Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas...

The enchilada soup is in the crockpot.
The laundry is done.
The drizzle is falling and so is the temperature.
The breakfast casserole is in the fridge, setting overnight for breakfast in the morning.
The kitchen has been cleaned. Dishes washed and put away.
Last minute gifts have been purchased and wrapped and put under the tree.
The liquor store has been visited.
The dip has been prepared and the veggies for the dip have been washed and cut.
And now, everyone is waiting for the man with the bag.

From our home to yours, Merry Merry Christmas.

Karla May, BH, The Geej, Doug, Diane, Shiloh and Leo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There is a house across the street from ours that a young man recently bought. He got it for a steal given its size/location because it was a short sale. Why was it a short sale? Not sure, but I'm going to guess it has something to do with the state that the previous owners left the house in when they left. It was, in short, a shit hole. I'm pretty sure the Weeble-shaped older couple who had lived there were hoarders. At least that's what the contents of their garage would've led one to believe. And from the looks of the photos of the interior that the realtor was brave (or stupid) enough to post on the online listing, the same went for the inside of the house. Nasty and gross. But this young dude snatched up the house and has been slowly cleaning it out and up, and it's actually beginning to look nice.

This morning, I've been working at home. Since we have no office, this means that I set up at the dining room table, right by the windows that look out toward this house across the street.

All morning I've been observing this guy working on the exterior of his house with his dad, who must be in town for the holiday. It's hard to tell if they're talking much, but they're working together, very in-sync. Right now, they're installing a new light on the outside of his garage.

I watch them with their simple familiarity, and it makes my heart ache.I miss my dad every day, but especially during December--the month he passed away. I wonder about what he would have helped me do to my house--what projects he would've helped me with (prior to BH's arrival). He was insanely handy. He could fix or build pretty much anything, and one of the (few) ways he showed love was by helping me with such things when I needed it.

They just finished up for the moment and went inside together. I know this father and son aren't thinking about how lucky they are to be working on home improvement projects together. But some day, this will be a good memory.

Friday, December 17, 2010

When I grow up...

When I was little, there were several people I wanted to be when I grew up.

First up, Elizabeth Montgomery. Or, more specifically, Samantha from Bewitched. Not only was she magic, but she was beautiful. And I dug her house. Now, her dorky bumbling husbands I didn't love. But her eccentric family? ADORED them.
And speaking of her family, I was super jealous of Tabitha. Cute AND magic with Samantha as a mother? Getthefuckouttatown.

Other kids I was jealous of (but these were real kids as opposed to characters on a sitcom): Lisa Marie Presley and Chastity Bono.

Lisa Marie got to have Elvis as a dad and live in Graceland.

Chastity got to have Cher as a mom and be on TV every week at the end of the Sonny and Cher show.

As a kid living in The Clusters apartments in Longview, Texas dealing with the aftermath of my freshly-divorced parents, I would've gladly traded my life for theirs. Now? Not so much.

Next up: Olivia Newton-John. Also a lovely blonde, but one with an accent! Who could sing!! Who appeared in both "Grease" and "Xanadu"!

Love love LOVED her. Still do. (And yes, I have that album. On LP.)

I also wanted to be Vicki Lawrence.

Wait. Let me explain:
1. She got to wear those kick ass Bob Mackie dresses when she sang with Carol.
2. Wigs!! Lots and lots of wigs!!
3. She got to hang out WITH CAROL, and be like Carol's little buddy. A total dream, in my book.
4. Mama from "Mama's Family". This was one of the first female comedic characters I knew of that made men AND women laugh with equal abandon. And Vicki owned her.

Now she occasionally plays Billy Ray Cyrus's mother on "Hannah Montana". Sigh.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

General Malaise

I don't know if it's the rapid passing of another year that's got me in a funk or what, but I am definitely in one.

Let's investigate, shall we?

Well, my shingles are not as painful as they once were (thank goodness), but now they're just sort of hanging out, looking gruesome and feeling uncomfortable. Thank goodness it's not shorts season. My biggest concern now is passing this nastiness on to BH or The Geej. I've taken precautions, but you just never know. In other news, I went to my semi-annual visit to my cardiologist yesterday, and my bad cholesterol has come down a bit. So, yay.

