Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pulling A Carrie Bradshaw

I've always been curious about why things happen the way they do. This week I've been pondering the little quirks that come with having a relationship. Most specifically, the things that happen only when you are in a relationship. So here's my Carrie moment:

Why is it when you are single it seems you are never approached, only meet men that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy and can't find a decent date even if you paid an escort to go out with you but the minute you commit to someone you suddenly become the world's most sought out woman?

Why is it I couldn't get a date during my years of being a singleton but now I get hit on fairly often? And for those of you out there who are single but get hit on weekly or even daily and wonder what is wrong with me that I don't...well, you are gorgeous creatures with beautiful bodies who wear hip & stylish clothes and always have perfect makeup. I am an average looking woman who doesn't own a lot of clothing and wears minimal makeup 'cause I never learned how to do my face properly. You have the advantage. Relish it.

Back to the topic at hand. I have been hit on at the grocery store and the gas station. I've been leered at by a man standing next to his car as I walked up 6th to Congress. Well, he could've been leering at Frederick, which is usually the case, but I'm fairly certain he kissed his fingers at me when we passed. Probably because I was staring back at him. He was hot in that Latino kind of rough trade way. On second thought, he probably was looking at Freddy. But there's no mistaking that the man who hit on me in Lowe's was looking at anyone else. His come on was the most original line I've ever gotten: "Are you Hawaiian?". For those of you reading my blog who don't know what I look like, let me clue you in on why that line is so amusing. Despite being of mixed race (Anglo dad, Latina mom) I am total white bread city looking kind of woman. Brown hair, fair skin, blue eyes. Yeah, I'm Hawaiian. It did make me smile that a guy wanted to talk to me badly enough to ask a completely random out-of-thin-air question. He was very nice and complimented my eyes and smile before I sent him on his way down the paintbrush aisle by telling him that "no, I'm not married, but I have a boyfriend". I've been hit on by single men as well as married men, their gold wedding rings glinting as they raise their drink to the lips that moments before whispered an adulterous suggestion. I've been hit on by women, both single and those whose girlfriend at home would surely beat me to a pulp if they knew I had the sassy audacity to seize their lover's attention.

I think that the "opportunities" that start sliding across our social inbox is the Relationship Fairy's system of checks and balances. It's the angel and devil on each shoulder method of weeding out people who are ready for relationships and those who aren't. Or maybe it's the universe's way of balancing things out by giving one person the power to pay back the bad karma of their partner. If that's true, then my boyfriend must be taking someone else out at least twice a week. I was not a nice person to be in a relationship with for oh, say, most of my 20's, so I know I racked up a lot of bad karma. Or maybe it's nothing but bad timing and complimentary coincidence. And people who can't seem to find happiness through faithfulness. God knows I have at least one serial adulterer in my group of acquaintances. He loves his wife and would never leave her but has ongoing relationships all over town.

I think most people who are in relationships will find someone else that captures their interest and piques their sexual appetite and I bet it happens not once or twice but many times throughout a lifetime. And others will be captivated by you and approach you with either charming openers or silly questions. I'm sure many marriages fail and long term relationships end because the freshness, the spark has faded and one party starts to long for that exciting time of flattery and flirting, of furtive glances and the first delicious kiss. I believe that you can rekindle romances instead of stepping outside of them, but obviously most of the country doesn't share my opinion. A provisional estimate from the National Center for Health Statistics has the nation's divorce rate at 38%. Wow. Now not all of that is due to someone forgetting the part where you vow to be faithful to your partner, but it's still a staggering figure.

I think, to paraphrase one of my favorite movie quotes, some of us are always dancing with one eye on the door, looking for the next best thing while others see that while the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, the garden you've cultivated has deeper roots. As for me, I'll meet all compliments and come on's with a smile and a thank you and later happily share with my boyfriend that someone else found me desirable. I'll admire the beautiful slant of a cheekbone, stare lustily at someone's sensuous full lips, sneak peeks at gorgeous muscled lines down some hardbodied man's torso, heck I'll even openly gawk at a hottie at Town Lake and I always flirt outrageously when provoked...but I'm happy at home and quite content to stay that way. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Since my top 10 movies post had me thinking about all the other "love them" items in my life, I thought I'd post my top books. Some of these are adult books, some are children's books and some are young adult. All are worthy, and again, I've probably left tons out. My favorite way to spend summertime was reading, whether I was indoors in the air conditioning or outside laying under the tree in the front yard appreciating the thick carpet grass that my parents spent all spring cultivating to lush rug-like fullness. So here we go with books (or book series) in no particular order.

  1. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkein)
  2. Dragonsong (Anne McCaffrey. I loved the whole Pern series, really)
  3. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Betty McDonald. Remember the radish cure for nonbathers?)
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)
  5. Strawberry Girl (Lois Lenski. I read all of her "Girl" series)
  6. Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling)
  7. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series (Laurell K. Hamilton)
  8. Dune (Frank Herbert. See, Frank, I have tons of Sci-Fi on here. While you were watching it, I was reading it. Later in life I'd start watching.)
  9. A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L'Engle. I read all of the Murray family adventures.)
  10. (3-Way Tie) Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice), The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare) with The Once and Future King (T. H. White)

