May the new year bring much peace and happiness into our hearts.
Happy New Year!!
I know I haven't been around in a while...blah blah blah...no one wants to hear excuses.
The baseball winter meetings are over and although the Astros didn't finalize anything, there is a great possibility Miquel Tejada may be joining us here in Houston.
We'll be losing a few of my favorites in this trade but I've already mourned over the biggest loss for me....Brad Lidge.
Yes, my boy Brad is gone. He'll be in a Phillies uniform next year and I seriously thought about giving up on baseball FOREVER when I heard the news.
But then I remembered that baseball is cruel. Just when you fall in love, they send your boy off to the enemy.
I love Chris Burke but he's not going to see much playing time with the Astros so I'll be happy to see him go to a team that will put him into an everyday position.
The same goes for Luke Scott. And, if we can get good players in exchange, all the better!
This had been on my reading list for some time but when the trailers for the movie came out, I bumped it up.
I started it two days ago and couldn't put it down. I had to get use to Cormac McCarthy's unusual way of writing. He's not a fan of punctuation and doesn't put quotations around the dialogue so I'd have to go back sometimes and reread something not realizing for a moment that a character was actually speaking.
He spelled things the way they were pronounced by his characters, all obviously huge Texas hicks.
Except. I live in Texas. And while it was cute and quaint at first, I noticed that all his Texas characters spoke that way. The problem is that I know many Texas characters (I'm related to a lot of them) and the majority of them can say "knew" instead of "knowed".
At first, I thought maybe it was a West Texas thing since it takes place out there but then a girl showed up from Port Arthur and she spoke the same way.
I loved this book in the beginning. I raced from page to page wondering how our main character was going to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Then...well I don't want to give anything away but I was disappointed.
Suddenly, the excitement ended without fanfare and without much explanation. Then the character of the Sheriff took over the end of the book and rambled on for pages and pages. Suddenly, I was uninterested and I felt cheated.Maybe there is some symbolism or some shit that I'm not getting but No Country For Old Men was like one good book and one boring book bound together.
Last night, I was looking forward to spending a little time out on my patio because the weather was wonderful. There was a light, cool breeze and virtually no humidity. Perfect patio weather.
I'll have to tell you my Patio Stalking story some other time....
Anyway, so I take my book out there, light some candles and kick back.
A few sentences in, I hear my neighbor's door open. I don't bother turning around or acknowledging her, I'm here to read, not socialize and besides...it's awkward because if I'm quiet and don't move around, it's hard to notice I'm on the patio through the 6 foot fence.
I continue to read as I hear the person close the door and shuffle their feet down the landing to the top of the stairs. Then a moment later, they shuffle back, open the door, but I don't hear the door close. Then I hear the sound of an acoustic guitar. It's a little loud but I am on the patio...it's not like I'm in my bed trying to sleep. Also, it's nice; a little reading music.
After a few minutes, I hear a man's voice speaking in my direction, "Is that too loud?" It wasn't my neighbor but someone apparently staying with her.
I said, "No. Actually it's kind of nice."
"Oh! Well let me get my pick, it'll sound better!"
So he comes out and sits on the rail just on the other side of my patio fence and asks if I have any requests.
"You going inside," was my first thought but I'm mostly a nice girl so I kind of giggled and said "Oh I don't know."
"Well, I can play anything."
So, I told him I loved the Foo Fighters and he said "They are actually one of my favorite bands. Hold on..."
He looked down at the strings for a moment, then started playing Everlong.
It wasn't great but it was very cool.
After Everlong, he played a little Metallica Fade to Black. He then segued into something he wrote and it was VERY good.
But the whole thing was surreal. First I was sitting quietly on my patio and the next thing I know, I'm being serenaded through the fence by this complete stranger.
I worried about the noise. We're a very quiet apartment complex and I felt like I needed to tell him to be quiet.
I feel like that at work a lot. People never learned that you have to be quiet in a library and they walk in talking at the top of their lungs and I literally cringe, thinking about all those people being disturbed.
While he was playing, I kept thinking about this and then got mad at myself. It's one thing to expect people to be quiet at work but I'm not responsible for this guy. If the other tenants want to complain, let them. I actually had to give myself permission to enjoy the serenade and not worry about the other apartment dwellers.
I think I might be wound tighter than this guy's guitar strings!
and I will do anything Skippy tells me to.
An excerpt from a recent email:
"Oh, and you should write something already."
So...here I am.
I told Skippy I was dead inside. I log in, write for a few minutes then stop and close it, losing everything I typed because it sucks.
I mean...pretty much everything I write sucks but this sucks worse. Like...uber sucking.
Anyway, Skippy is awesome and sent me some songs this morning.
One of them was an acoustic cover of Blackbird by Dave Grohl.
It reminded of me of way back in 2000, Dave Grohl appeared on Rockline.
Musicians get interviewed, take calls and play a little music. I actually called in and got to talk to Dave, which looking back seems a little teeny bopper-ish but whatever. I was also taping the whole thing....on a cassette.
It was reminiscent of those days of sitting by the radio waiting for a particularly good song to come on so you could hurry and push the record button on your cassette player. Did any of you do that?
When you played it back you usually missed the first 10 seconds of the song and the first 2 seconds of the recording was your fingers fumbling to push down both the record and play buttons.
Forget high quality digital music files. Back then, the height of musical technology was an incomplete song with the sound of dogs barking, your parents calling you to dinner and the accidental cough or giggle coming from a friend in the background.
Now you can understand why I love my iPod more than life.
Anyway...so now, thanks to the Genius Skippy, I have Dave Grohl singing Blackbird, sans cassette.See? This post sucked!
Because I have nothing else better to do...
Here is another meme:
Bold the titles you’ve read. Italicize the titles you have on your bookshelf but haven’t read.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose (TBR list)
Moby Dick (didn't everyone have to read this in school?)
Pride and Prejudice
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace (TBR list)
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books (TBR list)
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales (I think I read this in high school)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo (TBR list)
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse (TBR list)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Sound and the Fury
The God of Small Things (TBR list)
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Persuasion (TBR list)
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values
The Three Musketeers
Gosh....I've only read 15 on the list. What a loser!
I think I'm too old to be this clueless.
It was just a few days ago that I learned about what was going on in
Burma Myanmar. Who pays attention to Burma, right?
I mean, we have enough going on here in the US. Britney Spears performed a little hit and run and is being charged, Nicole Richie is pregnant and you just never know when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are going to adopt another kid so you gotta keep watching that.
How could we possibly be expected to know what's going on in other countries?
The news in Burma caught my attention because it involves the protest and demonstration of Buddhist Monks.
Buddhists, especially the monks and nuns, are peace-loving people but these monks and nuns are the ones standing up to an unjust regime. They are the ones that are demonstrating incredible bravery and risking their lives to bring democracy to their country.
