That which does not kill me, tastes great. Or... How Phlegm got her "Oh SHIT!" back.
eeeeeek! Wednesday's cloudy morning: I let the doglet out into the back yard and noticed green skies to the near west and I thought "this can't be good."
Ten minutes later I was tooling down Montfort in LouLou, about to turn into the Barnes & Noble parking lot to pick up the latest meisterstrück from Blonde Redhead, which is muy trés delectable, and which I highly recommend.
Strange movement off to the right caught my eye and I turned my head to see a huge tree branch spinning in a circle as it was pushed effortlessly across a parking lot, all its leaves along for the ride. I turned left into the B&N lot to see a 20 foot cart return carrel come spinning likewise across the parking lot in front of me and off to the right. I looked up to see a huge cloud with obvious rotation. I looked over to the left and saw the teller in a glass drive-through window gape-mouthed and looking for all the world like a SouthPark cut-out. Oh, and it was windier than a bag of buttholes. Windier than a certain loudmouthed, windy person I know, even.
In that instant I realized I might be in the beginnings of a tornado, and the next minute was spectacular. I looked at the giant swirling cloud for about 5 seconds and panels were peeling off the roof of one nearby building - they looked as light as silver gum wrappers as they whipped up and southward. I weighed my options and knew I had no time to lose, whatever my choice.
I could drive up onto the curb and up to the door of one of the stores and run in, but if their roofs were being peeled away, wouldn't it be bad to be inside??? Freaky. No good choices. My next thought was to get out of there. Storm moving south, I looked around the parking lot for more flying debris and other vehicles, then I carefully drove to the outlet onto Belt Line Road, heading west. In the space of another 5 seconds, I saw evidence of several transformers blowing nearby, blues and greens splashing into the sky like incandescent bruises. My heart wasn't pounding, but I was in some bizarre state of heightened awareness. I would describe my mindset as terrified/not scared, if you can imagine. What would be, would be.
One silly thing that flashed through my brainpan was the irony of how I love violent weather-- well, ok, not this violent- -I never agreed to this!
The weather looked clearer to the west, but I did need to mosey downtown eventually, so at the intersection of Belt Line & the toll road (where the traffic lights were dead - not even flashing red), I decided to go south and just get into work. Our buildings are old, and I happen to have a basement I could get into with no problem should need arise.
At work sitting in my glass fishbowl office, I was feeling wrong sitting still with that adrenaline/euphoria thing going on - shouldn't I be doing something? I sat at my desk as the full brunt of the storm finally caught up with me. Out the window, I watched disbelieving as a bolt of lightning struck an adjacent enormous landmark, perhaps 300 yards from my very seat. OK, I didn't go to the basement, but I did get against a concrete wall that had an earthen embankment behind it. To say I was jumpy at that moment would be a tremendous understatement.
As the storm simmered down, so did I, in a way, but you should see the stack of paperwork I ploughed through today, effortlessly, and ready to chew up some more. I was in SUCH a good mood, giddy, even. I remembered a friend in England who told me he'd take his sailboat out into the English Channel, but that sometimes, a sudden storm would whip up too quickly to make it back off the ocean, and it was too risky to be dashed on the rocks near shore, so he'd ride it out. He said it was nerve-wracking until the St. Elmo's Fire would start crackling around him, and then it got downright terrifying. He'd sit there on the boat, forswearing all his indulgences and trying to strike a bargain which involved him seeing his family one more time. Always, he'd made it back home. Then for an extended period thereafter, he could sit through the most stressful interviews and meetings, utterly unflappable, relaxed, wholly unconcerned.
Anyway, maybe I wasn't in as much danger as it seemed at that moment, but just the same, I'm feeling pretty relaxed, now. Watch this space.
Standard poodles were bred to retrieve game for hunters, and they are water dogs. Did you know there is a reason for those silly pouf balls? Amazingly, the poodles' bodies are shaved to reduce drag in the water, but the poufs at the joints (hips, neck, legs) were to help keep the joints warm as the dog swam through cold water. Amazing. And all this time we just thought some French person thought they'd look better that way. I think having a poodle would be almost tolerable if they came in nice candy colors.
Well, vacation was glorious. If nothing else, I at least achieved an abiding understanding that even if I have days and days free to myself, I still won't be inspired to clean house, so no more feeling guilty on that score. Going back to work on Tuesday was actually nice, and I think the break did me a lot of good.
Going to the panhandle this weekend to pick up my ultimate dream table which I bought in a junk shop there. It's a thing of beauty. There are two household items of which you will only find one in a lifetime which is your absolute ultimate: a table and a spice rack. I'm still waiting for my One and Only Perfect Spice Rack™, but until that day, I can console myself with my One and Only Perfect Table™. Now I have de-coded half of the riddle of life's mystery. Soon, I veel rrrroool zee vorlt! Ain't life grand?
The loverly Barbara of Bad Tempered Zombie fame tagged me with the below meme. I think it's a good one.
1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings 2. Pick the year you turned 18 3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year 4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you 5. Pass it on to 5 more friends
*whiner alert* Holy crap, looking at Billboard, I, just, ew, uh, Well, I turned 18 in 1983 in October, but I was 18 for 10 months of 1984. Really want to do 1984 instead, not that it's THAT much better, but... well, I was mostly listening to things not on the radio - Killing Joke, Bauhaus, Psychedelic Furs, Ultravox, Japan & the like, so, the list I'm seeing for 1983 is making me squirm a bit. Yuck - I'm still trying to banish from memory Michael Jackson's domination of the charts and all the zippers and vinyl and white socks, oh my! Oh, wait, it says write something about how they affected me, not that I had to like them, right? Oh, no problem. I'm so there.
1. Sweet Dreams - the Eurythmics Loved this song because it was such a departure for pop radio. Annie Lennox' dark husky voice was a marvelous foil for the play on gender she made in the video. This song actually holds up and I'm not embarrassed to have appreciated it at the time. From the same cd, This City Never Sleeps is a far superior track, but in a pinch, Sweet Dreams will do. If I hear it, I may even sing along.
2. Maneater - Hall & Oates I was never a big fan of Hall & Oates, though I do think they had a few spectacular songs. This song is perhaps my favorite, but in a guilty pleasure sort of way. It's actually yucky and makes my skin crawl, so I lapse into a goose-pimply "what were they thinking?" grossed-out kind of dissociative fugue when I hear it. And near the end when he says "the woman is wild, ooooooooh!" I generally do a free-form sort of dancey expression of what I'm hearing - woe betide the other shoppers at Kroger. Don't ask me to explain.