Okay, so I cheated a bit and really have a top 12 list. But I left off so many great ones! Where the Red Fern Grows, The Boxcar Children series, The Wizard of Oz series, all my guilty pleasure Star Trek books & Jude Devereaux cheap historical romance books, Atlas Shrugged, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With the Wind, Lord of the Flies, The Exorcist (okay, so it wasn't great but I enjoyed being scared spitless) and even The Handmaid's Tale. If you'll leave me a list of your top books, I'm sure there will be some I've forgotten but also loved reading over the years.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round

Today Frederick and I started our campaign to lower expenses, namely the amount we spend on gasoline. Instead of driving to his house and carpooling to work, I parked. Popped inside for a moment to say hello to my furry stepkids (love you, Sammy, Skeeter & Logan!) and good morning to Jed and Adrian. Adie looked up from his exersaucer and happily said "No!" to me when greeted. We left Poppa tearing around the house like a mad man and set off on our short walk to the bus stop. Yes, the bus stop. I sat on the bench, clutching my $10 unlimited bus rides for 31 days pass, and listened to Frederick tell me how his new tent that is supposed to take 10 minutes to set up only took him 20 minutes...until he tried to attach the rain flap, which took him another hour or so.

The #5 Woodrow was right on schedule. I was surprised at how clean the bus was, and how everyone riding looked, well, like us. I guess I've seen too many movies with inner city bus rides where there is trash on the floor, graffiti on the walls and a schizophrenic person in the seat next to you. All in all it was a pleasant ride to work. The bus stop closest to the office is conveniently at the Starbucks at 6th & Congress. Even so, counting the time we took stopping for Freddy's caffeination, we made it to work in right at 40 minutes. If you add my drive time to the house, it was just under an hour. Yeah, if we'd driven to work, it would've saved time. So what? I'm hoping that by cutting my weekday commute by 50% I won't be spending more than $30 filling up my tank each week.

What are you willing to do to combat the high cost of gas?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Top 10 Movies

I always get those emails where you are supposed to get to know your friends better by answering about 25 questions including things like whether you prefer mayonnaise or Miracle Whip and your favorite movie/book/tv show. I can't ever decide on just one. So, off the top of my head and most likely forgetting a real top 10 fave, here is my movie list. Please, no groaning comments over my taste or lack of it! But definitely drop me a comment with your top 10 flicks! These movies aren't in any particular order, just the top 10 that I watch over and over...you know, the one where you're lazily channel surfing and end up on TNT and decide it's a good day to watch it just one more time.
  1. Steel Magnolias
  2. Latter Days
  3. Star Wars
  4. Interview With the Vampire
  5. Jaws
  6. The Sound of Music
  7. Grease
  8. The Terminator
  9. The Color Purple
  10. Gone With the Wind

I could totally do a runner's up list, but alas, there are just too many to list. My favorite movies would probably be a list of close to a 100 and that would be just too long of a post. So, what are your's?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fabulous Weekend

I had a great weekend. On Saturday I slept later than usual and skipped my normal Town Lake outing. I met up with Frederick, Jed, Adrian, Holly and her gorgeous athletic family, L.J. and Keith for a "welcome back to Texas" breakfast at Juan in a Million. One of my favorite Tex-Mex breakfast spots! I indulged in the breakfast tacos, choosing nopalitos and egg on a flour tortilla and a barbacoa on corn. Mmmmm. Almost everyone else chose the signature taco, the Don Juan "El Taco Grande" with is a tortilla laid flat on a plate with a mound of potato, egg, cheese and bacon. It's so huge they ask if you want an extra tortilla, 'cause you'll need it. Adie wanted to try my nopalitos and barbacoa, but he isn't into cactus or meat. He did a classic move, screwing up his face and using his hand to scrub the food off his tongue, just like in the movie "Big" when Tom Hanks tastes caviar and doesn't like it. We stuffed ourselves on chips, the city's hottest restaurant salsa and tacos and teased Keith about his brief move to L.A. We're all glad he's home and hoping that he won't decide to move away again. I mean, really, if you move away and back twice, there's no reason to go for a third time. Central Texas is home.

Saturday afternoon I did errands and waited for Frank's refrigerator to be delivered. That evening we went to a party at the Hilton for Dr. Arnold, who is a surgeon with CTVS here in Austin. It was his 80th birthday and a "pre-retirement" party. We had dinner at Eddie V's downtown, which I had never been to before, but love the Arboretum restaurant. The food was, as usual, delicious. For starters, we had the Maryland crab cake, which is almost 100% lump crab meat and served with a remoulade sauce, and collossal shrimp (and they were) dipped in a springroll style batter and flash fried, served with lump crab, avocado and an Asian viniagrette dipping sauce. Mmmmmmm!! For dinner Frank had more collossal shrimp, stuffed with lump crab and grilled with parmesan and herb & garlic crumbs....so tasty! I had an avocado, lump crab, shrimp, grapes, dates and mixed baby greens salad with a citrus viniagrette for dinner. Yum, yum, yum!

Frank was his usual social butterfly self, but for a change, I was more content to sit and people watch. I did talk to loads of people from the medical scene and caught up on news with most of my former co-workers. The party was in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel and featured heavy hors d'ouvres before the band started playing. The theme was nautical casual, due in part to Dr. Arnold's military service and part to his lifelong love of sailing. He was the team doctor for the U.S. Olympic sailing team three different times. A slide show beamed pictures from his boyhood to present on the ballroom wall while the hungry party goers indulged in every thing from prime rib to oysters on the half shell. The four, count 'em, four open bars had beer, wine, liquor and soft drinks. After a presentation by Dr. Oswalt and Charlie Arnold, the band started up. Halfway through the evening the life preserver shaped cake was cut and we sang happy birthday and actually did the whole "hip, hip, hooray" thing. It was quite cool, all the way around.