In reading about them, I kept hearing the name Suu Kyi. I didn't know who this was, so I started some research.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman, is a pro-democracy activist who has been under house arrest in Burma. In 1990, the National League for Democracy won the general election which would have made Suu Kyi Prime Minister. The problem was the military junta refused to relinquish power and she has been in and out of detention ever since.
She hasn't seen her children in years and she didn't even get to be with her husband when he died from cancer in 1999....all because she stands for democracy.
Amazingly, she's still alive and made a very shocking appearance at the gate of her
home prison to give her blessing to the demonstrating monks.
Today, the military struck and it is reported that 5 monks were killed.
Surprisingly, CNN reports that the monks are leading a violent protest.
Monks have vandalized shops of those supporting the dictatorship in Myanmar, briefly taken local officials hostage and are now threatening to launch a boycott as early as Tuesday against the military leaders and their families.
This is going on virtually under our noses. Just like the Lost Boys of the Sudan in the 80s. Just like the mass genocide in Darfur. Just like the brutal regime of the Taliban in the 90s.
I'm not saying that I'll stop reading about the delicious mess that is Britney Spears but maybe I need to spend a little more time on the real world.
Somewhat of an update:
I just read this at Time's website.
A man on a motorcycle rode up. Motorcycles have been banned in Rangoon for years, ever since — the story goes — the paranoid generals fear being shot by assassins riding one of them. Most people on motorcycles are therefore assumed to be spies.
Thus sensing an enemy, the mob pounced. The man was pulled off his bike and set upon by students and people armed with wooden sticks. "Beat him!" they cried. "Kill him!" Quickly, the monks intervened and ushered him away to the safety of a nearby monastery. The mob, however, set upon his motorbike with clubs and rocks, smashing it to bits.
Over the weekend, some fucktards thought it would be fun to hijack a bunch of munu blogs, mine being one of them.
Thankfully, Tinyhands was paying attention. He text messaged me to clue me in.
The ever-vigilant Pixy, righted things very quickly for us all so it just an inconvenience for us but a big pain in the ass for poor Pixy.I guess hijacking websites and shit like that is fun for people with minuscule manhoods.
I know...but this one was different
1. Open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. New question– press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool
Here is the soundtrack to my life:
Seasons Change - Corinne Bailey Rae
Earth to Bella - Incubus
First Day At School:
So Com Voce - Thievery Corporation
Falling in Love:
To Me You Are A Work of Art – Morrissey how perfect!
You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse that's usually why we break up
Camouflage – Coheed & Cambria if camouflage is gold lame and black lace
Falling Apart – Lagwagon obviously, life is NOT okay
Blood Red Summer – Coheed & Cambria sounds about right
Still They Ride - Journey
O Mio Babbino Caro – Puccini
Getting Back Together:
Satisfaction – Benny Benassi Uhh...
The Mirror Conspiracy – Thievery Corporation
Birth of a Child:
Gateway – Constance Demby you can guess what the "gateway" is a metaphor...for(?)
Final Battle :
You Really Got Me - Van Halen
Enough Cryin - Mary J. Blige there won't be enough cryin when I die
You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees Not at MY funeral!!!
End Credits:Wandering Star - Portishead
I'm still an Astros fan, even when they're losing.
It was still fun watching them Saturday because since they're next to last in the standings, the young prospects are out there playing and they are exciting to watch. AND they actually won while we were there on Saturday! Of course it was against the Pirates so that's not saying much.
It was a good day, though.
We had a good late lunch/early dinner at Empire Cafe. The pasta was perfect, the sauce a light marinara.
I don't normally order pasta in marinara sauce at restaurants because I'm so picky.
Tomato based sauces are usually too tomatoey and sweet but this was perfect. Light on the tomatoes, just a hint of garlic, basil and oregano.
There was fresh spinach and artichoke hearts and spicy italian sausage. It was the perfect pasta dish.
At the ballpark, we got the last remaining free parking spot.
While inside, walking to our section, we ran into Drayton McLane, the owner of the Astros and we ended up shaking his hand and having a conversation with him.
Say what you want about him but he was an extremely friendly, gracious man.
After he left us, he walked around shaking hands with the employees selling tshirts and hotdogs.
I was impressed.
We were also lucky enough to get a Carlos Lee bobblehead doll when we came in.
I wasn't expecting it because we didn't show up super early. It was a nice surprise.
It was also a nice surprise when after the game, some man walked past me and offered me $20 for my bobblehead doll.
Carlos Lee just bought me dinner!
A few weeks ago, my goddaughter told me that she found the local channel 13 weather guy smug.
"He's smug...about the WEATHER???", I asked her.
"Yes, he's just so SMUG!", she said.
I laughed. She's a funny kid.
Yesterday, the news stations started screaming, "We're all gonna die! Humberto is coming for us!!! Run for your lives!"
It was going to make landfall at 1am they said. We better start hoarding water and supplies, they said.
At 11:30 pm they said, "Nevermind."
There was no "My Bad" or "Mea Culpa".
I can't remember how old I was when I first read A Wrinkle in Time but something about that book changed me. It might have been the 5th grade but I can still conjure up the feeling I got when I read it. I can still picture in my head the scenes from the book and it's been 10 years since I read it last.
And once again the world loses a very special person.
Today, I was going to blog about how much I hate myself. I was going to tell you that I hate myself so much that even blogging is impossible because to take the time to type a blog post requires that you like what you're writing (and yourself) even a little.
Then I read about Luciano Pavarotti's death. I knew he was sick and I knew he would die soon but it doesn't make it less sad.
I can put Nessun Dorma on repeat and listen to it a thousand times and STILL get chills when I hear his voice.
So, I'm bummed today.
I finished What is the What by Dave Eggers last night.
I am a big Dave Eggers fan. I make it a point to buy every book he writes so out of obligation, I picked up What is the What right after it was released. I had no idea what it was about but Eggers wrote it so I had to read it.
I was unprepared for what I learned. At times it became so painful for me that I had to put it down and move on to something else.
I came back to it Tuesday night and couldn't put it down.
Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. In this fictionalized memoir, Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) makes him an icon of globalization. Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other "Lost Boys," beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment.
This guy was 6 years old when his village was attacked and he and thousands of other boys walked first to Ethiopia, then to Kenya.
What were you doing when you were six? Did you watch your friends and family die? Did you witness boys being eaten by lions or shot down by military helicopters. How about watching friends collapse from starvation, dehydration and disease?
Yeah, me neither.
You'd think that was enough but he grows up in a refugee camp where food was scarce, clothes were more valuable than gold and your safety wasn't guaranteed.
I thought it would be a happy ending in America, but here, he is victimized by a system who believes he is invisible and criminals who see him as an easy target.
It's almost too much to take but Valentino doesn't lose hope for long and somehow finds the strength to not only survive but to succeed and he shames me.
