Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Insomnia Post Facto

I woke up at 4:39am this morning. I needed to pee. So I got up and went to the bathroom and took my thyroid hormone, drank some water, and got back in bed. And then I just lay there, awake. My eyes were closed, but my mind was racing. Then I realized I was cold. Got up and shut the window in the bedroom (it was cracked) and got back in bed. And then I just lay there, awake. Mind going a million miles an hour again. I thought of a really good stand up joke. I thought about Christmas lists. I thought about work. I thought about The Geej and BH. Doug came and snuggled up with me. The minutes passed, and sleep wouldn't come. I thought of my friend Michelle who lives in Portland. I thought of Chicago. I thought of how much being awake during prime sleeping time pissed me off. I unclenched my jaw. My stomach growled. The minutes passed. I wondered if I should get up. I realized that I'd forgotten the stand up joke I'd come up with earlier. I thought about singing and music I love.

And then it was 5:49am, just 14 minutes before my alarm clock was due to go off, so I got up. Went to the computer to write, and the mind that was racing just moments earlier was utterly and completely blank. So I surfed. Checked Facebook and Twitter and my Google Reader hoping that my previous thoughts would return, but no such luck.

I'm still sad about all of the words I lost during that walk from the bedroom to the computer. Where did they go? Why is that half-wakeful state so intensely prolific, and then when I'm fully awake--poof--it's gone.


Oh well, at least I managed to successfully complete NaBloPoMo by posting at least something every day this month. Yay me!! My hope is that I'll keep up the frequency, but we'll have to see. As we now know, when I'm fully awake, words escape me. Maybe I'll try sleep-blogging.

(This was my 1,075th post, by the way. I think I should get a cupcake or something.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am in for so much trouble.

Yesterday evening on the way back from getting The Geej from her overnighter with Dah, she asks me, "When we get home, can I call Daschel?" (You may recall from mentions in several previous posts that Daschel is The Geej's "boyfriend".) When I say yes, we probably can, she emphasizes how important it is that we do so because, "He's my boyfriend and I miss him and boyfriends and girlfriends talk and hang out sometimes." Well, um, okay...

We get home and call his dad. No Daschel. He's at his mom's for the night. I sort of figure it'll be over right then and there, but no. She want's Daschel's mom's phone number. So we get it and call over there, get voicemail, and The Geej leaves a plaintive message about how much she misses him and how she wants to talk to him, etc. A few minutes later, the phone rings, and it's Daschel and OMG, y'all. The ensuing conversation made me nearly bust a gut. I'm still mad I didn't sneakily record it so I could transcribe it. But it was SO cute. They really do miss each other, and it kind of kills me. They've known each other since they were two, so you know, more than half of their lifetimes!!

The Geej (far left) and Daschel (far right, with sweet mullet), age 2

But oh my, if her love of Daschel is any foreshadowing of what's to come when she's a boy-crazy "tween", I am going to have to put her under house arrest, complete with an ankle bracelet.
Daschel and The Geej, age 6 (just a coincidence that she has face paint on in both pictures)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I've got nothin'.

No seriously.


Woke up.

Got dressed.

Went to Bed Bath & Beyond to return a couple of things and to buy a new Brita pitcher.

Came back home.

Got BH and went and had brunch at Jack Allen's Kitchen.

It was YUMMY!

Came home and went to Lowe's with BH.

Bought and A/C filter and some paint samples for the kitchen.

Left to go to a movie with my friend Erin.

That movie? Burlesque. Awesomely cheesy.

Came home for a few minutes.

Went and met Dah and picked up the Geej (she's spent the night there last night).

Stopped by HEB for a few things on the way home.

Came home and made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

Got the kiddo bathed and in bed.

Watched Boardwalk Empire.

Blogged about absolutely nothing.

SEE? Told you!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Things Hosting Thanksgiving At My House Taught Me Or Reaffirmed For Me:

  • I love cooking for people
  • I'm really good at cooking sides, but not the main course or the desserts
  • I would rather buy really good desserts
  • And cooking the main course is too stressful for me
  • Timing is everything
  • Prepping the night before is time well spent
  • Digestive enzymes are helpful
  • So is Ativan
  • Even if you're also Tweeting and drinking wine while cutting up vegetables
  • Few things annoy me more than a t.v. that's a) up too loud and b) on when no one's watching
  • A t.v. constantly tuned to Fox news makes me stabby
  • We really need a dedicated guest room
  • We could also use another bathroom.
  • Or at least a half-bath
  • I love how quiet our dishwasher is
  • My daughter is very squealy
  • Our pets are lazy-asses
  • My husband is very different from his father
  • Quiet and solitude are very underrated
  • Replacing our old, crappy oven was a smart move
  • I like having a dining room, even if it only gets used for dining a couple of times a year
  • My mother's cornbread dressing recipe is the best in the world

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday is Stupid

Yeah, I said it. I guess that means I'm un-American. Whatever.

Anyhoo, I'm too tired and over liquored to get too original tonight, and yet must honor my NaBloPoMo commitment, and so I'm going to dig one about the joys of holiday shopping out of the archives. I promise it's a good one. With pictures and everything!

So, for your consideration: "Worst. Retail. Experience. Ever."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving memories

WARNING: I am about to get all kinds of maudlin up in here, so if you'd rather not go there on this lovely holiday, then look away and come back tomorrow-ish.

Thanksgiving, 2002
Setting: My dad's house, Longview, TX

My dad is dying. He's got stomach cancer. My dad, who is one of the best cooks I've ever known and who has a passionate love affair with food, can no longer swallow solids. The tumors are now shutting off his esophagus, and he can't swallow anything thicker than an Ensure. There is so much food on the table and all over the kitchen, it's overwhelming. Everyone gets their plates and starts loading up. My dad gets a salad plate, and goes through the line putting little spoonfuls of all of his favorites on his plate. I am watching him, but trying to be subtle about it. What is he doing? He knows he can't eat this stuff. There are too many of us to sit around the table in their crowded kitchen, so we all take our plates and sit where we can, balancing our plates on our laps. I sit on the floor, my plate beside me on the coffee table. My dad sits in a chair near me, and pulls up a t.v. tray and places his little plate on the tray. His wife quietly brings a small trash can over and sets it next to the chair. As we all eat our meals, talk, and laugh, I see my father out of the corner of my eye. He is taking small bites, chewing, savoring the flavors of these classic Thanksgiving meats and side dishes, and then quietly spitting out each bite into the trash can.

