Friday, December 29, 2006

Thanks!

Thanks to everyone for the notes and the phone calls regarding Dizzy. I am very touched by the sympathy, and empathy, that has come our way yesterday and today.

I'm feeling better tonight, which is due in no small part to the fact that The Man gave in to my dismal countenance and took us all out for Italian food at Mandola's Italian Market tonight. The girls were well behaved, the food was excellent and reasonably priced, and the $15 bottle of chianti was HUGE. We toasted Dizzy and reminisced about our favorite memories of her. (If you have a grief that needs to be processed, I highly recommend going for closure over handmade cannolis, iced lemon cookies, and chocolate-hazelnut gelato. )

I also did engage in a little haircare therapy this morning, treating myself to a nice cut and highlight session over t' JR Salon. (Good place; Aveda salon, $30 haircuts, no tipping allowed.) They did do a great job, and I'd take my picture to show y'all if it weren't for the puffy pink eyes. Seriously, I felt like I needed to explain myself to every person I encountered today, because they all looked at me as if my husband had been beating me. Sample conversation snippet:

Salon Gal: "Good morning, ma'am, how can I help you today?"
Me: "Um....I have a haircut at 9:15. And my cat died yesterday."
Salon Gal: "Mmmmkay! We have you down with Ashley! So sorry about your cat! Would
you like a cup of coffee?"

So, the banality of everyday life returns; and I'll be back to my regular everyday banality very soon. Thanks for tolerating.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dizzy The Cat: ?/?/92 - 12/28/06

You know my cat Dizzy? Not the one that was IN the hospital all last week, but the one that I JUST NOTICED was sick?

She died in the vet's office today.

I cannot believe this.

Before we left for Kansas City last Friday, I noticed that she looked a little lethargic, and told Mick, our magnificent pet sitter, that she might want to keep an eye on her. (Remember, Molly, the other cat, was in the process of running up astronomical emergency room/Christmas break hospitalizations/multiple IV fees due to her severe foot infection.) Mick, like the two of us, noticed the lethargy, but could get her to respond to petting and could get her to eat and drink a little, so we were all still on "guarded" status as of our arrival on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, she was getting around, sitting in the window and such, and came to get petting from Lee and his buddy Bill, so we were hopeful that whatever it was wasn't too serious. But, yesterday, she didn't come to eat, and when I brought her to her food, only took a bite and then walked away.

I took her to the doctor today, and at first the nice young doctor at Brykerwoods Animal Clinic (best clinic in town, y'all Austinites) diagnosed a urinary tract infection, but was bothered by her labored breathing. He took an x-ray and blood work, and her liver panel came up irregular. He called me to set up an abdominal sonogram to check her liver, and I said fine - but she collapsed on the way into the sonogram room. They tried CPR and intubated her, but to no avail.

Nice Young Doctor did an autopsy - free of charge, because I'm literally awaiting the vet bill of my life for the two cats combined - and found masses of tumors in one of her lungs. So, it was probably cancer that did her in, and we couldn't really have done much for a 14-year-old cat with lung cancer, even if we had picked up on it sooner. There was some consolation in that.

The girls are fine - I don't think they either one actually "get it," even OG - but I'm still recovering from the shock.

Seriously, two weeks ago she was her pesky, irritating self. Yes, she was thinner than in the olden days, but it wasn't horribly noticeable, and she gave absolutely no sign that anything was bothering her up until last week. I feel terrible that I just took her in and left her without giving her a hug and kiss. I mean, I was worried that it was serious, but I was thinking we'd have some time to process this, you know? Give her lots of hugs, take the girls' picture with her, that sort of thing?

Thanks to the advent of digital cameras, I have no pictures to post of my darling girl. I used to take pictures of my cats to use up the last picture on a roll of film, but there's no such thing anymore. I do have some pictures of her, but I'm going to have to scan them, and the scanner stopped cooperating with Old Bessie when I switched to Mac OS X.

So, I understand, in the big scheme of things, it's a cat, and not a person. Many of my friends have suffered powerful losses of people in their lives, and I promise that I understand the difference. But, if you would, please indulge me in a brief eulogy:

Dizzy, you were our best cat. (I know, that's not saying much, as all of our other cats have serious mental problems, but I really mean it.) I never saw you bite or scratch. Even when the girls were trying to pull your ears off of your head, you just sat there and took it.

However, adorable and sweet, you were also a little shit. There was apparently nothing more pointless to you than reading. You were known to run across the room just to jump through my newspaper. The love bites you gave to The Man on his head when he had just washed his hair were absolutely hilarious (to me). And, every so often, you loved to fly down from whatever perch you were on to briefly whale on one of the other cats, who was just happening to walk by. (Completely hysterical to the human watchers; not so much to the little kitty victims. "Dum dum dum, dum dum dum, where's the kibble, dum dum HEY, GET OFF ME! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? AIIEEE!!)

You liked the rough stuff, didn't you, you little petting whore? Couldn't get enough. Twenty solid whacks on the backside in fast repetition was the path to total heaven for you. Nut case. And you just. wouldn't. leave. "Pet me, pet me, PET ME MOOOORE. I'm not DOOOONE."

Sigh.

I'm going to miss you, baby. You'll be immortalized in a posting whenever I can find me a working scanner.

Hug your people and pets, y'all. Take some pictures. Ain't nothing permanent.

To bed with the puffy eyes,
Mags

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Holidays: A Retrospective

Days gone to Kansas City: Four. (Three, really, as we got in on Friday at 5:30 P.M., and our flight back to Austin left at 6:45 AM Tuesday morning.)

Checked bags we left the house with: Two.

Checked bags we returned with: Five.

Number of FIVE POUND HERSHEY BARS given to me by my father: One. It could have been two, if I had wanted.

Pounds gained: I'm going with four. Fuck if I'm getting on those scales for another week.

Amount of money spent this afternoon on essentially nothing but green vegetables and chicken breasts: $200.

Number of times I wished to throttle Older Girl in three days: Several.

Number of times I wished to throttle my mother: None. Fran and Dick were well-behaved.

Days cat was in the hospital: Four.

Exact number of dollars (plus $750 already spent) that cat will cost me: Mercifully undetermined as of this evening. One last day of breathing deeply.

Number of soda straws said cat has sticking out of her foot at present: None, thankfully, or at least none that I have seen. There's a big ol' bandage on her foot, and she can't walk on it very well. I have to carry her to her food and water and put her up on the bed with me at night. Frickin' pathetic.

Medication doses cat has per day: Three.

Number of OTHER cats in the house that suddenly look terribly sick: One. Dizzy is really lethargic, and isn't eating. They're both going in tomorrow morning. Again, fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Number of Christmas presents I have put away and/or found a home for: None. No, I got out the girls' mechanical toothbrushes; that's about it.


That's about it. Hope you all had a lovely holiday. Please come take my Christmas tree down for me.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Hiatus

I'll be posting sporadically, if at all, for the next several days. (Family visits tend to suck my creativity dry; plus I intend to be comatose on sugar and Christmas beer until the day after.)

The commencement of the holiday break was not without drama, of course. Last night, 'round about 8:00 PM, I noticed that my cat Molly - the big-boned gal - was out of sorts (read: not eating) and limping. I got down to examine her, and lo and behold, she has an enormously swollen front paw that is literally dripping with pus. (I know! Puts you in the mood for some egg nog, doesn't it?)

I was uncheerful about this development, what with it being after my vet's hours and the night before Mags Family Christmas Extravaganza 2006.

I dutifully pushed her 16-pound girth into the carrier and hauled her to the emergency animal clinic, wherein they told me it would cost me Seven. Hundred. And. Fifty. Dollars. to do the surgery needed to clean up the abcess and keep her overnight.

This morning, I got up at 6:30 to go pick her up and transfer her to my vet's office. When I got there, there was literally a soda straw poking through her foot - seriously, from the top of the paw through the pad. (I so wish I had had my camera with me, just so you could share in my joy.) They told me that she had punctured it somehow, like from a dog bite or from stepping on a nail. Plus, the damn thing was still swollen twice its normal size, and in its shaved state, resembled nothing more than a hairy gray sausage with claws. Ew, ew, ew.

From seven until eight this morning, I waited for my vet's decision - to come home or not? The verdict is no; she needs twice-daily IV antibiotics and monitoring to make sure the infection doesn't go to the bone. Amputation, and all that. And, they were careful to remind me that she's an awful, horrible, biting bitch (they used the word "fractious" several times,) so they have to sedate her pretty much every time they walk past the cage.

