this week's drama

Well...there may be another lag in posting. My computer died (or something - yet to be determined) on Wednesday. I've spent a good part of the week trying to figure all THAT out...and will probably end up taking it in to someone on Monday or Tuesday to get fixed. It's kinda put me in a shabby mood, which it shouldn't. I've just gotten behind on work...and may lose 6-8 months worth of files. It's not a HUGE deal really...I should be thankful. I've got a majority of my work stuff and bookmarks backed up on a thumb drive, and my music is all on my ipod - we have 2 OTHER computers (the laptop which I'm on currently - and Chance's). Really, we're blessed. But I'm pretty wound up from being behind on work as well as other things, and I probably won't post anything for the next several days, maybe a week. It's possible that Chance might write...but as for me, consider me on a temporary hiatus 'til I can pull myself together.

Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween.

it might be a quarter life crisis, or just a stirring in my soul...

Well, I'm 25. John Mayer says it well. And yeah - man, the weeks prior to and following my birthday have been weeks of...reflection and wondering. I'm not gonna divulge ALL of my incoherent thoughts about being this old on our blog, but I AM going to tell you about my birthday and all the goings-on and festivities. That's much, much more fun.

Chance made me a delicious dinner last Friday night (the 17th) - it was scrumptious. A coconut-crusted tilapia salad with mandarin oranges, strawberries, apples, feta and some wonderful homemade citrus dressing. I wish I could describe it appropriately - it was truly some of the best fish I've ever tasted.

We decided to pop open a bottle of wine and celebrate the bday early. Much better than the Little Caesar's we had for his 24th (still sorry about that one, C). We had a relatively relaxing evening at was nice.

On my birthday (Sunday the 19th), we headed for my hometown of Tyler. We treated ourselves to some Bill Miller breakfast tacos and were on our way. When we got there we dropped off our stuff at my dad's and visited briefly with he and Karen...then made our way to Ming's for lunch with one of my absolute best friends in the world, Daniel Elbert. He's been my buddy since 6th grade - I just love the kid - so it was great to spend some time on my b-day with him. Chance, Elbert and I went to the Caldwell Zoo (which is still one of the best zoos I've ever been to, second to San Antonio). We wandered for a couple of hours checking out the animals...we were slightly disappointed that the painting elephant wasn't painting, and there were fewer monkeys than times past - but it was a good adventure nonetheless. The weather was gorgeous. We also spent a little time out at the rose garden (which was in full bloom) at an arts and crafts fair out there. That may have been a flop, but my dad joined us...and I honestly enjoyed just relaxing and walking around.

We dropped Elbert off eventually (and sadly), and decided to check out our friend Trevor's vintage shop, Blue Owl, which he opened fairly recently. It's awesome to see him doing something so cool - the store setup is seriously awesome - its even got a cool lounge area...and his merch selection is awesome and VERY pleasantly priced.

Following our afternoon adventures we headed to my grandmother Golly's house. We hung out with her for a while until we headed to dinner at Coyote Sam's - a fairly new restaurant in Tyler. Elbert decided to join us for that too - so it was Chance, Elbert, Golly, mom, my sister Luci and my aunt julia who celebrated over dinner. I'm going to TRY not to turn this into a food review blog - lol - I LOVE food, so that's hard. Anyway - their portions were giant and we all ate til we were stuffed, I'm pretty sure. I opened a few gifts and some cards (including an inappropriate one from my sister - thanks Luci!) It was great spending time with everyone, and we ended up back at Golly's house talking to her til 12:30 AM. She's a night owl, even at 87 years old. I just adore time with her - and it was nice to get to chat with her for so long...just the three of us.

We stumbled back to my dad's house...a block away from Golly and got a good night's rest in his California King sized guest bed. Shoot. If I could have that bed, I'd take it. It's such a great bed, it's worth mentioning in the blog. Ha.

Monday was fun as well - we slept in a little and then headed to lunch with Dad and Karen. They were more than willing to take me to probably my FAVORITE Tyler restaurant - Villa Montez.

Mmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The food there is great too. I'll let Chance talk more about it in his food blog, but for now, pictures will have to suffice. We shared a delicious Cucumber Mojito -

as well as my favorite appetizer...and some scrumptious entrees.

We went back to their house for cookie cake - then said our goodbyes (ugh, that's always hard)...

...picked Golly up from her house...and headed over to the McMurrey office where my mom and sister work to say bye to my mom and meet up with my sister... I took a few pictures there (I had forgotten to take any at dinner the night before, unfortunately) - *Elbert, if you read this, we NEED a picture over Christmas break*.

Apparently my mom and my sister were both about to pull their hair out, so that necessitated a viewing of some crazily dressed man(?) singing Rio De Janiero on you tube. Seriously. Talk about torture - but at least they think its funny. I'd link you to it but I can't remember the dude's name and I wouldn't want to subject you to that kind of pain.

