Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meet My New Dog

About a month ago I wrote a blog post about my new dog, who at that point was nameless. I contracted with a rescue organization to adopt her when i returned from my east coast travel extravaganza, and last Tuesday her foster dad dropped her off at my Elf Palace. Ladies and gentlemen, I solicited your help in selecting a name for this 8 pound WonderMutt, and your commentary was both enlightening and hilarious. Strong favorites were Pocket and Ethel Merman. In fact, I had decided to name her Ethel Merman before I got her, but once I met her and got to know her a little better, well. Blog, I'd like you to meet my new dog, seated here on my sister Crasey's lap. Her name is Birdie.

She's named for a character in a novel called Raney, by Clyde Edgerton. If you have not read this absolutely delightful little book, I suggest you do so immediately, especially if you've ever spent more than five minutes in the South. Kate, I think you in particular might enjoy it. Crasey and I read this book aloud to each other every few years, just to make each other laugh. If you click the link, it'll take you to a google books site where you can read the first bit of the book to see if you like it. Anyway, when you get to the part where the old man calls his wife (whose name is Birdie), you'll understand why I named my stone deaf little pooch Birdie.

Anyway, she's awesome and I am so glad she's mine, even if I do have to cook her special meals of chicken and rice just to get her to eat. She hates her dog food. Oh my god, did I really just type that? When did I become somebody that would cook special food for their dog? Next thing you know I'll be giving up pedicures to send her off to a doggie day spa. Somebody stop me!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wedding Madness

OK, I'm back. Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!! Let the games begin. This past weekend was a madhouse of wedding planning, wedding, reunions between long-separated friends, excellent parties, drunken revelries, awful hangovers, fun shopping, and lots of chocolate cake. I could start just about anywhere and still tell stories until I'm blue in the face, so I think tonight I won't start, as I'd like to get some sleep sometime. Instead, I'll just give you a quick summary, show you a few of the pictures I took this weekend and hope they make you smile.

Rosie, my sister Umulu's best friend and an old family friend of the AmazingPants clan, got married on Saturday to a luuuurvely guy, JB. The crowd was small - just the bride's family, the groom's family, our family, and a few friends, but it was wonderful. Captain Mommypants, being a minister and all, performed the ceremony in Umulu's backyard. Yes, she really is that short. And she's still taller than me, dammit. Umulu was the maid of honor, Crasey was the wedding plannner, I was the photographer, and the wedding party was an absolute blast.

Crasey did a magnificent job setting up a lovely reception area on a miniscule budget:

Here's the three AmazingPants sisters. I'd like to point out that even in two and a half inch heels, I'm still shorter than both my sisters, one of whom is in flats. Damn my shrimpy legs!

So it was lovely. People hugged and smiled and wept and danced, and told lovely stories of times gone by. Friends reunited with people we hadn't seen in 15-odd years and marveled at how we'd all grown and changed. The DJ did a fine job, the wine and beer were plentiful, and as the evening wore to a close we all sat around laughing our asses off at nothing anybody could remember the next day. But the greatest thing of all? How many of you remember Fancy Nancy, aka the Cupcake Princess Monster? If you don't remember her, click the link on her name to be introduced to the most excellent little girl in the known universe.

And how many of you remember my little brother Bug? If for some reason you're unaware of how totally cool my little dude is, click the link and prepare to be thoroughly charmed. Also, look at that shirt he's wearing - the guayabera I brought him from Nicaragua! Oooh, he looks so yummy!

Well believe it or not, Fancy Nancy and Bug had never met before this weekend, and there was much speculation about how they would get along. Would they be jealous of each other and compete for attention, would they ignore each other's existence? No. No, they did not. You know what they did? They fell in love. They fell in love and danced all night long.

I know I'm verging on being one of those people who is unreasonably convinced that their child is the smartest, cutest, most adorable blah blah blah, and these aren't even my children, but OH MY GOD THEY WERE SO CUTE. I love this next picture: look at Umulu, Crasey, and Rosie's faces as they cheer on Bug and Fancy Nancy to disco greatness.

Ah, love. Ain't it grand?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Please Excuse My Absence

Hey blog, sorry about the disappearing act. I'm still trying to bust my laptop out of the hospital and am borrowing a friend's now that I'm back in Texas and don't have access to my dad's, my aunt's, or my cousin's computers. Sad to tell you, but I think I won't be posting for a little while, unless just quick little blurbies here or there. The AmazingPants Clan is congregating in Austin. Some are here, some are on their way. There will be a wedding, there will be barbecue, there will be swimming and playing, and singing old Irish folk ballads. I will be back online after Tuesday, when most of them go home. Hasta miercoles, and have fun interneting without me!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today, I am sadly disillusioned. Also, vastly amused. A friend of mine is in Iraq right now (non-military) and in my email today I received a photo he took in the grocery store over there. Please click to embiggen, and observe the products he's so attractively modeling.