When I left Longview that weekend, I hugged him tightly, and told him I'd be back in a few weeks for Christmas. The next time I saw him was in the funeral home. In a dimly lit room, I saw his cold, unembalmed body. It was the last viewing by family members prior to his cremation. I kissed his lifeless cheek and all I managed to say was, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Thanksgiving, 2004
Setting: Austin, TX

My stepdad had surgery at a hospital in Houston to repair a bulge on his aorta on Father's Day. The surgery had been a success, but something had happened in ICU recovery. He'd had the oxygen to his brain cut off for a little too long, and so there was some significant damage. Plus, his emphysema from a lifetime of smoking ensured that he would never be able to breathe 100% on his own again. After a long time at the hospital in Houston, he'd been moved to the hospital in Longview. And then, after a long time there, he'd recently been moved to a nursing home. The toll of the long-term stress on my mother was evident. She'd not allowed herself to leave his side for more than a few hours at a time since the initial surgery had taken place back in June. But somehow I'd convinced her to come to Austin for to spend Thanksgiving with me. My aunt, a nurse, would be checking in on my stepdad for my mom, and I think that was the peace of mind she needed in order to get away for a couple of days. I arranged for us to have Thanksgiving lunch at The Driskill and invited a couple of my friends. It was lovely. The next evening, we were having dinner at Chez Zee near my house, and mom's cellphone rang. It was my aunt. She was with my stepfather, and was helping him with the phone so that he could talk to mom. He was more "with it" than had become the norm, which was nice. He asked to speak to me. He was wheezy, hard to understand, but he asked very clearly, "Are you going to Russia?" I answered, "Yes! In a couple of weeks!" And he said, "Go get that baby."

It was the last time I ever spoke to him. He passed away a few days later.

Thanksgiving, 2010
Setting: Our house, Austin, TX

At around 1:45, we sat down to eat. Me, my husband, our kids, and his father. I'd worked my ass off prepping and cooking, and here we were, gathered together. I sat at the head of the table, and looked at the wonderful bounty in front of me: great food, three healthy, wonderful kids, my amazing, handsome husband, and my grumpy-but-lovable father-in-law. As I enjoyed this meal and this time with family, I thought--as I do each Thanksgiving--about the men who are no longer in my life. My father. My stepfather. And I miss them terribly.

Be thankful for those you love. I am.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From the back seat.

Yesterday evening, The Geej and I were sitting in traffic on our way back from our successful gravy boat/electric knife buying excursion to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the following exchange took place:

The Geej:   When can I go visit my old (Montessori) school and (her favorite teacher) Miss Kim?
Karla May:   Well, honey, I don't know.
Geej:   I really want to go. For a whole day. Like when MY school is closed.
KM:   But the thing is, baby, your old school's calendar is the same as your new school. When your first grade school is closed, so is your old school. So going for a whole day would be kind of hard.
Geej:   (After a long pause, and with MUCH sincerity) Why does life have to be so horrible?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Now that the shopping is done*, I'm actually getting excited about all the cooking that's about to go down here at Chez Pine Curtain. BH's dad is, in fact, coming for a visit, so our dining room table (which seats six) will be full on Thanksgiving day. Here is Le Menu (with apologies to my vegetarian/vegan friends):

A Greenberg smoked turkey, a.k.a. "The Holiday Aristocrat"
Cornbread dressing (recipe courtesy of my mom)**
Sauteed sweet potatoes and sage***
Sherried green beans and mushrooms
Camembert mashed potatoes (I know that dressing + sweet potatoes + mashed potatoes = a shit ton of starchy carbs, but I don't care)
Cranberry sauce
Rolls (more starch!)
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Cranberry apple pie a la mode

*My shopping included a trip to buy a gravy boat (Insulated! Keeps gravy warm for up to two hours!) and an electric knife!
**This will be my first attempt at making this since the Thanksgiving of 1997--my first in Chicago. I made a big dish of this stuff to take to a potluck Thanksgiving lunch there, and although it was good, it wasn't great like my mom's always is. Thankfully, everyone was too tanked up to notice.
***I'm actually using a recipe for sauteed CARROTS and sage, and substituting sweet potatoes here. I wanted to do carrots, but the informal poll of the family I did made it clear that there was a 50/50 split over having regular ol' mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, so this was my compromise.

Tomorrow the boys and the father-in-law arrive, and tomorrow evening, I begin prepping everything. Then Thursday, we eat and give thanks for all we are blessed with. I'll be blogging along the way, but just in case I forget to say it later, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I meant to do this yesterday...

Four years ago, I did this one word meme thing. I decided it might be kind of fun to do it again to see what's changed, and what hasn't. So here goes:

Yourself: Complicated

Your partner: Away
Your hair: Mousy
Your Mother: Happy
Your Father: Missed
Your Favorite Item: iPod
Your dream last night: Rambling
Your Favorite Drink: Water
Your Dream Car: Acquired
Your Dream Home: Bigger
The Room You Are In: Office
Your Ex: Forgiven
Your fear: Injury
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? Austin
Who you hung out with last night: Family
What You're Not: Petite
Muffins: Pumpkin
One of Your Wish List Items: Travel
The Last Thing You Did: Organized
What You Are Wearing: Jeans
Your favorite weather: Crisp
Your Favorite Book: Nonfiction
Last thing you ate: Salad
Your Life: Multifaceted
Your mood: Hopeful
Your Best Friends: Indespensable
What are you thinking about right now: Thanksgiving
Your car: Dirty
What are you doing at the moment: Listening
Your summer: Lovely
Relationship status: Committed
What is on your TV: Nothing
What is the weather like: Summerish
When is the last time you laughed: Earlier


I was reading an article for work called "A New Generation of Workers Is On the Way". It's all about what "Nexters" (a.k.a. Gen Y or Millennials) born between 1980 - 1994 expect from their workplace. At one point, Nexters are described in the following ways:
  • They have minimal respect for authority and social rules of conduct
  • Respond defensively to constructive criticism
  • Expect immediate gratification
  • Have a sense of entitlement
  • Desire work to be fun
  • Will leave a job (without having another one) if their desires are not being met
Sounds like a charming bunch, no? I've met/worked with some of these folks who totally fit this unflattering description, and all I want to do is punch them in the mouth. Hard and repeatedly.