Seriously, read this book.....Cuz I told you so!
Tomorrow will be one year since Crash died. It seems like I've been without him a million years now.
I still miss him so much and think about him every single day.
I'm starting to get used to just having the two dogs but every so often I slip up and call one of them Crash and that makes me sad.
I sometimes say to myself "I wish he were still here." but I have to add to it, "I wish he were still here and healthy." He was sick for so long that I'd never wish for him to go through all of that again.
When he was healthy he was SO much fun.
Zoe is a very hyper, crazy dog but Crash was more laid back and more in tune with me.
He loved squeak toys. He's the only one that would play with them so every year at Christmas I got him one or two.
He would play with it for a while and then move on to another toy.
There is still a basket full of them in my living room. I can't bear to part with them yet.
He had two or three favorite toys; a red squeaky bone that my friend David brought when he came to visit 7 years ago, a purple tiny football with that sherpa/wool stuff wrapped around it and a really soft squeaky spider.
I discovered that Crash would fetch his toy exactly 5 times. After the fifth time, he wouldn't go after it. He'd look at you and go, "Ok, this isn't fun anymore."
No one would believe me that it was exactly five throws until David was here and he tested it out every single day for 3 or 4 days.
Crash also let you know he was out of water or food by flipping his bowl over. None of the other dogs would do this but Crash would sniff the bowl then take his paw and flip it.
It was really infuriating when the bowl wasn't completely empty.
Long before Piper came into our lives, Zoe and Crash stayed at my parents' house while I was at work.
Every morning, I would drive them to Mom and Dad's and every evening, I would pick them up.
Because of that, Mom and Dad became very close to them. My dad spoiled Crash horribly!
Crash would jump into my dad's recliner, climb into his arms and flip over on his back. Dad would hold him and rock him like a baby for hours.
I've never seen a dog who could sleep as long as Crash and he did a LOT of sleeping in my dad's arms.
One of my mom's favorite memories was when I brought Crash over to my sister's house for some family gathering. We were late so everyone was already there. We walked into a house full of people and for some reason, everyone was sitting either on the floor or on the couches.
Crash looked around and suddenly he spotted my mother. He picked her out of the crowd and RAN as hard as he could and jumped in her lap. She said that made her feel so special.
Later that same evening, he discovered my sister's dog's toy and he started playing with it.
He took turns taking it to different family members and letting them throw it.
He stopped at five.
Crash would also do what's called a "bichon blitz". This means, when the moment struck him, he would run like crazy through the house, stopping to lay his front paws on the floor with his back end up in the air and bark at the other dogs or imaginary foes.
And for some reason, Crash loved the bathtub. When he was in a blitzing mood..he would hop into the tub and run around in circles barking his head off.
I laughed each and every single time I saw him do that.
It never made any sense but maybe he just liked making me laugh.
I loved that I could take Crash anywhere. He was always well-mannered and usually just sat in my lap and took in the scenery.
Zoe is too hyper and Piper is too damn scared of everything.
I miss how soft his fur was...like cotton and I even miss his bad breath and the way he'd lick you RIGHT in the mouth when you weren't paying attention.
For Christmas last year, Lon bought me a James Avery dog bone charm and had "Crash" engraved on it.
I cried when I opened it and then it made HER cry.
It's my favorite charm and I love looking at it and remembering.
I don't know why I'm writing all of this. I guess I didn't want to write about his death anymore...I just wanted to remember how he lived.
This would have been a quick read had I spent more time with it. In any case, I finally finished it today.
It was a fun fairy tale. I have to keep reminding myself: Fairy Tale.
The end was this weird rush of information to hurry and tie up all the loose ends. That kind of annoys me with some books but I overlook it in Stardust because of its (again) fairy tale/children's story qualities. (With the semi-graphic sex scene, I probably wouldn't recommend it to children, however.)
I would recommend it if you like fun stories.
I'll be interested to see the movie now.
I've become obsessed with reading book blogs. That's all I've done for the last two days.
I came across this meme and thought it would be fun.
Feel free to steal it.
Look at the list of books below: * Bold the ones you’ve read * Mark in blue the ones you want to read *
Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring) * Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of. *
1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible (some/most but not all)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
I'm not going to cross anything off because when it comes to books, I never say never.
So...you may have noticed I haven't been around much.
You may not have noticed at all.
I took a week of vacation to do some serious spring cleaning. I planned on cleaning out a scary closet, rearranging furniture, totally clean out my kitchen, getting rid of things I never use. I was going to shampoo the carpet, even.
How much of this did I get done?
I cleaned out half of the scary closet.
My week didn't turn out entirely like I planned. In fact, it was a nightmarish week.
I started out the weekend with helping my sister and her family move into their new house.
They built this beautiful home on the water (on a canal, really) and I helped organize boxes, unpack, etc.
On Monday, I went shopping for my cleaning supplies and garbage bags and got a new cell phone.
Tuesday, I started cleaning. I tackled that scary closet like there was no tomorrow.
I threw EVERYTHING away. Bags and bags and boxes and boxes of crap went down to the dumpster.
Let me just mention that I live on the second floor so each trip to the dumpster involved a flight of stairs. Let me also mention that it was 105 degrees...not including the heat index. (My sister's outside thermometer measured the heat index at 120 on that day.)
By 4pm, I was exhausted and disgustingly sweaty. I decided that was enough for the day so I showered and went over to visit my sister.
I woke up Wednesday and I couldn't move my neck. I guess with all that heavy lifting I pulled something.
I couldn't pick anything up or bend over without being in pain so I declared it laundry day.
I had bedding and old clothes that needed to be washed before it was donated.
Wednesday was also the day that the media descended on us. There was a terrible tropical storm headed our way. "Run for your lives!!!", they said.
My best friend was out of town and I was taking care of her pets. Her dogs were outside in their dog run and I was worried about them being in the storm so I called her and we devised a plan to get them inside and puppy proof the house. I made 4 or 5 trips to her house that day.
Typically, the storm didn't hit us. After the rains cycled through, life went back to normal.
Thursday, I tried to clean but my vacuum cleaner broke. By this time, I was fed up. Obviously, I wasn't going to get anything done and my vacation week was almost up. Screw spring cleaning!
I took the vacuum in for repair on Friday and spent the rest of the day driving around getting my expired license tag renewed and looking for a place to renew my expired inspection sticker.
Everyone was either SUPER busy or closed. Since when do inspection places close on Fridays?
Now, on Saturday is when my VACATION week gets nightmarish.
The vacuum repairman called that morning to tell me it was ready and that he closes early on Saturdays.
It was pouring down rain but I wanted to at least vacuum this weekend and I needed to check on my friend's dogs.
I threw on some clothes and my flip flops and left my apartment in the rain.