I always thought that if you had to wear a burka, at least the advantage might be not needing to worry whether your boobs were sufficient unto the task set before them. Apparently I was wrong. Also, I had no idea about garlic's augmentative capacity in the mammary region. This is brilliant news! I shall increase my intake of garlic immediately, and hopefully by Christmas I too shall have breasts the size of soup tureens. Huzzah for garlic!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thank God I'm A Country Boy. Er, Girl. I Meant to Say Girl.

You want to know what one of my favorite songs was when I was a little girl? Those who know me are likely to guess Cher, or an old show tune, but no! My precious posies, let me introduce you to the joys of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," by John Denver. I am still awful fond of this ditty, but as a child I loved it deeply. Luuuuuurrrrved it, even. We lived in the suburbs, of course, nowhere near the country, but I dreamed of riding horses and having a garden and chickens and being all farmy. My favorite imagination game when my mom put us to bed too early (a hilarious story for another time) was "You are disappearing into the wilderness for a year and you can take only what you can fit in a [backpack/wheelbarrow/ox cart]." Yes I said ox cart. I'd lie there under the covers and play that game over and over in my head. Now would be the appropriate time to laugh.

Well today's post is just a small nod to those childhood dreams. I finally got my parents to plant a garden, so I spent most of the day today weeding the damn thing. I turned the compost heap, looked at the barn for a while, sat in the meadow and chewed a piece of grass. Then I took the dogs on a long tramp through the woods, over to the pond and the river, up through the forest. And oh my good lord, somehow in my dreams of bucolic nirvana, I just never realized about the snakes. I found FIVE SNAKES in the woods - four black snakes, which are fine. But the sixth one? It was a 3 foot long copperhead (highly poisonous) coiled up and poised to strike in the middle of the path. The dogs, which are largely senseless creatures, wanted to play with it, of course, except the little old guy Theo (Crasey's little prince of her heart, whom she left in the care of our parents when she took of for travels in Southeast Asia). Theo is 13 years old and nearly blind. On top of it all, he's...

Well, look at that face. He rules the AmazingPants family with a jaunty wave of his tail, and Crasey pretty much things the sun rises and sets out of his ass, so we all live in terror that something might happen to him while Crasey's gone. Zoe and Obie, the big dogs, wanted to play with the copperhead (AARRGHGHHHH, WHY SO DUMB!!!) so I called them back to me, brandishing a hoe in one hand. But Theo is not one to sit idly by while some other dog might be getting an ounce of attention. HE IS THE KING IN THESE PARTS, DAMMIT! So when I called the other dogs, Theo, who was trotting about, blithely oblivious to the fanged death awaiting him only 3 feet away, decided he wanted to come and check it out in case treats were to be distributed. Streaking across the forest floor, he just leaped over the copperhead as if it were any other branch on the ground, and my heart stopped. I watched him expose his soft little underbelly to the poisoned fangs of a killer snake, and began rehearsing a conversation in my head that started something like this: "So, Crasey... remember Theo?" Oh, shudders. Luckily, the snake didn't know where to bite first, and Theo got safely to my side. I snatched him up in my arms and hustled us all out of the woods.

John Denver, why didn't you tell me what it was really like? Why sing to me of cakes on the griddle and your find old fiddle or your grandma's feather bed? What good is a utopian dream if I find out that really, there are killer snakes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hitch Up the Covered Wagons

I'm heading back to North Carolina today after an excellent trip to New York City. It's a long trip in the car, but never fear - I have a book on tape. Well, CD, really, but who's counting. It's Lolita, by Nabokov, a selection that made sense at the time but now makes me wish I had an option B. Well I suppose I could always listen to the soundtrack from Oklahoma! four or five times on repeat, which is how I kept myself entertained on the drive up here, but frankly I think it might be criminal to continue inflicting my version of "I'm Just A Girl Who Cain't Say No" on an unsuspecting populace.

So here's the bad news. My little brother Bug has scarlet fever. Scarlet fever? I thought that'd died out back in the 1800s. He should be fine, but I'll be glad to get home to give him a hug anyway. Poor little guy had a fever of 103 degrees and probably felt like, as my sister would say, "inside-out-flaming-asshole."

