Friday, December 29, 2006

My fridge is full, yo.

I didn't feel the post-Christmas letdown like most everyone else. Why? Because the day after is my birthday, fool! God! How on earth could you forget???

Well, those who didn't forget made it one of the nicest birthdays I've had (even though I didn't get any knitting needles or yarn). Dave drove me to work and dropped me off with a kiss, and throughout the day my siblings called to wish me a good 24th birthday. Sweet!

At lunch, Dave made his way upstairs to my office with a bunch of pink Gerbera daisies! They're so sweet! (They're what keeps me cheery in this bleak oak-paneled hell.) We then went out to lunch at Landry's Seafood restaurant, which was nice, too. What I really enjoyed was the walk to and from lunch. We strolled, partly with my camera out, down to the West End (the really super touristy part of downtown that has since become decrepit but still houses the Sixth Floor Museum from which you can gaze the line of sight that Lee Harvey Oswald used to shoot JFK). We talked and laughed -- I hadn't felt so happy in a long time. It was incredible.

When we got to the restaurant I felt so relaxed, it was nice to have an intimate lunch all to ourselves, with me not worrying about getting back to the office on time. We used to do this a lot when Dave was working in a retail outlet and had Wednesday off, but now he works straight 8-to-4 at the corporate headquarters and our lunches are but a memory.

I hated to leave him at the parking area, but I trudged upstairs and returned to the grind.

That evening we went to dinner with his parents, after which a big fat Italian guy sang some Italian version of "Happy Birthday" and embarassed me so terribly that I buried my face in Dave's jacket. For dessert I had chocolate mousse with a vanilla ribbon. It was terrific.

Rewind to Christmas Eve, well, that was an experience. It was my first away from the "Jemison Clan." My first Christmas as an England. We had a very non-traditional dinner at my in-laws on Christmas Eve and opened each others gifts. I had knitted my mother-in-law a scarf and framed a photo of Dave and I at Lombard St. in San Francisco. We also gave her a box of sweet-smelling potpurri and the most awesome scented candle you could imagine. It was "Mexican Pumpkin" and good enough to eat.

On Christmas Day, well, it was my turn to pay it all back. I cooked a stuffed loin of pork with a spinach gratin, wild mushroom risotto and fingerling potatoes. This being not just any dinner, I made it all full-flavor, full-fat. That's right, I used real butter, fresh ingredients and prime pork loin, lightly trimmed. Everything was delicious, and it was incredible having my mother-in-law in the kitchen helping with the meal. By the time we were done, she had been washing the dishes as I dirtied them, leaving nary a one in the sink while we served dinner. That was such an incredible help. She can help in my kitchen any day!

Ahh... just thinking about all those wonderful leftovers has gotten me hungry!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Party pooped

I busted my hump to take Friday off. I dropped Dave off at work, came home and woke myself with coffee and the newspaper. I often heard of people that enjoyed this custom, never really experiencing it myself. I think retirees are the ones that sit down at the breakfast nook with ink-stained fingers, warm coffee and contentment.

I decided to go to lunch with Dave, but he was able to take the rest of the day off. We strolled over to a German deli next to the bookstore and took in some ham, potato soup and sauerkraut. With the day in front of us like a veritable buffett of holiday shopping and potential bankruptcy, we hopped in good ol' Gertie (Dave's Jeep Wrangler) and set out for the DVD store, World Market and later, the gym.

Flagged only by our waning bank cards, which were begging to be left at peace in our wallets, we headed home to put up our booty. We picked up a couple of bottles of vino, one bottle of Brut, and settled in for the night. (I think that's what happened. It's Thursday already and I can't remember exact details that far back.)

Saturday, we knew was going to be a little trying. We had two appearances to make, one of them being the over-priced and underwhelming annual dinner with a few of our friends (Dave's friends mostly. I'm the youngest member of this group, which is mostly comprised of old college friends, their glistening and gilded wives and a few hold-outs with no immediate plans for wedded "bliss," ie. the symptomatically single friends.)

I decided to go do a little yarn shopping while Dave took Fitzgerald out on a run. I had to get a few skeins for last-minute Christmas crafts. When I got back, we showered and agonized on what we would wear to dinner and the cocktail party later. I settled a slim-fitting, black, 3/4 sleeved wrap dress with fishnets and stilettos garnished with a long tied string of faux pearls and a gauntlet of pear bracelets wrapping my wrist.

We arrived at dinner, fashionably late, and hobbled down a spiral staircase to a private dinner in the wine cellar of a North Dallas bistro. The wine was dated and over-priced, as were the dishes. The bruschetta was remarkably fresh and well done, as was the courgettes and calamari, the small zucchini was sliced thin and fried in an airy tempura along with the calamari, which was the most perfect texture. Everything else, including the shrimp cocktail and the bottle of bubbly, was less than optimal. I'd venture to call it staid.

We drove to the next party, a heavy languor from the previous one still riffing, and we hastily grabbed glasses of a fresh, fruity Pinot Grigio as I headed to the back to shoot pool with complete strangers. I had to kick off the stillettos as the room that kept the poot table was carpeted with a thick pile, and if I had sashayed around the table as I normally do in ice-pick, 4-inch heels, the scene would be embarassing to say the least. We left the party, our night salvaged along with some espresso and chocolate truffles.

I was totally unprepared for Sunday's party. It was a lunch-time office get-together and I was completely wrecked from the night before. After an entire pot of coffee and the Sunday paper, I knew I would make it after a shower and a brief nap.

The party was office-y. The gifts were deeeee-lightful. Homemade pate and cranberry orange conserve. Hosts after my own heart!

Monday and Tuesday are still a haze. I changed my name legally and went car shopping. Still looking to get a VW Jetta, but I'm not sure if we can afford it. We'll try, though.

Anyway. There's the update. I hope to blog again soon with pictures of Christmas glee!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Newest member of an exclusive club

On Sunday, as we unloaded our belongings from the trunk of Cody's car in the misty morning drizzle, I noticed that we had a new member of our family hugging the curb.

We are now members of a very exclusive club in Dallas: Owners of a Big Blue Recycling Recepticals, courtesy of the city of Dallas!

Dallas is new to the idea of recycling. When we moved to the Lakewood area, we were astounded by the lack of recycling recepticals in the community. We used to drop our glass, paper, aluminum and plastic off at a nearby church, but for some reason, they discontinued their recycling program.

After that, Dave had to haul our recycling to work, because at Half-Priced Books they had enormous recycling bins where we could unload two weeks worth of junk. Now, we will journey no further than the end of our driveway with our recycleables! Dallas now has single-stream recycling. Just toss all your recycleables into one can and they sort it all themselves!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Open Bar Matrimony

Friday night we slipped out to go get a wedding gift for Mark and Nichole, two crazy kids that were to get hitched the next day. Thank goodness they had a few things left on their registry.

We usually go out on Friday nights, and I was craving sushi. Too bad, though, because every restaurant we considered going to was packed. After we stopped at Whole Earth Provision Co., we considered going to Rockfish, but we bet the wait was going to be heinous. Then we hatched a plan: We'd drop the packages off at the house, and then we'd get a table at our neighborhood Mexican seafood restaurant, La Calle Doce.

I figured, what the hell, seafood is seafood.

When we got there, the tiny lobby was packed. There was a 30 min. wait. That was the third strike -- we had to get dinner, and we had to get it fast. Lo and behold, there was a beacon of hope -- a seedy looking cafe with a neon sign professing "Bangkok Inn - Authentic Thai."

Me, I'm a culinary wuss when it comes to adding a little heat to anything, and all of the Thai food I've had in the past was over seasoned. "If it's too hot, I can't eat it," I told Dave. He said we could ask them if we can get any chili or peppers on the side. So, in the cold and wet evening, we trotted across the street.

When the door openend just a crack, we heard jangling bells that announced our presence to a short, thin Asian woman with stylish glasses and Texas-style hair. Dave asked her quietly if the food here was very spicy, and from her tiny frame she guffawed, "Thai food is not spicy when good! Come sit and try!"

She ushered us into a table for two bathed in a faint red neon glow. We ordered jasmine tea and tofu satay. Dave ordered the shrimp and chicken pad thai and I ordered the peanut chicken. I'm sure their satay is great, but ours didn't arrive, but our orders came out very quick.

The rice was perfectly steamed. The peanut sauce was sweet and tangy, had plenty of savory spices, and went well with the chicken and crisp vegetables. The pad thai though, it just wasn't as flavorful as I expected. It tasted kind of off, a little too fishy for only having shrimp in it. The rice noodles were done well, but it was like everything else took on this crazy fish taste. I stuck with the peanut chicken.

