Friday, June 29, 2007

Take action, Bitches*!

You know how when you're sitting in your cubicle or home office or regular old office or whatevs, and you're going about your daily business enjoying your favorite online streaming radio station, and you're discovering new music and artists you've never heard of and rediscovering old music you'd forgotten you'd loved and you're mildly freaked out because somehow they're totally synched in to your mood that day and they keep playing the most perfect soundtrack to your Tuesday EVER so you pull out a pad of paper and start writing down songs that you want to research and shit you wanna buy on iTunes or eMusic or at Waterloo or wherever? You know how fucking cool that is?

Well, if this shit actually happens, you can kiss that loveliness described above good-bye.

So, you know, do something.

(Have I mentioned lately that I hate our government?)

*You know when I call you "Bitches" it's because I fucking love you, right? Don't hate...

Three things I find amazing.

1.) That people would actually stand outside in the 86--wait, did I say 86, I meant to say 96--degree heat for hours just to buy a phone.

2.) That when I took this photo out of the 6th floor of my office building, the sun was actually shining, and there wasn't a raindrop to be seen.

3.) That I've managed to post something--no matter how lame or inept--every single day this week. Woo hoo!! I'm blogcrazy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well, she finally took the plunge.

Remember many, many moons ago when I freaked out because I thought my mom had gone insane because she'd joined a drillteam for old Republican ladies called The Plungettes? Well, turns out she DIDN'T actually join them then. Instead, she just hung out with one of her "friends" (who she bitches about constantly because this friend is certifiable, mind you) who's a Plungette at some Plungette events. I was relieved that my mom hadn't totally gone off the deep end. I was relieved, that is, until earlier this week when she informed me that not only has she joined, she'll be picking up her plunger and marching in a Hill Country 4th of July Parade in all of her Plungette glory.

You know, something along the lines of this...

I'm secretly hoping this deluge of rain continues so that the parade gets cancelled.

Holyfuckingshit, ya'll. My mom's a fucking Plungette.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

She totally placed out of "Panhandling at Intersections 101"

My daughter is the star pupil at the Baglady Academy. Her teachers Hobo Joe and Lazy Eye Johnson are just thrilled with her aptitude.

I must say, I get a little misty-eyed looking at this graduation photo:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

As if we didn't already know that he was a paranoid, power-hungry, heartless, evil, slimy shit bag...

Now we have this evidence to sort of confirm everything (that anyone with half a brain and/or conscience already knew a long, long time ago).

What's that bubbling sound I'm hearing?

Oh, wait. It's just my blood.

See this?

It's a toadstool. Not a mushroom, but a toadstool. How do I know the difference? Well, technically, I don't. But since this sucker was as big around as a dinner plate (I wish I'd put something in the photo to illustrate the scale of this monster), I'm guessing it could adequately seat a toad. Even a big ass bullfrog, perhaps. But what the existence of this toadstool really tells me is ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN, ALREADY!!
Jesus H. Christ, people!
It. Just. Keeps. Falling.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Really, the world should be more like this:

Friday morning, my coworkers and I met up at one of our cohort's houses in Oak Hill to consolidate cars and start our journey to Lake Buchanan. It had been raining (surprise), and everything was very wet and very green.

As we began to pile into cars, we saw a very large, super cute bunny hopping around in her neighbor's yard. Turns out, this bunny was not only tame, he was totally friendly, and came hopping right over to us. One of the guys with us just scooped him up in his hands as all the chicks squealed in delight. Would you check him out?! He's all, "What's up, people?" with one ear pointed forward, the other one pointed back. And then, when he got tilted on to his back, he was like, "Yeah, I've got dirty paws. What did you expect? I mean, it's been raining like crazy. I'm still cute as hell. Worship me!"

Holy crap! The cuteness! It's blinding me!!
I have no idea what this bunny's name is, but he was, by far, the most badass bunny I've ever met. Apparently, he's like a cat, and you can just let him out to roam around, and then when you open up the door and rattle some food, he comes hopping on home. Unreal. And he's got a partner in crime: a brown bunny buddy who's the same way.

If the world were more full of bunnies like this, it would be a far better place.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

As promised...

