Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You know how birdseed mix that you buy always has some sunflower seeds in it? Well, here's what happens when one of those sunflower seeds escapes from the feeder and ends up in the soil of your flower bed:
At first, I thought it was a gigantic weed and went to pull it, but BH told me that it was a sunflower, and so I left it. This totally makes me happy even though it's completely out of place.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One chick's trash is another chick's reason for spending two 100+ degrees days cleaning out storage bins in the garage.

BEHOLD! These are just SOME of the treasures I uncovered...
I found some gorgeous, stylish jewelry.

Patriotic mugs, just in time for The Fourth!!

Some VHS tapes (yes, VHS!!) and books commemorating really cool TV shows:

A kick-ass "rain pancho" in a moldy packet. Here it is, modeled by my handsome and brave husband: Just SOME of the cat-themed gifts given to me because, you know, I like cats and shit*:

(*Should you ever be wanting to purchase a gift for me in the future, I IMPLORE you, nothing cat-related. Mmmmkay?)

Programs from some concerts I attended. (Perhaps this begins to explain the extreme variety of my musical taste):

A collection of plastic mugs from various places of employment:

A pamphlet from the Austin "Downtowner Motor Inn" from a trip my family made down here in the 1970s. Apparently, I was impressed because, you know, I kept this for like 30+ years:

Quite possibly the greatest bumper sticker of all time:

(Don't worry. I didn't throw this away. Oh HELL no. It's now gracing the door of my deep-freeze.)

This Gumby pin:

This framed piece of lace (made in China!) that actually hung in my apartment's bathroom when I lived in Birmingham. I can't believe I ever thought that this "Kountry Charm" crap was my style...

An unopened CD called, "Guitar for Lovers." I mean just LOOK at those lovers on the cover!! Sexxxy.

An extremely disturbing and creepy self-portrait of my friend Andrew in his underwear that he sent me in the mail:

My one and only trophy/crown from my one and only beauty pageant I was ever in. Miss Starlite "Talent Winner" 1983, bitches!!

This little green plastic baby:

An impressive collection of highly-intellectual literature:

Art by moi:

A Xerox of a tarot card or something called "The Emperor". I'm not really sure about this one, but I was too creeped out and superstitious to throw it away:

A Snork:

A contact sheet from my one and only "head shot" session from back when I thought I might try to be an actress:

A page from an elementary school class project about Texas history:

A Gilda Radner paper doll book that features costumes from her most famous characters:

A "grow your own boyfriend" thing that someone who thought I was way too single must've given me:

A Stevie Ray Vaughn memorial set design drawing done for my Scene Design class in college. Yes, I'm serious:

A menu. From a trans-Atlantic flight. On Braniff. We were in coach. Yes, Virginia, this IS how flying used to be...

Speaking of menus, here's one from Beans. Remember Beans?!? (BTW, I used to have a menu from "Banana's" too, but I tossed the LAST time I did a purge of this shit):
And last, but DEFINITELY not least (not this week, anyway) this bumper sticker: Yep. I'm awesome.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Clearly I posted too early yesterday.

At post time, only ONE of my childhood icons had passed away and it had only gotten up to one-oh-two.

By the time I'd left work, Michael Jackson was dead, and it was one-oh-seven outside.

I have been listening to Michael's (pre-"Bad" only) music--as a solo artist and with his brothers--almost non-stop since yesterday afternoon. My personal song fest/dance party has sparked many MJ-related memories (to come in a future post...probably tomorrow).

But for now, I'm going to rest up for the Big Garage Clean Out, Part One that's starting tomorrow. That's right people: I'm spending most of my Saturday working in a garage that promises to get into the triple digits, heat-wise. So try not to be too jealous.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot, Hot, HOT Happenings

And I'm using the word "hot," literally here. Here is some bullet-pointy goodness for you. I'm going to get a cool drink...