However, I actually have hope for these Nexters, because I can vividly remember when Gen X was analyzed to death, and we came off as a bunch of existentially challenged slacker dumbasses. But most of us got over it. Kind of.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Stepmother's Lament

If, in my younger years, I had written a list of things I never thought I'd be, "a step parent" would probably have been on it. Not because I ever had any real beef with my step parents, but because the reality of being on the other side of that fence was just not one I could envision for myself. But then I fell in love with a man with children, and the rest, as they say, is history. The thing is, that even after knowing his boys for over four years now, they still kind of seem like strangers to me.

The step parent's world one filled with blurry boundaries and mixed emotions. I want to know them better (they're cool, interesting people) and be more "parental" with them (whatever THAT means), but I don't know how to go about it. First off, they're boys, and that whole thing is just foreign to me. They're world of video games and skateboarding and general boy-ness is not one in which I feel welcome. Second, our house clearly does not feel like "home" to them, no matter what their father and I do to make it feel so. Third, it is clear that we have a lot more rules, structure, and expectations here than they're used to at their mom's house, and most of these are my creation, so I almost always feel like the warden instead of the mom.

When they're here, which is roughly every-other-weekend (less frequently for the 16 yr. old), I am vaguely uneasy during the whole visit--like I don't know what to do with myself. And then when they leave to head back home, I feel guilty for not being more involved with them during the weekend. It's a cycle that repeats itself with little exception.

Something that makes this whole thing even more guilt-inducing is that BH is an absolutely, totally involved stepfather to The Geej. It's pretty amazing. Granted, he's been a part of her life in some way-shape-and-form since she was 15 mos. old, and there's no other father she's splitting her time with, so the circumstances are quite different. He's told me that he feels like her father, which absolutely melts my heart. He wants to legally adopt her. She calls him her dad. And because of all of that, the rules are clearer. He is, ostensibly, her father and can (and does) act accordingly.

But I am the stepmother in the stereotypical meaning of the word. Their dad moved away from Colorado to be here with me and my daughter. Then they're mother uprooted them and moved them away from the only town they'd ever known, and to Bryan/College Station (of all places). Closer than Colorado, granted, but still 2 hours from their dad who used to be a few blocks away from them . They have every right to resent the fuck out of me for being the root cause for the total upheaval in their lives and the subsequent adjustment difficulties they've both experienced--the teenager, especially. I'm not saying that they DO blame me, but I certainly wouldn't blame them if they did.

They've just left to head back home, and I'm deep in the whole "guilt" part of the cycle. BH will drive them for an hour to a designated meeting place, and then they will get in their mom's car and head home. Luckily it won't be 2 weeks until they visit again--they'll be back for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how or what I can do to make my time with them more meaningful and less awkward. Let me know if you have any advice.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Phoning It In

Yeah, that's right: this is gonna be one of "those" posts. Part of the reason is that I'm way tired. Like the kind of tired that I imagine I would feel after running a marathon. But since I'll never actually run a marathon, maybe I'm full of shit. The other part of the reason is that almost everyone at my house is seriously sacked out right now--animals included--and I want to join the sleep party more than anything in the world right now. Behold the feline snuggle-fest currently happening in BH's desk chair:

See what I mean?!
The final reason I'm phoning it in tonight? Because absolutely nothing remotely interesting happened in my world today. I changed sheets on beds. I did laundry. I went through all my CDs and decided which ones I was going to toss, try to sell, keep, and give to Dah. I shot hoops with The Geej (You should see her technique, which I'm calling "The Double Jump". It's seriously hilarious.) I made dinner. I watched a movie. The end. See? World-class boring.

So yeah, maybe I'll have more to contribute tomorrow. But for now, goodnight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

As seen during my afternoon commute.

Yesterday, while stopped in traffic, the gentleman in the green Excursion (pictured above) caught my eye. The picture does not do him justice, as I assure you, he was straight-up CRAZY looking.
  • Dressed in black and white camo outfit appropriate for freezing weather. It was in the upper 60s.
  • Black gloves.
  • HUGE Harry Carey glasses.
  • Hair parted from the middle of the back of his head and combed forward toward his forehead
  • Mouth-breather with pursed lips
 And the best thing about all of it? He was rocking out to mariachi music.

And another week rolls by...

Whenever the holidays approach, it seems like everyone is taken off-guard by their arrival. The cries of, "Lordy be! It just CAN'T be Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's already!" are heard at every watercooler and grocery aisle meet up. But since the stores start stocking holiday items shortly after Labor Day, I just don't understand the perpetual surprise of their arrival. But I'm always one of the worst offenders.

Just last night, I caught myself having a minor freak out that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. Which meant I needed to plan the menu (done, as of this morning) and create the shopping list (working on it) and basically get ready to cook like a freak. We're staying home this year (the first time since 2007), and I'm looking forward to having a small celebration with just BH, The Geej, my stepsons and (maybe, but probably not) BH's dad. I'm also very much looking forward to leftovers--one of the best parts about having Thanksgiving at home.

This weekend is getting kicked off this evening with some fun. I'll be heading out to see Louis CK at The Paramount with the Texpatriate, who I haven't seen (except in a virtual sense) in forever. Very excited. And then BH's boys will be here, and we'll be doing the family thing for the rest of the beautiful weekend.

