Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ben Brown, Missing Person- PLEASE READ

For those of you in the Baton Rouge area, if you have seen Ben Brown, 28 yr white male, brown hair/blue eyes, 5'7, 165 lbs., please call Lt. Johnson at 225-268-7170. Last seen 5:20am 7/29 in khakis and a white polo.

Ben married my sorority sister Ragan Greer a little over a year ago. They just celebrated their one year anniversary. He went into the office early yesterday, but is missing. None of his co-workers saw him. If you recognize the face or have any information, please call the number above. And for everyone else out there who reads this blog, please pray for my friend and her family. Pray that God gives her the strength to make it through the day, that God gives her the peace to make it to the next hour. Keep hope for his safe return.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Girl's Day Out! ...and other random thoughts

I've delayed this blog post waiting for the picture of all us ladies... but here it is anyway.

A few weekends ago, the Court ladies got together to celebrate Sabrina's birthday in style, starting with brunch at Breadwinners followed by seeing The Chorus Line at Fair Park. Mrs. Carmen spent Saturday night at the house with us, and Jessica Newell came along with us too. Since Reece is becoming a big girl now, we brought her along as well. It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I loved seeing Reece watch the dancing with her big eyes open wide. There was one part where the dialogue was lengthy and she got a little sleepy, but other than that she did great. I've never seen her awake and quiet for so long. At one point, I asked if she liked the show, and she put her finger over her lips and nodded her head. Too cute. When the show was over, the first thing she said was that she wanted to see more. I'm glad she enjoyed it, and I'm thrilled we had an afternoon with just the girls. It was the first time we've been able to do something like this, and I sure hope we don't wait as long till the next time.

And while I'm on the topic of Sabrina, I want to let everyone know she found a new job that she accepted and will start next week. She's getting a laptop, a blackberry, has the flexibility to work out of the house... it seems like a great opportunity for her. It's a sales position, although I'm hesitant to blog about it and misrepresent her product. You'll have to ask her yourself! We're really excited about the change though, cause Brina will now have her weekends to herself. I grew up with Sunday as a family day, being spent with aunts, uncles, and cousins at my Maw Maw's house in the evenings. I enjoyed that, and hope to have an opportunity to get together with Layne's family more often now that Brina and Scott will be able to join us. I love their company... but let's be real, Sunday dinner's would be pretty awesome too. :)

For those of you who have been wondering how my exploits in the kitchen are going... believe it or not, it could be worse. I've only ended up in tears once, and I think I can bake chicken pretty well now. Soups are my specialty. (Kitchen 101... what did you expect?) Some of my family is headed to Dallas for Labor Day weekend this year (Uncle Paul D and Aunt Cindy, Meg, Paul, my Mom and Dad, Abby... maybe Aunt Ellie and Jeff), and I'm looking forward to cooking a meal at the house for them. I'm practicing, and I think I would make my Granny proud- at least for the effort.

And finally- I want to shout out to my Paw Paw, my dad's dad. Yesterday would have been his 88th birthday. He's been gone from this world for a few years now, and while the pain isn't as fresh as the loss of Granny and Grandpa, you never stop missing loved ones. My grandpa was larger than life- literally and figuratively. Our big mouths... just like him. Our ability to share our passion... learned from him. Family is the priority... taught by him. My dad's parents were simple people, they didn't have money, they weren't social butterflies like my Granny was. They valued family, they valued education, they valued Holy Cross. I know he is looking down at our family and how we have grown and it would bring a smile to his face. He has 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren... and the youngest 5 grandchildren don't have kids yet. He would be proud of what he and Maw-Maw have created. And that knowledge alone makes yesterday a beautiful day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fantasy Football Is Finally Here!

As many of you know, I'm the commissioner for a fantasy football league here at the office. I say "a", because there are multiple leagues at Merit. We call it the "B League," and it is a filter into the Big Boy League. Gotta earn your way into that. I also play college fantasy football... but more to come on that later.