On the very first stair step, my feet slipped out from under me and it was as if the rest of it happened in slow motion. Suddenly, I was in the air. I had time to think "Oh shit. I hope no one sees this!" before I hit the second or third step. I must have thrown my arms out to catch myself but I just kept going. I hit two or three steps before I finally stopped.
The first thing I noticed was that my right thumb really hurt.
The second thing I noticed was that my ass was wet.
THEN I checked to see if anyone had seen this debacle. I looked around and miraculously, I was the only one outside.
I got up and walked the rest of the way down and got in my car like nothing happened.
When the horror of the moment started wearing off I realized I hurt in many different places.
My thumb was already started to swell and I realized I had a knot on the back of my calf from where I must have hit one of the steps. Of course, my ass was hurting pretty good, too.
Like a freaking trooper, I picked up my vacuum and headed to Lon's house to check on her pets.
Keep in mind that it was still raining. Mother Nature didn't stop her deluge just because I was in pain.
I guess I was in a bit of a hurry because the first step I took on Lon's porch had my foot slipping out from under me again and yes....yes ladies and gentlemen, I fell...AGAIN.
This time I fell on my right knee, bending my toe and smashing it into the hard concrete.
My arms instinctively flailed out to catch me but instead I scraped my hand across her brick and instantly, I started dripping blood everywhere.
I actually yelled out "Mother of GOD!!!!". How could this keep happening?
I realized then that it was my shoes. My $3.50 Old Navy rubber flip flops!
I got inside, grabbed a paper towel to staunch the blood flow, fed the dogs, bird and the fish and got the hell out of there.
I went home, took a shower and went back to bed and stayed there all freaking day.
It was just too dangerous for me to go out.
Today, I'm in terrible pain. I must have jarred my back and neck pretty well because I'm in pain from my toes to the top of my head. I am bruised all over my body and I broke my right big toenail and messed up my new pedicure.
In short, I am a fucked-up mess.
I guess it was about Wednesday or Thursday when the media started talking about Hurricane Dean.
They were predicting it hitting the Texas coast by Tuesday at a Category 4 or 5.
I checked the NOAA website and the "cone of doom" did include Texas but it was just too far out to know.
That doesn't matter to our local media. They screamed out their usual "We're all gonna die!" and got the local governments all worked up. The mayor of Galveston held a press conference and the smaller city governments were meeting to devise evacuation plans.
I was just sitting at home, shaking my head. This is all so ridiculous.
I evacuated for Rita two years ago and I swore then that I wouldn't do it again.
I wasn't going to leave for Dean and better yet, Dean wasn't coming here!
On Thursday, there wasn't a piece of plywood to be found in Galveston County. I passed truck after truck full of plywood.
I went to the grocery store on Friday and people were racing through grabbing case after case of water and canned goods.
I bought a 24 pack of water, not because I was stocking up, but because I was out of bottled water at home.
The cashier saw it and said "Only one?". I said "Yeah. I'm not stocking up. As a matter of fact," I jabbed my finger in his direction, "I'm boycotting this hurricane. I'm not going to fall for the media scare tactics. This hurricane isn't coming and I'm not even going to prepare for it!"
I realized that I sounded nuts but it was too late. The words were already out of my mouth and the 16 year old kid was staring at me like I had two heads.
I don't care because, guess what? I was right. Take a look at Dean.
Now, what are all these people going to do with their plywood and water?
There's a whole lotta penis in the news today.
First a midget gets his penis stuck in a vacuum.
Why do people constantly do things to their genitals?
Genitals are for fun and procreation. Not for extreme sports and revenge.
Some man in Europe cut off his own penis because he thinks he should be a woman.
You know, I'm an open minded person and I believe that if you truly feel you're not the gender your body says you are, then you go girl/boy/it and get some gender reassignment surgery. I'm totally behind you on it.
However, I'm just not down with the DIY Sex Change.Protect your junk, people! No one else is gonna do it for you!
I got this from Sheila.
What are you reading right now?
Stardust by Neil Gaiman and The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I'm not sure. I bought a stack of books at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago including Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which I've been wanting to read for a while.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
None. Don't get me started on this but I don't GET reading in the bathroom. Who spends that much time on the toilet?
What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
I can't remember being forced to read something bad but there was a book about a year ago that really pissed me off. I held on until the end expecting a decent pay off and all I got was crap. Now, I can't remember what that book was. I've blocked it out.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
It depends who I'm talking to. Everyone in my age group just HAS to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.
I guess I would recommend David Sedaris to just about anyone. He's brilliantly funny.
Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
They better! I'm one of them!
Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I've recommended A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius to people much older than me and they hated it. I really think it's a generational thing.
Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
Yes, to all of the above, except for the sex part and the driving part. (staying with Sheila's answer, here)
When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Not really. I can remember being ashamed of it and not actually telling people.
It must have been the 6th grade when I ordered Gone With the Wind from Scholastic Books.
Do you remember getting the Weekly Reader and ordering books SUPER cheap from them through the school? Did anyone else do that?
Anyway, I ordered GWTW and it was a HUGE book. It was delivered to the morning class and I had to carry it around all day.
Someone saw it on my desk and looked at me like I was crazy. "You're going to READ that?". Suddenly, I was embarrassed so I said "Oh no, my cousin wanted me to order it for her."
I lied. How sad is that?
Gone With the Wind is my number 1 favorite book to this day and it makes me sad to think I lied about reading it when I was 11 or 12.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (me too Sheila!)
I can remember loving Walmart. I remember just going to go...to look at all the items, to buy just a little something even if I didn't need it.
I can remember a time when going to Walmart seemed fun.
The more I start to hate people, the more I hate Walmart. Why? Well...Walmart is full of people and often times, the WORST people.
There is no end to the trash you'll see when you step foot inside a Walmart.
I've gotten to the point where I will drive completely out of my way to hit a Target or I'll pay three times as much for items at Walgreens.
For convenience sake, I went to Walmart Wednesday night and then Thursday night I had to go back to return the horrible earbuds I purchased.
The return itself was easy and as I was walking back to my car, I walked behind a truck. The vehicle was idling and as I got directly behind it, I saw the reverse lights from the corner of my eye.
I'm too stubborn to frantically run or jump out of the way, as if I'm daring this bitch to hit me.
But suddenly, a thought struck me and I actually said it out loud, "Oh please don't hit me. I do NOT want to die in the Walmart parking lot!"
I couldn't think of anything worse than to take my last breath laying on spit covered asphalt, surrounded by 100 people with about 10 teeth between them.
As I was driving through the parking lot, I noticed a Walmart employee walking to his own car. He must have been about 90 and time had bent him over so that he was almost staring directly at the ground as he walked.
He's too old to be working. He should be retired, enjoying his last days with his grandkids and great-grandkids.
I thought about all the really old people that work at Walmart. Like the elderly man who greats you at the door with glasses so thick, you have no idea if he's looking at you or not.
