Wednesday, December 21, 2005

10 Great Things in Austin

This is a quick post, just an off the cuff kind of blogging. Driving to work and thinking of breakfast tacos inspired this posting.

  1. Juan in a Million's Don Juan taco. Super cheap breakfast taco that is too big for me to finish unless I am absolutely famished. They have the hottest salsa in town, too.
  2. Starbucks on every corner. We are slowly being taken over. Resistance is futile, but damn! What a great cup of coffee.
  3. Star Seeds Cafe's scrumptious Star Dip. Mmmmmm.
  4. Alamo Drafthouse. Dinner & a movie in one place. Even better, they have beer by the bucket.
  5. Jonathan at Rain. He is the most upbeat happy hour bartender ever.
  6. Tesoros on Congress. If you are looking for a t-shirt emblazoned with the likeness of Che Guevara or a Mexican wrestling star you are in the right place. Most of the time I don't find anything I really need to buy but it is a great place to kill an hour. They are your spot for ethnic greeting cards, colorful Mexican laminated oil cloth and Frida Kahlo coffee table books.
  7. Austin Land & Cattle Company's famous Black & Blue steak. I prefer the ribeye. If you go, make a reservation and request Daniel for your waitperson. He rocks! So do the goat cheese stuffed grilled green chilis. Get one for your appetizer.
  8. Bookpeople. They keep Austin weird & reading.
  9. Town Lake's hike & bike trail. Exercise and cruising the hotties all in one pretty place. Wear your sunglasses for less obvious "shopping".
  10. St. Mary's Cathedral. It is simply gorgeous now that they've renovated.

The list could go on and on since I love Austin. Why don't you leave me a comment and tell me some of your favorite things about our city?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Infamous Christmas Letter

Yes, infamous. Not famous. I call it that because most of the time the Christmas letter is simply a venue for someone to tell you how utterly fabulous they are, how much more incredible than your's their life has been and how their perpetually well-behaved children are members of Mensa. I have successfully resisted sending out a letter with my holiday greetings solely because of the ones I've gotten over the years. I've had the four page letter outlining the accomplishments of each member of a large family, the one page rhyming letter that was a painful attempt at poetry, the letter that was copied in mass quantities at a slight slant so that you found yourself tilting the page to read it, the letter accompanied by a group photo of six people in coordinating red and green corduroy outfits, the letter printed on stationery featuring calico clad kitties wearing angel get the idea. I've had bad letters.

Every once in a while when Christmas falls on or near a full moon I get a good letter. One that has me thinking "wow, I wish I spent more time with the ______ family!" This is the year that I'm going to write a letter and it is my sincerest wish that your reaction will be a positive one. However, if I'm guilty of the usual Christmas letter crimes, please feel free to tactfully critique me. Without further ado, here we go....

Merry Christmas!

In my way of thinking, Christmas is the ultimate season of giving. After all, think about Mary. Somewhere around March of that year several thousand years back she consented to what Christians believe is a virgin birth. She was betrothed but not yet married and she caused a scandal bigger than me moving in with Frank this fall. You can imagine the talk around Nazareth when Mary's EPT showed two pink lines. She was courageous and selfless and the epitome of generous. She gave up her good reputation because her faith was stronger than her potential embarrassment over the speculation of the neighborhood gossips. After pondering how difficult her situation must have been while she was enduring the general uncomfortableness of pregnancy in a land without indoor plumbing, air conditioning or heating my thoughts turned inward. What am I thankful for? What lessons have I learned?

This year has been one of growth, both physical and emotional. Thanks to my boyfriend's support, faith in me and several (okay many) swift kicks to the bum I amazed myself by completing a half marathon and a triathlon. For those of you who've never heard my tri story and are intrigued, you can read all about in in my archives. It was the singular most grueling thing I've ever done and there was no way I could've done it on my own. Without Frank, without my swim coach Jesslyn, without 'Chelle who is the world's greatest SAG person, without my awesome Cheer Squad I would have given up. What did I learn? That determination comes from inside but the job is so much easier when you are surrounded by people who believe in you.

Frederick has been a source of constant support. I am so thankful to have him and Jed in my life. One of the stellar moments of this year was watching the adoption video of their son Adrian. I can honestly say that the most peaceful stolen moments of 2005 have all been when I've had the luxury of putting Adie to bed. There is nothing in the universe like holding a warm and sleepy child in your arms and listening to his breathing become slow and steady, head down on your chest, snuggled against you as if you are his entire world as he relaxes into sleep. I always do the same thing when Adie falls asleep. I whisper to him how much I love him and how wonderful his life is and how much more there is to come. I tell him he can be anything, do anything, accomplish anything. The simple act of rocking him to sleep brings me to a level of thankfulness that defies description.

I've had many new people enter my life in the last year. I've moved into my fourth office in a year, thankfully on the same floor of my office building. I've been lucky in that everyone I spend 40+ hours a week with have been interesting, entertaining and fun. And Frank & I found that our hair stylist wasn't just cool when he cut our hair but also a helluva good time outside the salon. We scored a bonus when we met Jake's wife, Raquel, and clicked immediately. Frank has cultivated friendships at work as well, and through Yutaka and Laurie we've learned to worship at the foot of the Green Egg (see archived posts). Don't think that gaining new friends has diminished our love for those who were already in place in our lives. I am thankful for all of my friends who gift me with their love. Life without you would be empty and boring. What would I do without ya'll? Just because you aren't mentioned by name doesn't mean you aren't important. I treasure you all.

This year has been a good one for my Dad. We're approaching the two year anniversary of his diagnosis with esophageal cancer and subsequent major surgery, chemo and radiation. He's finally able to go eight weeks in between endoscopy procedures where his esophagus is dilated, stretching the tissue open enough for him to easily eat most foods. The doctor is optimistic that soon the procedure will be done once each quarter and possibly become unneccesary. He's retired now, making house-husbandry his hobby in between trips to our property in Burnet. It's wonderful to see Dad happy and healthy. Mom went back to work at the State and is happy to come home and find dinner on the table. What a nice change for her!

My life has been further enriched with the addition of Frank's family to my life. I'd met them before, but in the past year they have gone out of their way to make me feel not only accepted and cared for but truly a part of the family. I won over the patriarch, Frank's Grandpa, in August. My granny gave me an old cookbook that contained little quotes about food and life. One of them was "you can catch a man with face powder but you keep him with baking powder". Well, it wasn't my baking that did it, but a bowl of my menudo. Grandpa had decreed that if I was going to be a part of the family I needed to prove my mettle by producing a delicious menudo. I did and thought I was in scott free. Nope. Grandpa now says I need to become fluent in Spanish. He doesn't speak English and he wants to be able to talk with me. How completely sweet is that? I never thought someone would care enough about me to ask me to learn their language so we can have conversation. (And no jokes about how ya'll can't get me to shut up.) I am humbled by his request. I hope one day I have the opportunity to show someone that what they have to say is that valuable to me.

My work with Meals on Wheels has taught me to be thankful for the ability to still be able to change my health for the better. I've accomplished a lot, but need to do more. I can honestly say I've been lazy and lackadaisical this fall. When I'm delivering meals to my clients there are a few who aren't exactly elderly, but their failing health has placed them in an undesirable quality of life. Seeing people who should be enjoying their golden years but can't because they're dragging around an oxygen tank, their diabetes is uncontrolled, their hypertension is straining their body and much worse problems spurs me to think about what I need to do to live a long, healthy life. I've also learned that you can be in your 90's and still think firemen are hotties and flirt outrageously with the boys. Gotta love ya, Mrs. Spikes.

It's been a fruitful and fulfilling year. I have laughed a lot, cried a lot and loved a lot. Yes, cried. The only way we appreciate happiness is to know unhappiness. My year may sound rosy but there were rough spots along the route. All I can do is live my life as best I can every day. I can savor the moments and realize that not everyone on Earth has it as good as I do. It's my life. I live it and love it and hope that through this letter you get a glimpse of why. My Christmas wish for you is that the coming year brings more peace, happiness and love to your lives. And a healthy dose of fun.

~Happy Holidays~

Monday, December 12, 2005

Whole Foods is a Winter Wonderland

I went to the ice skating rink at Whole Foods over the weekend. The flagship store at 6th & Lamar has built a rink on the top floor of the store, an open air venue that normally houses tables and chairs for patrons to sit and enjoy a meal while overlooking a slice of downtown Austin. I thought it was a wonderful idea for a town where there are only two ice skating rinks and not a large amount of interest in either. Please, no hate mail from those of you who may actually skate on occasion. Let's be honest. Austin pays more attention to sports that can be performed outdoors than indoors. When a body of water in our area freezes over enough to be skated on, we better all be praying double-time because the end is near.

My friend's daughter, Marcella, skated on both Saturday and Sunday. She is a natural on skates: smooth, balanced, graceful. So unlike what I would be on ice. We all know I'm clumsy. I fall for no reason so I feel absolutely no pressing need to step out onto slick ice balanced only on a knifeblade attached to the bottom of a boot. Why tempt fate? My mother called while I was at the rink and was horrified until I assured her I was on dry land wearing my regular shoes. She mentioned broken bones at least twice. I promised her I was not flailing around on the ice like the brave pre-teen girl who, despite her windmilling and wobbly ankles, managed to mostly stay upright. I enjoyed watching the skaters go 'round and 'round, though. It made me think of the time I was in NYC and hung out for a bit at Rockefeller Center, watching the skaters. Come to think of it, the ice at Rockefeller Center isn't much larger than the rink at Whole Foods. I still don't know how come it looks so big on television.

The weather was great for skating. This morning I heard Lance Armstrong talk about trying to describe Austin weather to some of his Team Discovery guys who were in town training. He said "last weekend was 80 (degrees), this weekend was 70 and everything in between was 20". They just didn't get it until they rolled out of bed to ride on a windy, chilly 40º morning. Lance said he sat that ride out. He is retired, after all.