The year has started. The first email was received. It's time to pull your sleeves up and get to work.... cause the only thing worse than losing is getting taunted about it before your first cup of coffee on Monday morning. Haven't heard from your commish yet? I thought you might enjoy the note below:

Fellow Fantasy Football Folks,
With the Hall of Fame Game less than two weeks away, it’s officially that time of the year for your regrets from last year’s disappointing finish to transform into hopes for a more successful season this year. Everyone’s records are the same, we’ve all got equal odds at the #1 draft pick, and even Lester and Hickey have yet to make an unbelievably questionable move so far this year. Last year’s champ is no longer among us, so unfortunately that leaves Bill Arnold in his rightful place as de facto Last Year’s Champ – those years of carrying a headset around a college football sideline finally paid off for him.

We all know the drill, spend every day between now and the draft trying to come up with your cleverest team name (bonus points to anybody who can beat the ingenuity that spawned Todd’s team name last year, “Triplett”), finally have a legitimate excuse to read days worth of fantasy football articles, come up with your best sleeper pick, and, for the third year in a row, watch The Little Giants improbably draft Brett Favre in the 4th round (even if he still hasn’t made a decision about un-retiring yet). As always, use this as an excuse to ridicule your coworkers, fleece anyone you can, and cherish the look on an owner’s face when they find out that Andy acquired their starting QB in the other league, which invariably led to a prolonged stint on the DL (seriously Andy, maybe you can use that power for good somehow this year).

Just to give the new folks an idea of what we are playing for: Besides yearlong bragging rights and the opportunity to completely ridicule your peers for some, from what I have seen, of the most ridiculous personnel moves ever, last year’s buy-in was $50. By the end of the season, teams had spent between $60.00 and $147.32 (The commissioner won the frivolous spending title for the 2nd year in a row – and I am willing to take on all challengers again this year). The top team ended up winning $735, 2nd place won $441 and 3rd and 4th won $196 each.

Here’s to another great year! (And Monica- here's a shout out to the only girl I know who gets as excited about fantasy football as I do. I can't wait to see how you do in your league this year, and am so excited that you'll be passing along your passion for the game to your beautiful baby girl!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wild Wild West...

So for the past three days I've been out in West Texas with 12 other co-workers. We were there to take a tour of a facility in Odessa, and it ended up being a 3 day little vacation get-away.

The work portion of the trip was great, and was definitely worth the time. There are so many tools, so many different types of equipment in the oilfield... it's a challenge to really stay on top of them and their best practices. Although I've run several of the tools, it was great to be able to take the time to refresh my memory... and it didn't hurt to have some skilled hands with us who were able to answer our questions.

Pros: Great BBQ at KD's, awesome live bands at The Shack in the Back and The Ranch, a night long shuffleboard tournament, and lots of laughs with my co-workers. I really enjoy the people that I work with, and that's a big plus.

Cons: I was the DD and ended up shuttling people home from the bars in shifts, and I didn't get much sleep. I am terrible when I don't get the sleep I need. Watch out Layne... here's the warning. And oh yeah- we were supposed to go catch a Rockhounds game, the Oakland A's AA baseball team, but it got cancelled.

I'm tired, glad to be home, and can't wait to see Stephen who is up here for the weekend. I don't have a car at the office... but as soon as I can catch a ride, it's nap time! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Weight Watchers... Beginning Again

Today is the day... after weeks of excuses and laziness, today is the today I'm headed back to Weight Watchers. I started taking some medicine a few weeks back that I knew was likely to cause me to gain some weight. I've been watching the scale like a hawk, secretly hoping it wouldn't happen, but it has. So rather than whine and throw myself a pity party, I'm headed back to the program I know works for me.

The first time I gained weight cause of a medication, I did Weight Watchers. My body will consistently lose +/- 2 lbs a week if I follow the program. It worked in college, and I have no doubt it will work again now.

Last night, I tackled the big trip to the grocery store. We haven't been in awhile because of our travels, so we were due. I got the basics we were in need of, and I planned several meals for the next two weeks and got the necessary ingredients for them. Layne is going to love this, because I'll be forced to cook on a regular basis now. I cleaned out the refrigerator, prepped what I could, and before I knew it, it was already 10pm. I started my little journey before 6pm.

I've got to admit... I'm a little excited. I went and got a pedometer at the sporting goods store this week, and I've got a group of girls who are going to be walking the Galleria with me at lunch. I used to walk 15,000 + steps a day when I was in college. Now I don't even hit 7,000 steps on weekday. It's good to be conscious of it, and my goal is going to be to average 12,000 steps 3-4 days a week. There's a walking track at the high school in the neighborhood, and even though it's CRAZY hot here during the day, it cools down enough that I can get a few rounds in around 8pm.

