Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Miss Handsome.

Handsome is out of town this weekend, and I'm all on my lonesome in Austin. Boo. I am so wonewy.

He's off on his bachelor party weekend, and while I am aware that this is usually bad news (Vegas,  strippers, missing teeth, and tigers in the bathroom), I'm finding it hard to worry. He and his buddies are out at a remote cabin in the deep woods of east Texas, and I saw the packing list. It read like this:

1. Ice cream
2. Meat
3. BB guns
4. Walkie-Talkies
5. Water balloons
6. Whiskey
7. Firecrackers


On second thought, if he comes back with all his limbs intact, I'll count it a minor miracle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wedding Bangs

Hello, my poppets! Tick, tock, tick, tock, guess what's getting closer? Zat's rrrright, ze vedding deluxe grandioso y excelente! In these blustery days of Texas winter, Handsome and I have been busy planning away all the extra special things. Music, decorations, readings, special decorative flourishes, and more, and all on budget! The invitations are out, the RSVPs are pouring in, the caterer is standing by, the DJ is booked, Han's suit is perfection, my dress is at the tailor's getting perfectly shortened, flowers are under control, and the cupcake lady awaits our signal to commence a'baking. Our rehearsal dinner might be the most fun party ever in the history of parties (Texas-themed costume party!) and basically, I feel like a magic fairy just twinkled down from the heavens and tapped me with a sparkling wand of awesome. Have I really planned this all? Is it really going this well?

There is only one smudge, one slightly dark blip, on the Wedding Horizon of Bliss: the Amazing Cheastypants Hair has seen better days. Don't freak out, this isn't anything like living in Nicaragua, when the Amazing Cheastypants Hair was declared a Natural Disaster Area. It's fine, totally awesome, in comparison with that nightmare. It's just that... how do I say this? I have bangs.

The other night I went to my French Salon of Glorious Hair, where I frequently offer my services as a Hair Model. Normally, this situation is nothing short of fantastic. I pay $15 for a haircut that in the real world would cost around $100, and in exchange, I get amazing haircuts. Well, usually they're amazing haircuts. You see, sometimes they tend towards the trendy, and even the experimental. For example, I steered clear of the salon a few years ago when a few of my friends emerged with Euro-mullets and PTSD. But that phase passed, and I returned.

I don't even pay attention to what the stylist is doing to my head anymore, that's how reliably good these haircuts are. So last Tuesday when the lady described what she was going to give me, I vaguely registered her words (though I'm pretty sure I would have perked up and paid attention had she actually use the b-word), and blithely read my magazine, letting her snip away. Twenty minutes later I looked up, and I had bangs.


In all my 33 years, I have never, not once, not even remotely had bangs. In all honesty, I'd sort of assumed I would live my entire life without bangs. But now, 70-odd days before I am to be wed, and (more to the point) photographed ad nauseum, I find myself with bangs. BANGS!

I'm still deciding how I feel about it. On good days, I think I look sort of 80's chic. A cuter, flippier version of Ali Sheedy in the Breakfast Club. On bad days, there are no words. It's the curly hair, you see. If I don't blow dry it straight, the bangs look like curly fries stuck off the front of my head.

Grow, hair, I command you.


Monday, January 10, 2011

OMG. Home Owner?

Yes, you read that correctly. I, Amazing Cheastypants, teller of tales, trotter of globes, avoider of entangling commitments, am not only about to get married - a feat that causes a younger version of myself to fall in a dead faint to the floor - but I am 3 nanoseconds away from being a real-live, totally official homeowner. It's a little run-down, it needs a lot of loving, but it's bright blue, in the best neighborhood in Austin, and I get to live in it with my ineffably gorgeous Love Muffin, Mr. Amazing Handsomepants. I die with delight.

Before I dance and laugh and squeal my way through the next few months of my life, however, I feel that right now I ought to pause for a brief moment of silence in remembrance of the girl I used to be. A woman who wondered if partnering up for life was really worth it. A woman who started to get itchy feet if she stayed in any one place longer than 6 months. Not that I'd trade in all the experiences those itchy feet got me into, but really, Younger Me. You were missing out.

To infinity, and beyooooooooonnnnnnnd!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wedding Whack-A-Mole

I generally consider myself a competent person, a capable multi-tasker, an able manager of tasks. I am famously brilliant, unspeakably gorgeous, and ineffably glamorous. My wit dazzles, my cup of sparkles runneth over. My acres and acres of beautiful hair bounce and shine and flow about me wherever I go. One would think that with this constellation of blessings bestowed upon me, I might glide jauntily through life with nary a hiccup. And yet I am nearly defeated. This wedding-planning-hydra-headed nonsense might well kill me.

Now don't get me wrong - I am thrilled to be getting married. Beyond thrilled, actually. Transported. I am going to spend the rest of my life married to the best human being God ever put on the earth, and I occasionally pinch myself ferociously to make sure this isn't all just a lovely dream. So the wedding? Very much looking forward to that. The wedding planning, on the other hand... well.

Let's just say that now I understand why some people make this a full-time job. You take one question. As an example, let's take cake. Simple, no? No. Not simple at all, because for every question you answer, every conclusion you reach, 25 more pop up to take its place. You don't believe me? Watch.

Question 1: Do we want a wedding cake.
Answer 1: Yes.
Question 2: Or pie?
Question 3: What about cupcakes?

Question 4: How much does cake cost?
Answer: (75,000 phone calls and one dead faint later) Okay, so no cake.

Question 5: Now what?

[Insert four hours of internet research, 16 phone calls, 39 emails, 2 hours of recipe research, debilitating mental calculations, advanced maths, aimless puttering.]

Answer: Cupcakes. Genius!

Question 6: Who will make our cupcakes?
Question 7: What time can we meet the different bakers who want to make our cupcakes?
Question 8: What about this time? No.
Question 9: How about Tuesday? No.
Question 10: Something came up, can we reschedule?
Question 11: Are we still on for today?
Question 12: Have I answered all of the 47 emails in my inbox all asking about cupcakes?
Question 13: What flavor cupcakes do we want?
Question 14: Oh, some people feel really strongly about white cake? But I hate white cake. Now what.
Question 15: Oh, there are actually 92 different flavors of cupcake we could order?
Question 16: Which of the 92 flavors of cupcake do we really want to sample?
Question 17: Which of the 8 different flavors we sampled do we actually want to order?
Question 18: How do you feel about carrot cake? How do you feel about carrot cake?
Question 19: Buttercream or cream cheese icing?
Question 20: Do we still want to do a cake-cutting ceremony, because then we'd still need a cake.
Question 21: How much does a small cake for a cutting ceremony cost? (Gasp.)
Question 22: So I will make my own small cake?
Question 23: Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, or The Joy of Cooking?
Question 24: How much time will I have to bake a cake the day before our wedding?
Question 25: Oh, you have a friend who wants to bake our cake for us?
Question 26: Do you want to call her or should I?
Question 27: Did she call you back yet? How about now? Now? Yes?
Question 28: What flavor do we want the cutting cake to be?
Question 29: Do we have cake stands on which to put the cupcakes?
Question 30: Rent or buy? (Borrow!)
Question 31: Honey, the cupcake lady wants to know what color cupcake liners we want to use.
Question 32: Options? White, black, brown, pink, silver....

