When in Texas, Do as the Texans…

You had to know that with a blog tagline of “A Hoosier at heart, living in the heart of Texas” there had to be at least one post (or many) about the statistical and social differences between the great state of Texas and the Great(er) state of Indiana.

First some fun facts about the state that I now call home.

* The state of Texas ranks 2nd in terms of population of all United States. (no, the first ranked is not Indiana 😉 )

* Texas offers its residents almost all major climate and terrain types. You have the hill country (that’s where i live) prairie, woods and the coast (where i want to live!) 

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* Three of the United States top 10 largest cities reside in Texas alone. Houston is the 4th, San Antonio is the 7th and Dallas is the 9th.

*Texas is a major sports competitor. NBA: San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets. NFL: Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys and MLB: Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. And we thought it was hard with homes divided in Indiana, IU or PU, Cubs Vs. White Sox (since my family is predominately from Chicago). Families in this state can be split 7 different ways, makes for tense holiday dinners.


Now some funny facts/realizations about the state that I now call home.

*I’ve been here almost 6 months and no one will tell me who shot J.R.


*Contrary to popular belief, not all my exes live in Texas. (For the record I do not possess any exes, but if i did, they would probably be Hoosiers..just sayin’)


*Texans, do, in fact like to grill out using propane and propane accessories, ( I bet you just said that using hank hills voice)


*I often stop when I am walking somewhere and sharply turn to look behind myself. Not ONCE have I found Walker Texas Ranger. “When you’re in Texas look behind you, ’cause that’s where the rangers are going to be”


*If you are traveling one of the many Texas roads and you come across road signs that say FM 985, that does not mean turn to the radio station FM 98.5 for up to date traffic and weather reports..it is literally the name of the road and stands for Farm to Market road. Also, while we are on the subject of Texas roads, the speed limit is definitely a topic to bring up. In Indiana, 55 is the norm, 65-70 if your on the interstate. Here, on the back roads me and my 2010 Chevy cobalt can cruise at a comfortable 75 mph, on some toll rolls reaching from Austin (state capital) and San Antonio (THE ALAMO!) you can go as fast as 85 mph! I know the story goes that everything is bigger in Texas, but I had no idea! Thank goodness Texas does not require new residents to retake the drivers test..epic fail. 


*I’ve not yet played a hand of Texas hold em’ …and due to my sub par bluffing skills, probably never will.


*If one more person looks at me weird or corrects me because I say “I would like a large pop” and not a coke or soda, I may scream and throw said Pop at you. Apparently the word pop here is foreign and considered “Yankee talk” image*Everyone claims that they have the BEST BBQ,  so much so that one popular chain has decided to tell all of Texas they have the “worst bar-b-q in Texas”. I know I’m committing a major Texas sin in saying I’m not one who enjoys Bar-B-Q, but if i had to pick, I like Rudys the most!

*The state of Texas requires that you have two Licenses plates on each car. This for one means its more expensive ad no more cleverly airbrushed front license plate for this lady and her collectors 2010 Chevy cobalt bahaha. Its business in the front and business in the back in Texas.


*Ever need a way out of a tense conversation? bring up up the intense heat or football, one of those are surely able to stir up stronger emotions than any bad news i could give a person, "oh your mad that i accidentally stepped on your foot in line at Wal-Mart..I’m mad that the weatherman predicted last week it was only going to be 103 and it is totally almost 110" You are right they did say there was supposed to be a cold front this week, I hope it cools down in time for the cowboys game next week" Problem and argument solved.


*Store chains are different. Back home we have Kroger’s, here we have H-E-B. Back home we have Burger King and Hardees’s here in Texas we have WHATABURGER. Not a big difference in these establishments except that both HEB and Whataburger are far more fun to say, espically if you say it as if your singing a sweet love song.
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*Texas is kind of in love with themselves. I was instructed on my arrival to this great state on what to say when people asked me where I’m from (apparently it is painstakingly obvious that i am not from the south). I am supposed to say that while I’m not originally from Texas, i got here as soon as i could. I guess I can see why the residents of this state are so proud/in love with the 28th state.IMG_0731 How could you not with such a rich history that is filled with wars and battles that ultimately freed this land. After saying that statement i must warn you, While my US history class in good old Indiana did cover "Remember the Alamo" I either forgot, or was absent that day, because I’m not entirely sure what they were fighting about, who they were fighting against..I’m not so sure we won..so It is at this time I shall direct you to the Wikipedia link that will describe the events of the Alamo to you more accurately than this Hoosiers description. Back to the point at hand that Texans are in love with Texas. After embarking on the 16 hour car ride we cross several states. Indiana, Ill. Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and finally Texas. With each state our car passes through the first thing i notice is that the closer we get the more fancy the road signs and overpasses become. Indiana through MO its just your basic green sign with city and rest stop information..AK and TX have their state symbol and silhouette plaster on EVERYTHING.

