Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hanging Up My Spurs

It's not that I don't want to write. It's not that I'm "over" blogging. I do want to, I just can't. I love this blog. I love writing in it, I love thinking up what I'm going to write in it. I've got a million stories built up in my head that I would love to sit down and write. But if I'm going to finish this dissertation in anything remotely approaching the alloted time in which I will be funded to write, I've got to focus my energies.

This would've been a cleaner break if I'd just stopped for good when I said I would earlier this summer, but I found upon quitting that I missed it too much. Well I still miss it, but I've got an assload of work to get done - work I actually enjoy doing, which is a nice change from the status quo - and I can't sit at the library and daydream about blogging right now. So I'm sorry, blog, and I'm sorry, me. But this pony is going to take a nice long nap in its stall. It may come out once or twice every now and then when something just too good comes along, or if i get a chance to take another cool trip, but I can no longer maintain the pretense that I'll post tomorrow. Too many interviews to transcribe, too much work to get done right now. In lieu of cheastypants, I'd like to direct your attention to a little blog written by a student (friend of mine) who is studying abroad in China. It's fantastic, and makes me laugh out loud. It's called Keller's Cogitations. Go, read, be merry.

Adios, mundo mio. Talk to you all later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh I Have Dreamed Of Days Like These

I'd just like to say at the outset that I am fully aware that should I happen to re-read this post at any point this winter, particularly in February, I will likely want to retroactively perpetrate great damage and pain upon my own body. But today, I just can't help myself - it is cold outside! Perhaps I should qualify. By "cold," I mean in the sixties, which I am well aware is laughable to many hale and hearty residents of northern climes, but I stand by my statement. It is cold. Huzzah! It is cold and rainy and overcast. Oh joy! There is no sun in the sky, and when I stepped outside yesterday wearing only a thin sweater (well, pants and shoes, too), I became instantly chilled. What bliss! I slept the past few nights with the windows open under a snuggly blanket, and Birdie curled up as close as she could physically get without actually being under the covers, or inside my skin. Ahhhhh. For the first time in months, I am not hot, and so today, in spite of the obvious climatological foreshadowing of an utterly miserable and wet winter season, I and my acres and acres of beautiful bouncy hair will do a celebratory dance of joy. Watch me sparkle, world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out of the Closet, Birdie.

Well, my poppets, it is as I have long suspected. My cute little dog Birdie is in the closet. I grew suspicious when she peed like a boy dog, and my suspicions solidified into a theory when she marked territory every two feet on our walks around the neighborhood. But today, my suspicions were confirmed. Birdie is in the closet, and I don't know how to make her feel safe enough to come out.

This morning after our walk, Birdie was lounging about on the couch, curled up on her favorite fish pillow. A pillow, I ought to note, that my friends and I call the "gay fish pillow" due to it's festive rainbow color scheme.

I was making toast for breakfast in the kitchen, and I guess the toaster got a little overzealous in its toastiness, because next thing I knew the smoke alarm was going off right overhead. And Birdie, my deaf little doggie, who probably hasn't heard anything since the New Kids on the Block were popular... well let's just say she HEARD that smoke alarm and it scared the ever-loving shitballs out of her. She jumped about three feet high in the air, spun around in a tight circle a few times looking for the attackers, and then, seeing nothing (cause she's blind), leapt off the sofa, streaked across the kitchen, and darted into the back corner of my closet. She has been there now for 30 minutes, and nothing can induce her to leave - not snacks, not snuggles, not her favorite blanket.

Can you see her? She's that little black munchkin hiding under my dress. Here's a closer look.

Come out of the closet, Birdie! It's safe out here, I promise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lend Me Your Mean

Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your mean. Yes, I said mean. Bring me your impishness and your mischief. Loan me the evil glimmer in your eye. Assist me, if you will, and help me whet my killer instinct, for I find myself sorely lacking in this time of need. You see, my dears, I have been attacked by fiends disguised as good friends, and though in the past I have fallen short of prankster glory (see last year's insult-a-thon and email-bomb with my good friend Mutt, a story I strongly encourage you to read or re-read, just for the sheer glory of the experience), this time I shall not fail, I shall not fall short, and I will prevail. But to do so, I fear I need some help.

First let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I was dining the other evening with my friends Bake and Toto, a married couple who pride themselves on puckish pranksterism. At some point, the word douchebag came up, and though the conversation about using the term as an insult meandered hither and thither, in the end I mentioned that it would be nice if just once we, as a culture, could come up with a gender-neutral way of insulting each other. For example, why douchebag? Why not, I offered, just call each other "enema face?" We chuckled and chortled, ultimately deciding that while enema-face did have its charms, it didn't come trippingly off the tongue, and ought to be discarded. After dinner we parted ways, and when I came back to my car (which I had foolishly left at Bake and Toto's house) later that night, it was to find that somebody had decorated my car.

And then on the side:

ENEMA FACE? And as if that wasn't bad enough, they MISSPELLED ENEMA. Enima? I hear from unconfirmed and anonymous sources that they did this on purpose, correctly divining that I would be mildly embarrassed to drive through the streets of Austin with ENEMA written on the back of my car, but ENIMA? Oh, god, may the earth swallow me whole. Actually, if you look at the picture, you can see where I tried to move the shaving cream around to make the "i" into an "e." I failed.

The PORN STAR and shaving cream on the door handle was a nice touch, I have to say. In fact, the whole trick was neatly done. No permanent damage incurred, and the whole thing was very funny, with just a kick of public humiliation thrown in for good measure. I love these kinds of games!

So that is where I stand. While I did "accidentally" dump half a pitcher of water onto Toto's lap the other day (actually, that was quite good, if I do say so myself), I must exact retribution that is swift, just, and more-or-less merciful, while still getting them back good. I'm great at pranking folks I live with - short sheeting, saran wrap on the toilet, toothpaste on the potty seat, rubber bands around the hose nozzle at the sink so it squirts the person in the shirt, etc. But I fear right now I am out of my depth. I lack the killer instinct for really getting somebody good, sadly. What on earth shall I do?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hello, I'm Mr. Right.

A friend of mine just sent me this link with an inquiry as to whether he ought to do a similar video profile to pep up his dating life. All I have to say is GOOD LORD WATCH THIS VIDEO IMMEDIATELY. Also, having just signed up for a little eBay dating myself, I am now officially terrified. Are all men this nutto? Seriously? Perhaps I should implant a GPS tracking device under my skin so that in case some crazy dude who thinks I'm a "Donna Juanita," whatever in the hell that means, (watch video) kidnaps me, forces me to cut my hair in a mullet, and brainwashes me into singing backup for a nightclub act at a local strip joint under the alias "Chesty LaRue," ...well in case that happens at least somebody will be able to track me down and rescue me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Mary Travers, Wherever You Are.

I was born in 1977, so strictly speaking, I had very little personal knowledge of the issues and themes that motivated the 1960s political folk music movement. Free love? Civil Rights? Anti-war protests? Bob Dylan? By the time I became aware of music beyond nursery songs and lullabies, the social costs of free love were about to catch up with us in the form of the AIDS virus, the Civil Rights Movement had passed its political apex, the Vietnam War was over, and Bob Dylan was reinventing himself as a Born Again Christian. But largely thanks to my mother, the inimitable Captain Mommypants, I might as well have grown up 20 years earlier. How many other girls of my generation can speak with any degree of fluency about "the 27 8x10 color glossy photos with the circles and the arrows and the writin' on the back?" Let me tell you, not so many, and I'm in a position to know.