3. Flashdance - Irene Cara - Wasn't Irene just fabulous in The Color Purple as Squeak? Oh, shit, that was Rae Dawn Chong-- now I don't have anything nice to say!!! Good googly moogly. In a very, very bad way, this song IS immortal. Vile. Flashdance will always be with us. Hot chick wears loose clothing to her day job as welder (Hello? Safety hazard!) & strips at night for money, dumps water on self by toilet-style pull-chain, is embarrassing to remember. Eek. OK, wait, the song? Not the movie? Starts slow & builds, telling the tale of a girl around whom love was all, and who was gonna make it after all. What a feeling. Someone bleach my brain and never make me think of this one again, please?
4. Every Breath You Take - The Police Now this, THIS is a personal favorite, in a way. EBYT is another song which holds up well, but I think most people never really listen to the text -- this is about a guy on whom the hapless damsel he's singing to has filed a restraining order. Can you say stalker, boys and girls? Every move you make, every breath you take, I'll be watching you. Really? Creepy. Still, it's a good song. I just wish people wouldn't play it at wedding receptions - the irony sends me 'round the bend.
5. Africa - Toto - about 5 weeks before this song peaked on the charts,I remember a particular moment and hearing this song. Me, Mom, Dad, Sis & maternal Grandparents were on a trip from Texas to Arkansas to California. We were in this monster souped-up LTD of Dad's. (Let's admit it - there's no more glorious ride in the world than a 50s to 70s Big American Automobile™, particularly those with a powerful engine and good suspension - the way you felt like you were buffered on a giant biscuit of air.) Anyway, the middle of the night, we were driving up from California to visit relatives in Washington, and it was probably 2 in the morning. Everyone was sacked out, and I always stayed awake with Dad, leaning up from the middle of the back seat onto the front seat armrests. Dad would change the radio dial to whatever I wanted to hear, and this song came on. Dad would tell me stories, it was just one of hundreds of hours I cherish of talking to Dad at night on road trips. I'm not one to sleep in a car, generally - can't sleep on planes without benefit of Bloody Marys, but I always thought it was weak-minded of all the family to conk out and leave Dad to do all the work. Dad taught me a lot of what I know about driving at those times, too. It was sweet, and Africa always makes me think of that particular night, that exact moment, some 23 years ago.
I don't usually tag anyone, but this is a fun meme and I'm curious to hear what the following folk come up with: Hollyb, Fathairybastard,Ambulance Driver, Tam, and how about a joint entry from Dick/Ordinary Girl? Actually - everybody in - if you're on my blogroll, consider yourself tagged(if you want to be). Was that namby-pamby enough for you?
Not that we needed confirmation of this, but Cannes Film Festival's desperation to recognize Sicko by schlockumentarian Michael Moore is yet more proof positive that the United States needs to keep its own counsel and disregard the emotional, outlandish hand-wringing of other societies.
Having won the Palme d'Or in 2004 for yet another bit of sensationalist dreck, Moore requested this skewering of the American healthcare system to be withheld from consideration this year, yet the award committee is drooling all over themselves to give top honors to Moore for the film.
Many in our own country lack the maturity to evenly consider the specious information put forth in Moore's inflammatory and rife-with-fiction movies. A particular example comes to mind from a film in which he staged the shot of him walking away from a bank with a rifle he claimed to have been given there for opening an account, when in fact, he'd collected the gun someplace which actually sold guns. This is so like the scene from Broadcast News in which the airhead reporter does an extra take of himself emoting for the camera, and the news director was outraged at the unethical, emotional manipulation of fact.
I wonder how many people who adore Moore's films think their media are moral and above this manipulation-- how many of them think Moore is not re-tooling and tweaking the portrayal of events to change their minds? Lambs to the slaughter, they are eating it up because it dovetails with their less developed, emotional inner noise. These people don't know how to think clearly, have no understanding of how our government actually functions, and are happily dazzled by the shell game being played to diffuse any collective power they may have to actually hold our government accountable for poor representation.
The irony is that if there is a clamor from the peanut gallery for any kind of change, it will be for yet greater government involvement in the already overloaded and labyrinthine health care system. Years ago I did some work in a billing office for a group of doctors. I saw cases where decent, low-income Americans had to struggle to pay their way, and meanwhile, a pair of wealthy doctors from Mexico City came here to give birth to their high-risk baby on the Medicare dime, no questions asked. I saw a parade of just such outrages in which everything is permissible for people who don't contribute and who abuse the system, but the people who get in line and pay their way are soundly vilified and treated like chumps. I think our government has done enough damage to our health care system already.
And I need someone to 'splain me any industry or system that the government has improved after taking it over from the private sector.
The family reunion last weekend was great, but it's always a little sad, too, thinking of the old folks who've passed away, and invariably, there's a new baby or two to replace the old timers. It's a natural cycle. Some day I'll be the wizened old relic the youngsters see but don't really talk to, a product of another century. For now, though, I'm more than happy to occupy the middle of the road.
Mom had 3 siblings who were prolific breeders, and from them I have 16 cousins, and then I have about a dozen more first cousins from mom's step-siblings. That's a lot of first cousins. But it gets a little more intense: my grandfather and his brother married sisters, so that means Mom and her cousins are double-cousins. This means that genetically I am as close to Mom's cousins as I am to my aunts and uncles. Odd, innit?
I realize this is sounding like one of those bad jokes about a family tree that only has one branch. Well, it's not quite that bad. Well, it is bad. There's been more than one tragic case amongst my cousins to indicate that some DNA combinations should be kept on a very limited production scale.
The funny thing is that I always knew about the double-cousin thing as a child, but it sort of didn't register until a few years ago. Aunt B. is Mom's (double) cousin and reared her children in California and I saw them only rarely, until they moved to Arkansas across the street from my grandparents when I was about 8 or 9.
B's 3 sons were ultra-bratty and overly-worldly in the way all my cousins from California seemed to be. They were nasty, they let their underwear stick up out of their britches, they had odd vocabularies. When I was about 6, I heard a toddler California cuz tell his big brother "cuck woo." It seemed so strange that it stuck in my mind. A few years later, I realized what he was saying to his big bro, and I wondered how a toddler managed to use vocabulary I didn't happen upon until fifth grade-ish.