Here's a recap of my team's "teambuilding" that took place on Thursday and Friday.

First, some history. I've never been on an actual honest-to-goodness teambuild in my nearly 8 years with this company, despite the fact that teambuilds are touted as one of the important parts of our much-celebrated team based culture. The last pseudo teambuild I went on was nearly two years ago, and although we got to do some fun stuff, it was primarily an excuse for my crazy ex-boss to get royally fucked up. And then the all-day work session the following day was basically cancelled because she was too hungover to deal. So, yeah...

Enough of that. On to the present:

Thursday morning, my team headed west to the Bluebonnet Cafe--"a Marble Falls tradition since 1929"--for breakfast. Mmm...diner food. Then we continued our journey northward to Burnet and then west to the resort on Lake Buchanan where we were staying. We lucked out. It was raining like a mofo when we left Austin, but the further west and north we went, the clearer the skies became.
The drive from Burnet to the resort was surreal. It was SO green and so filled with wildflowers and hills and curves and just flat-out gorgeousness, I had to catch my breath several times as the vistas revealed themselves to us.
When we got to the resort's parking lot and out of our cars, we heard a plaintive and very nearby, "Mooooooooooooooooo." We all walked toward a trailer in the parking lot, and lo and behold, in addition to the Sea Doo in the trailer, there was a little brown calf, crying for her mama. She came right over to the side of the trailer so we could scratch her head. When we mentioned this to the front desk gal, she said that the owners had had this vacation booked for a while, so when this calf's mother died and the calf needed to be bottle fed 4 times a day, they just decided to bring her with them on vacation rather than cancel. (I love Texas for shit like this.)

We all got checked in to our rooms, and then headed to the boat rental place. On our way out, we saw the calf's owner walking Star (that was its name) on a leash.

We had a bit of a snafu with the boat--the somewhat sketchy place we'd rented from had two boats for us to choose from, both of them broken. It would've been nice if they'd called us or something, but like I said, this place was pretty sketchy, so I'm not too surprised. [Lesson learned: You get what you pay for. They were the least expensive boat rental place in the area, and the guy who took my reservation over the phone sounded like Jessco from "The Dancin' Outlaw."] They did, however, put down their cigarettes long enough to help us call around and find another boat we could rent--a bit more expensive, but hey, at least it was running.

We got to Boat Place #2 and unloaded all of our crap--water noodles, coolers, beach towels, backpacks, bags of snacks, etc. Finally, we were on the water. Wow, it was gorgeous and we literally had the entire lake to ourselves--we only saw two other boats the entire time we were out. We would stop the boat and then jump out and swim or just float. The water was perfect. The wind picked up and so did the current. The boat floated away from us pretty quickly when we were out swimming, but luckily there was always someone on board who could bring the boat back 'round. Or you could just hang on to the back of the boat like these three.
At about 5:15 we started heading back to the rental place, but the wind had REALLY picked up, and as we headed into the waves, the flat bottom of the pontoon boat would hit the waves and BOOM we'd get pummeled with gallons of cold lake water. Everything on board was getting soaked. So we stopped and shoved all of the electronics and valuables into an extra trash bag I'd brought with us in an attempt to keep a few things dry. I'm telling you, it was crazy. I felt like there were stagehands standing off stage right and stage left throwing enormous buckets of water on us on cue. It was pretty funny, but after about 20 minutes, it started to get fucking old. Thankfully, the water smoothed out as we got closer to shore, and the water pummeling ceased.

We headed back to the resort and everybody showered and got ready for dinner. We all convened by the pool for a couple of beers and some wine. We probably shouldn't have done that because by the time we got to the onsite restaurant, they'd pretty much closed the kitchen down. Luckily, they offered to cook us something, but they limited our choices to a pasta primavera type thing and prime rib. It was weird, but the food was fine. And the view and sunset were spectacular.
View from the restaurant.

After dinner, everyone came to my room for our teambuilding exercise. It was intense and lasted a long, long time, but I think it was a good exercise. In other words, I think it built our team which was the whole point of this adventure.

Next morning, we met in our meeting room, and tackled the big agenda I'd written. We rocked on through everything and ended up actually wrapping up a couple of hours ahead of schedule.