Alcohol wasn't served, it was strictly BYOB. It was obviously a family operation. The father was in the kitchen, the son and daughter took orders and bussed tables while the mother managed the cash register and picked up drinks. Stray Asian art clung to the greasy wood-paneled walls, just above the threadbare carpet. It was definately one of those "authentic" experiences.

We went home and collapsed. We woke up late on Saturday, had breakfast, went on a run with Fitzgerald, showered, packed and then Cody showed up at about 3:30. The wedding was at 4:30 at the Perkins Chapel on campus at SMU. I had never been on campus there. It was neat.


The chapel, with it's classy, faintly gilded mouldings, grand pillars with great curves and golden recessed cross just above the altar, was probably one of the most sedated yet elegant churches I've been in. There was no stained glass, no icons; it was very small and utilitarian.

We got there just in time to watch the procession. The bride and groom are really sweet people, but a few of the bridesmaids looked like they were wearing teal-colored sausage casings. Ushers and groomsmen were clad in black, the flowers, the outfits, everything was modest in an attempt at elegance. It worked.

We then hit it on the head to the reception. That's where things got impressive. There was a DJ, two buffetts, two bars and a champagne cocktail bar. Big gripe: Way too much Sinatra. The people seemed nice and accomadating, the drinks were generous and the salad and vegetables were very fresh, but the chicken looked like it had been sitting in the oven all day -- dry and shriveled, caked in breadcrumbs. It was all wrong.

All was forgiven after a few trips to the champagne bar. What an awesome idea!

We had to cut out early to Denton for a concert. We got to Caffery's, changed and went to Rubber Glove's to watch The Drams and Centro-matic. I caught up with Caffery during most of the show.

If you followed this narrow staircase up the the second level, you were in the midst of such a awkward, secret-seeming room. The walls were bordered with a few old arcade games and odd-and-end chairs. The back was cornered with a broken-in black leather sofa. That was our domain. It was the only bar I'd ever been in with a book by Jimmy Carter sitting out on one of the tables. Oddly enough, most bars I go to don't have books anywhere. Ever.

We went downstairs a couple of times for a drink and I noticed a chick wearing this fuzzy, knee-length coat. I brushed my hand along it and asked if it was real fur, "Of course it is," she haughtily shot back. All I could say, while keeping my hand from accidentally smacking her across the face was, "I'm so sorry." She wanted to say something to me, but I merged with the crowd hovering about the bar and placed my order.

It was like the summer I first moved to Dallas, me and Caffery at the bar, she with a Coors Light, me with a Lone Star, everyone else so self-absorbed that nothing else, not my Lone Star and not Caffery and not my existence, none of that mattered.

We all crashed at Caffery's that night, we woke on Sunday and made it back to Dallas in the drizzle that covered the near-noon sky. It was impossible to imagine that there were people running a marathon in downtown Dallas right at that moment.

We stopped by the house and dropped off our belongings and headed over to the Garden Cafe for omlettes and coffee. Then, it was off to the gym... Then it was all over. My weekend, as Dave would say, was murdered.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Even after a good show, there's nothing that stings quite like seeing your favorite band and not hearing your favorite song. No matter how hard they rocked, or how much you lived the music, it still kinda hurts to be a loyal fan and not have the one memory of that one song belted out live and loud so you can sing with them, at the top of your lungs.

If anyone out there was at the Friday Mates of State show, I was the moron screaming "PROOFS!" after every song, hoping that they'd play it. Silly me. I did get a bitchin' shirt.

We were out kinda late at the Sons, so I didn't go to yoga class Saturday morning, but we did go shopping LIKE CRAZY! We got a new stainless steel step trash can for the kitchen, that came with a little baby one just like it that I've put in the bedroom! (Yes, I am clearly excited about the new waste receptacle). And, I got a new hard drive for Agnes, my computer, 250 GB IDE drive. We'll see if I can actually get it to work as a slave. *FINGERS CROSSED*!!!

I got a new necklace, it's a gold pendant with a cutout of a lotus flower. If Dave really loves me, he'll get me one of these for Christmas or my birthday.

You know, I had a ton of things I wanted to blog this weekend. Lots of intriguingly philosophical tidbits. Just like me, though, to forget them and go on with this completely vapid, humorless post.


Thursday, November 30, 2006


Today is a "snow" day, if you can call it that. There was a fairly annoying drizzle and temperatures have dipped to 29 degrees. Flurries and ice have been reported. Sounds pretty lame, but people actually stayed home to avoid driving in the weather. Heck, if I drove to work, I just might have worked from home (if I could) only because North Texans are generally terrified of driving in icy conditions. Sprinkle a few hyper-paranoid soccer moms with SUVs in winter weather driving conditions, and well, you've got a bona fide crisis on your hands.

Sitting in my cubicle, though, I am envious. I'm surrounded by dark, empty offices. Several couch jockeys scoff at my oak-paneled hell here in downtown Dallas. While they are snuggled up with their pets, tea and slippers, I brave the wind, the sleet and the "snow" in heels and a parka to get the next edition out...

... bastards.

Monday, November 27, 2006

And doggie makes three!

Dave, Fitzy and I headed down to Houston this weekend. Thank God Dave's dad let us borrow his Passat, which has made me change my mind about buying a Toyota. Volkswagens are just so nifty. And cute, too!

It was fun to be with the Jemison Clan this long weekend. Everyone was in town, except Aron, who couldn't make it because he was in the middle of an out-of-state job.

We cooked we ate and we enjoyed one another. I honestly don't think there was any major conflict during the weekend between any of us, which is a feat in itself.

I visited Kara in her new apartment and Phillip and Meggo in their new house. My brother and sister-in-law and my newly minted hubby watched Shogun Assassin. Really, it was awesome. The most campy Kung Fu movie ever! It was a real blast to watch, considering the large amounts of orangey-red blood in every scene and the half-assed special effects! A real must-see!!!

On Saturday I went yarn shopping with my mother. Honestly, that was the most fun I had all weekend, excluding going on a motorcycle ride with my dad! If I have time later this week, I'll post pictures, but even though I don't have a vacation coming around for a while, this past four-day excursion will do well to hold me over!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tossed, turned, battered and fried...

I felt like a half-eaten chicken fried steak Thursday morning: tossed, turned, battered and fried, then left in the fridge for later. It was the second in what I fear will become a succession of nights in which sleep is won in an epic battle between man and beast and man.

Fitzgerald insists on sleeping in our bed. I'm okay with that, except that he insists on sleeping right in between me and Dave, which makes our roomy Queen-sized bed seem like an Army cot. And I can't just usher him to the foot of the bed ... I feel like that would be mean, and I intend to spoil him rotten. So I roll over and over to get comfortable without disturbing the dog and without falling off of the bed. It's like mattress olympics, but not sexy.

My mother called last night and asked me what I thought about Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. I really was kind of taken that my mother asked in the first place, so assuming that she really wanted to know, I went off in my analysis of current events leading up to Rummy's pink slip and what his permanent vacation might mean for the Bush administration and our troops in Iraq.

When I was done she said, "Well ... Okay. Let me tell you what my friend is doing. She's working for this Presbyterian church and they've brought in this fundraiser ... "

I should have known. She was just being nice!


Thursday night we watched Woody Allen's Match Point. Honestly, how did this flick garner so much critical acclaim? It was so slow, and predictable, notably due to the fact that the plot was the premise of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. I have to say that the book was boring, even torturous, when I was forced to read it in high school. Honestly, it might have been worse, because we were obliged to fast-forward through some parts.

That was one wasted Netflix rental. I gotta check the queue to make sure that we don't have any more flops in line.


We're due for car shopping soon. I think that once my payroll situation is straightened out, I'll get one of those Nissan Versas, or maybe a Toyota Yaris. Not sure. I was once dead set on getting a Scion xB, but I'm not so sure now. I really wanted to get a Prius, but I don't think that selling the Jeep is in the cards right now. We're having a lot of difficulty being a one-car household with all of the things we're involved in. Maybe once we're ready to buy another car, and we sell the Jeep, we'll get a hybrid. Looks like for now though, I gotta give up the dream of having a Prius.


Feels good to blog again, folks. Feels good to be back.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Everything was nuts on Thursday morning, as I was making preparations in the office to be out that afternoon and Friday to have my wisdom teeth removed. During my consult with the oral surgeon on Tuesday, he said that instead of four wisdom teeth, I only had two, indicating that I am indeed the pinnacle of evolution, as our genes fail to produce the two bottom, more superfluous teeth.