The cool breeze, sunshine and ice skating finally has me in the holiday spirit. Yes, sunshine. This is Central Texas. Normally we can wear shorts on Christmas day although most of the time it's with a long sleeved tee shirt or sweatshirt. I've started my Christmas shopping and have finalized my travel plans for the holiday. I am trying to unearth my Christmas cards from whichever unpacked box they are currently living in so that I can write them all out only to realize I'm missing addresses for a third of my friends. I keep in touch so much better by email or blog. (So if you want a card from me you probably should e me your snail mail addy.) I've even thought about putting up decorations, nixed the idea, thought about it again and nixed it again. I'll continue the internal debate until it's too late to do anything, thus in my own chaotic way resolving the To Have Twinkle Lights or Not argument.

How was your weekend? Do you have your shopping finished or are you last minute like me?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What a Weekend!

This weekend was jampacked full of activity from the minute I got off work on Friday. Friday night was spent prepping for a garage sale the next morning. The best thing I can say about garage sales is that you get paid a little for the stuff you would've just given away to Goodwill. Guess what we did with everything that was left after the sale? Yup, it went to Goodwill. Frank & I ended up with $160 we didn't have before the sale, so it was all good.

Saturday evening was big fun. I met up with Leslie, Jessica and Darla to decorate the patio & party room at Juan in a Million for Jed's surprise birthday party. Last year, home renovation that needed to be done before the guys completed the process to become adoptive parents took up Jed's entire birthday weekend. His 30th birthday weekend, a milestone. After a year of hearing how "the house ate my birthday" Frederick planned a super surprise for Jed. The family had ventured out to L.A., to visit Jed's best friend Amy and celebrate Adie's adoption finalization. They flew back on Jed's birthday at the crack of dawn. Unbeknownst to Jed, Amy took the next flight out so she could be here, too. How cool is that? Frederick arranged the day so that it was low key and relaxing and included meeting Leslie and her husband for dinner at Juan in a Million. To say Jed was surprised when he walked in and the lights came on, confetti flying, and all of us screaming "Surprise!" is an understatement. He was floored. Happily.

The party was a rousing success, complete with a "Turn Back Time" group card showing a clock with hands pointing first to 31 then back to 30, a cake with 31st crossed out and 30th written in, good TexMex party food and karaoke. Freddy started off the singing with his rendition of Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time", dedicating it to Jed. We even got the birthday boy up on stage wearing a silver wig with a definite mullet shape to it singing Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll" and smashing his guitar shaped piñata at the end. It was filled with his favorite fruit flavored Tootsie Rolls that Leslie moved heaven and earth to find in Austin. (They're more abundant during Halloween).

I only hit the stage twice, to help mangle "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "Love Shack". Little John and Sean held true to tradition and joined the girls onstage for the Cyndi Lauper song. Amy & Freddy rocked the crowd with "Summer Lovin'", Leslie sang her beloved Neil Diamond tune and Caley broke out with "Brown Eyed Girl". The only tradition we didn't stick to was our Tom Jones panty tossing. I forgot to buy XXL polyester granny panties for us to throw & autograph for the honoree. There's always next year, Jed!

Sunday morning we scraped ourselves out of bed for the Decker Challenge, a 20k (12.43 miles) run over the hills around Walter E. Long park. The temp was in the low 30's with winds between 15-20mph. Not runner friendly weather. I left Frank in the Expo Center, staying warm before the start while I took off to help set up the Mile 4 waterstop. As you can imagine, pouring water & Powerade in this weather was a challenge. You had to start to fill the paper cup as soon as you set it down or it would blow away. Handing out the drinks meant wet hands and wrists for most of us, as the runners grab them while running by. Luckily, we had mimosas to help us feel somewhat warm. The picture above is of us toasting before the first runner arrived. Note: the high school students did not drink anything, not even plain o.j.

The race would have been difficult just for the terrain, but the headwind made it worse. I am very proud of Frank's time, as he finished in 2:05:45. Ten minute miles in those conditions is pretty damn amazing. He's on course to pare a whopping 45 minutes off his last marathon time. Way to go, baby! I was glad that our water stop was packed up in time to see him cross the finish.

I was thrilled to see Gerard Martinez, who zoomed by me at the water stop had finished at #9 overall. He's simply a great runner with his 1:13:38 time. I bumped into Tom Wills after the race, who started running a month ago. He's training for Freescale and looks like he'll pull a 4.5 hr time for his first marathon. I heard that one of the attorneys I work for had run but never saw her. Aimee Reneau ended up with a time of 1:55:47 for this race. Wowsa!

I will admit that the mimosas went straight to my head. After a yummy Threadgill's lunch with the Tanner clan I went home and straight to bed for an afternoon nap/recovery. Ahhh, what fun we had this weekend! There were other good times in the course of the weekend, but in order to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent I'll simply say that there doesn't always have to be a barfull of people for everyone to have fun. You guilty parties know exactly what I'm talking about. Hope your weekend was just as entertaining as mine. Let me know what you did!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Final 25 Things About Me.

  1. As a child, I was caught on a railroad trestle with a train speeding toward me and had to run as fast as I was able to beat the train and get off the track.
  2. While in high school, my family hosted a French exchange student, a pretty blonde girl named Caroline. Before she left Paris, she shaved her legs, which scandalized her mother who thought she looked like an American floozy.
  3. My Prima Por Vida, Vickie and I started wondering how big our Hispanic Catholic family had become. We counted up the number of people on our side of the family but were unsure we had it all down. Calling on La Capitan de nuestro familia, Tía Maria Elena, she took all of 15 minutes before returning the verdict: 93 relatives, including spouses. Tía added the 1 fiancee and 2 longterm boyfriends for a total of 96. We are the stereotypical Catholic Hispanic family! Imagine what our family reunion will be like, once we get one organized.
  4. I remember buying candy at the Superette on the corner of W. Elmwood & Old Sterlington Rd. in Monroe, La. One of my favorites was the pack of bubblegum cigarettes coated with sweetened powder that blew out like real smoke when you puffed on the "cigarette". Gotta love the tobacco marketing back then.
  5. My "you're going to burn in hell" moment happened in 1988 when I made out in a confessional after a meeting of the LSU Catholic students organization.
  6. I accidentally threw my boyfriend's class ring out a car window and off the Desiard St. bridge while trying to get rid of a beer can pop top (or pull tab, whatever you call them). He was not happy about it. We broke up within days.
  7. I have braved the infamous Southern Decadence in New Orleans and lived to tell the tale, although I may still be emotionally scarred. I'd thought I'd seen it all until I went to this Labor Day festival. Let's just say I have an image of a sex act burned forever into my mind along with permanent liver damage.
  8. When I was a bartender, my signature shot was called a Blowjob. Made with creme de cacao, creme de banana, vodka and cream, it goes down super easy but you'll definitely know you've had one.
  9. I have read all of the books in the Wizard of Oz series penned by L. Frank Baum. Some were not so good.
  10. I believe in magic. I think everyone needs more magic in their lives.
  11. I think every teenager needs a part time job, even if it is only during summer break.
  12. Oreo cookies are one of my guilty pleasures.
  13. I am still dreaming of the day when I can go skydiving. I'm not worried about dying but I am concerned I may break a foot or ankle upon impact.
  14. I still wish on the first star I see at night.
  15. One year I had a Valentine's breakfast date, lunch date and dinner date. It was a very good year.
  16. I have seen/participated in the Rocky Horror Picture Show 13 times over the years. For the record, I've never worn a costume although if I ever had it would be Magenta's.
  17. Once when discussing how in the past I've dated men I met at friends' weddings, my niece (who was 8 at the time) quipped "Tía Kay will be looking for a husband at my wedding." Sadly, my family probably still believes that.
  18. If I had one hour to spend with anyone at all in the world there would be no way I'd be able to choose just one person. I love too many of ya'll.
  19. Like Madonna sings "Some girls, they like candy, and others, they like to grind, I’ll settle for the back of your hand somewhere on my behind."
  20. My favorite place to eat in St. Louis is Pho Grand at 3195 South Grand Blvd. If you're in town and need great Dau Hu Chien Don, Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio and Cafe Sua Da they are the place to hit. Mmmm!
  21. If you gave me a $50 bill and said I could spend it wherever I pleased, it would be very difficult to choose between Whole Foods, Central Market, Half Price Books or Barnes & Noble. I'd either buy an ounce of caviar and a decent but midrange priced champagne or books.
  22. My favorite summer camp experience was Camp Hacknslash, the world premiere of Freddy Vs. Jason. Hosted by Alamo Drafthouse and Ain't It Cool News, we participated in camp activities with a twist. Softball became sloshball when you had to stop and chug a beer at 2nd base. We made Freddy hands and Jason masks along with other Blair Witch Crafts. Yummy BBQ and endless beer had us ready to watch every Friday the 13th & Freddy trailer played before the big movie event and participate in a Q&A session with the actors who play the main men after. Fun times!
  23. I hate the smell of the generic pink antibiotic soap found in restrooms across the country.
  24. My favorite Starbucks beverage is a triple shot venti soy latte. I love the slightly nutty flavor of the soy milk and think this is the one coffee drink that doesn't need sugar added.
  25. The only peanut butter I like is Whole Food's all natural freshly ground PB. It rocks! Even more fun is going to the store and grinding it know there is nothing in it but peanuts and it tastes a hundred times better than Jif.

This concludes the 100 Things About Me. I hope you had a laugh or two and learned something new.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Who Is Nate Torrence?