I'd say I'll be getting off easy if I have to spend $500 more on my darling 12-year-old obese girl. So, I'm afraid that the dreamed-for new computer may have to wait.

Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck fuck.

On that note - and with slightly more sentiment than it suggests - Merry Christmas from the family; happy holidays, y'all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I said I love the holidays? I lied. I HATE THEM.

I have two days until seeing the parents, and I am not ready. And I'm not in any mood to GET ready, either.

OG is still in school - and at night, she's wigged out on sugar, some fluctuations in the ADHD medication, and the change of routine. YG is taking advantage of her sensitive sister and bugging the everbejeezus fuck out of her.

I'm bloated from party food, and spending more of my workday than I probably should talking to contractors about doing some closet work (not "secret" work; work done on my closets). The house is a mess, there are already toys covering every square inch of this house; why on earth did I ever think that buying more was a good idea?

After the cookie-making bacchanalia of last week, this week I've been baking Cheery Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread for several friends, teachers, and co-workers - 7 loaves at last count. It's good; or at least I hope it is - I cannot bear to even taste any more sweets or pastries, can you? (Oh, but if you make it...buy excellent chocolate, like Valhrona or Scharffenberger, for the chocolate chips. And instead of the cocoa glaze, make one out of that really good chocolate, heavy cream, and butter. This tea cake recipe has a great glaze (and is also a really great holiday-party-going treat to make. Christie made some in mini-muffin tins that were fabulous).

Oh, lord, and there are going to be two parents soon. With more fruitcake. And possibly potted cheese. I ask; is it just me? Are you ready? Are you really?

I'm tired. So tired. I can't believe my own partner attacked me!*

*a la Bookhart, five points if you can identify the source of that phrase.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Austin, TX; December 17, 2006: 80 degrees and sunny.

I turned the air conditioner on at one point. I believe that may be a record.

I alternate between being thrilled about weather like this - I moved here from Missouri because I abhor cold weather, remember - and worried that this is just another sign of our impending environmental collapse. So, today's theme was "angsty joy." (There's not another kind, is there?)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Five Weird Things About Me Meme

Stolen from Karla May and Karla Karla. Damn, Badger is going to be way behind.

1. I cannot stand to hear someone misuse "lie" and "lay." Seriously. It's like a cheese grater on my skin. (And my own darling YG, at the tender young age of 2 1/2, has already figured this out, and misuses it on purpose to annoy me and then looks at me to see if I'm annoyed.)

2. I have no protruding ankle bone on the inside of my ankle. It's completely flat. And I cannot stand for anyone to touch it. If you try, I will kick you across the room.

3. I do not personally see this as weird, but I have been told it is: I refrigerate my peanut butter. (Seriously, is that weird? It's important; my marriage may hinge on this.)

4. I generally do not screw lids back onto things. I get them about halfway on, and I stop. I don't know why; it's a pathology.

5. I am missing my top lateral teeth; the "eyeteeth," I think they're called - the ones closest to your front teeth. I was born without them, and have had to wear false teeth pretty much since my baby teeth fell out. Even in my braces; they were little movey false teeth stuck into the wires. And when I smile big in black light, they don't show up, and I look like a hick.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nutty as a...


My father keeps sending us fruitcakes.

Oh, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful. They're from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, and they're pretty good, actually; less a fruitcake than a pecan cake. If you have to eat a fruitcake, these are definitely the one to get. The Apricot Pecan Cake is especially nice. (They even sell them at Central Market now, for all y'all other foodie snobs.)

It's just that, you see, we are drowning in them. He sent us THREE last year, and TWO this year. We ate one last year...it literally took us until August, but we did finish it...and we gave one to Todd and Aimee, and we put the other in the freezer, so we could have it THIS year.

And lo, last week, I look in the mailbox, and there are TWO MORE. I gave one to Bill and Julie, and we've cut a piece or two off of the other, but god DAMN it, there is still the fucking fruitcake from last year in the freezer.

So, tonight, my mother called me, distraught. She asks, "Have you gotten any fruitcakes from your father?" (She lives with him, remember.) I reply, "YES, do not send me ANY MORE." It appears that he has ordered her no fewer than SEVEN fruitcakes, my sister two, my brother and his wife two, and one each for every single one of their old friends. My mother got the bill for them, and he spent over $400 on fruitcakes this year. (And, after all that, he still even sends me the Pineapple Pecan Cakes every year instead of the Apricot Pecan Cake, which is the one we like.)

My father is 75 years old, and in failing health. His mind wasn't that sharp 20 years ago, actually, and it's way less so now. He just gets these catalogs - and, may I ask you, do these catalog people just prey on the elderly and infirm? - and I think that he does not remember buying them, and that it is just some weird compulsion.

I'm sure that means that I should be more charitable, no? But, as I suck, I am not feeling particularly charitable about it. I know it's the deterioration that's causing this...but we so desperately need $400 right now, or even $40. We DON'T NEED FOOD. PARTICULARLY NOT SWEETS. The Man and I are on the never-ending diet, and we won't eat anything for a month after the holidays; the kids eat enough sweets as it is. But I need...oh, say, a new computer! Bookshelves! Clothing to conform to the rapidly-changing clothing rules of the first grade fashionista police! Money for theater/piano/girl scouts/soccer/art/Society for Creative Anachronism or whatever the fuck freaky organization OG has decided she's into this week.*

It's not just the fruitcakes, though. At home, Mom receives pound after pound of cheese, nuts, dates, smoked sausage, that type of crap. Plus bizarre kitchen gadgetry - I have a pan with a hinge (to make ONE pancake with,) a cheese grater with a little box attached, a plastic knife guide to slice bread with - seriously, shit you cannot imagine. Mom gives me what's overflowing from her cabinets, and I summarily give most of them to charity. But I have guiltily held on to just enough of the crap that I can feel like it wasn't just wasted money and effort.

I begged Mom to start throwing away the catalogs before he gets to them. I think she's finally gotten to that point. I doubt she could pry the checkbook out of his hand, but maybe she could just call to get off the mailing lists. Maybe I'll do that for her when I go home.

Guess I know what I'm having for dinner at their house, anyway! (But - good news; there'll also be a case of Boulevard Nutcracker Ale. Beer makes it all better.)

*Note to SCA types: I was just kidding around with thou.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Five

The five foods I would take with me to a desert island:
1. Peanut butter
2. Hard, sharp, aged white Cheddar cheese
3. Crusty sourdough bread
4. Scharffenberger dark chocolate with almonds
5. Either grilled salmon or very expensive Porterhouse steak

The five best Christmas songs:
1. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
2. "O Holy Night"
3. "Santa Baby"
4. "Silver Bells"
5. "Baby, It's Cold Outside"

The five best (scripted) shows on T.V. right now:
1. Heroes
2. The Office
3. My Name is Earl
4. 30 Rock
5. Scrubs

The five coolest (and/or most eagerly anticipated) presents I got for OG:
1. A Razor Scooter
2. Magnets
3. A semi-precious stone jewelry-making kit (to indulge her new fascination with rocks)
4. A "Littlest Petshop" - um, petshop. (That one was not my idea.)
5. Her THIRD Magnadoodle-DoodlePro thing, as she has literally worn out the first two.

The five coolest presents I got for YG:
1. A fairy costume
2. A fairy doll
3. A fairy headband
4. Her own Magnadoodle
5. Brown Mary Janes with pink flowers on them that I wish were mine.

The five most fun episodes from this year:
1. Sex with my husband (Sorry! He was standing right over me! What else could I say? I was going to say winning the election...but of course he's correct. Honey, every time you come round, my London, London bridge wanna go down.)
2. Visitage with old friends who either came here (Connie, Chuck,) or I went there (Anita) or I saw them in Kansas City during the biannual Parent Visiting Confluence (Erin, Tricia)
3. The trip to Port Aransas
4. The San Antonio trip to see The Lion King
5. (Future speculation - going to see the Rolling Roadshow production of Xanadu at Playland Skate Center this New Year's Eve, followed by the most kick ass ELO cover band I have ever heard (K-Tel Hit Machine playing with Tosca, the string quartet). Tickets include skates, buffet, AND beer! (I won't dress up, but I MIGHT wear my 70's copper sequined jacket. I guess I could do leg warmers...)

Anyone? Five?



Monday, December 11, 2006

The Domestic Freak that I Become During The Holidays...

...is loose in my house, and baking cookies.

