Monday, February 26, 2007

Driving ambition

It was my first road trip in my new car. Last week there was so much anticipation surrounding that Friday afternoon departure that when I left Dallas in such miserable weather, the sky half dark and my windshield wipers sweeping the drops from my view, I was let down, very disappointed. When I had visualized the windows down, sunshades on, hair blowing in the wind with my favorite rock tunes blaring, rain and bumper-to-bumper traffic seemed like the shaft.

And then, when I got to Conroe, everyone was just hanging out at home and no one wanted to go out! Sara and Brent rented a movie, Kara was at Mom and Dad's and Jessica came by to get her eyebrows waxed. I got a little much-needed waxing, too. But, with all that disappointment, the evening turned out to be great comic relief with several detours down Memory Lane.

We were digging through boxes of ancient photographs for Jessica's slideshow at her wedding reception. I was a freakin' cute baby. I should scan some of those shots, cuz damn! Cute baby! Right here! You know, I think my parents really did dote on me much more than any of their other children. I don't necessarily think this was because I was "the baby." Maybe it was because I was quiet and occupied all of the time. I had a rampant imagination. I could sit out in the sun for hours and play in the dirt, completely amused. I'm still kind of like that. I love the simple things. I'm still very salt-of-the-earth, but I no longer wash rocks in my mouth.

On Saturday, we shopped 'til we dropped at Target, getting a couple of things that Jessica had registered for, like a four-slice toaster. You could fit half a loaf in the sucker. Who needs that much toast and can't wait for a two-slice toaster to do the job, eh? and isn't it a waste of energy if you just want one or two slices, but you have to fire up the whole job? Bonus: There was a lingere sale and I got 4 new bras for $16! Yay for boob harnesses!

At Jessica's wedding shower, the very reason I was in town for the weekend, I couldn't shake the feeling that I just didn't belong there. I couldn't really summon the proper enthusiasm for the event, so I made myself comic relief, exhibiting apropos excitement to the nth degree. Shouts of joy, oooohs and ahhhhs, all that crap. I felt like Meg Ryan in the famous restaurant scene of When Harry Met Sally. Funny though that I ran into Erica's mother, Bettye, there. I had no clue that she'd be at the shower. In fact, I think everyone on the face of the planet knew that she'd be there, except me. I asked her how Erica was, bad idea because I should have known that she wouldn't have anything nice to say. Everyone joked that she was still in college to get her "MRS" degree. Trying to avoid people, I gorged on the fruit and pastry buffet and washed it down with some piss-poor coffee and tea. Horrid tea. Lukewarm tea with no cream. Ugh.

My mother and I left the shower, both of us feeling that we'd never get back that hour wasted.

We got home and I got dressed down to do some yoga and have some dinner before the evening began. We saw a special on Barbecue on Food Network. I remember seeing some really good stuff, and then I said, "You know, I've never had ribs before." My mother immediately got up and said that she was going to go get dinner. Dad and I hung out cleaning his rifle when mom returned toting a big brown paper sack, which could only mean one thing: McKenzie's Barbecue. McKenzie's is like a Conroe tradition, and it is THE BEST BARBECUE. Honest. You'll never taste better. In fact, if you ever traipse through Conroe, or Texas or Houston for that matter, you better stop at McKenzies.

Their ribs were awesome, even despite my complete lack of reference. So tender, the flesh was easily tugged from the tidily trimmed bones. I could only eat three and I was reeling. It was like crack, despite my complete lack of reference.

I went over to Phillip and Megan's house. There I met Kara, Mel, Sara, Brent, etc. etc. We played Wii. Dear God, that was so fun. I'd consider getting a Wii just for the incredibly fun parties you could throw. Everyone gets throwed while playing video games! Yay!



