Friday, August 28, 2009

O hai blog! Me? Avoid you? NEVAR!!!

So, I've been away from this page for a short while. It's been for good reason, though. Hopefully you've been keeping up with me via the little box at right, you know, my tweets. If not, let me give you a short summary of what my life has been like since the last post (there have been no more pirates, for starters. Tragic.):

-Did some work, in an office. It was an exciting change and it was so great to be around ridiculously smart people! Can you tell that I miss work?

-Started a pair of Jaywalker socks (rav link) in Lion Brand Sock Ease. Seems like almost the exact same yarn as Red Heart's sock yarn and Paton's Kroy Sock. This pair is going to be a Christmas gift (you can never start too early, people).

-Went to a book swap. Got a few new books to read and saw some lovely ladies I hadn't seen in a long time, which feels like a travesty. I also embarassed myself immensely by saying something trite. Stupid me.

-Realized I'm probably the only person not watching Project Runway this season. I can't help that I find the show more annoying than my neighbor's two yappy dachsunds. In fact, multiply the noise of the yappy dachsunds by however many cast members are on the freaking show and that's about how annoying the show is.

-Went to the Granada Theater's 5-year anniversary party. Watched Slobberbone play in Dallas for the first time in what seemed like a millenia to Dave. Good show, but it ran way too late for me. I turn into a grouchy old lady after midnight, so 1:30 is LAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE!

-Dave and I hauled our asses to Austin (Buda, to be precise) to spend some time with a fabulous couple who now tops our list of favorite people to spend a weekend with. They have two very cute boys, one of which is still fresh (6 months). The other is a 3 1/2-year-old terror. The whole family is crazy-charming!

-Went to Gruene Hall for a show and had dinner at the Gristmill. The restaurant is adorable, which more than makes up for the lack of vegetarian options on the menu. If you're in Gruene and looking for a good place to eat, try it!

-Drank a few Lone Star Beers. Don't hate on the national beer of Texas! It is so refreshing!

-Watched San Antonio kick some major ass in the Little League World Series.

-Ate tofu enchiladas with tomatillo sauce at Mr. Natural on South Lamar in Austin. Bought Yarn at Hill Country Weavers on South Congress in Austin. Went to Waterloo Records in downtown Austin. Started wondering why I don't live in Austin...

-Got hooked on Newflower Farmers Market (known as "Sunflower" in some states), thanks to our friends in Buda. If you like Whole Foods but prefer not to spend an ass load on organic and natural foods, you'll love Newflower.

-Started on a shawl by Ysolda Teague called Ishbel (rav link) and I am now confounded by it. The numbers aren't working out, and I am likely going to go crazy because of it. I want to make this shawl SO BADLY, but I am wondering if I have totally effed it up beyond the point of no return... Boo.

So, that's where I am, as of today. I will be returing to the office for one day next week, and I can't wait.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An evening with pirates, popcorn

I really like the company that Dave works for. It's a bunch of cool people doing good things and, hey, what's not to like about that?

I found out last Thursday that I also like a lot of the people that he works with. They are pretty funny and do cool things. And, like I said, what's not to like about that?

For instance, one of them does local theater. We went and saw him in the Pocket Sandwich Theater's production of "Captain Blood: A Pirate Melodrama." Hil-Freaking-Larious.

Every pirate stereotype was wonderfully used, even slutty wenches and ridiculous costumes. Good stuff.

The only thing that rivaled the actual production was the theater itself. Pocket Sandwich is a great place to see a show. It's very intimate, they serve plenty of food and booze (most notoriously the namesake pocket sandwich, which is basically a pita) and -- get this -- YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO CATAPULT POPCORN AT THE ACTORS!!!

I love that.

They make a gazillion batches of popcorn just so you can launch them at actors. Of course, the fight is fair, and at some points during the production the actors fire back a few kernels.

Funniest thing? I wore the same brazier yesterday that I wore during the show on Thursday, only to find a popcorn kernel had stashed itself against the underwire. HA!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birthday and birth stories

I love the little community that you can find in the Comments windows over on Lemon Gloria.

Go check out today's post, wish Lisa happy birthday, and be sure to read all the comments. There are some really great anecdotes there!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In theory it's funny, but it's completely embarassing in real life

Some people are turned off by yoga. It's not for everyone, but I strongly feel that everyone could learn something from yoga, even if they don't have a regular practice.

Yoga is about relaxing into the moment. It's about connecting the body and mind with the breath. Yoga is about becoming familiar with your strengths and limitations, and embracing them both. Yoga is learning to love who you are.

