation barrier in itself.

~ I need a setup something like this for my bike.

This actually looks uber cheap to do, but I have seen the metal versions you can buy.
Right now, I wear my backback (which is full with lunch, change of clothes, lab notebook, etc) when I ride. I get hot enough as it is biking 7 miles to campus in 9
0 degree heat at 8 am (Thank you Texas summers).

~ iPod armband. I don't have one for my new nano, and right now I keep it secured under my sports bra strap. (Don't worry mom, I only have wear one of the ear plugs, so I can still hear traffic too!)

from the Apple site

~ I need to get a dress altered...take the straps in. I have never gotten anything tailored before, so I have no idea how much it would cost. But I would like to wear this dress to my cousin's wedding in August, so I really need to get this done!

~ new workout shoes. Mine need to soon be retired.

~Some of this fabric:

Because I need everything seahorse... (Mendocino)

~Ryan's birthday is next Tuesday. I already got him that Cabela's gift card, but it would be nice to treat him to a nice dinner somewhere...something special. He's told me a steak or our favorite sushi restaurant (Musashino) would be awesome. We haven't had a treat like that in a really long time. I just got contacted by an organic student this week looking for a tutor to meet 3x a week, so I'll put whatever money I make towards the bday deal. We might end up having to pick up some nice steaks and grill 'em ourselves. It just seems like so little. I know this is where we both are at in our lives and we need to make do with what we have. This is life in grad school. At least we are both healthy, and have a roof over our heads, and our animals to go home to. He just works so hard and deals with a lot, and he does so much for me....I would like to do more than grilling steaks at the house. (Who wants to spend their birthday grilling at their bosses house?) I'll see what I can come up with.

I think that's it for now... I know I had a couple other things on my mind, but they have since left me as people have come to talk to me/ ask me questions. (yeah, in the lab) Those other things must not have been that big a deal.

It's Wednesday...the week is almost halfway over!
Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Night

A trip to Cabela's: $6.80 (in gas)

Floating camo shotgun case: $25.00

Shotgun cleaning kit: $19.99

12 gauge 9 and 4 shot (ammo): $30.00

Going to the "restroom" and coming back with a surprise early birthday gift card thus putting a huge smile on this man's face: priceless

Happy early birthday Mister. I love you!
(in his winter coat from this past year)

Now he's ready for skeet shooting this weekend!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A light bulb with that bright "ding" sound

Mason jars. I love candles. And I love simple.

Isn't this so rustic and romantic?
I saw this over at 100 Layer Cake

When I get married, it's going to be simple, not flashy, and intimate, with only family and super close friends there. I do know that I want to get married in California. Furthermore, being one of four girls and a poor grad student, said event will need to be pocketbook friendly. I really don't see the point in spending a whole lot on a wedding. Being from Oklahoma, I think Ryan would like the country vibe from these. But not country country, more down-to-earth.
This is just me, but I would rather put that money towards our life together (like a house or some other investment). Anywho, I love this idea of using (lots of) mason jars for decorating. You could probably fashion some pretty cool lanterns by using copper wire wrapped around the lip of the jar to make a handle, and then hang them from trees with pretty ribbon or tulle cut into think long, ribbon-like strips. Hmmm, I wonder if it would be strong enough to hold that. I like the delicate, glisteny look of tulle. I have already saved a few jars, and I think I am going to try to make the hanging type of lantern. Just to give it a test. I'm sure there are a bunch of tutorials on making lanterns out there...but it can't be that hard!

Other pretty jars:

From a wedding over at Mint

Actual hanging lanterns found on Say for me love

I'm in love. Mom, perhaps you and the girls should start saving up jars!

Friday, June 12, 2009


I am insanely jealous. My family, cousins and aunt and uncles are all at Jalama (beach in central Cali) right now. It's Alyssa's last vacation before her station up in Kodiak, Alaska, and they are up there celebrating the fact that this girl graduated from high school last night. She'll be heading off into the big, new, exciting world of UC Riverside...following in my footsteps. Congratulations Inky!!