Anyway, - B's 3 sons. They started bringing coins over they said they'd found buried under their Victorian-era home across the street from Grandpa's house. They found some way to sell these coins and make a little cash. They always seemed to be finding rare and lovely coins, but no one scrutinized them very closely.
One day, Grandpa got out his coin collection, which, oddly, was mostly all gone. All that time, those little devils were absconding with grandpa's coin collection and brazenly returning to the scene of the crime to boast of their "finds."
Shortly thereafter, B and family moseyed on back to California. B is a very sweet person who has been plagued with problems of an ill spouse and conniving, ruthless children. Maybe that's the strangest thing to me, that the cousins who seemed to know so much and to be so worldly have been the ones worst treated by the world. Some of these first cousins look older than my parents, and these are people within 5 years of my age.
I suppose there's an advantage to going through life a little guarded and not letting the woes of the world engulf one. I'm glad my parents kept my experience very small-scale and personal, and acted to prevent a greater familiarity with the ways of the world from damaging their children as long as possible.
I've never really discussed it with my folks, but I rather suspect these bad cousins and distracted, inattentive aunts and uncles are one reason my parents moved us well away from a lot of the family.
Sometimes, it's easier to like people more when you know less about them.
Product watch: Transformer by Paula Dorf. This stuff is great - one drop of this on a brush turns any powder makeup into a liquid eyeliner. It's not water-proof, but it's not drippy, either. Good product, especially when you're looking for the perfect shade of liner. I recommend an eyeliner brush by Chanel, too-- a good brush for this stuff is essential.
The other thing is Morning Zen incense by Shoyeido. Shoyeido is a Japanese incense house that's been perfecting their product through 12 generations and several centuries. Beautiful incense that doesn't smell like hippy crap or cat pee. (In my opinion)
Speaking of hippy crap, I don't know what it is about patchouli - some of it smells amazing to me, and some of it reeks horribly. I know there are several different varieties. There's an Indian restaurant I love in Dallas that burns the cat-pee patchouli by their entry at a little shrine thingie sometimes. Ew. I usually go there with my fingers crossed that they aren't trying to butter up Vishnu or Ganesh that day.
Going shooting with a friend Saturday. She said "Phlegm, wear sensible footwear. Do you have any sensible footwear?" Naturally, I responded that all my footwear is sensible. It makes perfect sense to me. She said "It's a cow pasture, Phlegm." Point taken.
Oh, and one more thing on "Rules of War"-- isn't that like "Fornicating for Abstinence?" I'm just saying...
I'll come right out and say I'm not a sports fan. I'm happy for friends and family when their teams win, but, generally, it's sorta not on the radar for me. Going to live games with friends is fun. Hockey is actually exciting. I generally don't think of it much and am happy for things to stay that way, but recent local news means you'll have to suffer along with me as I vent spleen for a moment.
Starting some years back, there was much flap and hoopla about where the Dallas Cowboys' next stadium would be. Local municipalities vied for that honor, including Dallas and the city of Arlington (where Six Flags and the Texas Ranger Ballpark are located).
Now I don't know how they do things in other cities, but let me tell you how it's done in Dallas. Some enormously, staggeringly wealthy person (who could afford to build the stadium on their own) proposes that the city contribute massively to building the venue. The city puts forth a bond package (to raise taxes to generate funds for the project) to the voters. Drooling sports fanatics will pay anything to have the stadium/hotel&entertainment revenue/traffic hazard brought to their fair city. The voters opt to build the stadium on the public dime, and all the profits for the venue - which will technically be owned by the fatcat (Perot, Cuban, etc.) - will go to said fatcat. Oh, and for building this enormous income-generating facility, fatcats get huge tax breaks. Goody goody gumdrops. How wonderful for them.
The Cowboys' new stadium is being built in Arlington, and the recent news was that the 2011 Superbowl has been slated for this venue. OK. Fine. Whatever. Again, I'm happy for the excited locals, and on a huge level I'm pleased that dubious honor will go to Arlington rather than Dallas.
There was bound to be a fly in the ointment, though, because in the local news, the bitching has already begun. In man-on-the-street style interviews, the whining is already reaching fever pitch. The most prominent complaints are that the common person won't be able to afford the tickets, and that the traffic is going to be a nightmare. No doubt the crying-in-the-beer will whinge on for 4 more years.
Um, hello? Y'all wanted that thing in your neighborhood, so get over it. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up and deal. Oh, and shut up, while you're at it!
It's amazing how great it is just to get out of town, isn't it?
I find putting hundreds of miles between me and my routine incredibly restorative, and moreso when I'm someplace familiar that feels uniquely my own. I feel that way in Arkansas. And Arizona. And the Panhandle. And in London, believe it or not. And I always end up feeling I've got to do that more often.
We did go to see Mary at her farm, but we didn't stay very long. Her husband has been having some health problems and didn't seem to feel very well. Their small cattle farm is lovely, and they have a porch overlooking a meadow with meadowlarks calling from the trees. I felt I could have just moved in and never come back to Dallas. The day was unspeakably lovely.
Mary went to high school with Mom, and her grandfather was a Texas Ranger from the era of the siege of Palo Duro Canyon. I thought our visit would be long enough to yield more stories, but we hurried home, so this one will have to suffice for now.
James' wife had been killed by Indians and he rode for days and days tracking them, ultimately killing them. Sometime well into the 20th century, there was a Pioneer Days celebration in Hereford where his family was settled. He was pretty long in the tooth at the time and still persnickety. He was told by his descendents that he was requested to appear in the parade along with other former Rangers and Indians of various extraction. When James heard there would be Indians there, he would not be dissuaded from bringing his rifle along with which to dispatch the Indians. His children wisely decided it would be best if he didn't go to the parade, after all.
Isn't it funny, though, to think of making a spectacle like a parade despite the enmity that must have existed between those groups? I mean, yeah, it was great that they recognized the old-timers of both factions, but if you think about it, it's sort of like expecting a mongoose and a cobra to play nice. Both sides had some serious hurts that ran deep and to which they were entitled. Strange to bring them out in public and do the stiff upper lip thing and not have anyone act like they got the poopy end of the stick.
One theme runs eternal throughout human affairs, though: people can make cobras and mongoose seem downright civil.