It's like playing gee-dee whack-a-mole. If anybody has a serious thought about what color liner to use, please tell me. I respond well to authoritarian dictates.

Monday, November 29, 2010

An Echo Through the Ages

Mothers always have a 'thing' that they say, don't they. I don't know what other mothers say. Maybe it's something sweet ("Well as I live and breathe!"), maybe something threatening ("Go cut yourself a switch."), or maybe something pleasantly odd. Like in the atrociously funny movie Bad Santa, where the doddering grandmother always says "Let me fix you some sandwiches." So weird.

My mother has a pile of them. If you asked why, she said "'Cause Y's a crooked letter and it can't be made straight." If you hollered when she brushed your hair and tore straight through a knot, she said, "Oh be quiet before I give you something to really cry about." (Not that she ever did - or would, for that matter - but still. She did say it.) If we were in the car and drove past a cemetery, she'd say (every single time), "I hear people are just dying to get in there." Hyuck, hyuck. And if you were fresh-mouthed at her...

The other day I was in the car with Captain Mommypants and my little brother Bug, who is six years old. Mom and I were trying to talk about something, and Bug was in the backseat rattling off his perpetual and incessant commentary on every single car we drove past. "Hey, Mom, did you see the Mazda 5? Hey, Mom, that was a Toyota Prius. Hey Mom, there is a bwue Mewcedes. Hey Mom..."

And our mother, who normally has the patience of a saint when it comes to her children's musings and chatterings, got frustrated that she couldn't hear what I was saying ("Hey, Mom...") and waved her hand in the air at him, and said in an unusually dismissive tone, "Yeah, yeah, Bug, keep it to yourself for a little bit, will you?"

This, it turns out, is the joy of children. Because Bug, outraged that she wouldn't listen to him, leaned forward in his seat, touched Mom on the shoulder, and said what is likely the number one most recognizable Mommy-ism our mother uttered over the years as she wrangled 5 highly spirited children into adulthood: "Mom," said Bug, in a censorious tone so like hers that he could have been a parrot. "Don't you EVER. EVER. Talk to me like that again."

Needless to say, I died laughing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Did Not Have Fun At All

No matter what these pictures indicate, keep in mind that Handsome and I had a horrible, wretched, terrible, atrocious, awful time in San Francisco on our anniversary trip.

The weather was terrible.

The sights were banal.

We had one raging fight after another.

We didn't see any good friends.

We didn't do anything funny, or jump for joy.

We drank terrible wine.

We couldn't get back home soon enough, and kissed the ground of Texas when we landed, swearing never EVER to travel again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's All Handsome's Fault

OK, I've figured out why I am so lazy about my blogging. I've decided (as you might have guessed by now if you read the title of this post) that the responsibility falls squarely on my beloved's shoulders. It's not that he stops me from posting - he would never do that. It's just that before I had my Handsome, there was nobody else that found every stray thought that crossed my mind as fascinating as I did. Except you all, of course. Which is why I wrote as much as I did. You were the void (and a lovely void you were, too) into which I sent all my mental chatter. Now, however, I chatter it out to the gorgeous redhead who shares my life (and finds me utterly charming), and by the end of the day, I just don't have this burning bubbling boiling overabundance of words that need to come out of me anymore.

In sum, this is a sacrifice I'm willing to make, no matter how much my father (hi Superdad!) and brother (hi Fairy King!) chastise me for failing to keep them entertained in 10 minute snippets throughout their weeks. However, I'm not going anywhere. I'm still here, life is still happening, and I'll keep blogging, albeit at a slower pace than before.


On that note, guess what this weekend marks. No, not my birthday. Don't worry, that's still a month away, you have plenty of time to shop for gratuitously expensive presents. No guesses? Okay, I'll give you a hint. On November 6, 2009, I got in my car to go meet a boy I'd been chatting with over the interwebs. I didn't know it then, but my life was about to change. Big time.

The Scene: the outdoor patio of Paggi House, a charming downtown Austin restaurant.
The Time: 6pm, Friday, November 6.
The Cast: one Miss Amazing Cheastypants, running a little late on account of traffic, and one Mr. Handsomepants, standing at the top of the stairs, waiting to meet the girl he'd been telling his family and friends he was getting pretty excited about.
The Question: Does internet dating really work?

The Answer: Indubitably. I took one look at those blue blue eyes, and was smitten. I held his hand for the first time and marveled. I watched him cheerfully play with the herd of small children that joined our bocce ball game later that evening, and fell head-over-heels for Handsome. Then he leaned over between horseshoe tosses and kissed me, and I've never looked back. From the moment we met I've been in a steady state of wonder that anybody this perfect for me could possibly exist.

We're off to San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary this weekend. Wish us good luck, blue skies, and an abundance of delights.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Family Reunion, Part VI

This past weekend was ACL Fest (Austin City Limits Music Festival), and for the fifth year in a row, there was a substantial AmazingPants Kid contingent making merry at Zilker Park. Year One, me and Crasey. Year Two, me and Umulu. Year Three, me, Umulu, Crasey, The Fairy King, and Sweet BabyFace. Year Four, I was in Nicaragua, but the AmazingPantses carried on, and Year Five, it was all of us again. This year, Year Six, The Fairy King and Sweet BabyFace are way down in Australia (boo hiss), so it was me, Umulu, Crasey, and Handsome. We laughed, we danced, we drank birs, we jumped up and down and hooted and hollered. It was, as always, a grand time. In no particular order, some shots from the weekend. (TFK, SBF, we missed you dreadfully. Come back home now please.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One-Armed Paper Hanger

Right now I could kill somebody. No, maybe not somebody. In light of yesterday's masked gunman shooting at UT event, perhaps I'll refrain from that level of hyperbole. Actually, now that I think about it, I would officially like to retract the entire pith of that comment. I am not angry. I am a little frustrated that I just wrote a nice long newsy post and then lost it all in a fickle moment of computery madness (ARGH!!), but this too shall pass. I am a little stressed out at having to re-do 3 weeks of writing I lost when my hard drive died, and at having to do all this wedding planning stuff essentially on my own, as Handsome is neck-deep in GMAT studying, which, for the record, I am totally on board with. Study study study, I say, so that we have the best possible chance of staying in Austin for his MBA. And finding out yesterday that, due to some bureaucratic snafu, I am not technically employed by the University of Texas, which explains why my health insurance was abruptly terminated, why I had to pay 4x as much tuition as normal, why I haven't gotten any of said tuition reimbursed, and why I won't get paid on the first of the month without jumping through some ludicrous hoops. This was stressful. But I am not angry.