I love this guy. I have no reason to love him, but I do. Nate Torrence has been popping up in commercials all over the television. He's the poor schmuck in the Capitol One ads, playing the fall guy opposite David Spade. He's in the HEB commercials, screaming for ice cream. I recently saw Nate in a new one, playing a guy named "Moose" who goes to his high school reunion in a rental car and ends up with a babe on each arm. Sex sells, even for a big dude. Nate is not your usual 135lb actor. He's a guy with heft, with size and charm. His sweet smile and twinkling eyes gives you the "I'm harmless" vibe. The website I surfed looking for him reports that he is married and (possibly) has a daughter. It also says he was a pre-adolescent trampoline gymnast. I bet he's a helluva good time in the bedroom. I have no idea if he is destined for a great acting career, comedic or otherwise, but for now at least Nate has my attention. He makes waiting through the commercials so much more bearable. The next time a Capitol One or HEB commercial comes on, pay attention and then let me know what you think of Nate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Freezer Full o'Venison

My dad has had a successful hunting season. I have a freezer full of venison just begging for creative recipes. Last night I marinated part of a backstrap in a spicy brown mustard concoction. It was quite a delicious tangy marinade but I added too many diced onions to the pan while grilling the slices of backstrap. Oh well, live and learn. My favorite way to cook backstrap is to cut it in thin slices, dip it in beaten egg with milk and dredge it in a spicy flour mixture....chicken fried delight.

I have big plans for the leg portion. I'm thinking of braising it in a red wine sauce with potatoes, mushrooms, shallots and carrots. A long, sweet, slow cooking process that will leave the meat juicy and tender. I haven't decided what to do with the steaks yet, but there's a spicy strong steak seasoning blend in my pantry that might be just the ticket for grilled venison.

How do you like your venison? So many make chili or jerky that this year I am determined to be different. Let me know if you have ideas for a good meal. I have plenty of meat to cook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ask & You Shall Receive

I didn't want to overwhelm you with a list of 50 like last time, so here goes 25 more pieces of obscure information about me. Let me know if I should press on to make it a full 100 or stop now. If you're yawning and you know it, clap your hands! And click on comments to tell me that my posting makes a great remedy for your insomnia.

  1. I was born at 5:38am. My twin sister was born at 5:33am.
  2. I will taste almost any food, no matter how unusual or exotic. It's rare that I find something I don't like.
  3. I read every day. Reading is my addiction. If I'm near the end of a book I get anxious, consumed with thinking about what my next fix will be and where I will get it. If I have nothing new to read I will either re-read books or read the ones I don't really have an interest in, just to be reading. "Hello, my name is Kaya and I'm a readaholic."
  4. As an adolescent I developed a mad crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov that never quite went away, laying the groundwork for me to be attracted to men with ambiguous sexuality. In the pic of my favorite poster of Mikhail, you'll note the strong features mixed with the oh so sensual lips and delicate high cheekbones. And that net shirt screams "club clothes"!
  5. I've watched in awe as Old Faithful erupted underneath a full moon at Yellowstone National Park.
  6. I have never made a pie crust from scratch although my mother has a wonderful recipe and her's always turn out just right.
  7. I've run my hand through a ball of bluish bright swamp gas one night on a lonely road beside a cemetary in West Monroe, Louisiana. I've forgotten the cemetary name but it's on Arkansas Road, for any of you readers familiar with the town. The swamp gas was floating about a foot off the ground and was eerily beautiful.
  8. I love fountain pens although I don't currently own any. If you need a gift idea, I prefer indigo ink and a medium nib.
  9. I was once mauled by a strange man while shopping in a book store in a different state. He grabbed me, full body hugged me and kissed my cheek. Imagine how he felt when I finally convinced him I wasn't Kim (who hadn't told him she has a twin). The really odd part was that I was in a state that neither of us have ever lived in.
  10. I have been to the top of the Arch in St. Louis. It sways, quite a bit, which was so unsettling that I stayed for less than five minutes before getting back into the funny egg-shaped tram for the ride back down.
  11. I love Big Red soda. Always have.
  12. I once went into Mike the Tiger's compound on the campus at LSU to interview the keeper for the school paper. Being inches away from a fullgrown Bengal tiger, even separated by bars, is a heartpounding situation. Watching Mike "play" with a football by shredding it to bits did not make me feel more secure.
  13. I was an extra in the stadium crowd scenes for the 1988 movie Everybody's All American starring Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange.
  14. I have a circa 1925 family recipe for peach cobbler that I still rely on today. It's fabulous and easy.
  15. I have worked as an answering service operator using an old school telephone board where a line would ring and light up and you would plug your cord into the round jack to answer it. "One ringy dingy..."
  16. I made an A in my Performance Art class at LSU. My final was a performance involving wrapping myself in blinking, colored lights on a darkened stage while a Christmas carol in which I'd done voiceovers showing the stress of the holidays played loudly, echoing in the nearly empty theater. My teacher loved it. I can still hear "I just can't take it anymore!" in my mind whenever Winter Wonderland comes on.
  17. I used to read Tarot cards but stopped because I didn't like telling people things that may upset them.
  18. I have eaten Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant only two times in my life.
  19. I love quotations. I look them up for any occasion and have several that are meaningful to me posted around my work space.
  20. I think life would be better if I ate avocado gelato from Whole Foods every day.
  21. Frederick charts my periods so that he'll know in advance when I might be moody or agreeable to walking to Amy's at lunch for some PMS relieving Belgian Chocolate ice cream.
  22. My great grandfather was a card carrying member of the KKK. We still have his card in a box of old family stuff. I often wonder why a "secret society" would actually make membership cards? We think my grandfather was a member as well, but didn't find any evidence. To say that the family wasn't happy when my Dad brought my Mother around is an understatement. Surprise! Their marriage has lasted 39 years.
  23. I dig old school kids breakfast cereals. Life, Golden Grahams, Sugar Corn Pops (now just Corn Pops, although the amount of sugar in them remains the same), Fruity Pebbles, Post's Fortified Oat Flakes, Captain Crunch, Trix! and Lucky Charms. Mmmmm.
  24. I once ran my mother's car off a Louisiana road and through part of a soybean field before making it back onto the asphalt. Luckily my mother wasn't with me and her car had no damage. I did have to dig a soybean plant out of the tail pipe, though.
  25. My favorite food from the many Ark-La-Miss Fairs that I attended while growing up in Louisiana is the famous Natchitoches meat pie. Yummy!

So what do you think? Can you handle 25 more?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Good Golly Miss Maulie! Starting off our weekend with a bang...

I've had some good times over the last few days. Kicking it off was meeting up with Mehrdad at the Mean Eyed Cat for a few rounds of cold beer. After round 3 we decided it would be a fabulous idea to ditch the Harry Potter movie we had tickets for and go see the ladies at Expose. Those of you who know me well understand that I must’ve been quite kacheery to give up Harry Potter for hairy…well you know. Now I am not a strip bar regular, but I usually enjoy watching the dancers, especially since my dancing capabilities are anything but seductive. A train wreck would be more seductive than my dancing. We hit the big time that night with a traveling burlesque performer and pin up girl named Maulie Keebler. I have never in real life seen anyone work a pole like Maulie does. She was sensual and athletic, an aggressive dominatrix and retro sex kitten all in one curvaceous package. You’ll have to check out her website (click on the hyperlink built into her name) and view her photo gallery. Nice pinups. Her calendar isn’t up to date but you know I’ll be emailing to ask when she’ll be in Austin again. A great time (and lap dances) was had by all. And Mehrdad, come home again soon! You’ll need a break here and there from sleep deprivation during your residency…come to Austin for great Mexican food and fun times along with maybe, just maybe a little sleep. I promise to dog-sit for Corrie so she can go visit you in the great big city.

Friday night arrived, bringing with it a need to dance, dance, dance. Frank, Rocket and I hit the Warehouse District bars in high style, grooving and grinding and dancing until we dropped. Or, until I dropped, since my danceability is a very unsubstantiated claim. Rocket & Frank are blessed with natural moves and both were sexy hot on the floor. I think I need to practice at home before my next public dance floor appearance. The only attention I attracted was pitying glances. Yup, my white girl bop is sadly out of date and out of place. I need to learn to channel my Latino side. Does anyone else have a hard time hearing the beat in some house/pseudo trance music?

Saturday was low key, doing a few errands around town. I wanted Frank to have a good meal before his race the next morning, so dinner was a yummy, carb happy meal. I served him baked seasoned salmon, wilted spinach with shallots, garlic and sundried tomatoes, warm basil & garlic polenta rounds topped with goat cheese and slices of toasted ciabatta bread also smeared with goat cheese. I could eat anything if you paired it with goat cheese. We also watched "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory". I won't say it was bad or good, just that nothing can replace the original "Willy Wonka".

Frank had an excellent Motive Bison Stampede Half Marathon running 9:30 minute miles. Hang beat him once again, by 1/100th of a second. We'll see what happens in their next go 'round. I predict Frank books it into high gear a tenth of a mile from the finish just so Hang can't say she beat him three times in a row. After running 13.1 miles my boyfriend decided to take a bike ride with his friend Gwen. I don't know the exact mileage but it was between 15-20 miles from the race site to our home. Can you say overachiever? Ahh, but I can't help but admire his drive. I'm nothing but proud that he's doing so well with his running along with his newfound love of cycling. And have you seen his legs lately? Rarr!

I finished off the weekend working at The Can. It was business as usual with the boys with one exception: Jacinta was setting up inside on the dance floor. Jacinta is The Can's answer to Hedda Layne. It's a weak retort at best since Jacinta, although entertaining, can't match the strength of Hedda's voice or her mix of music. I was tired after a long morning of cheerleading for Frank & Hang and left as soon as my shift was over. Frank & I headed over to Casa de Tanner for a nightcap before retiring for the evening. It’s nice to sit around their firepit, gettin’ lazy with a rum and Diet Vanilla Coke.

How was your weekend? I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Things About Me

Okay, okay...I know every blogger does this one. But the challenging part is finding 100 things that you don't know about me or may have forgotten. After all, we know I live my life as an open book. Or at least as a mostly opened book, since there are times in life that even I need to censor from certain individuals who may not understand my diverse and unique self. How about I start with 50 in this post and finish it up in a different one?