Dave retrieved me after the surgery, and it was the weirdest sensation ever having your entire mouth deadened. We picked up my prescription for vicodin and antibiotics and some coffee-flavored ice cream, and I proceeded to rock my new faux-fur-trimmed slippers all weekend.

That evening, Vicki came by to drop off some chicken potato soup and some magazines. I tell ya, those womans' magazines are so interesting when you're locked in a drug-induced haze. I read through Woman's Day and Family Circle during the incredibly embarrassing Maverick's game. Marcus had come by to join us, and while leafing through the recipes, I managed to get a few shots of the boys.


Round and round he goes

One little paw


Fitzgerald now has quite the wardrobe. He has a tee shirt, a cable-knit sweater and a collared tee shirt. All he needs is a pair of boots and he's fully dressed! However, we did somehow manage to loose his collar. How pitiful!

Yesterday, I baked. I made my first two successful loaves of bread! I'm not talking you're banana-nut confections, or my zucchini bread, but real, honest to goodness sandwich bread! It's soooo good!

Quit loafing around!

I also made one regular sized loaf of buttercup squash bread and three mini loaves for folks at work.

I can't wait to make more bread!!! YAY!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mr. Burns or John Waters?

Usually I don't post about what goes on between 9 and 5, or if you want to get particular, what goes on between 8:15 and whenever the dude with the whip lets me go home. But, in this case, I can't hold it in. In the impending but nonspecific future, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (JERK-off) will be visiting. If you're less than familiar with Mr. Chertoff, lemme stir your drink: He's the anorexic, anemic looking fellow that is at the top of the chain of command in the only federal department that is more commonly referred to as a debacle. What's he responsible for? Oh, just our lovely TSA, those rat bastards that hold you hostage in the airport; the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and our less-than-secure ports that we were going to sell to a foreign country.

I know what you're thinking: "Oh, that asshole... How'd he get that job?" Lest ye not forget Brownie, who's doing a "Heckuva job."

Oh, and here's a good one: Bush is campaigning for Republicans in Texas! HA! Love it.

Anywho, I got woefully off track. The object of this post is to make fun of Secretary Jerk -- I mean Chertoff, Secretary Chertoff. Below, you'll see a few side-by-side shots. Tell me folks, who does Chertoff look more like: Mr. Burns or film freak John Waters?

It's really tough to decide. Chertoff, like Burns, puts the 'D' in diabolical. But The likeness to Waters is astounding. Separated at birth, maybe?

Friday, October 06, 2006

The screen is winning

Okay, so, I've been in front of a computer screen all day and trust me, it's the last thinkg I want to do when I get home, but I thought I'd give you kind readers a little micro-update. Since I've been gone I have:

Had a wedding shower and a wedding

Gone to and come back from San Francisco

Been stuck in front of a computer at work for 50 hours

And become the proud owner of a video iPod. :)

Tomorrow morning Fitzgerald and the cats will go to the veterinarian. Good luck to them all!

Until I dig myself out of my heaving pile of muck, what you see is what you get.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The God of Politics

My first memory of politics was Ann Richards in a blue frock behind a lectern adressing the Democratic National Convention. That was 1988, and I, at the tender age of six, had no idea what was really going on, except that the lady on TV looked like she'd be a great granny. She had to be, because my granny liked her.

Now, as the morning after her death is settling, I returned to that speech that as a toddler, I could not understand. I wish that I had been able to, though, because as I read those words that she spoke, they still ring true today. When Ann Richards addressed that Democratic National Convention in 1988 she spoke of war being waged against terrorists, collusion with those we thought were our enemies and lies echoing from the centers of those institutions that were formed to protect us. She batted a thousand, Ann Richards did.

Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.

Ann Richards opened doors for women. In 1991 she was elected governor of Texas, the second in our great state's history.

George Bush hasn’t displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about. And now that he's after a job that he can’t get appointed to, he's like Columbus discovering America. He’s found child care. He’s found education. Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

And even though Ann was talking about George H.W. Bush, the same rings true for his son.

Under this Administration we have devoted our resources into making this country a military colossus. But we’ve let our economic lines of defense fall into disrepair. The debt of this nation is greater than it has ever been in our history. We fought a world war on less debt than the Republicans have built up in the last eight years.

It's like Ann Richards was looking into a crystal ball, but all she had to do was see our past, take and honest look at it, and it really did forecast our future. This year has been devastating. Lloyd Bentsen, another great moderate and fighter for us average joes, passed away. And now, our divine Ann Richards, the only real human politician I've ever known, has been taken on the great campaign trail in the sky.

The God of Politics must be lonely for some of our best. Ann Richards, your bright humor and big heart will be missed. You tell it like it is, sister.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Weeklong recovery

I've immersed myself in detox tea this week to give my liver a little hug after last weekend. White wine, beer, screwdrivers and bloody marys; they all made we want to wring out my organs.

Fitzgerald was a nervous werck as we drove from the flat, scorched plains of North Texas to the lush, Bayou wonderland of Houston. He sat, shaking like a leaf in autumn, on my lap the entire way there. And he didn't stop shaking until he bounded back in to our house on Dallas' rainy Labor Day.

We watched the Astros get assaulted by the Mets on Saturday, had some home-cookin' on Sunday after a visit to one of Dave's old buddies, Kenny, and his wife, Brooke, to see their newly minted baby boy. Fitgerald made friends with his cousin, Trinity, a female Jack Russel terrier, who chased the kid around the house, wrassled with him and then piled on top of the couch next to him.

Brad Ausmus

Brad Ausmus, Craig Biggio

The opposition

Berkman and Hirsh

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Labor Daze"

Dave, Fitzgerald and I will pack up the Jeep and head out to Houston this weekend for baseball, beer and camaraderie! Pictures will be posted upon my return!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Humans: They can't be trusted

Last night, as the quiche was baking and I was settling in to the Dodgers game, Fitzgerald became afflicted with a planet-crushing case of the hiccups. Dave, thusly, was freaked out of his gourd. At one point, we both thought that the poor kid had eaten something heinous, which could be the only explanation for his bizarre behavior -- after watching him casually ingest one of our misbegotten dustbunnies, it was a likely possibility.

So, Dave lurched for the Yellow Pages and began frantically thumbing through the V's, searching for an after-hours veterinary hospital, as I cradled the afflicted child to the kitchen, and alternated between massaging his convulsing little abdomen and gingerly probing his throat with my forefinger. Minutes later, the lad was cured. I heralded to the front room that Fitzgerald was fine. Like nothing had happened, Dave cast the phone book aside and resigned himself to the ballgame.

Now, by this time, the quiche's crust had come to resemble the charred remains of the Arcadia Theater, yet, it was still surprisingly edible. We sat down in our cool living room and watched baseball as the animals hovered about us, waiting for the first clumsy scrap to fall from our plates.


I was reading PostSecret today. One of the postcards expressed that the writer was doubtful about achieving world peace in their lifetime. It made me wonder if, since the existence of man, there ever was a time of world peace. It became a desperate search this morning, trying to find some kind of validation, and explanation that humans are not the innately violent, passionately murderous creatures that we see so often in the newspaper, in magazines, on television and occaisionally (or unfortunately) in person.

I found this.

It's so depressing to learn that this world, since our recorded beginning, has not been at peace. We have been motivated by one reason or another to kill, maim and extinguish our fellow man over religion, territory and virtue. The world, left to the charge of man, can never be at peace because man, in his nature, is not peaceful. We are opportunists. We hate passionately, we love passionately and we die for those passions. We martyr ourselves for reasons that evade logic. We murder others for reasons that defy our own beliefs. God, Himself, said that killing is against His laws, yet the most religiously fervent endorse wars despite these fundamental teachings to the contrary.

Arguably the greatest leader America ever knew, one of the most outstanding, reluctant hawks, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said this about man and his violent proclivities:

Peace can endure only so long as humanity really insists upon it, and is willing to work for it and sacrifice for it. Twenty- five years ago American fighting men looked to the statesmen of the world to finish the work of peace for which they fought and suffered; we failed them, we failed them then, we cannot fail them again and expect the world to survive again. -1945

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Empty streets act as open arms

Dallas after 5 p.m. is depressing. The streets are left in a vacuum, nothing but panhandlers and workaholics remain. The loud hum of commuting cars, the whistle of buses passing through and the occaisional yelp from a nearby train station are the remaining voices, ringing from the pavement, echoing and reporting from the buildings once the downtown crowd clocks out.