A few things:

The place we went was awesome. The rooms were great. The grounds were spectacular. The staff was SO nice and accomodating. I DEFINITELY want to go back there with Mr. Wonderful. It's very rustic but really romantic.

Lovely Lake Buchanan.

The front porch of my little "cottage." Yes, those are two rocking chairs.

The interior of my cottage.

The view from my porch.

Both Jaye and I killed scorpions in our rooms. Not too surprising given the landscape and the time of year, but still...

We saw an eagle on the way to the second boat rental place. It was really fucking cool.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

600th Post, Bitches!

Wow. 600 of these suckers. Woo hoo.

Sorry, I'm just not "feelin' it" ya'll.

I had a day that started shitty, got better, and sort of ended shitty. Shitty bookends, so to speak. And now I'm in the throes of preparing to take my team on a two-day "teambuilding" on one of the beautiful Highland Lakes. It rained off and on all day today, so I'm also in the throes of praying for good weather.

I can't wait for the road trip tomorrow and the scenery and being with my friends, who also happen to be my coworkers. I really am lucky in that respect.

I'll give you a full report (with photos, yay!) post facto, but for now I'll leave you with this handwritten proof that money does not buy you brains. My penmanship ain't the best, but at least it doesn't look like it did in 4th grade.

Some days are cake; Some days are shit sadwiches.

  • Geej woke me up for the first time at 3:05 to go tee tee.
  • She woke me up for the second time at 3:20 just for the Hell of it.
  • She woke me up for a third time at 5:00am-ish. Let her crawl into the bed, but never really got back to sleep.
  • Had a wicked nightmare about being back in Vladivostok now and them taking The Geej away from me. (This is the second time I've had this dream in a couple of weeks. It's awful.)
  • Started raining like crazy as we left the house for school.
  • Couldn't find my umbrella.
  • Got soaked while running The Geej into school.
  • Everything was fine until it was time for me to leave, at which time she threw a Stage 4 meltdown (Stage 5 being the worst ever, like what happened at AO's party).
  • Got re-soaked on the way back to the car.
  • Sat in insane traffic (caused by the fact that it was pouring) for the short drive downtown.
  • When I got to work (finally), the parking garage's "legal" spots were taken up, so my only option was to park illegally or park a block and a half away and hoof it to work, again in the pouring rain. I opted for the illegal option.
All of this before 9:30am.

Urgh. Grumble. Growl.

As soon as I logged on to my computer at work, I sent a preemptive e-mail to my team, apologizing in advance for the fact that I was going to be snippy and snarly today because I was in a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad mood.

Hopefully I won't get towed and rocking out to my iTunes will help deliver me from this funk.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Three is the new Two.

You know, as The Geej steadily marches toward her third birthday (it's only 6 weeks away...hard to believe), I've realized that, really, two has not been terrible in the least. In fact, it's been fun. So many firsts, so many transitions, all handled with relative grace and ease. Two was the year of potty training and moving out of the crib. Two was the year she started Montessori school. Two was the year she really REALLY started talking. Two was the year she reached 3 ft. tall and started wearing clothes with "T" on the size tag. Two was the year her eyes turned from blue to green, she started talking a lot about her friends, and understood that--when she was a little baby--she lived in Russia.

But I'm fearful about three. I've had more than a few mothers tell me three is horrible, challenging, and anything but fun. I got a glimpse of it yesterday at Annie O's fourth birthday party. Things were going well: The Geej rode all of the rides (except for the "ponytails" i.e., the ponies, despite the fact that that's all she could talk about on the way to the party), and she seemed happy and content. But then I said no to her demand for a second piece of birthday cake, and all Hell broke loose. Seriously ya'll, I have never EVER seen her throw a tantrum like this. She was screaming and kicking me and scratching my face and neck and pulling my hair. It was horrifying. It was like she'd suddenly been possessed by Satan. She was so out of control, it was scary. Of course, everyone at the party was staring at us with a mixture of pity, horror and surprise. The Geej is normally so well-behaved, that I think most of the parents there were just as shocked as I was by what was going on. I managed to pick her thrashing body up and take her to a corner of the park to talk with her, and as soon as I let go of her, she ran away from me, screaming "No Mommy!! No! No! No!" When I finally caught up with her, she practically collapsed in my arms and said, "I'm tired. I want to go home." That made two of us. The rest of the day was challenging as well--lots of whining and major attitude when she didn't get her way. What the hell, people? It's like she's changed overnight. Today was a wee bit better, but there was still plenty of brattitude and whining. I just can't stand whining.