We hung out there for a little bit then headed out to Logan (my nephew)'s school Brook Hill to pick him up and say hi to him (we hadn't seen him at all yet and I needed to - those kids grow so fast)! We talked to him and he showed us his classroom - I'm so impressed with all they're teaching him. He's in 2nd grade and learning things I learned in 6th. Seriously. My amazing friend Kameron (who was also a roommate in college) happens to teach at Brook Hill in the high school so we saw her classroom and went to grab some coffee at a cute little shop in Bullard on our way out of town. Talking to her was so nice - we've both missed her a ton. When we left I was super satisfied with our time in Tyler, even though we'd only gotten to spend about 27 hours there, and we didn't get to catch up with everyone...but still, it was nice.

Just when I thought it was all over...Chance pulled a fast one on me. We were over halfway home when Chance decided he was hungry - and we happened to be relatively close to Highway 6 (you know - the road that takes you in to College Station) he decided we'd take a little detour for dinner. I instantly called our friends Robert Adam and Casey (I tried miss Chalyce too, but no answer). We were able to meet them at Blue Baker (which Chance and I crave ALL the time)'s an awesome sandwich shop - they've got amazing bread...and cookies! Yum! It was SO refreshing to spend time with those two kids - I love them dearly. R.A. is one of my closest friends from college and his wife Casey is seriously awesome - once I met her she quickly became one of my good friends. We got back on the road pretty late - but it was totally worth it all. Spending time with my family and friends was all I REALLY wanted for my birthday - and I totally got it.

The celebration continued into this past week - my homie Jen made me a beautiful kahlua birthday cake (which I wish I had a picture of)...and the small groupies sang happy birthday to me. Haha. Good times.

Basically - all that to say...I had an awesome 25th birthday (despite my continuing quarter life crisis). Thanks to Chance for making all that happen - I'd better kick things up a notch for his 25th!

Sorry this blog was kinda' a doozy...but I wanted a record of our adventures. If you actually read it all, then kudos! Seriously! And THIS was me trying to keep it SHORT! (:

30 min. there, 22hrs back

Sometimes even four days off can make the world to your sensibilities. Since I was in desperate need of any sort of vacation, our four day trip to Arizona was just the ticket. Although it wasn't all a trip about fun, it was time away from work and a chance to get out of town. Since it only takes 30 minutes by plane, flying there is great (technically it's 2 and half hours, but you gain two hours). Anyways we got there around 8:30 am and in traditional Patrick style, we made our first stop Dunkin' Donuts. Really who can resist having breakfast at 6am in Austin and again at 9 am in Phoenix.

Claire and I got there early Friday so we could start sorting through Dad's stuff. We made fast progress of it. We found some really funny stuff, some sentimental stuff, and just some downright odd things. But we made better time than Maren expected us to and so we had time to enjoy some Mexican food for lunch and got to go out for a treat for dinner. Some great sushi from Sushi Creek. I will have more on Sushi Creek, later, in my other blog.

Russell and Joni got in late around 10 and since they drove 17 hours they were exhausted. As were Claire, Maren, and I. So we hit the sack as we had a long day of packing and sorting on Saturday. We got up early enough to finish dividing up things between the siblings and then took off to watch the newest additions to the Patrick clan: Edward play football, and Sydney entertain in general.

We all enjoyed the amazing 70 degree weather and the chance to hang out together outside.

Claire even got to re-unite with her best friend Sydney. They played Hide-and-Go seek as well as held hands and ran down hills. HA! I think they both have become fond of each other. It does make me smile though to see my family get to be close even when we all live so far away.
After the game, in which Ed's team had a great fourth quarter comeback to win, we headed to Paradise Cafe to grab lunch. Apparently they claim to be famous for their cookies. Well being skeptical like I am I doubted the "amazingness" of these cookies. I will man up, and say I was wrong. They are probably the third best cookies in the world. Of course, Mom's will always be first, then Blue Baker, then probably the chocolate chip from Paradise Cafe. I digress. We finished up lunch and started loading 2 couches, 2 mattresses, 10 or so totes of stuff, 10-15 large pieces of art, a dresser, a recliner, a LARGE chair, 2 end tables, 2 lamps, a bicycle, and a grandfather clock into a u-haul trailer and Russell's pickup. It was probably the most amazing packing job ever seen. Thanks to Claire who could climb around that u-haul trailer like a monkey.

For dinner we go to enjoy San Tan Flats Steakhouse. This was one of the first places I went with Dad when I visited him over the summer. For that reason it holds a lot of sentimental value, being one of my last memories with him. So I really wanted Claire to get to go to this place and to share it with Maren, the kids, and Russell and Joni.

It really fits my Dad. The open fires for roasting marshmallows, dancing, great steaks, and country design just really seem like something Dad enjoyed. So it was a bittersweet experience to be there without him. Of course the weekend wasn't without those bittersweet moments anyways.

Getting to talk with Maren about her memories of Dad is something I will always Cherish. Sharing in tears, may be hard, but the sharing part is what means so much. I always have room for more in my family and I can proudly say that I have a great family in Maren, Sydney and Ed out in Arizona. It was good re-hashing memories about Dad, and remembering them while looking through his belongings. Plus the Grandfather clock he left me looks amazing in our house and stands tall and proud like Dad.