Funny, they left out the bit about the ultimate human torture, which is, of course, of the panty-on-head/nekkid-on-leash/nekkid-pyramid/being-pointed-at variety.
Electric cables? Blow torches? Pliers & wire cutters?
In the way of all things in this flawed world, our craftily diabolical use of nylon underpants doesn't amount to much, but on the scale of mere human tortures, it's bloody magnificent. Yes, onward we march in our aspiration to dismantle all other govermental structures using one elasticized waistband at a time.
Well, the trip to the Ozarks was a wonderful reprieve from the same-old same-old. Mom and niece rode with me and we headed up there on Friday, with mom offering the occasional tip (speed limit, etc.,) which was mightily appreciated. At one point she said "do you mind my backseat driving?" to which I parried "no, I'm accustomed to a passenger who finds my driving incompetent." Sadly, this was not a lie.
Spent Friday night in Hot Springs. We stayed at a major (reliably clean) hotel chain. Prior to checking in, I drove to an adorable motor court with marvelous neon which I have wanted to check out for yonks. The rooms are arrayed like little duplex casitas, adobe exterior, and they look to have been re-done since I was there 6 or 8 months earlier. Very cute. Just as I was about to call and cancel the reservation with the other place, one of the quaint rooms disgorged an unfortunate pair who aptly fit the description "pimp" and "crackwhore" and so it was off to our reserved room around which no ne'er-do-wells were to be seen. Perhaps I'll check this one out some other time when children are not along for the spectacle. In the meantime, thank goodness for the major chains.
The next morning, we headed north on 7, wending our way through the Ozarks. The weather was exquisite, the road was steep and curvy, but my grippy new tires were up to the challenge.
Along Highway 5 is a mountain called "Old Joe," and Mom mused that in his book about the 19th century Ozarks, John Quincy Wolf mentioned a mountain called "Naked Joe" because trappers/hunters had started a fire which burned all the timber off the mountain. Of course, in the past 100 years, a few trees have grown back, to say the least, but I think this is meant to be the same place.
We stopped by the Strawberry River on Arkansas Highway 56 and went down to the spot where my maternal grandfather would take us swimming when we were kids. It was strange to see again, and kind of bittersweet.
More on that later. One of the best stories I heard all weekend was actually from Texas. Dad has a garage and once someone brought in a souped-up Trans Am which they left overnight for work. Dad had a guard-dog at the shop named Lonzo which was one of the strangest dogs ever. Lonzo had an enormous head and large, powerful body, but the sawed-off legs of a Corgi. He had black hair with grey tips like a wolf-hound. He was very smart, and hilarious to watch. Anyway, Lonzo had a strange fixation on the black Trans Am. They deduced that he had made a run at the hood perhaps hundreds of times, judging by the shredding of the paint. Long, raked trails of toenail-furrows traversed the car from nose to the back of the roof. Lonzo's piece de resistance was when he left his calling card atop: a perfect doo-doo swirl. Inexplicable. Fortunately, the customer was amused by the customization, and said he was about to have it re-painted anyway.
Lonzo would hatch an escape plot occasionally and gad about to visit a circuit of lady dogs in the area, and he clearly impacted the vagrant dog population of Dallas for decades to come. If he were human, Lonzo would have worn a seersucker suit and carried a mint julep and brass knuckles, such style he had with his jaunty, confident gait. Every once in a while, you'll see a sawed-off brute of a dog in that area of town, and you'll know the spirit of Lonzo lives.
Well, sort of. I'm at me mum's and going the rest of the way home in the morning.
We were going to come home Tuesday, but thought better of stringing the 10 hour drive home over the span of two days. Lots to tell, and I'll go into more of it next time, but for now I'll tell you about something kinda funny, kinda sad and utterly bizarre.
I'm not saying anyone in my family is, well, beneath their raisin', but, well, you tell me:
Mom's 3 siblings all died young, and she is now the Matriarch of the family. Four of her sister's 7 children came to the reunion, and after it was over, this clutch of cousins were sort of gathered around Mom sitting on picnic tables, visiting. All their children and grandchildren were over playing on the swings and merry-go-round. Suddenly, one boy who is small for his age came over, sat at the table and put his head down, crying. One of the other children ran up and breathlessly announced "he got kicked in the nuts!"
The questioning of the boys was as delightful as you'd imagine. After ferreting out the culprit, the offending boy said "well, he kicked ME in the nuts!" Upon further investigation, the offending boy was revealed to have been kicked in the nuts after having kicked the smaller boy.
What a little devil.
It's amazing how a kick in the wedding tackle can kill a gathering. Everyone stood up, said their goodbyes and dispersed with record speed.
Anyway. I'll pick up my freshly-bathed doglet from doggie camp before noon, and I expect a gloriously lazy week to myself, lounging about, cleaning, doing my own thing, and probably blogging more than I should. Yes, it's good to be home and not typing this in with only my thumbs and no energy for capitalization.
family reunion went well, even though I dawdled and arrived late. one funny thing I realized just now is that even though this side of my family tends toward the low-brow and multi-offspring spawned with multiple partners, this is also the side of the family where no one asks me when i'm going to have children. I suppose they recognize the family cup already runneth over.
sorry about the crap typing, but me thumbs are cramping. I may be posting from home tomorrow. several good stories to tell. cheers!
having a blast on the road. we've seen lots of deer crossing the roads. lots of dead armadillos, too. the rivers are fuller than I have seen them in many years, with the water reaching higher than the vegetation line. lots of motorcyclists out on the scenic highways in this perfect weather, and once again I am having scooter envy.
3. Fifty-Seven - don't even know if it's still there - in London on Gray's Inn Road - had one of the best meals of my life there
4. Ravenous - Healdsburg California - Impeccable meal. Didn't have reservations in this tiny eatery - sat at the bar - had a grand meal - one of the best, ever. Yum. Tried to find their site, and it looks as though they may have closed. Pity.
5. The Grape in Dallas on Lower Greenville - small, cozy, impeccable food.
I went over to the lovely and talented Maven's blog tonight and she had a funny post about ending sentences in prepositions. My comment to her was: Being from Arkansas, ending sentences with a preposition is our raison-d'etre-- it's what we're living for.
...come to think of it - ending sentences with prepositions is more a Southern thing than Arkansas-specific, so I suppose it doesn't matter so much which Southern state you were raised in.
I hope you enjoyed that. I laughed and laughed.