That's not to say that there aren't times in class that I wish I could dissolve into a small puddle of sweat and become invisible.

I've done inversions and fallen awkwardly into other people. I've tried to transition into backbends and collapsed noisily on the floor. I've embarassed myself several times in class, and I'm usually able to laugh it off.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Tonight, in yoga class, I broke wind...

No, that's not true. I didn't break wind in yoga class. I really farted.


(I'm laughing so hard right now that I am crying just thinking about the whole embarassing scenario.)

Falling over and collapsing, even knocking over a fellow yogini during a partner pose can be funny. Farting in yoga class? EMBARASSING.

Until you think about it later, sitting in front of your blog page. Then, my friends, it is fucking hilarious.

So, I totally ignored it. I didn't smile or even blush. I didn't skip a beat. I figure that's the way people would know it was you.

Or they could just read your blog after class. Whatever works.

In any case, I am never eating cheese before yoga class ever again. Water only, from here on out.

Today's drama is brought to you by the letter "asshat"

So, as it turns out, I didn't lose my iPhone. Someone stole it. It's been five days since the little time suck went missing, and in that time the asshat that now has a new iPhone 3G was on the internet quite a bit and called a local singles line.

I did everything I could besides spending a ton of money to get my phone back. I put an ad up on Craigslist, I sent a text to my phone offering a reward, I even asked nicely and prayed many times to St. Anthony.

At the end of the day, though, you have to chalk up your losses. You have to suck it up. You have to realize that not everyone was raised with the same moral code as you, and they will look at your loss only as their gain.

So, suffice it to say, I'm disappointed in humans right now. It's been a long time since I've had an object stolen from me. The last time was back in 2000, when my car was broken into and my stereo and some clothes were stolen. I was really mad about that for a long time. I got over it, though.

I'm sure I'll get over this, too. Heck, I'm already trying to find my way back to forgiveness. I don't know the asshat that stole my phone (DURING A CHARITY ART AUCTION, NO LESS) and I don't know the asshat's personal circumstances, but I'm trying to forgive said asshat.

It's a process.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You go, Hillary!

I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but for this reaction, she gets big ups in my book!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life goes on, or what I really did learn from Slaughterhouse-Five

I'm a long-time fan of Kurt Vonnegut. I'm not big on celebrity deaths, though, (hardly a reaction out of me when John Hughes died) but I did cry about Vonnegut's passing on. He was, and still is, a great inspiration to me. His writing really forces you to reevaluate your priorities, to think about your time here on earth as a very, very temporary existence. He introduced me to radical humanism, environmental stewardship and the many things that are uncertain on this planet.

The biggest thing he gave me, though, was an understanding of the adage, "Life goes on." In his vernacular it looked like this: "So it goes."

At the House of England, we always seem to be concerned about cashflow. This was even before I lost my job to the economic climate. I guess that's what signing a contract for a 30-year mortgage will do to you. In any case, money is tight, we're saving every way we can, and we are trying harder than ever to reform our spending habits.

This is a mighty long intro for what I'm about to say, so I'll just say it: I fucked up. Hardcore.

There is no more impulsive a friend than Christine. I guess that's what having 3 kids and a 30-year mortgage will do to you. On the rare nights that she's able to leave the kids with her husband and have a night out to herself, she tends to do it up big. (For the record, I like to have more sedate outings, with everything in moderation).

We decided to go to an art fundraiser and charity auction at probably the one venue in Dallas that I actually could be considered a regular. We settled into an evening of cheap beer and smiling faces, and cool art, of course. During the course of the evening we did the following:

- ran up bids on art lamps being auctioned
- drank several beers
- started a campaign to end personal space in Dallas (Seriously, everyone expects you to give them at least 18 inches berth when making way through a crowd.)
- buy a desk lamp for $225 (it's for charity?)
- lose my iPhone while paying for said lamp
- get a parking ticket

The night started out well, and it was fun at the beginning, but now I've put our budget in a make-or-break stance, which is really unfortunate because I'm the responsible one in this household. And I also managed to lose a $400 phone. Genius. I'm hoping that practicing karma will help reunite me with my lost object, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

But, what I did learn from this personal tragedy is that Vonnegut could not be more right. The sun rose on Saturday, Sunday and Today. The birds and squirrels will still be hungry and feast on the suet and seed we put out for them. The sun will be hot, and it will make the leaves on the trees glow in a calm, majestic way. And we will still be here tomorrow even though I overextended our budget and made a whopper of a mistake.

So it goes.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Jellyfish: Why unstructured days are both good and bad, but may not always require urine to make it stop hurting.

I've been a bit of an unstructured mess lately.