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*Your average small to medium size business are also very proud of their state. In Indiana a carpenter would shop at Bobs bathroom & kitchen tile Inc. In Texas a carpenter would shop at Big Bobs Bathroom & kitchen Tile and B-B-Q of Central Texas Lone Star State inc. If the words Texas or b-b-q do not appear in the title of the company, you better bet that the state of Texas or the lone stare emblem is on the store sign, it is as second nature as a period or exclamation point.


*High School Football is just as big loud and broadcasted as much as the cowboys. The town we live in now is pretty moderate, Temple Texas, if you are from Indiana we are just a touch bigger than Lafayette. With that said every single high-school in this city and neighboring cities have a football stadium that can seat more people than the stadium that the Sycamores play at in Terre Haute. And from what i have seen so far..every seat is FULL. Weekly magazines are published marking the progress results and overall news of HIGH school football teams. And these kids start training at like the age of 6 to be rough and tough tacklers, sackers and touch downers. Those that are not chosen to lead the life of football excellence lead the way in tailgating greatness, because lets face it, whenever there is a good game there are 30-40 Texas Edition trucks lined up with beer and brawts and BBQ ready to celebrate.



*Telemundo! Matt and I have yet to make that call and order Time Warner cable yet. But don’t you shed a prime time tear for me, our antenna provides more than enough entertainment than we know what to do with. In Indiana we had WTHI, WTWO, WFXW and if you were lucky to get the Indy channels WRTV and WTHR. I’m not one to brag, but here in Texas we have ABC and Fox in English AND we have ABC and Fox and Telemundo and weather in Spanish. Actually if we were keeping score between major networks, weather channels and public access channels in English and Major networks, weather channels and public access channels in Spanish, we have more Spanish channels than English. At first it was frustrating, then it was tolerable, now its just entertaining. Nothing like coming home from a hard day of work and flipping on the tube and watching the 1st transformer or Disney Pixar’s UP completely dubbed (poorly i might add) in Spanish. Or cleaning the house on your day off while watching your favorite soap opera drama unfold on "Tierra De Passiones" (land of passions).


*Bugs, birds, and reptiles. If you follow this blog (surely someone does) that means you more than likely are here because of my Face book, and if you Face book stalk me as well you have in no doubt seen my love hate relationship with lizards, newts salamanders whatever they are. Back home all i had to do was make sure there were no slugs on the sidewalk, here as soon as the sun sets its an amphibious free for all. They are EVERYWHERE and clearly have no respect for the human animal/reptile code. You know that unspoken rule that that clearly states that if a human is coming towards you (the bird, squirrel, lizard, you turn the other way. Nope, not these guys, they are world champions when it comes to playing chicken and I’m fairly certain that my front door is where they practice their duals..I’ve not won a single round to date.


Closing Arguments

Do I miss Indiana? Yes, how could you not. Beautiful fall scenery, covered bridges, Indianapolis Colts, Indy car and a fair shot at having all 4 seasons not just 2. The majority of my family and friends are there and lots of memories.  Do I like where I am living now? Definitely! You cant argue with a state that boasts an average winter heat of about 55 Degrees (I just hated forcing my husband to scrape the ice off my car every morning for three months in Indiana, it wasn’t fair to him or my car 😉 ) and offers you an ocean within a three hour drive. I have my pick of 7 major league sports teams to bandwagon follow. "The cowboys are the best team ever! Oh the Texans are in the Superbowl you say…OMG I LOVE THE TEXANS" I’ve got a better chance of "my" team winning! In the end when all is said and done and all jokes aside, there is something definitely validating about a young married couple moving far away from the traditional safety net, and actually surviving! 

A Night At The Movies

Movies, we’ve been investing our time money and energy in to motion pictures forever. There is just something about checking out from reality, and for 13.00 a person, one can sit in a dark, cold theater for two hours, and have their world be transformed. You can be a drunk pirate on the high seas, a socially confused wizard off to a new school or a vampire looking for love in all the wrong places to (ugh). On a recent trip to the theater with my husband, I began to analyze my movie rituals that I have perfected over the last 24 years as we sat waiting for the previews to begin.