After the party ended, we went to Cedar Street with Christine and Drake. It was fun, but I was too tired to dance. The group took pity on me and we ended up dancing in our seats and singing along with the 80's cover band. Frank, Christine and Drake wanted to go to afterhours dancing at the Can but I was too exhausted. I took a pedicab to Frank's car and he cabbed it later. All in all, the evening was quite fun. We have plans to meet up with Christine and Drake later in the week at Austin Land & Cattle Company for some fabulous steaks. My favorite is the "black and blue", which is your choice of a rib eye, filet mignon, t-bone, top sirloin or NY strip charred on the outside and so rare on the inside that it's cool to the touch. Fork tender and amazingly flavorful, the steaks are served with a side of their housemade sauces: gorgonzola butter, bernaise sauce, roasted garlic sauce, ALC steak sauce, jalapeño bleu cheese or Maker's Mark bourbon sauce. These are the best steaks in Austin. Our favorite appetizer is the grilled green chile strips stuffed with goat cheese, red pepper flakes and fresh garlic. I can't wait to have some!

Sunday was quite eventful. After sleeping late and enjoying smoked chicken and ribs from Rudy's Bar-B-Q, I went off to the Can to work a longer shift than usual. Margie was out of town, so I was on my own. I was at 6th & Lamar when I saw the plume of dark smoke in the area of the bar. Anxiously thinking that someone had started the grill without me and caught the patio on fire, I worked my way around the blocked off streets until I saw the fire. It wasn't Oil Can's but the Bitter End that was on fire. Sad, but glad it wasn't the bar, I finally made it to the alley behind the Can and parked in Margie's spot. The bar was slow, slower than normal due to the problematic parking (streets were blocked for hours) but I had a clear view of the raging fire and the men in uniform. I did stand in the alley and watch the firemen in action for a bit, unlike Jonathon, who casually strolled from Rain to the end of the alley to get a better view (of the firemen). It was kind of scary being so close to a burning building. The smoke was the color of a muddy, flooded river and was rolling past in the wind going down the alley. I talked to one firemen and some EMT's when they used our hose to fill up their drinking water resevoir. They had a truck with a trailer, and on the trailer was a full sized Reddy-Ice machine that holds 50lbs of bagged ice and a drinking water resevoir that took 15 minutes to fill. Wow. A Cap Metro bus was used as a cooling station for the firemen. It was hours before the fire was out, but the trucks and firemen were still there when I went home.

I left the Can tired and smelling like a grill and fire, but with gas and grocery money in my pocket. I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up bottled water, lunch for Monday and an avocado gelato. My workmates all know that avocado gelato is my ultimate favorite. I'll pass up the chipotle chocolate gelato any day that there's avocado to be had. So good! On my way home I thought about all the different flavors of ice cream and gelato I've tasted over the years and I have to say that avocado gelato is my all time favorite, surpassing even the bubblegum ice cream from Baskin Robbins (my favorite as a kid) and Belgium Chocolate from Amy's Ice Creams. What is your favorite?

Friday, August 19, 2005


I will have fun in Virginia when we're at the Rock & Roll Half Marathon. Only I won't be running. My training has not progressed enough to be able to safely race. I didn't maintain a regular schedule and now I'm paying the price. Instead, I'm going to give my hamstring time to fully recuperate and my poor right pinky toe time to decide if it's broken or just still badly bruised.

I'll be at the finish, camera in hand, to document Frank, Hang and Jason running across it. Nothing like athletes with personal papparazzi. I'll still get some of the amenities available to those with a running number: access to the food tent (hah!) and free entry to the concerts.

Am I disappointed? Sure. But it'll be all good when I'm dipping my toes in the ocean and listening to Frank talk about how his run went, how it felt when he crossed the finish. I can lean back on the sand, feeling the waves wash over my feet and think "life is good".

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hi, My Name is Kaya and I'm Anti-Pepperoni.

Why am I in the minority where pepperoni is concerned? I don't like pepperoni. I'll eat pepperoni pizza if it's the only thing around, such as last night (and leftovers for lunch today) but in reality, it's kinda like eating cooked carrots. I don't care for them much, but if they're on my dinner plate I'll consume them. I prefer them raw, with bleu cheese dressing. :-)

Packaged pepperoni has that funky reddish-orange greasiness. I think I need to try some authentic Italian deli pepperoni. I'm betting that the difference will be huge, like when you have homemade macaroni and cheese as opposed to the boxed kind with that not-found-in-nature powdered orange cheese. C'mon, admit it...we all like Kraft.

When I make pizza, it isn't like Domino's or Papa John's, Godfather's, Double Dave's or Pizza Hut. It isn't like DiGiorno, Amy's Organic, Red Baron or my early childhood favorite, Totino's. It definitely isn't like the best pizza in the U.S., the Sweep The Kitchen pizza at Johnny's Pizza in Monroe, Louisiana, where I grew up. I would say it's the best in the world, but since I haven't been outside of the U.S., aside from Mexico, I can't make that claim. I'm betting there is fabulous pizza to be had in Italy. I've had NY style pizza, folding the thin crust and eating it like Tony Manero (John Travolta) in the opening scenes of "Saturday Night Fever" and still enjoy Johnny's more.

