Monday, December 29, 2008

The Month of December, in Bullet Points

It's been one busy month. Here is my synopsis, in bullet points:
  • Show Us Your Goods 2nd Annual December Shopstravaganza was a rousing success. Thank you, Brad Womack, for hosting us at Molotov Lounge. We raised cash & took in a sizeable amount of clothing donations for our local Dress For Success affiliate.
  • The baby is getting bigger. At my monthly weigh in, I found I've gained 14lbs over all. Ryder is a little over 2lbs of that. If his movements are any indication, we'll be raising either the next Baryshnikov or Neil Peart.
  • I didn't finish my Christmas shopping until the 24th. Ehh, what's new?
  • We were able to move into our new house, although not all the renovations are complete. Our friend & contractor, Keith, rocks! He is my 2nd favorite man in South ATX.
  • I missed yet another Red Dress Pub Run. I have a great excuse with Ryder but I was planning on being at one or two bars to snap pics. Kim was flying in that day but her plane was delayed due to weather so instead of gathering blackmail material I was at a late dinner with the family. I really wanted Kim to see the crazy Austin Duathletes decked out in their holiday hooker red. Next year!
  • We had a "future in-laws meet & greet" with Jaime's family and mine. Everyone had a great time and ignored the unpacked boxes, bags and partial flooring. We were gifted with black metal hoop firewood racks, a set of wooden tv trays and a family photo album with the family tree and copies of very old pictures of Jaime's relatives dating back to the late 1800's. Nifty!!
  • My sister scrubbed the nasty guest bathroom before the in-law soiree. To give you an idea of how dirty it was (including construction dust & grime), the next day she had sore abs, arms & glutes. I cheered her on and retired to the kitchen, barefoot & pregnant, to make several pans of enchiladas. Danny & Kela had dropped in so they were pressed into kitchen duty as well. Thanks!
  • The San Antonio familia threw a surprise baby shower for me. I was completely unaware that planning had been going on for months. It was awesome! And Jaime got to meet a little more of my family.
  • Santa brought Jaime a big, flat screen HDTV. I gave him a Wii. He's a happy boy, err, man. I scored huge with shiny & sharp knives for the kitchen, a new comforter set and front loading washer & dryer. Jaime also has a new Craftsman three tiered tool storage cabinet. On wheels. How cool is that? There's much more giftwise, but these were the large prezzies. We were spoiled this year, big time.
  • Jaime went hunting with my father today. I was worried this would be a "two go out but only one comes back" scenario but luckily my Dad likes Jaime a lot. Sadly, no bambi was killed today. They'll try again Friday morning to fill our freezer with future meals.

And now you're up to date. What's going on in your busy lives?

Editorial note: For whatever reason, the bullet points don't show up. Oh well. It's December in paragraphs instead.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rush Right Out & Buy These Christmas CD's!

Here's a list of Christmas music that is guaranteed to be much more interesting than the Muzak stylings so often heard during the holiday season. Better yet, I've linked them to their Amazon site for easy purchasing.
  1. "Codependent Christmas" by Austin's own Therapy Sisters. Sweetly irreverent.
  2. "Monster Ballads XMAS" is a perfect blend of Queensryche, Dokken, Twisted Sister and much more, an 80's hair band extravaganza of carols.
  3. "Christmas Island" is Jimmy Buffett's take on holiday sound. Make a pitcher of margaritas and listen to this as you trim the tree.
  4. Or if martinis, not ritas are your thing, give a listen to "Christmas With the Rat Pack".
  5. "Christmas A Go Go" is on my 'must buy' list. This disc has Keith Richards singing "Run Rudolph Run"...that alone makes me want it. With artists from Brian Setzer to Soupy Sales and even the Ramones, you can't find a better mix.
  6. "The Christmas Album" by Air Supply. Shut up, you know you love them.
  7. "Ho Ho Ho" by Rupaul. His version of "All I Want For Christmas" is hysterical.
  8. Cyndi Lauper's "Merry Christmas...Have a Nice Life!" is sheer genius. Buy it.
  9. "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics". Degenerate but for South Park fans, it's a no brainer for what to play as background music while you're wrapping presents.
  10. "Christmas Gumbo" will satisfy you with what you're craving, if what you're craving is a bluesy, zydeco and jazzed up Christmas. Among others, it has Art & Aaron Neville and Beausoleil...need I say more?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Alphabet Meme

All I have to do is pick my favorite film for each letter of the alphabet. Sounds easy enough!

Here are the rules according to Blog Cabins:

(Oh, real quick, rule 3 seems a bit tricky, but once you figure out not to use any films from the Star Wars, LOTR, Indiana Jones, or the Narnia series, you’ll be fine).