And then next week, Thanksgiving.

After that, the mad rush to Christmas.

The Geej has asked for an effing iTouch. The least expensive new one is $229. For a 6 yr. old? I think not. However, I'm looking in to getting her a used one. She has managed to hang on to the $40 MP3 player I got her last Christmas, and she has loved it. Granted, she "loses" it at least once a week, but it always seems to turn up. And although I let her play around on the home computer, we don't have any video games or anything like that at our house. She likes to play with my mom's Android and my friends' iPhones whenever she gets the chance, and she's good at figuring out how to get those devices to do what she wants them to. It's impressive/scary. So...I dunno. Maybe. This time last year, she was asking for Barbies. Sigh.

I already know what I'm getting BH. But that's it. As always, I'm clueless about what to get the rest of his family and mine. Sigh.

I DO know that I'm going to give myself for my birthday (which I realize isn't until the end of January, but you know how those kinds of things creep up on you):  a few days in west Texas. Terlingua or there abouts. Complete solitude in the middle of nowhere. Cannot wait.

I guess I'll wrap this thing up by posting a video that makes me want to learn to play the banjo:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pajamas are NOT the new black, damnit!!

DISCLAIMER: I am by NO means a perfect mother. I do not believe there is such a thing. I am, however, a mother who tries to give my kids what they need from me. Am I always successful? No. Do I keep trying? Yes.

Ever since The Geej started first grade at her new school, one of the things that has fascinated me is checking out the other parents. Are they younger than me? Older? What kind of jobs does it look like they have? White collar? Blue collar? Stay-at-home parent? How many kids do they have? Does the mother usually bring the child to school, or the father? What do they drive? Do they speak English? Etc. I do this not in a judgemental way, but more of a where-do-I-fit-in-to-this-spectrum kind of a way because this whole AISD public school thing is still new to me.

From my casually interested observations, I have surmised that, as I suspected, our elementary school is a mixed bag. It's about 45% Hispanic, 35% Caucasian, and 20% African American. The socio-economic norm is solidly middle class, with about 10% falling below that classification and another 10% falling slightly above it. The parents are mostly younger than me: in their late 20s to late 30s, and it is the overwhelmingly the moms who bring their children to school.

But no matter what our demographics, we all have to get our progeny to school before the dreaded "second bell" that rings at 7:40am or else they will be counted--GASP--tardy. It is preferable to have them in the cafetorium (GOD, I love that word) for morning assembly at least a bit ahead of that time however, so I always shoot for us to arrive between 7:30 and 7:35am. 90% of the time, I park, get out, and walk The Geej in. This is our preferred method of arriving at school. There are some mornings though when dropping her at the sidewalk (next to the 5th grader "Safety Patrol" kids who open car doors and sort of help direct traffic) is what makes more sense, either because we've caught more red lights than ususal on the way to school or because she's asked to ride to school with the convertible's top down.

Now, let me admit that this whole getting-to-school-at-the-asscrack-of-dawn thing was one of my BIGGEST concerns with the Geej's starting first grade. Why? Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am not (nor have I ever remotely been) a morning person. At all. Never ever. I mean, getting us to school by 8:50am used to be a big challenge for me while she was at Montessori, so you can understand why the mere idea of having to be at school well before the 7:40am tardy bell sort of freaked me out. Amazingly, it has been a rather pain-free adjustment, and no one is more surprised than me. I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't LOVE to have at least 3 more hours of sleep every morning, because I sure as Hell would. But--aside from a few very close calls--we've not been tardy this school year. Not even once. And the added bonus for me is that a) I usually beat the worst of the rush hour traffic on my way to work, b) I always find a parking place in our crowded parking garage, and c) I've got about an hour of pure silence at work before all of the stragglers start showing up around 9:00am. So, yay!! Adjustment made. Life is good.

Which may begin to explain why the following drives me so damn crazy:

There is this woman--she appears to be in her early- to mid-thirties--who is the (I think, single) mother of a young girl at The Geej's school. This little girl is probably in kindergarten, first grade at the most. They literally live across the street from the school. Their front door is probably 50 yards from the door to the goddamned cafetorium, and yet... And yet this mother is always trudging across the street well after the tardy bell, dragging her daughter behind her, frustrated and saying, "Hurry! We're late!".

This mother wears pajamas and house shoes to walk her daughter in to the school. This mother does not wear a bra. This mother has substantial tah-tahs that could REALLY use a bra. And whenever I see this, it PISSES ME OFF in a highly irrational way.

Maybe (and probably) some of the being chronically late is the daughter's fault. She's hard to wake up. Or she screws around and plays with her Lucky Charms instead of eathing them. She is, after all, only five or six years old. But as her mother, this woman KNOWS that each morning will present these issues, but she still can't be bothered to get up, I don't know, maybe 15 or 20 minutes earlier than she currently does in order to create some "contingency time" and perhaps even put on some actual clothes and some appropriate undergarments and get her daughter to school on time?! You know, act like she actually gives a shit and try to set some sort of an example for her daughter instead of utterly phoning it in and doing what appears to be the bare minimum? (After all, her "commute" to school takes all of 3 minutes--and that's including hugging and kissing good-bye time.)

I'm telling you, this bothers me waaaaaaaaaaaay more than it should. Feel free to bash me for being a self-righteous twat, but I can't help but think that if I, the most non-morning person/sleep-loving individual you will ever meet in your entire lifetime can manage to consistently squeak in before the tardy bell (all while wearing Actual Clothes), really, anyone can.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random talents.

