Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So Very Much.

Been dealing with a dear friend's serious illness and hospitalization for the past couple of weeks. Her situation is serious and chronic and it breaks my heart. I fear for her and her family. I am hopeful but scared. I want everything to be "normal" again but don't now if it ever will be. During her hospitalization, I've been amazed by our close group of female friends. How they've all stepped up and responded. We are a shadow family. During times like this, we come out of the shadows.

Went to the funeral of another friend's father on Monday. She lost her mother to breast cancer in 2001. And now her father is dead. She is my age.

A third friend is being challenged for shared custody of her son by the boy's mentally ill, ex-con, chemically dependent father. This "man" doesn't give a shit abut his son. What he does care about is holding my friend emotionally hostage, which he has done over and over again for many years. She is stronger than she has been in the past and will get through this. No judge in his right mind would allow this man shared custody of this little boy. Eventually, karma will catch up with this sick bastard and he'll get his. But watching my friend have to go through this bullshit and knowing the dear, amazing child at the center of this who has done nothing to deserve this jackass as his dad, punches me right in the gut.

The Geej got her report card last week. She made A/B honor roll. She was proud. I am proud. I want her to value her brain as much as she values sparkly clothes and brushing her hair. I don't know that she ever will. But then again, she's only six.

Work is ver busy with big things and small, but I am having trouble focusing. My mind is flying away. I foresee many late nights of catch up in my near future.

BH got accepted into a special wildlife certification program with his work. It brings together two things--birds and Texas prairie habitat--that he is very interested in and knowlegable about. He is excited. I am excited for him.

I got accepted into one of the three* summer writing programs that I applied for. The one in Oregon. In July. For eight days. I got registered for the program yesterday, and got the workshop and instructor I was hoping for. I cannot begin to describe how thrilled I am about this. Every single time I think about it, I get butterflies. I discovered a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook from Austin who is ALSO going to the same program. We've been emailing, and she seems way cool and interesting. We're meeting for lunch next week.

*I ended up applying to a 3rd program I found out about by a fluke. It's in Arkansas. Not sure if I got accepted into it yet. If I do, it will be an honor. But I'll decline. I'm going to Portland.

Outside, it is a cool spring morning. The raised beds that BH built in the back yard are planted with tomatoes, garlic chives, basil, yellow squash, eggplant, cucumber, Anaheim chili peppers, cilantro, sugar snap peas and an artichoke. We are also growing oregano, Italian parsley and blackberries. Every day I check the progress of the growth of these plants. Right now, however, they are just sprouts with promise.

So very much, my friends. So very much.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taco Salad With Vegan Chorizo and a Side of Blogging

Yes, it's lunch time.That means I'll be shoving food into my pie hole in between sentences. Feel free to imagine that lovliness if you'd like to.

Spring break has come and gone. And for those of us in Austin, that means that the craziness that is South-by-Southwest has also drawn to a close. Once again this year I managed to miss out on all things SXSW except for the traffic and close encounters with hipsters that one must endure when she works downtown. However, now that I'm on Twitter (and there were jillions of SXSW-related twees during the week), it was hard not to feel left out of the party. I keep vowing I'll save up and purchase a badge one of these years so that I can go to all of the crazy music stuff I want to. But I'll believe it when I see it.

This past weekend, The Geej and I got the helloutta town and went on a long-overdue trip to the Pine Curtain. The purpose? To see my good friend Lisa and her nearly-four-year-old son, Henry. We also got to see my (very elderly) relatives, Aunt Mary Lois and Uncle Ray. Seriously, I have no idea how old these two are. They've got to be almost 90 if not already there. They've been married since 1940, and they're super sweet. They're also hardcore Pentecostal, but not too hardcore to have a T.V. in the bedroom turned on to Fox News 24/7. And they don't let their Christianity get in the way of their extreme racism either. I kept having to steer the conversation away from how much trouble "The Mexicans" and that "Black President" are causing. After all, there WAS a 6 yr. old in the room. But that's just how they are. I accept and love them even though I don't agree with them.

It is so beautiful up in east Texas right now. Dogwoods, azaleas and redbuds are blooming everywhere. And the TREES! I just don't realize how much I miss those tall pines until I'm standing in the middle of them.

But rather than let me ramble on and on about our trip, let's look at some pictures:
A statue of one of my favorite country and western performers, Lefty Frizzell, in Corsicana, TX.

The Geej taking advantage of some monkey bars at the park where the Lefty statue was located.

This AWESOME kids' park/playscape under the pines in Longview.

The Rangerette Museum in Kilgore. Every single time I try to go here (there's a pic of my grandmother in there that I want to see), it's closed. This time, it was closed for spring break. Sigh.

Classic East Texas Helmet Hair. If you're over 65 and NOT sporting this 'do within Gregg County, you WILL be talked about.