It has been a priority for some time that downtown have a 24-hour population. People speculate that if more residential properties were delivered downtown, crime would decrease and tax revenues for the city would skyrocket. They're almost right. It's not enough that there be just any residential property downtown -- there must be affordable residential properties. The luxury tower bubble has burst, there's just no more demand in the city for pricey downtown highrises. What Dallas really needs is residential property downtown that folks who live in North Dallas, Old East Dallas, Cedar Springs and Irving can afford, not just the Turtle Creek crowd or the Preston Hollow residents. Downtown does not need to be another place for the Highland Park people -- downtown needs to be for everyone.

There are plenty of worthwhile people who would benefit the city by living downtown that can't afford the 2,000-plus monthly rents that some of these developers are asking. These are the same people that would give Urban Market its much-needed business infusion. These are the same people that have been the crux of communities throughout Dallas for years. They are voters, they are middle-class and they are educated. Why should we exclude them?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hurricane Distortion

Our curry took a while to put together last night, so instead of whiling away the hours before dinner, Dave and I decided to watch the Spike Lee documentary "When the Levees Broke," about Hurricane Katrina while the potatoes got to boiling.

This film is an emotional rollercoaster, and the ride is only halfway done. At somepoints I was saddened, remembering the terrible rumors that were firing across the bow of humanity; rape, murder and government ineptitude. The whole spectrum is there, in your face, unavoidable. However, those who think that the topping, and subsequent breaches of the levees in New Orleans was a clandestine government plot to rid the country of scores of black citizens, are nothing more than demented, lost in a web of speculation and self-made conspiracy.

This isn't the first time that the Ninth Ward of New Orleans has involuntarily flooded; in fact, it is the third. And every single time, every time, the Ninth Ward's black inhabitants have cried foul at the government for sabotage. The truth is, the feds never built those levees strong enough; period. The engineer behind the design of the levees underestimated the force of a Category 3 Hurricane slamming into the Gulf Coast, which caused the catastrophic storm surge that inundated the below-sea-level city.

And then, in the aftermath, Lee was interviewing those that stayed behind. Mind you, a mandatory evacuation had been ordered by Mayor Ray Nagin two days before landfall. Every able-bodied citizen was supposed to be out of the city. But that didn't happen. There were those who had ridden out Hurricanes before, those who feared looting and the welfare of their assets, those who had stayed put during 1965's Hurricane Betsy, the last big storm to raze the levees. There were the stubborn, there were those without transportation and then, there were the elderly, disabled and infirm. So many people stayed behind, causing a logistical problem for which no level of government was prepared.

Speaking of government; Lee's intricate analysis of the debacle between Nagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Lieutenant Gov. Mitch Landrieu shed light on the political aspects of the aftermath, how Blanco, once spurned by Nagin, still held bitterness and a lust for control that delayed critical federal response. And Nagin, just after being warned of the impending doom by top meteorologists, consulted with the business community before taking heed, maybe feeling that if he screwed this up, the cashflow rupture wouldn't be easy to patch. And then there was the president. At first, President Bush was attesting that he had no idea that the levees could breach, but video proof later surfaced showing just the opposite; showing Bush in a video conference with NOAA Meteorologist Max Mayfield, a hurricane expert. The whole breakdown showed such conflict, derision and haplessness. And don't get me started with FEMA...

Later, Lee interviewed those who stayed behind or returned just after the storm, just after reports of violence were passed through the media like the plague, heightening paranoia and fear. Just after the looting started and the police force threw their hands up in the air. Lee talked to a man that returned to his New Orleans home just after the waters started to recede. He was afraid for his safety, his property and his family. And so, he carried with him a shotgun and a .9mm semi-automatic handgun. Spike Lee then asked something to the effect of, "Were you getting ready to face al Qaeda?" That burned me up -- it angered me to know that because a member of the gun owning public isn't afraid to carry a weapon in a state of emergency to defend his property, his life and his way of it, he automatically was overreacting. This is untrue, and from what I understand, it is still a Constitutional provision to bear arms, and this situation warranted it.

I was distraught, then, to be reminded of the police that had barracaded a bridge, keeping those seeking refuge form the devastation in New Orleans from finding it. The police pointed guns and rifles at them, turning evacuees away from what could have been safety, what, in some cases was life instead of an unpleasant death.

Surmise it to say, this film will make you feel so many things. For Americans, it will remind us that even on our own soil, we will never be safe.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I have Hispanic friends

I have never really been a fan of LULAC. I have really never liked the idea of illegal immigration. I don't think that LULAC or illegal immigrants are the sole reasons that the U.S. is mired in economic, political and cultural problems, but LULAC's far-left outcry is really too much. Illegal immigration is a serious problem; LULAC thinks it's just dandy.

So, when I read that former national LULAC President Hector Flores said that a local suburb of Dallas would become a "city of hate," I immediately checked in with reality. Reality says, "Hector Who? Nuh Uh, bro!"

You see, Farmers Branch, the suburb in question, is having a hard time dealing with an influx of illegal immigrants. Property values are suppressed, retail outlets are moving out and so are citizens. The city has decided to act, and they're taking a lesson from the city of Hazelton, Pa., where it is against the law to lease rental properties to illegal immigrants, hire illegal immigrants or subsidizing services for illegal immigrants.

Is it racist? No. There is no racially discriminatory mandate, what they are doing is making municipal ordinances to enforce federal laws. It is a federal crime to cross the border and reside in the U.S. without documentation. That's true if you're white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific-Islander, Indian or any other race or ethnicity. Nowhere does it say that Latin Americans, exclusively, are targeted.

So, Hector Flores is full of shit. If Flower Mound wants to invest the time and money to draft municipal laws that enforce federal ones, that's their prerogative. And illegal immigration will remain just that: illegal.

Rufus Shaw removes head from posterior...

... and then promptly re-inserts it.

That's right. One brief moment of sense, clarity or unmistakeable dilusion from Mr. Shaw:

Blacks and Hispanics can’t even agree on what to call the illegal immigration movement. Latinos refer to the movement as a civil rights movement while most African-Americans consider the illegal immigration issue a law and order problem that has disingenuously linked itself to the civil rights movement.

I thought to myself, "Is he coming around? Is he going to start making sense instead of inflating the political know-how of the average South Dallas resident?"

And then he said this:

In my humble opinion, until the leadership of both political communities can come up with an agenda that shows how a Hispanic mayor can benefit the African-American community; it makes no sense for the Black electorate to help elect a Hispanic mayor.

Uh... Yeah it does, Rufus. They both ain't "Whitey." The black electorate of South Dallas would elect a dog, preferably yellow, before they'd take a chance on getting screwed by anyone north of the Trinity.

Besides, there's going to be a black candidate in 2007. Period. We all know it. In fact, I'll be willing to wager that there'll be a white, a black and a Hispanic candidate on the 2007 Dallas Mayoral ballot.

The big question is whether or not that black candidate will be under the scrutiny of the FBI. We shall see.

Same sad goodbyes

When my mom was pulling out of our driveway yesterday, tears started to well up in my eyes and I was looking for any opportunity to stall her, to keep her with me for just a few moments more. Did she know how to get back to the interstate? QUICK! Stop her! She needs directions!

And just seconds later, she was gone.

I wish that there hadn't been so many things that needed to get done. I wanted to spend some time with her, just Mom and Bubba, just the way it used to be.

My mother and I have a very unique relationship, mostly because I wanted it to be that way. I never resented her, or my father, because there is so much about them I admire. They lent me their pragmatism, and I try to foster their dreams.

My mother is miles away, tending to her everyday life, and I'm here at my desk, tears welling in my eyes, just wishing that we had done a few things different as we whittled down our weekend.

We shopped until we dropped, literally. To most girls, this would be heaven. To us, this was penury, torture, purgatory nearing the gates of Hell. After we left NorthPark Center, I never wanted to see another off-the-rack article of clothing, ever, in my life. We went to so many women's clothing boutiques. Felt like we went to almost every one of the suckers. We were looking for a wrap to go over my top for our wedding, but we couldn't find what we wanted under $100. Shoes? Easy. Everything else? OHMYGODHOMICIDAL!

Instead of putting ourselves through any more shopping, my mother succumbed to her ambition: she was going to make that damn wrap! So, we went to the fabric store, got several yards and I became amazed at what my mom had the potential to do. She used to make our clothes, and now, I envy her. I bought that sewing machine so I could learn to design and make my own clothes. I will learn, dammit. And I think she just might be able to teach me.

That evening we had a great dinner with Dave's parents. Everyone got along pretty well!

Vicki and E.J.

But, when we were leaving the restaurant, my mother spotted this:

Gay Bingo?