Our house is sort of half-assed decorated for Christmas. BH doesn't really like all of the trappings of the season, so I try not to go too nuts. But going half-ass is somehow more depressing than not doing anything at all. Our cats have launched a full-scale offensive against the Christmas tree and its Ornaments of Doom. This is no surprise to anyone, least of all me. But it's still annoying as Hell. Cute, but annoying.

Also in house news, I'm ready to finish up the flooring by having the new carpet installed, but my bank account isn't. I was hoping to get the installation scheduled right after the first of the year, but it may be later than that now. Our carpet has never looked good: The color sucks and the state of the carpet itself is pretty sad. But now that the hardwoods have been installed, man does it ever look shitty.

There are parts of the house--especially the garage--that are beginning to look like they were interior decorated by psychotic hoarders. I wish I could spend like three solid days (or more) just de-cluttering and cleaning. I need to, but I just never have the right combination of time and energy to undertake this monumental task. Therefore, I just get more and more frustrated and disgusted by the whole situation.

The move on to the new team has gone well thus far. There are a still a lot of things we need to figure out about how we're going to fit in and priorities, etc., but so far, so good. I'm going to a big work meeting in Ft. Lauderdale in mid-January, so that should be interesting. I feel like I've got a lot to do to get prepared for that between now and then.

The Holidays:
I'm about 50% done w/my Christmas shopping, but I have NO ideas about what to get my mom and her fiance, my stepsons, or my inlaws. I guess I'll wrap up the remainder of what I need to do during lunch hour shopping trips since I don't know when I'll have time to do it otherwise.

Since I had to take time off for the shingles, I'll be able to take very little time off for the holidays. Having to choose between taking time off to deal with an illness or to be with family for the holidays is a shitty choice to have to make, but when you've got very little time off allotted to you each year, that's what you've got to do. I really love where I work, but (as I've said before) our paid time off policy SUCKS.

The Geej:
Man, that kid kills me. Her reading is getting so good, she's really enjoying math, and she's just generally flourishing and growing TOO DAMN FAST. She's so completely believes in Santa that it's just charming the Hell out of me. This is probably the last year that she'll have no doubts about the jolly ol' elf, and I'm just soaking it in. After today, she's out of school for two weeks. Thank God that the wonderful Dah will be taking care of her for most of that time. What would I do without her?! And this Sunday, I'm taking The Geej to see the Rockettes Holiday Spectacular. She is going to have her mind blown by the sparkliness of it all.

I fucking hate grocery shopping with the fiery passion of one million suns. Well, not really the shopping, per se. It's the hassle of the shopping. The list making (which doesn't matter because I invariably forget something important from the list), the parking, the dealing with oblivious customers who are in my fucking way, the parking lot...I hate all of it. If I could shop in an empty store, by myself, and have my groceries magically delivered to my car, and then unpacked at my house and prepared into some lovely meal, I might--and I mean might--not hate it so much. But that's doubtful. Anyway, lately somehow our house has been getting down to stems and seeds in the groceries department, and it 85% of the time it falls to me to a) figure out what we need to replenish what's missing, b) plus what we might need to plan meals for the next few days and c) shop to get all of that stuff and then d) lug that shit home and unpack it and then e) whoop up something delicious and nutritious for dinner. And this is after working all day, fighting rush hour traffic, and picking up The Geej so that there's a six year old in tow during one of my least favorite domestic activities. Is it any wonder that after all of that I'm in a Grade-A shittastic mood?

Let's change the subject, shall we?

Thanks to a lovely hand-me-down from Dah, we now have a matching, less-than-a-year-old high-efficiency washer and dryer. They're kind of awesome, even though I'm still getting used to them. But regarding laundry: Why can't I ever stay on top of it? I mean, I know better than to wait until the weekend to do all of it (even though that's still when I do most of it), but no matter how much I do during the week, there is always more to be done. It seems like each morning, I'm starting a load before I leave for work, then I'm too damn tired to finish it up when I get home. So you know what I end up doing? Running the rinse cycle again the next morning (lest they get moldy), and aiming to complete the load that afternoon/evening. Sort of defeats the purpose of the whole High Efficiency thing, huh?

God, I'm boring the shit out of myself just writing about this drudgery.

Look away, people. Look away...

Perhaps next post I'll be in a different state of mind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WARNING: Very Whiny Post Ahead

Last Tuesday night, I started feeling yucky. I blamed it on what I'd eaten for dinner.