I am busy, yes. Between my internship at the Worker's Defense Project, my TAship at UT, writing a dissertation, planning a wedding (!!), taking piano lessons, cleaning the house, and all the other odds and ends that make up life, I feel, in the words of my excellent Granddad, like a one-armed paper hanger.

But life is good.  The summer heat has broken, and I've been delving into cool breezes, blue skies, and sweaters!! I've got a fridge full of good food, a man who loves me, a rockin' family, and amazing friends. So in spite of where I started this extremely stream-of-consciousness post, I would like to state for the record that I am one lucky, lucky woman, and I would like to give the world a hug.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wow. Just... wow.

So I had about a gajillion posts all planned out, lo these 10 days ago. I was planning to do a special post to show off my surprise (see the parents coming to visit post if you're scratching your head) new skill. I was planning to do a post on creating a bridal registries, a theme I promise to revisit.

But then my hard drive crashed on my laptop. I lost about 3 weeks of work on my dissertation, and not because I didn't back it up. I totally backed it up. But the file was corrupted when I retrieved it from my external hard drive. Thanks, External Hard Drive! Still, no biggie, because in exchange for losing 3 weeks of (who are we kidding) slightly crappy work, I got a new free computer! Well, almost new, and almost free, which as far as I'm concerned is good enough.

Apple called it an equipment malfunction, so even though it was 3 years old, they just gave me a new hard drive for free. Whammo! And then they noticed that my plastic wrist board and keyboards were cracked and crunked up, and hey! That's an equipment malfunction, too! Whammo! New clothes for my laptop, free! So now I'm sure there's some inner workings that are still 3 years old. The battery, I think, and is there something called a motherboard? Maybe yes? I don't know what it is, but it's the only other computer word I know, so we'll call it that. Then I shelled out $170 for the new Snow Leopard X operating system, and hello, Nancy. This sucker is FANCY. Guess what, world, I can open docX now!

So I've spent the last week reconfiguring my programs, reloading documents and photos and music and putting them back in albums, and (this part actually was a total bummer) re-doing my entire calendar, which I keep on iCal, and was gone, baby, gone. Thank God I've got elephant genes and remember almost everything. Except, you know, for the things I forget. So if we were supposed to have lunch yesterday and I mysteriously didn't show up, now you know why.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Denmark. Just South of Buenos Aires.

Last night as Handsome and I were snuggling before bedtime, the topic of baby names came up, and how, because his first name is his great-grandmother's last name, his name is all last names. And whoa, because I never use (and might drop entirely) my first name, my name is all last names, too! So we were saying it would be funny if we had any kids and gave them all family surnames as well, and we could be a whole family with no first names. I know, what a riot, right? So then this happened:

"Handsome, what was your grandmother's maiden name?"
"Yes, it's Danish. Like Raúl Dahl."


"Honey, did you just say Raúl Dahl?"
"Yeah, you know, the famous kids' book writer?"
"You mean Roald Dahl?"

(silence. Actually, not silence at all, because I was cackling like a banshee, but Handsome wasn't talking.)

"Yes, Roald. Not Raúl. Heee hee hee, hooo hoo hoo, ha haa haaaaa! Raúl Dahl, the famous Danish kids' book writer! Haa haa ha!!! You're such a dumbo!!"

"Actually, Cheasty, I'm pretty sure it's Raúl Dahl. You remember. He wrote that famous book, James and the Giant Horchata."

I almost fell out of the bed I was laughing so hard. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love this man.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Animalitos Espiritítus

There are, at this very second in time, about fifty ga-jiggity-jillion things running through my mind, all of which I'd like to write about. I'd like to tell you about the most amazing parents-meet-parents weekend of all time, ever in recorded history, in which my parents and Handsome's parents fell smack-dab in love with each other. I'd like to get your opinion on wedding colors, because having decided to marry a redhead with skin fairer than fair has put me in something of a pickle. Farewell, reds and oranges. Goodbye, yellow. Sayonara, blush and bashful. Also, I wish I could recreate for you the most ridiculous phone conversation in the world, the one I just had this afternoon with a shop owner when I called to inquire if I had perhaps left my credit card in his store, but I've decided that no matter how sharp my pen, or how razor-fine my wit, it is a task beyond my abilities. But none of these are going to happen today. Either a) I don't have the time to write it all down, or b) I haven't loaded up the pictures yet, or c) I'm lazy. You choose.

So this is what's on my mind. Spirit animals. It's amazing to me how some people just have them. You meet them once, get a gander at their face or their personality, and that's it, pow. You know what their spirit animal is. Like Handsome's mother, for example. A hummingbird, no doubt about it. Tiny, quick, talkative, loves bright colors, flits from thought to thought and topic to topic, but always comes back around to where she started. A hummingbird.

Or my Superdad. A beaver. Hard-working, strong, a man of the woods and the water. Makes for himself a strong home wherever he goes, loves to build dams. (Seriously, the man is obsessed.) If Superdad were a cartoon, he'd be a cozy old beaver, snug in his house in the dam, sitting with the newspaper and some reading spectacles by the fire, puffing away on his pipe.

My friend, the Samurai Warrior, a cat. My mother, a magpie. Can you tell I spend a lot of time thinking about this? I do. Quite a bit. Which is why it's so frustrating to me that I haven't the slightest clue what my own spirit animal would be. A long time ago, I thought maybe I was a tortoise. Once, a friend told me I was a terrier. Another time, somebody wondered if I were a cormorant. Cormorant? I don't even know what those do.

Anyway, I'm putting my mind to it. My new resolution to myself: find spirit animal.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Austin

In light of the fact that Umulu just bought her first house (exciting!!) and I just got engaged to Handsome, Superdad, Captain Mommypants, and my little adorable wonderful brother Bug are coming to town for the Labor Day weekend. There will be trips to Lowes, viewings of potential wedding venues, a trip out to Handsome's home town so the parents can meet each other and practice being in-laws. We will laugh and hug and be happy to see one another, and I will surprise my parents with a special something I haven't told them about yet, but it will make them very happy.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Childhood Picture. Category: Awesome.

This just in from Superdad.