They also hire the mentally and physically challenged. I know of two Down Syndrome employees who gather the baskets from the parking lot and I've seen wheel-chair bound employees doing various tasks through-out the store.
I'm glad Walmart gives people like that a stable place to work.
But maybe I don't like going because I have to look at these poor unfortunate people who are actually LUCKY to work at Walmart and then I can't bitch about how rough I have it because I can't afford a YSL Muse at $1200 or I couldn't get a pedicure this month because both my license tag and my inspection sticker expired.
My life is pretty good. Damn those unfortunates who make me realize it!
Have I told you how much I love my iPod? If I could marry it, I would.
I admit it, I was one of those people who said, "I don't need one of them dang iPods" possibly spoken in a redneck accent but...oh, how I was wrong.
I want to cradle it and kiss it at night and compose odes to the glory of it's pink exterior and the musical and podcasty goodness on the inside.
I'm not having such a great relationship with my earbuds, however.
The ones that come with the iPod hurt my ears (I have freakishly small ears and ear holes). So, I went on a hunt for the perfect earbud. I'm on my 4th pair and the sound is unbelievable.
The others didn't necessarily hurt my ears but it sounded like I was listening to music through my neighbor's bedroom wall.
The ones I have now are exquisite. The sound is perfect...
but they hurt my fucking ears.
Why can't I have both incredible sound and comfort? Why do I have to sacrifice one for the other? And why are "quality" earbuds so fucking expensive?
I saw some for $300. Are you freakin kidding me? $300 for two little pod thingies you stick in your ear?
I have these Phillips buds and I paid about $20 for them.
I'm not adverse to paying $30 or on a good day $40 for a good pair but it's really goes against everything I hold dear to pay more than that for these stupid things.
Do you love your earbuds? What do you have?
I was driving to work today looking at the people in the cars around me.
What is wrong with the world today? What is wrong with people?
I watched a man in a truck open his door at a red light, stick his head out of the door and spit on the ground.
I can promise you something. I have NEVER felt the need to open my car door and spit on the road.
I started thinking about how often I see grown men spit. I've seen them spit on the sidewalk, spit in parking lots, I had a neighbor who spit on the stairs.
Guys, I have a question: Why must you spit?
I do not go around spitting and neither do any of the females I know. I've never felt compelled to leave a glob of my saliva (or whatever it is) anywhere.
Since I'm ranting about people.....Why are there so many unkempt people in the world.
I'm not talking about poverty level or homeless people, I'm talking about normal people who go out into public with filthy clothes, smelling of body odor, cigarette smoke or food deep fried in lard.
I see people with dirty, greasy hair, people wearing freshly stained t-shirts and mud-encrusted shoes.
I don't have a lot of money and I don't buy expensive shoes but I can guarantee you that when I leave my house, they are clean....as are my clothes.
Do people just not give a shit? Have they lost every ounce of respect for themselves and the people around them?
I was about to bitch about stupid people but most people can't help being stupid. Most of the time they don't even know they're stupid. I don't like it that they have the IQ of a groundhog but there's not a whole lot they can do about it.
People with really bad grammar get on my nerves. I'm not talking about texting or IM speak. I'm talking about having a conversation with people who can't remember anything they learned in elementary school.
Hell, read a book or listen to people on TV. Do you speak like they do? Maybe you're doing something wrong.
When it comes to writing, little things get on my nerves.
Aside from typos, a lot of people don't know that it's "a lot" and not "alot".
There is a difference between "then" and "than". "Then" demonstrates a progression of time. "Than" shows how items are compared.
"Saw" and "Seen" can't be used interchangeably. "Seen" needs a helping verb. "Saw" does not.
And do NOT get me started on "There", "Their" and "They're". Not to mention "You're" and "Your"...oh and "Two", "To" and "Too".
Oh my....I better stop this now. I'm starting to hyperventilate.
God. No wonder I'm single.
Sister #1 thought she'd be a good sister and buy us all these professional knives for Christmas last year.
We each got one with it's own case and sheath.
This is one bad ass knife. Seriously, it's like one of those knives you'd see on Iron Chef or Benihana's or some shit.
I knew it was bad news when Sister #3 shows up at a family gathering looking like Michael Jackson with all of her fingers bandaged.
"Holy shit! What happened to you?"
"Well, I was using that knife that #1 gave us on Monday and I sliced my index finger open. Then on Tuesday, I used that knife and sliced my thumb open. Then on......"
Well, surely Sister #3 is a moron. She must not be doing it right.
I rarely have cause to prepare or even cut food in my home but for some stupid reason, over the weekend, I purchased a block of smoked gouda and thought I'd use said bad ass knife to slice me a few pieces for a sandwich.
The first time I tried it, I ended up breaking off a hunk of the cheese at the bottom as the pressure from bad ass knife was too much for the block of smoked gouda.
So, today, I decided to try a different tactic. It was early in the morning you see...I wasn't thinking clearly and I'll just leave it at that.
Needless to say, I cut the holy crap out of my thumb.
It's not a slice...it's a deep stab wound that even went through the top of my nail.
As blood gushed from my moronic wound, I started chanting to no one in particular, "Oh that's not good, not good, not good, not good, not good."
I danced around the kitchen trying to figure out what to do.
I grabbed a dish towel and applied pressure to my thumb while different scenarios raced through my head about going to the ER and getting stitches.
I squeezed on my towel-covered thumb for a few minutes, then gathered the courage to remove the towel to survey the damage.
It wasn't even bleeding anymore.
I knew it. Sister #3 is a moron!
Angela, don't read this!
Sunday, I had tickets (which were a birthday gift from my cousin in San Diego) to the Astros vs Padres game.
The seats were amazing. We were so close to the on deck circle, I could examine the fabric of the players' jerseys.
We were happy little suckers until our starting pitcher, Jason Jennings, gave up 11 runs in the first inning.
It was a first for me. I had never seen a team score 11 runs in one inning and I had never seen a pitcher pulled after 2/3rds of an inning sans injury.
I sat in stunned silence. Could this really be happening? I haven't even had my freakin Cracker Jacks and already we were 11-0!
In my silence, I was in the minority. Most of the other fans were booing Jennings off the mound.
It was painful to watch.
Like I've mentioned before, I'm a freaking girl. I get emotional and I wanted to cry for this dude. How nightmarish must it be to stand there in the middle of a baseball diamond, falling apart at the seams while your hometown fans boo you so viciously?
Amazingly, we came back and ended up scoring 11 runs but the Padres stayed one (or more) steps ahead of us and we lost it 18-11.
But that first inning...wow. It's all anyone could talk about for days.
It was like this huge dark cloud hanging over Jennings' head.
Then last night in extra innings against the Braves, when we were nearly out of pinch hitters and relief pitchers, Jason Jennings comes in to pinch hit for Mark McLemore and drives in the winning run.Does this put Jennings back into the good graces of the Houston fans? I doubt it but for a brief moment he knows what it feels like to be a game hero.