We all slept over Saturday night and woke to stale booze breath and a few siblings munching on fast-food breakfast. I did not indulge (no fast food in over 2 years!) and instead opted for a protein bar. I made the trip back to my parents house, changed clothes and went shopping with my mom. We had the BEST time. Seriously. We went to the Apple store in the mall and I got a car adapter for my iPod! Now I can play my iPod through my car stereo! YAY!!! I got some new iPod headphones for Dave, just like he asked, and then we went to HEB to scout the bulk sections and crazy produce. You'd be surprised at the larger selection that the HEB we went to had compared to the Whole Foods in my neighborhood or even the Central Market in my old neighborhood. We totally raided the bulk area, the olive bar, and the produce section. And we picked up all kinds of cool Italian sodas. Yum!

But just as soon as I got there, I had to go. I strapped myself in and pulled away from my parents' house slowly, waving at my mom out the window of the car that will help me visit my family much more often, which is great, because there's nothing quite like them.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rain, rain, go away...

I promised myself that since I wouldn't be able to go to the gym this weekend that I'd atleast take a run around the neighborhood in the morning. I got up at 8.30 and put my running shoes on and let my parents know I was going to take a quick run around the place. Just my luck though, it was raining a steady drizzle. Not to be intimidated, I trudged around about halfway through the 'hood when I thought my brachial tube was just about to collapse. In Dallas, the air is much drier, and it doesn't really rain so much. This was definately new for me, running in the rain, so I wasn't ready for what it would do to my lungs. I walked around for a bit and then got back into my rhythm, and found that after my rest it was much easier to make a go at several inclines. Truth be told, if it rains during the Turkey Trot, the 5k I'm running in November, I'm screwed. I don't think my little ol' lungs could take it.

I came back inside and dried off, and then my dad said that he had a nice bottle of 18 year old Glenlivet, so we had a tipple before coffee and breakfast. It definately made my morning a little more loose. I had forgotten how easy my relationship with my dad is. We see eye-to-eye on lots of things, but on others, I prefer to just nod and smile. These precious moments aren't worth wasting on arguments.

I have to get my bridesmaid dress altered this afternoon, and we have to go shopping for Jessica's wedding shower, which is this afternoon as well. blah.

Signing off, from the Piney Woods,

-Your intrepid, but soggy correspondent.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Over the highway to the piney woods

Well, I'm leaving work early (I swear to God this is a first!) to head out to Houston to visit my family! I'm packing my running shoes and my yoga mat, so we'll see what happens. Don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Flattery gets you everywhere

Yoga class last night was awesome. I had been racing to the gym after getting off of work and I got stuck behind an awful fender-bender on Mockingbird Ln., and thusly I missed the 6 p.m. spinning class. I always miss that class. I got to the gym, dejected of course, and suited up to get on an exercise bike. I figured that since I wasn't going to be training intervals in a group, I'll train in intervals by myself. Buckets of sweat and 45 minutes later, I was stretching it all out getting ready for my glorious Hatha yoga class.

Last night, we changed things up a bit, and instead of having all our mats horizontal throughout the room, we rotated them to where we were all aligned vertically. What a difference! It kind of made me feel like I was in class for the first time. We did a lot of complicated hip openers that made some of our newer yogis and yoginis a little uncomfortable. One of these is Pigeon pose. We did a pigeon series, first with just our hands grasping the ball of our foot and our knee, opening our ches and extending our back leg to open the hips. Later, we bent our back knee and pulled up our foot towards our torso, to look like this:

The full pose, which I cannot do yet, looks like this:

I am so self conscious about this pose, so much so that I am usually reluctant to do practice it in my asana routines, although it is a great all-over stretch. But, I think I'll be doing it more, especially since last night, one of our class regulars "Dangerous Debbie," said that my Pigeon pose was looking exquisite, graceful even.

I may not be able to post again until Monday or Sunday. I'll be in Conroe for the weekend for my sister Jessica's bridal shower, and hopefully I won't be a dolt and I'll take lots of piccies!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Guilty, as charged

My old dear friend Jack used to help me work through what has become such a problem for me: guilt. Most of my behavior, sometimes perceived as altruism, is motivated by guilt. I stay late at work because I feel too guilty to leave people with work to do. I get to work early so I can help pick up other duties to help our department run seamlessly (or at least attempt to run seamlessly). I went to a cardio bootcamp class at the gym for three months because I was guilted into it, I just couldn't tell the instructor that his class just wasn't for me.