And we all guffawed at the thought of 'gay bingo,' well, everyone except Vicki. She didn't think it was too funny...

But they all got an eyefull of our neighborhood:

Lakewood Theater

Mom liked the chimney

Mom liked the way the fence was built around the trees!

Mom liked that fence a lot, mostly because it was constructed around the trees, keeping the gristled mesquite along their property line. That house on the far left has a chimney that resembles Coit Tower in San Francisco! She loved all of the cute houses, and she was just as frustrated as I was to see all the McMansions towering over the quaint bungalows.

And then our short visit ended. If time flies when you're having fun, then it takes off, faster than the speed of light, when I'm with my mother.

We'll be visiting Labor Day weekend, and it can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Must. Resist. Urge!

If I post about work I could be canned. Fired. Let go. Out the door. Sent packing. Booted. Dooced.

But I want to. I want to post something about work soooooooo bad. It's been hard resisting the urge to blab about the very tense goings on in my office. Things are changing, rapidly, too. I have no idea what's going to happen in the next few months here, and I want to post about it. But, I can't. I have to pay rent, yanno?

I'm on a knitting hiatus. I'm at the point where it's time to start a new skein of black worsted-weight yarn, and I'm anxious about tying the knot to join them. I know that if I tie the knot, I'll have to weave the ends, and I hate doing that. I'd rather have loose ends. Let someone else deal with them.

New Skein Anxiety

In the mean time, while I'm not knitting, I'm reading. When Dave was in Austin, he picked up a copy of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles, by Will Clarke. The guy's from Dallas, and most of the novel takes place there (so far). But it really bugs me that instead of being accurate and using proper names for some of the scenes, locations and groups, he fabricates similar sounding names for them, although the references are obvious to Dallasites, even the neophyte at that.

Instead of referring to the Hare Krishna, he uses the "Holy Vishnus." Instead of referring to their temple and restaurant, Kalachandji's, which he describes in great, accurate detail, he uses "Chumba Wumba's." And instead of referring to Kalachandji, the Bhoddisatva that the temple is a shrine for, he calls him "Holy Vishnu."

I've read at D Mag's blog, FrontBurner, that Clarke used the fabricated names because at press time for the novel, one of the editors somewhat snarkily suggested that, because of raw wounds from a sex abuse scandal (GASP! A cultish group? With a sex abuse scandal? What a phenomenon!), that Clarke not use the Hare Krishna in his text.

Clarke, at the detriment of the novel, obliged.

I want to go back through the whole thing and take a red pen to every incorrect reference. Hell, if you're going to refer to Eatzi's, White Rock Lake and Patrizio, why give the Hare Krishna at Kalachandji's a break?

Anyway, except for that mind-numbingly irritating issue, it's an all right book. I mean, it's a wild ride, with psychic spies and godlike apparitions, CIA conspiracies and government plots, but the overall book will reel you in.

Damn. I still want to post about work.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Last night I came home to find a sweaty, ill-looking, thin black man on my porch with a rake, standing next to Dave. What was I supposed to think? I pulled up the driveway, just returning for a post-gym grocery run when I find the pair on my porch.

I'll admit, since I moved to the city, I have become much less trusting than I was while in Madisonville, or College Station. I didn't have to worry about break-ins or vagabonds as long as I was relatively watchful, but here you have to really keep your eyes open, you have to be alert. People jade me to a certain degree, other times, they astound me.

Which is what Dave did. I was astounded that this seasoned urban male was paying this man $20 to rake a few leaves in our front yard at 9 p.m. That's strange, if not rediculous. I had my purse knife out as I exited the car and approached the porch, concealed at my side. When Dave told me what was going on, no lie, I thought I wet my drawers.

Dave told me in detail about the whole episode once the man left. He said that he had come by a couple of days ago while we were at work and wanted to do our lawn for a few dollars so he could make rent for his shanty. His landlord had locked him out, and if he didn't come up with $35 he would be evicted.

Dave is not known for his bleeding heart, compassion or sympathy. Dave does not do charity unless he is certain about the cause. So, I was puzzled to find that not only had he agreed to deal with this somewhat confounding situation, but he had agreed to allow the man to come back the next day and finishe the job for an additional $40 if he only received $20 that night. According to Dave, the man (I wonder if Dave even got the man's name. He looked like an Ernest.) would return at 8 a.m. and finish the job. Dave would pay him during his lunch break.

Well, Dave just called to tell me that several piles of leaves still remain on our front lawn. Duped!

And yet Dave is still giving the man the benefit of the doubt.

Where did this hope, this naivete come from???

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Good Lord! Where've you been?

That is what, I'm sure all of you, have been asking. Did anyone really even notice my absence? Didn't think so. I'm SO unloved.

Dallas, you've been quite the busy girl lately, haven't you? The city is readying for my pending nuptials. Wedding shower here, flight off to California, and when I return there will be a blowout. We'll have the reception at the Sons of Hermann Hall, which will be awesome. It's an old house converted into a bar and concert venue that was once a masonic lodge. Cool, eh?

For the reception, we're on a very tight budget. VERY tight. Good thing we were able to rent the hall for a great price. Dave, in his "salad days," once spent several nights a week out at the local bars, drowning his misery in scotch and water, or vodka if the beer was decent. In doing so, he made friends with bar keeps and bar owners, and I guess it's finally paid off.

I got this crazy notion that I might cater the reception myself (GASP!). I know what you're thinking, but I could do it. It's just going to be some music, lots of booze, wedding cake and appetizers. So, it's more of a cocktail party than a legit reception. I think it's better that way, and that means that we won't have to worry with renting place settings or linens. I might even be so daring as to make our wedding cake. Ehhhh... maybe not.

My mother and father are planning to come visit in a couple of weeks. I think this is still a little surreal to them. They're three hours away in Houston, which, for all intents and purposes, is like going from Bordeaux to Paris, only with much, much crappier scenery. I'm really excited, though. My mom and I will do brunch and go shopping for my wedding dress. We'll get them booked with a flight and hotel, if they haven't already, for the wedding. And they'll get to meet Dave's parents. That's what I'm most excited about. Dave's parents are so sweet. I mean, Vicki and Bobby are so happy for us. I think they're mostly happy that Dave's getting hitched to one smart cookie.

Yeah, all you wiseacres, I'm that cookie!!! :)

Friday evening we had dinner with the Gianadas. David and Christine are none other than a certified good time.

Dave and Christine

Christine is an awesome cook, but because my stomach wasn't agreening with me, I couldn't eat that much dinner, but from what I had, it was awesome. There was wine aplenty, and then someone let the cat out of the bag.

Ignatius in the bag

On Saturday night we went to the Will Johnson acoustic set with Jay and Ann Marie at Bend Studio, which is this yoga studio/intimate concert settting. It was a very cool experience, mostly because everyone had to take their shoes off to take your seat, since the chairs were set up on the yoga practice floor. It was unifying; we all had two things in common: we were there to listen and we were sans shoes.

Will Johnson @ Bend Studio

Sunday was restful. Dave and I worked out together, Fitzgerald got a bath and we talked guest lists for the upcoming parties. It's funny, because we're really excited abou this part of our lives, but we kind of want things to go back to normal. It was nice having no guests and lazy weekends (albeit weekends with ceiling fans falling from ceilings). But, we'll be much happier as husband and wife, I think. For starters, I won't have to pay for my expensive health insurance at my job anymore. That's awesome!

This weekend, though, I am going the ambitious route. I want to have the dining room painted by Sunday. We'll see how that works out!

Over and out, readers!

(I'll post pictures in an edit later. For some reason, Blogger won't let me upload 'em now. What a bastard!)

(UPDATE: Photos are still a no go with Blogger. I wonder what the deal is???)

(UPDATE 2: Still no photos from Blogger (WTF?) So I started a flickr account. I know you guys are thrilled now!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Your attention, please?

This morning I found myself reading analysis about al-Maliki, Iraq's elected PM, visiting the White House as welcome respite from the daily inundation of stories on the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Then, the irony of it all collapsed. I'm taking a break from one war for another. This is so sad. We've got so many wars and military conflicts running without end in sight that we can change the channel if one becomes too boring, tedious or excessively covered.

I got the feeling a few years ago that our world was at what many spiritually focused individuals call a "critical mass." Basically, there are enough people that are dissatisfied with the current state of awareness, of existence, that they either physically, politically or spiritually try to usher in change. I didn't know how or when it would happen, but the energy around world, the people that I spoke to, everything was sending the message that people have had enough of here and now and those who control it.

It was time for change.