[Quick Kaya trivia: SNF was my very first R rated movie. My mother and her friend took Kim & me to see it and we sat at least four rows away from them in an almost empty theater...it must've been the first showing of the day. They giggled uncontrollably when Tony's friend pretends to drive off while he's trying to open the car door, causing Tony to complain "You assholes almost broke my pussy finger!". My sister and I were truly embarrassed by their laughter.]

Let me get back on track but take a moment to rhapsodize about the Sweep The Kitchen pizzza. It had it all. Pepperoni, ham, hamburger, sausage, bacon, onions, mushrooms, black olive, bell peppers, jalapeños and anchovies on a thin pizza crust spread with an unassuming but perfectly complimentary red sauce and covered with mozzarella. The sauce and toppings are always spread to the very edge, so the "pizza bones" or crust, if you prefer, were almost nonexistent. Johnny is a hometown Monroe man who started the chain in the year of my birth, probably in homage to my future cooking skills. I wish. Truthfully, the year I was born, he opened his first pizza joint in a tiny building on Desiard across from the university. Back then (and when I went there) it was known as Northeast Louisiana University. Now it is called the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Ugh. At least the college students have plenty of Johnny's Pizza restaurants to order from now. The local chain survived and thrived enough to make it through a rough spot in the 80's when they filed Chapter 11. They introduced the Sweep The Swamp pizza in the 80's, too, so the decade wasn't all bad.

No, my pizzas are more exotic creations. My current fav is smoked salmon, goat cheese, red onion, capers, anchovies and mozzarella on a thin crust. I don't like bready pizza crust. I don't care much for deep dish at all, unless the crust is thin and the fillings are plentiful. As Frederick says, a pizza cobbler. And I don't use red pizza sauce much. I usually just spread the crust with crushed garlic or garlic paste and layer on a bit of mozzarella before topping it with whatever...and more mozzarella on top, of course. I like making mini pizzas on 81/2" x 11" sheets of lavash bread. This type of lavash looks a little bit thicker than a tortilla and comes in precut rectangular sheets. It makes a fantastic cracker type crust.

I like pizza margherita, the classic tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella. I like using proscuitto or chicken and ingredients such as thin slices of seeded tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, olives (in moderation, since Frank doesn't care much for them), basil, shrimp, spinach, capers and of course anchovies. If I have deli meats, like hot sopresata or capicola hard salami, I'll use those, too. I suppose they are my answer to the sliced pepperoni found in unrefrigerated packages in the grocery store. How many preservatives do they have in order to be on the shelves in simple plastic packages? Lately I've been dreaming of a chicken, monterey jack, onion and long green chile pizza.

What do you like on your pizza? And please, no hate mail from pepperoni lovers. I don't knock anyone's preferences so don't have a hissy over mine.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Perhaps I Share Too Much, Too Often

It's pretty definite that I drive my boyfriend crazy. I live my life under the idea that sharing how you feel is a good thing. The problem is, I overshare. Often. For example, I have been very sensitive lately. I was fairly sure that my hormones were starting their normal monthly uproar when I realized that I wanted to shower Frank with affection. I didn't just want to hug him and kiss him, I wanted to engulf him in a long, smothering embrace and kiss him all over his handsome face. The urge passed almost as quickly as it began and I was amused by it. So I told him. He stared at me like I was a mad stalker girl conning my way into his living room by masquerading as the Time Warner cable installer. I backpedaled as fast as I could and reminded him that he wouldn't have known if I hadn't told him. So why did I?

Why do I always feel the need to tell Frank exactly how I feel? I tell him in detail how I feel about him, about us, about his new home...pretty much anything and everything. I think I talk so much in our relationship that he doesn't have a chance to share how he feels. The flip side of this coin is when I do go through a quiet period, I get the "what's wrong?" questions. Apparently silencing me is tantamount to convincing the Pope to stop praying. I know my early adult years were spent feeling mostly misunderstood, so I place some of the blame there. I guess I need to learn to trust that Frank, along with my close friends, know me well enough to discern how I feel without hearing all the infinite details.

Drapery Woes

Why is it some household chores are super simple and others require an engineering degree? On Saturday I was at Frank’s new place, helping him choose which new drapes would go in the bedrooms and living room. A good bit of time was spent in the elimination process before deciding to return two sets of drapes and rods to Pottery Barn. After mourning the loss of the rich and sensual redwood raw silk drapes, we decided to hang the ones he kept (fabulous lichen green silk drapes with honey linen sheer) in his bedroom. That is when we learned that curtain hanging is best left to professionals. The rods came with “hidden hardware” a three hole mounting bracket to which the decorative piece that holds the rod would attach to…in a perfect world. Frank, who had hung curtains in every other place he’s lived in, was completely pissed off by the third time he drilled holes in the wall for the first bracket. Try as he might, each time we passed the rod through the holders, the left side slanted up noticeably. There was also a minor fiasco with the drywall mounts. By the time he gave up and walked away, he was so frustrated I had fled the room in fear of being bludgeoned with a curtain rod. Not that he was giving any warning signs of taking out his aggravation on me, but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. I contained myself to the living room, folded his laundry like a good girlfriend and stayed out of the way until he stalked out of the bedroom and attacked the sticker residue on the patio door glass with a razor blade. Yup, good idea to get out from underfoot.