Update - lainy asked in my comments if I ever discussed the crazy-lady-ass-kicking Mom administered 36 years ago. I read Mom that post a few days ago, and she said crazylady just pounced on her and she was yelling at the lady's husband to pull her away - she was pregnant (HORMONAL!) and Mom didn't want to hurt her. She laughed when I got to the part about the big wad of hair springing from her fist - she said "that must have been from when I slammed her head against the car."
Go Mom! You totally rock! You've earned a lifetime of street cred, there. It was a rather ghetto touch, and my mom is so NOT ghetto. *ecstasy*
Anyway, what a splendid-and-yet-utterly-hosed-up week it has been. Isn't it funny when you think it's been 5 straight days of full-moon behavior and just when you've decided everyone you meet is hormonal and ever-so-slightly bat-shit, you realize it's YOU wot is hormonal? Eep!
Not me. Of course, this never happened to me. I'm talking about you, you silly, hormonal creature.
Did I mention I passed the real estate exam first try? They give you 150 minutes and I finished in 42. I thought that couldn't be right, and that surely I smegged it all up, but shore enough, well, I'm still pinching myself.
Anyway, today I'll take the doglet for a kennel-cough treatment and then she's off to a doggie-spa for the next several days while I trip the Ozarks fantastic. It's funny that I know she'll be enjoying herself, etc., but I have anxiety about leaving her with anyone, and I hate being apart from her. Still, I don't need a fresh haul of Arkansas Traveler ticks coming home with us - Yuck, so doggie stays in Texas. Yes, dinner tonight at Bryce's Cafeteria in Texarkana. WOOHOO! One of these days I want to canoe or raft the Buffalo River like Fathairybastard does so much - it looks like a blast. Now, I can hire a gondola with a grape peeler for that, right?
Lest you think I'm practical: I don't smoke but I want this ashtray by Yoshitomo Nara. Super-cute. It's $50. I suppose it could be a finger bowl for rose water or some such. *OK - that was really sarcastic -- did you catch it? I thought you might. Anyway. Hmm. Want. It.
Bought a house nearly 3 years ago, and had a phone installed, like you do.
Ever since then, we have been getting wrong numbers for Craig. Now, the wrong numbers have been predominantly female of a downmarket stripe, if you know what I mean: several varieties of trashy. You have to imagine strung-out, breathy female voices asking for Craig in the way you'd imagine they sweet-talk their pimp.
Now for three years I've been thinking these were booty calls. No. Tonight a woman called and let the cat out of the bag. Here's her message:
Hey Craig. I know it's been a long time. I guess this number is a California number. Anyway, I wanted to see you and I have some friends who wanted to buy, some, uh....
*grand pause---wait for it!*
uh.... uh.... Shoes. So, uh, give me a call.
So, there you have it: he was a shoe salesman. It's so odd to me that these 3 years I've been thinking these were booty calls, when this one seems like a drug call. Maybe Craig is in jail.
My path Tuesday led me to converse with a lawyer. He needed information on my company. I'm guessing he's in his late 20s or early 30s. I told him I would reconnoitre with my boss and get back with him when I had concrete details. He said "what's that? I've never heard that word before."
I said "Seriously? How old are you? Have you studied warfare or history or anything? It's a French word for finding stuff. What are they teaching kids in school these days?"
He then looked it up on his computer somewhere and read a definition that seemed to make me sound like a dork who didn't know what the word meant. After we got off the phone, I sent him an email with the information he sought, along with the cutting above from dictionary.com and I said "this is what I meant."
Out walking the bunnydog tonight, I recounted this convo to husband, and I said I'd pointed out to the lawyer that lots of war-related terminology was French. Husband said "because they've lost so many times."
Makes sense. I suppose a doormat knows a shoe when it sees one.
Mom got a package in the mail from my aunt in Arizona. The box contained a few things from my grandma's house - the grandma who died almost 2 years ago. My aunt had asked if there was anything particular I wanted, and I said I wanted the coffee cup she drank from every morning. My sister got her biscuit cutter. Yeah, I suppose we're odd, but we each got something we saw her use umpteen times, and I know we'll always treasure these things. In the box was also my grandfather's birth certificate and discharge papers from the Army. It's all bittersweet. Of course, none of it could ever bring them back - in the end it's all only stuff - but it's nice to see these things once more.
Took the doglet for a long walk today. Her old butt was tired when we got back to the house. I got in the pool for the first time this year, and it was glorious. I thought about putting the doglet in to cool her off, but she hates the pool and I didn't want to start the swimming season off with a bad association for her. I need to find a floating ramp which she can walk down and up for easier access - I think it's the lack of a gradual incline that freaks her out - because she loves running into ponds, lakes and oceans. Either that , or I need to just break down and get her a new kiddie pool.
I found the coolest floating ice chest called The Big Bobber - see, how cute is this??? This may be the very pinnacle of human achievement. I think it's the best pool accessory ever. I'm hoping a pitcher of iced-tea will fit in it. On this site it's $39.95, but I paid $20 or $30 at Elliott's Hardware on Maple in Dallas. You can probably get this at the Elliott's in Grapevine too. Good stuff!
This story occurred to me late Sunday, and it would have fit nicely in the mum post. Anyway, it's kinda funny, kinda odd.
We lived in Memphis when I was 5. We lived in a duplex and the family next door was the same configuration (mom, dad, daughter, son) and they were a little odd. We could hear the parents fighting nearly every night, and the woman was clearly unhinged. She was probably profoundly depressed.
One day, I was playing in the front yard when the little 3 year old boy next door came at me with a diaper pin, telling me his mother had told him to stick it in my eyes. I ran in to my mother, who told me to stay in the house. The next thing I know, I hear the crazy lady out in the yard, yelling at Mom. Then here they went, legs and arms akimbo in a pure-dee cartwheeling catfight of epic proportions.
Oh, yeah, my Mom kicked her ass, and crazy lady ass is hard to kick. Mom marched back into the house, mad, steaming, then went into the kitchen and leaned her elbows on the counter, her right fist clenched, and put her left hand to her eyes and started crying. I think it was probably more from being rattled by the whole thing than her being hurt. Suddenly, she lifted that right fist from the counter and opened her fingers, and what looked like a fair sized rodent sprang from her hand. I was in absolute awe. I'd heard tell of someone being snatched bald, but Mom had actually done it.
If that woman is alive today, I'll bet she still has a bald spot.