20121001-033532.jpg1. Movie theaters have perfected the art of sensory manipulation. Everything I go to the theater I tell myself “I’m gonna be strong today” no popcorn, your on a diet, it’s expensive, you never finish it and more ends up in the floor, down your shirt, than does in your mouth. Don’t fool yourself with they “oh Ill save it and take it home and eat it” lie. This best of intentions idea becomes a sad realization when you realize that a 15 dollar bucket of popcorn at home (withought Dolby digital sound) tastes like 5.00 card board and failure. (Must admit, works great for Christmas garland). Never the less, regardless of the pep talks I give myself, this is a lost battle before I walk in the door. Between the intoxicating smell of butter and salt, and the overwhelmingly convincing dancing popcorn man that screams “you need me” playing on every screen, I almost always give in. And while the gratification only lasts as long as the previews one feeling remains the same… when I’m in a theater and I have that big bucket of popcorn..I pretend my hand is the claw from toy story ..with every handful I hear the aliens in my head say “look, the clawwwwwwww”


2.I like to get to the theater early..seat selection is crucial. I like to sit in the first row..not down front first row but first row where it Inclines in front of the bars..I like to be able to recline my seat back and put my feet up on the bars without disrupting someone else’s movie experience. But please be warned, there are No guarantees on this rule. if my seat is not available..I shall remind you that its a jungle out there, and it is every man for himself..cause this girl cant sit still, and my feet have to roam..at least I get a pedicure at least once a month 🙂

3. If I miss as much as one movie trailer my whole movie experience is ruined..I might as well zone out from the beginning. I wouldn’t exactly say I go to the movies just to watch the trailers, but I like the comfort of knowing if my actual movie sucked..there is something “better” being released in summer of 2013 to take my mind off the 13.00 dollars i just wasted on whatever twilight movie my friends have talked me into.


4. Just cried a little bit when I saw the trailer for twilight finale..it is going to be epic…..and by epic i mean thank goodness i do not have to hear about this movie anymore..the end is nigh..prepare yourselves.


5. I hate it when people behind me put their feet up on my chair..don’t they know how rude that is! 🙂 (insert irony here)


6. Sometimes I wish my movie going experience would be more like English lit was in college. So what, the movies over, what’s ur rush to escape? Lets talk this out, who can name the protagonist, antagonist? What was the struggle, the climax, the resolution? What are some major themes you recognized? What was the writer “feeling” when he wrote this? Lets all have 10 points written and posted on blackboard by midnight mmmkay!


7. My life would be so much easier if they would post in the bottom right corner of the screen, the actors real name and any notable roles they may have played in the past. If the girl who played cashier #3 in The avengers movie was in an ad for Burger King in 1987 I want to know it without having to whip out my bright cell phone in the middle of a dark theater and “imdb’ing” it. (Don’t judge me, that’s totally a word, look here) Same thing goes for the music..who has time to watch the end credits, to figure this valuable information out, especially if we’re deep into our themes and messages discussion.. just saying.


8. Movie theaters are freezing! 2 tickets 1 large popcorn and 1 large drink is 30 dollars..either throw in a snuggie or make it easier to cuddle and maybe people wouldn’t be so “warm” about the prices.


How not to be a cat lady; Advice from a self-proclaimed cat lady

Have you ever been wrongly accused of being a cat lady? Have you ever wondered how you can effectively share the love of your cats with others without fitting in to the harsh social terms associated with the awesomeness that is keeper of the cats?
Have no fear, Jennifer, the self-proclaimed cat lady is here with a few pieces of advice to keep you out of the cat lady grey area and into feline friendly zone!

Urban dictionary and wikipedia label a stereotypical cat lady, or cat woman, as a single woman (romantically challenged) who dotes upon her cat or cats.The term is usually considered pejorative,though it is sometimes embraced. In the words Michelle Tanner from full house, “How Rude”

Cat Call!
How do you refer to your cat in public, does it differ from when your at home, behind closed doors? Are you and your cat strictly on a first name bases..fluffy,muffy, puffy or fred? Or are they a different combination of sweetie, baby or my personal favorite bitty baby? When they meow back are you quite certain they are calling you mommy and daddy?