  1. I'm a twin. Kim is now groaning and thinking how bored she'll be reading the other 99 tidbits of scintillating (yawn) info.
  2. I have lived in: San Antonio (twice), Houston, Childress and Austin (twice) in Texas. By twice I mean I've lived in the city and moved away, then back.
  3. I have lived in: Monroe, West Monroe and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  4. I have also lived in Oklahoma City, St. Charles, Missouri and Gulf Breeze, Florida.
  5. I have only moved for love twice. The other times were probably much better reasons.
  6. The two times I moved for love the relationships were over within 6 months.
  7. The only set of bed sheets I own are denim. Yes, I wash them often.
  8. My first concert was in Monroe, when John Denver came to town. I got to meet him after the show and he was really nice. I still have the picture of us and still think he's a great singer/songwriter.
  9. I can't whistle or sing well. That is a major understatement.
  10. I once tried to rescue my dog Buddy from a very hungry Louisiana black bear. I did startle the bear enough so that he dropped my dog a few yards off in the brush, but Buddy had fatal injuries. I'm still traumatized.
  11. My mother was a nun. Really. A penguin of the church. Total black & white nun drag, long rosary beads and all that jazz. She opted out when Vatican II made changes to her order. See, and you thought once in, in for life, huh? That's the mafia.
  12. My father was a wrong number. Even more surprising is that my newly ex-nun mother was calling boys in the late 1960's. Progressive minded woman for the times!
  13. I hate Veg-All, those mixed veggies in a can. I think they taste the same, all tinny blandness.
  14. I adore caviar but don't get to eat it often.
  15. If given a choice between champagne or beer, I'm going for the champagne every single time.
  16. I've lived in haunted homes, one of which I won't talk about after dark unless you hand me something strong to drink.
  17. I love Cole Porter's music.
  18. My right pinky has a short tendon. It looks like it's been broken and healed funny. My mother and sister have the same dinky pinky.
  19. I have a half sister and two half brothers from my father's previous marriage. One of the half brothers spent most of his early adult life in and out of prison. Niiiice. The other two siblings are fabulous.
  20. My nephew and nieces call me Tía Kay.
  21. I am half Anglo, half Hispanic. Hence, tía instead of aunt. Yes, I look like a white girl. Thanks, Dad. Can't even get a tan with this skin tone.
  22. I still have my baby pillow and two pillowcases.
  23. I weighed 3lbs, 13oz at birth. Damn, but I'm a healthy girl now!
  24. I adore the smell of gardenias on the bush but think it stinks as a perfume.
  25. I once had a beta fish named Jonah who had his own voice mail on my phone line. You wouldn't believe the number of people who would "press 1 if you'd like to leave a message for Jonah".
  26. When I lived in San Antonio, I hung out mostly at Tejano clubs.
  27. I have lived in Austin for over a decade but visited the capitol for the first time this year.
  28. I was in Brownies when I lived in Childress.
  29. I was in 4-H when I lived in Louisiana.
  30. My six closest friends in junior high & high school were: my sister Kim, Jamette, Kimi, Tami, Theresa and Travis.
  31. I have worn a garbage bag dress and punk rock makeup in public, more than once.
  32. I have worn a 10 carat round brilliant diamond ring on more than 1 occasion. Nope, I do not, nor have I ever owned one.
  33. My favorite comfort cold food is Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate ice cream.
  34. I know how to fish for crawfish.
  35. I have been cooking for almost 30 years. Still love it.
  36. My great-grandmother made tortillas on her wood burning stove. Even though it isn't exactly the same touch of smoky smell, I still love the aroma of tortillas cooking on a hot comal.
  37. I owe the City of Austin Public Library $50 in late dues.
  38. I have fallen in love three times in my life.
  39. I've had my heart broken twice.
  40. My present and past nicknames include: Kaya, Kiki, Pap, J. J. Jr. and Prism. Yeah, don't ask.
  41. I got caught passing a note in English class in 5th grade. Unfortunately, it was a dirty poem. Fortunately my teacher had a sense of humor and let me go with a stern lecture.
  42. I have stolen beer from the Knights of Columbus refrigerator in the St. Paschal's Parish Hall.
  43. I jimmied the door lock to the K of C room in order to steal the beer, which I shared with other youth group kids. Ahh, the joys of Catholicism!
  44. My sister spent a year as a missionary, touring the U.S. and Canada in a van and ministering to Catholic youths. During that time she learned how to spit, smoke and pick a lock.
  45. I smoked cigarettes while tending bar at The Hideout in Baton Rouge. I quit smoking after developing asthma.
  46. I own guns. I also believe in gun safety and education. And I'm a damn good shot.
  47. I have only recently become a convert to techno/house music thanks to my boyfriends relentless years of brainwashing and out & out refusal to change the c.d.
  48. I don't care much for store-bought cakes, pies and cookies. Very few taste good to me.
  49. My earliest memory is of watching the men land on the moon for the first time. It was on a black and white television.
  50. I love falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves. It was my favorite part about living in Gulf Breeze.

To be continued...unless you're totally bored. Leave me a comment and let me know if I should post another 50 scraps of Kay trivia.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy, Happy Birthday, Frederick!

"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be."
~Robert Browning~

Frederick celebrates the start of another year today. He told anyone at work who asked that he is now a speed limit. He's 35 today and in two days will cross off the last item on his Things To Do Before I'm 35 list. He's happy, content and settled down. He has a wonderful partner, a good job with a decent income, a house, a loving group of extended Reinhardt-Miller chosen family along with his blood relatives and in-laws and life is good. There are other goals he's met along the way, such as doing the Ride for the Roses and various volunteer opportunities with Meals on Wheels and In2books and other organizations. He does many, many small things for his friends just to make them smile. He also does many, many small things to his friends just to get a laugh, even if it's embarrassing. We love him anyway, even though he is worse than me at keeping secrets (outed me at a happy hour). Freddy is one of those special people that walks into a room and instantly attracts attention. He is the life of the party. He always makes me laugh. And so it's deserving that the last goal, the one that will be checked off on Thursday is a biggie. It is adoption day for his son, Adrian. What better birthday present than to finalize the paperwork to make Adie his forever child?

Freddy has been my friend for 18 years. I'm lucky enough to work with him. (It's a nifty work benefit.) We've seen each other through fun times and not so fun times. We've counseled each other on bad relationships (ditch him!) as well as good ones (keep him!). Freddy has tried to help me learn to stick to a budget, to change my oil, and to always stop for gas before it gets down to a 1/4 of a tank (to no avail). I don't know what I've taught him, but weve both learned that sometimes it's true that love is all you need.

Our relationship has survived solely on the basis of one thing: we love each other. It's not that we don't have things in common because we do. It's not that we don't enjoy each other's company, we do. It's not that we don't care enough to make time to spend together outside of work, we do. It's just that in our busy world it is so easy to lose a friendship simply because you don't commit to it. You don't give it the attention it deserves. Life gets in the way, hectic schedules become a hodge podge of everything but spending time with each other. We make time for our friendship, for our short walks outside of work when we vent about life's problems, for Family Nights (even though I don't show up often enough), for our morning chats before the work day starts and for any time we need to emotionally lean on someone. Could he survive without me? Sure. Could I survive without him? Sure. Do we want to? Hell, no! And that's why all you need is love. Our relationship gives life flavor and zest and meaning. I despair of ever getting him to stop telling people I'm older than I am, but hey, it doesn't really matter.

So, a big happy birthday hug to you, Frederick. And may the coming years bring nothing but happiness, sunshine and laughter. 1.4.3.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

I finally made it back to the trail this weekend after a two month absence. Saturday morning saw me up bright and early, stretching and feeling faintly pudgy in my running clothes. Okay, more than faintly. I flat out felt fat and jiggly. It's amazing how fast I can decondition. Frank missed his date with his running partner, Hang, and decided to walk with me, an unusual activity for him. I had chosen the 3 mile loop around Town Lake but instead we did the 4.5 mile loop. Boy, was I feeling it. I probably should've stuck with the shorter one on my first time out in so long. I think at best we walked at a 15 minute mile pace, which is turtle slow compared to his normal running pace. I was very happy to have the company, even if Frank didn't get a good workout. He did get a nice stroll around the lake, and time to enjoy the scenery.

Sunday I met my friend Darci bright and early so we could do the Race for the Cure. This race has to be the largest 5K I have ever been involved in. The crowd was huge. I guess it's a good sign when a charity has that much of a turnout. Hopefully they met their fundraising goal. I did my part, thanks to my friends and family that contributed. I appreciated your donations!

That little 5K on top of my Saturday walk was, I'm sure, too much to do in the first weekend of activity. And I think I need new shoes. My feet were sore after both outings, something that usually doesn't happen. I have a lot of work to do if I'm going to complete the Freescale Half Marathon in two months but Darci and I had a great time talking and walking. Aside from the humidity, we didn't break a sweat. The crowd for the untimed race (they divide it into timed and untimed) was so large that you simply couldn't walk fast. There were too many people in front of us. I was very impressed with the sheer number of participants.

Now that I've taken baby steps to get back into my training program I need to refine my focus. Or maybe that's "find my focus". I need to dig into my reserves and pile on the motivation so that I gain momentum. I want to be back to running. I'm okay with walking for now, but as soon as my body allows, it's back to the fast track. Or at least the faster track.

How did you spend your weekend? Did anybody else hit the trail?

Thank You, Sir. May I Have Another?

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~Leo Buscaglia~

While working at Oil Can's yesterday, I enjoyed my usual small talk and chatter with the guys. There are some that I am myself with, some that I am my bar self with and some that I am simply polite but distant with, since I'm not well acquainted enough to share either side of me. For those of you who haven't been in the gay bar environment with me, my bar self is easy to explain. It's me, times five and with a heaping dose of sass. Not straight girl sass, but drag queen sass. It wasn't until I started working with Margie that the guys would order their burgers as "Swiss, American or Naked". My reasoning was, why call it a hamburger when "naked" sounds so much more delicious?