In an odd paradox, the house has never been cleaner.

Although I used to bitch about getting up and going to work every day like it was some kind of redundant and useless act, I miss it. The deadlines and schedules and phone calls reminded me that daytime passes quickly. I used to have full days, and now I'm doing whatever I can to just fill them.

The truly sad thing is that I used to daydream about having my days to myself, and what I would accomplish, what I would get done, what I would build and make and enjoy. I suppose that kind of free time would be sweeter if the backdrop wasn't painted with the panic of job loss and loss of income.

Every day I think about it, about what I should be doing instead of marinating in worry and panic.

I am lucky, though, that I have a supportive family and husband. Dave keeps reminding me that I'm not alone, and that there are thousands upon thousands of people just like me, trying to make it.

And then I really think about it... If I was dreading 10-hour days and carrying two buckets at my last job, why would I want to do that again? Will things ever be different, or are we all just "human resources"? (I really hate that term.)

I think about that while Fitzgerald or Mr. Orange nuzzle me in my lap while I'm at the desk, writing or applying for jobs at places that are far away from them. And Fitzgerald rests his head in the crook of my arm as my fingers taps the keys, and I think, "That's so sweet."

This is so bittersweet.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I have no idea

I have a hard time believing that anything I've dreamt up hasn't been thought of before. It's one of my major obstacles when considering pitching freelance pieces. I might have, what seems to me at least, a great idea, but I won't go anywhere with it because I think to myself, "Surely SoandSo at WhateverMag has been pitched this before. I never think of anything new."

I guess this is a habit I need to break. I've been sitting on an idea for a few months now, but this is the exact reason I haven't taken it anywhere. And for someone who has worked for a newspaper, especially someone who at one time used to accept and reject hundreds of ideas, it is an odd problem.

I suppose it's more of a problem than I realized, especially since it's basically a symptom of self-doubt, which is nothing new to me. I've been trying to kick out it's ugly cousin poor body image for my entire life. I just hope I am able to get rid of self-doubt before it starts adding to poor body image's troll doll collection.

All jumbled up

When a relationship starts everything seems like a milestone. First date, first kiss, first ... ahem ... sleepover. Then everything starts to get smaller and smaller, to where all you have is minutae.

For example, say you've been seeing a guy for two months and you're so proud that the two of you have made it to at least one phone call from each other each day.

That's a milestone.

Two months turn into to years, and in some cases you marry the guy. In other cases you have a knock-down-drag-out-wake-up-the-neighbors fight that ends with one of you moving out of your one-bedroom apartment at 11:30 p.m. on a weeknight.

In the case of the former, you end up talking on the phone a lot in very brief conversations, not unlike a pilot checking in with a controller.

When relationships are still fresh, they're more like "conversationships," meaning that when you talk to one another during the day you're still finding out new stuff. When relationships get down the road a bit it almost seems like you're talking in code.

New relationship:

"Hey sweetie! Thought I'd call and see what you're doing before your lunch break."

"Awww! That's so sweet! I'm finishing up a TPS Report before I head over to Schotzky's with my cubiclemate."

"That sounds so fascinating! Well, I hope your day shapes up. Blah, blah, blah. I love you!"

"I love you, too!"

Down-the-road relationship:

"Hey babe, what's up?"

"'Bout to have lunch, you?"

"Nothing, applying for jobs."

"Sounds great. Gotta go. OKIloveyoubye."


Monday, August 03, 2009

Speed dial

Sometimes you have a problem that you don't know how to deal with. Often you know someone who can help you or has intimate knowledge of your desperate situation. Sometimes YouTube can help. Other times you feel like you're on your own.

Many times, when it comes to issues I can't fix or don't know where to start, I can find the answer in my speed dial list:

1) Mom: Recipes and gardening how-to's, and she can explain to me how husbands work (she's been married to one for 39 years, so she gets it). Also, she's my best friend and we can often bitch about stuff to each other.

2) Dad: Air Conditioning problems and golf or baseball and cars. Just yesterday I had to summon his awesome A/C power to figure out why condensation from our A/C unit was backing up into our closet. The man is a genius.

3) Sara: An ear for random bitching, also helps that she is usually the best at talking me out of bad ideas, like buying an outfit retail. She is a yarn hoarding enabler and also big on skincare and makeup questions.

4) Kara: If I have a problem with my hair I don't talk to anyone before I call Kara. Also really good at listening to me bitch about stuff.

5) Dave: Is on speed dial because I like calling him. We usually talk about random crap and how each other's day has been. He's good to talk to if I need a mood lifter and it's too early to mix a mojito.