Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Monday, December 22, 2008


A slide show of the McGlincheys' year in pictures is in the right margin, and there are a number of other slide shows attached to various posts. (Holiday photos accompany the "Christmas in Cowtown" post - I didn't intend to blog between now and then, but Parnell's broken arm merited a mention!). If this is your first visit to the site, the slide shows link to Picasa Web albums. If you double click on a slide show, it will take you to Picasa, where you can view the slides full-sized and with captions by clicking the "Slideshow" tab. If you see a photo that you want to print, the Picasa site will permit you to download to a variety of print sources (Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc.).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ho, ho . . . ohhhhhh

So I had a few friends over for "rappin' and [gift] wrappin'" last night - margaritas and Mexican munchies, nothing fancy - and Parnell offered to take the kids to Movie Tavern for dinner and an animated film for the duration of the party. Before he left, I asked him to clean up the front porch (move some potted plants and an assemblage of the boys' sporting goods to the backyard, etc.). Somehow, this was interpreted as "borrow an extension ladder and hang Christmas garland in a huge hurry, without a spotter" - FORESHADOWING ALERT #1. (It's been rainy and cold for days - hardly outdoor decorating weather - and the big trees in the front yard just saw fit to dump their leaves, which were clumped in wet, SLIPPERY piles everywhere - FORESHADOWING ALERT #2.) I happened to be walking through the living room just in time to hear what can best be described as "whoosh, THUD, ohhhhhh." I've been advised that "Parnell fell off of a ladder" is an incorrect summary of what occurred, because the bottom of the ladder slipped backwards and Parnell simply went down with it. Fortunately, he landed ON the ladder - had the ladder not been between him and the sidewalk, he would have landed face down, the front steps probably would have hit him mid-throat, and you'd be receiving notice of funeral arrangements in lieu of a Christmas card (or a donation solicitation from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation). Instead, he broke his left arm above the wrist and did a number on a couple of ribs.

Considering what could have happened, it's been pretty easy for us to take the whole thing in stride (well, now that we've moved beyond the, "What in HADES were you thinking?" lecture - or series of lectures, it's hard to say - I took a few breaths here and there, but the sum total of the lecturing/filibuster went on for roughly eighteen hours, with assists from my mom, his mom, various women friends, neighbors and co-workers, the kids' teachers, and the the all-female staff of our orthopedic surgeon's office). Who knew that Vicodin only costs $4.71? And, after several years of threatening to decorate a "Mardi Gras tree" like the ones that you see in the windows of the homes around the Bishop's Palace in Galveston, it looks like I'll have my opportunity - the cast will be with us until mid-January, and there's no way I'm wrangling our behemoth of a tree out to the carriage house, so why not throw some beads on it?

Please refrain from teasing the poor guy - trust me, that ground has been covered. Just forward the name of a good Christmas light hanger before December '09 rolls around . . . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Fun on the Web

I couldn't resist circulating this link before last week's tacky sweater party:

Judging by the number of virtual sweaters that made it into my inbox that afternoon, I'd say that my e-mail was well-received. Sarah's Festivus "Vest-ivus" was hard to beat. Speaking of my husband's favorite winter holiday, for those in the market for a good Festivus pole, check out:

For my money, nothing says "quality Festivus pole" like extruded aluminum. After airing your grievances and/or participating in the feats of strength, you no doubt will want to indulge in a refreshing adult beverage:

For more traditional celebrations, has terribly cute partyware. I couldn't resist these tumblers (which I filled with some truly potent Bacardi Rum Balls for a cookie exchange). Click on the photo for a close-up.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


As someone who has always scrapbooked by hand and sent (paper) cards and handwritten notes, I am by turns surprised, amused and dismayed by how technologically dependent I have become. The extent of my integration into the tech world has been particularly apparent this holiday season. This evening found me simultaneously uploading photos of the kids to Picasa, updating a spreadsheet of Christmas card addresses and burning my iTunes Christmas mix to CDs as favors for an upcoming holiday party. While I still insist on sending out paper Christmas cards (old habits die hard), I've begrudgingly become a fan of the Evite (both giving and receiving them), and once I permitted myself to take that first camera phone photo of a book title that interested me at Barnes & Noble (didn't have a pen and wasn't going to remember it otherwise), the floodgates opened and I soon had a whole jpeg Christmas list going for me. I was relieved when I had to borrow Parnell's phone one night at dinner (I say "had to," but in all honesty I think I used it to access the Internet, IMDB specifically, to settle an argument about an actor in a movie - further proof of my tech dependency, but, seriously, HOW USEFUL is IMDB? The days of walking around racking your brain trying to remember the name of "that other guy in Stripes and Ghostbusters" are long behind us!) and discovered that he had a slew of photos of books, toys for the kids, etc., on his phone as well.