The Rules
1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under “R,” not “S” as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with “S.” Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under “R,” not “I” as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under “L” and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under “C,” as that’s what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Okay, let's see if I can make a list of 26 movies that I heart...
Amadeus
Breakfast Club, The
Color Purple, The
De-Lovely
Empire Strikes Back, The is a tie with Exorcist, The
Footloose
Gone With the Wind
Home at the End of the World, A
If Lucy Fell
Jesus Christ Superstar
King Kong (1976)
Lady & the Tramp, The
Maria Full of Grace
Nine to Five
Omen, The (original one, not the tatty 2006 remake)
Princess Bride, The
Quincea├▒era
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Wars ties with Silence of the Lambs, The
Ten Commandments, The (because God has to look just like Charlton Heston)
Under the Tuscan Sun
V for Vendetta
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
xXx
Young Frankenstein
Zodiac (with Jake Gyllenhaal)

Wow! Not all of those are exactly my utmost favorite. I just couldn't think of another movie name starting with a "V" or an "X". But I have to say, they're all movies I'll watch again and again.

I'm tagging everyone. Hah!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Questionable Christmas Decoration

The American Family Association has an interesting Christmas decoration up for sale at their site. The AFA is a Tupelo, Mississippi based non-profit conservative Christian organization that fights against immorality in entertainment (they say Disney has pro-homosexual images in their animated movies) and against gay rights, among other things. Their website's store has much of their propaganda up for sale including this interesting outdoor decoration. Hmmmm. Looks more like a purchase you'd make from the KKK's website. Burning cross, anyone? For the love of Liberace, what were they thinking??!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Baby's Moving, Moving, Moving

Little no-first-name-yet Baby (Something) Joseph Dilworth is moving around a lot these days. It's really odd, feeling this movement inside me where normally stuff wouldn't be making motion.

In the beginning it was light, delicate movements. I never felt the "bubbles" that some women describe or the "butterflies". The first few times I felt him move it was more of a quick, sudden sensation. I imagine it like this: you're gazing into a creek or shallow pond watching minnows. Suddenly, a minnow darts an inch one way, then the other, then stops. That "darting" is what I thought of when I felt my baby move. Uh huh. I did just compare my baby to a fish.

Now that I'm farther along (5 1/2 months) he is more like a large, involuntary muscle spasm. You know how it feels when your calf or thigh or some other muscle suddenly twitches? That's what it feels like a lot of the time. Only I'm having these muscle twitch feelings in a place where you don't have muscle. He's also perfected his total body roll, which, for a split second makes me feel motion sick. I encourage the tumbling action since he won't have room for that soon. The boy is growing!

I've learned that orange juice really pushes him into action. Totally hyperactive in utero. He better enjoy that o.j. now because this mama has learned her lesson. He won't be drinking any until he's a teenager. I'll utilize fresh squeezed juice as my version of a Red Bull. Anything to get him to cut the lawn. Daddy & I will be too old and infirm by then to navigate our property with dangerous equipment. ;-) That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Brain Candy...Escape Reality with My Top 5

One of my favorite activities is reading. It's how I escape from reality. So yeah, I'm not really into non-fiction. Here are my top 5 books or series for fleeing from the weights of the world like bills, more bills and the never-ending Presidential vote discussions. What? You really think that it's over after today's vote? Hah. Keep reading. And then go find one of my top 5 and sink into a very different reality.

  1. The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. The Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris (currently shown on HBO as the series "True Blood".
  3. The Harry Potter series. I really don't care that it's marketed toward children.
  4. Kim Harrison's The Hollows series. Yes, there is a theme in my escapism. LOL
  5. Wasted by Marya Hornbacher. It's an eating disorder memoir. What can I say except it helps me to see that my life has never been as screwed up as it could've become?

Got one for me? Post a comment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

After the Ultrasound News


We'll be welcoming a baby boy to our household!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pink or Blue??

Today's the day! We find out if we're having a boy or a girl. I think girl. Jaime says boy. What do y'all think? I'm opening up comments to all guesses.

p.s. Do those bears look depressed or what?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Training Envy

I'm working at a mini-expo at Austin Fit this weekend for their Rock 'n Roll & AT&T marathon training groups. I love to be around my runner & walker friends. The energy is amazing. I'm also heading up a water stop next week for the R&R training group's long run (21 miler!). I've been reading a training blog of a fellow Austinite who's getting prepped and psyched up for the Komen 60 miles in 3 days race. Exciting!!

And it's making me envious that I'm not training for something. Well, something other than cooking up a healthy baby. Realistically, I'm way too tired after working an 8 hour day to day anything but a few tasks around the house (laundry, dinner) and then head for bed. I wonder if twentysomething mama's to be are as tired as I am or if this is a byproduct of being "advanced maternal age"?

I rubbed elbows with runners, duathletes, triathletes (even some Ironman triathletes) and bootcampers last night at Bettysport's anniversary happy hour. I really love the Austin athletic community. They're so...nice. As a girl who's fought the chub all her fricken life I'll admit that my opinion of healthy, athletic types wasn't always a good one. When you're the last one chosen for a team in P.E. class throughout your formative 12 years of schoolin' you just don't feel all warm & fuzzy about athletes. Lucky me, when I started my late-in-life quest to join the ranks of runners and such I was profoundly grateful to find that the experienced athletic community in Austin is supportive and friendly and warm to beginners. (Besides, we make y'all look even better when we run slow and all ungraceful-like.)