So wish me safe travels, and for Bug a speedy recovery. Talk to you all soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Captain Mommypants Has a Miracle

OK, I know it's pretty standard-issue stuff to claim that your own mother is the best mother in the world, an angel from heaven, and a damn funny woman, but folks, I've got proof. Blog, in case you have never before been introduced to my amazing Captain Mommypants, please take a moment on Mother's Day to salute her, for she is all that is good and golden in this world.

Aha! I hear you skeptical mother-lovers out there. "THE BEST?" you ask. "Well my mother is pretty wonderful, too, so this had better be some pretty good proof." Well hold on to your hats, my precious petunias. It turns out... (looking furtively over both shoulders, then stage whispering) my mother is fireproof.

Yes, that's right. I said fireproof. See this glove?

This glove was on my mother's hand a few weeks ago while she was over at her church helping to renovate the sanctuary on account of it's shudderingly awful green color. And also because the roof had collapsed in the recent rains, but mostly because of the color, a particularly lurid shade of mint green. All things considered, the roof falling in was considered a sign from God that a redecoration was in order, as going to church there was like being on the inside of a toothpaste tube.

She and a bunch of her parishioners were spending the afternoon tearing up the green carpet, painting over the green walls, and removing the green paint from the woodwork and trim around the sanctuary. So there was Captain Mommypants, merrily scrubbing away at the baseboards with a steel wool pad, some heavy chemical stripping agent, and a pair of rather flimsy rubber gloves. Now I wasn't there, so I can't vouch for the story (though the above photo rather speaks for itself, I think) but apparently as she was clearing a patch near the fusebox, the steel wool hit the fusebox, and the heat from the friction, the chemicals and whatnot... KABOOM! Her entire hand went up in a giant fireball. Ever cool, calm, and collected, did Captain Mommypants scream and flail about? She did not. Instead, as flames engulfed her arm and climbed towards her head, she hustled her way out of the church ("so the church didn't catch fire!" she explained), and with her ungloved hand, reached over, grabbed the burning glove off her hand and threw it on the ground where somebody else stamped out the flames.

So how badly burned was she?

"Not even a heat rash!" she told me, looking more than a little mystified.

I think I'm not the only one that loves my mother.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there, but especially to my very own, very special, very amazing Captain Mommypants.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Good For Small Spaces

Today I got a manicure in New York City from a Romanian woman named Maria who gave me what is quite possibly the most bizarre compliment I've ever received.

"Oh, Cheasty," she said, in a thick Romanian accent. "You have such nice hands, small hands. Such beautiful hands." She paused to turn them slightly, examining them from every angle, and then nodded firmly as if she had just reached a decision of great import.

"Yes," she said. "You should be a gynecologist."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dinner With Matter of Fact Mommy

Last night I was in Washington, DC, and since I was there, and since that's where the eminently marvelous Matter of Fact Mommy lives, it seemed only natural, right, and fitting that we two bloggers, who've developed a friendship online over the past year and a half, might actually contrive to meet in living color. I was a leeetle nervous. I mean, what if, robbed of an electronic medium through which to communicate, we just stood there, stared at each other and drooled? I need not have feared.

Is this where I should launch into a long narrative of the evenings marvels and delights? I think not, as the pictures largely speak for themselves. Suffice it to say that her family rocks, her kids are two of the most adorable little gremlins ever to walk the planet, her home is all that is lovely, and MOFM herself made me laugh until I almost wet myself. Also, wine and tacos really do make one heck of a fine meal. I shall do it again myself one day, I think. But first, a guessing game! Who can guess how many tacos MOFM can eat in one sitting? Pick a number between 1 and a million, and prepared to stand awed before her.

So I rocked up to her home in time for dinner, and wa-la! Here's where the magic happens:

MOFM and her baby girl:

Her handsome little devil. His favorite phrase? "Or what." As in, "Hey, Cheasty, are you going to come play with me now, or what?" "Do you want to come see my room with me, or what?" "Hey, are you guys done eating yet, or what?!"

Eventually we did stop eating, and settled down to keep drin- er, talking. I meant to say talking.

Her husband Al was nice enough to be the session photographer, the results of which were, um... well. Again, the pictures speak for themselves.

So there're about a million more pictures I could post here to chronicle an excellent evening, but I'll leave some of the story-telling to MOFM herself. But for fans of MOFM, here's her mother, SoCal, with her grandkids, and.... A DOLLY!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Hey gang, just letting you know to expect a brief blog hiatus in the upcoming days. I've been in NC with my family, and today I'm heading up to DC to visit a friend, check out an archive, and (gasp!) hang out with none other than the real live Matter Of Fact Mommy! Wowza! I will shortly report back on the relative merits of eating wine and tacos, a meal that MOFM swears by.