Ingrid, number 5 in the Williams clan

We have been going to Jalama since I was in elementary school. All the Williams family, along with Tante Bay and her kids, Alyssa and Brad, Oom Jopie, Tante San and her kids ,Willem and Meryl, Oom Tiki, plus whatever friends we wanted to bring along with us would go beach camping here. Our Oregonian cousins have come a couple times too, and we all have so much fun together. It's the best, there is a little general store in the campground, and hot showers and flush toilets and you're at the beach. Not the hard-core roughing-it camping. Every year, we would start getting things together to pack for our camping trip, and we would leave the night of the last day of school. Knowing that we would be leaving for Jalama on the last day of school is what got us through the school year. It's a family tradition. Last night, they left at 2 am so that they can get there this morning to hopefully get a spot. It's been crazy to see Jalama's popularity boom over the years. It is very rare now to get a spot right away, most often we are put on the waiting list for a day and have to camp in town for a night or two (they don't do reservations). In August, someone has to drive up a whole week before the planned trip, to wait and get a spot, and stake a tent to reserve it for the rest of the group. crazy.

Ok, so some photos of said paradise.

A midday photo of the beach. You can literally camp right on the beach, and we've been lucky enough to snag a some of these sites a couple times. They're always first to go!

Same view, later in the day towards sunset. It's fun to watch the clouds creep in over the hills....but it always stays clear right over the campground. When we have the beach sites, we all move our sleeping bags out onto the dunes, and stargaze. We have contests of who can sees the most satellites or shooting stars until we fall asleep.

Just before the sun went down.

Aren't those colors freaking amazing? I don't know how you can beat a California sunset, and forget trying to top a Jalama one.

When we aren't in the water ourselves, another thing we love to do is watch the surfers and dolphins play in the evening waves. The dolphins always come out then, and you see them surfing the same waves as the surfers. It's so fun to watch.

A view of the campground. You can see it is pretty small, and there is only one road leading to the campground and access to this beach, so it is pretty private. You will only see folks who are also camping, or those there for day use (mostly surfers from town).

We ususally take one day to go fishing, which entails a 3 mile hike down the beach towards Point Conception. We always take our time meandering and exploring the beach and checking out the tide pools along the way. We pack up a bunch of backpacks with snacks, and when we finally get to our destination, we make a bonfire and hang out while we take turns fishing. There is also usually more exploring, and eating and sleeping. We usually catch perch, but have also caught halibut and sea bass.

Ryan got to come last was his first ever seeing the ocean! It's only a four hour drive to the Gulf for us, but I didnt want to waste his first time on the Gulf. You gotta do something like that right. I have not been to the Gulf myself, but I hear it is pretty nasty.

Collecting mussels for bait with Stevie (red, Ash's bf) and Brad. We usually head out right after breakfast, and the tides were at really odd hours this trip. We were catching it late while the tide was coming in. It gets really deep right in front of where Ryan is standing....and the water is pretty chilly!

The best part about Jalama is you don't have to do anything you don't want to. You can sleep, eat, go for a walk/ take the dogs on the beach, sometimes we bring our bikes and go for a bike ride, go surfing and body boarding, cruise the longboards (skateboards) around the campground, lay out, or just do nothing and be with the people you love! Here, Ingrid and I are peppering a volleyball. And we have at least one good tackle football game a year.

Mem and Ash hanging out after a hard day on the beach. =P

I could go on and on about all the fun times I have had with my whole family, not just here but all the time. Tante San lived 4 miles west of us, and Tante Bay 3 miles to the east. Us kids all went to the same school, and did everything together! I can only hope that my generation stays as close as my mom's, so that our kids can have the same great childhood we had...or even better!

I hope you guys have fun up there this next week!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I love this girl

Meet Meryl.

She is my goofy, awfully sweet cousin. (the other sillies are Chanelle (sis), Alyssa (cousin) and Ashley (sis), during our escapades in Austin November 2007. The girls came and had turkey day with me). We are an extremely tightly knit family, and have so many good memories with these girls.

I am so proud of her because she is moving to Las Vegas as she is one of the newest members of La Reve at the Wynn!

She is a synchronized swimmer, and will be performing as a swimmer, dancer and doing some of the trapeze/harness work for the show. I am so proud of her! She will be working along side many Olympic athletes. Go Memmy! She told me that during her audition, part of the workshop was to be taken up by the harness ( I think I read somewhere it is close to eighty feet) and she had to let go and fall into the water. She said it took all her strength not to scream her lungs out. She also essentially has a full ride (they are paying her tuition) so she can get her teaching credentials.

The show looks amazing. I am really looking forward to going to Vegas sometime to see her and the show. She is moving there in mid-August, and since she will have to learn all the routines, probably won't actually be in the performance until later. But if you are ever there, you should see the show too!