But all this exposure to the fit & happy crowd has really started me thinking about my post-baby goals. You know, the ones aside from breastfeeding, healthy baby checkups, learning how to use cloth diapers if I choose and all that fun OMG we're really parents stuff. I know that I'll be itching to get back to my neverending goal of shaping up. I need to look at fun races in the fall and then set up a training schedule that won't leave me feeling overwhelmed. After all, I will be a new mom.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Do Not Insult The Pregnant Chick

I have now had the "are you sure you aren't carrying twins" insult topped by something even more offensive. It's when someone who sees you every flippin' business day tells you "I can't even tell you're pregnant".

Thanks for that. I needed to hear that when I'm not carrying a child I still look like a pregnant woman. My belly always sticks out and up. I always wanted to know that even though I've graduated to elastic topped pants with waistbands that come up to your belly button and sometimes higher I really don't look any differently than I always do.

:::sigh:::

The L Word

No, not that one. Although y'all know I do love me some lesbian high drama television. I'm talking about love. Yeah, that L word. I was driving to my office this morning after dropping my life partner off at work and thinking about our relationship. Just yesterday I was telling someone I hadn't seen in a few months that yes, I'm engaged and no, it's not that I've been training for competitive doughnut eating, I am in fact pregnant. Yes, I work fast. It wasn't that long ago that my friends were lending a sympathetic ear to me crying in my beer. (Or as sympathetic as possible and then when they were over it they'd say "What about Jaime? Why won't you go out with him?". Yeah, you know who you are.)

I used to long for the kind of romance where a guy composes a love song about how infinitely wonderful you are and releases it publicly, like that Tal Bachman song. Or maybe I'd land a man who would at least sing that song to me. Well I found a singer who writes his own material but so far there's been no love song to me, about me, for me. Although friends will remember my vivid dream (nightmare?) that Jaime proposed to me in the middle of a gig and then jumped back up onstage and sang "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" to me. A song about a teenage hooker. Thank goodness in real life there was no Nugent before, during or after the proposal.

After much introspection I have come to the realization that it isn't about someone writing a song that shows the world how they feel about me. I don't need the news broadcast to the universe. I've found that it is personal (as I write this in a public blog, how ironic!). It's about being valued and appreciated, being told and shown that I am loved. And I get that, every day. I don't take it for granted, either. I reciprocate equally, so that Jaime knows that he is loved. There is no shortage of sweet words in our home. Even on days when neither of us are feeling particularly loving we still confirm it verbally to the other...and it makes almost everything all right. What it doesn't make right it at least makes tolerable. That, my friends, is what makes the world go 'round.

"Wang dang, what a sweet poontang / a shakin' my thang as a rang-a-dang-dang in the bell"
~Ted Nugent~

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Babydaddy's A Rockstar


Not only do I think he's supremely talented but so do music industry folks. Jaime's band SuperCrash is slated to be one of the openers for Great White at this week's Gonzalez Thunder Rally. It's bound to be a fun weekend with great rock & roll, food and fun. Bret Michaels will be there on Saturday as part of his Rock of Love Tour.
It won't be all music all the time. Saturday has biker games including a "race" where the slowest to finish wins. Must be pretty hard to ride slowly on a bike and not lay it down. There's a comptetitive bike build off and even a shopping area with vendors selling everything from jewelry to handmade leather goods. My friend Leigh of Leighelena will be there with her wonderful enamel jewelry selection. I'll be coming home with some new pretty gift for me, guaranteed.
Come out and have fun with me this weekend at the rally. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and are inexpensive considering you've got some huge acts along with many more great Central Texas rock & roll bands. There's even VIP packages available that include backstage passes, private restroom facilities and food. What's not to love?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fun Times in Knocked Up Land

Let's make this quick. Here's what I've learned lately and what those damn baby books don't really address:

1. You pretty much can't take any meds other than your prenatals, Benadryl and Tylenol. So when Austin allergies bash you upside down and back again, you are left with a throbbing 10lb head full of snot and no functional method of symptom relief. A date with my neti pot helps, but only for about an hour.

2. Hormones. I've never been bitchy. Really. My friends will back me on this. I've always had a laid back attitude and unless seriously provoked, I'm not a hostile woman. Until now. I am soooo full of love and tenderness and joy at the budding life within that if you cut me off on the interstate and then slow down so that I have to slam on my brakes just know that it's only because of the sweet little spawn inside me that I don't DRIVE MY FRICKEN SUV OVER YOUR UNINSURED ASS. Granted, it's a very small SUV but I guarantee that it will snap you out of your hip hop induced coma and make you at least throw the bud you're smoking out before the cops arrive. Because oh yes, there will be cops. And that, my friends, is the hormones just for driving. There's also the raging hormones for stupid people at the grocery store, the asshats at ACL who kept bumping into my baby belly (yeah, I'm showin') and the dizzybizzys who have the nerve to ask me "Are you sure you're not having twins?" No, you dumbass, I am not and have never been a skinny chick. When a big girl gets knocked up we are going to look bigger faster than you anorexic little stickgirls. Thanks for asking. I feel like the Goodyear blimp and I've just entered my 2nd trimester. Wait a few months and I'll completely eclipse your teeny tiny bobble head atop your bulimia-ravaged body. Oh wait, I need a toothpick...perhaps you could be so kind as to lend me your arm?