After DC, I shall swing on up to NYC to hang out with a couple of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and very best friends. Also, I will do the work that I need to do, meeting people, seeing archives, etc. Back to NC for a wedding and reunion with many many of my old rowing teammates from college, then back to TX for ANOTHER wedding and family reunion. In short, these next two weeks will be hectic to say the least, and I cannot promise reliable blogability. Also, my computer is in the ICU at Austin Mac Repair, so I'm taking pictures, but I can't promise to upload them with any frequency. But I will try.

So wish me luck, campers. Also, no speeding tickets.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stupid: It's the New Black

Ok, it's time to set aside your feigned indifference and admit once and for all that you've always wanted to be glamorous and exciting like me. We should probably establish up front that this will never happen. After all, I'm called Amazing Cheastypants for a reason. Not everybody can be this deliriously magnificent, and it's better if you just admit that at the outset to avoid too much disappointment further on down the road.

But don't despair! You may never cause the air to sparkle as you move through a room, ride a diamond-studded bicycle powered largely by my passion, leave trails of laughter and joy behind you everywhere you go, or bounce in sheer glory about the world, followed closely by acres and acres of bouncy beautiful hair. But I am here today to share with you some tips that can help you along on your personal quest to amazingness. For instance, here's something that's been enlivening my life and making me more amazing lately: arrant idiocy.

Oh, I hear your snorts of disbelief, your huffs of indignation. "Idiocy!" you cry out. "That's not glamorous or amazing at all!" Au contraire, mon frere. Not only is idiocy glamorous and amazing, it also enlivens a person's existence in ways I had heretofore failed to appreciate. It elevates the heart rate, sends endorphins coursing through my body, spreads joy and laughter to people around me. In short, it's quite the thrill ride, a roller coaster of unpredictable fun. In recent weeks idiocy has become a central pillar of my life, in fact, and I find myself all the richer for it.

For example, the other day I had an hour or so to kill before heading to the airport to catch my flight. What to do, what to do, I mused. I'd already done laundry, swept, mopped, cleaned, and even conditioned the leather couch. Ah! I thought. I shall organize my photographs and made back-ups of all my data. Hmmm, this pesky iPhoto program is running sort of slow. Perhaps I should clean off some space on the hard drive. Oh, what's this in my Pictures folder - extra duplicates of photos I don't need? Brilliant! I shall delete them all. Ah, that feels nice. Ooh, I know, now I'll empty my Trash folder! Wow, that's an awful lot of trash... awful... lot... of... OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT STOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOP! STTOOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!

Too late. My iPhoto library is housed, as it is on all Mac computers, in the "Pictures" folder, which means that in a moment of startling idiocy, I deleted my entire iPhoto library, and then emptied the trash. I should note here that the vast majority of my research was in my iPhoto library. VAST. MAJORITY. ALL MY PICTURES.

Now I can hear you scoffing. "Huh!" you chuff. "That doesn't sound like fun at all!" And again, I must correct you. It was worth perpetrating that unfathomably idiotic act for the adrenaline rush alone, which was, since we're speaking of it, AMAZING. I'm pretty sure my heart rate quadrupled in 2 nanoseconds, and I doubt my blood pressure ever has been that high before, or will be ever again. And then, THEN, the relief when I realized, after about 20 minutes of mad scrambling about and flailing of limbs, that I could find somebody who could fix this was, well, let's just call it a "watery" sensation.

And let's not forget the endorphin rush that comes from separating oneself from vast chunks of money! It's like shoppers high, deluxe; a pair of new shoes and a genuine designer handbag, times seven. I was still flying so high on relief that when the guy at Austin Mac Repair told me it'd "only" cost $300 to retrieve the data I nearly jumped out of a window, flapped my arms and sang, "I can fly, I can fly, I can fly!"

Ah, I can see you are coming around to seeing it my way, no? Yes, this is very good, but wait, there's more! Have you yet considered the amount of personal satisfaction I engender in every person to whom I tell this tale? Every person that laughs and sympathizes, but thinks privately, "Wow, I'm glad I would never do something that idiotic," feels better about themselves instantly! Every historian that thinks with smug satisfaction of all their multiplicity of backed-up files, well. I've just made their day.

Then, of course, once my equilibrium had stabilized after the mad dash through every emotion on the planet, I realized that I already had backed up the vast majority of that vast majority of documents, and presto, change-o. I felt amazing. Then I laughed at myself for being such an idiot that I'd forgotten that I'd already made back-ups, and there you go! Another endorphin rush.

See? Idiocy. It's not just for morons anymore. Try it yourself, and see how idiocy can enliven, even, dare I say it, amazen your life.