Guilt is really starting to keep me from doing all the things that I love and want to do. I usually don't get out of work until 5:30, but there are classes at 6 p.m. that I really want to attend, most notably a spin class. But I stay late to meet other peoples deadlines, and therefore I miss the class.

Today, I'm going to change all that. I'm leaving at least 15 minutes early to go to that class. No one better stand in my way, and I'll be damned if I'll feel guilty about doing something for myself. Finally.

I hope that Jack would be proud, whatever the heck he's doing these days...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Shave and a haircut

There was so much going on this weekend that I didn't feel guilty about not going to the gym to get gross and sweaty. Friday night, Dave and I had a comforting dinner and watched Jesus Camp and then I curled up in bed and went to sleep, which was awesome. It's nice to be married, and to be so comfortable that we can stay home, watch a movie and I can go to sleep because he knows I love him, and I do, so very much.

For Valentines day, I wasn't expecting anything, and he even told me that he's not so much into it, but when I came home from work, he had a little sack full of goodies for me; a canvas bag that will be perfect for toting around Key West in May, Some herb seeds for the herb garden I've been wanting to plant, glue sticks for the recipe stash I'm working on, and a baseball on which his scribbled "the greatest doubleplay partner a man could ask for -- I love you." It now sits next to my monitor at work so that I can glance at it and know that I have something very, very special at home.

Saturday, I got up early and met a couple of very great friends at the gym for a Saturday morning Hatha Yoga class. They both really enjoyed themselves, and I'm so glad. It's always fantastic to go to a great Yoga class with dear friends, although the room is small and the class is popular. We went to brunch afterwards at The Garden Cafe and we all ordered omelettes. We drank coffee and talked culture, work and movies until it was time to walk back to our house.

After they left I got to work turning the soil in the box that will become my herb garden. I'm going to buy some organic humus and peat for my garden, to lighten it up and create perfect conditions to yield tons of basil, dill, cilantro, sage, oregano and mint!

Saturday evening, after I made a wonderful pot of New England clam chowder, we went out for drinks with a few of our friends and had a wonderful time. We went home, gorged on yogurt and granola, and again, snuggled up in bed. Awesome.

Sunday was relaxing, we played in the dirt in the back yard, played catch in the back yard, and then we had several friends over for dinner (Cajun style rice with veggies and herb cornbread) and we made lemon poppyseed scones, which were awesome!

My sister cut my hair, which is really cute, too.

new haircut

Anyway, gotta get back to the grind!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Out from both ends

I came home yesterday evening with a sore and upset stomach, therefore, no yoga for me. I cooked a little dinner, green bell peppers stuffed with rice pilaf, seared marinated tofu and steamed soy broccoli. It was very good the first time I tasted it, less so later. I woke up in the middle of the night heaving dinner up, went back to bed only to wake up again for round two.

This morning I tried my damndest to get out of bed and go to work, only to get there and have my boss send me home. So, here I am, at home, on a Thursday, arguably the busiest day in my office as we prepare for the weekend. Thank goodness I was ahead before I left yesterday.

This isn't all bad, I suppose. I feel guilty for not being at work today, but at least I now have time to cozy up next to the furnace and work on my recipe stash, do a little laundry and try not to literally spill my guts everywhere.

Keep your fingers crossed, folks, that I can go into the office tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Like water spilled on the nightstand...

... these are the mornings in which I cannot force myself to hit the snooze bar properly. We woke up 10 minutes late, which left me 10 minutes late to the train station, which left me parking in the lot most distant from the platform, which made me walk in the freezing cold temperatures, which left me exposed to the buffeting winds that nearly bowled me over, which made me wish I hadn't lost my other glove.

Stupid glove.