Well, I was mixing it up with the patrons, teasing the regulars and talking trash with the more flamboyant ones when two strangers approached the table to place their orders. It was chaotic and busy and the guys must've been worried that they were standing in the wrong place or blocking other customers because the older one motioned me over. He was one of those gay men that embody the old culture: well groomed, nice shirt and trousers, cultured speaking voice with well-modulated tones and gracious. Not that all the bars are filled with grungy disgruntled gay men who can't complete a sentence, but you know when you've run across an old school gay man who probably did own Judy Garland albums or hell, who even knows who she is, who her daughter is and why she's famous outside of her smash 1939 film success, a little picture known as "The Wizard of Oz". The old school gay knows that Judy went to heaven (hopefully) on the wings of barbituate bliss. The modern gay man would probably cock his head to one side and wonder aloud why she did enough at once to O.D. instead of saving some for later.

Anyway, this gentleman asked if they should wait for their order elsewhere or if they were okay standing where they were. I was surprised at his concern, since most of the clientele are more self-centered than that. I replied that where they were was fine and when he again expressed his worry, I smiled and said "Oh, honey, really, you are perfect where you are!"

Imagine my expression when he leaned in so I could hear him over the music and very sincerely, with a most genuine light in his eyes said "No, you are perfect. You're sweet and nice and absolutely gorgeous." He didn't give it the normal gay man slant, where the compliment rings false and shallow but simply let it be what it was: kind words. I laughed and thanked him and said something like oh, I strive for perfection, and again he insisted "oh, but you are." Mystified but pleased, I went about filling other orders and having much more forgettable conversations with other people.

This morning the conversation replayed itself in my head several times until I realized why it kept popping up. There are two kinds of people in this world, the complimentors and the complimentees. Sometimes you are both, but those are fleeting moments. As a complimentor, it was outside my usual realm to be receive such a lovely compliment. As a member of the gay community, it was even rarer to receive a heartfelt compliment from a stranger. In the gay world, we'd almost always rather criticize than compliment, although it's always done with humor and most parties know it's all in good fun. At any rate, this man's words stayed with me and have served their purpose in making me feel special and unique.

I do receive compliments from the ones closest to me. It's not like I'm always saying sweet things with nothing in return. But to hear something so nice from someone I don't know spurs me to grow. I want to be that stranger, saying something earnestly and in good faith, making someone else feel good with no cost to myself other than the breath it took to vocalize the words. And I want to be that sincere person, without guile or pretense, who you may happen upon in the bar, be pleasantly surprised and remember them the next day, even though you never caught their name. So...Mr. Genteel Old School Gay Man, thank you for your compliment. You made me blush and you made me think. I hope the next time you turn on Judy, you have a perfectly mixed cocktail in your hand and sit there, enjoying her strong voice washing over you and knowing that life is good.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I Dreamed I Had Paul Walker's Love Child

Last night I dreamed I was carrying Paul Walker's love child. Most unfortunately, I did not dream at all about the actual creation and conception. I don't remember much except that I was talking with Darla, telling her that I thought I was pregnant and worrying, since I knew it wasn't my boyfriend's baby. Ever helpful, Darla suggested doing an EPT to find out for certain if I was not only a cheatin' woman but a knocked up one at that.

In my dream, we were both freaked out when the test showed two pink lines. I assured her that Frank would understand why I had done it...after all, Paul Walker is nothing to kick out of bed. What was still troubling me was whether or not Frank would kick me out of his bed for being pregnant with Mr. Hotness' baby.

I woke up before any of the issues had been resolved, and before I could, in dreamland, confess to my boyfriend. So...Baby, I know it's a public venue to air my dirty laundry, but honey, this will be one gorgeous little bastard. And maybe Paul will want to play daddy a bit, hang around our house wearing only board shorts and chucking little Junior up in the air. It's all good.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Jenny I Got Your Number

Sing it with me. "867-5309, eight six seven five three oh ni-uh-ine". How many times have you given out this phone number instead of your own? C'mon, we've all done it. We've all given out a wrong number on purpose a time or two. Sometimes even with the wrong name. I have a friend whose favorite bar name, Justin, is nowhere close to his real name. I've had bar names myself. One memorable Port Aransas weekend, Darci, Julie and I became Anita Mann, Ivanna Rideyou and Alotta something that I can't remember now. We'd bet each other drinks that the drunk guy approaching one of us wouldn't blink an eye at the double entendre psuedonym. Most didn't. And we all got pretty toasted that night.

I thought I'd heard it all when it comes to people giving out wrong numbers, wrong names or heck, their friends' names and numbers instead of their own. Today I heard a tale that amused me greatly. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, or at least so some of you out there don't guess and start your own phone call campaign. I have a friend we'll call Jeri. For some time now, Jeri has been getting frequent calls at the traditional "bar just closed" time around 2:30am. The guys will leave drunken messages along the lines of "Hi Jeri, this is ____. Umm, you said it was okay to call anytime..." wink wink nudge nudge. As if you want to meet for coffee at 3am. She's also been getting regular phone calls where the person asks for her by name, strikes up a conversation and shortly both parties realize they don't know each other. The calls and messages were starting to increase and it became obvious that the other Jeri spends a lot of time in bars meeting men. A lot of men. The other Jeri is living la vida loca.

Jeri was getting annoyed and decided to put a stop to the calls. She started asking people what number they thought they'd dialed so that she could call the other Jeri and resolve the problem. At the very least ask Jeri Two to please ensure that the correct phone number is given out or, if it is a purposeful wrong number, to give a totally different number than either of their's. And maybe, possibly to counsel Jeri Two on the potential dangers in a party girl world. So she called. And got his voice mail. Yes, the other one is Jerry, a gay man who is apparently quite popular. And that explains the slutty behavior, says Jeri.

Why didn't someone realize the mixup sooner? Jeri's voice is a little deeper than most girl's and Jerry's voice is a little higher than most boy's. A kacheery guy calling up for love wouldn't realize he'd reached a female, especially because Jeri's message says something like "you've reached Jeri, leave a message". Even funnier is that Jeri's spouse, Tiffany (yes, they are lesbians) had decided a while back that J2 was a man. So...Jerry's tricks are booty callin' Jeri the lesbian. Can you just imagine? Seriously, I can't make up stories this hilarious. Have you ever heard of a more amusing coincidence?

Jeri did leave Jerry a voice mail about the mixed up numbers and missed messages. There's been no response from Jerry. It's Halloween, a high holy day in the gay life. He's been far too busy making new "friends" to call back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ghoulies and Ghosties, Long-Leggety Beasties And Things that Go Bump in the Night

Halloween is such a fun holiday. In the U.S., Halloween is all about fun times: costumes, candy, collecting for UNICEF (in some regions but not one I ever lived in), ghost stories and haunted houses. We live for candy corn, jack-o-lanterns, miniature Hershey bars and wax lips. As children we pre-determined our Halloween costume in August, after a few weeks of debate with our friends.

It's hard to remember that this holiday is based on the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain. Druids, or Celtic priests to us modern folk, would build huge bonfires for sacrifices (both plant and animal) in an attempt to appease the deities and keep the peace on the one night of the year when the line between the living world and spiritual world blurs and ghosts are free to return and be as mischievous or malevolent as they pleased. Samhain (pronounced "sow-in") was also a New Year's celebration marking the end of harvest and beginning of winter, a season associated with the dead...for obvious reasons. When the Romans gained power over the region, they incorporated two of their festivals into the mix. Feralia and Pomona were celebrated back to back, with Pomona on the day of Samhain. Feralia was honoring the passing of the dead and Pomona acknowledged the goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona's trademark symbol was the apple, and is considered the reason why we bob for the fruit at Halloween and harvest festivals.

Once in charge, the Christians had to have it their way. Pope Boniface IV designated the official All Saint's Day during the seventh century, hoping to replace the Feralia festivities with a Christian observance of the dead. In the language of the time it was called Alholowmesse or All Hallow's day. The day before, Samhain, was called All Hallow's Eve, eventually just Halloween.

Whether your background is Pagan, Wiccan, Christian or whatever, it's still one of the most entertaining holidays. As a child I lived for Halloween. I loved planning my costume and getting together with friends to go trick or treating. My favorite costume was one that my mother made for a school play when I was picked to be an indian princess. The next year we moved to a different city and I got to wear my indian princess costume again. I adored it, with it's fringed sleeves and hem and the colorful beading. But no matter what costume we wore, the routine was always the same: rush home from school, start getting ready and wait, wait, wait until dusk to go trick or treating. Afterward, my mom made us go through our candy to check for tainted items, razor blades, etc., but we never found any. We'd trade candy for our favorites and give the ones we didn't like to our parents.

As I've gotten older, I don't do the dress up thing as often but I still love to carve jack-o-lanterns, toasting the seeds in a spicy mix while putting the final touches on a scary face, circle of stars, cat with an arched back or whatever design I'd chosen that year. Austin throws a huge Halloween event on 6th Street for costumed adults to drunkenly celebrate at bar after bar after bar. The gay bars in town revel in the holiday, each one packed with outlandishly costumed clientele. You have to love the Carmen Miranda-clad drag queen flirting outrageously with a hard bodied man wearing only a circlet of ivy and a well placed fig leaf. And I always have a good time, whether wearing my Sister Mary Feelgood costume (nun habit with a thigh high slit and red fishnets paired with cha cha heels) or my Bitch costume (just me, add whore red lipstick and a full dose of attitude). Every year finds me just as excited as ever that the holiday has arrived.

What are your plans for Samhain? Do you have a favorite costume?

"Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble."
Act 4, Scene 1, Macbeth
~William Shakespeare~

Monday, October 24, 2005

Spandex For Days!

I did spend a little bit of time outdoors this weekend, watching the cyclist race at the Amli Bike Criterium in downtown Austin. The races were exciting, especially the pro men. There was one spectacular crash at the corner of 2nd & Colorado that took out four or five riders. I was bloodthirsty after that, holding onto Frank's shoulder and voicing my desire to see more riders skidding across the asphalt on their butts...major road rash! Frank chided me for wanting to see people get hurt, which calmed my savage nature a bit. The pro's were averaging 38 mph which made the turn in front of the Austin Children's Museum, with it's patch of rough asphalt, particularly treacherous. I had fun cheering on local pro's Zach and Will, both from PureAustin Gym, as they raced toward the finish.