I'm going to attend meetings on Thursday (to give me some time to make up for the weekends), so you can look forward to my posts in the future. I figure by sharing with all of you, you can help hold me accountable. When I was in college, my Granny and I were both doing Weight Watchers. I'd call every week when I got out of my meeting to let her know how I did, and vice versa. We weighed in on the same day. I'm sure I'll think about her often as I go down this road, but when I do I'll be sure to remind myself of how lucky I am. Not many people are as close to their grandparents and I am, not many people have the time with them that I did. Maybe now that she's upstairs, she can pull some strings and make the process a little easier for me... or at least help me get organized so I'll be better prepared for it.

I'll also be sure to let you know about my adventures in the kitchen. I have a knack for making some crazy mistakes, and I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 6 Months to Us!

(Please excuse the delay in posting this blog. I meant to do so on Friday, but got caught up with traveling back from Houston and forgot about it!)

We may be one of the only couples I know who are fortunate enough to go on a second honeymoon six months into their marriage, but the picture above is from this past weekend in Mexico. And spare me the grief- I am an LSU Tiger who bleeds purple and gold, but I also love being an Aggie wife.

If someone would have told me on the day of our wedding that I would love Layne exponentially more a few months down the road, I would have laughed and questioned how that would be possible. But it's so true.

I am so fortunate to have married my best friend- my other, and most times, better half. I know he thinks the same of me. Although I haven't even known Layne for three years yet, their is no one who knows me like he does. Marriage has been an amazing experience, and I couldn't have asked for a better man to go on the journey with.
Looking forward to all the good times in the future, Husbie!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Only Thing Better than the Morning Cup of Coffee:

Today I want to make a little plug-in for my favorite sports website that I follow daily, year round. For those of you who love LSU and aren't familiar with it, it's the best way to start your day if you're one of those who is at a computer doing the 9am-5pm... or whatever your extended hours may be. It's . Dandy Don is definitely in the know regarding LSU sports. He attends practices, and has contacts both in the athletic department and the recruiting scene. His insider knowledge is invaluable, and I love his daily updates, especially during the college sports dry spell known as summer time.

This week, he posted some interesting stats showing once again that Louisiana is the place to be for college football. As I'm sure you know, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and California contribute the most Division 1-A college football prospects. In the 2009 recruiting class, Texas led with 394 players signing D1-A scholarships. Florida had 346, California had 295, Georgia had 195, Ohio had 159, and Louisiana had 96.

But in an effort to show the world why Louisiana is better than the rest, it's important to qualify those states and look at the number of signees when you take into account the population of the state... Mwah ha ha! (Can you hear my evil laugh?!?)

1.) Louisiana: 4,410,796/96= 1 in every 45,945 people
2.) Florida: 18,328,340/346= 1 in every 52,972 people
3.) Georgia: 9,685,744/195= 1 in every 58,701 people
4.) Texas: 24,326,974/394= 1 in every 61,734 people
5.) Ohio: 11,485,910/159= 1 in every 72,238 people
6.) California: 36,756,666/295= 1 in every 124,598 people

When you wonder what it is that makes the SEC the most dominant conference in the county, it's easy to understand when you see that the top three states producing D1-A scholarship players are in the SEC. And we all know LSU has a lock on the I-10 corridor heading into Texas, which just adds to our good fortune.

LSU has restored our program to national prominence, and it's hard to see it going anywhere when you look at statistics like this.

In closing, I received a "tweet" from Les Miles yesterday informing me that LSU is changing their jerseys. We are adding "LSU" to the front of the 2009 jerseys for both purple and white uniforms. The "LSU" is 2-1/8" wide and 3/8" tall and will be located just below the neckline and right about the player's number. We're going to be trendsetters, because this is the first time in the history of college football that a school's name will appear on the front of the jersey. I can't wait till the rest of the NCAA follows our lead and copies. You know they will.

