Friday, May 30, 2008

Life, cubed

Spending 9 hours a day in a small room made of half-walls and particle board is a lot like living in a house with three nosy sisters. My childhood definitely prepared me to the complete lack of consideration and privacy I would encounter as a cube dweller in a corporate environment.

Shit, I might as well pull a George and build a little bunk under my desk in my cube to sleep in so I don't have to commute during the week. That's how tied down I feel to this cubicle. I've even started to resent the walls and doors off office dwellers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ask Miss Dallas: "What's with all the corruption?"

Lucky readers, this is our first installation of an new feature that will focus on the ins and outs of this puzzling yet fabulous Southern metropolis.

Dear Miss Dallas,

I've heard that the FBI has indicted quite a of your public officials in a widespreade bribery probe. One of your former council members was convicted of stealing from one of the most famous historic black colleges. Not only that, but he still maintains his innocence despite overwhelming evidence. What's up with all of the graft in Dallas? Do you guys see it as a tourist attraction?

Hugs and smooches,

Sally Straight-edge

Dear Sally,

Thanks for sending me a fabulous note! What a heady question to start off with; hopefully I can cure your small-town ignorance.

Dallas is a big city, like, the 9th biggest in the U.S. As a big city, there are a lot of ways to hide under-the-table deals and corruption. It's not like, say, the Floydada City Council, where you can't take a shit without your neighbors asking you to use air freshener.

Our former city officials' preferred method of graft was bribery between developers looking to cash in on federal development assistance through minority contracts. Complicated much? Basically, rich and powerful developers used the black city council members and their longtime distrust of the predominantly white, rich area north of the Trinity River (whitey) to get govmint cash.

Still confused? I know you are, sweet Sally Simpleton. Allow me to provide some historical context. South Dallas = Institutionalized ghetto.

Dallas is historically segregated, divided by the Trinity River, and has remained that way mostly from widespread neglect. South Dallas is historically black and poor (though there are a lot of good people trying to change that). City leaders from this area south of the Trinity are wary of people in North Dallas (whitey) keeping them down, so sometimes to cut corners on their way to gain power an influence they make bad backroom deals with shady developers, stuffing their pockets with greedy developer money along the way.

So, there's a lot of corruption that feeds off of racial division and widespread, historic distrust between white power brokers in North Dallas and black officials. While it's not exactly something we're proud of, at least we're not advertising it like Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (also another area with tense racial relations).

Keep it real,

Miss Dallas

Friday, May 23, 2008

All the Rage

Coffee wasn't what had me energized this morning -- all I needed was a healthy dose of Rage Against the Machine. To some of my colleagues the choice seems all to apropos considering we often work for the Machine. Sometimes we get to fucking piss of the Machine, which is all too fun for words. The fallout of pissing off the Machine, however, is not.

I do have a strange affinity for grunge rock and anti-government anthems. Most of the time Dave and I have very similar taste in music, but this is where we diverge. Dave doesn't like any form of punk, metal, grunge or thrash. Me: I likey.

So, driving up the guard shack at my office today I had "Bulls on Parade" blasting when I rolled down the window of my car. I have never seen whiter whites of strangers' eyeballs in my life.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Safe and sound (cluck!)

I don't know what y'all did, but Scout pulled through. She wasn't looking so hot, and she was really lethargic and not eating there for a while, but she's curious and vigorous now! She's starting to figure out how to make her place in the pecking order, and she's babbling like crazy!



She is the littlest of the three, but I think she'll probably be the best bird of all of 'em! Jane, the little Araucana, is starting to grow little tufts out from her cheeks! So cute!

In other news, I finished my Thai Fisherman's pants:

I know I look gross here. I don't care. I just put in an hour in front of a sewing machine and an hour of yoga.

I also finished Sara's baby sling!



The shower is in a month and I still need to finish her washcloths. I've got 1.5 done, and I need to make 6. I figure if I make them interesting enough I'll want to knit them up fast. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cluck, cluck!

Good news folks: I'm a chicken lady!


From left to right: Elaine Benes, Scout Finch and Jane Gallagher.


So frickin' cute.

In other news, Harrison Ford is still smokin' hot.


Dave called to say that Scout isn't looking so hot. EVERYONE, PLEASE PRAY OR THINK OR CLAP YOUR HANDS OR MEDITATE OR WHATEVER. Scout needs your thoughts!


