Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You've Got Mail

Do you ever watch a specific movie at a specific point in the year? The obvious example is to watch Christmas movies around Christmas. Regular every day movies can be connected with a season or event...Maybe the movie came out around a certain time of the year? Maybe annual events are connected with memories of a movie. Whatever the reason - I am totally programmed to watch certain movies at certain times of the year. 

Today I watched You've Got Mail (1998) for the gazillionth time. Every time the weather starts to cool and I feel the beginnings of autumn, this movie calls to me. Perhaps it's because the movie begins in autumn? Or maybe it's the mention of a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils and school supplies? Or it could be the books and all around coziness of this movie that has permanently cemented itself in my mind as an 'autumn movie'. 

If you've not seen this movie please do yourself a favor and watch it. I'm going to gush about it for a bit. I'll try not to include spoilers but, come one, it's a rom-com. It's not exactly shocking. 

The movie You've Got Mail was written and directed by Nora Ephron (Delia Ephron helped write too) and is based on a play written by Miklós László called, Parfumerie. Another excellent movie called, Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart is also based on his play. Notice the name of the Jimmy Stewart movie? eh *nudges* eh? 

Now, in no particular order, I present my favorite things about You've Got Mail

1. The amazing sound track. The songs are fun and upbeat and a little cheesy. All perfect for a rom-com, right? 
Especially this song: 
You've Got Mail (1998) opening credits (youtube video)

2. You can indulge in some late 1990's internet nostalgia. Look at that AOL startup screen. Remember waiting for those people in the third window to appear? All while listening to some type of alien language? Good times. 

 3. I adore the decor that Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan's character) has going on in her apartment. She has a couple floor to ceiling bookshelves that I envy. There's a wall on the other side, just outside the screen shot that is another huge floor to ceiling book case! So many books. These shelves are some life goals for me. 

4. The dialogue of this movie is top-notch. Especially the conversations between Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly as they get to know each other. It's quippy and fun and I adore the fact that they will talk about seemingly random things via their emails. There's something beautiful about sharing sort of "mundane" thoughts with a person. I think those thoughts, where a person's brain goes in quiet moments and what they notice, can tell a lot about a person. Joe and Kathleen swap emails about a butterfly on the subway and odd dust in the air not to mention more serious issues like business advice. They have an ability to act naturally with each other that is extremely important in a relationship. 

I also enjoy the scenes as they get to know each other in person, or basically as Joe realizes he needs to help Kathleen see the real-email him and not the business-competitor him. 

Also, it's Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. They're adorable. 

5. Speaking of the dialogue, I would be remiss if this quote, said by Kathleen, was not included somewhere in this post...

"When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does”

I don't think truer words about reading have ever been spoken. While I think that reading later in life can become part of your identity, it is true that in your formative years, the words you read and ideas you learn can be extremely important to you and shape you in ways you might not realize at the time. 

6. I always found Kathleen and Joe to be completely relatable. Of course, having relatable characters pull the audience in and helps them identify. 

For example: Kathleen wishes she could "zing" someone by coming up with the precise thing to say in the moment, but her "mind goes blank". While Joe feels the opposite. He knows he has been too cynical and mean. I know both of those feelings all to well, as do a lot of people. 

Not only are the two main characters relatable and interesting. the cast of side characters is excellent. I love the way they interact, especially Kathleen's coworkers who are like a family. 

7. The story takes place in New York City, as do a lot of movies. That's not really unique, but it is charming to us non-big-city-dwellers. I like the streets, especially with the fall colors, and I love the park scene that closes the movie. The flowers are beautiful. 

Sometimes I end up watching You've Got Mail in the springtime as well. Especially if I have a cold. It just fits, okay?

Maybe this movie isn't your thing, and that's okay. There are some odd parts of this movie, I won't deny it. 

However, for the reasons listed above, for some other reasons I don't really know, and because I grew up with it, this movie has wormed it's way into my heart and into my fall movie line-up. There it will remain as a movie that makes me smile and makes my heart feel cozy. 

Any other You've Got Mail fans out there?

***all photos, except poster, are screen-shots that I made, but really belong to Warner Bros obviously***

***You've Got Mail poster, the first picture, I found via Wikipedia ***

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Accidental Vignette in Three Steps

Step 1: Leave new, fancy copy of Jane Eyre on top of bookshelf because you need to rearrange to accommodate your new book.

Step 2: On a whim place Mjolnir on top of your bookshelf and on top of your book that you STILL have not made room for and put away.

Step 3: Place flowers in a jar on top of this particular bookshelf because it's the best spot for fresh flowers. Scoot the flowers closer to your book and Mjolnir because groups of three are lovely.