I can...
Make myself cry at the drop of a hat.
Sing harmony very well.
Remember lyrics with Rainman like accuracy.
Have an orgasm in my sleep (no, really!).
Make some of the most godawful ugly faces you've ever seen.
Smell cigarette smoke from 100 yards away.
Mix a mean martini.
Remember what my dad's earlobes felt like.
Pick out perfectly ripe, unbruised avocados 99.8% of the time.
Drink an obscene amount of iced tea in one sitting.
Parallel park quite well.
Pop your back.
Throw great parties.
Perfectly recall my grandmother's voice.
Tell when you're full of shit, but make you believe I'm oblivious.
Remember the first time I ever heard REM's "I Am Superman".
Unpack with lightning speed.
Make out for hours.
Can be simultaneously glad that I'm from and left Longview.
Get bitten by more mosquitoes than anyone else at the party.
Be moved to tears by music or the perfect moment in nature.
Laugh at myself and my hard core dorkiness.
Always find time to smile at babies and pet animals.

Monday, November 15, 2010

15 down, 15 more to go

I know last night's post was all full of piss and vinegar, but tonight, I just don't have it in me. I had an all-around weird Monday that culminated in my leaving work about an hour early with a debilitating headache and watery eyes. I think it was allergies. Or maybe it was an invisible giant crushing the front part of my skull with his vice-like grip. Either way, it sucked and all I wanted to do was be very still and quiet in a dark room. Managed to do that for about an hour, and felt some better, but really--I don't know--listless? I was feeling so creatively inspired there for a few weeks and now--poof--it's all gone. I can barely find the will and energy to create a whiny-ass little blog post. And I canNOT focus for shit. My brain is like a damn pinball machine. In fact, I'm going to go take some melatonin in hopes of slowing the barrage of disconnected thoughts that are bombarding my brain and will most likely make sleep very difficult.

Here's to a better state of mind and a more interesting post tomorrow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Left work. Ran home. Changed clothes. Then went with BH to Casa Columbia for dinner. Straight up awesome. HIGHLY recommend it. Then we went over to Bass Concert Hall for the Ray LaMontagne/Levon Helm show. We'd prepaid for parking, so that wasn't a problem at all. Walked in to Bass just as the opening act, The Secret Sisters, had wrapped up. Got a couple of drinks and got seated. Great seats. Floor level, center, toward the back. Ray and his band started their set with one of my favorite songs off of their latest album--For The Summer--and it was magical.

And it just got better from there EXCEPT for the HUGE douchebags and their dates sitting behind us talking their asses off the whole time like they were watching this on their big 98" HidDef LCD in their custom built home theater back at their Rob Roy McMansion while pounding some Shiner Bock rather than at a live venue where everyone around them had paid $50+ a ticket for a great musical experience. Holy FUCK, it was so rude and annoying. And all around us--TEXTING and IM-ing!! I've got to ask: Why even go to all the trouble and expense to go see live music when all you're going to do is sit around and gaze at your smartphone the whole time? What is the fucking point? If you can't disconnect from that goddamned contraption for an hour or so to go for a run or see a performance of some kind, then you've got a damn problem. Oh, where was I. Yes, the show. It was beautiful and amazing and I had chills several times due to the sheer lovliness of the music. Levon Helm's band was pretty great--boisterous and joyful. I smiled so much during their performance that my damn face hurt.

Slept late (10:15am!!) then got up and started working my butt off. Lots of laundry. Dusting. Hand washing and putting all of the glassware back into the china cabinet. Dusting. Running to Lowe's. Dusting. Moving furniture back in from the garage. Dusting and dusting. Got ready and went downtown for dinner. The walked over to The Paramount to see the totally indescribable Tim & Eric show. Literally, it was indescribable. Those guys are nucking futs. I will say this: The audience was 75% male and of that 75%, 2/3 of them were bearded. I'm not sure what that means, but I found it interesting. I'm always curious what the elderly volunteer ushers think when I come to see stuff that's terribly odd and/or crude at The Paramount. I mean, it's such a classy joint, and I'm sure Mee Maw and PawPaw are very confused by what they see and hear during these shows. But hey--I'll see 'em on Friday for Louis C.K., who I'm sure is going to drop his fair share of F-bombs, so YAY!!

Slept until 9:00am (Hooray!!) and then made breakfast for me and BH. He went off to work (yes, on a Sunday), and I made the World's Biggest Grocery List. Went to the horrible awful terrible HEB near our house. Came home and prepped stuff to put in the slow cooker to make a yummy white bean stew for dinner. Made a sandwich. Drank a Coke. Welcomed The Geej back from Dah's house. Welcomed the new piece of furniture we bought from Dah (a green chaise lounge for the living room!).

See it? There in the corner? So pretty and comfy!!
Began working with The Geej to clean up her room. Left to go to see Acro-Cats. Went to Whole Foods to take advantage of the wine cellar sale going on. Bought TWELVE bottles of wine and loads of produce b/c the produce at the shitty HEB near my house looked like ass. Went home. Ate the stew that had been cooking all day. Bathed The Geej and put her to bed. Watched "Boardwalk Empire" (can't help it; still loving it), and now I'm blogging. And yet, somehow, there's still laundry to be folded.

Whew. This? Was a great effing weekend. I am a lucky, happy lady.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just under the wire.

I almost missed my midnight deadline for keeping up the NaBloPoMo love. But I'm just sliding in, and I have a lot to write about, but DAMN if I'm not a tired wench. BH and I just got home from a show at the Paramount, and last night we also did dinner and a show at the Bass Concert Hall. We NEVER go out and do it up two nights in a row! We're crazy!! Plus I worked my BALLS off today doing laundry and putting the house back together and dusting. Oh my GOD the dusting, people.

Tomorrow promises a longer post. With PICTURES, even!!

But for now, night night!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Everyday things: A list of things I do pretty much every day

  • Take vitamins
  • Chew gum
  • Drink lots and lots of water
  • Apply moisturizer
  • Pop my back
  • Read
  • Recycle
  • Wear my wedding ring
  • Listen to music
  • Pet and talk to animals
  • Hug/kiss husband and kiddo
  • Applychapstick and/or lipstick
  • Wear contacts
  • Fart/Burp/Pee/Poop
  • Brush teeth (x2)
  • Online banking
  • Put on clean underwear
  • Check e-mail/Facebook/Twitter/Google Reader
  • Listen to NPR
  • Write
  • Think "I'm fat"
  • Cuss at someone who is driving like an asshole
  • Laugh
  • Wish I could sleep longer
  • Sing
  • Wonder

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy busy busy!!