Actually, they were lovely gloves. Black leather and fleece-lined things, supple and elegant with a coy zipper along the back that, when undone, exposed a bright red swatch of calfskin. They were a gift from my mother-in-law. Now I only have one. Where did my left one go? I hearby order all coat makers to put a glove pocket on the inside of each winter coat, so ladies like me can stash their gloves without risking losing one! I'll just sew one in the lining of my pea-colored pea coat...

(Insert utterly cliche segue here)... So, I hop on the train and head into downtown, but instead of listening to the moody folk rock that has become a staple on my iPod, I switched to some drum-and-bass (if you are unfamiliar with drum-and-bass, please try Aphrodite, Dj Dara or Vektor). Niiiiiiiiiice. Very much an urban vibe, especially "Smoke" by Dj Dara. It's like the background music I always wanted to the story of my morning. Like, if I had a camera following me on my morning commute, with the crowded train and me leaning against the car, standing in the stairwell while gazing out the car's window at the skyline and grey atmosphere of a cold Dallas morning, and the camera takes a wide angle shot of me, with the rest of the car out of focus in the background but my reflection visible as I stare out the window.

And now, here I am, steadily editing my way into oblivion. Finger still hurts. Still haven't posted about Sunday. Too much coffee and too much to do. Too much to be to too many people. Thank God for Yoga.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Left turn of phrase

Editor's note: Typing is very painful today because my right ring finger has an infected bit on it due to the cold, murky air of a North Texas winter.

This past weekend was a realy doozy. So much going on can really exhaust you, but at the same time make you feel so real, so alive, so much a participant in a world that you usually watch from the editorial sidelines, telling each team after the fact what they should have done in the first place, knowing that you don't have the guts to follow your own damn advice.

I finally bought a new car this past Saturday. *Hurrah* It's a royal blue pearl 2007 Honda Civic! It's name: Hahn Solo Civic! It's really cute. The new design makes it look very Prius-esque, which is great because I really wanted a Prius, but had to settle for something a bit more modest. He's a lovely machine tho.

That's my father-in-law on my right (your left) and my husband Dave on my left (your right) standing in front of Hahn. Lovely creature, right? I'll put some nice wheels on him and do a few other upgrades when I have a little green to spare.

When I brough Hahn home, I parked him in the driveway and immediately snapped a few shots. Good thing I did, because immediately thereafter a flock of birds descended up on our lot and, however perfunctorily, made many massive bowel movements on my gorgeous, immaculately detailed car. Nice.

That evening, we hopped in Hahn and took a spin down to an art gallery in Deep Ellum called 500X. Great modern art by graduate students from SMU decked the halls. A good friend of Dave's, Vance Wingate, was there, and regardless of the fact that he was charming and entertaining, his work was astoundingly good. Fresh, understated and rich in metaphor, Wingates' rune-like play with construction and symbolism played with the viewers imagination, much like the simplicity of his medium (brown paper lunch bags) and depth of color (rich reds and saffron yellows on hazy beds of sage green).

Dave had been begging me to wear this dress I got at retropolis*. It's this floor length psychadelic gown with a scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves with an empire cut. It's very flowy, and doesn't have great berth for shoes (my heels on my boots kept snagging the flowy train) but it's a gorgeous dress about a hem away from perfection. I put it on with some heavy black eyeliner and smoky lids, a black pashmina shawl wrapped loose around my neck and my hair held back tight with a wide black headband. I slipped on my knee-high, black leather boots and pinned the dress up at the hip to give it a little flirty drama and show a little leg. Very cute.

We went to a quick dinner at St. Pete's Dancing Marlin. I had 1/2 Chin Chin's chicken sandwich with a house salad (dieting, folks) and Dave had the penne tossed with fresh basil pesto (very tasty! He got this just so I could try it without feeling obligated to eat a whole thing!). We went home and I rinsed off the night and crawled into bed, knowing that in my driveway was a gorgeous, birdshit clad car, in my living room was a wonderful, sweet, baseball-addicted husband and under the covers was a neurotic, chaotic, loving and loyal little dog with a superiority complex.

Coming Soon: What happened Sunday???