  • Got TOTALLY sucked into the College World series. The Longhorns fought a good fight, but that last game was a heartbreaker.
  • The Geej finished her first session of swimming lessons, and her second session begins in a couple of weeks. She’s come so far in four weeks! Much more willing to stick her face in and focus on the mechanics of swimming. Plus, it’s just fun to watch her splash around and become more confident.
  • Super worried about my mom’s youngest brother who has a mysterious—and large—mass on his kidneys. We’ll know more about what’s up by the end of this week hopefully. I’m very nervous for him.
  • Holy Hell it’s hot, people. Did I already mention that? I took this photo on the way home yesterday. One-oh-freakin’-two!! But it IS summer in Texas, so really, what can we expect? (And look! I’m getting 27 mpg!!)
  • Planning on moving to a new area/cubicle at work in the next week or so. In a little less than 10 years, this will make the 8th different location (in 3 different buildings) I’ve sat in.
  • Went on a bit of a road trip last weekend, courtesy of BH’s mom and step-father. They put us (and BH’s brother and sister-in-law) up here while they looked after our kids for two nights. Sweet, no? While I was there, I took advantage of the spa, having a great massage and an overdue facial. I also got to meet some more of BH’s family when we attended a 40th birthday party for one of his cousins. It was fun, but it was also a LOT to pack into one weekend. Looking forward to just being at home this weekend.
  • I’m sad about the death of Farrah Fawcett. Like most women my age, “Charlie’s Angels” was a weekly staple when I was a tween.
  • I’ve been very sucked up into the tense and horrible situation in Iran. For all of its significant flaws, we are truly blessed to live in this country and enjoy all of its freedoms.
  • I’ve been researching writing workshops for next spring/summer, and am going to reach out to an actual Famous Published Writer that can hopefully give me some advice. Stay tuned for what I learn.
  • Hoping to do some serious garage-cleaning-out this weekend. In the sweltering heat. I know!! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
  • Ate an amazing (and very expensive) salad here for lunch today. Dang, it was good.
  • I’ve recently reconnected—in person—with some long lost college friends who I originally reconnected with virtually on FacePlace. It was awesome. Conjured a lot of fond memories but, at the same time, made me realize how very, very long ago those days were. Sigh.
  • Happy belated Father’s Day to all those daddies out there. If you’re lucky enough to still have your father in your life, tell him you love him and give him a hug, just for the Hell of it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, The Gripping Conclusion

  • A background singer for someone like Neko Case, Neil Finn, or Neil Diamond.
  • A sketch comedy writer/actor.
  • A service dog trainer.
  • A travel writer.
  • Carol Burnett.
  • A musician/songwriter (classical or popular).
  • A journalist (music journalism).
  • A food writer.
  • Interior designer.
  • Gilda Radner.
  • Professional napper.
  • An owner of a dairy goat farm.
  • A creative non-fiction writer/essayist (Vowell, Sedaris, Rakoff, etc).
  • Something that involves playing with puppies or kittens or some other kind of adorable baby mammals all day.
  • Amy Sedaris.
  • A writer for "The Onion."
  • A writer for the "Tim and Eric Show: Great Job."
  • The Thirsty Traveler.
  • Happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. And hot. Hot would be awesome.

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, Part 3

And so, what’s the plan? Something’s got to change, right? I can’t be one of those people who realize that things are not as she wishes and, instead of actually DOING anything about it, just complains and wallows in her own self-pity. I mean, I could be one of those people, but I don’t want to be.

I’ve already spoken with BH and told him that I desperately want and need to take some time off next spring/summer to attend some sort of intensive writing workshop. There are dozens of them at universities all over the South, and I want to be there, away from everything that’s “normal” about my life, focused on something that digs deep within this old brain of mine and awakens what is dormant. Now figuring out which one I want to attend, how to submit application/get accepted, how to finance the whole thing, how The Geej will be tended to while I’m gone, and how I’m going to swing it work-wise is going to be what I have to do. And I mean it: I HAVE to do this. This can’t be one of those things I plan on and then never actually go through with. I’m hoping by committing it to writing in this somewhat public forum, that it will not only inform the universe of my intent, but also help fuel my drive to make this happen. Because how much would it suck if I were to drop the ball on this and then look back at this post a year or so from now and have to own up to myself and those who’d read these words about my failure.