With today's trade deadline looming, I'm watching the Astros' website to see what's going to happen.
We already knew last week about Dan Wheeler being traded to Florida for Ty Wiggington. I wasn't really sad to see Dan go.
Then we found out Morgan Ensberg was designated for assignment. Which means he could be traded, sent down to the minors or let go.
I have mixed feelings. Ensberg hasn't been performing well for a while now.
I always had a bad feeling when he came up to bat, especially if the game was close or there were tying runs on base.
I had lost faith in him and knew he needed to go.
I felt sorry for him, though. I'm a great big girl and probably don't belong in this baseball business because I get emotionally involved.
I know Ensberg wanted to do better and I'm sure his downward slide was depressing for him.
So, with mixed emotions, I read that Mo was out.
Today, I feel MUCH better.
Ensberg is headed to San Diego...where he and his wife LIVE.
This one lucky mofo! It couldn't get better for him than this.
Good luck to Mo in San Diego.
It was a new store so the merchandise wasn't even on the shelves when I and several others showed up on our first day.
I was looking forward to this new opportunity just out of high school. I was sick of the whole Lord of the Flies mentality of high school and was looking forward to meeting new, mature people.
I remember getting there pretty early and I watched as all the other new employees walked in, one by one. I examined the new faces wondering if I'd end up liking them. Would they be jerks? Would we get along?
That's when I saw her. Kay. I knew exactly who she was since the third grade. She was a year older than me but everyone in school knew her.
Kay was beautiful and uber popular.
I thought I inwardly rolled my eyes but later she told me I did it outwardly.
What I didn't know was that she was nervous about the first day and when she saw me, she was relieved. She knew someone!
Well...we didn't know each other but we knew of each other. But that was good enough for both of us.
I tried avoiding her, I think but it didn't take long for us to become friends.
I, of course, was totally wrong about her. I just judged her by the people she hung out with.
We started hanging out together and met lots of other people. We instantly connected to two new friends, JT and Edwin.
The four of us were inseparable. It seemed like every weekend or week night, we were doing something together.
Well...not always together. Sometimes, Edwin would get traded out for another friend of JT, Pudge.
Kay and I were torn between Edwin and Pudge. Edwin was chronically unemployed so whenever we went out, we all took turns paying for him. If Pudge went with us, because he was "pudge" he'd block the a/c vents in the car so Kay and I would die from heat stroke in the backseat.
Eventually, Edwin won out because he was more pleasant to hang out with and Kay and I hated to sweat!
We had so many adventures, the four of us but like so many friendships, life took over and we all went our separate ways.
Kay and I stayed close although we don't see each other nearly enough.
We both stayed in infrequent contact with JT but in the last couple of years we three talk more often.
Kay is married with a daughter and JT has a 13 yr old son.
Yesterday, we spent hours emailing each other back and forth. All three of us were at work but obviously not much work got done.
We started talking about old times and as usual JT couldn't remember something and Kay and I jumped all over him for having such a bad memory.
His excuse: "It happened 17 years ago!!!"
Whoa. That stopped me in my tracks. 17 years ago.
How could I be old enough to be talking about "old times" which happened nearly 20 years ago?
I don't feel like I'm much older than 20 myself.
Where did all this time go?
The concept of years passing and time marching forward is so huge to me that I can't really comprehend it.
I feel like life is going by too fast. I want it to slow down a little. Not because I want to get off...I just want to stand still for a little while.
You see these puffy eyes? I blame Harry Potter, that little wand-wielding bastard! I finished the final installment of the Harry Potter series this morning...at 3am. Yes, 3am!
I don't know what I was thinking! I picked the book up as I got into bed and figured I'd read a few pages. Next thing I knew, it was 2am and I was so very near the end; I couldn't stop now!
I'm a freakin nerd, I know. I got goosebumps when the kids of Hogwarts banded together to fight Voldemort. Yes, I admit it, I cried a little at the end. That isn't saying much, though, I cry at those Special Olympics commercials.
That J.K. Rowling chick...man, she is brilliant. Not just in the imaginative world that she created and her descriptive writing but the way the politics of Potter's world mirror our own society...just brilliant.
Not to mention that fact that she's getting people to read. Books!
I like a book that I can totally get lost in. I am at my happiest when I can't wait to finish all the mundane tasks of life so I can dive back in. I know it's good when I thinking about the book while doing other things with that shiver of anxiety when I keep thinking it's like a movie where I forgot to hit the pause button. I have to keep reminding myself that the story will still be there when I get back to it, I haven't missed anything.
Some people think that reading fiction is beneath them or that it's a waste of time because they don't learn anything from it.
To me, that's bullshit. You learn so much from a book whether it's fiction or non-fiction. If it's not actually fact you're gleaning, it's human nature, emotion and relationships. It's the beauty of the written word and the description of things you wouldn't normally notice as you go through your day.
You learn to see things with new eyes when you read.
Each time you open that book, you're expanding your world.
But what do I know? I just write this stupid blog.
At this point I'm surprised I haven't fallen over. Staying up all night with a 17 yr old wizard sure takes a lot out of a girl!
I'm a bad blogger...BAD BLOGGER.
I wish I could say I've been spending my time watching the dozen DVDs chock full of porn sent to me for my birthday by a very lovely man and although I've enjoyed quite a few of them so far, I've mostly been wallowing in illness and letting life take over for a while.
I've had a mild relapse of the mystery illness from a few months ago. I guess either my crazy has returned or I'm still a big slut.
I've been in a pretty bad mood because I'm in pain but I think I'd be a little pissy anyway because apparently it's stupid week here at work.
I posted a sign right outside that says "Wifi available here". A middle-aged couple came in and asked to use a computer, "But we don't want none of that wifi stuff. We just want regular internet."
I was actually speechless....which doesn't happen very often.
Sometimes I think I'm this small voice in a giant universe and when someone shouts back, I'm truly stunned.
Last year, I wrote this post about Walter Falk, artist and storyteller.
I was able to reconnect with him because of my blog and sadly, I found out about his death because of my blog.
Walter (Terry) Falk died - I started to say that beauty, life and color died with him but because of his beautiful art, that will live on
He wasn't an old man by any means but he lived a LOT in his years. He traveled all over and the proof was in his work and the stories he could tell.
I fully expected to see Falk again in October and I was planning on adding to my collection with possibly an even larger piece. (I was kicking myself last time for not purchasing a certain painting) It's so hard to believe that I won't see him this year. I'll never see still-wet paintings by Falk or stand next to him as he wields his Sharpie, adding details to the painting I just purchased.
I'm so very thankful that I did get to know him and that I have a collection of his work.
His beauty remains.
Here is my first blog post about Falk and I'm posting my last one about him after the jump.