Now, I see I was totally wrong. It wasn't a spiritual movement or a push toward enlightenment, but instead it was just a regime change. Political power was feeding the ever-hungry movement towards cultural and religious domination. Totalitarianism, not revolution, was the cultural turnover.

With all this war, what hope do we have that the future, whatever occurs after the bloodshed, will be any better than what whe had before a call to arms?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Foreign war fatigue

At this point, I am going to stop reading columns analyzing and breaking down the Israeli-Lebanese-Hezbollah conflict. It's a trying trifecta of guilt, greed and religious fervor that I just can't take anymore. Thinking about all of the in-depth analysis is making my frontal lobe twinge, and I'm not even reading about it!

It's gotten to the point where up is down, left is right and Israel is acting like an Eastern European despot, but Lebanon refused to take care of the southern border, which has become deeply entrenched with Anti-Israel, Anti-America jihadists, fighting under the yellow-and-green banner of Syrian and Iran-sponsored violence.

But, why is Israel going medieval on Beirut? That goes beyond defense into willful distruction. Now, many are saying that Israel will create more terrorists than it can kill, Israel, by all intents and purposes, is now fundamentally recruiting for Hezbollah by traipsing across southern Lebanon.

But, when is it too much? When do you just get so sick of it that you don't feel guilty for ignoring it? When do you throw in the towel, and say that they should duke it out in a winner-takes-all deathmatch? When do you just plain give up as an activist and believer in peace.

I think many people feel like this; embattled with our moral obligations but just plain tired of the tit-for-tat fighting. We're sick of the kidnapping, the beheadings, the murder and the missiles. We're tired of the more-than-macho attitudes and these wars waged in the name of God, and I'm pretty sure that He's not too happy with all this, especially with that whole "love thy neighbor" diatribe falling on deaf ears.

But it makes me ill to even think about it.

Hezbollah said that this year they would return foreign captives to their native soil. That was the logic behind grabbing the two Israeli soldiers and breaking for the border. But, the timing is terrible -- escalating violence with Hamas and Palestine has forced Israel's hand. They're playing like it's all-out war, and they're playing for keeps.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Triangle to Half-moon

"This is one of my favorite vinyasas because it emphasizes balance, focus, breathing and provides a great lower body stretch."

Several students nodded, but I bet they were thinking "Oh God, I'm going to embarass myself. I can't... do... this."

"Now, legs wide apart, and angle your left foot in, your right foot out... Stretch your arms out... open your heart... Now bring your fingertips to the floor."

"Triangle is the easy part, I can do triangle... it's the half-moon pose... remember, focus and balance... focus, balance... focus... balance..."

And the next time I opened my eyes, my left leg was off of the ground, extended parallel to the floor while my right leg, straight and strong like a tree rooted deep into the soil, supported me. My right arm, with my fingertips just skimming my mat, supported my torso. Reaching for the sky with my left arm, I watched my fingers wiggle in the air.

"I'm doing it... finally."

"Now, bring your left hand back to your hip, and slowly... slowly... lower your left leg back to the mat. Extend your right and return to triangle."

"Done. I did it."

"Now, rise up and let's move to the other side..."

"Oh God... I'm going to embarass myself!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Kinky, the iron is thermogenic...

... much like this Texas summer.

Two Texas Commandments. 1) Thou must have central air conditioning. 2) Thine hairdryer is off-limits. Imperfect hair in a blistering Texas summer is quite excusable.

But why are we plagued, year after scorching year, with weekly highs cresting 100 F? Well, it doesn't help that Texas is by far the most prolific producer of CO2, the gas that seeps into our atmosphere and causes the natural phenomenon of global warming.

At least we're first in something, right? But wait, who else but Gov. Rick Perry (fellow Aggie, and easily impressionable) wants to further extend our smoggy lead and authorize 17 new coal-burning power plants. These power plants burn the dirtiest fuel possible and the smokestacks put not only co2 in our air, but also SO2, NOx and Mercury, which is a known contributor to birth defects and can be lethal in large quantities.

Now, a lot of Texas legislators are saying we should give TXU, a utilities compay that wants to build these plants to meet Texas' insane demand for electricity (which powers those lovely central air units) and drive down the cost of powering the power-hungry residential market. Well, that'd be great, if electric utilities were still regulated and were required to follow certain rules, especially since in these days, electricity is a necessity. But, our market is deregulated, and TXU will never be forced to lower their rates, even though they have an effective monopoly.

TXU and legislators point to the fact that they aren't even the major contributor to CO2 emissions in Texas. On-road mobile (cars, trucks and tractor/trailers) and off-road mobile (heavy machines and construction equipment) are by far the largest producers of carbon and nitrogenous emmissions. TXU says that to clean our air, those people who drive should become more responsible, like use public transit and ridesharing, or move closer to the city-center in which they work.


That sounds well and good, but TXU, your coal plants aren't exactly helping. And why on Earth is our state government so implicit, so freaking excited about these plants? Whereas, most Texans, especially those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, are livid. Everyone should do their part to clean our air. Yes, are motorists are a bit slower to action, but dagnabit, TXU should show some corporate cooperation, some conglomeration goodwill! With all due disrespect, this is insanity!

But, there is one person that can benefit from this heinous proposal: Kinky Friedman. If the governor really, really wants those pancakes, he'll take a stand against this. He'll take a stand against corporate and government collusion. He'll be the peoples candidate for functional democracy.

So, let's hear it, Kinky. It's like a free platform, so hop on it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

EXTREME WEEKEND! *disclaimer: if you have a fear of falling ceiling fans, forgoe reading this blog!

By Friday of last week, I thought it was Saturday. A strange holiday week, with Independence day falling on Tuesday and not getting Monday off work, threw my work-week rhythym for a loop! So by the time it was time for a timely weekend, I was already in a Saturday mid-morning haze.

I was in bed early on Friday so I would rise early Saturday and make a 10 a.m. yoga class. I stumbled through the house, landing in the kitchen. I filled my breakfast bowl with a little granola, fixed some java, retrieved the paper and planted my slumbering body at the head of the dining table.

Unlike most Saturday mornings, Dave was up and around. He, just as half-awake as I, was absent-mindedly roving the house. When he reached the dining room, he asked, "Aren't you a bit hot?" and reached for the fan pull above the table. After one solid yank, the fan crashed, WHAM! onto the dining table and bits of it landed in my breakfast and in my coffee.

I was so alarmed. "What the **expletive** just happened!?" I sat and stared at the ceiling fan, which came to rest just inches before me. If I hadn't moved to the head of the table, if I had sat in my regular seat, the fan would have landed on my head, and the world would be deprived of my roasted garlic hummus forever.

Fate was on my side though, and as we scooped the bits of glass and splinters of wood from the table and the rug. "At least we'll get a new fan!" quipped Dave, which was immediately followed by a pummelling.

After yoga class, I discreetly ventured to the pet supply store, bought a feeder mouse for Motley and cat food, and came home. Dave and I had thought about getting a dog the night before, so when I got home, we discussed it over lunch. We found that a local shelter was having a pet fair at a different pet supply store, so we grabbed our checkbook and departed.

Upon arriving, I was overcome with jealousy. "Why does everyone else get a cute pup but me?" I thought as my lower lip protruded into a modest pouty face. In the center of the cool tiled floor there were dozens of pet crates, and inside those crates were pets. And lots of 'em. I kept thinking, "All of these little guys don't have permanent homes, but I can't take them all. But... just one. Pick one. This'll be hard Jo, but pick just one..."

And I did!

The name's Fitzgerald, but it's F. Scott to you!

This little guy has been through it! He's around a year or two old, and he's had his left front leg broken, but it wasn't set properly, so it kind of bends in an odd direction that makes it look like he's sort of prissy. And with our drought, I bet he's got a raging case of allergies. But, by golly, he's a sweetie!

Mr. Orange is warming to him, but Dawsey still bolts at the sound of his jingling tags. He's housebroken and friendly, and really, he's everything I wanted in a small dog, except that he sheds, but that's okay because the cats shed like mad, too.

Sunday, I went shopping, we got a bit of rain, worked on our monthly budget and what not. Overall, maybe I should have just called it "EXTREME SATURDAY!"

Oh well!

Monday, July 03, 2006


Packing a ship and sailing to colonize a far-off land with virgin terrain and intricately interwoven ecosystems — and still surviving past the first winter — is a triumph. It was the first step that the first Americans made in adapting to the New England landscape. In those times, people lived around the conditions of the land. In these times, we form the land around our lifestyles: that's the very definition of anthropocentrism; a people-centered culture.

