Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Weekend Wrap Up

Holiday weekends are usually jam packed full of activities that revolve around alcoholic bevies, food and as much fun as you can manage to have and not be thrown in jail. This year's Memorial Day weekend did not disappoint.

Kickin' it off on Friday evening was the Booze Cruise roadtrip to San Antonio for the Humiliators first gig outside of Austin. Yes, folks, they're statewide now and rapidly advancing their plan for world domination. The venue, Jigger's, is a smallish place that reminded us of a cleaner although just as smoky Trophy's. The ladies' room certainly made Trophy's restrooms look like they're one step up from an outhouse. Oh, wait. Trophy's restrooms are one step up from outhouses. After checking out the place and verifying what time the band would take the stage, we set off in search of food and of course, more drinks. Cha-Cha's, just down the road, satisfied both needs with their Tex Mex hospitality. Check them out on your next trip to SA--their margarita list is incredibly impressive.

The other bands on the lineup that night were pretty rockin' good. The crowd was an interesting mix of punkish goths...or maybe gothic punks? I had a great time people watching, especially one interesting beer bellied character wearing a hat a few sizes too small for his shaved head, a workshirt (the kind with the name patch sewn on it) with the sleeves cut off, skinny jeans and a chunky silver studded belt. After a short conversation and a round of beers, introductions were made and Vile (yes, his name is Vile and his name patch confirmed it) revealed he'd spent a month in county lockup and was determined to have one hell of a good time that night. Bless his small-hatted self, he did, including being a one man dance machine during the second band's set.

By the time the Humiliators seized the stage we were well into the libations and feeling no pain. Jiggers serves draft beer in small, single serve plastic pitchers, a fun fact that I thought was completely delightful in my well lubricated state. The band rocked it hard, I narrowly avoided slipping in spilt beer (probably my own, or possibly Vile's) and Marc snapped blackmail pics the entire time. What a night!

Saturday was a recovery day. I'm not as young as I think I am and the beer demons were dancing on my head in metal tipped heels the next morning. I did manage to pull it together eventually, and spend some quality time with my goddaughter. We had great fun hanging out at the Reinhardt-Miller home and with my parents. Brynn is so sweet. She loves me enough to save the poopy diapers for her mother.

Sunday found me out at the Cap Tex Tri, checking in bikes for the olympic distance athletes. Unfortunately, I was not bright enough to bring an umbrella or rain jacket. It only rained oh, every day last week in Austin but with sacrificing all those brain cells on Friday night I naturally did not have the sense to heed any weather warnings. I worked for hours in the rain, then dragged home resembling something pulled from the flooded gutter and threw myself into a hot shower. There was still fun to be had and I wasn't going to let a little hypothermia stand in the way.

Once I was warm and dry, Jaime and I headed over to the Mean Eyed Cat to catch the Austin Homegrown show. It was his very first visit to MEC and ya'll know I'm all about helping out the virgins. We drank some Lone Star and grooved along with the band. Shithowdy! You have to love a band who's fans buy bottles of Boone's Farm and pass it around as a shot chug. Yes, I had some Strawberry Hill that night. AH has just as unique fans as The Humiliators, or possibly even cooler ones. I've never seen the tip bucket passed around by a shirtless man and then a shirtless woman at one of the Hums shows. Yeeeaaahh...and unless someone else is volunteering, don't even think this groupie is going topless. I like to keep what little I've got covered, like the good girl I am. After the band wrapped, we headed out for a quick stop at Paradise on Sixth, a slice of midnight pizza and over to Club Deville to finish off the night.

Monday was another R&R day, but I did venture out to Margie's casa in the afternoon. Mama grilled steaks, Dane kept us entertained, and we laughed through the afternoon. We took a break to rush grilled chicken, ribs, potato salad and beans over to the Can for their buffet and then turned the car around and went straight back to the house to continue our gabfest. A few cocktails and a lot of feisty conversation later, Dane reluctantly left to start his bartending shift and I wandered home, not eager to see the holiday come to a close but definitely in need of more sleep.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Releasing My Inner Hans Hofmann

One of these days I'm going to paint. I even have a set of acrylics, brushes, palette and my first canvas. I have visions in my head of colorful abstracts. Why abstracts? Because I can't draw worth a damn. Why even attempt to create a realistic rendition of something when I know it'll come out looking like a child's finger painting?