As of right this second, I must say, I'm not looking very forward to three. But if Annie O. and her parentals made it through alive, I guess The Geej and I can too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just in case you were wondering...

This is one of the things that comes up when you do a search for "keytar" on YouTube.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Further proof that I never throw anything away:

This entry could also be titled, "Maybe I should throw some shit away."

Case(s) in point:

The mold made of my teeth when I was getting 1983.

Merit badges I earned as a Bluebird (circa late 1970s). One was for swimming, and I think the other one was for raising chickens or for my falconer skills. At least that's what it looks like.

These horrifyingly ugly earrings from Pier 1 (remember when they used to sell jewelry?) given to me by my aunt (mid-1990s).

This kick ass button drawn my me and made by me with a friend's button maker. Hopefully it was never actually WORN by me, but I can't be too sure (mid-80s).
A pin (one of a series) that was ordered by me and my friend Lori Williams in 9th grade. We sent off for them from an ad in the back of "Rolling Stone." Lori was OBSESSED--and I mean it--with Huey Lewis, and so she got an "I (heart) Huey" pin and I got this one that reads, "I (heart) The News." I also had one that read, "I (heart) Eddie Money." What a fucking DORK, ya'll!

This little dude in an outhouse. You put water in the base, then you open the outhouse door, and the little dude turns around and pees on you. Yuk yuk yuk and hardee har her!

Wait a second. That's actually pretty cool.

But seriously, I need professional help. I must rid myself of some of the clutter in my life. This has gotten pretty ridiculous. I'm totally turning in to my mom...

Monday, June 11, 2007

It seemed like a good plan.

I've had "convertible fever" for several months now. It started innocently enough when I became enchanted with a lovingly restored 1973 Mercedes convertible that Mr. Wonderful's brother had for sale. I'd pretty much gotten my mom into the idea of us buying it together and it living at her house so that we could share it. But then the impracticality of having (an even 50% share in) a two-seater while I've got a two year old sort of sank in, and we dropped it. But the idea of the convertible would not leave my brain. I constantly scoped out the ones I saw in traffic, trying to picture myself at the wheel. I started looking on Carmax and, you know, just to see what was out there. Each beautiful spring day that passed, I would think, "Damn! Now THIS is convertible weather!!"

Finally, I'd had enough and started looking into renting a convertible for the weekend, just so I could get it out of my system. Memorial Day weekend was a bust. So was the weekend following. But then this past weekend, I got lucky. hooked me up with the lowest cost convertible deal in town at Alamo out at the airport.

Mom had already planned on taking The Geej with her to Houston on Saturday to attend this big family shindig that I really wasn't that in to attending (more on that later). Plus, I needed to be at the house on Saturday to accept delivery of some furniture (more on that later too). So I booked the car, and soon after Mom and Geej headed toward Houston, I headed to the airport to get my car. I got to the rental counter, and the gal who was working there got on the phone to confirm my vehicle was there with the guy at the lot. I was fully expecting to get a PT Cruiser convertible because that's what they showed on their website and on the "Cars Available" sign at the counter. See, this was all part of my ultimate plan: I would rent something that I would never EVER buy--like a PT Cruiser--and I'd hate it so much that the convertible jones would be a thing of the past. Also, it was going to be hot as fuck this past weekend, so I figured I'd spend my whole time miserable and that would put yet another nail in my convertible coffin. But then this happened:
And this:
Oh. My. GOD!! I loved it!! I miss my Volkswagen, so being back in a VW felt like wearing a pair of comfy old shoes. And holy CRAP is this a cute car! It was like a Barbie car. Seriously, when they pointed me to this thing at the Alamo lot, I was like, "I am SO fucked." My plan was backfiring all over the place. I went and got Jaye, and we spent all Saturday afternoon riding around the picturesque hills of Austin, drinking our large Sonic iced teas, getting sunburned, and talking shit. It was paradise.