One of my mother's favorite groups (and thus, one of mine) was Peter, Paul, and Mary. We played those tapes until they shredded, and once they shredded, we just bought more. I grew up on that music. So when I heard on NPR this morning that Mary Travers had died, I felt... well I felt bereaved, there's really no other word for it. I put down my Cheerios, picked up my little dog, sat on the couch for a few minutes and just let myself feel sad, because something wonderful lived in that woman, and what she shared with the world, what she shared with me, shaped the world we live in, and shaped the person I became. I guess a lot of people are going to write meaningful obituaries that speak about her professional accomplishments, so there's no need to rehash those details here. Instead, I'm just going to post a few videos of PPM performing some of my favorite songs, and let you know that this morning while I biked to work I put my Peter Paul and Mary playlist on my iPod and as I listened to Mary's beautiful voice, I cried.

I cried when I listened to them sing Puff the Magic Dragon. In fact, that's when the crying started, right when they got to the line, "Jackie Paper came no more."

I cried through If I Had a Hammer, because my god, do we need people who feel this strongly speaking out today.

and Blowin' in the Wind, because... well, just because. It's blowin' in the wind.

In my early 20s I worked as a backpacking guide for a state-run "hoods in the woods" program in Utah, and I'd bribe my kids to be good with the promise of a lullaby at night. They had a choice of any number of Peter, Paul, and Mary songs, but their favorites were 500 Miles and Blowin' in the Wind. My favorites, too. So when I cried through 500 Miles I was crying for Mary Travers, but I was also crying for those young men in the wilderness, many of them well on their way toward becoming hardened thugs, and all of them desperate for a little bit of love.

Most people my age broke their concert teeth on the New Kids on the Block or MC Hammer, but not me. My first concert ever was Peter, Paul, and Mary. And trust me. There was nobody at that amphitheater more excited to see these folk legends than I was. I remember at one point a jet flew overhead while Mary was introducing a song, and she had to stop speaking. She waited for the noise to quiet, and then held up her hands to the audience. "If there's one thing I've learned in all my years," she said, "it is that often it is better to simply wait. Because this, too, shall pass." The audience laughed as she'd intended them to, but that particular piece of wisdom stuck in my 14 year old mind like a burr. So Mary Travers, wherever you are, thank you. Thank you for gifting this world with wonderful music, for caring and working hard for important social issues, for trying to make the world a better place. But thank you also, just from me, for telling me that "this too shall pass." You have no idea how many times that has helped me get through the harder parts of life.

That's all I've got for today, so I'll leave you with one last song, should you want to listen. It's one of my favorites, but not a famous PPM recording. It's called The First Time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kindergarten Kidlet

Dear Bug,

Well my little brother, I was talking to our mother on the phone yesterday and I found out that you've recently started kindergarten, and I just want to say WHAT THE F&CK. Kindergarten? KINDERGARTEN? Do you not even realize what that means, Buggo? It means you're getting old. Growing up. Becoming a Big Boy. I am suddenly terrified, for I know what happens when adorable little boys go to school. First they become kids, which isn't really so bad. The learning and writing and spelling can be kind of cute. But after kidhood comes adolescence, which occasionally is still nice, but then (oh, shudders), you will eventually become a teenager. Teenager! Outrageous! I won't have it, Bug, I'm just letting you know that right off the bat. I like you the way you are - silly and sweet and unselfconscious and stubborn and absolutely delightful. What's going to happen when you go to school?

Will you still want to go camping with me? Will you still stay up all night reading Dick and Jane over and over and over again?

Will you eventually become so self-aware that you don't pee in public anymore?

Will you become sufficiently self-contained to sit still and patiently while Mom cuts your hair?

I hope you don't become too self-conscious to kiss your sisters whenever they demand it.

I hope you don't ever get "too cool" to snuggle up with me and Big Dog for a nice afternoon snuggle-book.

Sigh. Oh, Bug. I'm glad you're growing and learning and becoming the wonderful person you will one day be. More than anything I just regret that I'm missing so much of it, all the way out here in Texas. I'm aware that I can't really force you to stay five years old and adorable for the rest of your life. I know that one day you'll get braces, and then your voice will change and eventually you'll probably think that video games are more fun than exploring in the woods (though dear lord, I hope that day never comes). I know your voice will change and you'll crush opponents on the football field and then will come algebra and back hair. And in all likelihood, you will still be an absolutely wonderful teddy bear of a human being, a person who makes everybody around them happier just by being there. I know this, and I promise I won't try to freeze you in time too much, but only if you promise me one thing:


I love you, kiddo. Happy kindergarten.

Your adoring older sister,
Amazing Cheastypants.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


OK, I have some very important news. Ground-breaking. Earth-shattering. But you have to promise not to tell.

No, I mean it.


If this news gets out I'll never have another peaceful moment, especially given the global implications. Ok, lean closer. (Whispering) I just discovered that I can control the weather.


Want to know how I figured it out? OK, I'll tell you. I thought to myself a few months ago,"Wow this drought is misery. It's hot, it's dry, it's hot hot hot hot, dry dry dry dry." And then I thought, with a philosophical shrug, "Just as well, really, since I don't have galoshes. If it rains my feet will get all wet!"

But then I thought, "Hey! Maybe that's all the weather is waiting on? God doesn't want it to rain until I'm sufficiently prepared." And naturally I felt guilty at the thought of all those crops withering in the field, rivers drying up, fish drowning on land, and the extra algae growing in Barton Springs.

So I bought galoshes. And guess what - it promptly started raining, and hasn't really stopped for the last few days.

Told ya.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Lunar Module Launch Goes Sadly Awry

Cape Canaveral, FLORIDA -

NASA officials announced today that a technical malfunction at the launch of their new lunar module caused the module to land, not as planned, on the moon, but instead on an unsuspecting citizen's face in Austin, TX. "We at NASA would like to express our extreme regret to the victim, Ms. Amazing Cheastypants," said NASA spokesperson Johnny Rocket. "I can only imagine that having a lunar module embedded in your face would cause both physical and psychological pain, and I want to assure Miss AmazingPants that our scientists are working round the clock to design a strategic removal of said lunar module."

In Austin, Amazing Cheastypants, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, seemed bemused by the situation. "I am beyond shocked," commented Ms. AmazingPants to the media at a press conference this morning. "It happened while I was sleeping, I guess, though how I slept through a lunar module landing on my face, God only knows. When I woke up I thought it was just an enormous zit!" As the assembled press corps chuckled in commiseration, Ms. AmazingPants cradled her face gingerly to support the weight of the lunar module, embedded in her left cheek, about half an inch away from her nose. "In a way, I'm sort of relieved to find that it's a lunar module, because if I were still getting zits this big at 31 years of age, I'd be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Knowing it's just a $14 billion piece of scientific equipment makes me feel a little better about myself, though I do regret the waste of so many taxpayer dollars."

When asked if she was experiencing any health side effects from the embedded lunar module, Ms. AmazingPants responded that, physically, she was feeling just fine. She did express concern, however, that the module was beginning to exert a gravitational pull on other parts of her body. "It's fine right now," she commented, "I'm just feeling and looking a bit 'perkier,' and I'm certainly filling out my push-up bra better than I did yesterday. I wouldn't want this to continue, however." When pushed for details, Ms. AmazingPants said, "Let's just say that if my boobs begin to orbit my face, NASA's going to be in a whole world of hurt when I get done with them."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Further Revelations About My Amazing Dog Birdie.