More of Meryl:

Meryl (left) and Ashley just after our kayaking trip on town lake, Thanksgiving Break 2007

Meryl, me and Alyssa sitting down to eat Thanksgiving Dinner, 2005. (yes, we are in our bathing suits.) We were laying out that day while the turkey was cooking since it was like 80 degrees!

Ingrid (sis), Chanelle, Alyssa, Ashley, Meryl and Me at The Yardhouse, Christmas Break 2008. The Southern Cali Van Delden girls.

Michelle, me, Meryl and Ashley. Pausing during a volleyball game in front of a Jalama Beach sunset. (Beach camping here is a family must every year)

Meryl and me hugging before she had to leave Christmas morning 2007. I only saw her for an hour!

Meryl, me and Alyss in front of the Austin State Capitol last year

Taking the girls to a real football game, November 2006

Ingrid, Chanelle and Meryl with more Jalama fun.

Meryl and Maggie (her duet partner). Look how high Mem gets!

I am so glad that Mem will be closer to family the rest of the family. She's been pretty separated from us while going to school in Alabama, so a four hour drive from Las Vegas definitely beats that! Plus, she has an old swim mate from her synchro club days who is also in the show, and some relatives, including my brother, who go to Vegas fairly often. I am glad she won't be so lonely. Awesome job Mem...I love you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Things I will miss when I leave Austin:

~ The Alamo Drafthouse which is a great movie theater. The tickets are cheap, but the best part is you can order real food, coffee, beer and wine, desserts, pretty much whatever you might want while you enjoy the show. But they also host events there, like Master Pancake Theatre. This is a show where some movie is mocked (the last one they had was Jurassic Park) and the audience interacts with the hosts while the movie is being played. It is really funny. They also do things like sing-alongs to popular boy bands of the nineties, or eighties power ballads. It's a pretty unique place.
~ The UT Bell Tower. It's just so pretty, even when it is not all festive and lit up in Texas spirit. On normal nights, it is usually highlighted by white lights, and either way it looks so majestic. Everyday at 1 and 6pm the bells play all sorts of medleys too.

~ Texas margaritas. Perfect on a hot summer night - preferably in guava or mango.
~ Good old Texas BBQ. I have not had better brisket prior to coming here. If you come to Austin, having BBQ is a must. Go to Rudy's (best food in my opinion, try the brisket) or the Salt Lick (best atmosphere - BYOB. We always do at least one trip here with a big group during the summer...its just a bit far out in the boonies. Ordering family style is the best).
~The bats are so cool and always fun to watch.

~ I think our football stadium is bad-ass and one of the most impressive structures I have seen. I have not been to the Colosseum, but when I am standing at the entrance of our stadium it's what I think of. (this is an old picture, taken before they expanded it. Now it is just as high all the way around. With ~100k fans in the stands, football games are SO MUCH FUN.

~ The Brick Oven Restaurant. A cute little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant that's in this little old house (not to be confused with the Brick Oven franchise here in town...they are different). Everything is cooked and baked in a brick oven, and the smokey flavor is so tasty. Ryan and I love this place.
~ Russel's Bakery. GREAT coffee, pastries and cake. If I were to get married in Austin, I'd have them make my cake, and I'd have the rehearsal dinner at the Brick Oven!
~ The Texas sun. It's intense, and it does get hot. But I like it.
~ How this city is overall a pretty healthy and active city. There are always people out and about exercising...making me feel guilty when I am not doing the same good for myself. I like that atmosphere about this place.
~ Chips and queso. I never had or even heard of this before coming here. It's pretty tasty, and a Texas thing.
~ Penny Kile. The graduate student administrator. This woman is awesome, and like a second mom to all of us grad. students.

Things I WON'T miss in Austin:
~ anything and everything to do with Welch Hall (aka the Chemistry Building)
~ The kids (who are not poor and needy) who think it's cool to dress up like hobos and hang out on The Drag (main street off campus) and harass you for money, food, the shirt of your back, whatever. They are incredibly rude.
~ the drivers. Texas drivers are the worst....defensive driving is a must around here. You know it's bad when there are signs along the highway reminding people to:

~ The humidity.
~ The mosquitoes!!
~ loneliness of not being close to family.

I am sure there are lots of things great things about Austin not on this list, but being a grad student with limited time, and an even smaller budget I know I am missing out on something. I think this pretty much rounds out my list for the day. I might come back and add other things later...but I am starting to get distracted by other things so I should get back to work!