I gave it a moment and then went in to see if I could be any help at all. I’m not stupid, neither is Frank, but I was clueless. All I did was tighten the first bracket a little and wondered aloud where the last bracket should go until Frank came back and tried again. He mounted the final rod holder and we realized the curtain rod had no room to pass through the rods unless one of the holders at the end was off. Grrrr. So, he took off the first holder and we threaded the rod through the others with the loose holder dangling on the end. Finally, both rods were up with the curtains and sheers on. I stepped back against the far wall and was relieved to note that the drapes were hanging straight. Frank looked at his watch, realized how many hours it took to hang one set of curtains and decided it was well worth the money to hire someone to hang the rest. I won’t argue…it’s well worth the money to spare him the irritation. And me from death by window treatment.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Perils of "Horsemanship"

I was surfing , reading the news at MSN aloud to my officemates, and came across a story about a man who died after having sex with a horse. Cause of death was due to perforation of the colon. First off, not a good idea to have sex with an animal. Secondly, not a good idea to have sex with anything large enough to split your colon, no matter how much of a size queen you may be. And if you read the article, you'll find out that having sex with animals in Washington state is not illegal. Authorities are investigating whether or not the farm was allowing smaller animals, such as sheep and goats, to be violated. This would fall under their animal cruelty laws, which they will prosecute to the fullest extent possible.

In my office we decided that there are billions of people in that we won't have sex with, much less decide to explore other species contained in our subfamily. For those who can't remember high school biology, we are hominids of the species homo sapiens ("knowing man") and our subfamily contains both extinct man and some guerrilla and chimpanzee groups. Hmmm. Yeah, not a good idea to sleep with those, either. Stick to your species, people!

Baby Updates

Welcome to the world, Rodrick Demon! Java's c-section went well, all things considered. Rodrick is teeny tiny (weighed in as expected at 2lbs, 3oz) but thriving. Java is being treated aggressively with steroids (among other meds) and hopefully will have the blood pressure problem under control at some point today. I should point out that I have not found out if Rodrick's middle name will be pronounced as if he really is Satan spawn or in a different manner, such as "deh-mohn". Java's brother was the one passing on the info, so I won't know for sure until later.

Another big welcome to the world goes out to Charles David. Woohoo, you are finally here! Proud mamas Estelle & Jean have a big baby boy. Charles incubated way past his due date, deciding to stay in J's warm womb for a whopping 42 weeks and 4 days before making his way into the world yesterday. He weighs much more than Rodrick, tipping the scales at 11lbs, 6oz. You can read all about him at Estelle's blog.

Your lives are changed forever with the births of your first children. Your adventures have begun and you have instantly all transitioned from being not only women, not only mothers but teachers as well. To paraphrase an old quote, what you whisper while rocking your baby will take them through life. Just as your son is the center of your universe, you are the center of his. What an awesome privilege to be a mother. Congratulations!

"A mother laughs our laughter,
Sheds our tears,
Returns our love,
Fears our fears.
She lives our joys,
Cares our cares,
And all our hopes and dreams she shares."
(Julia Summers)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Adie's Announcements & A Request for Java

I haven't seen my little prince since last week but the update from Daddy is that Adrian is not only walking unassisted, but also talking. His first word? "Uh-oh!" I'm sure it's most useful since he is brand new to walking. He's growing like a weed, too. I am firmly convinced he is the most beautiful 13 month old boy in the galaxy. I'm unsure about life outside the Milky Way and don't want to risk insulting any potentially hostile alien races by claiming he is the most beautiful one in the universe but it is still possible.

Adie will have a few more months of being an only child before his sibling comes to stay. That is, if the birth mother goes to a Texas hospital and the staff alerts CPS that she is in labor. Yes, if you hadn't already heard, Adie's birth mom is pregnant again. Must be hard to live on the streets while pregnant. It's hard enough to be pregnant in August in Texas when you only have to be in the heat while walking to and from your air conditioned vehicle. I'm hoping and praying that the birth mom is living clean and getting as much nutrition as possible. I'm wishing for a healthy baby brother or sister for Adie. The Daddies are wishing to win the Lotto, since daycare will now cost a grand a month. Sheesh! That's a business to get into, for any of you wanting to spread your career wings. But promise me you'll give Frederick & Jed a break on tuition.

In other news, Java in Illinois is preparing for an emergency c-section. She's only 6 1/2 months along, with her son estimated to be 2lbs, 3oz. Her blood pressure is not good and Java is in danger, so please send up prayers and well wishes for her and the safe delivery of a healthy baby. I don't care if you pray to God, Jehovah, Buddha, Mohammed, sacred Mother Earth, the Goddess, nature based spirits or whomever/whatever you worship. Any help is appreciated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Half Marathon Training Update

We are now only weeks away from the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. I have not kept up with my training. The last time I ran, it was a 4 mile loop on Town Lake. It was over a week ago. And I did a lot of walking. It's safe to say that the half marathon is going to kick my booty. I will have increased my mileage before we arrive in Va. Beach, but I'm still not going to have an easy race. My time will suck, which is fine. I just want to cross the line and know that I ran, walked, crawled (whatever it takes) the 13.1 miles under my own power. I know I could've been better prepared, but going from the six month training for the Freescale Marathon, during which I fell after a holiday party and fractured a bone in my foot, forcing me to do the half marathon instead, to jumping straight into triathlon training which led to the brutal reality of that race day....well, I just plain didn't want to do any more training. I wanted a break. So I was lackadasical in my running program. And I'll pay the price with the sore feet and aching muscles on September 4th. And 5th. And 6th, and probably for a week or so afterward! My chiropractor loves me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The El Paso Trip