My little dog Birdie, as anybody who've been reading this blog for the past few months knows, is a 12-year-old wondermutt rescue dog. She's deaf, she's blind, she's missing most of her teeth, and she's practically anorexic. Her tail has been broken and badly set in three identifiable places, and her hilariously long legs manage to be simultaneously bow-legged and splay-footed. She looks like a cross between a muppet and a Dr. Seuss character, has difficulty keeping her tongue in her mouth, is allergic to nearly every food group on the planet, and is generally the most awesome little dog in the world.

In spite of her multiplicity of handicaps, anybody who's ever met my sweet petunia could tell you that she's a champion at an astonishing number of things. These things are, in order of importance, 1. being cute. 2. melting my heart with her cuteness. 3. loving to ride in the car (cutely). 4. following me around like I'm her personal guru (guru, to her, being the person who feeds her lamb, the only food she will eat). 5. loving me with her cute little eyes. 6. hogging the bed (not so cute).

I know, I know. She's pretty amazing. But in spite of all this greatness, I still haven't told you what her number one skill is, the skill that elevates her out of the realm of mere "champion" and into the stratosphere of OLYMPIC champion. That's right, I said OLYMPIC. I mean, I knew she was cool, but really. Imagine my surprise when President Obama called me up the other day.

"Hello Ms. AmazingPants," our commander in chief said to me. "In times of need such as this current economic crisis, our country needs a hero - somebody the people can look up to, a goal our children can dream of, a greatness for which we might strive. It has come to my attention, and I know this must come as a surprise to you, but we believe that your dog Birdie might be such a hero for the American people. Will you allow her to serve her country in its hour of need?"

"Of course, Mr. Obama," I replied, "but I must confess I'm a little in the dark. What exactly is Birdie supposed to do?"

"Well perhaps you've heard that the International Olympic Committee has recently added a few new sports to its Summer Olympic roster? You know, boxing, golf, that sort of thing. Well one of the new categories is Long Distance Sleeping, and we've heard from our sources in Texas that Birdie is a vastly talented sleeper."

It's true, blog. Mr. Obama had heard correctly. Though Birdie is all that is sprightly and adorable when she's awake, that is a narrow window of time, indeed. At Mr. Obama's urging, I did some quick calculations. Birdie is generally awake only from 4pm to 11pm every day, with brief windows of awakening for a morning walk and subsequent delicious snack. That is 7 hours. If you multiply 7 times 7, you'll find that Birdie is only awake for a cumulative total of two days out of every seven. Framed in another way, Birdie sleeps for FIVE DAYS out of every week. Faced with these impressive statistics, there was really only one thing I could do.

"Mr. President," I said, "You may consider Birdie and myself at your service. I ask not what my country can do for me, but what my amazing dog can do for my country. We will proudly join the American Long Distance Sleeping Team in 2012. The Stars and Stripes will wave proudly above the winner's podium, I can promise you that."

I got off the phone and ran upstairs to tell Birdie the news. Naturally, I had to wake her up from a delicious nap.
"Oh yeah?" she yawned, "That's cool. Can I go back to sleep now?"

One year ago on Amazing Cheastypants.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unders In My Icebox

When I was a kid, my sainted mother had what, at this far remove, seems like endless patience with us children. All one hundred and five of us. During the summers when she was in graduate school we'd all be home for summer too. We'd have friends over. We'd have fights with those friends. We'd laugh and cry and break things and paint on the walls -- ACCIDENTALLY. We howled and galumphed, shrieked and sang, ran and fell and crashed into things, and through it all Captain Mommypants kept her cool. Though she'd often look up at the ceiling and announce to the heavens, "That's it. I'm changing my name and moving to Australia," we all couldn't help but notice that she never really did change her name. Or move to Australia. Nope, she stayed right there with us in North Carolina, and on the days when we were truly unruly, she simply locked us out of the house with a cooler full of water, a handful of plastic cups, and a roll of toilet paper.

"DO NOT COME BACK IN THIS HOUSE UNTIL I RING THE DINNER BELL, YOU BUNCH OF BANSHEES!" she'd bellow, steam billowing from her ears.
"But Moooooooooom," we'd whine musically, en masse. "What if we get hungry, or get a cut on our knees, or have to go number two?" (Frantic batting of very cute eyelashes, dimpling of plump and pinchable cheeks.)
Mom would take a deep breath and cast about for the frayed remnants of her patience. "If you get a cut, you may come inside to clean it. If you have to go number two, you may come inside to use the toilet. But if you flush before I can verify that you did indeed go number two and weren't trying to pull a fast one on me, you will spend the rest of your life folding laundry. Now GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY." And the door would slam rather emphatically and we'd be stuck outside in 94 degree heat and 80% humidity for the rest of the day. Which, in the end, I'm awfully glad we were. Sure, my knowledge of pop-80s television shows and music is sadly deficient, but we had so much fun playing in the woods that, really, who cares. Plus, I built up a rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat.

Did you catch that last bit? The part about the rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat. Yes, well. Ahem. About that. (Commence noisy weeping.)

We here in Austin are on our 66th day of over-100-degree heat today. SIXTY-SIX DAYS. That's NINE WEEKS. TWO MONTHS AND A WEEK. We have broken, at this point, every known record for egregious heat conditions on the books for Austin since they first started keeping records back in 1854. Hottest June on record? We killed that record. Hottest July? Mark it down. Hottest August? Already done it, and the month isn't even over. Hottest summer? You betcha. That's 66 days, and that's not even counting the dozens of days where the temperature stayed at 99 or 98, which is still effing hot. And that rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat I once possessed? It is currently lying on the ground outside, a badly-beaten quivering pulp of jelly, having offered what turned out to be futile resistance to the overwhelming ass-kicking Mother Nature is handing it this summer.

In my never-ending quest to find an adequate coping mechanism, I've tried just about every trick on the books. I soak a bandana in cold water and drape it around my neck when I walk the dog. I spend inordinate amounts of time at Barton Springs, submerging myself in the perpetually 68 degree water (ooooh, shivers of deliciousness). But you know where the best help has come from? You're never going to guess:

Marilyn Monroe.

See, told you. I bet you didn't guess Marilyn Monroe. I know, who would've thought it, but it's true! Have you ever seen The Seven Year Itch? Here's a really short scene that captures the ethos of my life this summer: the desperate search for ways to stay cool.

Marilyn offers a few other solutions over the course of that movie, most of which involve traipsing about New York in all of her scantily-clad glory (remember the subway scene?). There is one solution, however, that I've found quite effective, and I'm here to share it with you today, my sweet petunias, so that the next time you're concerned that the blood in your head might boil your brains, you too can try it. Marilyn Monroe recommends keeping your unders in the icebox."(Imagine it: breathy voice, suggestively waggling eyebrows, twitching lips, sultry smile: "Oooh, I keep my unders (pant, pant) in the icebox! (Squeal, giggle.) It's simply delicious!")

Unders in the icebox, I thought, the first time I saw that movie. Why that's preposterous! Whoever would do such a thing? Well I'll tell you who, blog. Me. I finally got hot enough that I thought, hmmm, what was that thing Marilyn Monroe said about keeping your unders in the icebox? Why I think I'll try it!