That evening, we went and picked up another friend of ours and drove up to the Arboretum to see a movie. Driving with the top down on a summer night is, seriously, better than therapy.

Meanwhile, in Houston, The Geej was also in paradise because she was getting to hang out with Dah and a real live human baby!! (He's the newest addition to our family; the first child of my cousin and his wife.)

The furniture I was having delivered? Geej's big girl bed:

Isn't that cute? It's a twin with a trundle. She knew it was coming, but when she walked in on Sunday afternoon and saw it (along with her room totally rearranged), she spazzed completely out. She was SO excited. It was hands down one of the cutest things I've ever seen. She kept making my mom come her bed over and over again. "Come yook, Dah! Yook at my bed!!" So awesome. Speaking of awesome, will you check out the girl in pigtails? It was the first time I fixed her hair like this, and I thought I was going to melt because she looked so damn precious.

Anyway, I hadn't told my mom what I was doing, so when she saw the bug in the garage, she wigged. "What did you DO?!" I let her think I'd traded my car in for about 2 minutes, then I told her the truth. I squeeeeeeeeeeezed Geej's carseat into the teeny backseat, and the three of us went for a spin. At first Geej was loving it. But when we got on MoPac and started going about 60mph, her love affair with the convertible ended, and by association, so did mine. "It's too windy! It's too hot! It's too noisy! I don't like this car! I want to go home!" was all I could hear from the backseat. So we turned around and started for home. The first red light we came to, I put up the car's top. It TOTALLY freaked her shit out. She was like, "Mommy! What IS that?!" I think I've got her convinced I'm magic.
We took the car back to the airport at the end of the day, and got into my dirty mom-mobile. Before we'd gone 1/2 a mile, Geej says, "Mommy, I like this car." Yeah, me too. But six months from now, I'm DEFINITELY going to have another convertible weekend. Damn, it was fun.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This is what happens...

...when a toddler--well-equipped with a couple of baby dolls--spends about 3 hours in the waiting room at a doctor's office* and a nice nurse gives her some medical "supplies" (including tape) to play with:

This is Abby. Poor Abby.

When I asked the Geej what had happened to this poor baby, she told me, "A frog bit her." Oh.

*My mom was having some tests run. No worries.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Spring Cleaning.

You KNOW you work at a weird place when almost everyone on your team is doing some sort of a "cleanse." Two of the chicks on my team have had nothing but water mixed with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and molasses since last Friday night. They're supposed to do this for (at least) ten days, then when they break this fast, they're only supposed to have orange juice for a couple of days and then slowly start eating again. They are, clearly, insane.

Jaye has started her diet in earnest (Go Jaye!), and I'm sure our other female colleague will begin some sort of cleanse/fast or something (she's been talking about some brown rice cleanse she's read about) when she returns from Seattle tomorrow. So I figured, when in Rome...

So tomorrow morning, I'm going to start a 14-day cleanse. That's right, two freakin' weeks of nothing but this stuff,water, and raw fruits and veggies (the fiber-y kind...not the starchy or citrus-y kind). Clearly, I am insane. But truthfully, I know people who do these things quarterly or a couple of times a year, and they swear by them. They say you feel so good during and after, that it's totally worth it. I'm willing to try anything once. And besides, I need to start eating better, and I figure starting from scratch might be just the way to do it. So of course, I pigged out today on Indian food for lunch and bbq for dinner.
Bye bye real food. Hello cleanse. As long as I don't have stuff that looks like this come out of me, I think I'll be cool. (WARNING: Do NOT click on that link unless you think you can handle looking at dozens of photos of the truly bizarre poop of strangers.)
Wish me luck...and will power.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Recent happenings and observations.