The moment that I knew that I was developing a serious problem? When I thought to write down some ideas about what to wear to various holiday parties (which accessories would go with what, etc.) and just decided to take pictures of complete ensembles instead. Cleverness, or the height of laziness? You decide . . . and text me your response.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas in Cowtown

December often finds Dad running a zone defense while Mom exchanges a variety of things with her girlfriends - cookies, ornaments, wacky kitchen gifts, etc. Dad prefers the cookie exchanges for obvious reasons, although Mom does think that the banana slicer from this year's kitchen gift exchange will prove useful (and very empowering for young Parker). This year, we did find some time for man-to-man coverage - Parnell and Connor attended the Cub Scout pancake breakfast and space derby while Mom and Parker watched "The Polar Express" in their PJ's at the Museum of Science and History. (The BIG development - Parker discovered hot chocolate, courtesy of the Starbucks baristas who were working the museum event. And he LOVED it . . . . "Mom, now we can go to Starbucks, and you can have coffee, and I can have THIS STUFF!") We also have had the opportunity for some major family fun, some of it structured and some of it spontaneous (microwave s'mores parties!). However, the kids will no doubt remember this holiday season as the one in which the Space Shuttle came to town. Fortunately for them, Parnell's mom retains privileges at the Joint Reserve Base, so on 12/11 Parnell and Grandmother McGlinchey took both kids out of school, scored grandstand seats on the tarmac and watched the shuttle take off for Florida on the back of its jet. They got really, REALLY close, and needless to say Dad (and Grandmother) scored serious cool points.

For Mom, this season is memorable because it's the first time that Parker really "gets" the holiday. And he's very committed to it . . . . Cross Buddy the Elf with Mini Me, and you have our young Parker James. "Mom - I love chocolate. Chocolate is my FAVORITE! Candy canes are my FAVORITE!" (These outbursts of unbridled enthusiasm usually elicit the same response from cynical big brother Connor - "Parker, you're a cotton-headed ninny muggins." Yes, we are an Elf-obsessed family.) Parker is also hard at work on his present-opening technique: "It's like opening a ketchup package from McDonald's. PEENCH [pinch], PEENCH, TEAR!" It's a tradition in our family to wrap the kids' old Christmas books, which are opened, advent calendar-style, and read before bed, so he has had some good practice sessions.

Connor is looking forward to a two-week break from school, and I'm sure that after the third-grade field trip to see the Nutcracker on the 19th, the teachers will be ready for a break as well. Connor has made it through the Nutcracker 1 1/4 times. At age 5, he made it to "Waltz of the Snowflakes," then tugged on Mom's sleeve, inquired as to when it would be "halftime," and requested that we walk across the street to Barnes and Noble for refreshments (the concessions at Bass Hall having been deemed unacceptable - all beverages, no cookies). Needless to say, we never returned. The next year, family friends were among the performers, and the fascination of seeing Kendall, Reagan and their parents on stage held his attention for awhile, but we were in the lobby midway through the second act. Perhaps the third time will be the charm.

One of our favorite holiday traditions is "angel shopping." Our attention this year has been focused on two charities, Alliance for Children and the First Street Mission. Connor was charged with selecting gifts for several nine year-old boys, and Parker helped select four year-old-appropriate toys and clothes. We also stocked up on cold weather gear for the Mission's mitten tree. Our kids aren't saints, to be sure - each tends to come down with a serious case of the "gimmes" at this time of year - but we try to mitigate the commercialism of the holiday by involving them in charitable giving whenever possible. The last couple of years, we have made end-of-the-year donations in the names of various family, friends and coworkers, and the kids have helped match the honorees with appropriate donees. Not surprisingly, they tend to gravitate towards the MD Anderson Children's Art Project, ASPCA, Heifer International and other kid-friendly organizations, but this year I suspect that we may see a broader focus: as a participant in our church's summer mission camp, Connor had the opportunity to volunteer at the First Street Mission, tour one of the local night shelters and purchase food and clothes on a budget approximating what is given to those on government assistance, so his frame of reference has grown beyond "buying shares in animals is fun."