I don't quite know how I'll transfer the images in my head onto the canvas. My last art lessons were in 8th grade. I am fairly certain I did not make an A in that class. It wasn't as bad as my band class. The band director, extremely frustrated with my eager yet awful fumblings on the little red plastic recorder, screeched at me to stop! stop! stop! before publicly humiliating me by announcing that "You! Will! Never! Be! In! My! Band!" and suggesting I go join the choir. Unfortunately for me, I have the type of singing voice that no one wants to hear. Fortunately for me, my band director did not return the next day to school, or the next, or the next. He'd had a nervous breakdown and never came back. I like to think it wasn't entirely my lack of talent that sent him over the edge.

Back to painting. I have the desire, the tools and the images swirling around my brain. Now I have to take the plunge and actually put brush to canvas and see what happens. At worst it will be a very creative and colorful mess. Kind of like me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Baby I'm a Star!

Hey, look me over
Tell me do u like what u see?
Hey, I ain't got no money
But honey I'm rich on personality
Hey, check it all out
Baby I know what it's all about
Before the night is through
U will see my point of view
Even if I have 2 scream and shout
Baby I'm a (star)
Might not know it now
Baby but I r, I'm a (star)
I don't want to stop, 'til I reach the top
Sing it (We are all a star!)

Eyes closed, on a plane somewhere over mid-America, I turn up the volume on my iPod and fall back in time to the 80's. Instantly, a flood of memories of my high school girlfriends and I singing as loudly as we could come to mind. Prince on the car radio (he was still called by his first name back then), music thumping, hearts beating in time, we'd be caught up in singing our chosen theme song. Baby, I'm a star! Might not know it now...but we knew that we were destined for more than our small town held. We knew that we were special, had Important Things ahead in life. It was our four minutes of feel good confidence, therapeutic lyrics spurring us to believe in ourselves and we could, would conquer the world. I was part of a group of self-assured, bold and decisive, comfortable in our skin kind of young women.

What happened to that girl? Nothing. Because she didn't really exist. She was a myth, or perhaps a promise. She was what I became when I let the words of a song speak to me. The unfortunate reality is that my teen years were spent feeling insecure. Inwardly, I cornered the market on teen angst. On the surface, I looked like any other teenage girl of the time, zits and all.

My home life was less than stellar, due to a parent who had finally decided to address an alcoholism issue just as I was entering high school. I'd spent years learning how to tip toe around while polishing my skills at being a human barometer. Even today I am an excellent judge of emotion, whether I'm in a room full of friends or complete strangers. It's an aptitude most children of alcoholics learn early on, simply so as not to topple the delicate balance of peace and stability by doing or saying something wrong. Never mind that the exact same words or actions were fine the day before, or would be the day after.

I spent my late teen years with a perpetual nagging feeling that I would never measure up in life. I'd never the the pretty, witty girl surrounded by perfect friends. I'd never make pots of money in a fabulous career. I'd never be scorchingly in love with someone who returned the emotion so intensely that shared glances between us could start forest fires. I'd counter these negatives with what I knew to be true: no matter what my life became, I'd be okay. It wasn't very convincing, but I clung to that belief.

Over time I learned to mask my true feelings. I was self-aware enough to realize that what I thought of as shyness was actually fear. I was scared I'd never fit in. I was terrified the people around me would suddenly come to their senses and realize that I was not worth their time or effort. My method to combat that fear was to become outgoing, extroverted. I reasoned that if I could pretend to be the Queen Social Butterfly Whom All Are Dying To Know that then perhaps no one would see the real me. I would fake it until I felt it. Or at least felt accepted.

A few decades passed. These days I can walk into a bar alone, sit down and order a drink and not feel odd or out of place. I can work a party like a politician, making small talk with anyone who crosses my path. I still have the occasional fleeting worry but am in no way insecure. Even better, I'm happy with who I've become. I even learned to own my emotions.

I put in my time at a job I like to think of as a marriage of convenience. I'm not exactly in love with my career, but it pays the bills. And while I may not be the pretty, witty girl, I do have fabulous friends. I've lost a few in recent times, much to my painful regret, but life is made fuller through change. I am thrilled to have a circle of dynamic friends. In my social set there are athletes, massage therapists, attorneys, nurses, rockstars (okay, maybe only in our group, but they are great musicians), students, doctors, computer geeks, paralegals, average joes, mommies, daddies and more. They are pretty and most definitely witty people.

Even better, I still have close girlfriends who are the sort to turn the volume up and launch into singing our current feel good total confidence song du jour. Whether it's Prince on the oldies station or anyone else, we haven't lost the essence of who we once were, those young girls with dreams as big as the sky. I don't have to book an appointment with my therapist when I'm feeling down. I simply grab my cell, dial up the chicas and ask the magic question. "Who's up for karaoke?"