And there they are: Henry and The Geej. Just couldn't be any damn cuter.

Alas, my salad is finished and work beckons. Soon, internets. Soon...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heavy, heavy life.

Right after 9-11, I was like a lot of Americans: obsessed with watching/listening to the news, unable to sleep, terrified of what was next (because there just had to be SOMETHING to follow up that horrible tragedy). And now, for the first time since then, I'm feeling that way again. The ever-worsening situation in Japan and the noble way with which that country's citizenry are handling it (at least thus far) has gotten into my head and into my dreams. I am not one who prays, and yet I find myself praying every night for this country and its people. Each photo, each video clip, and each news story I see leaves me asking myself, "What would YOU do? How would YOU handle this?" And the truth is, I don't know. I am very hit-or-miss when it comes to stress. Sometimes I simply cannot deal with the situation at hand. I shut down. I implode and retreat. Other times, I shine, becoming the beacon of calm that others cling to. It depends on the situation and what's at stake, I guess. But really, it's pretty unpredictable. I DO know that I'm not someone who deals with a lack of control very well. Especially when it comes to my own life. But I seem to be okay at helping others out in that situation. However, there's simply no way I would be of any use during a tragedy on the scale of Japan's. Just thinking of the enormity of the losses suffered there makes me break into a cold sweat.

Then there's normal life. The kind of friends-and-family stuff that is within your solar system. And when you see these people that you know and love suffering and hurting and worrying, all you want to do is make things better for them. But you can't.

Nature and circumstances are humbling entities, to say the least.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My current obsessions It's a photo taking/sharing app on the iPhone, and it is SO cool. I'm following people in Amsterdam, Russia, Korea, Japan and India (among some other home-grown folks). It's amazing how compelling and fun simple, everyday photos can be.

The dark circles under my eyes. Dudes. They're BAD. And I've noticed that in every single photo that's been taken of me in the past year or so, they stand out like a sore thumb. So I'm working with my very own personal make-up consultant (Jaye) to help cover up those suckers, because getting more rest just isn't a possibility at the moment.

The Geej's missing teeth.

The fact that she's now lost BOTH teeth on the top and is constantly flashing that toothless grin of hers at me is KILLING me dead. I can't get over how cute she is and how much it has changed the way she looks! God, she's getting so damn BIG!!

A new house. I know, I know... We're in NO POSITION to be even THINKING about a new/different house, but I made the mistake of asking BH to go see a place with me this past weekend, and I literally can't stop thinking about it. The house was pretty nice, but the LOT it was on was seriously fabulous. And now I've mentally moved into the place, painted, changed the floors (where needed), hung pictures, positioned furniture and begun landscaping. Sigh.

Our gardens. We've* begun to plant some things in the two raised beds that BH built this past fall. So far, tomatoes, chives, Anaheim peppers, and cilantro. We'll be planting other things as the month rolls on. We've also got blackberries, Italian parsley, oregano, and mint growing elsewhere. I'm hoping this stuff really takes off. How cool would that be?

*When I say "we've", I actually mean BH. He's the one with the green thumb and gardening know-how. I'm just there to lend support, really.

Missing SXSW. Once again, I have neither the funds or the time off necessary to enjoy South-by-Southwest. I guess I should just go ahead and admit that those days are pretty much behind me. In fact, I'm so out of the SXSW loop that I'm actually going to Longview on the 18th. That's right: Longview for Spring Break. Do I know how to party, or what?!

This sandwich I ate a couple of weeks ago at Haddington's. Ya'll it was INTENSE. It was this crazy take on a grilled cheese that featured a white truffle oil aioli, grilled haloumi, and sun-dried tomatoes. I'm sure it had 7 billion grams of fat because it was rich as hell, but OMG it made my toes curl and eyes roll back in my head with each bite. I think you can only eat a sandwich like that once a year without risking a straight-up heart attack, but damn, it would be worth the risk just to try it again.

My "listen up" playlist. I've only got about 650 songs left to go. Yes, it's taking me FOREVER, but it's been totally worth it. And now that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Listening to it has become sort of an obsession.

Asparagus. This time of year, I just can't get enough. Stinky pee be damned!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Applications: Sent

I've just applied to two different summer writing workshops. One application, I submitted online last night. But then, I started messing with (read: improving) my submission piece. And so the second application (which I put in the mail today) had a tighter, more compelling version of what I sent last night.  So we'll see. One's in Oregon the other's in Vermont.

The Oregon workshop says they'll let you know about acceptance in about 4 weeks from when they receive your application, so like, end of March/early April. The Vermont one won't send out acceptance/refusals until late May. I have a "safety school" picked out--one that is open on a first come, first served basis. But I really, really, really, really want to attend one of these two I just applied to. I've got big plans, y'all!! So please WISH ME LUCK, Internets!!