Consider this my commitment. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, Part 2

I’ve read “A Room of One’s Own” and “The Artist’s Way.” I understand that committing to your creative craft—whatever that craft may be—requires dedication and energy. What I don’t understand is how normal people with average incomes and real jobs and families and chores and only twenty four hours in the day can organize their lives in such a way that they actually a) carve out the necessary time and b) have the mental and physical energy to nourish their creative souls. People do it, but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out HOW they do it. The concept of “free time” makes about as much sense to me as advanced quantum physics being taught by someone speaking Gaelic. So what I generally end up doing is making plans in my head that never come to fruition and only end up frustrating me and making me more disappointed in myself.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I told myself that I was going to take advantage of my company’s (unpaid) Sabbatical policy and take a big chunk of time off to get all of the boxes and boxes and boxes of random written documentation of my life—everything from birthday cards to letters from camp to diaries to notes passed in class—organized and catalogued so that I could begin to write a type of creative nonfiction memoir thing. Man, I was excited about this idea. I even had a title in mind for what I wanted the end product to be called. My plan was that I would spend part of my days doing the physical cataloguing and creating notes that would piece together what the narrative of the story would be. My goal would be to capture the essence of that CRAZIEST/WILDEST/FUNNIEST person I’d once been, and tell her story. I’d spend full, glorious days writing, writing, and writing some more. I’d take breaks now and again to work out or go take a swim, but my main focus would be my complete immersion in and devotion to the creative process. At the end of these hypothetical days, I’d go get the Geej from school and then be totally devoted to my time with her without being distracted by the incessant gnawing in my gut caused by my horribly neglected creative muse.

But guess what: none of that ever happened. Concerns over not drawing a paycheck during my sabbatical and the profound negative impact that would have on my savings account coupled with my “what if I start something that sucks and/or I never finish” anxiety aborted this adventure before it’d even had a chance to begin. The desire for who I wanted to be and what I really wanted to do was simply no match for the forced practicality of my grown-up responsibilities.

And now, here I am: forty years old and totally creatively withered. The absence of any real inspiration or creative challenges and outlets in my life has made an internal environment where depression grows like kudzu, wrapping itself around and slowly strangling me. My biggest fear is that I actually AM too old to be what I might have been and the only things I have to look forward to are numbness and regret.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, Part 1

I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "You're never too old to be what you might have been." I see it every day when I'm getting stuff out to pack The Geej's lunch or getting a cold glass of water out of the Brita filter or retrieving some ingredients to prepare dinner. To me, the saying on that magnet is equal parts inspiration and frustration. It taps into that constant struggle in my head between the "Practical and Responsible" Karla May and the "Carefree and Creative" Karla May.

This is not a new struggle, mind you. It germinated in my youth, when I walked that tightrope between what I really wanted to do and be, and what I thought was expected of me. Almost every friend's note written in my yearbooks from elementary school on said something along the lines of: "To the CRAZIEST, WILDEST and FUNNIEST girl I know." But what nobody knew was that this "crazy/wild/funny" gal that people clearly saw and identified with on the outside was also overwhelmingly concerned with being accepted and liked, making good grades, and being successful in every endeavor she undertook.

When I hit my teenage years, this struggle tore me apart. On the outside, I was a stellar student, highly social, and fairly popular with a wide array of friends from a bunch of different "cliques." But inside, when I was alone, I was profoundly unhappy, confused, and (I realize now) horribly depressed. I used to sit on my bathroom floor, bawling for hours because I hated myself so much, holding my wrists until my veins bulged, then making sharp, repeated slices with a razor blade until dark blood would pour out. The few times anyone noticed the strange looking results, I blamed it on my very psychotic cat (and those who had met her, believed me).
Now "cutting"--hurting your flesh to somehow manifest and make visible the pain/turmoil inside you--is a commonly known thing that troubled teenagers do. Back then, there wasn't even a name for it. And besides: Why would anyone think for a moment that perhaps crazy/wild/funny Karla May might be hurting herself? It never crossed anyone's mind. But I got through it without therapy or prescriptions or anything like that. I just rode it out and managed to keep going on...making good grades, and being Miss Wild/Crazy/Fun Girl like everyone expected me to be. But I still have the thin faded scars on my wrists and arms from those lonely, horrible and desperate times, and I can remember those nights like they happened last week.

In my early twenties, I had another dark and lengthy period when depression really knocked me to my knees. It was spurred on by many things, but primarily it was that old inner struggle between who I wanted to be (an actress/writer who was taken seriously, took risks, lived life, and had success and artistic fulfillment) and my fear of failure and of "what people would think" of me if I totally went for it (irresponsible, flaky, stupid, untalented, unattractive). For the first time, I sought professional help and took antidepressants. And you know how in "The Wizard of Oz" things go from black and white (Kansas) to technicolor (Oz)? THAT is what taking antidepressants was for me with that first go-round. They utterly changed me and brought me to a place where I figured "normal" people must be all the time. And since then, for nearly 20 years, I've been on (and off) of different antidepressants. And within the past three years, anti-anxiety meds, a hormone replacement drug, and a high blood pressure medication have also entered the mix.