And it was lovely, blog. Just lovely. For the 3.5 nanoseconds before my body heated them right back up again, those cool unders were amazing. However, I recommend not freezing bras that employ... how shall I say this delicately... gelatinous structural supports for the poorly endowed? They turn kind of lumpy when they freeze. Not that I would have any experience with that, mind you. Pure speculation, that's what that was. Harumph.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

So I know what you all are wondering. What on earth does a girl as intelligent, talented, sophisticated, and unspeakably beautiful as Amazing Cheastypants do when ennui creeps in? Oh many many things, I assure you, my darlings. Occasionally I will author a Pulitzer Prize winning book. When the excitement from that wears off, I've been known to fly to exotic locales in my trusty Piper Cub to set up enormous nature preserves which, naturally, I endow with a hefty bank balance to ensure long-term viability. I remember fondly one winter vacation when a film I made won both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, and then there was the unspeakably wonderful time when I spontaneously tried out for Madame Butterfly at the Paris Opera and was cast as the lead soprano. Oh, the applause was thunderous, and the critics' reviews were thrilling to read! But alas, being a first-rate opera singer was not my destiny in life, and so I left it behind to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a jewel-bedecked professor of History. This summer, however, I started to feel that tickly feeling again, that get-out-and-conquer-a-new-world impulse that has so often driven me to greatness. You'll remember, of course, that I took a brief hiatus from writing this blog? Well, my sweet petunias, this is why: I needed a little free time to practice for the 2009 European Indoor Cycling World Championship, which (it almost goes without saying, really) my partner and I won. Naturally.

Would you like to see the video? Yes, yes, I thought so. Well here you go, poppets. Enjoy! I'm the one on the left.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Overheard In Austin

The other evening as some friends and I were walking back to our cars after a lovely late-night swim at Barton Springs, I overheard something I cannot get out of my head. Has that ever happened to you? You hear somebody you don't know say something you don't understand about somebody or something you are completely unaware of, and WHAM! You're hooked. Well it happens to me all the time.

For example, a few months ago I was in the airport and I spent an eternity trying to figure out what on earth a certain young lady had done to the older gentleman by her side when i heard him to say to her, "I cannot believe you just did that." I think it was the way he said it that grabbed my attention, really. No disgust, no excitement, no quiet resignation. It was completely flat, as if he were a robotic voice. "I-can-not-be-lieve-you-just-did-that."

Well? WHAT?! WHAT DID SHE DO?! Are they related? Is he her father? Maybe he is her father's best friend and they are embarking upon a torrid and taboo affair of love. And she... I don't know. Left her parents a note, telling them what she was doing... AND WITH WHOM. "Oh great, now not only am I going to jail, but your father will kill me. I cannot believe you just did that." Maybe he's her science teacher and they were on the way to the National Science Fair Championship of the Universe and she... I don't know. Forgot to pack the baking soda. "Oh, great. Now the model volcano won't erupt. I cannot believe you just did that."

Ach. So many possibilities, so few answers.

Well this is what I heard the other day, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out what they might have been talking about, so I'm enlisting your help, blog. It was a group of men and women in their twenties, slightly hipster-hippie looking, and one poorly-shaven young guy said, in tones of incredulous certainty, "No, sex makes it worse!" Got that? Incredulous certainty. That's what's got me going around in circles. I mean, if it were... I don't know. Something that OBVIOUSLY sex would make it worse, then he wouldn't have sounded so incredulous, would he. Moreover, his comment sounded as if he were answering somebody's suggestion that perhaps sex would make "it," whatever "it" is, better. Like he's tried it and, much to his surprise, sex made it worse. I am truly stumped.

So.... what were they talking about? On your marks, get set..... Go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Wonderment For Tuesday

Normally I find inspirational posters and videos and cross-stitch thingies completely annoying. Especially that one with a kitten clinging desperately to a branch that says, "Hang in there!" That one makes me gag and want to hit things repeatedly with a crowbar. I mean, for God's sake WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE THAT LITTLE KITTEN FROM DYING.

This video, however, is a different story because it's COOL! I mean, yeah, you can totally ignore the last 20 seconds where they gently lecture you that if you have not failed you've never really lived - because honestly, I'd prefer to believe that I will encounter nothing but uproarious success in my life, over and over and over again. But all the stuff they tell you as the build-up to that? WOW. I mean, really. Who knew? Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go write that novel I'm always saying I'll write one day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here's a Little Secret

Today I'm making soup and cleaning house, and it occurred to me that I might be sitting on the greatest secret of all time. You want to know what makes house cleaning fun? I put on my favorite musicals while I do it, so as I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing the wooden floor, I'm singing along at the top of my lungs with Fraulein Maria as she yodels "I Have Confidence." While I fold my laundry I dance along with Marion the Librarian, and while I dust the furniture or rub leather conditioner into my battered old couch I'm humming along with Judy Garland as she finds love during "Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley."

What can I say. I might be a nutter, but at least I'm having fun. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to miss "76 Trombones," and so I must run. Want to watch it with me?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grant Me One Wish...

So here I sit, putting myself through the nauseating and slightly self-abasing process of applying for grants, fellowships, and other forms of funding for the next year of my graduate schooling. I can never decide whether I find the process amusing in a "hey, let's all play make-believe and imagine how marvelous this project could be!" kind of way, or whether I find it depressing. Because instead of actually working on my dissertation, I'm spending inordinate amounts of time convincing people to give me money next year so that I can continue to work on my dissertation. I mean, if I weren't working on grants, I would be working on my diss, so maybe if I weren't doing this I could finish this year and therefore have no need for money for next year? Yeah, well. Wishful thinking.

My anorexic dog Birdie, on the other hand, recently discovered a food she likes (hint: baaaaaaa) and ate herself into a coma this morning. So far she's been sleeping curled up on the sofa in the exact same position for 4 hours and 20 minutes, and that's only counting from when I first noticed that she hadn't moved in a long time and got up to check her for a pulse. All's well, but the Great Birdie Watch of 2009 commences. I'll let you know if she ever regains consciousness, or if she will happily snooze forever, dreaming of all the little lambs that died to feed her carnivorous appetite.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Great Face for Radio.

Ok, so the radio idea I mentioned in my last post. This is a work in progress, and believe you me, I am open to suggestions of any and all sorts. Here's my plan. The world is huge, right? It's huge and diverse and has fascinating histories of all sorts, so wouldn't it be cool to learn about some of the coolest stuff on the planet? People all over the world spend their professional lives digging up obscure things to write dissertations, articles, and books about, and the vast majority of those dissertations, articles, and books sit on shelves and collect dust, except when some other person researching an obscure topic reads them to further their own work. All in all, it's a great big world of knowledge that nobody outside the ivory tower is actually learning, and that is just plain wrong. Because while each individual article or PhD topic might sound a little abstruse ("Notes on a Balinese Cockfight," anyone?), when you take the time to ask a few questions, it often turns out to be fascinating, informative, and widely applicable to the world we live in today.

Here's an example: my sister Umulu wrote an honors thesis in college called something like, "Changing Concepts of Time in Post-Bolshevik Russia." When she first told me her topic, my initial reaction was, "Gawp. What the eff does that even mean? No, never mind, don't tell me, it sounds boring." Well I couldn't have been more wrong. It was fascinating. I just had never thought about what it might mean for an agricultural society to be forced - literally forced by a powerful central government - to make a rapid shift towards industrialization. Their concept of time, which previously had revolved around seasons, cycles, and circadian rhythms, became immediately subject to factory whistles - minute and second hands on a clock. In short, looking at thematic portrayals of time in literature, periodicals, propaganda, and art illustrated a greater point about how Russian peasants acclimatized to rapid industrialization and profound social change. Or, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, I have a friend that's studying astrology in 16th century Mexico, and another that's writing about PIRATES!

So that, in a nutshell, is what I want to do. I want to find people that are researching cool ideas in history, anthropology, art, musicology, science, etc, and interview them. Nobody is going to read their dissertations, but if I can get them to simplify the ideas, take it out of academic jargon and just talk about it in every-day normal human language, wouldn't that be cool? We could talk about their research process, future plans, and how the whole shebang applies to modern life. What an amazing way to learn!