3. Your uterus and growing placenta is in close proximity to your bladder. Very close. So close that when you have severe allergies and you cough hard, you pee. And if you sneeze, you pee more. It is just plain wrong that I am pregnant and still utilizing feminine hygeine products, even more so that I'm using them like a flippin' diaper. It's embarrassing but it's happened so often this week that I'm beyond my initial self-disgust and sharing this with God and everyone.

4. Saving the worst for last...most of you know I love to cook. I adore cooking shows. I love to plan out and create gourmet meals. Well, during pregnancy some odd things can happen. My morning sickness went away and I was happy because I couldn't face cooking odors for several months without yakking. Now it's worse. I have a complete revulsion for raw beef, pork, fish and fowl. I can barely look at it in the grocery store without getting all over grossed out. I tried to make pork stir fry and was so revolted when I was slices up the raw meat that I just couldn't eat dinner. It's irrational and I don't like it but I don't have any control over it. I can certainly eat if it's placed in front of me, already cooked. I just can't deal with the raw stuff. I'm hoping this goes away in time. I'm sick of eating out, tired of frozen meals and completely over fast food. I want homecooked goodness. And I want it without feeling as if I'm going to puke.

5. Beer aromatherapy works. I can't drink it but a good sniff is deeply satisfying.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Addicted to Project Runway

It's true. I'm addicted to Project Runway. Which is amusing because I'm a fashion mess. However poorly dressed I may be, at least I'm fairly easy to get along with and play nicely with others. And that's a trait that many of the designers don't possess.

Spoiler Alert!! If you haven't watched your Tivo'd or DVR'd episode for this week, do not read any further. You will find out who won and who lost and you'll be angry at me. So please, stop reading, go back to work or doing whatever it is that you may otherwise be doing. Thank you!

In this week's episode we had all the Type A designers in total twisted panty mode, flipping out over trying to make an outfit out of things used to make Saturn cars. It actually turned out quite well for most of them. A few were downright spectacular, including the winning dress and a fabulous 60's style coat dress. What do you think of Leanne's winning black car seat leather dress with the neckline edged in fringed seatbelt? I think it rocks!







Anyway, each week I'm glued to the television, laughing over the drama and eye rolling the horrible designs. As if I could do better. I'm just happy that Suede finally stopped referring to himself in the third person (it's true! Last night he said "I"). And I'm waiting for the day when Kenley's true colors are revealed to all. She's the cutie pie all American retro girl next door who looks sweet as gumdrops and Southern tea. Hah! I predict she's the most cut throat of them all, who will laugh happily at any signs of backstabbing.

I was happy that Keith went home this week. He has not shown much diversity (a key word this season) although he did at least have more imagination than Daniel (kicked off last week). Next up is Stella, although she may surprise me and outlast Blayne. Stella strikes me as more hungry for this than tanorexic Blayne, so she may pull off something magnificent next week. Of course that would be after she spends the weekend with a few bottles of Jack, chainsmoking and talking to her boyfriend on the phone. Her boyfriend who's nicknamed "Ratbone". I love this show.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1st Trimester Schoolin': The Cliff Notes


I've learned a few things in my first trimester and I thought I'd pass them on to other mom-wanna-be's and those women who've just found out they're with child. Here's my Cliff Notes version of a first trimester handbook.
  • No matter what, someone will automatically volunteer to throw you a baby shower upon hearing your news. Do not, I repeat, do not allow them to buy a cake shaped like a pregnant woman's tummy. The idea of cutting into your placenta, uterus and baby may be cutesy to them but trust me when I say it's disgusting.
  • Morning sickness is most unusual. You will be completely queasy and starving at the same time. Seconds after puking, the idea of eating mac 'n cheese sounds marvelous. Think of it as renting your food.
  • You will start to show well before the baby books say you will. When you read "at this point in your pregnancy, your waistlines may start to feel tight and you might feel bloated or a fullness in your abdomen" it really means "you're pooching out, all your pants are too tight so go ahead and buy those comfy maternity clothes".
  • You will feel fat. So why not buy maternity clothes so that you can be fat in the only way it's celebrated in the U.S.A.? Seriously, this is the only time someone will coo at you "oh, your face is getting fuller" and think that it's beautiful. Enjoy it.
  • As your uterus grows, it presses on your bladder. You'll read about how in the third trimester you've gotta pee all the time. Nonsense! It starts immediately. And, if you have bad allergies, think about wearing a panty liner. Yes, sneezing=sudden increased pressure on bladder. Uh huh. Trust me on this one. Be prepared. I wake up at midnight and 3 am for bathroom breaks. If you have a messy bedroom, clear a path for those half asleep stumblings from bed to toliet.
  • Food is a whole 'nother piece of business. Foods you love will suddenly revolt you. Foods you avoided will entice you. I haven't been able to cook because raw foods send me running for the bathroom. Cooking smells are guaranteed to induce vomiting. And odd cravings pop up. Suddenly, fish sticks sound fabulous for dinner, despite the fact you haven't eaten them since you were a teen.
  • Libido. You may or may not have one. If you had one prior to pregnancy, it might disappear. If you didn't have one you may be shocked to discover your latent nymphomania.
  • Hormones are hell on your face and emotions. Not only will you look like a 9th grader who needs to visit the dermatologist, you will feel like one. All those swirling emotions are lurking just under the surface, ready to erupt into tears or bitchiness or sudden co-dependent clinginess (or see above, nymphomania).