Sunday we woke at 5:30 Texas time and hit the road for what turned out to be a 22 hr drive home. We took shifts with person asleep in the back and three riding up front. The eastern half of Arizona is beautiful, as is the western half of New Mexico. Plus in the middle of nowhere in western N.M. is Pie Town. Yes, that's right, a real place called Pie Town. You guessed it, they have pie shops.

We sampled some amazing peanut butter pie here before returning to the drive. We stopped south of Albuquerque to meet up with Dillon and give him his stuff. That was close to the last of the beautiful scenery.

We drove out of the scenery and into the west Texas flatland. Dropped some stuff off with Nashee' and Danielle in Lubbock and continued on to Fort Worth. We arrived at 3 am, exhausted, sore, and grumpy. It was well worth it to spend time with siblings and family. Monday morning we drove our Enterprise rented Mini-van full of stuff back to Austin.

This weekend we head back out on a quick trip to Tyler to visit Claire's family. So more to come on our weekend getaway adventures.

we're still alive...i promise...

Well - here we are, more than a week later...and we haven't posted. I thought we'd be so much better at this. We have PLENTY to say - just no time to write it all out. Chance should have a big blog coming your way about our trip to Arizona (perhaps tomorrow)...

I would have helped him out in the blogosphere, but I've been kinda under the weather. The congestion I faced on our trip to Phoenix somehow morphed into a sinus infection. No biggie, right? I have those all the time. Well, somehow THAT turned into a migraine with a side of vertigo. Ha. Loads of fun. So - I inhaled some sort of nasal migraine treatment, plus I'm on an antibiotic and mucinex (on top of my normal meds). Lovely. Oh - and I've been assigned these exercises (similar to the ones pictured below) to clear my ears, or whatnot.

Spinning around on the bed is a real treat, let me tell you. Oh well. At least maybe this will keep me from almost falling over 13 times in the grocery store.

I just thought I'd let our faithful readers know we're still alive (barely), and that Chance will be in with a recap sometime soon-ish (hopefully Friday)! We're heading to Tyler on Sunday (at least, we're 99% sure we are) for a brief weekend 'getaway'. And that, my friends, is just about all I know.

food - our love

I just thought I'd step in here and let you guys know that Chance has been busy on his other blog this week; Austin Texas: I'll be your tongue's proxy has some new restaurant reviews. I think starting our blog has re-ignited Chance's desire to write about food. His blog was dormant for several months, but as of late, he's wanted to take the camera everywhere we eat. Perhaps that's because we ate at home for a good part of last month, so he's super excited about eating out. Whatever the case, you should check out his reviews of what we've been eating lately. Plenty more of that to come, I'm sure!

and a week goes by

After churning out the blogs Claire and I got rather busy with real life. I guess that happens when you have friends in town for the weekend and you are organizing a three day trip, there and back, to Phoenix.

We finally finished up our detox diet last Monday, a week ago. We did have a splurge meal at Sushi Caliente to celebrate. We made it a light/sort of healthy meal though. You can read about it here. Anyways, both of us feel much better and can tell a noticeable difference when we eat "fatty" foods compared to when we stick with the diet's plan. After this weekend of eating out with friends, we both came away wanting to just eat vegetables. It's weird how that works. As of tomorrow we will have both gone 28 days without sodas, and for the most part without caffeine. If you knew either of us before we had a very high Diet Coke (Claire) and Dr. Pepper (Myself) consumption. We have challenged ourselves to stick as closely as possible to the diet, with a few splurges here and there. You can't just give up your favorite frozen yogurt place, MMMMM....Tomunchi. So far we have both lost some weight and I can't believe I am saying it but I would suggest the diet to anyone looking to feel better and have the extra benefit of losing weight. You can still cook great things like my own creation: eggplant stack. We used a chicken sausage from Whole Foods stuffed with spinach and feta. All you do is grill up your eggplant, cook the sausage, slice up some avocado, grill some thin strings of onions and stack it up. I served it along side some steamed broccoli and okra with crumbled feta on top and some candied pecans for a little bit of a sweet kick.

Claire also set out on a mission to re-organize our study closet. After visiting Ikea, twice, we had picked up enough organizational tools that she could get started. She set out on a weekend/week of organizing, sorting, adding new books, removing old magazines, and creating general destruction of our study floor. But in the end she did an amazing job and we now have a fully labeled and accessible closet. I am still of the opinion that Claire would make an amazing personal organizer for people.

After working most of the week Mark and Amanda came in town and we had the chance to relax and hang out. We ate at Kerby Lane, ate at Sprinkles (the arch-rival of Tomunchi) and we played Rock Band over at John and Sara Vershaw's apartment. It was a blast and who knew I could sing so well. Yesterday we had some free time after work and headed out to one of our favorite Austin parks with the dogs, Walnut Creek Park. We hiked around down in the creek bed, which, contrary to the picture below, is completely dry and barren due to the lack of rain this summer. Yet it made for a fun, 2ish mile hike as well as good exercise.

Brooke is coming into town this week and then we head out to phoenix for the weekend so hopefully we can get a few more updates in for you loyal readers about how exciting our suburban lives are.

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