Now, take a step back and admire your work in creating a vignette. Pretend like it was all on purpose instead of a slow accumulation of things that you neglected to put away properly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Is There a Polar Bear in My Family Tree?

Question: So Cali, how pale are your legs?

Me: Well, I'm glad you asked. My legs are so pale that I only realized I had a coating of white primer on my legs because a portion of my leg looked dusty. There was no color variation.

In other news: I accidentally sprayed primer on my legs. Oops. It was a solid coating. I guess they're ready to be painted now?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Good Ol' Texas BBQ - The Extra Stuff

Here are some extra pictures from the BBQ crawl.

Places we stopped and things we ate that were not BBQ related...

peach kolache and ground sausage klobasnek from the Village Baker in West, TX

Caldwell County Courthouse in Lockhart, TX. Isn't it beautiful?

Cutest oil rig ever in Luling, TX outside the Central Market.

Some of the beautiful country side outside of Lexington, TX. Dad stopped to take some photos of hay bales. Sadly, my hay bale pictures did not turn out well. 

Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, TX. Here you will find delicious pie with ridiculous amounts of meringue. 

an old church building in West, TX. I adore old church buildings. 

The whole front of the church

Two of the best road trip stops in Texas. 

Good Ol' Texas BBQ

You might have heard of a pub crawl, you might have even heard of a baby crawl, but I am here today to tell you about a BBQ crawl.

Texas is known for some delicious BBQ. Brisket is king around here. The best way to prepare brisket is to let it smoke nice and long. The exact ins and outs I'm not knowledgeable about. My dad has picked up a lot about Texas BBQ and enjoys making his own brisket. He's the BBQ expert in the family. So for our BBQ crawl we deferred to his expertise.

My Grammy (dad's mom) flew into Austin and we met her there. Central Texas not only has the State Capitol, but it seems to be the state BBQ capitol as well.


  • I am going to throw in my opinions on what we ate and my favorites. I feel a little inadequate doing so because I am by no means an expert, but I know what tastes yummy to me. 

  • I'm also not going to get too detailed about each place because this post will already be quite lengthy, but if you have any questions or want to know more specifics, please feel free to ask. 

  • Also, if close up photos of meat gross you out, you might want to skip this post.  


 My dad, step-mom, and I drove to Austin. Danny joined us Saturday afternoon. During the drive we stopped for kolaches and klobasneks (sausage rolls) from the Czech Stop and Village Bakery in West, TX. We also stopped at Buc-ee's. Those are mandatory stops while road tripping in Texas.

After we picked up Grammy, the BBQ eating began. Our plan of attack was to have small samples at each stop. That way we would not be too full of meat. I believe we got about 1/4 pound of brisket, a link of sausage, and a few ribs at each stop. That was plenty for four people to sample.

BBQ Stop 1: Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX 

Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX

Kreuz was out of ribs (what? weird day) We had brisket and sausage. 

Traditionally BBQ is presented like this. Meat piled onto brown butcher paper. They'll give you bread for sandwiches and pickles and onions are free. Most places also have sides such as beans, potato salad, and coleslaw for purchase.

I have been to Kreuz twice before. All three times have been yummy.

BBQ Stop 2: Black's BBQ in Lockhart, TX

Black's Barbecue in Lockart, TX

brisket, sausage, and pork ribs

Black's was also good, but I like Kreuz a bit better. Black's has more side options though.

BBQ Stop 3: City Market in Luling, TX

City Market in Luling, TX

brisket, pork rib, and sausage

City Market has my favorite pork ribs. Franklin BBQ (see below) has the most tender ribs, but City Market has a little different rub or preparation or something that provides a slightly sweeter flavor. Whatever it is, it works well with pork. 

Those three stops were all the BBQ for the day. After City Market we stopped at another Buc-ee's so my Grammy could enjoy all the glory of Buc-ee's. 

For dinner we ate salad at Panera. After all that meat, those veggies tasted great! 


Saturday morning we woke up early to drive an hour to Lexington, TX to a place called Snow's. They are only open on Saturday and they open at 8:00. We ate BBQ for breakfast. 

Actually, I was a proper Hobbit on Saturday. I ate a bit of yogurt and fruit at the hotel, so the BBQ was my second breakfast. Pippin would be so proud. 

Continuing on...

BBQ Stop 4: Snow's BBQ in Lexington, TX

Snow's BBQ in Lexington, TX

pork ribs, turkey, brisket, regular sausage, and jalapeno sausage
Snow's was delicious! The turkey was amazingly tender and perfect and the brisket almost melted in your mouth. 

Down the street from Snow's was a cattle auction. That was a little awkward. "Hi cows! I'm going to go eat your cousin. Thanks for all you do!"