Here we have the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (thanks, Inga's mom; Renee's was the first of these that I ever had. I'm still trying to recreate them):


and we have the Almond Crescents*:


*Yes, I can
SEE that they are not crescents. I only had the one cookie cutter. Don't hate.

I have made three batches of each now, and am READY for the Christmas Cookie Party. (Ironically, however, I believe that if I see or smell another cookie, I am going to vomit.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thoughts on my Graphite iMac, bought circa 1999

My iMac is SO OLD...

...that it thinks "OS 10" refers to its age.

...that it needs to take Viagra just to find its hard drive.

...I have to start it with a hand crank.

...it's getting hard to find those 7" floppy disks for it anymore.

...I think Thomas Edison installed it.

...the date and time were originally set to B.C.

...my iPod's hard drive is more than twice the size of that of my actual computer; thus, iTunes will put approximately 20 songs on it at a time before crashing the entire goddamn system.

Ha! Ha! Ha!!!!!!

It's getting a baseball bat smashed into its monitor tonight; yes, this is the night.

(Anyone got any other good jokes? These are the best I could do late on a Sunday evening with the unfolded laundry waiting...not to mention the ever-hopeful husband.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

They only get more colorful from here!

My baby uttered her first epithet yesterday!

This is the transcript, as we were driving past the North Lamar McDonald's:

YG: "There's Old McDonald's! Can we go to Old McDonald's?"

Me: "No, honey, not tonight."

YG (peeved): "DARN IT!"

It was admittedly pretty mild, but I am relieved by the knowledge that my progeny will eventually have as foul a mouth as I.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some Holiday Sugar for you

I have a confession to make.

For a weaselly agnostic, I am inordinately fond of Christmas.

I know every verse of "Jingle Bells," including the one about the bobtail nag and two-forty for his speed. I own a set of ornaments that are a little marching band that ding out 12 carols on their bells when you plug them in. I have several versions - album, cassette, and CD - of the Chipmunks Christmas album (which OG is very into right now. Joy!)

I like Christmas songs, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas cookies, Christmas beer parties, wrapping presents, and pretty much everything about the holiday except all that religion. (Though, strangely, Bing Crosby singing "O Holy Night" will bring me to tears. As will the ending of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," I found out a couple of nights ago. It went: "Lu lu lu, lu lu lu luuu, [sob, sniff]".)

So, the (tiny, but appropriate for the tiny house) tree went up over Thanksgiving, and my half-assed white-trashy attempts at throwing up some lights around the front door went up last weekend.

We went to the beer-tasting party last weekend, are going to see Santa and the Trail of Lights this weekend, and next weekend will have a cookie swap party and the obligatory Xmas with the family of The Man. Presents for the children will be somewhat diminished, due to the enormous money-wasting enterprises of last month (what with the lost keys and the washed cell phone and the entirely-too-difficult basketball league that just did not work out for OG, there was a good $500 down the drain,) but they will still be well-compensated.

But this week, it was time for the special ritual that the OG and I have adopted...the gingerbread house.

I had never done one before, but one year, I signed up for one of those sessions at the Children's Museum. Since then, for OG, it has just become something that must be done.

And, I have to admit, it's good for me, too. An activity I can do with my spirited child that encourages getting messy, playing with our food, and licking sticky icing off our fingers is just what we need sometimes. There's no fights, no arguments, no power struggles; just us, candy, and a blank canvas.

This year, I bought a kit at Central Market and some extra candy, and we just did it ourselves for the first time. We put several days and a lot of thought into it, and this is the final product (with icing on the face to emphasize the point that this is a DIY project, people!)


I think it is really good, don't you? Seriously! I totally love this thing! I put it on its own little table, with a tablecloth, so we can all admire it for a while. (But, I must ask: Do people eat these things? Not having come from folk who do them, I just don't know the answer. OG is all ready to do so, no matter how stale it is.)

And, just for equal time, I'll post a picture of YG, who was generally unhelpful at the whole gingerbread house making thing, as she just stuffed the candy in her mouth. For some reason, Blogger won't let me post the picture I really want to post - wherein she looks just like Cindy Lou Who under the Christmas tree - but will let this one through, so here ya go:


(See, you're supposed to put those on the cats, but they won't tolerate it. So, we put it on the two-year-old, who can't fight back. Haw!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Women Aren't Funny

Or so says Christopher Hitchens in his new article in Vanity Fair. (No, wait, he says some women are, especially if they're "hefty or dykey or Jewish.")

I'd like to suggest that you pop over to that link and read it, just so you can join me in my spluttering, incoherent rage; however, I'm concerned that any linkage to that bastard will just inflate his gin-soaked ego or encourage Vanity Fair to continue printing this bloated, alcoholic freakshow.

My women, I will tell you, are the freaking funniest people in the world - to men AND women. And a real man - mine included - is attracted to, not threatened by, a woman who is funny.

It's really too bad the DT's have rendered you impotent, Chris. My funny women friends are hot. Here's hoping you get a better perspective in your next life; meanwhile, sorry 'bout all that cirrhosis.

Seriously. Samantha Bee? Amy Poehler, Andrea Martin, Jamie Pressley, Paula Poundstone, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Carol Burnett, Molly Shannon, Sarah Silverman, Amy Sedaris, Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Hara, Kerri Kenney, Jennifer Coolidge? Gilda fucking Radner?

Two words that should not be allowed to exit from your bulbous lips and greying teeth: Madeline Kahn?

Looks like his take on women is about as spot-on as his position on the war in Iraq. What a sexist, chicken-hawk pig fucker.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Your Geography Lesson for Today

Just in case you did not know, there is a large, crescent-shaped island between Russia and the North Pole called Novaya Zemlya.

Its main claim to fame is that it has been the site of many nuclear bomb tests since the 50's. Its natural resources include zinc, copper, and lead, and the few indigenous people that live there generally subside on fishing and polar bear husbandry. Its terrain is either glacier or tundra, and many walruses, along with about 2700 people, live there.

And, thanks to the satellite feature on Google Maps, my oldest daughter is obsessed with it. She and The Man were playing around, looking at satellite views of the world, when she focused in, laser-like, on this frigid, barren, glacier-covered island.

Since then, we have learned EVERYTHING about Novaya Zemlya. In fact, OG has declared that she'd REALLY like to visit there sometime.

So - I figured, what the hell; let's be different! I did have all that money saved up for DisneyWorld, but now, I'm thinking: Novaya Zemlya! We'll fish! Go walrus-watching! Tundra-hiking!

Jesus, our children are so doomed to a life of nerdiness.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Commitment Issues, and Mags Pop Culture History 101: Texas

Um, I clearly screwed up that NaBloPoMo thing.

I just couldn't post every damned day this month, and I couldn't keep the pop culture theme going. The last half of the month, with the birthday and Thanksgiving and $400 spent on the cell phone that I washed and the lost keys (which were soon found,) and the brief identity crisis and all, was just kind of a mess.

Even my TV watching has suffered, damn it. I still have Scrubs and Veronica Mars on the TiFaux. (But I'm totally watching Heroes tomorow, kids asleep or no.)

So, ending up what I was supposed to end in November, here's the next-to-last Mags Pop Culture History installment, which entails the time period after college and my pre-marriage years in Texas.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

After Mizzou, I drifted around my parents' house in KC for a year and a half or so, working and figuring out where I was going to go next. I knew it would entail graduate school, and I knew it would be outside of Kansas City. After some particularly stinging grad school rejections and wait lists for English masters programs - which as it turns out, are pretty competitive - I decided to switch my major to special education. Of course, all problems were eliminated insofar as getting accepted with an education program - these people offered me stipends and scholarships!

Being 23, I of course did not make my decision on grad school based benefits or the merits of the program or the stipends. I decided to attend UT because I had just seen "Slacker" and I thought Austin looked like a cool place, and I thought the guys in it were hot. (And also because I never, ever wanted to be cold again.)

Austin was a hard place for me to break into at first - it is not as friendly and welcoming as residents here seem to think it is. There are lots of little "in" places, lots of little groups, and it takes a bit of time to get the groove of this city. So, I made a few friends my first year here, and hung out with the "lounge" music scenesters (when that was the thing to do in the early 90's).

I met The Man in 1994. At he time, he was a (totally hot) long-haired-hippie music critic, which was just what I had moved to Austin for. We saw each other - and eyed each other - at Hole in the Wall the week before we actually met for the first time, at a party. We hit it off and began dating, but I actually hesitated when considering dating him because he liked country music. I had never hung out with ANYONE who liked country music, and at first did not think my black-wearing alt-chick self could deal. Fortunately for us all, the chemistry was there, and I stuck it out.