Despite the fact that spandex is a privilege, not a right, there were many non-racers out on their bikes, sporting the skin tight fabric. People, please. I recognize that the fabric is great for it's wicking purposes and that tighter fabric cuts down on nipple burn, but if you are sporting a spare tire and you aren't actually on the bike propelling yourself toward some target location, do us all a favor and throw on a roomy tee shirt. Preferably one that will cover the very distinct outline of your twig & berries. I really don't need to know that much about you.

The one specimen of manhood that I was happy to see was George Hincapie (pictured). He stood next to me for a very short time, watching the pro's, until a gaggle of giggling girls interrupted us, asking if he would pose for pictures. He left as soon as he was done signing autographs, presumably back to his room at the Four Seasons. I'm certain he wanted me to follow him, but being the anti-stalkerish fan that I am, I let him wander off alone. Pity.

Now That the Kitchen is Packed, Of Course I Want to Cook!

I'm through packing up my kitchen in anticipation of the Big Move Out. No sooner did the boxes get taped up did my need to cook surface. I can think of so many things right now that sound fabulous and tasty and are spurring the crave to create a culinary delight. I want to make an omelet with spinach, tomato, roasted garlic and slices of the earthy smoked mozzarella from Whole Foods. While taking a pic of my beloved but rarely used hot pink Docs (pictured left) so I can post them on craigslist, I was hit with an urge to mix up a pitcher of refreshing and nicely alcoholic pomegranate champagne cocktails.

I'm jonesing for a bowl of warm from the oven spicy peach cobbler, topped with Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream. I'd stop packing the bathroom up if someone brought over everything I need to make a chicken alfredo pizza. I have been hit with a sudden yearning to learn how to make a fiery hot Thai curry. Or an authentic Indian curry. Or perhaps not a curry at all, but a batch of salsa so tasty and hot that despite the feeling that you may have blistered the roof of your mouth you just can't seem to stop yourself from grabbing another chip to dip.

I want to make ribs, tender and soaked in a citrusy chipotle barbecue sauce. I want to bake gooey and decadent chocolate heart of darkness cakes from the recipe I got off the Food Network's website years ago but have never used.

I'm sure that the longing to cook will remain with me until addressed. Until then, I will daydream my way through cakes and cornbread, roasted pork and rare steaks while finishing my packing.

What sudden crave were you hit with this weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Where Are They Now?

Where are the teen idols of my youth? And for the one person out there who dared to think "dead", don't think I don't know who you are, Frederick. I am not ancient enough that my teen idols are dead. Some of my idols from when I was much, much younger are dead, though. John Lennon is one. Allow me to clarify that I was listening to the Beatles and John Lennon at a very early age. I think I was the only person in third grade who knew what the White Album was. As a result, when the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out in 1978, I was probably first in line at the box office. Who can't love an acid trip love fest of a movie starring Peter Frampton, the BeeGees and Steve Martin with notable appearances by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Earth, Wind & Fire? Not to mention all the celebrities of the moment who showed up in the Heartland scenes!

One of those celebrities in the Heartland scenes was Leif Garrett. I had a huge crush on Leif from the moment his face graced an issue of Tiger Beat. It was even more intense when I found out he could sing. Where is he now? Leif is actually touring again, although his website does list a club date for later this year. His latest album (2004) is called "Betty Ford for Xmas" and is by Leif Garrett and the Crush Ups. He has two movies coming out, one called American Black Beauty, where he plays Pete and another called Popster in which he is billed as Janitor. I'm not sure if these are straight-to-DVD releases or if they'll be in selected theaters. The pics of Leif on his website are entertaining. At one point he has so much facial hair he's almost unrecognizable. Gone is the dreamy faced cute boy I remember!

Another Big Star for me is Shaun Cassidy. Shaun, who was well known for his role as Joe Hardy in the "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries" t.v. series enjoyed success at a young age and hasn't stopped. I fell for Shaun when he released his cover tune single "Da Doo Ron Ron" in 1977. (Apparently the late 70's were my prime starstruck years.) I thought he had hit his peak and fizzled out after he did "Breaking Away", until I realized that he is simply a behind-the-scenes success. Unlike his brother David "I Think I Love You" Cassidy, who resurfaces in Vegas from time to time, Shaun has built up quite the resume as a creator & producer for television. Some notable projects are "Invasion" currently on ABC, was the executive producer for the 2003 season of "Cold Case" and "Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family" on USA. He's busily building a career out of creating, writing and producing. Who knew?

The last of my Holy Trinity from the latter 70's is Rick Springfield. He caught my attention in "Battlestar Galactica" playing Lt. Zac. I followed him to his "General Hospital" debut as Dr. Noah Drake, the best looking doc in the whole of Port Charles. Does anyone remember that song that named all the characters in General Hospital at the time, such as Luke and Laura? Extra points if you can find the lyrics and post them in comments! For those of you still fans of the soap, Rick is reprising his Noah Drake role starting December 2nd. What has he done lately? A lot! His website was by far the best of all three. Don't skip the intro. His touring schedule is heavy and this year he added a date or two in Japan. His newest album "the day after yesterday" is a decent cover tunes cd of "all the songs I wish I'd written" says Rick. I did learn from his website that he recently obtained a "carded, double telescoping Obi Wan Kenobi" figure and that for Halloween he's going as "the guy who had to have two hernia operations" and hopes to "scare the hell out of the little kids". I must say that he has aged gracefully. And perusing his website has me jonesing to listen to "Working Class Dog". I'm hopeless.

Who were your teen idols?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wowsa, What a Weekend!

I had a fantastic weekend. Friday night was Family Night at the Reinhardt-Miller household. We made pizzas ranging from your basic pepperoni to my favorite smoked salmon/goat cheese/anchovies/capers/red onion one. Adrian worked the crowd, bestowing smiles as favors to all his aunts, aunties and Tía. We all fawned over him, tickling him to elicit those oh-so-cute belly laughs and playing with him until bath & bedtime. After our boy went to bed, we continued our revelry by playing a few games of Catchphrase. I don’t know why Tanya is so lucky, but she doesn’t know how I guess her clues, either. We’re a great team, TT! Our new folks attending Fam Nite were probably less than impressed with our zeal for Catchphrase, but once you’ve been Tanya, and won a few games in a row you’ll find that it is quite addictive.

I started packing up my apartment on Saturday. I have to be out of my place by Halloween, so it was time to get cracking. Packing is one of my favorite tasks, right up there with cleaning the bathroom, getting a root canal and being abducted by aliens. I’ve put it off for as long as I can. I am happy to be moving, though. Frank is excited to be acquiring a live-in chef with a Netflix account. J I broke it to my father on Sunday that I’m moving. I may be knocking on 40’s door, but it’s still hard to tell my parents that I’m going to be living with my boyfriend. Why is that? As the youngest child I must have an ingrained need for their approval and blessing. Well, they don’t quite approve but they know that at my age I’m an adult and can make my own decisions. They like Frank and know he is a good man, and that is the most important part. On the other hand, they were thrilled that I had sold the Granny furniture. I’d been holding on to a bedroom set that originally belonged to Great Aunt Cissy (obviously of the anglo side of the family) and then to my grandmother. I sold it to someone I work with who was very happy to get a full sized bedframe with headboard & footboard, the matching chest of drawers with nifty wheels on the legs and vanity with little stool. I can only wonder if my great aunt and grandmother will make any visits from the other side to the furniture’s new home. It’s been their inclination over the years to, ahem, check in, so to speak. Pretty damn scary if you aren’t used to it. Caveat emptor!

Saturday night I made a fabulous meal for Frank and Corrie. I’m housesitting, and am taking advantage of the large kitchen and a Big Green Egg, a smoker/griller that is based on the Japanese kamado clay-fired stoves. It is a large, heavy, thick ceramic egg shaped grill and smoker. It is perfection! I grilled a chicken breast for Corrie and a salmon filet for us and the flavor really is a cross between smoked and char-grilled. The asparagus and Portobello mushrooms were equally flavorful. For dessert, I cored and sliced an apple, added a tiny bit of butter and some extra dark brown sugar before wrapping it all up in tin foil and placing it on the cooling Egg. In the house, I’d made toasted ciabatta bread with herbed goat cheese for a starter and baked polenta rounds topped with diced tomato, basil and capers as good carb side for Frank. He had a 10 mile race on Sunday and needed to carb load. Dessert was great, but I’d have killed for some vanilla ice cream to top the apples. Mmmm!

Sunday morning found me at the Pervasive Powercharge bright and early. I learned that following the crowd isn’t always the right thing to do. You know how it is, you’re going to some big event but didn’t look closely at directions. If you’re like me, you’ll think “I’ll just follow everyone else. All of us can’t be wrong.” That line of thinking has now been proved untrue once all the occupants of about 45 cars realized we had parked in the wrong place. Luckily, we had plenty of time before the start and found it amusing instead of stressful. It was turning into a beautiful morning and all was well. Frank and his running partner, Hang, had a terrific run. Hang’s boyfriend, Jason teamed up with me as support staff and we rushed off before the start to make the first of several mad dashes to vantage points around the race route. Our first stop was at the top of a very steep hill on Spicewood Springs. This hill was one that I couldn’t walk up without exertion, much less run but when our runners topped it, they looked cool and were running smoothly. In fact, each time we saw them they were making it look easy. Once again I’ve made a mental note to go by a party supply store for noisemakers instead of bruising my hands clapping for hours. Maybe I’ll be more prepared at the next race.