I'm back from El Paso, having survived the biggest wedding I've ever been in. We arrived two days early and spent most of the time running errands for the wedding. We had a sweet ride, a 2005 Chrysler 300, so the time spent in the car was done in style. We ran all over the city but looked good doing it. This was the first trip where I didn't make it to Starbucks, but Frank's dad obligingly picked up soy lattes for us one morning. He said the one thing I always say: The only time you see white people in El Paso is at Starbucks. I have no idea where the rest of the caucasian population is hiding in EP, but they aren't in the grocery stores, Sam's or Wal-Mart. (Before you start leaving hateful comments about supposed racism, let me remind everyone that I am a mixed race child. Half Anglo and half Mexican. I look like a white girl, but have the passion of la raza in mi alma. Aside from errands, I stole every chance I could to hold Elena, Michael & Peggy's baby. There is nothing nicer than a warm, sweet smelling soft and cuddly baby. Elena was born almost two months early and was tiny, less than four pounds at birth. She's a chunky monkey now! She eats well and often. Kinda like me when Frank's mom is cooking. Her enchiladas montañas are excellent.

Like I said, the wedding was huge. There were 11 couples as attendents, plus the ring bearer, flower girl and the Lucky Charms. Other than the cereal, I'd never heard of Lucky Charms before, but it's similar to having a junior bridesmaid and groomsman. It's also the first time I've been in a wedding where the bridesmaids are cautioned to "please try to cover up as many tattoos as possible when in the church". We were all worried that Kiwi would burst into flames when the priest blessed the bridal party with holy water prior to starting the ceremony. The guys were stylin' in zoot suits, complete with chain and hat while the bridesmaids wore blue & white dresses. The ceremony was in Spanish, which was difficult for the bride, who doesn't speak that language. There were a few mishaps, but in the end Michael & Peggy were married, which is all that matters. And the party began. The food was good. Tío George and Frank's Dad made briskets, Tía Marti made chili colorado and there was potato salad, beans and other yummy stuff. The cake was a towering five tiers and lovely. We didn't float the kegs because so many people brought liquor, but everyone was feeling kacheery by the end of the evening. You know I was, since I Tejano danced not once but twice and did the Cotton Eyed Joe. Once the reception was over, the bridal party and extended family headed over to Frank's parents house for breakfast.

I had been challenged to make an enormous pot of menudo for the afterparty. Frank's grandpa said it was a test and if the menudo wasn't good then I was out. Oh, no pressure. I was up for the challenge, though. I heard "the gringa makes good menudo" several times before the last bowl was served up at 4:30am. You know it's been a great party when the morning newspaper comes before the last person leaves.

Sunday afternoon had the house full again, with everyone over to eat leftovers from the reception. We played a card game called 31 that, according to the internet, dates back to at least 1440 when it was mentioned in a sermon as an evil to avoid. That evening we went to the (New) Old Plantation where I had a cricket jump on my foot and a drink spilled on me, in addition to watching a fashion (yes, fashion, not drag) show. It was followed by a dance group who did one number where they were dressed as a S.W.A.T. squad gunning down a criminal who "died" onstage with much twitching and flopping around. Just when I was thinking "whoa, that's messed up!" the squad took off their black tee shirts and danced in only their camoflauge pants and black boots. I was immediately distracted by bulging pecs and rock hard abs. We left shortly after that, to find a hooker laying across the hood of our rental, total rock video style. She wasn't bothered much by us, just lazily got up and moved over to stand next to the car. She had on daisy dukes that were so short her cheeks were exposed. To add to the effect, she reached up under the back of them and adjusted her thong. Pretty.

Monday we enjoyed a farewell breakfast at a Mexican joint called Good Coffee. I had the coffee. It was good. So was my picadillo and fried eggs with hash browns and refried beans plate. I piled on the green chile and dug in. Mmmmm! Once back in Austin, we celebrated Frank's new home by sitting around in the empty condo and drinking beer. We also did our infamous "only one drink" trip to the bar, which means I am really tired at work today. I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mysterious Skin

I went to the movies last night with Frank and Jessica Renee Olivia. We went to see Mysterious Skin at Alamo Drafthouse. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a relatively unknown actor by the name of Brady Corbet as the central characters with appearances by Elisabeth Shue (The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Leaving Las Vegas) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The movie revolves around the lives of Neil (Gordon-Levitt) and Brian (Corbet) and the events that happened to them the summer they were 8 years old. Brian believes aliens abducted him, blaming memory loss, blackouts and recurring nosebleeds on their experiments. Neil remembers every detail of his Little League coach sexually abusing him. The movie is a gritty, realistic look at the life altering damages of abuse in Neil's life. He willingly, even proudly becomes a prostitute at an early age, seemingly not for the much needed money but to fill the emptiness inside him. Brian is a social misfit living a lonely life and searching for answers.

The movie was hard to watch not only because of the voyeuristic camera angles during the abuse scenes, but also to see the progression of Neil from a carefree child to a jaded young man with vacant eyes. There are several scenes, one involving fireworks and the other a brutal rape that had me cringing in my seat. Those scenes are disturbing and harsh. The character of Brian didn't illicit the same emotional response as I had with Neil until near the end of the movie, when he starts putting the pieces of his puzzle together.