That's all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll have many more revelations to share as the months go by.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Because apparently somewhere around March 15th, 2009 is when I'm going to start buying diapers and selling a kidney on the black market in trade for a lifetime supply of Valium for Jaime. Yes, it's true. I found out a week before I turned 41 that we're expecting.

Expecting. "Expecting" is such a nice term. It doesn't quite describe the feelings I've had in the last weeks. It's more like I'm wandering around, in partial disbelief that there is something! happening! inside me! and I'm half asleep all day with a chest so sore I'd swear someone had torn my boobs off and the slightest whiff of a strong odor has me gagging. Goodbye, coffee. Vodka, I know you'll be there in time. Thanks for waiting.

After a few minor freak outs and some tears (mine, not Jaime's) we are both pretty darn excited about this crazy turn of events. We've gone over baby names, totally prematurely, since we have no clue yet if it's a boy or a girl. We do know there is only one. Jaime made sure my doctor checked at the first visit and again at the second visit, just in case. If he comes to the third visit, he'll probably ask again in the unlikely event that a miracle has occurred and we made another somehow.

So...baby name choices are being tossed around. At the same time, we're house hunting. Life just doesn't slow down and let you catch up. You gotta jump on the carousel while it's still moving so you can get the best seat, right?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Summer Vacation In Pictures

Let's see if I can just give you the pictorial:


Colter Bay Village Marina, Grand Teton N.P.

Elk on roadside in Yellowstone N.P.

One of the rivers in Yellowstone...maybe the Snake River? Can't recall.

Jaime fighting a bear. Don't know why this picture is tiny.

Beautiful trees in GTNP


Shelby, Adam, Jaime, me & Mike at thermal area, probably Biscuit Basin. Kim was taking the picture. Spectacular colors in thermal pool. Jaime & I at Old Faithful Inn, where it snowed like crazy.

Our favorite restaurant was the Leek's Marina pizza place in GTNP. Fantastic thin crust pizza and cold, cold beer on tap.

They also had some kickin' Grand Teton Garlic Bread...so good. It has melted mozzarella inside it.

In addition to the otters, marmot, fox, moose baby and various other animals we also saw a grizzly. We were leaving in the middle of a snowstorm to come back home. He was on the side of the road...the tiny road...the only road into and out of Colter Bay Village. Believe it or not, incredibly stupid (or suicidal) tourists were out of their cars and within a few yards of this bear, snapping away. I was hoping that the picture after this one could be of a mauling but alas, the bear, who did get angry, simply wandered off. I guess he doesn't like the taste of idiots.

And saving the very best for last, here is what happens when you put me and Jaime on a snowy balcony overlooking Old Faithful. We were in a thundersnow waiting for OF to erupt, hoping to be able to see it through the rapidly falling snowflakes when...

Yes, he did. And yes, I said yes. Nope, we don't know when. But yes, we'll let you know.

It was an amazing vacation!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Am I Crazy? Really?? Certifiable?

The question you've all asked yourself over the years has been answered. Yes, I am crazy. I rode a whopping 7 miles on my still new road bike last weekend...and then signed up for the MS150 Bike to the Beach in October.

Holy crap. I've got a lot of training to do. I'm excited and terrified. I'm doing this as a challenge to myself, to give my lazy butt something to work toward. I'm also doing this because Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that should have more research funding, more educational awareness and above all, should be held up as an example of a long term illness that affects so many in our nation.

And I'm going to do my part by biking from San Antonio to Corpus Christi. It scares me to even write it down. It's real and now I have to get ready. Look out, Corpus, here I come!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Becoming a Rocker Girl

I never thought I'd be a rock & roll girl. I guess I always thought I was too much of a bookworm or had more of an appreciation for refined atmosphere. But as my life with Jaime progresses I'm finding out that there was a hard rockin' chica inside me all along.

Although some nights I'd rather be with my girlfriends sipping prosecco in a wine bar somewhere (preferably one that sells slivers of fancy cheese and smoked almonds and such) I often find myself in a grubby bar watching SuperCrash set up for a show. It's almost always some place that has Lone Star tallboys in a can and a shot special involving gelatin but sometimes it's a bar with a decent variety of beers on tap and the specials involve whisky shooters served neat.