I love art mostly because I want so desperately to be able to express myself using some form of art. I have tried and I found myself sitting before a blank page or a blank canvas wondering what in the hell I'm doing.
So, instead, I collect.
I'm not like Steve Wynn who collect priceless works of art by oh..say...PICASSO but I enjoy owning things I find beautiful.
I don't always love those realistic paintings of landscapes or still life. I want to see what the artist sees inside his head.
Sometimes that's pretty damn scary but sometimes it can be breathtakingly beautiful.
I wrote a small blurb a year or two ago about an artist I really love named Walter Falk. My boyfriend at the time and I discovered him back in 97 or 98. We bought a couple of pieces and then looked for him every year at the Bayou City Art Festival and would purchase one or two pieces.
When said boyfriend and I broke up, we split our collection and went our separate ways.
Falk disappeared from the art festival after a couple of years and we never found him again.
A few months ago, his son found my blog by (I'm assuming) doing a search for his father's name.
He emailed me to let me know his dad was still painting and would be in my area this weekend at the Artoberfest.
I was worried when the day started out with pouring rains and strong winds but luckily the weather cleared and it turned into a decent day for art.
I found Falk right away. He spoke to me as soon as I entered his booth but there was no way he would remember me, he must see thousands of people a year.
He spoke to me as I was looking at his paintings and I explained to him that his son sent me an email to let me know he would be there and suddenly he knew who I was and knew about my blog. He was able to repeat to me things I had written.
It was such a strange sensation.
When I wrote that small entry about this man, I never in a million years thought that he or anyone who knew him would read it.
The fact that he did and acknowledged it was surreal.
Each piece I picked up, Falk had a story about the inspiration behind it. He told me why he used certain colors and encouraged me to take them out into the sunlight to really see the differences in shades and textures.
He told me stories of being drunk in the Swiss Alps, going from brewery to brewery until he found his reason for being in Switzerland.
(He also let me know that he wasn't drunk yet that day and he'd been nursing a warm Lone Star beer for a while. No man should drink a warm beer on a hot day so I bought him a cold Shiner.)
To be able to discuss the actual painting with the artist and to know what was going through their mind when they put brush to canvas is amazing. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be standing there talking to the man that creates such beauty.
He's a huge man, towering over me (with me at nearly 5'10" that's hard for someone to do!) but when he described something he witnessed that inspired him to paint a certain piece, the beer in his hand and his rough exterior disappeared and he became almost child-like in his awe of the world.
Falk uses acrylics and watercolors and ink; sometimes in the same pieces. I love that. I love the complexity and the use of color and the mixture of mediums.
I couldn't make up my mind. There were several paintings that I loved so he put them all side by side and that really helped me make my decision. I purchased two completely different pieces and although I love both, one of them really spoke to me. I stared at it all weekend, marveling at the unbelievable colors and the hidden details.
I don't know a whole lot about art and I certainly can't write with any great knowledge but I know what I like and I know what is beautiful to me.
Art and beauty are truly in the eye of the beholder.
PS: By the time I got to the art show, all paintings and the artist were dry.
One of my favorite things lately is dining out alone.
I talked about it in a previous post and since then, I can't wait to get an evening to myself.
Saturday, I found myself in Houston for *cough* a meeting with a friend. A few hours later, I wondered why the hell I was there and started daydreaming of lunch.
I couldn't wait to shake "my friend" and find a nice restaurant.
I headed for a late lunch at Niko Niko's, my favorite Greek place but even at 2pm, they were packed. I couldn't even find a parking place.
I wasn't up to driving across town to another favorite restaurant so I scanned Montrose and saw a place called Hollywood that boasted Vietnamese, Chinese and French cuisine.
Ok, Vietnamese and Chinese I could see...but French? I was intrigued. I had to go.
For those of you unfamiliar with Houston. Montrose is a very gay-friendly area. The Gay Pride parade is held there, rainbow flags hang everywhere and every other person is gay. I love this place.
The restaurant was beautiful, the Vietnamese food was great, my waiter was stand-offish. I didn't care, I had my iPod and a seat by the window. I watched two gay black men fight about something. One had on jeans, a tshirt and heels, carrying a cheap walmart handbag.
The other was a regular guy with a can of what I'm assuming was malt liquor in a brown paper sack.
That was all the dinner theater I needed.
Last night, I decided to head to a favorite sushi place. I settled in, placed my order and pulled out my iPod. Just as I did this, I noticed something strange on the other side of the window that ran the length of the wall. It was a man, wearing a red motorcycle helmet, a woman's white dress slip, two purses slung across his body and several strands of beads wrapped around his neck.
The slip was cinched around his waist with a green army-type belt. A woman pushing a stroller walked by and she stopped and stared in what I could only assume was shock and awe.
He noticed this and decided to do a little pirouette. This movement caused the slip to flutter up and show everyone in the restaurant (who, by the way, had stopped talking and eating to stare at this spectacle) his yellow banana hammock that was swinging VERY low.
A collective gasp could be heard all over the restaurant and I was shocked that it didn't turn into a huge barforama when he suddenly turned his back to his audience and bent over.
The material of his skimpy yellow undies were worn thin from excessive washing or years and years of wear and I could tell there wasn't much between us and sure terror. I thanked Jebus that his backwards bow lasted a mere second. It could have so easily turned into a disaster...as if it weren't already.
My waiter was standing next to me as the man finished the show and skipped down the sidewalk, perhaps to entertain another restaurant full of unsuspecting diners.
"Well, what can ya do?", said my profound waiter.
I looked around the restaurant as people were giggling together.
I shrugged and replied, "At least he was wearing a helmet."
This is why I love baseball.
Last night, a great player reached an amazing milestone. Craig Biggio got his 3000th hit...and also his 3001st and 3002nd.
The excitement started building just 10 hits away. Then came the controversy when he was just a few hits away and they were going on the road. He had to hit 3000 at home. He just had to! But the cynics were whining, "He should just play because his team needs him, not sit out to reach 3000 at home."
He even said if he's needed, he'll play on the road.
He got a couple of hits on the road but luckily by the time they got home, he only needed three.
Last night, he not only got three...he got five hits!
When he hit #3000 and we knew it was going to be a base hit, the crowd went wild...I went wild!
It was something to remember.
But it didn't stop there. After the tearful embraces from his teammates and his wife and children, he grabbed Jeff Bagwell from the dugout and dragged him out to first base and the crowd went wild again.
The two poster boys for the Astros for 15 years stood out there, together again.
Dry eyes were impossible.
But wait! It doesn't end there!
This game is why we watch baseball. There was this history-making moment that will live on forever but then there was a tied game. Then the Rockies went ahead. Then we tied them again. Then in extra innings, with the bases loaded, Carlos Lee hit a walk-off grand slam that won the game. It was magic!
I get chills just thinking about it.
Sure, it sounds cheesy but it's baseball, baby! It's America!