The industrial revolution hinged on using machines to make our lives easier, to produce goods with less labor and in larger quantities. Through time, goods were produced more efficiently in even larger quantities, which includes our food. We found chemicals and substances, methods of irrigation and delivery that industrialized the food chain.

But with unlimited production of consumer goods and government-sponsored agriculture, there have been side effects. Externalities like polluted aquifers, fish kills, BSE, erosion, ozone, brimming landfills, birth defects and dangerously high levels of contaminants in our drinking water and soil run rampant from our industrial indulgence.

Decades later, a counterculture of organic farmers and growers have brought back part of what made pre-industrialized life better for our health: biocentrism, or coexisting with the landscape. Instead of conquering and surmounting the Great Plains to grow amber waves of grain, they're coddling the hills and embracing the natural ecosystem, planting smaller crops and using biological pest management strategies. And their revolution? It's catching on so much that the world's largest retailer wants a piece of their wholesome, Earth-loving pie.

But wait! Wal-Mart is bad, right? Well, yes, in some aspects, but when you dismiss the mammoth discount retailer as all things evil, you're ignoring the environmental implications of this adjustment. In theory, if all of the produce that Wal-Mart moves annually were organic, the environmental benefits would astound. That's several millions of pounds of fresh produce, which if grown organically, would spare our environment from a significant portion of the one billion pounds that, according to the EPA, are applied to U.S. crops annually.

Often we overlook the supply chain, seeing only the neatly stacked apples and recently misted broccoli crowns under the grocer's fluorescent lights. That product required chemicals to keep pests from eating it before you do, it required water diverted from rivers that never reach the ocean. It was harvested by machines that belch as much carbon into the air as a half-dozen pickups with leaky mufflers. Mass producing organic fruits, vegetables, grains and fibers would drastically reduce the environmental impact of traditional farming.

And with Wal-Mart, the price is right, too. Your typical pound of organic apples at a specialty retailer like Whole Foods or Central Market would cost anywhere from $4 to $6, but at Wal-Mart, $2 per pound is about as much as you'll pay. This opens up the organic market to people with incomes far smaller than the Whole Foods frequenter. Although some critics of organic farming say that the health benefits from products free of chemicals, fertilizers and other man-made agricultural interlopers are marginal. But the social and environmental benefits of organics will provide a feel-good ripple effect. People who buy organic will know that their demand is shaping the supply chain, and that has hope to change the face of how America grows and harvests food.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The hubbub and the rub

I'll cut to the chase: I totally agree with Howard Kurtz. This hardly ever happens, because Kurtz and I have different views on how the press fits into the mold of society. Now, with a Republican White House, Congress and a conservative chief justice on the Supreme Court, we are left with little wonder on how all those nifty checks and balances on government are working. Right now, I think that the press is keeping American from becoming despotic. As Kurtz says:

But it does seem to me that news organizations are filling a vacuum left by an almost total lack of oversight by congressional Republicans since Bush took office (not just on national security matters but on Hurricane Katrina and a host of other issues). And perhaps leakers of sensitive information, in this environment, are more likely to give it to reporters than to Hill committees that have displayed little or no interest in investigating the Bush administration. Of course, if some Hill committees were more aggressive in oversight, they might leak some of their evidence to the press to get more bang for the buck.

And there you have it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The love is gone

I just can't pretend that I feel the same way, Dallas. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. I just can't cope with the flood of cheap cigar fumes wafting into the train car when we stop at the West End station. The abundance of cranes peeking over the skyline in the Arts District and east side give me vertigo, they're excessive and I just can't deal. And what's up with the cost of living downtown and the grudging fork-over of much-needed cash to the only grocer in downtown so it can live to see another day?

People developing condos and apartments downtown need to realize two major things: Your profit margins are going to be smaller and you need to pick up the pace. The people who really want to live downtown can't afford $2,000 in rent each month for a two-bedroom condo, or the $300,000 mortgage that is proposed. These developers need a reality check. The young professionals of today that want to make a life downtown don't make as much as the young professionals of yesteryear.

And what's with all of the foot-dragging? C'mon! I know that as soon as an affordable residential tower is finished, all of the units are going to be snatched up. Then, when developers see what can and can't sell, like the fact that there are way too many luxury developments on the slate, then we'll actually be able to have sustainable downtown development. We'll have retail and cultural centers again. We'll have usable parks, a 24-hour downtown population.

It was just sad to be on the northbound train headed out of downtown and only see two people walking on the sidewalk. TWO! There needs to be more foot traffic for downtown to survive and thrive like a real city center.

So, enough with all of the luxury towers and downtown. Developers, make some space for those who would be an asset in the downtown community. Think like this: $900, two-bedroom, two-bath condo with balcony; and then we'll talk profit.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dudley and Orange are friends,

but only because Orange has honed his innate telepathy skills. Mind control is the only reason they get along, Aubrey. I'm sure you already knew that, though...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Listen here, fans of the Kinkster!

It's official! Kinky Friedman is on the ballot as a candidate for governor of Texas! WHEEEE! Oh, and some old wench named Strayhorn, or is it Rylander... Grandma? Anyway, that old hag made it on there, too.

Three cheers for Kinky! Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Daddy's girl always

"Let's get on to the range, Bubba," her father charmed with his immortal sobriquet.

Rising from her chair, she dusted off the sweaty languor of the Houston humidity. Two shoes to put on, and away they went.

Daddy had the top down in one of his two convertibles. On a sunny day like this, she knew her father couldn't resist mixing the open air with gunpowder.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The real estate in Vancouver

After yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, I'm thinking that moving to Canada would be awesome, except that once there, I probably wouldn't be able to find a job.

It's just that, I'm having a really hard time understanding how we could sacrifice the well being of our environment for profit, because really, the thought makes me cringe. I'm getting a little emotional as we speak just thinking about all of the harm that could come to our wetlands, playa lakes, natural ponds, streams and aquifers and the wildlife innately connected to them because of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Justice Kennedy wrote the presiding opinon of a fractured court and sent that case back to an appeals court. Basically, (and nothing is really basic about law) a guy in Michigan had a few marsh-like ponds on his property. The Army Corps of Engineers, the entity that enforces the parameters of the Clean Water Act and most environmental statues and laws, said that the guy couldn't develop on those areas becuase they fall under the federal provisions of the Clean Water Act, and if he wanted to alter them he had to go throught Army Corps of Engineers to get a special use permit, which is a very drawn-out process, only because with nature, you can never be too careful.

Now, the guy gets it in his head that he's going to develop the land anyway, so he fills the marshes, which are near tributaries that flow into a river that flows into one of the five Great Lakes (which share a border with Canada, might I add) and then he plants a crop of corn, like nothing ever happened. Well, the government filed criminal charges against him, and he was convicted. Chances are, he'll go to prison. But that's not all. Other cases followed with similar circumstances where people want to develop land that has ecosystems that fall under the provisions of the Act. Well, the Army Corps won't let 'em, and these people have money and lawyers, so they're fighting it.

So, three opinions were rendered yesterday; one by Justice Kennedy, which The New York Times says sounds more like a majority opinion with few exacting exceptions; one by Justice Stevens, which several times calls out the more conservative justices as something akin to activists (a concept that Republicans are staunchly against when the topic of gay marriage comes up); and one by Justice Scalia, the hardline conservative of the bunch, which the NYT said sounded a lot like a dissenting opinion.

Scalia said the Army Corps of Engineers were interpreting the Clean Water Act so broadly that that they were regulating "dry arroyos in the middle of the desert." Really? I'd like to see proof of that. The Act does regulate the Rio Grande, which I guess you could call a desert since it no longer flows to the Gulf of Mexico, but dry arroyos? Get a grip! Maybe what is now a dry arroyo was once a river or stream with a strong current, but is after being diverted and dammed, it's just a parched creekbed.

So, I'm incensed. I'm really pissed off. Our Earth deserves so much better than to be raped and filled with sand and asphalt so some asshole can grow some corn, which is so incredibly over produced that we've got surplus after surplus bursting from grain silos from here to kingdom come!

So, if anyone sees any good jobs in Canada-- I'm not really picky, but I'd Vancouver or Edmonton -- please let me know.

And now, an illustration...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A ticket from house to home

If everything goes as planned (though I have a sinking feeling that it won't), I'll be departing from Dallas at 2:45 for Conroe, TX via bus to visit my family. It's been a year since I've travelled alone on a Greyhound to see them. I've done it before, and after this one, I'll probably do it again, but the thing is, it's always so cramped on the weekend busses out of Dallas. I'm hoping to catch a break, get lucky with a Friday departure.