Pretty Kitty Profile

You are more than likely mistaken for a cat lady if you have multiple photo albums containing picture after picture of your precious babies. As a cat owner cautious of your Cat reputation, your probably asking how much is too much? And trust me, we’ve all been there. Do i post the pictures of the halloween costumes, or their birthday party pictures, first prom, first date..how about both? After hours of looking at proofs, consulting ivy league mathematical scholars, I have devised the perfect equation that will let you fill those Facebook and Instagram albums with out overdoing it and alienating family friends and coworkers.


The cat to human picture ration must be less than or equal to the that of the years of the combined ages (cat years of course) of all cats living under one roof (stuffed/taxidermy cats exempt and need not apply) plus the combined owners ages – 25 then divided by average number of misplaced hairballs in a week. Please use the FOIL method to solve for X, feel free to round up if it makes you feel better. For example our household equation is as follows 14+50-25/6=6.5. So this house hold of two cats can have an average of 7 pretty kitty pictures a week!

You’ve Got Mail!


How do your pets choose to communicate to the outside world? Do they send post cards that they have hand picked out and signed? Christmas cards? Do they send texts? or as we continue forth in our social networking world, do they Facebook family friends and other cats? And while we are on the subject of Facebook pages and cats, when you go to upload your allotted mathematical ratio of cat pictures a week, does the automated tagging robot mistake your cats face as your own?

…:Some housekeeping bullet points:….
Do your cats have more holiday themed outfits to break out at parties than you do?

Are you often temped to interrupt co-workers chatting at the water cooler about their “childs” first steps, first day of school, prom or wedding with how your cat made them most adorable face right before it slept for 8 hours straight?


Have you ever tried to walk your cat?


Do you spend most of your time texting people pictures of your cats and or is your goal to find the last emoticon ap that features cats?!


Are you spending so much time taking care of your cats and making sure they are clean that they have to keep you clean?


Do you write a blog post tying to warn people of the dangers of appearing to be a cat lady,but in reality just wanted a new medium to showcase the fury ones in your life?! 😉


No thank you, I’m just looking!


Why i dislike shopping in a place in which the people working there are paid mostly on commission ( and yes i realize the irony in the fact that this is currently how i make a living) Whether it is clothes (though I rarely shop in clothing stores that work on commission and prolly for this reason) jewelry stores, and electronics, my most common experience. I had no particular item in mind when I entered best buy, just wanted to peruse the DVDs, check out the cleareance electronics and just to genuinely enjoy my day off. I walk in the doors and round one begins, The first employee in encounter litteraly follows me all the way to the dvd section of the store asking me if i was in here for anything particular, what was on sale and that if i needed anything to come and ask. I believe my first answer of, “no, im just looking around, killing time, here for nothing in particular” should have covered all my bases, but nope..the quesions ensued until i managed to loose them in Spanish television series and the best of TELEMUNDO! Finally some peace to peruse..i could sift through the titles, see whats out there..maybe read the backs of the covers! Freedom! I was feeling good aboout this now, i was displaying all the proper signs, no eye contact, telephone in my hand ready to take a fake phone call at a moments notice, not looking too hard for any particular product, and looking like i possessed little to no money! All the key factors in appearing invisible while shopping.

After finding pochohantas and the original parent trap on DVD, I moved on to concur another section. Ipads and ipad accessories. A deeper level in which the more employees are stragecally layed out like a pinball game, if i bounce off of a wall and avoid on, there is one waiting in the wings, ready to light up. I rounded the corner, and much to my suprise..there they were, all standing in a circle dissing the iphone 5 and generally ignoring not only me, but everyone in their section. For a moment all i could think was, if this was me and my co-workers, we would all be getting an email or an evil eye from our manager. Ironic Statement number 2: I can totally see why and completely agree with the managerial evil eye! To someone who was generally there to purchase something and wanted expert advice, the group of employees were putting off stronger “Leave me alone signals” than I was. For a brief moment I thought of asking some random question, or giving them false hope in an ipad sale even though i already have 2 ipads and have no intention of buying anymore, but quickly realized that my whole mission would be a wash and I am not strong enough to say no.

Here i was, now rounding out the back of the store and there it was..i could see it! the doors! two more sections to sift through, and since I didnt really look like i was in the market for a washer dryer combo, I was really almost to the finish line. Cd racks and check out is what stood between me and a seemingly uniterupted shopping experience. I was so excited i was practically giddy, made me want to buy something just to commemorate such an event! (maybe that was todays strategy in the back-room..”leave them alone..maybe they will buy more) I looked through the concert cd’s and DVD’s as i am trying to get matthew prepaired for my Sir Paul McCartney in 60 days, found what i was looking for and entered the check out line.