Well, they finished the floors last night at about 8:00pm. Those two dudes worked their arses off for 3 days solid, and the result is pretty freakin' fantastic, if I do say so myself. I promise before and after pics once we get the house put back together, which may take a couple of days. There is a fine powdery dust on every single surface that we're having to deal with first before we move the furniture back in. And there are Swiffers that need to be purchased. And area rugs. But it's coming together.

Tonight, I'm dragging The Geej with me to a little soiree at my boss's house. Should be fun. There will be a couple of babies there I can snorgle along with my boss's sweet Basset hound. And there will be wine and snacks, so I'm gonna be happy.

Tomorrow night, BH and I are going to see the wonderful Ray LaMontagne in concert. It's a double bill with Levon Helm, who I like. But I LOVE Mr. LaMontagne. That raspy voice. Those lyrics. I mean LOOK at this guy: 
Le sigh.
Then on Saturday night, we're going to see Tim and Eric at The Paramount. If you're not familiar with Tim and Eric, there's really no way I can describe them to you other than to say they're two insane dudes who have one of the weirdest comedy shows I have ever seen in my life: The Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! They're touring with a live show right now, and I can't even imagine how bizarre it's going to be. Plus, they've got a "band" called...wait for it...Pusswhip Gangbang that will be performing during the show as well. Should be totally strange.

Then on Sunday afternoon, The Geej and I will be attending Circus Cats. Yes, you read that right: Circus Cats. That is one reason having kiddos is fun--you have an excuse to go see stuff like freakin' CIRCUS CATS and not feel even one bit weird about it. (I'm not sure what it says about me, but I had three different people email me to let me know that the Circus Cats would be performing in Austin this weekend. Oh wait, I know what it says! It says I'M A DORK!!) I actually have a friend who has gone to see these felines do their thang at a Chicago show (they actually hail from the Windy City), and said it's pretty hilarious. They're touring right now--they've got some Austin and San Antonio shows--and rumor has it that the demands in their contract rider are pretty outrageous:
  • Unlimited tuna.
  • Italian spring water served in crystal goblets. NO BOWLS!!
  • Eastern and Western facing windows in the dressing room for maximum sunbeam action.
  • A man servant whose only jobs are to operate a laser pointer (for chasing) and to "constantly refresh immediately upon soiling".
You get the idea. Show business cats are so uppity.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a FIND!!

People, you need to see what I found on YouTube:

In Longview, you get a real East Texas experience!!

Also, I need to know where I can buy those dolls at 6:19.

(Actually, the first video that comes up when you plug "Longview Texas" into the YouTube search box is this. I wonder why the "East Texas Experience" video doesn't mention "Hood Fights" as one of the hallmarks of the area.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Goings on at work.

I know. Fascinating blog topic, right? But there really IS some stuff going on, and I'm about to write about it.

First off, I'm about to start packing for what will be I think my 9th desk/office/cube move in 11 years. And you'd think that with all of that moving around and the inevitable move-related cleaning up and purging that goes on, I really wouldn't have managed to accumulate that much crap. But you'd be wrong. My cube is a cozy wreck, and it's going to be a big pain in the ass to pack 'er up for another move.

Home Sweet Home...for now.
Why am I moving? Well, because after MONTHS of speculation, we finally learned this morning that we'll be moving our small little team on to a larger "umbrella" team called TMS (Team Member Services...what the rest of the world refers to as Human Resources). It's a change that I'm happy about and that makes a ton of sense, although I'm sure there will be the inevitable adjustment period where we have to figure out exactly how we're going to best fit in with the rest of the sub-teams. 

Also, my company had a stupendous Q4/FY 2010 earnings relase last week, which sent our stock price climbing. This is good news for those of us with stock options that have been underwater for YEARS. I'm not ready to retire, by any means, but I did cash some options in to help take the sting out of paying for our new floors. 

Finally, there are like 3 work-related happy hours that I've been invited to within the space of a week. THREE!! It's been eons since I've socialized with my work peeps in a non-work setting, and it feels like people are starting to be happy and have fun around here again after a rough and lengthy ride. 

In short, it feels good.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I wonder if this is a "thing".

I think I may be becoming addicted to home improvement. Now that phase 2 of this major re-flooring project has gotten underway (barely--it's like we're at the 10 mile mark of a 10,000 mile journey), all I can think about is what I want to do next. Hell, I stopped at Lowe's today on the way home to look at paint colors and countertop options for the kitchen. And I'm also thinking about kitchen sinks and backsplashes. And windows. We really need new windows. MAKE! ME! STOP!!

It's like a freakin' deck of cards: you get one think looking really good, and it just makes all the other stuff surrounding it that you HAVEN'T gotten to yet look downright awful. I guess it's like those people who get addicted to plastic surgery. They go in to have a deviated septum fixed, and the next thing you know, they look like Joan Van Ark

I guess I should be thankful that I'm not swimming in disposable income because I'm telling you right now, I would be desposing of it on various house projects. Like that skylight we need in the laundry room

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Meaningful Meetings

I've stayed in touch with the woman named Pam who performed the home study before and after I adopted The Geej. She also decided to adopt as a single mother, and her daughter, Kara, comes from the same region of Russia as Gracelyn. I've kept up with them--seen pictures and watched Kara grow--thanks to email and Facebook, but today, we finally got to have the girls meet each other in person.

It was very cool to talk with someone who knows EXACTLY what the Russian adoption process was like. I am so glad this happened--for all of us. And these two little ladies are so very, very loved my their mamas.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Oh Lordy.

What you are looking at is 33 boxes of engineered hardwood, underlayment, and flooring-related stuff that will begin being installed on Monday morning. And Doug.