That's me when I was 9 or 10.

"The name's Cool. Joe Cool."

Now I have but one burning question. Did my parents actually let me go out of the house like this? Cause if they, did, then double awesome.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Am Doing Really Great

Last winter I was at a friend's birthday dinner and struck up a conversation with another friend's charming boyfriend. The birthday girl that evening was turning 25 or 26, something like that, and because a great many of my friends are a wee bit younger than I am (a consequence of taking 5 years off before graduate school, rather than the one or two years more normal among this group), I often sit in on conversations about how OLD and OOOOOLLLLLDDDD and OOOOOLLLLLLDDDDD people feel who are not yet as old as I. This is funny to me, because a) none of us are old, and b) I like getting older. I get better looking every year.

So this man, let's just call him Captain Hilarious because he truly is a very funny man, asked me when my birthday was, and I told him it was in December. "Oh yeah?" He asked. "That's cool. How old did you turn this year?" I told him I'd just turned 32, and whoa nelly. You'd have thought I just told him I was the pope's daughter or something, he was seriously that shocked. Jaw on the ground, eyes bugging out, that kind of shocked. "Well," he blurted, looking me up and down like a State Fair exhibit. "Wow. I-I had no idea. Well." He nodded firmly. "You're doing really, really good." I laughed, thanked him, and told him what I just told you: I get better looking every year.

I'm telling you this story right now because my father just sent me another photo of agonizing awfulness, a photo that caused me to contemplate whether or not people believe me when I say that thing about getting better looking, or whether they think I'm just saying that like how a lot of old ladies develop their birthday-coping-one-liner over time. Blog, let me assure you. Even if that line does become my birthday coping one liner, it is TRUE. Here, look. 1992.

That's me and Superdad. And now, for a sneak peak at 2010:

I'm not saying I'm going to turn around and win any beauty contests any time soon, but given my choice between 1992 and 2010, I'll take today, please. All things considered, I'm doing really, really good.

Friday, August 27, 2010

All At Once, If You Please.

Do you ever have a period in your life when you feel, not necessarily like plod plod plod, but that things are moving along at such a reasonable, manageable pace that maybe you ought to pick things up a bit, lest life get boring? This happens to me, sometimes. It's the consequence of my overweening fear that if I'm not busy and overcommitted, I am clearly missing out on something awesome somewhere cool. So at times like those described above, periods of relative calm, I always over commit myself. Clubs, committees, lessons, activities, projects, I do it all. Needless to say, this almost always backfires on me.

Like right now, for example. A week and a half ago, I decided in the lull before the semester started to reorganize my entire house, a project that always takes 3 times as long as you think it will. And then I started taking piano lessons. Handsome started studying for the GMAT every night. EVERY. NIGHT. And I increased my volunteer hours at the Worker's Defense Project. Then Handsome proposed, and a chaos of squealing phone calls and house visits and dinner invitations ensued. Then I got  rear-ended (poor little Mazdie, she's having a rough go of it). Then the semester started. Then I looked around and realized that our house was becoming filthy and needed a good top-to-bottom scrubbing. Then I realized that if we don't get a venue NOW for the wedding, we will have to get married in the street in front of my house, because apparently 10 months isn't enough time to plan a wedding in Austin (jaw hitting the ground).

Excuse me, but I need to catch my breath.  Oh, yes, and also: write my dissertation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Am a Mighty Thrower of Things, Question Mark.

Over the past few days I've had cause to go back and look through some of my old pictures. I'm putting things in frames and puttering about, and finding photos of me and Handsome to put in the previous post, and this journey down memory lane has really taught me a thing or two. First, it taught me that I've got to stop making ridiculous faces when people pull out a camera. I'm not doing myself any favors. Second, it taught me that almost everybody in the universe is 700 feet taller than I am. Third (a related point), I should never ever take a close up picture with somebody over 6 feet tall. It's just two heads, one at the top of the frame, one at the bottom. The tall person usually has the top of their hair cut off, and my chin is in most cases mysteriously vanished.

So I've learned some things, which is good. Also, I've solved a mystery of long standing. I am a relatively athletic, physically competent human being, so it has always been a point of befuddlement that I am a horrific hurler. I can't throw anything to save my life. No matter how hard I try, baseballs, footballs, paper airplanes, rocks... they all get somewhere between 10 and 25 feet and fall kerplunk to the ground.

Then I found this series of pictures, and a light went on over my head. Aha! I thought. A clue! You see, back in May when I went to my friend's wedding in North Carolina, some of us girls went on a hike down by the river. As an inevitable side effect of there being stones, and a river to throw them across, we began a contest to see who could throw them the farthest.

This is a picture of JM throwing. She won the competition. Notice the length, the extention, the sheer athleticism of her movement!

This is H-SPO throwing. She did not win the competition, but still distinguished herself with a mighty effort. See also, extension, concentration of expression, and use of lower arm as a catapult-like thingy.

This is Pony throwing. She came in second. Roger Clemens could take notes from this pitching dynamo.

And now, for the piêce de resistance, I humbly submit for your perusal, The World-Famous Amazing Cheastypants Throwing Technique.

So. Any further questions?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ding, Dong, the Bells Are Gonna Chime!

Really, I should've suspected something was up. For the past few weeks Handsome has been unusually frisky and high-spirited. He's been charming and smiley (even more so than normal), affectionate and thoughtful (even more so than normal), and just plain sweet (even more so than normal). Last Saturday he disappeared for two and a half hours with no explanation whatsoever about where he'd been or what he'd been doing. Under intense interrogation he would reveal nothing except to reassure me it had absolutely nothing to do with Russian mail-order brides. Maybe, he hinted, it had something to do with bikes. Ah, yes, of course. Bikes. We just got bikes! And because I wanted so badly to believe that he was out ring shopping, I refused to let myself even consider that as an option, and let it go. Back of the mind, out of sight, adios, door closed. Silly, silly Cheasty.

On Friday he came home from work and said, "Hey guess what. I did some searching on the internets, and I found a restaurant that has a dessert you can actually eat on this cleanse diet thing." (Oh, how this stupid cleanse diet will haunt the rest of my life!)
"Really?" I asked, full of dubiosity. "What is it, a fruit plate?"
"No," he said, "It's a secret surprise. Go on and get dressed!"

I was excited, but completely befuddled. Thinking he might be taking me to a berry patch or a watermelon field, I inquired about wearing my overalls, and should I bring mosquito repellent? Nah, he said. Just wear something cute and comfortable, you'll be fine. So off we drove into the sunset, me still blissfully ignorant. So ignorant I didn't even put on mascara or wear nice shoes or any jewelry. Cause whatevs, you know? It's just dessert at some random place that I still secretly suspected was a watermelon patch.