On our second date, I think, The Man took me to see The Derailers at the Continental Club. I was skeptical, but from the first song, they had my complete attention. The Man, being who he is, dragged me to the dance floor and forced me to learn to two-step, even though we were the FIRST PEOPLE dancing in the club. I tell you, I had the best effing time, and I kissed him goodnight that night. (There was a rapid and sordid progression within week or so after that, but I will not bore you with those details.)

We ended up dancing soooo much that first year. We saw The Derailers every chance we got, and Don Walser, of course, among many others (Cornell Hurd, Dale Watson, The Naughty Ones the Gulf Coast Playboys, etc.) The Man being a music critic, we also got comped everywhere, which was sweet. He also liked cajun and zydeco music, and we took two vacations to western Louisiana cajun country (Mamou and Opelousas) to dance at Fred's Lounge and Richard's and Slim's Y-Ki-Ki. Fucking amazing. But unlike anything I would have ever thought I would have liked, ever.

The Man put a definite twist in my music buying that persists to this day. I am just as likely to have Robert Earl Keen or Dwight Yoakum pop up on my iPod as I am to have some bit of jangly guitary alterna-pop.

I think my biggest cultural influence on The Man was turning him into a moviegoer (and, he claims, reinvigorating his interest in college and professional sports, which has morphed into a full-blown obsession). So, we morphed and moved on into the land of the smug marrieds, wherein we enjoyed a brief bit of no-kids time in which we saw lots of movies, ate at lots of great restaurants, and could still buy whatever CDs or go to see whatever movies we liked.

The next chapter, the final one, will be the shortest, and it will be entitled "The Years After Children: The Endless Dearth of Sociocultural Activity That Does Not In Some Way Involve A Playscape."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I take it all back

OK, I'm sorry for my snarky tone of yesterday.

33 degrees with wind and rain? Feels pretty muthafuckin' cold to me.

I HAVE BECOME ONE OF YOU TEXAS WEATHER WEENIES.*

*But I will NOT wear the burnt orange. Unless you're in the national championships. Hey, but don't feel too bad...the Alamo Bowl is just as good!

There's another Texas Weenie topic for us to have out...y'all bitching about being, what, 9-2 this season? Poor little Longhorns, having to settle for a lesser BCS bowl! I'm crying for you, really, I am.

(Cranky old man voice:) WE Mizzou Tigers always had to go to the Insight.Com bowl, and we LIKED it!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Weather! Aaaaagh!!!!

My impersonation of Central Texas weatherpeople when there is anything approaching, weather-wise, on the rare days that temperatures are not above 70 and/or it is not sunny:

"Folks, batten down those hatches, cover those plants, bring MawMaw in from the root cellar, because it is going to (rain/rain a lot/be slightly cold)! We'll have NON-STOP WEATHER REPORTS until this NATURAL DISASTER has passed us by. Stay tuned! Aaagh!"

And they run the radar CONSTANTLY over whatever I am watching, in tonight's case "Bones," thus irritating the fuck out of me. (That's a good show, by the way! Karla, I think you'll like it, if you haven't seen it yet. It has David Boreanaz, another Buffy alumnus, which is always a good sign. I just started watching it last week, and I'm kinda hooked. It's X-File-y! Pretty funny, too, which is the factor that seems to be missing from the CSI clones.)

To the weathermen...or, let's face it, to all y'all Texans... let me break this to you gently:

  • To most of the rest of the country, 50 degrees is NOT COLD.
  • In most of the rest of the country, they don't cancel school pre-emptively because it LOOKS like it might get a tincy bit icy in the morning before it all melts by 9:00.
  • That line you always try to push off onto strangers - that one about "if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait an hour, and it'll change?" That is BULLSHIT. Visit the midwest if you'd like to see a 60-degree plummet in one day, darlings. (Austin weather is thus: From May to November highs 90-100, lows 70-80, and it won't rain. Ever. From November to April it might rain, will dip below freezing at night about 10 times per year, and though there is an odd coldish day here and there, and you have to wear a coat in the mornings, the average high temperature by afternoon is 60 effing degrees. It DOES NOT CHANGE.)
I'm sorry, but it's time you were told.

Now go get your parkas, loveys, because the high is ONLY GOING TO BE 47 DEGREES tomorrow. And it's going to RAIN! Be sure to watch the news updates...and don't drive your car into mine in the panic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

But are they as fly as me?


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
18
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?



(I guess that should be "Are they as fly as I?")

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mags Pop Culture History 101: College, and What the Title Means

Wherein we left off, I had just graduated high school. (That was one of the happiest bloody days of my life, by the way; it was seriously up there with wedding and childbirths. I didn't get drunk, I didn't go party - I went swimming in the lake with Tricia. And I believe that was the day of the swimming citation that we received for swimming too far into the cove. That was one of my finest law-breaking incidents ever. But I digress.)

High school and early college (at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. Oh, by the way, "Rock, Chalk, Suck On It," K.U.!) was the time of the jangly floppy-haired white boy music for me. I had just gotten my first CD player at about the time The Unforgettable Fire came out, and it was one of the very first CDs I bought. I think I bought Life's Rich Pageant early on, too; Green came out my freshman or sophomore year in the dorms, and it is largely the soundtrack that plays in my head during that portion of the movie of my life.

(Another digression...who would play you in the movie of your life? I always used to hear that Drew Barrymore should play me. That's probably as good a fit as any, but I kind of wish I could find someone new. Maybe Reese Witherspoon, who could play me, except 40 pounds thinner? I'd be OK with that!)

The first two years of college, I had a lame-ass hanger-on of a boyfriend who I ill-advisedly allowed to follow me from KC. (As little as is said about that, the better. He lived in his car. A winner!) As I started to avoid him more and more, I began re-formulating friendships that had started in high school and moved up to college, and meeting other various cool people through my old friends.

The crux of our nightlife revolved around two clubs in Columbia that are still in existence, The Blue Note and Shattered. (Damn, the latter has a really skeevy website now! Ladies' Night? What the hell?)

The Blue Note is a revered (and justly so) club - in the early days, a warehouse, and then later, a renovated old movie theater - in which all of the great bands played....Uncle Tupelo, Poi Dog Pondering, Bob Mould, the Violent Femmes, Fishbone, The Rainmakers - lord, I can't even remember a quarter of the bands I saw there. (And that had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that they'd serve me enormous cups full of Long Island Ice Teas when I was 17.)

Shattered was the "punk club," a nasty little dive in a drippy little basement. (After one sweaty, condensation-filled night, looking at the cigarette butts, beer, and general scooge all over the floor, I observed that it was "the dance floor that made its own gravy.") People in black, only black. Maybe white to be ironic.

We dahnced. To the Bauhaus. To the Ministry. To the Sisters of Mercy. And on the "Retro 80's night" - that was still new, then, mind you - we'd get shitfaced and sing "Major Tom" at the top of our lungs. And we smoked and smoked and smoked. And we snuck in bottles of Rhinelander beer ($6.99 a case! In bottles! No shit!).

Funny, as awful as that place was, now that it's nigh on 20 years later, it seems only like the BEST FUN EVER. Just for one night, I'd like to be that goofy 20-21 year-old with some of my best buds in the world, knowing that I wasn't hip but having a really fun time pretending to be. I think that, honestly, is my secret self; the one inside the soccer mom who cuts coupons to stretch the paychecks. Sometimes, she burns a little on the inside.

Hey, now, hey now now...sing this corrosion to me. (I'm singing it to you, yo.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christopher Guest, Where Art Thou?

As I've mentioned, This is Spinal Tap was a seminal movie-going experience for me, as it was perhaps for many of you. I seem to attract Tap fans, or they me. (Out of all my friends, it is only Mick who does not love it, and she and I have diametrically opposite taste in movies. The Matrix? Seriously?)

I also had a very deep attachment to one of the first short Christopher Guest movies that I saw on SNL - the one about the male synchronized swimming. I remember seeing it for the first time - must have been high school? - and nearly falling off the couch laughing.

I was thrilled when I heard Waiting for Guffman was coming out, and loved it. I thought Best in Show was perhaps the lesser of the two movies, but still enjoyed myself immensely. Children have interfered dismally with my moviegoing, so I actually had to watch A Mighty Wind on DVD the first time.* This one, I thought the critics were a little hard on...I think that the consensus was that it was funny, but not along the lines of the first two. However, it might have been my folk-music upbringing (I've seen Peter, Paul, and Mary in concert! Several times!), but I absolutely adored it, and seriously watch it every time it is on.