So here's where I need your help, if help you are willing to offer. I'd like to know the following things:

a) Whether the idea sounds good, or like a giant snooze. If it sounds like a giant snooze, how could I make it more interesting?

b) What should I call the program? I had an early plan to call it "Shit You Didn't Know About Places You've Never Been," but then I realized you can't say "shit" on public radio, so there went that idea. I also toyed with calling it "A Great Big World," or maybe, "The Continued Adventures of A Great Big World." Or... yeah. That's all I've got for now. Help?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rejuvenation Station.

Anybody out there? (Tap, tap, tap).

Is this thing on?


Testing, testing, sssssibilance, sssssibilance...

OH! There you are! How nice.

My precious petunias! Many thanks for waiting patiently while I sorted out my general state of ennui. Now I am better! I had a little bit of a personal crisis of confidence, or maybe it was a crisis of inspiration? Definitely it was a crisis of OH MY GOD I've been in grad school for four years - FFFFOOOUUUUUURRRR YYYYEEEEAAAAAAARRRSSS - and I'm still a freaking gee-dee emmer-effing student. The following are the ways I would have defined my current job recently. STUDENT: one who is in no way in charge of her life. STUDENT: one who is in the process of being beaten down to a quivering intellectual pulp, only to be awarded a fancy degree when the last smidgen of resistance has collapsed. STUDENT: one who occasionally freaks the hell out and needs to regroup so as to maintain the illusion of control over his or her own life. The problem with a PhD program is that by the time you've been in for FOUR YEARS and are ready to just about scream bloody murder, to say screw this, I'm out of here, is it all right if I just turn in a one-page summary of my research findings... well, that's when it's got you by the short and curlies, because for the love of all that is holy, are you really going to walk away from four years of work? I mean, come on! You're over half-way there! Just duck your head down and keep plugging away. So I had to deal with that.

Want to know what I came up with? OK, I'll tell you. I am not a student. I mean, yes I am a student, but I'm not a STUDENT. The problem was that in the past few years what with master's thesis and comprehensive exams and 9 month research trips in Nicaragua that I really couldn't wait to be over, I'd gotten so good at keeping my eyes down and my steps plodding that I forgot all about HOW AWESOME life is, and, concomitantly, how awesome I am. I am Amazing Cheastypants! This world is a crazy and excellent place! I love to travel and learn! I have a fantastic family and wonderful friends! I am so lucky! I love to dance! The air sparkles when I walk through a room, and my acres and acres of beautiful bouncy hair bring gasps of joy and wonderment to people everywhere! Naturally, I have a biased opinion of my own grandeur and excellence, so feel free to disagree, but this is my blog, and if I can't toot my own horn here, then what's the freaking point.

Anyway, this is what I came up with. I will continue to work on the dissertation, and in two years folks will be calling me DOCTOR Amazing Cheastypants, but in the interim, I need to do something to harness my creative juices, celebrate the things I think are awesome in this world, and build a space in my professional life in which I AM THE BOSS OF ME. So I think I'm going to start a talk radio show. I'll tell you all about it in my next post.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Hiatus, Until Further Notice

Hey blog, I wanted to give proper notice that I'm putting Cheastypants on hiatus. I don't know for how long, but for right now, I kind of want to stop. So I'm stopping. If I decide to start 'er up again I'll make the rounds of comments and emails and facebooks and whatnot to let you I'm posting again. Thanks so much for reading - I'll still bop about my favorite blogs to say hello from time to time. Happy summering, y hasta luego!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Amazing Adventures of a Deaf, Blind, Toothless, Anorexic Bird Dog

You are not going to believe what my dumb dog Birdie did the other day. In a fit of whimsy while hanging out in my sister's back yard, I let her off the leash to explore. Because really, how much trouble could she get in, right? Ha. Joke's on me. I keep thinking she's normal, you know? Like she isn't blind (did I tell you about the cataracts the vet just told me about?). Or deaf. Or toothless. And have I mentioned her strange eating disorder? It turns out 14-year-old stick figures aren't the only creatures that yearn to be runway models. Birdie is sittin' pretty at 30% underweight, and no matter how I entice her, will not snack up on anything other than chicken, which, it turns out, gives her hives. But every time I think to myself OH GOD WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO, I look at her cute little cute cute cute cute cute little face, and I completely forget to worry. Look. Here's a picture of her being cute. Please ignore the devil eyes. Cataracts, it turns out, are reflective.

Not only cute, but look at her tongue! CUUUUUUUUUTE!

A little more about that tongue later, but first I'd better get back to answering the cliff-hanger with which I began this post. Off your tenterhooks, bloggers, I'm about to tell you what on earth my dumb dog Birdie did the other day when I let her off the leash in my sister's yard. The cast of characters involve the following: a hole in the fence and a patch of briary burrs. In North Carolina we called them "hitchhikers," but people in Texas look at me like I'm speaking another language when I use that term. They are pea-sized burrs that stick to your pants as you walk by them, scratch you up when you try to pick them off, and most importantly, bury themselves deep in doggie fur. DEEP in doggie fur. Birdie essentially face planted right in a particularly prolific hitchhiker bush, and when I finally looked over the fence to see if she'd climbed through, she looked up at me and her black face was light brown. I mean, completely, entirely, 100% carpet-bombed with hitchhikers. You know in the movies when somebody gets a pie in the face and then they're left with a whipped cream face-mask? It was like that, except not whipped cream. Hitchhikers. They were also dug in deep in her legs, stuck in her paws, and covering her cute little underbelly. Birdie was a total mess. Umulu and I got some scissors and started cutting them out of her fur, but the task was overwhelming. I heeded one of my dear Aunt Mary's famously effective maxims --"this is one of those situations that will become enormously less stressful if I simply throw a little money at it." -- and a professional groomer took care of the rest.

I was worried about how close a shave they'd have to get her. Birdie's long silky hair is one of her finest features. Will she look silly without it? The answer, in case you were wondering, is NO. If anything, she's actually even cuter, which I hadn't thought possible. And the best side benefit? I had long suspected that she wasn't entirely gifted at keeping her tongue in her mouth, but the long hair obscured my view of what is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen. Blog, let me introduce you to Birdie's tongue.

I think it's because she doesn't have any teeth to keep it in. Sometimes it pokes out the front:

And sometimes when she's feeling tired, it sort of slips out the side:

Can you see it? Here's a close-up:

I can't take too many pictures or it makes her self-conscious. Look at this face. You know what she's saying? Hey, Mom, quit it. Are you making fun of me?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Don't Let The Clerical Collar Fool You

My mother hates me. That's the only explanation.

It started so harmlessly. Picture it: a cool day in North Carolina, and I hadn't brought enough warm clothes with me when I came home, so I asked my mother to borrow a sweatshirt. Sure no problem, here you go, and then WHAM. The old sucker punch, the one-two hit to both eyes. 'Oh, honey, I love you so much. Hey, so-and-so, go get the camera. I want a picture with my favorite oldest daughter.' I was bamboozled, there is no other way to put it. No sooner had she gotten a camera aimed and her arms around me when the ungodly howling began.


I struggled and protested to no avail.


I'd like to take this opportunity to also denounce my father, who did nothing to stop it, as well as my little sister's dog Theo (look in the bottom corner) who, rather than springing to my defense like a fanged avenger, quietly snuck away.