"You're going to laugh when you see the place I'm taking you," Han said as we drove towards south Austin (cleverly covering his bases).
"Why," I asked. "Is it that epically bad diner we went to a few months ago?"
"You'll see," was all Captain Mysterious would tell me.

I did start to laugh when he pulled in the parking lot of our destination: Paggi House, the restaurant where we'd had our first date, where we'd first clapped eyes on one another. 'Funny,' I thought to myself as we climbed the stairs to their outdoor treehousey patio deck. 'I didn't think he'd bring me here again until he was going to propose. Hmmm. Well, whatever. I wonder what that dessert is?'

We got to the deck and sat down in a semi-private little couchey nook on a wicker sofa, and when the waitress came up to us, Han asked for the dessert menu. She gave us some glasses of water and walked away. I looked at Handsome, and for the first time wondered what was up. Why did he look so jumpy, so tense, so... nervous?

"I have a confession to make," he said then, clearing his throat. "There is no dessert. I made up the dessert because I wanted to get you here, where we first met." And then, dropping to one knee, he took a ring box out of his pocket, opened it, offered it to me, and said, "I wanted to bring you here to ask you if you would please marry me, Cheasty."

I don't really remember a clear sequence of events after that. I know my eyes teared up, I know my hands were trembling with excitement, I know the waitress walked up and almost interrupted Han before she realized what was going on, and backed away slowly, mouthing, "Oh. My. God." I know I kissed him and hugged him and kissed him and hugged him again, I know I said "yes, yes, yes, of course!" and I know people around us figured out what was happening and started applauding. I know the waitress came back with two glasses of champagne on the house and I know I broke the hell out of my diet by drinking the whole thing. I know there was a table full of 20-something girls having drinks nearby and one of them took pictures with her cell phone and mailed me the photos right then and there, so now I have 3 wonderful blurry pictures of right after Handsome popped the question.

I'm getting married this spring to the most wonderful man ever to live on this planet, and I'm the luckiest woman in the world.

P.S. 500 points to anybody who a) recognizes the song from which I took the title of this post, and b) sings the whole thing out loud, right now, wherever you are.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Childhood Picture. Category: Embarrassing.

My father sent this to me the other day - one of many vintage family reunion pics of me and my sister. I particularly love how this photo captures us right in that full blown moment when half of your body is in childhood and the other half is experimenting with adolescence.

Cruel, Dad. Just cruel.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little Boxes Full of Ticky-Tacky

This week I am undertaking a monumental task, a task that challenges me to the very core of who I am. It is forcing me to become something I have never been, not ever before. Why, Cheastypants, I hear you murmur, whatever could this be? Are you not the very ideal of the Renaissance woman? Can you not leap tall buildings in a single bound and cook gourmet meals with one hand tied behind your back? Well, yes, naturally, all of that is true, but there is, it turns out, always room for growth. For example, it goes without saying that I am glamorous, sophisticated, unspeakably beautiful, and above all, always well dressed. But did you know that I am also an organizational maestro, a neat-freak par excellence? No? Well join the club. Neither did I.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a well organized room, or an exceptionally well planned schedule. I do, very much. And I will be right up front and say that I really don't like filth. A dirty anything will drive me straight to bedlam, dusty surfaces give me imaginary hives. Admittedly, I don't always jump right up and clean the minute I notice toothpaste buildup in the sink. Who's got time for that when there's work to be done and fun to be had? Instead, I schedule a top-to-bottom house cleaning every other week, and try to stay on top of it that way. And this works. It keeps me calm and balanced, and stops me from making other people insane.

Clutter, on the other hand, has never really bothered me all that much. Not a lot of clutter, but some. I tend to leave little nests of shoes all over the house, and my books inevitably take up large percentages of available flat spaces. My reading glasses are rarely where I think they are (Handsome found one of them in the laundry yesterday). My papers sit in stacks, and I forget to put them back in the filing cabinet. To combat this, I've always been something of a congenital thrower-away-er of things so that my habits of clutter don't turn into something more nefarious and scary. Ugh, hoarding. Gives me shivers.

So it is somewhat to my surprise to find that when it comes to Handsome and me, I am the person to whom the role of Designated Organizer and Neat Freak has fallen. I never ever EVER thought that would happen. Throughout my life I always chose roommates who were organizers, knowing that I would drift toward their magnetic north and be happier that way. Yet here I am, living with the man I love, and I find myself having mini heart attacks on a twice weekly basis over the boxes that are still unpacked in the study. Now I know, as the well educated daughter of a minister and graduate of countless Vacation Bible Camps, that love is patient and kind, but boy howdy. Paul never lived with somebody who has three big boxes full of papers. PAPERS. And photographs, and baseball cards and wristbands from concerts and busted hats and pay stubs from his high school summer job. Need I go on.

We've lived here in this house now for almost 5 months, and I'd started feeling like we'd only moved in maybe 95%, and then we'd stopped. What's more, I was becoming increasingly convinced that we'd initially made poor decisions about use of space and location of furniture in the home. I knew, I just knew, that if I reorganized the study, moved some shelves out, moved some other ones in, took apart the disorganized bookshelf in the living room and switched some other things from here to there, and installed the bigger shelving unit in the kitchen, that we'd magically have a super-duper house that was 20 times more space efficient and livable and pleasant than the one we've been occupying.

Thus began my Epic Never-Ending Odyssey Down the Tunnel of Doom With Teeny Tiny Light At End of Said Tunnel. The good news is that the Teeny Tiny Light gets bigger and bigger as I get closer to it. Initially, I thought I'd really feeped it up big time. I looked around after the first day's work, at the piles and piles of stuff strewn about in wild abandon and almost had an aneurism. But then I remembered that what looked like an exercise in delirious chaoticism was actually kind-of-sort of organized, and took a deep breath. Day Two, if anything, was a little worse, at least until Handsome got home that evening and put his gorgeous muscles to use by moving furniture about. Day three, Handsome sat down with one of his boxes and sorted through some stuff, and I sorted through my old files, and we threw out buckets of stuff. I anticipate great things in the future.

Today is Day Four and when I looked around this morning, I saw that the Teeny Tiny Light at the End of the Tunnel is considerably larger. Maybe even as large as our house, if I can squeeze it through. Wish me luck, world. Amazing Cheastypants, Organizer Extraordinaire, is on the job.

P.S. If anybody wants to come over and tell me what to do á la slave driver, you are more than welcome. As you can see by this blog post, I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to get started.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What, What, What Are You Doing?