Such was the case on Saturday night, when the S'Crash boys rocked out at Hanover's in Pflugerville. It was my second weekend in a row at Hangover's, err, Hanover's. I'd gone to a Humiliator's gig the week prior. I like that the bar has ample parking and a large stage. The sound is good and loud enough to please metal bands, as evidenced by my need to buy earplugs.


It was at this week's show, however that I realized I had become a rocker girl and didn't even know it. Sure, I recognize band members and their significant others when we run into each other at Spec's (hi, Ken!) and I've gone to backyard BBQ's only to realize half the Red River world was also attending but I hadn't really felt like I was a genuine member of the scene.


That all changed on Saturday night during the Humi's show when I spied a flyer taped to a speaker. The flyer was a photo of me and the Humi's bassist from the week before and well, what can I say except a picture tells a thousand words.


Many thanks to Rachel for the photo--you RAWK! And Jeff, much love, much love. And if I ever need to take a rest on a picnic table bench you have my permission to snap silly pictures of me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Moving, Moving, Moving

Yeah, so I moved last week. It was unexpected. I found out during the last week of April that we needed to be out of our house by the end of May. Then on the first Saturday of May I found out that we had to be out of the house in 4 days. I'm not even going to try to explain why.

So...with nothing packed at all, Jaime and I moved my entire world of possessions in a day and a half. I've stuffed full his storage room, formerly large enough to house a third world country family including both sets of grandparents. I'm now at my new digs in Tom & Jaime's house.

What did I learn? I am a firm believer that if you have the money to pay a company to come and pack you up and move your stuff you should totally do it. I have now come to understand that packing under the influence of alcohol is to be avoided. (If anyone finds my dirty laundry please let me know.) You may have the world's best relationship but packing and moving will test it. Especially when one has had adult beverages and the other has not. And lastly, that whole idea that you can reward your friends with a pizza and a 12 pack just doesn't apply to late 30's, early 40's adults. Buy a keg and make it several pizzas. Side note to friends: there will be a moving and keg party sometime this year.

Yes, my current digs are temporary. Jaime and I are planning to move into our own home later this year. Can you believe it? This wonderful man is the same one all of you had to nag at me to date and here I am planning to make things way permanent. Hindsight is 20/20....one of y'all should've bashed me in the head with a skillet and told me to wake up. I could've been 18 months into a great relationship instead of just at a year.

But I digress. Anyway, the move is done for now. I'm getting settled in to life with two new male houesemates. Goodbye Darren & David, hello Tom & Jaime! I've traded the Pug o'Love for a chocolate lab. One snorts and the other slobbers. They're both insanely adorable.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Annie Oakley Has Nothin' on Me

I did some target practice this weekend, out on my family's land near Burnet. My father bought a nifty iron contraption that has three targets hanging from it. When your bullet hits the target, it spins it around the bar. Fun, huh? But what happens when you hit it at the spot where it's welded and then hit it a few more times at the bottom? This:

Ahh, fun times. It's nice to know my little .22 Ruger pistol is capable. And now I need to kill the remaining two targets so we can get a new one!

I Love Quiche

It's true. I think it started when I used to sing along with the B-52's to their Quiche Lorraine song. "Quiche Lapoodle is her name!" I would sing the "quiche, quiche lorraine" part and while I knew quiche was a type of food I wasn't certain what it really was. Years later, I tasted quiche and fell in love. Now on each Friday at work a group of my co-workers and I participate in a “breakfast club”, taking turns bringing food for our group. After a few months, it’s easy to tire of the usual bagels, doughnuts and breakfast tacos. Last week was my turn and I decided to make quiche. I mulled it over and decided upon a spinach, tomato and mozzarella quiche for a vegetarian option. I’d been wanting to make a caramelized onion, bacon and gruyere quiche, so that settled it.

Thursday night after work I stopped by my neighborhood grocery store for supplies. Unfortunately for me, my grocery store is a smaller version of one of the two predominant chain stores in town. While they do carry a nice selection of ethnic foods such as fresh nopales and pandulce, they don’t have much else that is anything other than basic foods. I can get queso fresco and panela but other than a bag of shredded Swiss there was no gruyere to be found. While regular American Swiss is an okay substitute, it’s just that, okay. Gruyere gives this quiche a much more intense depth of flavor, so buy it if you have the choice.

Caramelizing onions takes patience. First I heated two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep, wide pan over medium heat. Next, I layered thinly sliced Texas 1015 sweet onions into the pan. Leaving the temp at medium, I used a spatula to turn the onions as the bottom layer began to soften. After 5 minutes, I lowered the heat to low-medium. During the next 40 minutes I turned the onions about every 10 minutes or so, just to ensure even cooking. They will slowly turn golden as their flavor becomes smoky sweet. Some people add sugar or balsamic vinegar to the onions at the end of their cooking time. I’ve never found the need to do so with Texas 1015 onions or any variety of sweet onions such as Vidalia or Walla Walla.
While the onions caramelized, I prepared my other ingredients, thick slices of tomato, thawing out frozen spinach and squeezing as much moisture out as possible, frying bacon and of course, whipping up the egg mixture. When it comes to quiche, I don’t try to use lower fat substitutes. I’m not planning to eat an entire quiche, just a slice, so I don’t use anything but heavy cream and whole milk in my egg mix. You can play around with the amounts but the richness in flavor is worth it to me.