I've heard of some dastardly parental acts in my day, and while it's true that my mother never sank so low as to force me to watch The Watcher In The Woods, nonetheless, she clearly has no love in her heart.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which Our Heroine Gets To Know Kate

Hello my dear blog, I am sorry for having abandoned you for MORE THAN ONE WEEK. Gasp. How on earth did that happen? I feel like I ought to be ashamed, but honestly, I kind of don't. It was a crazy week with many wild things going on of an unbloggable nature, and they demanded my full attention. But here I am, nestled safely back in the bosom of my internet, and have I got some pictures and stories to share with you. First of all, you're never going to guess who I went to visit last week. No, don't read the headline, just guess. Give up? Okay, I'll tell you.


Can you believe it? This utterly lovely and charming blogger is a REAL LIVE PERSON! AND SO AM I! AND WE MET!! Doesn't it just blow your mind? Kate makes the third blogger I've met so far, and I have to say that as a group, I believe bloggers are generally pretty great. Matter of Fact Mommy (blog now six feet under, sadly) was hilarious and fun, Frank was clever and charming and handy, and Kate, well. Kate was nothing short of supercalafragalisticexpialidocious. Kate was up in Dallas visiting her parents WHO ARE AWESOME, BY THE WAY, and since I live in Austin and love road trips, and since I had an afternoon off, I popped Birdie in the car and off we hauled ourselves up to The Big D. I had a blast. I got to meet Isaac, the infant I've been in love with for the past year (pictured below with his doting grandmother, and who, as photographic evidence proved, looks EXACTLY like his mother in her baby pictures). His little blond curls are everything I had hoped they'd be, his smile would light up Times Square, and he does the cutest little speed-walkey thing I've ever seen. Sigh. (Repeat to self: do not reproduce yet, do not reproduce yet, do not reproduce yet...)

Kate's mother is a fire cracker, and we had a great time drinking wine, trading stories, and generally having fun. OH. And lest I forget, she gave me a GIFT BASKET for coming up to visit! Unreal, right? I love Kate's family. Except her Dad, who while I fully acknowledge that he is funny, handsome, smart, and a genial conversationalist, he shamelessly indulged in a torrid love affair with my dog right in front of my face, and for that I might never forgive him. Poor Birdie, she fell like a ton of bricks for this good looking fella, and has been heartsick for him ever since.

Ok, so clearly I'm kidding about the never forgiving him part; I really liked him tremendously, and it was completely cute how she followed him around and jumped up to cuddle in his lap. Who would've thought - my little Birdie having a thing for tall mustachioed gentlemen? I think if he'd jumped off the side of a tall building, Birdie would've gone right after him, howling the doggie version of "Aaaaaaaas yooouuuuu wiiiisssshhhh," as she fell.

And speaking of handsome gentlemen, though not yet tall and mustachioed, check out the awesome and amazing Aiden. I don't even know where to start in describing how much I liked this guy. First of all, wow is he well-mannered. When Kate introduced me he was playing a VIDEOGAME, which he promptly put down, stood up, smiled his charming smile, and told me how nice it was to meet me. Gawp. I heart this young man. OH! I almost forgot. Not only well mannered. Also sports a mohawk. HOW MUCH FREAKIN' COOLER CAN A LITTLE DUDE GET.

Of course, it being a hot day in the Texas summer, and there being a swimming pool in the back yard, we pretty quickly jumped into swimsuits and spend the rest of the afternoon splashing around.

Sorry I have no more pictures for you, but honestly when Kate gives you her OH NO YOU DON'T look:

Well. A girl's gotta know when to put away the camera and just have fun, so that's what we did. We went for a walk, plopped ourselves down in the swimming pool, and voilá! Just as Kate and I became internet buddies quickly and easily, so we fell into real live friendship, and it was no time at all before we were sitting in the pool like old girlfriends, talking about all the things girls sit around and talk about. You know, mid-term congressional elections, FDIC-insured bonds, the relative merits of 1991 Ferrari Testarossa versus the 1996 re-modeling... Oh, wait. No, that's wrong. I meant menstrual cycles, childbirth, and relationships. Yes, that was it. (Ba-domp-chaaaaa! Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.)

All jokes aside, Kate really is a rock star. She's funny, smart, self-deprecating, wise, and easy to be around; visiting her and her family was one of the highlights of my summer. Oh, and for those of you who read her blog and are wondering if it is even remotely possible that her husband Andy is even half as wonderful as she claims... Yes. Yes it is true. But don't let her fool you with her modesty: Andy got just as lucky as Kate did the day she clapped eyes on him, marched home, and told her mama she'd met the man she was going to marry. Kate, thanks for a wonderful visit. Here's to many more years of internet stalking each other!

UPDATE A FEW HOURS LATER: oh my lord, I forgot completely to tell you about the presents Kate made me. That's right, I said "made me". She's such a crafty wonder. She made me a new makeup bag (HOW DID SHE KNOW I NEEDED ONE?) in the funnest prints you could possibly imagine WITH MY NAME EMBROIDERED ON THE HANDLE. And a change purse with my initials! Kate, you're a miracle. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

It Must Be All Those Acidophil-asanas

Do any of you remember my charming Granddad and his Julie? He's hilarious, for those who are too lazy to click the link, and I love him dearly. Our phone conversations are frequent and far-ranging in topic, though they occasionally veer off into the realm of the ridiculous. Like take today, for example.

Cheasty: Hey Grandad, how are you?

Granddad: Well hey yourself! How's it going? What's new?

Cheasty: Oh I'm fine. Not too much going on, I'm just heading to join a friend for yoga.

Granddad: Oh, yeah? That's great. Yoga's good stuff.

Cheasty: Tell me about it. In the year since I started yoga I've grown half an inch!

Granddad: No kidding! Wow! That's amazing. I wonder why it isn't working that way for my Julie. She's shrinking.

Cheasty: Julie does yoga?

Granddad: Yeah, every day. She loves the stuff!

Cheasty: Wow, I had no idea they had yoga in [small little West Virginia town].

Granddad: Are you kidding? This town isn't that podunk. Now, some of the fancier wines and cheeses I've got to find elsewhere, but we definitely have yoga. Why, Julie's having a yoga in the kitchen right now!

Cheasty: (laughing helplessly)

Granddad: Hey, so why is it you think all this yoga is making you taller?

** For the record, Granddad does know the difference between yoga and yogurt, he just misheard me. And also to set the record straight, it's not cause his hearing's going, it's because "all you young people mutter all the time." He's undoubtedly correct.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Second Home in Antarctica

I don't know how much more of this I can take. Yesterday's temperature was 105 degrees, with humidity that ranged between 35 and 70%. I'm not sure that there's even a word for what that makes the heat index, other than "broiler." Ugh. I took my dog Birdie for a walk at 3pm and she made it about 100 feet out the door before she started panting, 150 feet out the door before she stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me with pathetic eyes, and 151 feet before she made an executive decision and beelined it for a nearby tree to lie down in the shade.

This is ridiculous. I'm moving to a place with permafrost and a perpetual snow cover.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

National Day of Hero Worship

Most people, when asked who their heros are, will name someone like their Mom or their Dad, or their Great-Aunt Judy who rode her bike from Austin to Little Rock 45 times in one year just cause somebody told her she couldn't do it. I, also, am a big fan of my parental units (HUGE FAN!), I admire them tremendously, and they are indeed my personal heroes. But when I was a kid, I often looked elsewhere for inspiration, for role-modeling, and for guidance. You want to know who my heros were?