I have honestly never seen anything this creatively hilarious, not in a million years. The comedy group at Second City has started producing a series of videos called Sassy Gay Friend. In these little movies they take works of literature in which famous heroines meet an unfortunate end. Only in these videos, instead of meeting that unfortunate end, the heroines are saved by timely advice from a sassy gay friend. The sassy gay friend convinces Desdemona to flee before Othello can murder her, he stops Ophelia from drowning herself, and Eve from biting into the apple. There's one with The Giving Tree that is so surreally amazing I can't even describe it, and another with Juliet, wherein the sassy gay friend takes a moment to congratulate our heroine for having slept with Romeo before he convinces her not to kill herself. So those are the brief plot descriptions, but it can't do the things justice, not in the slightest. No, you're really going to have to watch them yourself, and then you too can start calling everybody a "stupid, stupid bitch." And you'll laugh.

Here's two. Go to You Tube for the rest, you stupid, stupid bitch.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Quandary of Epic Proportions

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm doing a three week food sensitivity elimination diet on doctor's orders, right? Well I am, and so far have survived. I am allowed to eat the following things: rice, vegetables (but no tomatoes) and fruit. I can eat fish and chicken and 'game' meats during weeks one and three, but not during week two. I am not allowed any alcohol or caffeine. No soy product or gluten of any kind, no legumes, no dairy. Also, no fun. I have however, lost 5 pounds, which sort of makes up for the hassle.

It's been a little bit of a slog at times. Gone are the staples of my diet. (Alas, poor yogurt, I knew him well. Oh, oatmeal, how I miss you so. Lentils! I am having a hard time living without you. And wine, dear dear wine... there are no words.) But all in all, the great surprise of this diet is not how hard it has been to stick to it, but how good I've felt while on it, and how easy that has made this process seem. No doubt, the first few days were an agony of self-denial, especially when I went to a potluck dinner where people had outdone themselves. The orgiastic moans coming from everybody's faces as they ate nearly killed me as I sipped my water and nibbled on a rice cake. Nonetheless, it turns out that, yet once again, my mother was right. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, she always told me, and it's true. Making it through that potluck was tough, but it forged my steel, and I've managed quite well ever since.

Today is day 13 of the diet, and as I sit here eating my breakfast (half a papaya), I am reflecting on a few things I've learned and observed and wondered about.

1. No gluten, just glutton. First of all, good god, I can eat a hell of a lot more food this way. I never realized how much space breads and beans and tofu take up. I am hungry all the time. Yesterday for lunch I had a bowl of gluten-free oatmeal (mushy, slimy) and then a bowl of rice and vegetable stir-fry (yum!). This amount of food is mind-boggling for me. Normally I'd have a hard time just making it to the bottom of one bowl of normal oatmeal, but two bowls of food? TWO?? And the weirdest part - I was hungry four hours later. Really, really hungry. Last week I ate an entire quarter of a watermelon, by myself. For a snack.

2. Quitcher bellyaching. The other day Handsome and I were lounging around and he went to put his head on my tummy. I immediately tensed up because, ow, that always hurts. Except, you know what? It didn't hurt. It didn't hurt AT ALL. This was something of a revolutionary moment for me, the moment in which I went from resenting the hell out of this diet to thinking, hey, maybe there's something to all this! Because my belly is always sore. Not hugely sore, not even painful - just tender feeling in a not-so-good way. But no more! My tummy feels lovely, thank you very much, and Handsome may rest his lovely head upon it any time he wants.

3. Summer here, summer not. Thank God I'm doing this in August, and not in the dead middle of February. If my only options were winter vegetables and frozen fruits, I'd be much much much grumpier. As it is, I'm eating my weight in plums and papaya and watermelon and strawberries and peaches. The Hatch green chile festival is around the corner (yes, I'm counting the days), and the summer greens are robust and delicious. "Oh, how I suffer!" I moan while watermelon juice dribbles down my chin. "How I long for pound cake," I cry out, stuffing handfuls of sweet blueberries and raspberries into my mouth. I try to beg Handsome for some ice cream, but he can't understand me through the mouthful of fresh cherries. Oh well, I shrug, and reach for the bucket of sweet peas by my side, fresh from the garden.

4. Ze Qvandary. For the first half of this 21-day epic food journey, I couldn't even let myself think about the end, for fear I would break down and cry. Now, however, I'm over the hump. I'm on day 13, which means....(doing complicated mathematical equations in my head)... 8 more days! In 8 more days I am to begin the process of reintegration and elimination, and believe it or not, I've worked myself up into quite a tizzy over the prospect.

This is how it's supposed to work. On day 22 I pick one food substance I've eliminated it and aggressively reintegrate it into my diet. Say I choose tomatoes, then I would eat tomatoes for breakfast, tomatoes at lunch, tomatoes with my dinner. I do this for two days, and if I notice absolutely no difference in how I feel, then I move forward onto item two, whatever that might be.

However. (There's always a however.) If the food item does cause me problems of any kind (stomach ache, headache, rash, hives, or, I don't know, tuberculosis, for example) then I have to go back on the diet until I feel clear and easy again. Normally three days, and then I tackle the next food item. As you might imagine, this is causing me some level of anxiety. What do I want to integrate first? Because I don't want to have to go back on the diet for three days, I just want to chuckle through this list, leaving the irritants for last. On the other hand, how great would it be to dive face-first into a huge bowl of ice cream on day 22. Then again, don't I want to choose things that, if I am not sensitive to them, will greatly expand my current menu selections? Should I choose soy? I do love some tofu with my stir fry. Or bread? How about breads?! Spaghetti!!

Oh, sigh. At least I still have 7 days, 13 hours, and 6 minutes to think about it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's a Difficult Stage

When I first laid eyes on L'il Mazdie back in October of 2003, I was dubious. I had never wanted a blue car, much less a blue car with black leather seats, much less a blue car with black leather seats and an automatic transmission. Automatic? Only soccer moms drive those. Black leather seats? What do I look like, a Wall Street tycoon? Blue? Only accountants and insurance agents drive blue cars.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted a convertible hybrid El Camino in cherry red with camel-colored leather seats. Sadly, I am still awaiting the moment a visionary automobile designer over at GM gets a whiff of inspiration and decides to market this highly sexy idea for a car. Until that time, I decided, I would look for the next best thing. I wanted the perfect combination of sporty, sexy, utility, eco-friendly, and fun. Oh, and cheap. Did I mention I was looking for cheap? As you might imagine, that last factor limited my search considerably.

Nonetheless, I sallied forth with pizzaz, determined to find the greatest car out there for the money. I looked high and low, and after being patronized at the Honda dealership and condescended to at the Toyota place, I ended up in the Mazda showroom, determined to slice the throat of the next salesman who asked me "where'd that pretty smile go?" when I sat down to discuss numbers, or looked around after shaking my hand and wondered, "are you here with... your husband? your father?" Grrrr.