Chicken Lady

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bone tired

I was starting to lose it at work earlier today. My nerves started fraying and my brain started hurting and I started to take a serious turn towards crazy. Fridays are usually like this, but today was different. Today was un-fucking-bearable.

I sucked it up though, and only left an hour early. Given, I did work an extra hour yesterday, so it balances out. But I was dying to get out of that oak-paneled, fluorescent-lighted purgatory.

We got our Economic stimulus payment today! Woo Hoo! Free guvmint money! We went out for pasta and beer at Scallini's to celebrate, and now we're back at the house. Two Heineken's later and I'm trying to work the heel flap on Dave's socks.

Exciting, no? Beats the hell out of smacking my forehead against my desk.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm really just dying for an adventure

A lot of my life story can be told through missed opportunities, and most of these opportunities have been missed because of boys. Stupid boys.

I didn't take the full scholarship to a small, East Coast women's college because I wanted to be closer to a boyfriend I would later dump. I didn't take the Washington, D.C., internship because my then-long-term boyfriend said that he loved me and didn't want to be that far away from me. I didn't get the job in Peru because I missed the decision period, meaning that I waited to long to accept. I was too scared to follow-up on a job teaching English in Japan because, well, the only country I've ever been to beside Texas is Mexico, and no offense, but Mexico is no Japan. (I realize this last missed opportunity has nothing to do with boys, but hey, I'll blame it on boys anyway if I want!)

Right now, though, I crave adventure. Crazy food, backpacking, travel, music and being out of my element. Morroco, anyone?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

As if you couldn't tell from my blog rate ...

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Take me camping (again)!

I think I've been bitten by the camping bug. Besides knitting, sewing and dreaming of a hen house I've been dying to go camping again! It doesn't help that Texas has so many great state parks within spitting distance!

I think our next outing is going to be Dinosaur Valley State Park. There's plenty of primitive camping (yay!) and there's a river running right through it! I love me some river swimming!

After that I think we'll head over to Lake Tawakoni State Park. Last year there was this crazy communal spider web there! I'll have to bring my fishing rod for this one, because there is some awesome fishing here!

Maybe after those I'll think about going to Lake Whitney State Park or maybe over to Graham, TX for some rock climbing and mountain biking! Possum Kingdom Lake sounds good, too.

A coworker of mine has this thing about visiting state parks. I think I'll rediscover my thing for state parks, too. Now, I've got to go recruit the spouse!

Monday, May 12, 2008

When the cat is away

Dave is out of town, so I've pretty much completely given up on my normal routine. I would, on any give day of the week, come home from the gym, cook dinner and collapse in front of the TiVo. Maybe I'd knit a little, then I'd shower and climb into bed.

So far tonight I have:

Tended my garden
Started on my sister's Thai silk baby sling
Started on my Thai fisherman's pants
Mended one shirt, one suit jacket and one pair of slacks
Had one Heineken and a mish-mash sandwich of leftovers
... and right now I'm haveing a cup of vanilla ice cream with ...
another Heineken.

I'm going to go finish those Thai fisherman's pants.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I have my limits

Sometimes I'm a Type-A person: I want things done and I want them done quickly and correctly. This often makes me a pretty decent leader on projects. This quality, however, is a liability when it comes to marriage.

I asked Dave to help me do some gardening earlier. I needed to put some compost on our beds and plant some tomatos and peppers today. Dave isn't the kind of guy that takes direction well. Actually, he might take it well from other people, but not me. So when I started giving him instructions on what I needed help with, he just walked away.

This doesn't make me angry anymore, but when we first moved in together it annoyed the fuck out of me. He would ask me if I needed any help, and I would tell him, "Yes! Could you grab a spatula?" (I was making an angel food cake) He would act like I was asking him to move Africa over a couple inches, rolling his eyes and letting loose a dramatic sigh.

I don't ask him for help much anymore, but when he offers it, I know to say "Thanks, I got it." I've learned that offering help is just a way to make him feel better about planting his ass on the couch and calling up Baseball Tonight on the TiVo.

Anyway... The peppers and tomatoes and basil and lettuce and arugula are all planted. I'm planning on having some bitchin' salads this summer once everything grows in. I have Super Father-in-Law Bobby to thank for it all. The man is a true gem. One in a million. So is Vicki, my Super Duper Mother-in-Law. I really hit the jackpot in the In-Law Lottery.