BBQ Stop 5: Southside Market in Elgin, TX

Between Lexington and Austin is a town called Elgin. We stopped there for our fifth and final BBQ stop of the day. 

Southside Market in Elgin, TX

brisket, coleslaw, cheese, mutton, and pork ribs
Southside BBQ was a similar style to a Rudy's, Hard 8, or Ten-50. I mean it was more of an open-all-day-restaurant instead of a open-till-you-run-out-of-meat place like Snow's and Franklin's. 

It was good, but not my favorite from the trip. 

I had never tried mutton before, so that was fun. 

After Southside we were done with BBQ for the day. We drove around Austin for a bit and ate at an Amy's Ice Cream. Then we went back to the hotel to rest and wait for Danny.

After Danny found his way down to Austin, we all drove to Marble Falls to a lovely diner called the Blue Bonnet Cafe. I love that place. I love diners. I love pie. 

That evening we all gathered in the hotel lobby and visited. 


We slept in a little on Sunday. Our only plan was to eat at Franklin's BBQ.

BBQ Stop 6: Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX

Danny and I got to Franklin's at 9:30. They open at 11. There was already a substantial line. This didn't shock either one of us. We've been to Franklin's before and it is delicious. We got our food a bit after 12:00. After eating the deliciousness that is Franklin Barbecue, you forget all about the long wait. 

Franklin  BBQ in Austin, TX

coleslaw, beans, sausage, turkey, pork ribs, and brisket
We bought more food at Franklin's because it was our actual lunch (and only BBQ) for the day. 

Franklin BBQ is delicious. Their brisket and pork ribs are so tender that you can barely pick them up with a fork. 

The ribs literally fall off of the bone. It's true! Look...

That is some turkey, then some rib meat just barely hanging on to the bone. 
Franklin definitely has be most tender meat. So good. 

After lunch Danny and I headed back home. We stopped at Buc-ee's and the Czech stop again. 

For dinner that night all I wanted to eat was zucchini. I cut up a zucchini into spears and Danny said, "What are these green ribs?" 

green ribs
Which is great really. I think I'll make the name switch permanent. Green ribs, everyone! Be sure to eat your green ribs.

I had a wonderful time on the trip. My dad and Danny are some of the best people to road trip with. 

That my friends, is how we do a BBQ crawl in Texas.

Cali's Favorites:
pork ribs: Luling (closely followed by Franklin and Snow's)
brisket: Franklin and Snow's
sausage: hard to tell. Sausage all tastes similar to me. Probably Franklin though.
turkey: Snow's

Thursday, March 12, 2015


This post might seem odd and sudden considering I've not updated the blog since November, but something happened this morning that was interesting to me. Also embarrassing.

Side note: Embarrassing is a common descriptor for several, if not the majority, of my experiences in life. 

This morning I was meeting with a woman from church. We are paired up to work closely together for who knows how long. We decided to meet to plan some things and at first I was excited. 

Yet as we talked I felt myself getting stressed and defensive. I'm still not exactly sure why I began to feel that way. I think perhaps my pride was a bit injured through no fault of hers. 

Something else you should know about me is sometimes communication is a big struggle for me. Not so much the remembering to tell people things or knowing the importance of communication (hint hint: it's important), but rather the very act of getting words out of my mouth. I know the idea I want to communicate or what I want to convey and I can find the words to do so in my head, but in speaking the words get lost somewhere. It is, at times, frustrating for me. Mostly it's not a big issue or even a small issue. Occasionally though it leads to miscommunications and misunderstandings. 

I sat there feeling defensive, which made it even harder for me to communicate, and unsure what to do about this new arrangement. When suddenly, she stopped and asked me what she could do to help me feel more at ease with the new plans. She sensed my defensiveness and probably my hostility and confronted me about it in a gentle way. I was completely taken back and a bit mortified! I realized immediately that I was being ridiculous. I apologized for my behavior and tried my best to explain my concerns. After that, things went smoother and I believe we came up with a good plan. 

Conversation is risky at times. Things either go smoothly, or sometimes arguments may arise, or grudges can be formed. Here is a way to prevent the two latter things: do not be afraid to ask people to clarify. Ask them to help you understand what they are saying. 

She could have shied away from confronting me and being open and we would have parted both feeling unhappy about the situation. Instead she politely, and calmly confronted me in a way that I could tell she was truly attempting to understand. 

The whole event led me to think about how many arguments and quarrels could be calmed or avoided all together by people willing to be open, honest, and unafraid to ask questions. Be willing to ask for clarifications and be open to explaining them. Doing so might cause you to feel vulnerable, but it will be worth it if good communication can be reached.