1. Davy Crockett. I dreamed of being a wilderness explorer, and plus his picture on the cover of his biography was CUUUUTE! In my games I often pretended I was Davy Crockett, tramping around the vast unexplored American West with a rifle, a Bowie knife, and a coon-skin cap. No doubt the romanticized version of his life I read as a kid left out the less-than-savory aspects of his character, but to me he was the very spirit of adventure.

2. Amelia Earhart. I know, I'm not the only one. But seriously, this woman was amazing. I read her biography, too, and I read a passage that described her running in to a meeting with "windblown hair." I had no idea that was merely a polite way of saying "messy." I thought that if your hair was in the wind enough it would take on some fantastic qualities that were immediately identifiable as "windblown," and furthermore, it must be extravagantly romantic to have windblown hair. God bless my mother, who never asked why when I spent the next six months hanging my head out the windows of moving cars.

3. Claire Huxtable and Julia Sugarbaker. You know them, right? The mother on the Cosby Show, and the main character on Designing Women? God bless women who know how awesome they are, and aren't afraid to tell it like it is. While I can occasionally approximate eloquence in the written word, when it comes to spontaneously expressing my thoughts verbally I am at a complete and total loss. If one day somebody thinks even in passing that I am one-tenth as cool as either of these fictional characters, I will faint dead away with glee.

The following link will take you to the greatest Julia Sugarbaker moment of all-time, though embedding has been disabled (bummer):

So what about you all? Who were your heroes (non-familial) when you were growing up? Who did you intentionally model yourself after? Why? Tell me all about it, or write a post on your blog and then let me know to go read it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

FAME!! I'm Gonna Live Forever!!

Oh, just guess what I got in the mail this morning. A package with 4 copies of an academic journal, The U.S. Catholic Historian!! I know, not normally the sort of thing that sends me into trills of upper-octave exuberance, but LOOK!!

Left column, third one down. Open to page 45.

I'm published! IN PRINT! I've had other stuff published on-line before, but this feels unbelievably cool.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bad News

Little Lucky didn't make it. He died last night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

In Which Our Heroine Seduces Frank Irwin

Dear Matter of Fact Mommy and other lovers of Frank Irwin. I'm sorry. I know you all love him. I know you all dream of the day in which he will be yours. I am sensitive to those feelings, and I truly regret having to break your collective heart, but what's done is done, and I have to let you know. Frank Irwin is mine. He's the yin to my yang, the bi to my cycle. My apologies, but it was written in the stars.

Frank and I both live in Austin, I discovered recently, and being that I'd already broken the seal by meeting MOFM back in April, it seemed like a good idea to meet this dapper fellow, especially given that he likes bikes. Cause I likes bikes, too! So when he floated the idea of meeting up sometime, I said "Okay, Frank Irwin. Meet me at Quack's Bakery at 3pm on Friday. I'll be the unbearably attractive brunette in the corner. You'll recognize me by my acres and acres of bouncy beautiful hair, and also the fact that the air around me seems to be sparkling, though you can't exactly figure out why." But how was I to know which of the many good looking men who come through Quack's would be Frank Irwin? I wrote to him with instructions. "Will you please bring a book of poetry and a pink carnation so I can recognize you when you come in?" In all honesty, I was joking, but guess what Frank showed up with this afternoon:

What, can't you see the title of that charming little book? Here's a closer look:

Yes, that would be a book of dirty limericks, and it's a good thing he brought it with him, because before Frank Irwin showed up I was sitting there wondering which guy would be Frank Irwin. What on earth would Frank Irwin look like? I started to get nervous when a deeply creepy gentleman in a muu-muu and ladies' slacks came in and started looking about him as if he were looking for somebody. Oh, no! I thought. That must be Frank Irwin and he's so creepy! Keep your head down, Cheasty, maybe he won't see you! After a few moments of dead panic, I was relieved to see Deeply Creepy moving on out. Oh, sigh of relief. Frank, it turns out, is not deeply creepy. Rather, he is very nice, beardedly handsome, and charming, though his taste in poetry is decidedly low-brow. Here's a sample:

There was a young vampire named Mabel,
Whose periods were long and unstable.
On the night of the full moon
With a rusty old spoon,
She would drink herself under the table.

Or how about this?

There once was a woman named Alice
Who used a dynamite stick as a phallus;
They found her vagina
Up in North Carolina
And the rest of poor Alice in Dallas.

This is one of my favorites:

There once was a dentist named Stone
Who saw all his patients alone.
In a fit of depravity
He filled the wrong cavity,
And my! How his practice has grown!

I laughed my ass off when I sat down to read them just now, and these limericks, plus the fact that Frank Irwin bought me a chocolate cupcake, have cemented my deep and abiding love for Frank Irwin. Ah, that Frank Irwin. He sure does know how to win a girl's heart. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scary Movies

I'll just say it right out front: I am a complete and total clucking molting chicken when it comes to scary movies. So much so that I've rarely watched any all the way through. I saw The Sixth Sense and may or may not have almost peed myself and flipped the couch over when I tried to climb over the back because I got so scared. And The Sixth Sense wasn't even the scariest movie I've ever seen. No, that honor belongs to a movie called (da da daaaaa) The Watcher In the Woods.

When my sister Umulu and I were little kids (maybe 8 and 6, or 9 and 7 years old, something like that) we got invited to our next door neighbor's overnight slumber party birthday party. Oooh, thrills! It was an evening of high excitement - pizza! cake! ice cream! games! pop corn! MOVIES!! That night as we 15 little girls snuggled down in our sleeping bags, our friend's mom put on The Watcher in the Woods, and Umulu and I have borne the scars ever since. We completely wigged out. A watcher in the woods? Oh my God, WE HAVE WOOOOOOOODS!! Eventually our friend's mother called our mother to come and get us, cause we were evidently raising quite a ruckus in our panic, crying and shrieking.

For years, The Watcher in the Woods has been the high-water mark for both of us in sheer terror. In high school Umulu, in a bold show of bravado, managed to sit through a movie called The Children of the Corn, which I had heard on good authority was the scariest movie ever made. Afterward, she was telling me all about its horrors in somewhat gory detail, and I asked her. "Was it as scary as The Watcher in the Woods?" She paused and considered. "No, not even close," she assured me.

We also used Watcher as a litmus test for bad parenting. So-and-so has a horrible mom, we would hear. She beats her kids! Or what's-his-face leaves his kids home alone with piles of cocaine on the kitchen table. Yeah, we'd scoff. But answer me this: do they make their kids watch The Watcher in the Woods? Cause that's baaaaaaad.

Well guess what Umulu and I did this week. [Oh, God, I can't even say it. It's too, too horrible and scary for words!! Pull yourself together Cheasty - this attitude is completely unbecoming an adult. Oh, sniffle, hiccup, sob. Ok. I can do this.] We, um.... we, [gulp]... we rented... The Watcher in the Woods. Aaiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!

To be fair, we'd googled it previously. Turns out, it's a Disney movie. And only rated PG! Ha, we'd marveled. Who knew?! I bet it's not really that scary, huh huh. So I Neflixed it, and this Monday Ums brought over a pizza and we popped it in the DVD player and cued it up. "Should I press play?" I asked. "Um, well..." Umulu replied. "Yeah," I said, and started to laugh. "I'm completely terrified to watch this." "Me too!" cried Umulu, and we gave in to a good fit of nervous giggles. Finally we agreed that if it got scary, we'd just turn it off. No use scaring ourselves silly, right?

