Monday, November 25, 2013


Well.  Finished with the final draft, anyway.  I've sent it along to my advisor and second reader, so they'll probably have lots of edits for me to make in the next two weeks, but the bulk of the work is done.  I'm done with the results and analysis, done with the conclusion, done with the introduction . . .  Done with everything.  Just in time for Thanksgiving.

The final page count is 97.  Let me know if you wanna read it.  ;)

Thing I'm thankful for: light bulb moments when I needed them the most.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Franklin's Barbecue

When I was a little girl, my Grandma McCray told me there wouldn't be food in heaven because our perfected bodies wouldn't need it to sustain life.  At the time, I thought that was a strange idea.  Now as an adult, I think it's downright ludicrous.  What did she mean, there wouldn't be food in heaven?!?  It's preposterous!

Perfected or not, I think there will most definitely be food in heaven, and one of those foods will be barbecue from Franklin's.  Let me tell you about it . . .

Well, first!  Let me tell you about meat!  I don't love meat; at least, that's what I thought for a long time.  I'd eat it once in a while, but with the exception of Thanksgiving Turkey (especially the one in 1995), it had never been my favorite source of protein.  In fact, I consider myself a flexitarian.  I just don't (or didn't) understand how people love bacon and ribs and wings and steak, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Three things changed my mind:
  1. A particularly scrumptious filet mignon I shared with my mother at Fogo de Chao about six years ago.
  2. Beef Toban Yaki at Nobu
  3. Pulled pork at Franklin's Barbecue.  (Well, it's Franklin Barbecue, if you want me to be specific.)
So Franklin's.  Aaron Franklin and his staff barbecue brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey all morning, open up shop at 11:00, and sell out by about 2:00 every day.  People—including me—form a line before the establishment even opens its doors!  Beginning around 8:00 am, people arrive and wait for hours to buy that luscious meat, barbecued to perfection.  It's the best barbecue in Texas, and Bon Appetit Magazine even said it was the best in the country.  Think they're overselling it?  Think it's a fad or a gimmick or something Austinites like to brag about?  Think again.  It's the most delicious, most perfect meat I've ever tasted, and remember, I don't love meat!  But when I walked out of Franklin's today carrying four pounds of meat in a greasy brown bag, you better believe I felt like I was carrying four pounds of pure gold.

No, my Grandma McCray was way off when she said there would be no food in heaven.  I'm certain that God himself will ask Aaron Franklin to make him a good brisket when he arrives.

Thing I'm thankful for: Lunches with J

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Big Things

I will admit that one of the reasons I read the news is to appreciate my life.  I can't, for example, feel sorry for myself when I read about natural disasters or school shootings or political unrest in the Arab world.  Despite difficult times and frustrations and setbacks, I have a happy life.  Things always get better, even if only for a moment.

People who have experienced the worst things in life express this hope, too.  Michelle Knight, one of the three captives of Ariel Castro, spent the majority of her twenties living with abuse.  She was threatened, beaten, and raped for more than 10 years.  And yet, she said this to the Cleveland Police Department after her rescue:
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly."

I am dumbfounded by her strength.  Her words meant so much to me when I read them.  I felt a renewed sense of hope and courage and gratitude.  I am thankful for the "little things" in life -- friends and sunshine and music.  But today I am particularly thankful for the big things -- a warm bed at night, food to eat, and the opportunity to determine what I do each day.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Music to My Ears

I didn't always love the Southern dialect.  When my family moved to Georgia, I refused to like anything about it.  I refused to pick up any of the sounds or expressions of speech that were all around me.  Ya'll?  No, thanks.  Ma'am and sir?  Nope.  And I certainly wouldn't draw out my I's.

Years and years later, I sort of find myself wishing I had let myself change the way I speak.  Sure, I can imitate the dialect, if I need to, but it's not the same.  People who have never been to the Deep South don't know the difference, but I do.  And I miss it.

Today, however, my longing for the Southern sound was satiated.  I heard this on the NPR food blog: The Enigmatic Pecan: Why So Pricey and How to Pronounce It?  Besides being an interesting piece about the American pecan economy, there's an audio clip of a South Georgia farmer, and he has a wonderful way of talking that makes me miss my old home.

Addendum:  This just in!  Southern Accents Voted Most Attractive.  :) 

Thing I'm thankful for: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on a cool night