Thankfully for the car industry (and for me and L'il Mazdie), I encountered no such road bumps, and very quickly was sold on a bright red Mazda Protegé 5 with tan leather interior and a manual transmission. Only... it was a little more than I could afford. Enter: L'il Mazdie, showroom floor model. See, it was the end of the model year, and what's more, Mazda was discontinuing the Protegé line. Mazdie had a few miles on her. Not too many, but still. You can always get a good deal on an aging floor model.

I smelled a good deal. So with a pang of regret I said farewell to my lovely red sporty sexy car, and said hello to L'il Mazdie at an unbelievable discount. My black and blue automatic un-dream car. It was a bitter pill to swallow, and for a while I resented her. I told her that her nose was too pointy, and her butt was too big. I mocked her behind her back to my friends. I even tried to name her Quincy. (I can hear you gasping out loud.)

But slowly, ever so slowly, L'il Mazdie started to grow on me. Her steadfast perseverance in the face of my animosity impressed me. Her capacious trunk, fold-down-able seats, great sound system, and sunroof started chalking up bonus points. By the time I packed her completely to the gills with everything I owned and moved to New Mexico with her, I was hooked. I quit pretending her name was Quincy. I bought her some beautiful red floral seat covers, hung some mementos from her rear view mirror, and put a University of North Carolina sticker on her rear window. We were in love.

And in love we have remained, through several cross-country moves, long road trips, grocery store runs, trips to the airport, and joyrides with friends. She eventually switched out her threadbare red seat covers for some hot pink ones, and let her flag fly. "What a fun little car I am!" she proclaimed to the world. For six long years, we were so happy together.

I should've been forewarned last month when she took off the pink duds and dressed herself up in.. (oh, I can barely stand to say it...) black and white zebra stripes. Zebra stripes? Really? What's next, L'il Mazdie, tattoos? She started throwing little screaming fits. Just in the mornings, only when I started her up, but still. And then she didn't like the battery she'd been perfectly happy with for the past several years, she wanted a new battery. I suppose all the other cars are getting them, hmmm? So I took her to the car doctor and he changed her belts and her oil, I gave her that new battery she'd been wanting, and I thought that would be the end of it.

But no. I'm afraid that L'il Mazdie, just two months shy of our 7th anniversary together, has gotten a good case of the Seven Year Itch. Two days ago, right before a rainstorm, OF COURSE, I rolled down her driver's side window and heard a loud SNAP! And then her window wouldn't go up any more. Permanently stuck in the down position, and at 102 degrees outside. Thanks, Mazdie. Thanks a lot. It started raining, so I drove over to the car doctor, and left her there with him. $250 later, she is in good working order, but my faith in her is rattled. This is the first time in all our years together that she ever broke anything on purpose, and I'm worried about what it might mean for our relationship.

L'il Mazdie, please settle down. I love you, and I was so looking forward to growing old with you. I hope you can work whatever it is that is bothering you out of your system soon. Can we snuggle?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I, Too, Deserve My Own Canadian.

This post is dedicated to my marvelous brother The Fairy King, and his wonderful partner Sweet Babyface. I have no idea who Nancy Mallette is, or why she posted the following on her Facebook page, but dear lord, I'd like to thank her, from the bottom of my heart. Also from the bottom of my heart, everlasting and eternal devotion to the man who wrote the letter Ms. Mallette cites, James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, University of Virginia. As the daughter of a kick-ass minister (and rather formidable biblical scholar) who I know would agree with every word Dr. Kauffman wrote, I just want to say hurrah. Hurrah for ending the abuse of Christian and Judaic texts in order to suppress the liberties of millions of people the world over who want nothing more than the same rights any heterosexual enjoys - to live, to love, to be free. And, of course, to enslave Canadians. But can you blame them? Who wouldn't want their own personal Canadian?


In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a U.S. man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why I Love Austin: #1

It's no secret that Austin is one of the more amazing places on earth. Blues on the Green, Barton Springs, the Broken Spoke, Zilker Park, bicyclists abounding, dancing and eating outside under enormous live oaks bedecked with white christmas tree lights... it's mighty nice. And Donn's Depot. Can I tell you about Donn's Depot, please? Because I love it.

Hmm. Now that I've said I want to tell you about Donn's, I'm not really even sure where to start. Well, how about this. Imagine, if you will, the following things: red shag carpets, railroad cars, pendulous cobwebs, a house band called Donn and his Station Masters, a free popcorn machine, a stripper pole (in the ladies' room), and an itty bitty dance floor, about which trot an enthusiastic assortment of smooth movers from 21 to 97 years old.

I'm not kidding about the 97 year old. He told me he was, right before he dipped me so low my hair touched the floor.

I love Donn's Depot. I love Donn and his Station Master's, I love that they play reliably good covers of classic country tunes like "Waltz Across Texas," "All My Exes Live in Texas," and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." I love that it's one of the rare places I've ever been where hipsters, yuppies, middle agers, and the geriatric crowd all gather in the same place, enjoying and participating in the same event. I love that they ask everybody for ID at the front door. And I mean EVERYBODY, even the silverbacks. I love that the drinks are cheap, the popcorn is salty and free, and the shag carpeting is the lurid red of a 19th century bordello. I love that at least half of the cobbled-together building is made from old railroad cars, and I love that when you look up at the ceiling you immediately look down, determined to never ever look up again, for fear of what might fall in your eyes.

And I love that, no matter how reliable the above-mentioned delights might be, every now and then, Donn's still manages to surprise me. The other night, for example, Handsome and I went there with our friends Bake and Toto for a wild night of dominoes, drinking, and dancing. I always love a good two-step, and the waltz... well, that goes without saying. I've loved the waltz since I taught myself to dance it by watching the "I Know You, I've Walked With You Once Upon A Dream" scene in Sleeping Beauty twenty million times on repeat.

But as the four of us sat there chatting and laughing and playing dominoes the other evening, I noticed something. The music was out of control. Where was my George Strait? My Porter Wagoner? My Glen Campbell, and Johnny Cash? Instead, Donn and the Stationmasters were leaning heavily on the synthesizer and playing a bizarre series of songs that included all of the following:

1. The Rose. (The Rose? Seriously? They wanted to channel Bette Midler's maudlin tune?)

2. The Girl From Ipanema. (Ha ha. They're kidding, right? No? Well... just... wow.)

3. Can't Keep My Eyes Off Of You. (doo dee doo dee doo dee dah doo, dee doo dee doo dee doooooo... I LOVE YOU BAAABY, AND IF IT'S QUITE ALL RIGHT I NEED YOU BAAAABY FOR ALL THOSE LONELY NIGHTS.....)