So, I was of course very jazzed to hear that For Your Consideration was coming out. When Mick asked me to go to a movie, it was my very first pick, and believe me, there are like TEN movies out that I want to see right now. (Borat, Shut up and Sing, The Queen, Fast Food Nation, Tenacious D, Stranger than Fiction, Bobby, Babel, American Hardcore...and even though I do not think I have ever sat through a James Bond movie, I'm kind of curious about Casino Royale, but that's just probably because Daniel Craig intrigues me.)

As usual when I see movies with Mick - who usually lets me pick, since I don't get out much - about 15 minutes into the movie I look over at her and knew that she hated it. So I figured that meant I would love it, right?

Ehhh...?

That cast is always going to be great. Fred Willard and Jane Lynch will make me laugh just by standing there, as will Jennifer Coolidge. John Michael Higgins is awesome, so is Parker Posey and Catherine O'Hara...they're all perfect. But, to be honest, I didn't think it was as funny as it should have been. I almost felt as though they'd been to the well too many times; though this wasn't a "mockumentary," it might as well as been one.

I don't know. Maybe I need to see it again. Almost always, Christopher Guest's movies are funnier to me with repeated watchings. Anyone else see it?

*ed. note: The Man says we did see it at the theater af ter all. The mind; it goes. Starting at exactly age 37, as it turns out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Confession

I have looked at all those pictures from yesterday's post at least 10 times today.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Top Ten REAL Reasons to Be Thankful

Howl-dy, loves, and happy Thanksgiving. I'm stuffed like a little sausage; yourselves?

As per usual, we had the family time in Rockdale with the husband's kinfolk, and then made it McJo's in time for leftover fried turkey (six flavors this year, including curry and "hotter than hell") and dessert. This year, though, the chillun stayed over with Grandma and Grandpa, so The Man and I drove straight home for wild, passionate lovemaking all night long. (Nah, I'm just kidding; we stayed over for a poker game until 11:30, then we came home and passed out.)

Tonight, as pertinent per the occasion, I got to thinking about reasons to be thankful this year. Yeah, we're all clear on the whole family and friends bit, yada yada yada I love them and you all, blah blah blah. Reason for living, everything in the world to me, another year around the sun with them makes me ecstatic... booo-ring.

So, I suggest that I provide to you the Top 10 Men that We Should All Be Grateful For In Terms of Sheer Yumminess (BESIDES George Clooney, who is clearly the Apex Of All Things That Are Smokin' Hot; Amen):

1) Stephen Colbert.

Could he be any sexier? COULD HE? No, he could not.

2. Alan Rickman.

Severus Snape or not, he is a goddamn dreamboat.

3. Peter Saarsgaard.

I think he and Maggie Gyllenhaal's baby is probably extremely good looking. And has many "a's."

4. Nathan Fillion.

Maybe it's just a Firefly thing, but I looove that Captain Tightpants. I think he has mad charisma in just about anything he is in.

5. Heath Ledger.

OK, yes, he is a rather obvious, pretty-boy choice for me. But that man is a way talented actor on top of having a great ass.

6. John Linnell and John Flansburgh of "They Might Be Giants."

I accept that I might be alone in this one. That's OK.

7. Sting.

You may be getting on in years, but baby, you still got it. And these new pop/rock guys? Compared to you in your sexiest days? They have NOTHING on you.

7. Jake Gyllenhaal


OK, another no-brainer, but I've liked him ever since "Bubble Boy."

8. John Cusack


Duh.

9. Tim Robbins

Always and forever, my darling. Mwah.

10. Jeff Goldblum.


Jeff, LY4EVA! Call me!


So, this Thanksgiving day, I hope you'll learn from my example, and give thanks to what really matters in YOUR life.

(Damn, maybe I'll go wake up The Man now.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

For the ho who has everything


For your early Christmas shopping perusal: the "Ho on the Go" kit.

It comes complete with two latex condoms, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, and a wet wipe for raccoon eyes. And, of course, a nice pair of clean thong underwear with the "Ho on the Go" logo.

I'm totally thinking "Boss's Day." Aren't you?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oh, yeah...

Oops. It's PMS!

You'd think, that at nearly AGE 40, I would be able to recognize it.

But no, I just assume I'm a horrible idiot and that the world is crashing down around me for two days that just HAPPEN to fall right before my period.

So sorry. Carry on.

Oh, and contributing to my somewhat uplifted mood are the following factors:

  • My keys have been located by Shannon, who was the beneficiary (?) of my maternity clothes when she came over to the party. I guess they were just sitting there in one of the boxes. I'm very pleased to have them again...but d'ya think that Leif Johnson Ford will give me my $178 back, since I don't need the replacement keys anymore? (Yeah, me neither.)
  • OG got the approval from her doctor to only wear the brace outside and at P.E. - and the response from the other children was overwhelmingly "Oh, cool, you got HURT!" - so she is feeling relatively more chipper.
  • We're going to try yet another BC medication to see if I don't get a bit more even.
  • The day off yesterday helped bunches. And the valium that my dentist prescribed for my TMJ. (Because, you know, my jaw hurt. Or something.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, Sucky Sunday

How did my Sunday suck? Let me count the ways.

1) As previously mentioned, I was hung over; not violently so, but I had a good slammin' headache and was nauseated all day. (Not the kind of nauseated where you don't eat all day, so even though you feel bad, you feel thin. My hangover nausea is the kind where you need to eat half a bag of potato chips and leftover sausages for breakfast.)

2) Perhaps accompanying the hangover, perhaps caused by it, or perhaps caused by my wildly fluctuating hormone levels (due to premature perimenopause and the ever-changing birth control pills and other medication I am using to treat it,) I am experiencing some really crazy post-party paranoia. I can't shake the feeling that, in my drunken state, I did something really stupid to somebody; like I was a horrible bitch to them, or I stuck my tongue in their ear, or I totally blew them off. I have called everyone I can think of, and I can't find any validation that I did anything, but I can't shake them. (And, of course, I feel more crazy when nobody else knows what I'm talking about.)

Damn, I wish I could figure out who I called a golldam fucking ashhole. If I did. Which I probably didn't. Aaaah!

3) Somewhere at the party, I lost my keys. I cannot find them, anywhere. Everything was on there - car keys, house keys, and work keys.

A perenially sucky side trip: Lowe's. I spent a good part of my afternoon there having them try to make me a new set of car keys and house keys. The house keys were fine, but neither of the car keys they made me will work.

Do you know how much it costs to have a car manufacturer make you a set of keys with a remote control, as it turns out? One hundred and sixty motherfucking dollars. That, children, is my birthday present to myself.

4) The creamy center of my day was the bike crash that OG got into with one of her little friends while I was at the store.

It was about 4:15, and I had a cart full of groceries, when The Man calls me and says, "You'd better come right home. I think [OG] has to go to the emergency room." (Remember, I had his keys, so he had no car.) So, I throw the refrigerated stuff back into the cases, and haul ass home to find OG with a split open chin and a swollen left wrist. (She's not crying, mind you, as she has the pain tolerance of an NFL linebacker.)

As I am the carrier of the insurance cards and so on, I was elected to drive her to the hospital. We got there, and were told that the rooms were full, and that there were several people ahead of her. So, we waited, and waited, and waited, her sitting there with a bloody paper towel to her chin, me holding my head and trying not to weep.

Dinnerless, bookless, and bereft of anything to do besides playing Hangman on her DoodlePro, we ended up staying there until almost 8:30 last night. (For an extremely hyperactive girl, she was a patient little trooper the whole time. Hungover Hungry Mama was about to go Incredible Hulk on those people.)

She got 10 stitches in her chin, and though the X-rays of her wrist were fine, the doctor thought she should wear a wrist brace for a week or so.

Now, I ask you, between crashing your bike and slicing open your face, having a needle stuck into your open wound and having someone sew you up with a needle, or being told that you have to wear a mildly inconvenient brace for a week, which do YOU think would set a six-year-old off into a screaming, crying fit? Yes, of course, it was the wrist brace. She cried for the whole last hour that we were there, cried all the way home, cried herself to sleep, and cried ALL THIS MORNING about the goddamn wrist brace. When I dropped her off at school - still sobbing - she would not initially go into her classroom door for fear that someone would make fun of her.

Jesus, I just don't understand irrational fears and paranoia. Where in the fuck does she get this?

Soooo....today, I'm taking the day off just to chill the fuck out, get new keys made, and take varying children to varying doctors. (And to go grocery shopping again. Two trips to the HEB in two days - near Thanksgiving? Almost more than I can stand.) I need a fucking break.