Felt better Wednesday morning, but by Wednesday afternoon, super yucky. Achy and queasy. I blamed it on what I'd eaten for lunch. Went to bed early.

Thursday morning, felt sort of normal again. Mid-morning, I started to feel like I was going to puke. Felt achy--like I was one gigantic bruise.Got on the interwebs and did a bit of research and diagnosed myself with shingles. But I didn't have a rash, so I really didn't take my diagnosis too seriously. All I knew was that something was seriously "off". Went to company Christmas party that evening, sang some karaoke and even had some wine. But then, overnight, felt bad again. Blamed it on the wine.

Friday, was awful. In addition to feeling achy and nauseated, I kept having this shooting pain that was originating in my lower right back, and shooting straight through my lower abdomen down to where my torso and right leg meet. I'd never felt anything like this before, and when it would hit me, I would just double over. THAT'S how intense it was. Again, went to bed early.

Saturday is when I first noticed the rash. It started on my right thigh and went down, curving around to the back of my right knee. It was also on my right butt cheek. It was red and painful. Went to an ornament exchange party and joked about how I thought I had shingles. Ha ha ha. What a punchline.

Sunday, the rash was worse and there was more of it, and I was running a fever. So I finally sucked it up and went to the urgent care center. (I went to the one at Slaughter/MoPac, and it was very nice, FYI.) And guess what, MOTHERFUCKING SHINGLES. Grrrr... The doctor told me to follow up with my primary care doctor, and I've been too lazy and pissed off to even call for an appointment.

So now, I'm taking a medicine that's supposed to surpress the virus that's causing the rash, but it is most effective if you start taking it w/in 24 hours of getting the symptoms. I was a bit outside that window so who knows how well it's working...or not. And I've also got a painkiller that I'm only taking at bed time b/c it knocks my ass out. And the location of this fucking rash makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to wear real clothes, so I've been wearing sweats, and pajama bottoms for 3 days now. And I've been trying to work from home but I'm so uncomfortable and tired and generally miserable, that I've managed to accomplish very little.

Okay. I feel better having vented. I mean, I feel better psychologically, but the rest of me still feels achy and painful.

This shit better clear up by like tomorrow because I do not have the patience for it to linger.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This just happened.

I ran to Academy during lunch to procure some roller skates for The Geej for Christmas. As I was standing there in the aisle looking at the skates, this woman was next to me, also looking at roller skates for girls. We struck up a conversation. She was buying two pair for her granddaughters. We both needed knee pads and elbow pads, but weren't too happy with the selection before us. Blah blah blah.

Then out of nowhere she says, "Well I was relieved when she finally asked for skates because the first thing she asked me for was a black baby doll! I think she's been living in Memphis too long!"

I just looked at her, too stunned to respond, and then walked away.

What made her think that this racist bullshit was okay to say to a complete stranger? For all she knew, my husband could've been black and the daughter I'd told her I was buying skates for bi-racial. But for some reason she thought my white skin and blonde-ish hair meant that I was part of the racist club that she belongs to.

If she can't even comprehend her precious white granddaughters playing with a babydoll with a different skintone, how do you think she feels about the fact that they have a black president.

Ugh. When will this shit ever end?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Key Word: Sparkly

I have posted The Geej's letters to Santa for the past couple of years due to the fact that a) they're kind of funny and b) they provide a nice time capsule of sorts--a glimpse into the things that she coveted or thought were important at that particular point in her childhood. This year's letter is just as telling as the last couple have been. It tells me that she doesn't want to screw around with a lot of chit chat, and as with most females, you really can't go wrong if you just give her jewelry.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, the most girly letter to Santa ever written in the history of all things girly.

Dear Santa Claus,

I love you so much, Santa. You are so cool and nice and fun.

Here is my Christmas list:

Roller skates
iPod Touch
Sparkly dress
Moxie Girls Magic Hair Doll
Diamond earrings
Diamond necklace
Regular earrings
Nail polish that's sparkly
Peace sign necklace that has all kind of colors on it and earrings that match

I love you with all my heart, and I will never forget you.

--The Geej

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Meet Timmy!

In case you don't know me know me or can't tell from this blog, I have a weird sense of humor. The stupider and more ridiculous, the funnier to me. But I also really love intelligent, high-brow wit. So everything from fart jokes to Oscar Wilde, I find amusing.