And guess what: Nothing--NOTHING--has really changed inside my head. That struggle between who I am and what I want to do and be--that message on the fridge magnet that greets me several times a day--punches me in the gut with painful regularity. But now, unlike when I was in my teens or twenties, I've made choices in my life (marriage, mortgage, career, child) that seem to answer to back to that damn magnet, "Oh really? Never too old? FUCK YOU. I'm forty, have serious responsibilities, have no expendable income and have 13 hours in my paid-time-off bank. So when the fuck am I supposed to 'be what I might've been'?!"

I am tempted to throw that fucker in the trash.

[To be continued...]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bloggin' in the rain...

When I left the hair salon tonight (after getting my frightening roots taken care of), it was oppressively hot and windy. Up to the northwest of town, the sky was dark and there was crazy lightning occuring. Ah...a spring storm. And sure enough, as I sit here, it's raining, thundering, lightning, and I even hear a little hail. LOVE it. Man, we NEED this rain, but I know it's not going to last for long. I'll just enjoy it while I can. Our dog, who is scared of storms, is lying her big, hairy ass next to me, nervously panting her humid breath on my leg, and I'm sipping a spectacular glass of Argentinean Malbec. Life is good.

And really, it is. The stand-off with my mother is over (thank God). The Geej has been having a fun break from school (she starts back next Monday). Her twice-a-week swimming lessons are going well. Work is manageable and my team is working together better than they have in a while. BH and I are looking forward to a quick trip out of town in a couple of weekends. Dah and I are talking about planning a trip for her, me and The Geej later this summer. I've planned The Geej's 5th birthday party. I reconnected with a dear, old friend from college earlier this week and got to meet her adorable 11 yr. old daughter. And I've seen "The Hangover," which was one of the raunchiest and funniest movies I've seen in...well...forever.

So yeah, those are the haps. More soon.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Last day of school.

Yesterday was The Geej's last day as a pre-kindergartener. What?! Howthehell did THAT happen?! (I know I'll be saying this over and over again as she passes milestones in her life, but seriously...)

As is customary with a lot of Montessori schools, The Geej's school has a ceremony at the end of each semester called the "Gates of Life" that symbolizes the children passing from one phase to another--whether it be from a pre-primary class to a primary class or on to "another community" (i.e., another school). I attended yesterday's Gates of Life ceremony because, although The Geej wasn't going through the (largely figurative) gates, 9 of her classmates were--9 little people who I've become quite fond of over the past two years.

Before the ceremony began, we were surprised by the arrival of Mariachis and the ensuing performance on the lawn. I mean, of COURSE there were Mariachis on the last day of school. This is Austin, after all.
Then we crowded into the (insanely hot) gym to watch the ceremonies. And y'all? I was a MESS!! I was a crying fool! And then I went with her class into the classroom where they had a special last-day-of-school "Circle Time" and they talked about the wonderful and unique attributes of each "graduate," and I cried some more. And I've got allergies. So you can only imagine the amount of tissues I went through. At one point I told the school's director, "I don't even want to know how much of a basket case I'm going to be this time next year when it's Geej's turn to graduate." And I'm serious. That school has been such a godsend, just like I knew it would be the first time I ever went there (after a holy crap! childcare/schooling crisis). The thought of her NOT going there to be in that loving, supportive, amazing environment makes my stomach hurt. And no, I DON'T yet know where she'll be attending first grade. It all depends on where we'll be living, and I'm hoping we'll sell our house and move (somewhere else in Austin) some time early next year. So yeah...

But for now, I can bask in the certainty that she's got another year to prosper, have fun, and grow at this wonderful place.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Geej has started swimming lessons!

Yesterday was her first lesson, and we'll be going every Monday and Wednesday until the end of the month. And unlike my first swimming lesson, which was preceeded by a traumatic "chili bowl" haircut and during which I cried like a gigantic weenie, The Geej was excited, brave, and had a blast.

Well here, I'll let her tell you all about it, just like she told BH last night:

And the best part? After the lesson as we were riding home she said in a very self-satisfied tone: "I'm SO GLAD I know how to swim now!!"