Only 58 days till kickoff! AND... Southwest Airlines flies into Seattle, which is where LSU will be opening up the 2009 season. I've got free flights. My husband won't be able to join me because of work commitments (crunch time for his Ursaline Academy project), so I'm looking for someone to travel with me. Let me know if you're interested!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Special Day, A Special Family

Tomorrow is July 8th, and 6 years ago (has it really been 6 years?), this day took on a special meaning for our family. My cousin Michael Armstrong passed away. I'm not sure why, but I wanted to mention this on the blog. I felt it needed/deserved to be mentioned... because we will never forget Michael.

My heart goes out to Aunt Leslie, Uncle Scott, Christina, Brian, Amy, David and Mark at this time of year. I've learned that loss and grieving is a process that never truly ends. As time goes on, it takes on different shapes and effects us in different ways, but it is always there.

Michael is the same age as Layne. They are only two weeks apart, and I often think about the fact that they would have gotten along so well. They both share a passion for music... Layne loves Michael's friends. He's in Manhattan having dinner with Christina tonight, and I find great comfort in that.

I don't know what the Armstrong's find comfort in, but I do know that they have all been an inspiration to me. They have helped me to look inside of myself and find courage and strength when I've needed it, they've shown me that love can help to mend pain. They've shown me that while life isn't easy, it is always worth fighting for. And because of our loss, I've learned to value and appreciate life for everything each day can bring.

So when my heart is heavy, because I miss Michael, and I hurt for my family and oldest friend, I'm going to think of the good memories that bring a smile to my face. I'll never forget the countless hours watching Michael play original Nintendo, and when he took the time to teach me to play my first video game. (I tried to succeed at Zelda. I ended up being much better at Concentration.) I'll never forget when he babysat all the Orkus' and Armstrongs, and scared the sh*t out of me chanting "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary" in the bathroom with the door locked and the lights off. I'll remember when Amy and I snuck into his room and read the notes his high school girlfriend Kendra wrote him, with dolphins doodled all over the margins, and the first time I saw him perform with the Golden Band from Tigerland.

Michael will always be missed... and I know he will always be remembered. And tomorrow, when I wake up, I will remind myself that life is good. Not because life is easy, but because we will always have each other. And at the end of the day, that's really what life is all about.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Ahhh... back from an amazing weekend in Mexico. Actually, we're not back. We arrived at DFW airport last night at 9:15pm, and sat in line to go through customs and immigration until 10:45pm. We had to make a pit stop at Layne's office to do a favor for his co-worker (my husband is such a giving man), and finally made it back to the house at 11:45pm. We unpacked. We repacked. We crashed at 12:30, and woke to the alarm clock at 4:15am. We both made our flights, and now Layne is enjoying some time in New Jersey and I'm enduring the humidity in Houston. It's been a whirlwind of a day, and I'm looking forward to crashing in a little while.

I'll post more about our AMAZING weekend later, but I couldn't resist telling you about what we saw in Mexico City. (We had a layover there on our way to the airport in Cancun.)

Did you know that there is a company, Irisys, who makes an infrared device that can detect fever? So anyone who has a body temperature higher than 38deg C (We were in Mexico, Fahrenheit is for us Americans) sets off an alarm indicating that they may have a fever! It was amazing. As we passed through immigration, there was a camera that took a heat measurement and a body temperature, allowing the airport to scan the masses effectively. Mexico City is now the largest city in the world (so we were told) with 35 million people. I gotta admit, I was impressed, and felt entirely safe about our great adventure into the middle of the Swine Flu madness. I know I'm a dork, but you just have to love the luxuries technology affords us all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recipe for Longhorn Gumbo

1. Start with some Super-Regional seasoned RICE.

2. Carefully move from the back burner in Baton Rouge to the hot stove in Omaha.

3. Add some VIRGINIA country ham- do so quickly because it doesn't stay fresh long.

4. Season with a double dose of pig fat- RAZORBACK fat, that is.

5. Slowly bring to a boil in a heat index of 107.

6. Then slowly add LONGHORN meat- make sure the meat comes from Austin, Texas.

7. Cook for 11 innings on the first day.

8. Let it cool for a day.

9. Then bring it to a boil and blow the lid off on day 3!

This is a tried and true recipe and one that's sure to tantalize the taste buds of Tiger fans everywhere.

(I can't take credit for this, but I sure can pass it along! GEAUX TIGERS!)