They finish the race at the same time, according to the results website, but we know that Hang finished 1/10th of a second ahead of Frank. Way to use the girl power, Hang! The official times are listed for Hang, racer number 768 overall and Frank, racer number 769 at 1:35:48. There are a lot of things I can do in an hour and a half, but running 10 miles is not currently one of them. Since they are so competitive I’ll just throw myself into the fray by declaring that while Frank and Hang may always outrun me, I can read faster and retain more of what I’m reading than either of them. Nope, we haven’t tested that, but I’m certain of my skills. At any rate, they showed us once again what powerful athletes they’ve become. Congratulations! No pressure, but I’m expecting you both to run the marathon in less than 4 hours.

Sunday night was my usual burgers-at-the-Can evening. It was super busy, due to the AIDS walk earlier that afternoon. In between customers Margie and I caught up on current events in our lives. I didn’t feel like drinking, despite offers from several regulars to buy me beverages. In fact, by the time 8pm hit, I was more than ready to leave. I did stop by Whole Foods for an avocado gelato and to buy some smoked mozzarella. I know I rave in person to all of you about the avocado gelato, but seriously, you need to try this treat. It is delectable. And no, it does not taste like frozen guacamole. It is a light, luscious flavor and you will become a fan if you only do what I urge and at least ask for a sample when you’re in the store. You won’t be disappointed.

What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Back from El Paso

My boyfriend and I went to El Paso for the weekend. It was a very quick trip and like all quickies, we packed a lot into a little bit of time. This trip reinforced my belief that adult El Pasoans do not need sleep. There must be something in the water, a trickle of chemical goodness from the maquiladoras in Juarez that gives them the superhuman strength to survive on 3.4 hours of sleep. I did manage to stay up into the wee hours of Saturday morning, but I unashamedly crashed with the children on the couches in the living room on Saturday night. What can I say? I need my beauty rest.

Saturday was the big family event day, with two neices and a cousin getting baptised. Frank was asked to be Elena's padrino, with his sister Melissa as madrina. (That's godfather & godmother for you non-Spanish speaking Americans). I struggled through the sermon, with Father repeatedly preaching that a man and woman can get married and be a couple, be in a committed relationship but it isn't a family until they have kids. WTH? What if you can't have kids and for some reason are unable to adopt? Then you don't get to be classified as a "family"? Whatever. Anyway, I was glad when he finished the sermon and moved on to the actual baptisms. They were nicely done, with the older kids first and then the baby. The only one who struggled was Gia, the toddler. She is absolutely beautiful and complete demon spawn. This gorgeous kiddo beats up on her older brother and when admonished will simply look at you and smile a beautiful, "yes, I'm misbehaving but aren't I the sweetest" smile. I'm certain the holy water burned her. Desiree, on the other hand, was completely well behaved during her baptism. I had bribed her before the service. I promised if she was the most well behaved child in church I'd give her a dollar. Aside from Elena, who was a perfect baby, Desi earned her money. It went into her piggy bank as soon as we got home. Elena was so sweet during her baptism. She was happy and content in Frank's arms.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating with family. There was a table full of food, everything from brisket to hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, macaroni salad, nachos, chips and salsa, frijoles, much food! The salsa was wonderful. Frank's mom makes the best homemade chile, as they call salsa in El Paso. It was flavorful and so hot that I thought the roof of my mouth was going to blister. I couldn't stop eating it, it was so good. Luckily there was also plenty of iced down cerveza. Yes, I know you're supposed to drink milk to stop the burning from hot peppers, but I chose to ignore that advice and grab a cold beer. Or two. Or four. The entire day was one huge party, with the kids playing in and out of the house, driving us crazy with the number of times we had to yell "close the door!". The dining room table turned into a card game and the rest of us spilled over into the living room and back room, watching movies and talking. You know we had to raise a glass to the Longhorn's victory over OU. Or should I say slaughter?

Sunday was spent a little more quietly, having a late breakfast with the family, yummy chorizo and eggs that Frank's dad made along with refried beans and, of course, chile. Mmmmm! Frank and I visited with his grandparents for a little while, too. His grandfather was teasing me that since I didn't make any menudo on this trip he is expecting me to make it when we come for Christmas. I also was told in no uncertain terms that if I'm going to be a part of this family I need to learn Spanish. Who can say no to Grandpa? The patriarch of the familia cannot be denied! I assured him I'd look into lessons. My Spanish is pretty horrible. I did speak my one sentence that I know well to Grandpa. "Yo hablo Español, pero muy poquito y muy mal." He was happy that I said it in Spanish but will be happier when I can have a conversation without Frank needing to translate for me. We left to make a fast appearance at the church bazaar and say goodbye to the parents, who were working booths there before heading off to the airport. As always, it was hard to say goodbye. We promised that we'd stay longer on our next visit.

I ended up with a serious migraine on Monday, but today it's all good. I'm back at work and attempting to clear off my desk. How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Commenting Gets a Little More Complicated

I love feedback on my blog postings, but I am being forced to add one more step to the process. Now, in addition to either choosing to comment "anonymously" or using the "other" button and filling in a name or nickname, you will have a word verification step. You know the kind, the box with the fuzzy lettered word in a font that looks like it's all stretched out like they used to do to glass Coke bottles in the 70's at state fairs and in San Antonio to commemorate Fiesta. Does anyone remember these? Anyway, back to the you'll have to type in the word or letters as they appear in order to post your comment. I am very, very tired of clearing out the comments that all say something like "YOUR BLOG IS GOOD, INTERESTING HOW ABOUT CHECKING OUT MINE AT _______" and the link is 9 times out of 10 for penis enlargement but once it was for cheap pharmaceuticals. Since I don't need either, I'm making this easier on myself with the word verification. It's still super easy to post a comment, so please, don't let a little fuzzy stretched out word verification stop you!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Love Is All You Need

Again, a Beatles reference in my posting. No, I'm not old enough to have enjoyed their music at the pinnacle of it's popularity. I'm a younger-than-that Beatles fan. Listening to the compilation album, The Beatles 1 makes me happy. And happy is what I need to be right now.

I've always thought that friends are the family you choose for yourself, the flowers in your life garden...the rich chocolate accompanying a crisp, cold flute of champagne. I know it is true. I can honestly say that without my family and my friends I wouldn't be able to handle life right now. I have had the worst week and a half in the history of my life and my friends and family are holding me up, helping me keep it together and steering me toward happiness.

It sounds so clinical to call my friends and family a "support system". That description always gives me images of Star Trek like flashing circuit boards and plastic shrouded wires leading off to something unseen. I think they are more like a tangible evidence of psychic nourishment...of sunshine and blue skies for my soul.

I will make it through this rough time in my life. I will make it through because I am strong, because my partner is a strong man, and because I have strong, caring, loving people in my world. I wish I could write a love letter to each of you that adequately explains just what you mean to me, but I don't have the words to do justice to how important you are. I will simply say, I love you and thank you, for all that you do, and for all that you don't do when it's time to do nothing but be there.

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
~Henri Nouwen~

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hell is Cooler Than My Apartment

It is our 8th day of expected triple digits, with the last few days going between 104º and 108º. I was happy getting off work yesterday, knowing I'd be going home to a cool apartment since the maintenance guys called to say the a/c was repaired. Stepping through the doorway, my euphoria evaporated as I realized the maintenance guys were wrong. The temperature was above 90º, and stuffy. I called my boyfriend, on the verge of tears, and told him I was headed back to his condo, you know, the one with the fabulous air conditioning. I called my complex's office and reported that it was hotter than hell in my apartment. The manager took my call, and immediately lost her friendly, girl talk voice (I've lived there long enough to have a good rapport with the office staff) and took on the ultra professional tone. She ma'am'd me so much I thought my mother was in the room. I know she was worried that I would completely overheat and take it out on her. Despite the urge to do so, and ignoring the trickle of sweat down the small of my back, I politely asked if the maintenance men could fix my a/c and then double check that it was working before claiming that it is functional this time.

Since I was already sweaty and hot, I took the time to snap pics of the furniture in my garage. I'm selling an ancient bedroom set (vanity, chest of drawers, headboard & footboard) and an antique vanity that is a beautiful art deco styled solid wood piece. The difference between "ancient" and "antique"? The ancient set is antique, probably about 50-60 years old but so worn out and in need of repair that I'll be lucky to get $75 for the set. The antique vanity is very, very nice and I'm hoping for $250, although it's worth more. Art deco isn't quite the style these days, or I'd make more on that sale.

So here I am at work, in my office with no less than 3 a/c vents. I'm chilly and keep getting goose bumps but I'm not complaining at all. It's better than being hot. I had a good night's rest at Frank's home, which calmed me down and tempered my frustration. I'm waiting for an update on my a/c so I'll know if I'm going home or back to the condo tonight. Hope all of ya'll are staying cool. And as for my twin, in the 60º weather in St.'s a great place to visit. Besos!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ahhhh, the balmy days of fall in Central Texas!

We are expecting our sixth day of record heat in Austin. By record heat I mean triple digits. Yup, other states are enjoying cooler weather and leaves beginning to turn pretty colors while we are roasting at a high yesterday of 108º and watching our leaves are turning brown from lack of water. I worked at The Can yesterday, flipping burgers over a hot BBQ pit and didn't realize just how hot it had gotten until I was slightly delirious and my face was glowing red. After Gatorade, ice water, Sprite and a break from the grill I recovered and felt much better.

Once my shift at the bar was over, I headed home, anxious to get into a cool shower, clean up and relax. I fell asleep early but woke up at 2:30am wondering why I was so hot. My first thought was that I had gotten a sunburn but a quick inspection in the mirror confirmed that although I did have pink cheeks, I didn't have a significant burn. Experiencing a sinking feeling, I checked my a/c temps. Uh huh. My apartment was a toasty 85º even though the thermostat was set for ten degrees cooler. I turned it off for a bit, then back on. No luck. I tossed and turned under my ceiling fan for a while until finally having my one bright idea of the wee hours. Going to the fridge, I pulled cold packs out. The same cold packs that my leg muscles loved during training season saved me again. It felt heavenly sleeping on them. I woke up feeling fairly well-rested despite the fact that my apartment was now warmer than the outdoors. After another cool shower I headed to work, loving the fact that my car's a/c was so cold it was giving me goose bumps.