I baked the spinach quiche first, layering the ingredients as evenly as possible before pouring the egg mixture. I usually pour slowly and rotate my pan as I go so that the liquid fills in evenly as well.
I did not make my own pastry crust, but I can now vouch for Mrs. Smith’s frozen deep dish pie crust. I followed the directions on the label and did not pre-bake it. I did keep it frozen up to the point when I was filling it. As an afterthought I probably will line the edges with a foil ring to keep it from over-browning but even though it was dark brown it did not taste burnt.
After the onions were golden, glistening and oh so deliciously done, I filled the second pie crust.
Smoky thick cut bacon goes well with the onions but so does diced ham and cubed cooked chicken. I use what I have on hand when I make quiche. Consequently, I’ve had some unusual yet tasty combinations over the years. And despite the “real men don’t eat quiche” yarn, once I pulled the onion and bacon creation out of the oven, my boyfriend was hovering with a plate and a fork.
I’m including the recipe for the onion and bacon quiche. If you’d like the spinach and tomato recipe, feel free to e-mail me.

Caramelized Onion & Bacon Quiche
6 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
¼ tsp. salt
Several grinds of pepper, between ¼ to ½ tsp.
¼ tsp. garlic powder
8 oz. shredded gruyere or other swiss-type cheese
2 Texas 1015 onions, sliced thinly and rings separated
2 tb. olive oil
4 slices cooked thick cut bacon, crumbled
1 deep dish pie crust


In a deep, wide heavy pan, slowly caramelize onions in the olive oil until golden brown. Preheat oven to 425┬║. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and milk. Once blended, add spices and whisk to distribute. Place frozen pie crust on a baking sheet. Layer cheese, bacon and onions evenly in crust. Carefully pour egg mixture into pie pan, until mixture is a ¼” from top of crust. You may have leftover egg mix (great for making mini crust-less quiches in buttered ramekins). Lightly sprinkle the top of the quiche with nutmeg, swirling with a fingertip any large spots of spice. Bake until golden brown and completely set. You may want to insert a sharp thin knife or cake tester into the middle to ensure it is done. If it comes out clean, remove and cool for 5 minutes before serving. When reheating later in a microwave, less than a minute at full power will heat a serving. Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spicy Black Bean Burger Addiction

I admit it, I love Morningstar Farm's Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers. That said, I'm now wondering if I can make a better tasting black bean burger at home. I did find a recipe that sounds good, on about.com in a section that listed their top veggie burger recipes. I'll have to actually make them to find out if they are tasty, but for now, here is the recipe along with a link to where I found it. This recipe isn't spicy but you know me, I'm going to tweak it to my taste.

Black Bean Burgers

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 onion, diced
1 can black beans
1/2 cup flour
2 slices bread, crumbled
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

PREPARATION:
Sautee the onions till soft, about 3-5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mash the beans until almost smooth. Add sauteed onions and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil, adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time to combine well.

Mixture will be thick. Form bean mixture into patties, approximately ½ inch thick and fry patties in a small amount of oil until slightly firm. Make veggie burgers and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:
Servings: 6
Calories per serving: 294
Calories from Fat: 11
Total Fat: 1.2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 25mg
Total Carbohydrates: 55.3g
Dietary Fiber:11.3g, 45% RDA
Protein: 16.8g
Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 1%, Calcium 10%, Iron 23%, based on a 2000 calorie diet

Friday, March 14, 2008

OKC Teen's Letter to Sally Kern

I am still all worked up about Sally Kerns. In the vernacular of the state I grew up in, I'm not only "all het up" I also have "a case of the mean reds". But no matter how angry I am that Sally Kern is a bigot who lives with her fears by pointing the finger of hate toward the groups she's scared of, I can't be half as eloquent in expressing myself as a teenager named Tucker.


I happened by chance upon Tucker's letter to Kern. Tucker is a teenager who was robbed of his mother by the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City. Some of you may know that my mother's best friend, Vera, had a niece who died in the bombing. Baylee was one year and one day old on the morning of the bombing. She was a beautiful girl but the only way I remember her now is in that infamous picture where she is cradled in a firefighter's arms. The photographer, Charles Porter, snapped the picture of firefighter Chris Fields as he carried Baylee, dying, out of the rubble.


It's hard to believe that there are some in America who think that terrorists can only be Muslim and that homosexuals are a larger threat than terrorists. Such skewed beliefs are more of a threat to society's downfall than any perceived morality issue. Sally Kern, the Republican representative from Oklahoma City, has attested to these beliefs.