I cant believe it, there was no wait! I felt like this was a dream! I found myself particularly chatty with the cashier; Rookie mistake! she mistook my over eager conversation as an easy sale! There I was, 5 feet from the finish line and I found myself bombarded with questions that I didn’t want to answer..no I don’t have a best buy credit card, no i don’t want to sign up for one, no I don’t have a rewards card, no i don’t want to sign up for one, no i don’t have an email address i would like to give you for information on sales and coupons, and yes, i will give you my number for system purpose, 867-5309. Better luck next time I guess!

How not to bake a cake..iphone style!

Inspired by the impending launch of the iphone 5, i thought it would be cute to bake an iphone themed cake to bring to work to share with my coworkers. How hard could it be i figured..a cake pan is already the general shape of the iphone, slap some white icing on the side, black icing in the middle for the screen, draw out some icons for the middle and call it a day, presto..a cake sure to please all.

20120913-213602.jpg these are the ingredients and tools needed to make such a cake!

Step one..mix and bake cake..previosly beileved to be the easiest part of the process i was about to endure was quickly ended when i read the back of the box..i did a quick check while at the store to make sure i was leaving with ALL the ingredients..meggs, oill water..check check check.. but while in the comfort of my own home, my first challenge reared its head..1/4 cup of oil..1 1/2 of water and three egg whites (a total of six since i was making two boxes) ..excuse me..egg whites only..you can separate them? do they know this? I had in my possession 7 eggs all of which ready to give their lives for my iphone cake..room for error and practice..1 egg. I called both my mom and mother in law, both great bakers, in hopes of some advice on how to divorce the egg yolks from their whites. After positive reinforcement…I set out to get my bake on….

….and failed miserably….


Whats the worst thing that could happen if i let 1 or 6 egg yolks in to my batter…oh it could make my “white” cake yellow you say..hmm..well maybe apple will release an off white/yellow iphone..time to move on!

The mixing of the batter is quite possibly the best part of cake baking..look out Betty Crocker..Jennifer Shidler is in the house and shes got this white iphone cake under control!


20120913-220833.jpg i dont care what they say on the back of the box..”dont eat raw batter…yada yada yada salmonella” I’ve been scraping the sides of mixing bowls and rubber spatulas since i was 5, and besides the small fact that i cannot separate the egg yolk from its whites..i like to think i turned out just fine!

Preheat the oven to 350 and then bake for 45 minutes! half way their ladies and gentleman..no fire alarms..nothing has been dropped lost or spilled and dishes are surprisingly washed right after their use! Anticipating that i would focusing all my energy on this cake I strategically bought a rotesiery chicken from walmart..

Little did i know that i could have hatched, raised, harvested, plucked and cooked the chicken a lot easier and just bought and cake…but oh well, thats a lesson learned for next time.

As the caked baked in the oven for 45 minutes..(for once i actually remembered to set a timer) my motivation for this cake dwindled..not helped by the fact that i received my pre sale ticket code for my paul McCartney tickets..next thing i know its 10 pm..my white cake is as cool as a cucumber siting on them table..weapons of icing destruction un-used, un-opened and screaming to “create” and me sitting on the couch researching downtown Houston hotels and parking options for my concert all while simultaneously monitoring the “likes” streaming in from my facebook page from people who are (if not already) tired of hearing me talk about my sir Pauls arival to the lone star state. I began to feel guilty as the cake sat their..another unfinished product, a quality of which im famous for..I decided to trudge on even if i did have to be at work at 8 am..let the icing begin..

20120913-223614.jpg as i planned out my icons i realized my battle wasnt even half way done..i only had one tool to help me ice..and needed about 15 different colors ..yep definitely didnt think this through..after each color i had to rinse the icing out of the tube and then mix up a bown of other colors..i hate dishes and this project screamed 3 loads for the dishwasher..9 icons in and the cake began to look less and less like an iphone and more and more like a big mistake..

yep folks..this is my cake…a product of love, stress and little to no knowledge of baking. Needless to say this never made it to work..i and those most honest around me..have decided that i should instead stick to selling the phone as opposed to trying to recreate it in more artistic forms..agreed..

Lessons I learned from this whole experience

1. there is nothing wrong with trying something new..and failing..
2. i need to invent a tool that divorces the yolk from the white
3. My husband just informed me, internet confirmed that the aforementioned tool does exist, and is now on my Christmas list.
4. that icing color stains carpet..who would have known..
5. From now on..ill shall employ/seek them help of others for all my baking needs!