4. Suspicious Minds. (Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. LEFT. THE. BUILDING.)

5. Smooth Operator. (You know when Tweety Bird clocks Sylvester the Cat upside the head with a 20 pound hammer and Sylvester's eyes turn into spinning circley things and bells and birds clang all around his head? Yes? OK, that. That's my reaction.)

All I have to say is that the hipsters have something to learn about irony and counter culture if they think a weird haircut, multiple tattoos, and some skinny jeans are going to cut it. Let them first stand upon a stage and croon the words to "Smooth Operator" with nary a blush or giggle. Furthermore, let them do it as a grey haired middle aged man with a slight potbelly. And then, let them partner up and glide across the dance floor, executing flawless spins, graceful steps, and exhibiting a total enjoyment in the moment. That, my friends, is counter-culture cool.

As Handsome and I were dancing later that evening, he said, "Do you you ever feel, sometimes, like when you're in here, you've stepped into some parallel universe, like maybe a little piece of small-town Texas from 1984 got picked up in a vortex and splashed down on 5th street in Austin?"

I said yes. And I love it.

Here's a YouFace video of Donn singing one of my favorite songs of all time. The video quality is pretty bad, but it's a glimmer, at least, of Donn and his glories.

Monday, August 9, 2010

For Superdad and the Fairy King

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am letting the blog lapse. In fact, Superdad called me from an airport in Brazil (what else, from an International Man of Mystery?) to let me know it had been two months, that is TWO. MONTHS. since my last post. My apologies. I fully intend to remedy this situation. I've been trying very hard lately to be disciplined, that is, DISCIPLINED!! about writing my dissertation from 9-5 each day. This attempt, naturally has met with greater and lesser degrees of success, but each time I considered writing a blog post, a Pavlovian reflex went off in my head, reminding me just how much time that would take, and how little actual, real, important writing would get done during the time I was doodling about in Blogolandia. But now, here I am, typing away in the little text window on my Blogger home page, and my, this feels nice. If I were an alcoholic, and writing this blog were beer, I would be slowly feeling the DTs drift away on a gentle breeze. Ahhhh.

So these are the things that have happened in the one and a half months since last I wrote.

1. I went on a two week trip to Nicaragua. It was productive, and a pleasant surprise. More later.
2. I went to New York City for a week. It was fun. FUN!!
3. I did not go to Cuba. Gnashing of teeth, cursing of infernal bureaucracy and its terminal incompetence. More later.
4. I have gone to many parties and seen some darn good movies. Thanks, Netflix online!
5. My parents sent photos you would not believe of the vegetables growing in their garden. 15" zucchini.
6. I have accumulated a million funny stories and weird happenings to tell you about.
7. I have undertaken a three week cleansing diet for food allergy elimination that is utterly unbelievable. Basically, I can eat rice, fruit, green veggies, and air. This is still in process. I have lost 4 pounds this week, if my scale is to believed. More news on this later, if I don't disintegrate into a puff of glittery dust before next we speak.

I have many stories, pictures, even video (!!) to post and share. I will do so. Sorry, Dad. Sorry, FK. I'm on it. To tide you over until that time, from my parents' garden, check out 'dem apples:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inexplicable Things

There are a fair number of things I do not understand in this world. I do not understand how to spell cappucchino (argh, foiled again), and I do not understand why, when Australia is more than 3x bigger than Greenland, Greenland looks 3x bigger than Australia on most maps. To be fair, I do understand that there are explanations (Italian, in the first case, Mercatur projection in the second), I just don't understand how those explanations work.

But this, that I am about to share with you? This I do not understand, nor do I believe there is a single logical, rational, or even irrational explanation for what follows. I received this in a fowarded email from my nutto little sister Crasey yesterday, and am inexplicably fascinated:

Apparently, a friend of Crasey's is getting married, and wrote the following note (verbatim) to her hairdresser:

Hi [name redacted],
I wanted to give you an updated list of how many girls will be getting hair and/or makeup on july Xth. There will be 5 for hair (including me) and 7 for makeup (including me). Do you accept checks for their payments? Who should they make it out to?
[Name redacted]

And this, apparently, was her response:

Hi [name]. Loken for to do your wedding. I well hav a assisten ef me your day wedding. I well col you getin clour. I wod leke to be paed in cach wf pasebol. I'm wk now I coll you tommor love [name].

Seriously? I neither understand, nor do I believe there is even an explanation because I've tried out every explanation I can think of, and none of them hold water. I am mystified, fascinated, and entertained.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Modern Love Story

I suppose I should've been alert to the fact that, when I started dating the most handsome and wonderful man in the universe, other, less moral individuals, might try to edge me out. They might mistake me for a milksop, the kind of woman who'd give up her man without a fight. I might have kept my eyes more wide open, and staked my claim more publicly, but even if I had, I never would've seen it coming from whence it came: my little brother Bug. (Don't be fooled by that adorable smile!)

Well, Bug, you'd better watch it, buddy. I am not about to give this guy up without a fight. So you can hold hands with him,

And you can frolic in the water with him, leaping and splashing and jumping about.

You can share your favorite little dog with him,

And you can even let him spin you around and around

and around and around in the water.

And when it's time for us to head back to Texas, you can cover him up with all the Guys so I can't find him and make him come to the plane with me.

But I'm older and wilier than you, young Skywalker. I see his hand, waving at me from behind Brown Bear. So I tell you what, little Bug. I'm also a nice lady, and I love you an awful lot, so here's a deal. If you promise not to steal Handsome away from me...

I'll share him with you.

And we can all live happily ever after.

The end.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hard to Write

I have been thinking about what kind of post I could write to talk a little more about Birdie, but in the interest of emotional health and stability, I think I need to wait a longer time. At this point it is still too painful. I will one day, when I feel more able, but that time is not now, so I'm just going to leave it at that. I'll be back in a day or two to tell you what else has been going on in my life. I'm managing to enjoy myself - I'm amazed at how easy it is to forget, to let go, and have fun, in spite of everything. It's just that every time I come home, she's not here, and my heart breaks all over again. I feel guilty for having enjoyed myself. And every time I open my blog, thinking about writing, this huge grief comes up and strangles the words right out of me. I know this gets easier, I know that with time I'll be able to talk and think and write about her without my throat aching and my stomach hurting and my eyes welling up with tears...

Just not yet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Birdie My Love

This morning at 8:30 am, the little dog whom I have loved with my whole heart, and who, in turn, has trusted and loved me with all of hers, passed away. Birdie my love. I am bereft.