Tucker, whose mother was killed in the same bombing as Baylee, wrote an incredible letter and tried to deliver it to Kern. He was unable to give it to her. The Oklahoma highway patrol intervened and stopped him from delivering it. Here is a link to Tucker's letter, as reported in not THAT different, with citations from the News9.com story about Kern.

Tucker's letter is amazing, such insight into pain and such empathy for the pain of others. I'm grateful and appreciative that there are Tuckers in this world, who can look beyond the easy blame and find the root of the problem.

I urge you to check out Jami's blog at not THAT different. But if you're not wanting to navigate away just yet, here is Tucker's letter. Thank you Jami, for blogging about Tucker and his letter, or I'd have never known.

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From comment page 112 of the News9 story, here is the letter. At the time of this posting, there are 136 pages of comments to the story.

Rep Kern:

On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would've likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn't live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you'll find one of them that will agree with you.

I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother's killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves. As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they've been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I've spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there's never a day in school that has went by when I haven't heard the word **** slung at someone. I've been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They've already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won't be there. So I'll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don't want to be here for that. I just can't go through that again.

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Homophobe Sally Kern Owes Gays an Apology

Remember when your parents taught you the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"? And remember when you found out that it isn't quite true, that words do hurt and sometimes they cut deeply?

The homosexual population in the nation is still reeling from Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern's remarks last week. She called homosexuals "worse than terrorists" and claimed that 'Mo's are targeting two year olds in schools. For what? Improper Garanimal-izing of their outfit that day?

The woman believes that as a nation we have less to fear from religious zealot terrorists than we do from homosexuals. Apparently our nation is headed for destruction because Sally says that historically, societies that embrace homosexuality only last for a few decades. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the first steps toward becoming an embraced part of American society started in 1969. We now have gay celebs, lauded homo musicians, even *gasp* political leaders with same sex partners. Get to the bomb shelter, Bessie, the world is a'ending! I mean, really, Sally Kern is a fine upstanding church going woman, she wouldn't spout out lies and encourage fear and hatred, would she? After all, she is a Baptist!

I would be okay with Kern if she had just said "I don't believe it is morally right for two people of the same sex to have a physical, romantic relationship". We are all entitled to our own opinion. But she didn't do that. She just blasted away with untruths passed off as gospel.

I can't help but take Kern's words personally. It was in her hometown of Oklahoma City that I experienced gaybashing. If you've never run from a pickup truck full of drunk rednecks screaming "Ahm gonna git you, faggot!" then you've obviously never patronized gay bars in OKC. The gay community treated it as if it were a game, you know, how many times can you outrun the homophobes in a single weekend? But honestly, there were nights I thought they'd catch us and those baseball bats and swinging chains were mighty scary.

I emailed a letter to Sally Kern but have had no response. I sent it to her office, where I'm certain an aide is in control of sifting through her email. I heard she's had death threats, which is ridiculous. She doesn't need to die. She needs to learn. To grow. To move beyond her baseless hatred and beyond the lies she is clinging to as truth. Oh, yes, she did respond to the negative press and stated that she never said anything untrue. Because homos target 2 year olds and are a larger threat than Al Qaeda. She is embracing her own destructive reality, one that encourages others to believe that gays are second class citizens and evil creatures. She's sending a message to those rednecks I ran from that says loud and clear they are doing the right thing, crushing the homosexual threat.

If you'd like to email Sally Kern, her office address is sallykern@okhouse.gov.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Recent Life, The Cliff Notes Version

What've I been doing with my time since fall? Here's a little glimpse into my life, the Cliff Notes version.
  • Show Us Your Goods event at The Marq. Shopping and cocktails! It was our inaugural show & fundraiser at the start of the Christmas shopping season. Who are we? Next bullet point!


  • 3 Dames Productions. I've teamed up with my friends Chel and Leigh and we've been busy promoting locally owned businesses with our shows. Mixing, mingling and shopping is always fun!


  • Helping support my boyfriend's band. SuperCrash was recently named one of Austin's favorite rock bands.


  • Lost 8.5" with the help of Austin Adventure Bootcamp, the best fitness program in town. I am losing weight, gaining muscle and increasing my endurance, thanks to my great instructor and my camp friends. Yes, I really have lost eight and a half inches overall...in less than a month. I'm on my second camp now and will hopefully show even more progress. (Wow, this was a long bullet point).


  • Coaching a walking group in Austin Fit's Cap 10K training program. So far we're up to 4 miles.


  • Cooking. New Year's Eve had me grilling ribeyes and lobster tails while the potatoes au gratin cooked. And I made a fabulous crawfish etouffee for Valentine's Day dinner. Here's some pictures for you foodies out there. Until next time, enjoy!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Visit Other Blog

I've been posting much more frequently on my newspaper blog Dancin' Down Congress Avenue. Please click on the link and visit me there.

Cheers!

Kay

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Read All About Me...

But lately you'll have to read it on my other blog. I haven't been up to maintaining two blogs lately. So please step on over to Dancin' Down Congress Avenue and check out my latest news including my bootcamp experience.