Today I am attending a workshop sponsored by a women's writing foundation called "A Room Of Her Own." I went to the keynote this morning and got to hear Meredith Hall speak. She wrote the book Without A Map after receiving the "Gift of Freedom" award from ARHO, and she talked about her journey from a pregnant 16 year old in 1965 who was forced to give up her baby for adoption then shunned by her family and friends to now, a writing professor at the University of New Hampshire and respected published author. To say she is an inspiration is an understatement. And this afternoon, I have a session with poet Liz Belile followed by one led by Meredith. The workshop is small (yay!), and I cannot wait to listen and learn from these kick ass ladies.

Why am I telling you this? Well because I am feeling very grateful to live in a city that affords opportunities like this and that I have a family who fully supports my taking a day to retreat from my familial duties and spend simply being inspired and learning. I am a lucky, lucky lady.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Anxiety of Home Improvement

Today we're having the floor-redo materials delivered--thirty six boxes of hardwood that will need to sit in our house for 72 hours in order to aclimate and expand/contract according to the temperature and humidity.

Sunday, BH and I will be moving everything out of our main living areas (living room, dining room and kitchen) and into our main sleeping and parking areas (our room, guest room and garage). Hell, we may even have to put some stuff out on the deck because I'm pretty sure we're going to run out of room pretty fast.

Monday, the floor demo (ceramic tile in the kitchen) and pull-up (carpet in the living room; cheap-ass laminate in the dining room) begins. I predict a dusty, nasty mess, and of course this is going to come right on the heels of our once-a-month visit from the housekeepers (who are coming today) because I forgot to call and ask them to reschedule their visit for next Friday. Yay!! Money down the drain!!

Tuesday and Wednesday, installation takes place, and Wednesday night we get to move our furniture and appliances back to where they belong.

And this is all while we're supposed to be conducting our lives in some sort of normal fashion. But where will we sit and eat and cook and...? It's going to suck, and I keep reminding myself that a) the suckage is temporary and b) it's TOTALLY going to be worth it to get rid of the current schizophrenic flooring in those rooms. But it's still going to suck.

I am also trying to prepare myself for receiving my next Mastercard bill which will include the floor charge on it. Granted, I plan on paying it off ASAP, but just seeing an amount that large will probably cause a minor panic attack. Large amounts of interest-laden debt give me the hives.

I will be sure and post before and after photos next week...if I survive.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

But I Don't WANT To Write My Own Obituary!

Our final homework assignment in this writing workshop I've been taking was to write our own obituaries. Come on! It’s close to Halloween! It’ll be fun!

Um, no. No it won’t.

You see, I’m not exactly superstitious, but I AM kind of wimp when it comes to tempting Fate. Fate is someone who I don’t want to piss off or even mildly disturb; therefore, the idea of writing of my untimely demise is something that has been very difficult to do.

When it comes to longevity genetics, I’m pretty fucked. My dad died when he was 61, and both of his parents died in their early sixties as well. My mom is still healthy and vibrant at sixty-four, but her mother died suddenly in her early seventies, and her father barely made it to eighty. Also there’s the whole cancer thing. I’ve gotten extraordinarily lucky two times, but I hear the Grim Reaper has a pretty strict “three strikes and you’re out” policy when it comes to The Big C, so the likelihood that that’ll be what gets me, is pretty high. Or I could get hit by a car—again—and that might be it. Who the Hell knows? But thinking about the jillions of ways one could die is surprisingly easier that imagining how you might be remembered in some paper or some website after you buy the proverbial farm. But despite this AND despite that it goes against the spirit of universal karma, here goes:

It saddens us to report on the demise of Karla May Pinecurtain. She passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by friends and family, and wearing a size eight Betsey Johnson number. She looked absolutely fabulous. She spent her last hours rocking out to Radiohead, taking bong hits of sticky skunk weed and eating spicy fried cheese while laughing at the stories being told by those closest to her. And somehow, despite her gluttony and stoned condition, she remained a wicked smart conversationalist and super hot sex bomb, right up to her last breath.

Karla May leaves behind a fridge filled with too many condiments and leftovers, clothes in her closet that she hasn’t worn since 2001, and a “personal massager” in her nightstand drawer. Also, her house probably isn’t as clean as it should be and you may find books on her shelves that you loaned her years ago. But now she is dead, so please don’t judge her.

Because she was completely debt-free at the time of her death, Karla May also leaves an enormous amount of her substantial estate to various charities she supported during her lifetime, including those focused on the arts, human rights, women’s issues, and of course, homeless animals. She is destined to have scholarships and foundations named for her throughout the years to come.

Her wonderful, patient husband BH—who was also her very best friend—is saddened by her death, but is understandably overjoyed that he will finally be able to build that cabin on the lake he’s always wanted because she left him tons of money earned during her incredibly successful career as a writer and as host of the long-running world-famous television show, “Let’s Pet Baby Animals”.

Her beautiful daughter, The Geej, is of course grieving for her beloved mother. However, she plans to continue her business as “The Singing Veterinarian Pediatrician” that she operates near her estate in Hawaii with her wonderful soulmate whom she met during her Nobel Prize ceremony in 2035.

Instead of a sick-ass funeral where everyone sits around and gets snot all over everything while they lie to each other about “how good” the embalmed body of the dead person in the room looks, Karla May has requested that those who wish to say good-bye to her instead come to a wonderful party that will be held next Friday evening. The party will take place immediately after Karla May’s ashes are dispersed off of Ann Richard’s bridge as the Mexican Freetail Bats emerge for their nightly mosquito holocaust. Karla May always loved Ann Richards and hated mosquitoes, so this is how she wished for her remains to dealt with. At her Adios-a-palooza, there will be an open bar, tons of amazing food, and a live band. Cabs will be provided, free of charge, so that mourners can get as tanked as they’d like and not have to drive themselves home, even if they live all the way up in Williamson county. Tending to your hangover, however, is your responsibility. Even though she's passed over to The Great Beyond, Karla May does not (yet) have the magical powers required to rid you of pains caused by your own overindulgence, but she does recommend the Ice cold Coke/Migas/Shower/Nap cure.