The rain came on again Sunday night like a pre-ark warning. I was more than happy to drive over the formerly bone-dry Pedernales River this weekend and see that--for the first time in years--it was bank-to-bank, and looking lovely. You know, like an actual river! The rain has been great for the flowers. The oleanders, for instance. They ususally struggle in the Central Texas soil and dryness but have been looking amazing, just like the oleander down near the coast (which makes sense, since they are intended for coastal climates). And oh my...the wildflowers. I have lived in Austin off and on for 20 years, and I can't recall a wildflower season this robust. Wave after wave of different flowers come to replace the ones that came before. A couple of months ago, this same field was solid blue and white with bluebonnets. Now, this: Breathtaking. And with a white, picket fence no less...
As I predicted, there were PLENTY of "hotties" (a.k.a. bikers, see previous post) for The Geej and I to ogle this weekend. In the 50 mile trip from my mom's house to mine on Sunday, we counted 80. And each time she saw one (or, more frequently, groups of more than one), Geej would squeal, "Mommy!! Yook!! More hotties!! Yots of dem!!" Yes my dear...I see them.

Jaye and I rang in the start of summer (if not on the calendar, at least mentally) with a hot dog grillin', beer drankin', potato chip munchin', Fudgcicle slurpin', Meatballs watchin' movie event on Friday evening.

But, truth be told, we only drank like 4 beers (and a Zima...oh YES I did!) and called it a night by 9:30. We sort of suck.

Saturday, I walked in to Target with the following on my list:
  • Mop
  • Tylenol
  • Wet-Ones
  • Gift Card/Graduation Card
I walked out $160 later. WTF, people?! (The gift card only accounted for $50 of that total, btw.) That place makes me lose ALL self-control!! And it's worse when you haven't been there in a while. I hadn't been in about 6 weeks, so of course all of the merchandise had turned over, so apparently there was all of this stuff I just HAD to have.

Speaking of shit I really don't need: Will someone please tell me how I ended up on the following mailing list?
I mean, yes, like most Americans, I get about 30 credit card solicitations in the mail a week, but this has got to be one of the strangest ones yet.

And on the back printed in big, black all caps: THIS IS NOT A VALID CREDIT CARD! Really? Hmmm... As if the lack of magnetic strip, the 1-800 number printed on the front, and/or that it is made of cardstock wouldn't have clued the typcial brain-dead Stop-n-Go cashier in to that fact.

One last little nugget of info for you:

My recycle bin was stolen last week. (I know! Right?) Anyway, the place to get a new one is at your nearest fire station. I'm embarassed to say that, after 1 1/2 years in my house, I didn't know where the "nearest" fire station was, so I opted instead to go to the one that was nearest to my work. I went Friday morning, and sort of half-knocked on the side door, not really knowing what one does when one wants to gain entrance to a fire station. I started to walk away, when this nice man opened the door and asked, "Can I help you ma'am?" Ask 98% of the hetero females you know, and they'll tell you, "There's just something about firemen..." I mean, I used to drool over my yard guy who was also a (married, with a young daughter) fireman. Man, was he hot (no pun intended). So imagine my disappointment when the 3 firemen I encountered during my first ever steps inside a fire station so hot. Nice as hell, but...yeah.
Well, turns out, they were completely wiped out of recycle bins (way to go, Austin!!), but showed me the fire station nearest my house on their map.

Saturday morning, after my financially devastating trip to Target, I went to this fire house and--holy GOD--the stereotypical super-hot fireman opened the door. I'm not shitting ya'll--he was like 6' 5", dark hair, big guns, blue eyes, great smile and...wait for it...DIMPLES!! When he asked, "Hi. What can I do for you?" my knees got weak. I think I sputtered something about recycling bins or something, and next thing I know, he's carrying them out to the car for me. I got to walk behind him and let me just say, that view was as good as the one from the front. My, my. (NOTE TO MR. WONDERFUL: Please get down here as soon as possible. Thank you.) Bookhart, you live right around the corner from this place. Might I suggest paying them a visit on Saturday morning...say about 11:00. C' KNOW you need an extra bin.

Okay, that's all for now. More about my exciting life later.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hear that?

That rumbling you hear is the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally. They're expecting 50,000 bikers to invade Austin before the weekend's over. I'm on the 6th floor of my office building, which is situated at a very busy downtown intersection, and I've been able to hear them roaring through all day. It's 85 degrees, sunny, humid, and the town is full of bikers. Yep, summer's here.

The Geej is going to lose her effin' mind. She's SO crazy about motorcycles (thanks to my mom teaching her to yell "Hottie!" each time she sees someone on one).

More soon...