Is this 37? Are the cracks showing?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Could you all be very very quiet, please?

The sound of you reading your paper is making my head throb.

Another karaoke birthday party has come and gone. It seemed that a good time was had by all, from what I could tell from inside my gin-induced haze. I made several songs my bitch, including "Billie Jean," "Africa," and "Separate Ways."

When I woke up - at 4:00 AM - I was reminded of the side effects of my drinking too much. First of all, I can never sleep well afterwards. After trying unsuccessfully to fall back asleep for a couple of hours, I gave up and came in to the front room to watch all the episodes of "Veronica Mars" that I had on my TiFaux. It is now 9:00 AM, and while I'm not as hung over as I would have thought, I definitely do not feel right.

The second side effect of my drinking too much is that I seem to lose all sense of body proximity. I seem to remember draping myself over every person at my party at one time or another. I hereby extend a heartfelt apology if I touched you in a way you didn't like, or if I insisted that I luuurrve you. (I do, but still; ew, drunk girl!)

The third side effect is - well, I don't know how to phrase it delicately, but my body seems to want to purge itself of toxins or something the next morning. So, I spend a good deal of the day, erm, in the bathroom.

So, it's that kind of morning. I'm embarrassed, tired, and running to the toilet.

I must have had a great time.

Thanks, everybody, for coming and for putting up with that drunk girl.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Can't Blog, Gotta Clean

Birthday weekend, y'all. Karla's here. Big Bloggamamahotcha get-together tomorrow. Kids going to in-laws right before then.

Yay! Fun's afoot! Rev up ya Vespas...there's gonna be a rumble.

And mopping. Maybe dusting. Shit, my house is messy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truly Stretching for a Post Idea

(Ed: Good lord, this is sad. Stop reading now.)

If you Google "37th Birthday," you get:

1) Many references to the 1996 movie To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, and Peter Gallagher's eyebrows. (And Seth Green, illustrious Buffy alumnus.) Haven't seen it, but apparently the 37-year-old woman in question is dead, so I ain't seeing it this week.

2) Breathless tabloid reports about "Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo, who apparently got proposed to on Friday, her - yes - 37th birthday. (As per Badger, "Grey's Anatomy" is on my list of things that we don't do in this house. No disrespect intended; I tried it once, and I just wasn't into it. It made me paranoid and gave me the munchies.)

3) And - my favorite - "Matthew McConaughey gets Wasted for 37th Birthday."


Yes, I know you thought that was scenes from the rehearsal of the new Jesus Christ Superstar revival. But, no, darlings, it's Matt, right before he either puked or totally nailed the blonde to the right. Or both, perhaps simultaneously. Matt, who are you, and what have you sacrificed?

Because, you know, why should a birthday be unlike any other day?

(Ed: Told you. Go read someone over there on the right. Damn you, NaBloPoMo!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mags Pop Culture History 101 Continued: High School

As previously mentioned, the end of junior high and the beginning of high school was a step upward, insofar as a step out of the actual shit river of a sewer and into the pee and wastewater river is a step up.

Sophomore year represented my entry into the "theater crowd." God love the high school theater crowd; for yea, they accept yon outcasts and rejects without (much) judgment. I look back at those folks with bemusement, as I cannot pigeonhole any of us...certainly the "freak" contingent, with their stenciled jean jackets, were well represented, as were the tech geeks, the swing choir kids, the punkers, and of course the divas. Here and there, a football player, a cheerleader, a student council member. It was, for a time, what I considered to be our own little happily functioning Breakfast Club (which came out that very year).

Our theater teacher was, not surprisingly, very charismatic, as theater teachers are wont to be. She gave all appearances of relishing her role as the pied piper of this mad little bunch, and - for quite some time - I was a devoted follower.

About junior year, I developed a mad crush on one of the freakier boys in the theater crowd. Prior to meeting him, I had never listened to Pink Floyd much - oh, yes, we'd all heard "Another Brick in the Wall" ad nauseum when we were younger, but that was pretty much it. (As previously mentioned, I was not so much into the overarching KC Album-Oriented Rock Culture.) But, of course, to attempt ingratiate myself with a guy, I bought The Wall on album (no, wait, I believe we had graduated to cassette tapes by then,) and listened to it fairly constantly my junior year. Wish You Were Here and Dark Side of the Moon soon followed.

Sadly, however, though I became very conversational about the Roger Waters/David Gilmore oeuvre, said freaky boy never looked twice in my direction. Ah, well; looking back, that was probably REALLY for the best.

Otherwise, when the rest of my class was discovering early rap music - and yes, still wallowing in crap metal - I stayed partially locked into this retro mode, started largely with the Pink Floyd thing, and spurred on by my sister's renewed love for The Monkees, who were doing that whole big reunion tour right about then. I ended up listening to a lot of 60's music - The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Turtles, that sort of thing - which was all OK in the schema of the accepting theater geeks. For the first time in my life, "different" finally, FINALLY equaled "good;" even if it was only us that thought so.

Senior year, the cult of personality surrounding the drama teacher sort of fell apart for all of us. We started drifting away from her - some actively disenchanted by what I can see now were unprofessional hijinks, myself included - and others just moved on. For me, somewhere that year, 60's music gave way to R.E.M. and their jangly white-boy music counterparts, which form the segue into the next time period (most likely to be detailed during the next insomnia bout).

What I took away from that crowd, culture-wise, that stuck with me for what appears to be ever:

  • The aforementioned Pink Floyd, many songs from whom are even now on my iPod
  • More and more and more Monty Python
  • This Is Spinal Tap (Oh, how I love the Tap. Even saw them live in college once. Brilliant.)
  • All things Mel Brooks - particularly obsessive watchings and rewatchings of Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and The History of the World, Part I.
  • The holy John Hughes trilogy of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty In Pink
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Don't ask; I've lost count. Definitely more than 20. But it was in the day of the toast, cards, and hot-dog throwing, the water pistols and the newspapers, and the lighters. Do they do it anymore?)
  • The Monkees (yes, YES, don't hate.)
I'm leaving things out; I don't remember a lot of high school. (That's probably by choice; we weren't really imbibing many substances...YET.) Part of me does not really want to go back to the reunion, as most of the people I had actual fun with are still good friends of mine, and I really couldn't care less what happened to 85% of the rest of them.

(Readers, any recommendations? Didja go? Didja not? How was it? Sounds like Karla liked hers...maybe the vodka is the way to go.)

Next up: College, or The Era In Which I Could Finally Get Laid.




Monday, November 13, 2006

An Ode to Fall, or Five Days Until I Turn 37

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

-- "Spring and Fall, To A Young Child," by Gerard Manley Hopkins


Sigh.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

No Mo NaBloPoMo

I have failed. I did not post last night.

I was knees-to-the-tile hurling my guts out last night after we got back from Wurstfest. Yes, WF did me in again, but not in the usual way. Though I drank some beer early on, I stopped early so that I would be the sober one to drive home this year, damn it.

Sadly, pathetically, I think it was some bit of errant fair food that did me in, probably the spur-of-the-moment purchase of fried shrimp-on-a-stick, upon discovering that the fried pickle line was too long. (No, it was not one of those South Beach days. Yes, I know that I had better get on that.)

So, late last night, shivering and sweating in my bed, I had the occasion to question the wisdom of ordering shellfish at a fair. A fair devoted to getting drunk. A fair devoted to getting drunk that is three hours from the nearest ocean.

I freely admit that it may not have been the shrimp, though...perhaps it was just my stomach rebelling overall, from the other things swimming around in there...beer, sausage, cajun chips, and a sip or two from YG's Cherry Icee, which are so much more disgusting than I remember.

(It may also be related to the fact that I took OG and the Noxious boy on the Tilt-A-Whirl not long before we left, and the waaaay stoned carny LEFT US ON THERE for what appeared to be three turns worth of time. Seriously, and I'm not just being an old woman about this. Bill and Bob will attest to the fact that every adult on that goddamn ride had their head lolling by the end of it.)

For what it is worth, in those horrible, bed-spinning few minutes between bathroom and unconsciousness, it did occur to me that I should go try to blog something before I passed out. (Clearly, I did not, as I am sane; I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Steppin' Out

Tonight, dearest Mick finds herself without a husband-slash-date, so, for my birthday, she is taking me to the Paramount to see Sarah Vowell. Huzzah!