The only thing is that I had to ask to get out of work early on Friday. One of my office counterparts will be out, so it's adding some unnecessary pressure on another person, being the lone cubicle inhabitant in our private oak-paneled hell. She's been doing this a while, so she'll be fine, but man, I had a hard time just asking my boss if I could take off early. I always have a hard time asking for exceptions or favors. I never think of myself as deserving -- I either do things right, and all the way through, or not at all. To me, there is no worse travesty than a job half done, which is an ethic ingrained by my father, who would threaten punishment that mortals dare not speak of if he found said job half done, or as he would put it, half-assed.

So, T-minus three days and counting until I hop a 'hound to Houston!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The days I really look forward to...

... are days when I receive a DVD from my Netflix Queue. If you don't already have Netflix, you should really get with the program. For several months, Dave and I were on the $10.00/month plan, where we could have one DVD at a time for as long as we want. Becuase our queue rests at about 150 films as of today, The best deal is the $15.00/month plan. For five bucks more you can keep two DVDs at a time for as long as you want. Hopefully this helps us go through our queue faster. This weekend we watched Spellbound and I watched Aeon Flux (and even though I was a fan of the original animation series, this was a great live-action companion, mostly because the animated series didn't have distinct stories, but mostly it was thoughtful and provocative just for the sake of it).

But Netflix is so much better than going to the rental store and sorting through a thousand films and wandering about until someone stops picking at their acne to come help you. And as I'm sure you know, organization in most movie rental stores is completely subjective. But with Netflix, all you need is a keyword, and BAM! You can find your movie. It even does recommendations for you based on how you rate other movies that you've rented or seen previously. AND ... you can purchase DVDs at a fraction of the cost from other renters, like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

Now, if you were unsure before, you should be certain, subscribe to Netflix. It's in your best interest! DO IT NOW!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm not usually a perv ...

... but this was hilarious

No, Seriously -- Let's Hit It

Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me.
Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me!
Gangsta: Man, what are you excusing me about? Fuck you!
Old Chinese lady: Fuck me? Ok, take-a off the pant.

Stairway in silence.

Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me!
Gangsta: Sure thing, ma'am. I'm sorry.
Chinese kid: And that's why we respect our elders.

--Canal St station

via Overheard in New York, Jun 16, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's hard out here for a gimp

Back in the old days -- days that predate Billy Idol, poufy bangs and slap bracelets -- men offered up their seats to women when buses or train cars were standing room only. In these days, rarely does it matter if you're in a skirt and heels carring a 15-pound briefcase and ovaries, that boy ain't givin' up his seat ... period. Chivalry is officially dead, for the able-bodied male, at least.

I slowly exhaled as I saw the two full rail cars pull up at Mockingbird station. In my two-and-a-half-inch wooden platform sandals, I'd be standing all the way into downtown. I climbed into the car and affirmed my suspicion. It's crowded, it's way too early and I'm one irritable girl. I propped myself up in a corner and resigned to my half-full thermal of coffee. Trying to distract myself, I clumsily foundered for my folded copy of Newsweek that taunted me, crammed irretrievably in the outer pocket of my case.

Then, a man stood up. It's about three minutes until the next stop, I thought. What gives? "Would you like to take my seat?" he asked me in a meek yet masculine tone. I nodded and sat down, and as I swept my skirt forward and fell into the seat, I watched him hobble toward the front of the car. His pantsleg was still disheveled from sitting and I noticed a metal rod glinting from a gap between his sock and cuff. He was missing a leg, and he was the only man in the entire car to be kind enough to give a clumsy young thing a seat on the train. What a shame.

I couldn't believe it, and in fact, I felt somewhat guilty for the rest of the time he and I were in the car together. He's a monoped, but I'm wearing heels ... who should be embarassed in this situation?

Friday, June 02, 2006

There's no place like home...

Mr. Orange and I stake out the front porch as we take a break from the weekend follies...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things...

Hasselhoff cheers on the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center ,

The garlic fries at Ameriquest Field in Arlington

And Dave.

This morning feels like my brain is rotating in the reverse direction of the earth, and no, I didn't get drink myself to sleep last night! Everything is just crappy this morning. I wish I was snug as a bug in a rug, back between the blankets in bed...

... I'll tell you what one of the best things in the world is... When I'm half awake and I get a chill, I roll over to get deeper into the covers on the bed when I find a nice warm boy, and he finds me, and we wrap ourselves up in one another. And then, back to sleep...

... Work hours should be subjective. I wonder how much more work would be done, or how much happier workers would be if the system allowed three different start and stop times. you can go to work at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., and leave at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. That way, you can make sure to wake up at a reasonable leisure because being half asleep and infront of a computer forces people to be like I am today: completely and unequivocally unwilling to take part in society. This, as I'm sure you've already inferred, is bad. Very bad.

I pine for bed.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I think...

... therefore I read Dave's poetry every time he deems the world worthy enough to be glorified by a new post. See for yourself...

On another, equally impressive note, I will be sewing, hemming and hanging curtains this weekend. I hope to get the issues with my digital camera resolved and grocery shopping will commence after yoga tomorrow. Until then... I bid thee adieu!


Monday, May 22, 2006

Added injuncture from across the pond...

This weekend was great, and Dave and I did almost nothing. Well, if doing "something" means a scheduled outing or an event with friends, then we did nothing, but in actuality, we gardened, planted, I cooked and laundered, and we laughed. Oh, did we laugh!

I sat on my front porch this weekend at our lovely New Orleans-style bistro set, and I sipped iced tea with the Sunday news. There was nothing more glorious than gazing at our freshly groomed front yard, our newly potted plants and a breezy Spring early afternoon, a tepid 85 degrees in the shade, which is cool by Texas standards. I clipped coupons, breathed deep and I lazed, soaking up as much spring air as I could before my week of mandatory cubicle confinement.


I made a breakthrough in my Vinyasa class on Saturday morning. I've always been a bit of a klutz, somewhat unawares of my limbs as they plod and swing. In yoga, you're told to focus, to dive inward and understand the deeper movements of your body. You're to open your senses to every contraction, every shift in minutae. I'll be honest, and in the one year-plus I've been doing yoga, I've never really "gotten it." I've gone through the motions, and while moving from "tree pose" to "dancer I," more often than not I lose my footing, get frustrated and continue to make matters worse until we go back to mountain, and then subseqently to the floor. But during our salutation on Saturday, Greg, my teacher, asked us to dedicate our practice, which is something we do every session, but I took it a little deeper. I dedicated my practice to focus and then I dedicated myself to patience.

Now, the word "focus" for a long time has been somewhat vacant to me. I've always countered it with "focus on what?" But I finally figured it out. In yoga, I have to focus on myself, literally. I have to be mindful of my movement because it effects every bit of my poses, my position, my concentration and the attainment of peace, the essence of "Om."

It was so uplifting. Even the biggest klutz eventually has a point of grace.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Try if you like...

... poetry.

My opinion, worthless as it seems, is that my darling has put to paper (or pixel) some of his best and most inspired work yet.

Check it out here.

What's black, white and a big whiner?

Somewhere between sleep and awake there's a huge lump of fur and fat. This morning it's sitting on my chest, meowing the equivalent of the cliche rooster at the ass-crack of dawn. Dawsey, she's the black-and-white feline terror that cannot be right with the world if she doesn't climb upon our bed and perch on a slumbering sternum and force one of us awake.

I prefer my alarm clock, thankyouverymuch.

And so starts a weekday morning. It makes me wonder if Dawsey has some divine understanding of calendars because rarely does her episodic meowing take place on a weekend. From her jolting pleas in felinese, one of us rolls out of bed to then rouse the other. This morning is a damp and dreary one, with leftovers of last night's cacophony dripping from the weighted branches and cascading from our gabled roof.

Coffee. Toothpaste. Scone. Climb into the Jeep and off we go.

Dave drops me gently at the train station.

"Have a good day, sweetie. I love you."

(Incoherent mumbling)

"Okay, have a good day now. I love you sweetie."

"I'll try," I slowly return, trying my best to come off as misanthropic as possible despite this mornings bittersweet adieu.

I'm being ripped from the womb when I hop out of the Jeep in my skirt and heels. It's like being a toddler alone in a big, cold grocery store when he pulls away from the station. At that moment I'd do anything to go back, but I know that it's temporary. I know I'll be safe and loved in a matter of hours.

Summoning energy previously just a mystery, I jot down the escalator to the patient train and hop aboard. The scent of rain, cologne and newsprint tickles my nose. Sip the coffee, turn the page.