If you can’t join the farewell events in person, please upload your goodbye message to her YouTube (tagged as AdiosKarMay), and it will be played during the party.

Please don’t waste your money on flowers or plants, and instead, take yourself out to a nice meal or to get a mani/pedi with that cash. Seriously--you deserve it!!

Karla May wanted those who cared for her during her long, happy life to know that she will totally be haunting you after she’s gone. Not in a scary boogety-boo kind of a way, but as a guardian angel. She won’t spy on you while you’re naked and/or picking your nose, because really, who wants to see that. But she will be there to lean on whenever you are sad, or lonely, or unsure. She will come to hang out with you in your dreams, and you guys can totally watch "House Hunters" or reruns of "Let's Pet Baby Animals!" and chat just like old times. It’ll be awesome.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


This is the person that over 21,000 people voted for in the congressional district in which I was born and raised:

This guy--who also got on the "terror babies" bandwagon along with State Representative nutjob Debbie Riddle from Houston who ALSO got reelected last night--doesn't seem intelligent enough to biggie size my #4 combo at Wendy's much less thoughtfully represent people in Congress. It breaks my heart to think that this small-minded nitwit is in Washington and on C-SPAN and where ever else he can get a podium and a microphone reinforcing every stereotype that people already have about Texans/Southerners being slow talking ignoramuses.

I don't care that he's a Republican. I care that he's a fucking idiot.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, I thought I wanted to be an actress. I watched movies like "Sophie's Choice" and "Frances", and was simply amazed at the talent of the women who portrayed the title roles. They left me stunned, and sobbing, and in awe with their performances. But it wasn't just the dramatic actresses I adored, it was also the comedic actresses who weren't afraid to look and act goofy in front of the entire world that made me fall in love with the idea of acting. I not only admired these women, I wanted to BE them.

Okay, pause that story.

I am currently reading this book (loaned to me by a 40-something friend who received it as a gift from another 40-something friend). The author's approach to the changes occurring as a result of her own aging, and the underlying disconnect between how we perceive ourselves versus how the world perceives us as formerly-hot 40-something women, hits very close to home. She handles it with humor which helps, but it's still kind of like getting a bucket of cold water tossed in your face at times. Also, it's hard to take her complaints about her body too seriously when you see the photo of her on the book's jacket (she's obviously in shape and gets frequent facials). Anyhoo, all of this has got me thinking about how utterly fucked up our (and by "our" I mean collective American) ideas about female aging are which then led me to the whole plastic surgery thing.

Plastic surgery can be used for such positive things such as rebuilding a breast cancer survivor's breast, correcting a stigmatizing birth defect, and helping burn victims with their recovery. And I can certainly see the attraction of having a tummy tuck after having a couple of C-sections or a breast lift after nursing some babies. If it makes you feel sexier, more confident, prouder, etc., and you've got the time/money, GO FOR IT. However, when it having plastic surgery becomes such a normal and accepted part of trying to reverse the aging process because--God forbid--we actually look our ages as women, then I call bullshit.

Let's get back to those actresses I was talking about when I started this post. Some of them, like Meryl Streep, have had very little (if anything) "done" to their faces and bodies. But others have gone under the knife (often more than once) in an effort to roll back nature's odometer, and instead, have utterly messed up their God-given beauty that--guess what--would've remained classic and lovely if they'd just let it be. But instead they look like this:
And this:

Oh...Meg. Why?!
 And this:

Rocking the same look for 40 years + competing with your daughter = Blech
Granted, I have NO idea what the pressure for perfection in Hollywood must be like. It must seriously suck ass because there are so few working actresses--both young and old--who DON'T alter their looks in some way as a result of that pressure. But if these beautiful, talented women refuse to accept their physical flaws or age gracefully--Hell, even age at all--what does that mean for those of us who aren't quite as beautiful/talented? It's no wonder that so many of us struggle mightily to accept the fact that we're (ahem) middle-aged when our peers in the public eye would rather knife and inject and augment themselves to the point of ridiculousness than admit that the old grey mare ain't what she used to be. Our role models are, sadly, few and far between.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Let's try this again, shall we?

A couple of years ago, I signed up for NaBloPoMo, but lasted like 4 days before I screwed up and didn't post. So I'm trying it again.

First a little catch up:

Today's my 2nd wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we went out of town for the weekend (while the wonderful Dah kept The Geej). Not FAR out of town, mind you, but it still felt like a vacation. We rented a little cabin on the Blanco river in a tiny town near here called Wimberley. The house sits on 25 acres and has about 500 feet of private riverfront. The weather was amazingly perfect, and we had a very nice time. Saturday afternoon, after a short foray into town for lunch, we came back and just lounged on the banks of the river for hours. Yes, I dozed and felt totally relaxed--something that doesn't happen as frequently as I wished it would. Saturday night, BH built a fire in the fire place (yay!) and we watched the Texas Rangers win their first game in the World Series (double yay!).

Isn't this freakin' GORGEOUS?!
I was sad to leave yesterday, but we had to get back to town for HALLOWEEN!!!

Once again, we went to a friend's house to trick-or-treat in their neighborhood with a pack of goblins and their parents. It was lots of fun, and our hosts had made food for the grown-ups and the kids, so you know, bonus! The Geej was a black cat:

I had to practically BEG her to don this costume. The original one she'd picked out was some ridiculous, semi-slutty outfit called a "Batt-erina", that included fingerless black satin gloves, fishnet stockings, and of course lots and lots of sequins. She saw it in a costume catalogue we got in the mail. What the HELL people?! I am not crafty, and so cannot (and probably will not ever) actually make her a Halloween costume. It's just not going to happen. So I'm stuck with the consumer options for little girls' costumes that pretty much break down into the categories of Disney and/or slutty. Sigh...

As far as anniversary plans for today, we don't have any. It's a Monday after all. And the Rangers are playing tonight and (hopefully) managing to pull of a win so that they stay alive in this series. And I'm tired. And did I mention that it's Monday?