Oh, she's not one of those athletic moms who would climb a tree with you or take you kayaking, but Mom has an inner toughness and determination that is a marvel to me.
When Mom was a girl, health problems plagued a sibling and her mother resulting in very tough times for the family financially and emotionally. Mom learned to sew as a girl by making little outfits for the dolls she'd made out of twigs and twine. She was soon sewing her own clothing.
Married young, Mom and dad had my brother a year later and then I moseyed on along 14 months later. My father always speaks fondly of how Mom looked after us when we were small. Mom and Dad didn't start out with a whole lot, so they were finding their way in the world, and she would continue to turn out these little masterpieces for me and brother to wear. Dad always speaks with pride of how we'd have cousins running around snotty and dirty, but HER children would not be grimy. OH yeah, we played at the appropriate times and we did get dirty, but she didn't allow us to look unkempt. She was proud of her babies.
The day after my first birthday, my father had a hand injury that made him violently ill, and he couldn't work for a bit. Uncomplaining, Mom went to work in a shirt factory and did so and held everything together while Dad recovered. Mom was 21. I think of myself at 21, and I think how beneath that mark I fell. Dad was soon back on his feet and Mom stayed home with us pretty much for the next 15 or so years.
Mom and Dad worked hard and were frugal. Mom always managed to turn out clothing for herself that made her look like a fashion plate and did so on a modest budget. I remember her coming to pick me up at 5th grade and hearing a wolf-whistle from the back of the room. Did I mention my mom is beautiful? She is, and not in the fake, plastic, do-nothing way you associate with Dallas. Mom's the real deal with dark wavy hair and lovely, mischievous eyes.
Countless hours spent with her in fabric stores taught me much that informs my own taste in clothing today. I'll never forget the day mom called me over and said "feel this fabric and feel the one next to it." I was amazed, there was a warmth to one cloth while the one next to it felt chilly. She was advising me so I'd develop a hand for cloth. The warm cloth was silk, by the way.
It's funny, though, that Mom always told me she was shy, and I couldn't believe that, because she's a stubborn and very opinionated person. She's usually right, too. My perspective was always that she's very free with her opinions, and woe betide the hapless soul who defied her. But the truth is that a few years ago, thinking back, I realized Mom really is shy, and all her eagerness for her family to be well cared-for perhaps stemmed from a wish to not call attention in a bad way, like the poor example of some others in her family. She was happy simply to bask in the reflected glow of the triumphs of her children and husband, and has never aspired to a career or to personal gain. I once asked her why didn't she sew clothes for people as a profession, and she said she didn't want to fool with difficult-to-please people. Judging by how impeccably sewn her work was, I doubt her customers could have been more demanding than she was of herself.
When I think of the difficulties of mom's childhood and how determined she was to make a different life for her own children, well, what more can be said for a person than that? Her keen intelligence, her wry wit and her quiet determination have made our home one with lots of laughter and warmth. I am and will always be very proud of my Mom.
I'm on a Dallas neighborhood yahoo group, and several versions of the story are flying around. One person posted immediately and spouted lots of wrong information as though they were the big authority. It's like that game of whispers where the end product in no way resembles the beginning statement. I read gape-mouthed the wrong details about what _I_ saw and they didn't see, and I half expected the next line to read that the victim was wearing his Tuesday panties on a Friday. Among the more corny details she spouted was one little chestnut which puts forth that the dead guy owed money to the murderer, and the murderer called the police earlier in the day to let them know he was going to kill this guy. Now, call me naïve, but I'm guessing hoodsters bent on revenge killing are not in the custom of alerting the po-lice. If any of you disagree, let me know: I am willing to be educated on the subject.
As Tam so ably pointed out in comments, "alertness is the best defense."
Also, LawDog has a superb post from late April about awareness of surroundings. It's actually a lovely post about a walk he took, so read the whole thing here.
And yes -- me being me -- seeing what you are looking at is an invaluable aid to surviving. Don't just look at Street, Urban, Dingy, One Ea. -- see it: where are the ways out (both standard and non-traditional), how many people are present, possible improvised tools, ambush points -- see all of this, but also see the other things. The things that speak to you and lift your spirits. Decorations. Colours. Horned toads.
I believe people should not be fearful of life, but instead should be in a state of relaxed readiness.
The whole murder thing from Friday, while upsetting, in no way changed me fundamentally - I already knew life was cheap to some people. Sad but true.
Did I mention I balmed my soul with some retail therapy? I found a fabulous dress and a new saucepan and today I'm going to get a new pair of Merrell shoes for dogwalking. I thought you'd want to know things are back to normal. Wheeeeeeee!
This is awful, and I kind of don't know where to start, and if you're someone of a fragile constitution, I advise you to switch over to cuteoverload.com and skip this post.
This was a rough week, but despite all the hardships, I feel so blessed and so lucky, so don't think I'm complaining if I tell you about something awful. I'm just kind of trying to wrap my brain around it all.
I had occasion to drive down a particular street in Dallas today where there are typically lots of homeless people, drug-peddling hang-arounders, and hookers. I drove through at about 4:45, which on Friday is a time when the pedestrian traffic intensifies as the day laborers are dropped back off by the bunk house, etc. As nearly always happens, I saw a hand-off of drugs. This pair caught my attention because they were so mutt-and-jeff. He was a large, pudgy Rerun (What's Happening?) type, and she is a skinny crack-whore type I've been seeing in that neighborhood recently. This was doubtless just another of countless scores of hand-offs that happened on that street today. What's one more?
I finished my business at an office at about 7:00, got in my car and drove up the road. I noticed homeless people standing in clusters, all looking up the street when I see the body in the road. Walking away from the body is someone who works for my company. I pulled up and a police officer had just arrived and was calling in for support. The man I know told me the guy had walked up to a silver Caprice Classic in the street and asked for a cigarette, and the driver shot him 7 times. His face was planted squarely down in the pavement, a pool of dark red spreading like a corona.
It was a terrible thing to see. The co-worker said the skinny crack whore woman told him what happened, he'd heard the gunshots and saw the car speeding away. He said he'd just run over and the guy was dead, had no pulse. I'll bet it was a transaction gone wrong, or whatver. Actually, now I feel badly that I didn't stop to see if the co-worker guy was going to be alright - I think he was pretty rattled. However, I could be of no material use to investigators, and frankly, I wanted to get out of the 'hood.