As previously mentioned, Assassination Vacation was one of the best books I read over the summer. Like David Sedaris, her writing style is what I aspire to - she's morbid, obsessive, and hysterically funny. (Anybody have Amy Sedaris's new book yet? It looks like I'd like that one, too.)

And, of course, tomorrow...it's the wurst little celebration in Texas, y'all! Oh, come on down to New Braunfels and join us and about 5000 of our closest friends as we drink beer, eat sausage, and ride carnival rides to the point - and yea, at times, over the point - of vomiting.

Come on, let's put our children's lives in the hands of stoned carnies! It'll be fun!

(And is it just me, or is there something kind of icky looking about this, the "official" image of Wurstfest? It kind of looks like a party at Mark Foley's house, to me.)

Come to think of it, pity me. I'll be the one driving home, as I drew the short straw this year. It sucks to be the sober one amongst a group of lushes and neer-do-wells.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Detritus

(Detriti?)

We're still feeling flush with victory over at the Mags household. It's been so long since The Man and I felt like we were at all relevant to the country we live in. I was beginning to be sort of convinced that we'd have to move to Europe to have our ideals be considered normal, you know? I realize the victory was razor-thin, and that we are still a very divided nation, but...finally, finally, it appears that I am not in the minority anymore. People finally realize that Bush is a dangerously incompetent man.

Oooh, I get shuddery just thinking about that word...majority. I think I have Majority Wood. Like Morning Wood, but it only happens every 15 years or so. Actually, for me, that's about the same frequency as Morning Wood. (You listening, The Man?)

I realize why George Allen and Burns in Montana just rolled over tits up today. They're handing us the shit sandwich that is Iraq, and they're probably just as happy not to have to deal with it. It's not going to be a fun couple of years. I just hope that the Democrats heard us. Sometimes, as sad as I am to admit this, they just don't.

And, though Travis County remains the defiant blue spot in the center of the state, Texas, of course, remains as backwards-assed as ever. I cannot stand the thought of staring at Rick Perry ad infinitum. (Do you KNOW there is not a term limit for governor in Texas? Do you KNOW THAT? He could be our governor UNTIL HE DIES. Worse yet...oh, Christ, he's considering national office. President Perry! Aaaaaaaah! My brain hurts!)

Tonight, though, we're singing "O Happy Day" over in central Austin. One day at a time. This is it. Straight ahead, and rest assured, you can be sure. But while you're here enjoy the view; keep on doing what you do. Hold on tight, bitches, we'll muddle through, one day at a time.

Post script of no relevance whatsoever: It's really friggin' hot for November, and, as usual, somehow manages to be humid while there is no rain whatsoever. Really, now, I moved here solely because of Kansas City winters (oh, and long-haired hippie boys,) but 91 degrees the week before my birthday? I could handle, say, 10 degrees cooler. If I just didn't have to have the fucking A.C. on in November, I'd be fine.

Oh, and you lurkers out there? Nobody's replying, but I know some of you are out there. You are warmly invited to delurk and greet. (However, you may not criticize my big butt. Or my lame late-night token blog posting crapola that I am putting forth in the effort to put some piece of shit piece of writing out there every day. Or anything. It's about the love, people!)

Lastly, some belated Halloween sugar for you, from the one obsessed with her naughty bits:


She doesn't look like trouble, does she? She's a princess! They're NEVER trouble.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Can two-year-olds be at risk for becoming slutty?

Overheard at the dinner table last night:

YG (at table, shirtless, singing The Hokey Pokey:)

"You put your nipples in,
You put your nipples out,
You put your nipples in,
And you shake them all about."

Good Morning, Starshine!

You really shouldn't have.

I mean, I know it's my birthday month, but...I am just flabbergasted by this wealth you have bestowed upon me. I'm stunned, and flummoxed. I'm stunnoxed.

All it would have taken was the House for me to be pleased beyond all reason. Seriously, that was the diamond anniversary band right there. But, you went ahead, and you GOT ME THE SENATE, TOO? And Rumsfeld's head?

I love you guys. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Morrissey Say Please

Good time for a change
See, the luck I've had
Can make a good man
Turn bad

So please please please
Let me, let me, let me
Let me get what I want
This time

Haven't had a dream in a long time
See, the life I've had
Can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time.
Lord knows, it would be the first time

Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote Tomorrow!

It's time, y'all. Take to the streets.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Town Called Malice

Topic: Mags' Pop Culture Obsession, The Origins
Title: Part II, The Pink Hair Gel Years

Suburban Kansas City, Missouri, in the 80's, was the absolute middle of America. Smack-dab in the center of the country, it's one middle-sized city, with middle-road values and politics. The "aware years" started there. (However, as previously discussed, my "aware years" clearly started WAY after those of my peers.)

After the Shaun Era came late elementary school and junior high school. Somehow, in those years, I managed to become unbearingly unpopular. (Now I'm well aware that everyone says that, but I'm pretty sure I hit a nadir that not too many of my friends reached.) I had a couple of on-and-off friends; one of whom was "bad," and whom I gladly followed to misadventure when available, Largely I was alone. (Or, at least it seems that way now.)

I did, of course, have a family, and a sister who still lived at home up until I was 11. My sister seemed to have good music - the B52's, Queen, Meatloaf. The Ramones, Cat Stevens - so I was kind of well-off there. She also had great taste in movies and TV, so we watched Soap and SNL, usually taping episodes on our first-generation Betamax and watching them over and over again until we had committed them to memory. I snuck in her room and stole her Monty Python records, who I heard for years before I had ever watched. We went to see a lot of movies, and most of the best ones. (Reading this, it sounds like I should have been cooler, but I was also watching and The Music Man and Oklahoma! and Guys and Dolls, and I don't think I could then differentiate between the hip and the dramatically un-so.)

But, Kansas City reveled in that Bob Seeger, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner/Journey/Boston sort of mindset. It was so...macho, so AOR. (I'm totally not insulting lovers of those bands; Boston is a guilty pleasure, and god knows Steve Perry is my personal karaoke idol.) I did not catch on to this Truth be told, I didn't notice anything about what was going on outside my own head a good deal of the time, so I kinda missed that era altogether. When I came around enough to try to conform, it just never really worked out for me.

Somewhere in the haze in which bad permanents and braces were just cherries on the cake of my life, I got cable. We got Showtime and The Movie Channel, and I started to really watch even more movies (some with soft-core! Woo!). Finally saw Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Showtime used to play music videos in between their movies. The first video I ever saw was "Once in a Lifetime," by The Talking Heads. (Somewhere around the same time, I also saw "Private Life" by Oingo Boingo, "AEIOU Sometimes Y" by EBN-OZN, and "One Step Beyond" by Madness. (And I just realized that I still have all of those albums!)

I got MTV a year or so after we got cable - it was originally a pay channel, you know, and damned if my parents were going to pay for THAT. I believe it was right about then that I demanded to be taken to - oh CRAP, what was the name of that mall store that sold "new-wave clothing? Not Chess King, that was for guys. Karla, help! Anyway, I would only buy clothes atTHAT place- and I renounced my mother's K-Mart shopping. I grew my horrible perm out and my bad friend cut my hair into spikes, which I began to tip with that red hair gel. And, logically, I discovered Duran Duran.

Lord, let it be known that I would STILL, to THIS DAY, drop my pants at any place, at ANY TIME, for Simon LeBon. I saw their concert tour two years ago, and I LOOOVED IT. Needless to say, the fixation on them left Shaun in the dust. (To see them on their 1984 tour, I made my mother drive me downtown at like 7 in the morning so I could get in line for line tickets. Now that I'm looking back, she was way nicer than I thought she was.)

Somewhere in there, I had more seminal movie moments - Stripes, Tootsie, not quite to John Hughes yet - but I think the apex was Valley Girl. First of all, there had been no doubts about my sexual orientation - at least, not by me - up until that point, but seeing a 19-year-old Nic Cage without a shirt pretty well cemented it. And, of course, there was that amazing soundtrack. You see, you youngsters out there will have heard all those songs eight million times on 80's compilations by now, but you have to remember, there was a brief time when those songs were not mainstream. Having cable and a Betamax, I watched that movie until I had committed it to heart, and knew all the songs before a copy of the soundtrack of the movie was ever available in the mall record stores.

For what it's worth, that movie seemed to represent a turning point. I was still not cool, but at least I started to feel more like a human, and I started to be less concerned with looking like the cheerleaders. Somewhere in there, friends started to happen, several of whom are still here.