You want to know how long we lasted? Eight minutes and 14 seconds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meet Lucky

Hey, blog, I'd like you meet a little dog named Lucky. Technically, I have to admit that Lucky isn't actually his name yet, but I'm pushing hard and I feel strongly that Captain Mommypants will eventually cave in - er, I meant to say agree. Yes, agree. So Lucky it is, until further notice. Why Lucky?

Mom has two dogs, you see, both standard poodles. Zoe and Obie. Obie (the black and white one) is a boy, Zoe (the black one) is a girl. And as you know, birds will be birds and bees will be bees. One thing lead to another and before we knew it, Zoe was having puppies. Oh, the excitement! We were all so thrilled, because Zoe is the nicest dog alive, so cuddly and loving. She's got a favorite toy - an egg-sized stuffed animal of a black-and-white dog - that she carries around in her mouth everywhere, always being so gentle with it, keeping an eye on it. And Obie is as sweet and handsome as ever a dog was sweet and handsome, gallant and strong and full of energy. I don't have any good pictures of either of them, but here's one I snapped recently. Coincidentally, I took this picture on the same day I looked at Zoe and said to my parents, "Hey, I think Zoe is pregnant!"

This past weekend she went into labor, and the family was all a'twitter. But Sunday morning I called home for a status update, and found out that Mom had just rushed Zoe into the vet hospital because the first puppy was stillborn, she wasn't pushing, and her amniotic fluid was coming out a disturbing blackish color. A surgeon did an emergency C-section, but they were only able to save one of the five puppies, the runt. He weighs 6 oz., and survived only because of the dedicated surgical staff who gave him oxygen, rubbed his little body, and gave him sugar-water to get him going. We've got him at home now. Captain Mommypants is feeding him from a bottle every hour or two, keeping him warm, and snuggling him up because Zoe is so exhausted and in so much pain that she sniffed Lucky when Mom held her out to him, licked him once in a half-hearted way, and turned her head away.

My heart breaks for Zoe, and for the four little puppies that didn't make it, but oh, thank the Lord this little guy made it. Good luck, Lucky. I'm rooting for you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Great Tornado Watch, 2009

I have now surpassed any and all of my prior claims to absolute idiocy. Deleting all my research notes on my computer? Yup, that's dumb. Eating moldy food because I'm too cheap to turn on the lights and too lazy to check why the tabouleh tastes so weird? Yes, that's asinine. Running downstairs naked to fend off an intruder with a filing cabinet as my only weapon? Perhaps not my brightest plan. All in all, I think I have what any random observer would agree is a well-established track record of doing embarrassingly dumb things, so it is with a healthy dose of a mixed cocktail of emotions that I am about to tell you the following story.

Picture it: it's a Friday night, and because both my sister Umulu and I are unutterably gorgeous and extremely popular with boys, we're spending the evening making dinner and watching a documentary at Umulu's house. The previous evening, an enormous storm with two-inch hail and four tornados had passed through town, so among the many charming topics of conversation was a jolly recounting of many childhood traumas involving hurricanes and tornados in North Carolina. Also, we reminisced fondly about the storm last year that had all our friends apologizing for calling us pansies. Ah, that was fun, and isn't it nice that last night's storm didn't do anywhere near that level of damage? Oh, yes, chortle, chortle, let's watch the movie now.

So there we are, totally engaged in the movie, when all the sudden we hear some freaking loud thunder. Umulu pauses the movie. "What was that?" she asks. "Um, thunder?" I answer. But I answer with less than total confidence because while it certainly does sound like thunder, it's REALLY LOUD THUNDER, and what's more, it appears to quickly be drawing closer to our house. Louder and louder, closer and closer, and then Umulu's face goes pale. "Oh, shit, Cheasty, that's not thunder. That's a tornado."

And BOOM! Just like that, our old training kicked in. Out of the room with all the windows, grab some pillows and blankets as we run, slam shut all bedroom and bathroom doors, and the next thing I know we're kneeling in tornado-drill position, arms over our heads, facing the corner of the interior hallway to her house, holding hands and trying quietly not to panic as the sound gets even louder.

Then the sound gets marginally quieter. And then even quieter. And soon we can still hear it rumbling in the distance, but the danger seemed to have passed. "I'm going to go look outside and see what's happening out there," I whisper to Umulu, and, squeezing her hand, I crawl off through the darkened house for the front door. Which I open onto a perfectly normal street scene. A car drives by. A girl walks down the street with her dog. A band is practicing a screaming guitar solo a few houses down. True, the sky is weirdly leaden looking, but there's not so much as a leaf on the ground, nor is there the slightest hint of a breeze. Umulu creeps out behind me. "Umulu, there's not even any wind," I say, and we stare at the world outside the door in total mystification for a few moments longer. Then a lightbulb goes on over Umulu's head and she slaps her hand to her forehead.

"Oh, God, Cheasty," she laughs. "The Texas Biker Rally is this weekend."

Yes, folks, it's true. What we thought was a tornado was really just a whole hell of a lot of motorcycles making their way downtown. Sigh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

These Are The Things That Keep Me Awake At Night

So here's my impression of me last night at 4:21am. "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. (snore, sniffle, roll over) Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Now here's my impression of me last night at 4:22am. "Oh my god I just heard dishes clank downstairs. Oh, my god, is there somebody in my house? Oh my god, I did I forget to lock the door last night? Oh my god, why did I get a deaf dog, you stupid useless mutt WOULD YOU PLEASE WAKE UP AND GROWL IF THERE IS SOMEBODY ACTUALLY IN MY HOUSE." All of this was in my head of course, because even at 4:22am I am not stupid enough to make noise when I am awakened by the sound of a potential intruder knocking over one of my cups into the sink. I made an effort to calm myself down and evaluate the situation.

Option A: there is nobody in the house, it was just one of those gravity things that made the noise. Or maybe a mouse. I could have mice, I suppose. Yes, I'm sure it was just a mouse.

Option B: there is an intruder in the house, it is likely a strung-out crackhead, he is likely armed, will most probably rape me if he knows I'm here, after which I will be lucky if he doesn't shoot me in the face when he's done. I am upstairs, I have no clothes on, nor is there anything I can use as a weapon up here. No baseball bat, golf club. Not even a pocket knife or a flashlight. And my cell phone is downstairs, too. Great. It would be best to be silent, all things considered, and allow the junkie to steal what he wants to steal and get out.

So I laid there for a while. As I laid there I remembered the time I was camping out in Utah and had set my sleeping bag beneath a scrubby pine tree. In the middle of the night I woke up and saw coyotes in our campsite going through our food, and realized that there was some sort of large animal in the tree right above me. I laid there and debated my options for a while, then decided there was nothing I could do about it, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. The fact that I could do that amazes me when I think about it now, cause there was NO WAY I was going back to sleep last night, though the thought did cross my mind to try.

Then I heard a sound. A sound that sounded like the door opening. Or closing. I have no idea. I might even have just made it up in my head, but whatever it was, it shook me out of my frozen state. "Oh, that is just enough!" I roared in my head. "If I'm going down, I'm gonna go down fighting." I leapt out of bed and turned on the lights. I grabbed a blanket with the vague idea of throwing it over the asshole's head, and then picked up a nearby metal filing cabinet (empty) and ran down the stairs with it up over my head, ready to brain the shit out of whoever was downstairs.

Naturally, there was nobody, though checking behind the shower curtain was about the scariest thing I've ever done. Ugh. And I HAD left the door unlocked, moron that I am. Anyway, I'm going to buy some mace. And maybe a dog that isn't deaf, because little old Birdie slept through the whole thing except the part where I ran down the stairs naked, holding a filing cabinet over my head. Because of course there had to be a witness to that piece of excess idiocy.