I dutifully notified my apartment complex and they're sending maintenance out. I'll call later to find out if it was fixed or if I'm facing another night of heat. Just in case, I packed a bag. There's no way I'm sleeping in a hot apartment another night, cold packs or not! Ooooh, now would be a fabulous time to find those red popsicles!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Lovely Rita Meter Maid

Unlike the Beatles song, none of us in Texas are thinking Rita is anything but one ugly looking bitch. The hurricane hysteria hit Austin two days ago. Of course, this was when the predicted path of the storm was to hit Galveston and journey North to us. Now, we’ll be spared the brunt of it’s rain bands and nasty stormy weather. Austin City Limits Festival will go on as planned, as will Pecan Street Festival this weekend. It should be a good time for all the people wanting to hear live music in Austin, where we bill ourselves as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Strange to think we'll be able to have a good weekend when only an hour's drive away will be torrential rain, wind and possible flooding.

The early reports cautioned us to buy bottled water, flashlights, batteries, nonperishable foods that don't need heating and other comfort items. I went to Whole Foods yesterday to buy peanut butter, bread, water and a few other things. I got one of the last tubs of their freshly ground peanut butter. The sign on the grinders said they were out of peanuts but a resourceful employee had made a caseful of the peanut, cashew and almond butters. I couldn't score any bottled water, as they were completely out. The only loaves of bread were two of rye and four of white. I passed up the white, thinking either the half loaf of 100% whole wheat that I have left will last us or I'll luck out at another grocery store. Hah! The picture is of one of our large HEB grocery stores' bread aisle. Even the tortillas are gone, with the exception being the boxed hard corn taco shells. I always find those funny since most Hispanics will make their own taco shells from fresh corn tortillas instead of going for the Taco Bell premade version. But my family also refers to store bought tortillas as "alien tortillas", too. At any rate, the bread, cereal, tuna, peanut butter and milk aisles of HEB all look the same: bare.

Hopefully Rita will hit land and immediately deflate. She'll definitely weaken, but I'm hoping for a huge, anti-climactic fizzling out of her fury.

And thank you, Frederick for letting me bogart your pic to use in my blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


My life has been a whirlwind of activity lately and I haven't had a chance to blog. I'm finally finished battling it out with the Westlake raccoons. The homeowners are back from Italy and I am off to another petsitting job. This time, it's for a friend whose house I am totally at home in...from snuggling on her big comfy chair in front of the t.v. to digging in the fridge for dinner makings. Her pets are suspicious and keep sitting in front of the door waiting for Corrie to come home. I've assured them that she'll be home safe and sound on Wednesday. They are obviously concerned that they'll be stuck with me for life. I'm trying not to let my feelings be hurt. I'll have a week off at home until I start a two week stint housesitting for another friend, whose furry kids are easy peasy to take care of and like me enough to not worry when their mom is coming home. During that week at home I'll be cleaning my apartment, doing laundry and sorting through old clothing that needs to either be thrown out or donated. Fun times.

I have been chasing a childhood treat to no avail. When I was in elementary and junior high school in Monroe & West Monroe, Louisiana, our schools sold snacks at recess and/or concession break. One of those snacks was a red popsicle. This popsicle wasn't like the Popsicle brand kind that was grooved so you could break it in two. It was a straight, smooth cylindar of red frozen goodness on a stick. It came in a white wrapper and was, I'm certain, sold in bulk to the schools from some food supply company. I'm on a search in Austin to find this red popsicle. I've been to HEB and Randall's. Now I'll be looking at Albertson's and Fiesta. I won't be deterred until I've either found them or exhausted the possibility of finding them.

One treat I have been enjoying isn't an edible one. Corrie left Aveda products for me to use while I'm staying at her place. I love Aveda, although most of the time will opt for a less pricey brand of hair care products. I've enjoyed them so much this week that I've made a vow to buy some for my house. I remember the first time I had heard of Aveda. More than a decade ago, I was visiting my sister, who had moved to St. Louis, a much larger city than Austin. At the time, my sister was a bit of a wild one, living it up in the company of her two gay roomies. (Eric & Paul are both hotties, so I always enjoyed the indoor scenery when I visited.) Kim hugged me hello and I noticed how good her hair smelled. She was happy to tell me about her Aveda shampoo and conditioner, although now I can't remember which one she used. I thought it was such a hip, big city thing to use a shampoo that cost more than most of my meals at the time. I think it's time to splurge on myself and buy Aveda hair care products and some really, really good skin care items, too. Why not?

While I'm on the subject of pampering myself, I'll mention that I have regained my will to cook. I made a succulent roast chicken using an organic, free range first time paying more in an attempt to see if it really did make a difference. I salted & peppered the cavity, stuffing it with fresh Hatch green chili, onion and slices of garlic along with a bit of butter. I stuffed butter, onion slices and garlic under the skin of the breast before using a bit of EVOO on the bird and liberally seasoning with my holy trinity (sea salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder) and some onion powder. Then into the oven it went, for 15 minutes at 475º and then another hour at 350º. When it came out of the oven I was busy preparing steamed broccoli and baked polenta rounds topped with cheddar cheese. It was fabulous! The chicken was perfect, as was the rest of the meal down to the fresh sliced pineapple and green seedless grapes for dessert. Yum!

Now I just have to decide what to make for supper tonight. Suggestions?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ultimate Fighter

I almost forgot to mention one highlight of my weekend: watching the Ultimate Fighter 2 on Spike TV. Now I know this is not your usual chick flick fare. But if you're a woman who feigns interest in the Strongman competitions that your boyfriend or husband is enthusiastically into while secretly harboring a love for them, you'll enjoy the UF shows. It's street fighting at it's best, with all the erotic wrestling holds of the professional sport combined with face slapping hits, kidney punches and kicking. Frank tuned in and within minutes I was out of my couch potato reclining pose and literally on the edge of my seat cheering for my favorite, the 6' 7" Big Strong Man Whose Name Escapes Me. I saw more faces buried in crotches than imaginable. It was thrilling, hot and testosterone kinky, kind of what you'd expect if the WWF had an ecstasy problem as opposed to a steroid problem. Check it out on Spike TV tonight at 10pm CST/11pm EST. Where else can you hear commentary such as "He is really good with submissions" while you watch a burly man wrap his thighs around his opponent's neck? Ummm....on second thought, don't answer that! I can find the Chain Drive all on my own if I want to, thanks.

Fila Relays & Westlake Raccoons

I swear I didn't do much this weekend except nap on Frank's new couch and go to the Fila Relay at Zilker Park. I cheered for the Hang's Angels team: Hang, Frank, Mark Felger and Charles Sampson. Well, except Charles got called in so Jason, Hang's boyfriend, was tagged as a last minute substitute. Each member ran 2 laps totalling 2.5 miles each. The team did an awesome job! Hang averaged a 7:75 minute per mile pace. Frank ran a 7:92 minute per mile pace. Mark held an 8:22 min per mile run and Jason cleaned up with a 7:19 minute per mile! Hang and Frank, you can easily join the Green group of Austin Fit or, if you don't want to push yourselves so hard, go with the Yellow group. As for me, I was lonely on my 3 mile walk (with a tiny bit of running) on Saturday morning, so I've decided to hang with Austin Fit for the pep talk, stretching and lectures and then either go 3 miles with the walking group or strike out on my own on the trail. And I need a new shoe tag. Mine is so worn out that it keeps unsnapping and coming off my running shoe. It doesn't do any good in my purse, where it currently is living.

I'm petsitting in Westlake for two dogs and two cats. The pooches are terribly cute: a miniature pinscher that was debarked by the drug dealer she was rescued from and a chihuahua. Cupcake (the minpin) is a total sweetheart and Ellie gets so excited to see me that she almost jumps in circles. The two cats are pretty cool, too. Francis is still mostly ignoring me but Kitty meows at me and follows me around in the hopes I'll be generous with the petting (I am).

The most interesting thing about this petsitting job is the raccoons. Not that they are more fun than Cuppie, Ellie, Francis & Kitty, but these are some smart raccoons. Of course they are Westlake coons and have the advantage of a better funded school system, so I shouldn't be surprised. They have higher I.Q.'s than your average Central Texas raccoon. The cats have a new kitty door that gets locked at night when they come in. The lock is a sliding one at the bottom of the door and is does not slide easily. You really have to use a bit of force. The first time the raccoons got in, I rationalized it by saying maybe I just thought I'd locked it but didn't. the second time I made sure I had locked it and they still managed to undo it and come on in. The second time they even opened the drawer and got out the bag of cat food that I'd stowed in the small plastic cabinet after they'd chewed through it on the first visit. This morning I discovered the raccoons have now learned how to open the top of the plastic bin holding the cat food instead of messing around trying to find which drawer I'd hidden the bag in. So...tonight after I lock the cat door, I am going to booby trap the cat food. The owners have an ornamental metal set of bells, that look like an upside down candlelabra on the table by the cat food. I'm going to place the bells on top of the cat food bin and if nothing else, it may scare the bejeezus out of the raccoons when they knock it over getting into the grub. Hah! I'll admit to kind of feeling like Bill Murray chasing the elusive dancing gopher in Caddyshack.

Frank and I did take in a movie this weekend. We saw "The Transporter 2" with Jason Stratham, that yummy man. You have to love a man with a cool accent who looks awesome in a suit and likes to drive fast cars. Wait a sec, that's a description of James Bond. Ah well, love that type. The movie was entertaining. I'm waiting for the premiere of Brokeback Mountain, the story of two cowboys whose love affair spans a lifetime, with moments together stolen whenever possible. I read the novella by E. Annie Proulx, whose "The Shipping News" was turned into a pretty terrible movie (but the accents were spot on, according to my Newfie friend, Michelle). The novella was one that caught me in the first few pages and didn't let me go 'til I was on the last paragraph. Hopefully the hype for the movie will prove true and the film will do the book justice.

And how was your weekend??