I think what made my viewing most difficult is that the movie is entirely believable and everything from the actors' costumes to the props were year-appropriate. This is a well made Indie flick that does what it is intended to do: make you feel what the characters are feeling and keep you thinking about it long after you've exited the theater. I understood why Neil & Brian's lives had become the way they were. I understood the progression from innocent childhood to unemotional adulthood. I sympathized with prostitution as a way to connect with another person instead of being an illegal way to earn money. Even the use of Neil & Brian's hometown as an implied "safe place" as compared to New York City, where Neil had gone to stay with a friend, is cause for reflection. The small town where Neil suffered months, possibly years of abuse, and where he first embarked on years of being a detached hustler is ultimately shown as his place of salvation.

If you go to see this movie, which has a limited run nationwide, please be aware that there are some sex scenes that may be shocking for the general public. No frontal nudity is shown, but the cinematography and acting imply enough for your mind to fill in the blanks. All three of us had very personal reactions to the film, so don't be surprised if you carry over your emotional reactions after the movie is over. Both Jessee and I agreed that the movie was difficult to process and we needed time to sort through it all.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Congratulations, Frank!

Frank is officially the owner of a brand new condo. He has the keys to prove it. And the entry gate opener and the garage door opener. Woohoo! Cross one more goal off his list of accomplishments, people. Not only has he run a marathon this year but he's also gone through the marathon process of earnest money, contracts, mortgage paperwork, waiting through the months of building, more mortgage paperwork and finally, closing. Now his countless pairs of running shoes will reside in his very own closet. He can hang his marathon medal on the wall, above the doorway, heck, anywhere he wants to since it's his home. He can stock his refrigerator (when he buys it) with exotic foods, caviar, rich cheeses, champagne and rare wines...or he can throw a can of Cheez Whiz and a box of Triscuits in there. He can dance naked in the living room.

I'm envious and I'm excited. And I'm proud of him. Congratulations on reaching this milestone in life, Baby. You rock.

Give & Take

My boyfriend is a surgical tech at a local hospital. That simple statement carries all kinds of information:
  1. He is educated.
  2. He makes good bank.
  3. His job affects peoples lives in a way mine never will.
  4. He is continually learning as technology advances.
  5. He has to be a team player or the whole team suffers.
  6. He deals with life and death on a daily basis.
  7. He knows when t.v. shows are using totally outdated equipment or have unnecessary stuff in the room where they show the patient laying in a hospital bed surrounded by family and the requisite I.V. pole and heart monitor.
  8. He works his shift plus takes call on a rotating basis.

I'm sure there are more things we can infer from my first sentence, but the one I am thinking about most today is the last one. Call. One week out of the month he's on call for the O.R. I think it's two weeks out of the month that he's on call for Endoscopy. He's always on call for something. It's the O.R. weeks that are the guaranteed gonna be called in the middle of something, middle of dinner, middle of the movie, middle of the night times. He's been on O.R. call just about every day that he's stayed with me while waiting to move into his new place. I've gotten one or two evenings with him but the hospital got the rest.

Where is this post leading? To the startling revelation that I am a selfish, selfish tart. Last night we were almost asleep when his phone rang. The Ring of Impending Doom. No one calls him late at night unless it's the resource nurse at the hospital. I listened to him finding out all the pertinent details and had a flash of selfishness. I wanted him to stay with me. I wanted him to get some badly needed rest. I wanted to fall asleep to the sound of his rhythmic breathing. I wanted. I, I, I, I, I. Me me me me me me me me. It was only a ten second conversation in my head, while he slammed around in the bathroom, also clearly not happy to be called in but accepting, since it is his job. It took an additional ten seconds to realize that if I were the patient, or the patient's family, I wouldn't care if I was dragging the surgery team away from dinner with the Pope at the most exclusive restaurant in town with entertainment by Frank Sinatra (resurrected, of course). I'd just want them there to take care of me or my family member and do whatever needed to be done.

I laid awake for a while, reflecting on my reaction. It isn't my character to be selfish. I can try to justify it away by saying that since he'd been gone for a week it was a natural reaction. I can attempt to gloss it over by reminding myself that almost immediately I had a rational thought that squashed the emotion. Or I can own it and use it to better myself, to remind myself that others exist whose needs are legitimately more important than mine. It's not a huge thing, to have one childish "don't leave me" moment but it can become something greater. A lesson, learned.

And when I called my boyfriend today to say good morning and "congratulations on being awake for 25 hours" I had the advantage of being refreshed and well rested while he was in last night's clothes and sleep deprived. It's a give & take world. And I'll be concentrating, at least for a while, on the "give" portion.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Penis Enlargement, Skydive Safer Than Sex! & Egg Donors Needed

I think everyone who picks up the Austin Chronicle looks at the back, at the section labeled "Back Page". It's where we find some of the most unusual ads, not counting the personals, especially Variations (which rate a posting all on their own). There are ads for drugs that will enlarge your penis "Viagra, Cialis, Testosterone, FDA approved Pumps Gain 1-3" permanently", ads for Skydive San Marcos "Since 1984. Best rates in Tx." and ladies, if you are willing to give up your eggs you can be paid $3500. Just call (877) EGG-DONOR.

The Back Page ads are a hodgepodge of solicitation. Several are geared toward ensuring the Gay/Bi community members have an active social life...others are about learning languages (Spanish & French), training to become a paralegal, Yoga, Rolfing, massage therapy, methadone clinics, Wheel of Life journeys, semen donation, belly dance dinner theatre, passing any drug test, free salsa lessons, taking charge of your life with Holographic Repatterning, airbrush tanning and so much more. I have to wonder about Corey & Michelle, the couple with the 877 number who posted their ad seeking a newborn to adopt. They'll pay your expenses and reassure you that your child will receive "unlimited love, financial security, full time, stay at home Mom & devoted Dad". Why are they looking for the mother of their future child on a page where you can find information for "Private hot tub rentals $50-1/2 hr. $100-hr. Couples discount. 3pm Til 4am."?