I went to dinner as I'd planned, went back to my other office and wrapped up some paperwork, and went home. I don't know quite what I think. I think I'm kind of dazed. We all know life is very cheap to some people, but other than their lack of self-respect, it's not often we see such an extreme example.
Hours later, I'm wondering if the dead guy in the road was the one I saw do the hand-off with crack-whore. Not that it matters.
I don't quite know what to think. I wish I hadn't seen that.
After I snapped this photo I switched over to color and you can go to my diorama and see a nearly identical image in a soothing array of blues.
This has been a good week, but it's been a trying one in some ways. I've worked till nearly 8pm 3 nights, and there is at least one spooling hairball looming large and bad to be dealt with toute-de-suite. I go out of my way to be as nice as I can to people. When I was young and finding my way, I think back to two particular crossroads at which my life could have taken a dramatic and irreversible turn for the worse. At one of those crossroads, someone showed tremendous kindness and understanding, and at the other I was served up a nasty dose of reality which taught me how mean a person can be.
Now, I strive to instruct with kindness. Working in this field, I often say that I'm the first solid parenting a lot of kids get-- so unprepared for life in the world are they. I try to gently nudge in the right direction in a way that is not offensive or obvious. However, several times recently, some folks have been such presumptuous, solipsistic jerks that I have been compelled to crack the whip. I am beginning to believe I'm going to have to ride herd on all these special-needs-patients until their leases are up, at which time they will pointedly not be invited to renew their leases.
Knowing I have the capacity to wield the hammer of justice, I generally opt for magnanimity. However when forced, I'll overcome all hesitancy and be as much a bitch as I need to. Don't make me go there.
You know how excited you get when someone tells you about a dream they just had? You're about to be that excited. Brace yourself for a riveting thrill-ride of inexplicable detail. From just before I woke up a bit ago:
I was current age but circa David Bowie's Scary Monsters era. He was doing a disco-sorta show with a huge combo backing him up. If David Bowie's show could be likened to the Love Boat, I was cruise-director Julie, as played by Lauren Tewes (minus the cocaine habit-- remember what a scandale that was???) I was running around, trying to make sure the 4 fabulous audience members had a good time. They needed to get up and boogie, so I jumped on stage with the Thin White Duke and we cut a rug. The crowd of 4 went wild, and when the show was over, I tried to take their photos, but someone had filled my camera with shots of the floor and of someone chewing gum.
Then we went to dinner. What does it all mean?
Yesterday was a strange day. I hope I'm not at the office until 8pm again. Yuck.
I went to bed about 11:00, and I woke up at 9:00AM, plumb tuckered out - perhaps that's why I had strange dreams. Glad a vacation is coming up. OOOH, I'm going to Arkansas in about a week, going by a friend's farm for at least a visit, and I hope I come home with more lovely cow photos. And stories, too. Her grandfather was one of those original Texas Rangers from the pioneer days, and she has lots of cool stories.
Sorry for the crap photo - someone has twiddled my camera settings and I'm going to have to break down and finally read the manual to make it work again.
Anyhoo - you know when metalwork (like turquoise & silver Indian jewelry) has detail that stands in relief and the recessed spaces are black? Yeah, well, d'ya know how those recessed spaces get blackened? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?
Well, I'll tell ya how it works. Jewelry makers use Liver of Sulphur for this purpose. Liver of sulphur is a fusion of sulphur and potassium carbonate. This combination is corrosive and will effectively blacken just about any metal, as far as I know.
I buy this from a jeweler's supply in the can shown in the photo (like a tiny paint can) and it comes in the form of these matte, stinky little rocklets that sorta look like gall stones. You choose a rock, put it in a plastic cup, and add some very hot water to it, and the rock will dissolve into a liquid you can use to etch your stuff. Once the metal is blackened, you have to polish the high relief stuff so the whole piece doesn't simply remain black. To minimize polishing time, I usually paint the LOS into the recessed areas with a toothpick.
I was using this last night for a little project and thought I'd snap a photo and tell you all about it.
When I first ordered this stuff I was bewildered. I always used it in liquid form from a bottle in the lab at a silversmithing class. However, exposure to light degrades the efficacy of LOS, so it's good if you can mix a fresh batch as needed.
Funny thing was this morning when I was leaving the house, I thought "what is that beastly, rotten-egg sewer-gas fartsome foulness?" Seriously. Those were my exact words in my wee brain.
As I left the house, I walked by where I'd been working last night and the wide-eyed innocent little vessel of Liver of Sulphur looked pleased with itself, having uttered the inaudible discord of his race.
Outdoors. Well-ventilated areas. Um, I think that's on the can somewhere. Must start reading instructions...
I know this is twisted, but since I was a girl, I imagined the perfect man was a composite of Mr. Spock and Marshal Dillon.
I was only able to entertain such silliness because I was blissfully ignorant of the following video:
So, like I was saying, Marshal Dillon is the perfect man.
moritification update: This ALWAYS happens when I post late at night, but I HATE when I review a post the following day and find laughable spelling errors. I'm going to call it a "typo" if that's ok with y'all.
This photo was taken in the Luby's Cafeteria over on Mockingbird between Skillman and Abrams last week.
I loves me some Luby's. I probably eat at one Luby's or another around town 4 or 5 times a week, minimum. The great thing is you can get plain-jane vegetables, choose sensibly from the entrees and if you manage not to make sweet love to the come-hither pie shelf, well, you can have a guilt-free, healthy meal that's not aneurysm-on-a-plate.
I understand people who are careful what they eat, and that is admirable, to a point. Then again, one would hate to go overboard. I mean, the people who exercise obsessively claim they add years to their life by doing so, and yet, what's the good of an extra year of life if by the end of the day, you've spent 3 or 4 years of your life in a nasty gym with a bunch of manky arseholes who couldn't manage a conversation gripping enough for a department-store dummy?
Anyhoo, today my mind cast back to one event past, and life's little irony made me giggle.
Someone in my acquaintance sat at a dinner table with a group of people about 13 years ago, and when his burger was brought to the table, he was upset to see it arrive replete with lettuce and tomatoes. I said "you don't like that stuff on your burger?" and he said "I don't eat rabbit food. I hate vegetables. Never eat 'em."
I shrugged. Chacun à son goût. Or as my mom says it, "there's no accounting for taste."