Our love to friends and family, and much health and happiness to everyone in 2009 . . . .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Pro Bono Attorney Visual Design Team Strikes Again

For the Christmas open house at Junior Woman's Club, each department was asked to decorate a tree, mantel or table in the style of a particular artist or art movement. I remembered seeing an Asian-themed tree in Southern Living (the gold-accented tree with the kites and lanterns), and I thought that it might be fun to try to adapt that concept to a tree featuring woodcuts by Hokusai and Hiroshige (Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" is featured here). So I set to work tying tulle bows to art cards and making paper lanterns and origami boats (the only origami that I know, and fortunately thematically appropriate!). Garden Ridge had some red lantern ornaments, which was also fortunate, because the only unused lights that Parnell could find in the carriage house (I was trying to do this on the cheap) were red. On the way out of the house, I grabbed some Ginger jar-shaped table decorations left over from another party and a few of the Kokeshi dolls that my dad sent to me from Asia when I was a little girl. Lindsay helped me put it all together, and - considering that the tree itself was awfully threadbare - I think it turned out pretty well. We also decorated a console table on behalf of Culinary Arts - the theme was "Food in Art, and the Art of Food" (because "Arranging Random Culinary-Related Things from Lindsay's and Kathryn's Houses in a Vaguely Artistic Way, with Ribbon Candy Purchased from Walgreens in the Middle of the Night as Filler" was a little too wordy). I do think it came out cute, all things considered (sort of Bistro Louise-ish, for those of you Cowtown residents?).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We Gather Together . . . .

Thought that I would share some photos from Thanksgiving . . . .


I have become a grown-up. Accountants and investment advisors send me holiday cards. I buy wine by the case. And I am learning (slowly!) to prioritize. I initially planned on having (and paid the registration fee for) booths at both the JWC opening party and the JWC Christmas open house, scheduled for this weekend. I waffled back and forth as to whether to paint a bunch of new inventory before this weekend or just display samples and take special orders. Then, when I sat down with my calendar and began to assemble a December to-do list, reality - or, rather, realities - began to set in:

(1) We have seven holiday events scheduled in a nine-day span (and others beyond those, but that is the "glut"). I am committed to arrive at five of these "glut" events with food in hand (four dozen spinach balls on Sunday, cookie exchange cookies on Monday, a salad on Thursday, etc.).
(2) I am (blessedly, in a recession) slammed at my real job.
(3) The JWC Christmas open house is one of only a few "family" events at Margaret Meacham Hall, and my children look forward to accompanying Mom on these days. Manning a bazaar booth cuts into my ability to keep them from breaking things/keep them from driving their dad crazy/cat-herd as the photog tries to snap their picture with Santa.
(4) Our church has scheduled an "old fashioned Christmas," featuring hayrides through downtown, that begins immediately after the JWC event, making booth packdown an issue.
(5) The last time I tried to juggle retail commerce, "catering," work, friend and family obligations under similar circumstances, I developed a middle ear infection that almost cost me an eardrum, did cause me to develop severe, incapacitating vertigo, and (as a consequence of steroid overload leading to "steroid psychosis") ultimately caused me to go 'round the bend for a very scary 48-hour period (lesson learned: manic = FUN, depressive = not so much).

So . . . earlier this week (after spending most of my four-day Thanksgiving weekend dealing with head cold/asthma issues), I advised my spouse that I would not be setting up a booth, intended to sell my existing inventory at a discount and would only take a handful of "friend" special orders. He looked, by turns, shocked, overjoyed and puzzled as to the identity of the pod person who was occupying his wife's body. Then he hugged me.

Sister-girlfriends (you know who you are), if you are stumped for friend or teacher gifts, shoot me an e-mail - I have Christmas and girl-power canvases in stock, and I am planning on taking a limited number of canvas and teacher clipboard orders (great for the bus-and-carpool line). Those of you who already placed special orders, you are in the queue!