One of the reasons I love BH so much, is that he and I have very similar tastes in the absurd. We will laugh at stuff that, I assure you, no one else on this planet would think was humorous in the least.

Which brings me to Timmy.

In BH's little town that he lived in in Colorado, there was an old five-and-dime on Main Street called Duckwall's. Although I sadly never went to Duckwall's myself, BH had plenty of stories--and some interesting merchandise--from there that I felt as if I'd been a life time shopper.

On one of his visits to Duckwall's, BH found and purchased this horrible stuffed rat looking thing that he knew I would find just as funny and disturbing as he did. He was right. We named him Timmy. And during one of my visits to Colorado (Boulder, actually) to see BH prior to his moving here, we had a little fun with Timmy and the digital camera.

While looking for a photo in my old files yesterday, I came upon these pics and was laughing my ass off.

So, without futher ado:

"Somebody with thumbs needs to open up these fake-ass Corn Nuts, like NOW!"

"Aw yeah...that's more like it!! Nomnomnomcrunchnom."
"Day-um! Those fake-ass corn nuts make a rat thirsty! Since there's no Brawndo, I'll have to make due with this water."
"Looks like Lindsay Lohan's up to her ol' coke-snortin' and whorin' ways! Color me shocked."
"Why the Hell can't Pam and Bobby just work this shit out?"

"Don't tell BH, but I also put his toothbrush in my butt!"

"After all those corn nuts, what did you expect?"

"This book doesn't have enough pictures! Tuck me in, douchebag!"

"Faster! I said FASTER, asshole, or I'll chew your eyes out while you're sleeping!!"
"I want some more Tic-Tacs, damnit!" 

"Ima make this omlette my bitch!"
Like me, Timmy had a fondness for cussing. I say "had" because, sadly, Timmy is no longer with us. The last time we saw him, he was headed for "a better life" at the Travis County Landfill, and he was bitching every step of the way.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How do I love her? Let me count the ways.

I have a friend named Thelma Jane. I've known her since the early 90s, and she is one of my favorite people on the planet.

The circumstances of our meeting are pretty funny. We were both hired at the same time to be the first Austin-based employees of a family-owned temporary employment company based out of San Antonio with a satellite office in Houston. They were a small company looking to expand, and they hired the two of us to establish their business in Austin. We were unexperienced, underpaid and unsupervised. For the several months we worked there we, quite literally, did nothing. We would drink beers at work and just generally fuck around. I even brought a pillow to work that I kept under my desk for impromptu afternoon naps. We were the epitome of early-90s Gen X Austin Slackerness. But oh my GOD, we had fun. And the best part of it all is that we got to meet one another and became fast friends.

Here are just some of the reasons I adore TJ to the very core of my being:

She can make me laugh to tears faster than almost anyone.
She introduced me to the music of The Beastie Boys.
She knitted a beautiful shawl out of yarn made from the fur of her dogs that she collected for YEARS.
She's crafty (see above).
She'll stop on the side of the road in Louisiana to buy $3 work pants from a dude selling them out of his truck.
She'll do anything for a friend, including coming over in the middle of the night to keep the friend from hitting rock bottom soon after the friend had been left by her husband.
She plays the drums.
She likes all kinds of music--especially the RAWK.
She's adventurous.
She's strong as shit.
She one time put on roller skates and let her dogs pull her from her house to mine while smoking a handrolled cigarette.
She had a pink bong named Barbie.
She rocks a minivan.
She used to write me letters when I moved away.
She switched clothes with me in the bathroom at Emo's during the Dumpster Juice show at SXSW many moons (and many pounds) ago.
She took a voice class with me so we could sing harmony together.
She once rode all over town so we could hang up "Free Baby Bunnies! Just In Time For Easter" fliers we'd made to fuck with a dude who'd done me wrong. (Long story.)
She's a really good mother.
She's the only person who I've hiked to the top of Enchanted Rock with.
BH gets a kick out of her.
She makes great lemon bars.
She teaches mentally handicapped teenagers vocational skills, which requires a level of patience and understanding that I can only dream about having.
She is utterly and completely unique. They broke the mold when Thelma Jane was born.

Thank you, Universe, for throwing Thelma and me together in that crappy job nearly twenty years ago. That gal's a keeper.