Flash forward these many moons to find he has married [record scratch effect here] a dietician, and now he only eats vegetables, tofu and grainy-type dishes reminiscent of cardboard and sawdust. On super-special rare occasions as a treat, he gets to eat beef cooked to a tasteless gray. Yum!
So recently, a group of people were going out to eat at Luby's, including this guy, and he asked if the wife wanted to come and she said "No. They don't have anything I can eat there."
Suit yourself, petal. Happy trail mix to you.
OH, and for the record -- three of the best cafeterias I've ever found are 1. Luby's near the highway in Wichita Falls (I had some squash there once that nearly made me weep!), 2. Furr's in Roswell, NM - fantastic place, good food, and lots of military folk eating there - what's not to like. Oh, and they have a little old blind guy sing and play his electric piano there sometimes, and 3. Bryce's Cafeteria in Texarkana - When in season, you can get fried green tomatoes at this one - heaven.
Honorable Cafeteria mention goes to Casa Linda Cafeteria, formerly Highland Park Cafeteria. They were turned out of their lease a couple months back, despite their booming business. Such a tragedy - this was the SE corner of Garland and Buckner, and was worth the drive, frankly. Tragic loss to the city. I hope they'll open again elsewhere.
Here's a couple images I er, uh, borrowed from some where on the net. These were taken at Rubber Gloves in Denton Tuesday night. The guy in the striped shirt at the right showed up at the Dallas show and held her up again for this dynamic portion of her performance. She was just spinning around and hanging upside-down while she sang her Gold Pants Lullaby. It's so clever the way she-- a plump white chick from Iowa -- so cleverly subverts the entire hip-hop medium-- this has been screaming to be done by someone more subtle and clever than Weird Al, and now someone has. Huzzah!
You know, I don't always dress like this. Sometimes I like to wear something gold and tight!
No doubt you can see why I love her like I do - She totally rocks! div>
Was in my R.E. test prep class Saturday, but I woke up late, having usefully set my alarm for 7PM rather than AM. Nice.
Then I was halfway to useless the whole day, all though I knew most of the material pretty well. Still I'll be so relieved to get through the test and have it over with. And no more 8 to 6:30 Sat/Suns. Ugh.
Speaking of UGGS, it's been humid and warm enough to feel muggy lately, so I was baffled when I saw a pack of teens out today in UGGS. That is so 2005. Maybe they were being retro-ironic. Whatever.
Well, Kevin has done it again, and I have to link his fantastic May Day Protests post. It's great to read about someone who cared enough about being a US citizen to respect our laws and go through the tedious, time-consuming and expensive process to do so. Hats off and best wishes to Kevin.
If you don't have respect for the laws regarding entry into the country, there's no reason to expect you to have respect for the rest of the laws once you're actually in here.
I choose to think of it as Paris Hilton paying a teeny-weeny price for the innumerable sins of trustafarians the world over.
Let's not worry about her too much, though - I'm sure some benevolent soul will take her under her wing. Maybe ER Landson - also of the Lynwood Women's Correctional Facility - will take pity and let Paris do her hair while they swap stories about boys and manicures and who in West L.A. sells the best Colombian marching powder. They'll swap make-up tips and Paris will help apply ER's signature abalone pink pearl nail polish, vainly trying to keep the falling ash from ER's ever-present lower-lip-dangling cigarette from sullying the fresh lacquer. But I said it would be in vain: after the falling ash spoils the wet enamel, Paris will whine and sulk, and then ER will have to beat her on the backs of the thighs with a hair accessory from the Goody line of products. (why do you think they call them "paddle brushes?"] Then Paris will remove the spoiled manicure and start over. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
Somewhere in Texas, the common man's burden will shift ever so slightly as his load eases, and Paris pays for a rich asshole's cat that peed in someone's car.
Leslie & The Lys show was amazing both times. I had a blast attending it with Holly. I'd say 90% of the audience was in their 20s, which means we were frontrunners for the oldest-broads-in-the-house award, but we fought through it and had a good time. Actually, we had great conversations, and it didn't seem like torture to wait, even though Leslie didn't take the stage until midnight.
After the show, I did the groupie thing (Oh, like you didn't already guess!) and I got to meet her. She said "at last we have found each other." Little did I know she was just leading me down a primrose path, strewn with the spangles and sequins from a thousand forgotten gem sweaters. She signed all my crap, including the cd cover, on which she wrote:
Phlegmmy, mark my beats we r together at last. Boosnacks!
She hugged me tight and squished her spandex-encased body all up against me, and it felt like we had a forever thing going on. I looked adoringly at her as I softly said "I'll see you tomorrow night."
Flash forward to Wednesday night at Double-Wide. I was there, I was primped and cute and ready to take my place as a constellation in Leslie's night sky. But alas, it was not meant to be. I heard Leslie tell another woman "it's all about you, baby!" and Leslie called yet another shameless hussy "sugar-lips." I was crestfallen. I felt like a cheap, gullible groupie audience member as all my dreams of a forever future with Leslie were dashed to the gutter like a corny-dog stick at the state fair midway.
Yes, 24 hours have passed, and I'm older and more mature. Wiser? Oh yes. I've grown as a person and can accept that I must share Leslie with the world. I'm kind of okay with that, but some moments it hurts. But Leslie and me? We'll always have last Tuesday night, and we'll always have Rubber Gloves. Boosnacks!
It's not a surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm just a teeny bit partial to Jack Russell Terriers. "Plucky" is a term a lot of people use to describe these energetic little dogs. They usually top out around 15 to 20 pounds, and I've always said that if they came in human weights, well, we might be begging food from them.
Last night at Rubber Gloves in Denton was wild & I was accompanied by the lovely and talented Holly B. I'll tell you all about it later today or tomorrow or someday. I'm WIPED out. Show was to start at 8, but they opened the doors at 9 (wtf?), and the opening acts played on and on, and she finally took the stage at midnight. Got home at 3:30. It was fantastic.
Going to see her again at Double-Wide in Dallas tonight. I hope there's another great audience there - her show is a hoot. I got to meet Leslie, but I plumb forgot to ask her to sign my tit. Maybe tonight...
Thank you mama for making me gold pants Ones I can dance in, and make romance in!
Snapped over my left shoulder while driving yesterday, not aiming. Yes, I'm very careful. Took a bunch of random snaps without looking, eyes on the road, of course. I knew one of them was bound to be semi-interesting. LOVE this weather. More, please!