I also wonder about the ad for surrogate motherhood. The ad says "Very special, loving women needed to carry infertile couples' Child. You are not asked to carry your own biological child." It also states "Fee Paid For Time & Services". Who decides how much money is appropriate for 9 months rent inside my uterus, plus any medical issues incurred during pregnancy? And how can that child not be somewhat my own biological child when my blood is carrying nourishment to the baby? Big questions. Good thing I don't ever plan on becoming a surrogate mother.

I was disappointed that there was only one ad for alternate religion. "Magick Happens" at The Yellow House on RR12 in Wimberly. Huh. Who knew? Normally there are ads for Austin pagan societies or for a Wiccan meet and great at a local coffee house. Not this week. There was one ad about the Walk of the Ancestors, where you can "explore your spiritual heritage to 9 generations". Hmmph. I didn't like quite a few of my more recent generation ancestors. I think I'll pass and wait for an invitation to join a Pease Park soul clearing drumming session guaranteed to break the pattern of energy distortion. Now that sounds entertaining.

Weekends are Wonderful...Can We Have Them More Often?

My weekend was spent trying to relax. I had a rough work week and really needed a few days to recharge, refocus and rest. So I did what any rational woman would do: Family Night at the Reinhardt-Miller’s. In celebration of the famous Miss Amy Carr’s visit, we gathered together for food and fun. I drank a few Amstel Lights (since Darla and Caley refused to buy Lone Star) and ate some yummy food. Frederick grilled sausages, chicken and shrimp (for the non-carnivorous members of the R-M Family) and all of us attendees brought potluck side dishes. I made a pot of frijoles that all but disappeared. Frank’s mom taught me to make beans her way and they are always good. Leslie made her famous pasta salad with jalapeños…an unusual Mediterranean/Mexican fusion that is one of our favorites for potluck nights. Kevin graced us with his presence…and what a presence it is! Gotta love a man whose winsome smile comes with full arm tats and a shaved head. I tried to steal him away from his wife for just one night but he has this thing about monogamy. Damn the bad luck. Julie, Heather and LJ provided fantastic desserts. I had a little of all three, the peach pie, apple pie and Boston Cream pie. Mmmmm. I’m still dreaming of the sausage, though. I usually don’t eat sausage since it seems to always be greasy. These were short, thick polish sausages and not greasy at all, but so flavorful that I went back for seconds. Oink.

I was very happy that Pappa let me put Adrian to bed. We stole a few quiet moments, or at least as quiet as possible for an R-M Family night. Adie and I “read” two books, which means we flipped through the books and he looked at the pictures while fighting off sleep. Pappa checked on us and turned off the light, which is Adie’s cue to turn over on my chest and snuggle in. He falls asleep almost immediately, which never ceases to amaze me. I held him and breathed in sweet baby smell until my brain slowed down and the stress tightened muscles in my neck and shoulders relaxed. I could feel my self start to unwind, uncoil from the tangled mess I'd become during my work week. After putting him in his crib, I joined the group for a fun filled game of Catchphrase. Despite Frederick cheating, we all had a great time.

Danny & I went to Marble Falls on Saturday to a bbq at a friend of my parents’ place. The mosquitos were vicious but the Jet Ski was awesome. I had never ridden a jet ski before and now I’m spoiled. It is a 2005 Kawasaki Jet Ski, three seater, virtually impossible to flip over. I loved it, and wanted to open it up to the 65mph that it can go but my father was riding with me and refused to hang on. I didn’t want to risk throwing him in the water since he was fully dressed in jeans, shirt and tennis shoes. Danny and I stayed for a few hours before heading back to Austin.

I had a quiet evening alone, eating some dinner and watching Belle du Jour the Martin Scorsese film starring Catherine Deneuve. I’m sure this film was scandalous in 1967 when it premiered. Watching this French movie made me appreciate the advances we’ve made in cinematography and production over the last 38 years. It’s an interesting and entertaining film, even with the choppy editing, sudden camera angle changes and English subtitles. The basic plot is this: lovely young woman marries handsome doctor. Wife can’t bring herself to sleep with husband. Wife has fantasies of other men, mostly in humiliating circumstances where she is mistreated and then ravaged. Wife becomes afternoon call girl in an upscale whorehouse. Wife has no problem sleeping with customers. Wife meets a man who ultimately disrupts her entire life. The hints of lesbianism with the madam, bondage, whipping and implied rough sex (they never actually show sex) all push the envelope enough to make me wonder how this movie was ever shown in the states in the 60’s. Americans are much more uptight than the French when it comes to sex.

Sunday found me at the Can as usual, filling burger orders on the patio. Cat came to visit and we all had a good time. Joel showed up with his cute friend in tow…I love it when hot men stop for kisses and conversation. Frank, who was on his way home from his business trip, called to say he threw a serpentine belt in Temple. Luckily he made it to a gas station next to an Auto Zone. He found the parts he needed and someone to install them, next to impossible on a Sunday evening. He beat me home since I left the bar late. Cross your fingers that he gets to close on the condo today. It has to be sometime early this week since we leave for El Paso on Thursday. Frank and I caught up, talking until we fell asleep. I woke up refreshed and feeling so much better than this time last week. I hope your weekend was equally therapeutic.