Actually, funny thing about Bobby is that we're a lot alike. Dave is very much like Vicki, chatty and personable when he wants to be, reserved when he's out of his element. Bobby and I both love working with our hands, cooking, building stuff and gardening. We also enjoy chatting about business and economics. Bobby works for a multi-national bank as a manager of corporate lending. He was astonished that I could keep up when he was explaining the sub-prime mortgage fallout. He's a smart guy, but unlike his son (le husband), he doesn't make a big deal about it.

Bobby has agreed to help me in my latest endeavor: raising hens. That's right. I'm going to be an urban chicken lady. I ran some ideas for a hen house by him last night and he actually seemed pretty excited about building it. I'm going to draft some plans for him and we;ll go from there. It's not exactly rocket science, building a hen house, but you have to control several variables (heat, light, venthilation, proximity) and still keep the hens safe from predators, the most notorious of which in our area would be the feral cat. Bitches.

There is a ton of information on the Internet about raising chickens, different breeds of chickens, how to build hen houses, etc. Which is awesome, because when it comes to raising poultry I am fucking clueless.

A friend of ours that lives close by has about seven hens. She's a little fast and loose with her wits, mostly because she has three kids, but I think it's awesome that she doesn't have to buy eggs. Chickens cost almost nothing to take care of, they give you fertilizer (also known as poo), they keep your lawn tidy, they take care of pests (boy do they love to eat grubs!) and they're fun to watch! If we get two chickens we'll pretty much have an ark here, though. Two chickens, two dogs, two cats.

Dave has taken a couple of days to get wild in Austin with his best friends for his 36th birthday. I'm OK with it because he is on the back side of his 30s and it does pretty much go down hill from there. I made sure his friends all knew that there would be no strippers/hookers and that Dave is not to do any shots. No tequila, either. I know I sound like a joykill, but if you've ever seen Dave drunk and then hung over you'd know it's for the best.

What's on my needles right now?

Waterfall scarf for Mom

Not your average dishcloth (washcloth) for Sara (1 of 6)

Basic sock recipe socks for Dave

Urchin hat for me!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Once bitten, twice shy

I haven't left the house much lately besides running errands and work. I haven't even been to yoga class in more than two weeks (I plan on breaking that dry spell today). I've been trying to plant our kitchen garden and work our poor soil (black clay) and make the yard a bit more practical for the summer. But that's not the real reason I haven't left the house...

I usually walk our dogs around our neighborhood twice to three times weekly. Dave used to do this before his back went out on him, but I've enjoyed hanging out with the pups when I can. However, I just can't shake the fear I swore I wouldn't have after I was attacked. It scares the shit out of me to think about walking Hornsby out in our neighborhood and a dangerous dog coming after us again. What scares me even more is the thought that this could happen even without the dogs, that a mean dog could jump the neighbor's fence and come after me unprovoked.

I hate what I'm about to say, but it is what it is: There should be no "one free bite" in Texas or in any other state. Dogs that attack unprovoked should be put down, just like Tigers in zoos that attack are euthanized. People should be able to walk through their neighborhoods without fear of attack from mean dogs kept by ignorant owners.

(Note: I'm not talking out of my ass. I have worked in 4 veterinary hospitals, one of which was a veterinary emergency clinic. I have seen the kind of damage that vicious dogs can inflict and I've been a dog bite victim before. I knew that some dogs I was treating as a technician could bite me out of fear. I was prepared for that. This is completely different.)

I am also becoming callous to arguments from people who own pit bulls that are the "sweetest, most loving" dogs they've ever owned. That they allow these dogs to sleep with their children because they are so docile. Good on them. They very well may be responsible owners. But pit bulls are like guns -- in responsible hands, people have no reason to fear the owner, but in the company of ignorance they are most likely lethal.

We don't trust everyone with guns, therefore we should not trust everyone with pit bulls either. In some states we ask gun owners to register themselves. I don't think this is too much to ask of pit bull owners.

Just last night I was watching a neighbor being pulled down our sidewalk by two pit bulls. The leashes were vere long for these dogs, which is dangerous. The hair on my arms stood tall and a shiver went down my spine. If these two very strong dogs are able to pull their owner like this on a normal walk, could this man control them if they wanted to chase after another animal, or even another human?