Thank you Martha Coolidge, and of course my darling Nic. No matter what crap you're in nowadays, I am yours forever. If you ever need me and Simon for any kind of fun, you know, call me.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy Diwali!

I just got back from my first Diwali party, hosted by dear friend/co-worker at her house.

She fed us an enormous meal, from appetizers (puff pastry around potatoes; like samosas but smaller and not as crispy, and these little, fried dough balls with spicy peas in the middle and a tamarind sauce) to a huge main course (a paneer dish, dal, and curried cauliflower and potatoes, with rice, naan, and puris) and then kheer and a carrot cheesecake for dessert. Heaven.

However, not only did she feed us, she gave us all saris! I am currently bedecked in an orange tunic with hand-sewed floral and mirrored accents. (I'd post a picture, but something is apparently wrong with my camera, as it keeps making me look tired, drunk, and fat.) They are so comfortable! If I wore these all the time, I'd never worry at all about what I ate, because nothing would ever be tight. I've been living the wrong life, it seems. (I'm not sure I'm cut out for the bindi, though. All night long I kept thinking I had a zit or a big scab on my forehead.)

But, damn it, the WHOLE NIGHT, that song from The Office was playing in my head (to the tune of the Adam Sandler "Hanukkah" song, for those poor souls that missed it:)

Diwali
A festival of lights
Let me tell you something
Tonight has been
One cra-a-a-zy night
So put on your saris
It's time to celebrate Diwali
Everybody looks so jolly
But it's not Christmas, it's Diwali
The goddess of destruction Kali
Stopped by to celebrate Diwali
Don't invite any zombies to a celebration of Diwali
Along came Polly
To have some fun at Diwali
If you're Indian and you love to party
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Diwali
Happy Diwali!
Damn you, Steve Carell.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pimp That Snack!

I'm not really up for any blogsterbation tonight; so you get links. Just links. And you'll LIKE it.

First off, from Todd, a strangely mesmerizing little UK website called "Pimp that Snack."


The gist of it is that you - yes, YOU - have the power to make ginormous versions of your favorite snack foods, and then take snapshots of them to show to the world. (The most popular one, the Giant Cadbury Cream Egg, is pretty impressive, I must say. But - I'm mildly disgusted by just the normal-sized Cadbury eggs, though I'll eat one every year - so the picture of the hyooge one kinda makes me want to hurl.

Other places in the world that are making me happy tonight (thanks to Karla May and The Presurfer:)

Cats that Look Like Hitler
Disgusting Candy
Monster Sneakers

And that's it, babies. That's what I have on a Friday night.

You know I really love you, don't you? You know I don't WANT to hurt you, right? So, why you gotta be checkin' the blog all the time and making me mad?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Whew; thanks for the picture capabilities, o Blogger gods. Blogger giveth; Blogger taketh away.

Topic: A Brief History of Mags' Pop Culture Obsession
Tonight: The Origins

In my early years, I was generally ignorant of the musical tastes of the world around me. My parents were older - both 38 when I was born; how HORRIFYINGLY OLD! - and were not ones to have any interest whatsoever in popular music.

My family, steered by my older sister, did watch the great TV shows of the day - All In the Family, Maude, The Carol Burnett Show, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, etc., and we did go see some great movies (my earliest moviegoing memory is seeing Young Frankenstein, which scared me in the beginning where the corpse in the coffin grabs the book).

Musically, though, up until about the age of eight, I was beholden either to my parents (whose records I listened to for a rather embarassingly long time; these included Spike Jones, Mitch Miller, and Patti Page) or my sister. My sister, who is seven years older than I, brought the first pop records into my life. I vividly remember listening to her 45's of "Silly Love Songs" (I loved that chorus..."I....loooove....yooooou") "Seasons in the Sun" and "I Think I Love You." Vicious, edgy pre-punk rebels, we were not.

The first music I can really remember picking on my own was, predictably, that of Mr. Shaun Cassidy. I don't remember what was the impetus - maybe my sister's love for David Cassidy? - but I remember my heterosexuality asserting itself rather suddenly and violently when I first saw him, 'round about the end of third grade.


Oh, lord, I loved him. I loved those big doe eyes, those white teeth, and that swoony voice. He was sixteen, and sick of school, and didn't know what he wanted to do. He bought a guitar, he got the fever, and THAT, my friends, was ROCK-N-ROLL.

Thus began my downfall. If it was screamy, and teen-y, I was THERE. I agitated to go to the grocery store with my mother every week to see if the new issue of Tiger Beat (or its inferior imitator, Teen Beat) was on the shelves. When I got a new one, I cut out pictures of Shaun in little heart shapes and glued them to my dresser (sidebar: If OG did that now, I would cut out her lungs). My walls were plastered with his centerfolds. Screw those pale, flaccid wannabes Leif Garrett and Willie Aames. Shaun was my darling, my life, my everything.

Somewhere in the 4th grade, I heard on the radio - which I, by this point, NEVER turned off - that there was going to be a BIG CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT. I knew - I just knew - it had to be him. When they announced that it was, I cried. I begged my mother to drive across town to buy tickets for several of my friends - I actually had friends by this point, which was a step up - and she did. (Another sidebar: I just realized how fucking cool that was.)

So, there you have it, friends; my first big concert was in 4th grade, and it was Shaun Cassidy. He came onstage by breaking out of a big, white paper circle, sillhouetted in smoke. I died, right then and there. My heart felt like it was literally going to burst out of my chest. (My mother, concerned, ended up taking me to a cardiologist after that. Word.) We didn't know then, but it was absolute joy that was making my heart explode.

And, somehow, after that, it was...kind of over for me. But, the radio stayed on, and I got older.

Next up: The Dry Period, Duran Duran, and How Valley Girl Saved My Life

More on Slut-O-Ween

This is a very excellent post on the Slut-O-Ween phenomenon from a blog of someone I don't know, but apparently would like.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Welcome to NaBloPoMo!

(Ok, so there will be no pictures tonight, either. Bloody fucking hell. And I had the cool logo ready to go.)

It's National Blog Posting Month, as declared by someone I don't know, but who apparently has a really funny blog. The goal is to post something every day, no matter how inane it is or how buttfuckingly tired you are. The other goal is for lurkers and spiers to say hello, how ya doing, make a comment at least once.

Plus, November is my birthday month I'm on the Slip-n-Slide towards 37. It's the Mags Season of Deeply Annoying Introspection, anyway.

So, I am your bitch for 30 days.

I cannot share with you how effing lame I feel, however, to not have come up with a fabulous theme for 30 days, like Badger did.

The best I can do is to make the theme this time about what makes me truly me. You know, Mags would really be nothing without her dearest loves, her absolute reason for living. No woman is an island, and of course, I am supported completely and utterly by these people.

I speak, of course, of the editors of Entertainment Weekly. They are my weekly pop culture junkies. I have had a subscription to this magazine for YEARS, people. Yes, I used to get The Nation and The Progressive and Mother Jones, but we got too poor to keep all our subscriptions, so I only get THE ONE. Yes, I ditched nearly all of my progressive magazines for EW. Because they have movie reviews, and book reviews, and talk about all kinds of music I can't afford to check out. Because I'm really shallow. I admit it.

However, I loves me the pop culture. So I'll try to drop in a reference or two every day.

Tonight: How continually FUCKING amazing is Lost ? Damn, that show messes with my head. Who the fuck were that guy and that blonde girl? Did I miss something completely? And it was really, really sad tonight.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but this show has the potential to join Twin Peaks as some of the most addictive shit I have ever seen. I'm kind of liking Heroes a lot, still; it has potential, anyway. We'll see. Tons of other shows have faded away with really good premises, too. (Whither Firefly? Really! It was great! And, of course, the dearly lamented Freaks and Geeks. Buffy was the only one that really got a long-term shot at greatness. More on that one later.)

I hear I would love Battlestar Galactica, too. From what I've seen, I'm sure I would like it. I hope I can catch up someday...I have have precious few opportunities to watch shows, so I just haven't had time to fit it in. (I'm probably canceling NetFlix, too; shit. I hate that.)

Lost plus a glass of good red wine and the girls good for me even on a Single Parent night; a little slice of Wednesday night heaven was had this evening.

(I have to share...this was punctuated by a sleepy YG stumbling into the room just at the climax of Lost tonight, and me being the Mother of the Year candidate that I am, I made her stay in the room with me until it was over. Some of the most complex sentences I've ever heard her use came out of her mouth: "Mama, did the big storm pick up that man and bang him down? Is he hurt? He's bleeding!" Erm, probably was supposed to take you out of the room before you saw this.)