I can't let today go by without mentioning something that's been on my mind.
One year ago, today, the blogging world and the entire world itself lost someone very important: Rob Smith (aka Acidman) from Gut Rumbles.
After Rob died, the blogging world came together, for a moment. We all felt this loss that we couldn't explain. Many of us had never met this man but we felt like we knew him because he let us in. There was no bullshit with Rob. He was angry, melodramatic, sentimental, hilarious, raw, sensitive and compassionate...sometimes all in one day.
You never knew what you were going to get when you went to Gut Rumbles but you couldn't wait to get there because you knew it was going to be entertaining.
Some wonderful people are keeping Gut Rumbles alive so we can continue to be entertained but I still feel that hole in the blogosphere where Rob once reigned.
I saw this Winston Churchill quote and immediately thought of Acidman:I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
Recently, a friend and I had a phone conversation about eating alone at restaurants. He does it all the time. He calls it "Taking myself out to dinner," and I'm sure he gets lucky at the end of the evening, too.
I realized that I rarely go out to eat alone. If I'm by myself, I'll pick up something to go. I didn't think it was because I was uncomfortable or self-conscious, I just figured sitting in a restaurant alone was a waste of time.
He kept telling me how nice it is. He brings his iPod and listens to a good podcast or brings a book and enjoys the meal alone.
Maybe I was self-conscious. I guess deep down, I didn't want people staring at me thinking, "She must not have any friends," but then I thought about people I may have seen alone at restaurants and I never thought that about them.
Actually, I couldn't remember the last time I noticed someone eating alone. I normally don't pay attention to others in restaurants unless they do something to make me notice them.
Saturday, I was out at Barnes & Noble picking up a new book when I realized I hadn't eaten all day and I was starved.
This was a perfect opportunity to try out this whole eating alone thing. I also had several hours worth of Jim Rome podcasts that were piling up so this was a perfect time to catch up on that as well.
I drove to my favorite little sushi place and noticed about 3 or 4 other diners sitting alone. These were my people!
I was seated by the window and no one looked at me twice.
I ordered my seaweed salad, my pieces of sushi and a roll and listened to Jim Rome and loved every moment of it.
It was to be able to go to whatever restaurant I wanted without having to take anyone else into consideration. No one ever REALLY wants to go eat sushi with me, they tolerate it and order a Japanese meal if I can persuade them. I was able to eat without guilt. It was nice, also, to eat without conversation.
I love to talk as much as the next gal but sometimes I just want to shut up and enjoy the silence or the ambient noises....or in this case, the sound of Jim Rome.
A lady sat across the restaurant reading her book while she enjoyed her meal. Two other people sat, separately, at the bar watching the plasma screen TV.
Everyone was doing there own thing, couples chatting, groups of friends laughing and the lone diners, reading, listening to their podcasts or catching up on the news for the day.
I thought about this lone-dining phenomenon and wondered how many people do this regularly.
This morning I started searching the internet and found whole websites dedicated to the dining alone experience.
One website had lists of "loner-friendly" restaurants and one had a tongue-in-cheek guide to eating alone.
There is a forum for single people appropriately called Single Life. One woman declared that she was too self-conscious to eat alone. Did anyone have that same problem and how do you solve it.
From what I read, not many had any good solutions, they just shared their own experiences. Most of the people who didn't like eating by themselves said the same thing, "I feel like everyone is staring at me".
I don't know why we care so much about what total strangers think of us but after my purposely positive dining alone experience, I think I'll be making this a regular date.
Hey...at least I KNOW I'll get lucky at the end of the evening!
I knew it was coming but I wasn't really paying attention to the date.
My dad died 3 yrs ago today. I don't know what I'm supposed to do or to say.
I guess I just wanted someone to know I remembered it....I remember every single moment about his last days and the last breath he took.
After my sister's attack, the police caught up with the pit bulls right away. They had killed another cat along the way so they just followed the trail of dead animals.
Animal Control took possession of the dogs and euthanized them immediately.
What is unfathomable is the fact that 30 minutes later, the school bus let off a group of kids at the bus stop which is right in front of my sister's house.
Those 12 yr old kids wouldn't stand a chance against two adult pit bulls had this happened half an hour earlier.
The owners were fined and litigation against their home owner's insurance company is still on-going.
The insurance company keeps making offers that won't even cover the medical bills. She had to have surgery on one arm to repair the muscle and tissue damage. Then multiple surgeries to have pins and bolts put in her wrist. She was in a cast for months and completely unable to move her left arm. She was using her right arm for so much that she developed severe carpel tunnel and will have to have another surgery to repair that.
Not to mention the hospital stay and the therapy and pain and anxiety medication she's had to take.
She had nightmares for months. She looked into the eyes of those dogs and she knew without a doubt that they were going to kill her.
I guess it's hard to get over looking into the face of death. Especially when that face has powerful jaws and crazy killer dog eyes!
There are theories all over about ways to control the pit bull population.
One is to demand a certain insurance policy to be purchased for pit bull owners. Some say all pit bull owners should be registered and some want to ban them all together. I don't know what the answer is. It's just frustrating that we all have to suffer for the actions of incredibly stupid fucktards.
It pisses me off to NO end when I see some asshole, walking around with the crotch of his pants hanging down to his ankles, hat on sideways, tight white wife-beater clinging to his scrawny chest holding a leash attached to a vicious looking pit bull with a spiked leather collar.
First of all, they look ri-fucking-diculous! Seriously, do you have to dress like everyone else? Do they have any idea how fucking stupid they look?
Oh and then the dog. Having a chihuahua as a fashion trend is pretty dumb but having a potentially deadly pit bull as a fashion accessory just goes to show how few brain cells these people have.
But what upsets me the most is the cruelty of it. Pit bulls are bred to be strong. Yes, I've known people who had gentle, sweet pit bulls but what happens when something sets that sweet dog off? We hear about it happening all the time. Why would you think you'd be any different?
But it's mostly the people who teach their dogs to be aggressive.
Do you know what they do to make their pit bulls mean?
First, they're mean TO them. Then they give them baby kittens to kill. It's the blood lust that drives them.
That's part of the reason why they attacked my sister. They had just killed her cat and the blood lust made them crazy so they went after her.
When they fight these dogs some get so badly injured that they die from the injuries and it's not always quick. They suffer and die.
It's heartless, it's senseless and further more, it's illegal.
When or if the authorities finally crack down on the pit bull fighting rings and seize the animals, they're not fit for anything but euthanasia. Again, their death is senseless but at least it's not painful and cruel.
A person who would enter into a world like this is not a good person and our society is full them. If they are missing that part of their brain that tells them that it's wrong and they shouldn't do it, then what's next? Killing children? Murdering the elderly? Where does it end?
Rachel has been talking about pit bulls lately. Her dog got into a fight with one that sailed over a 6 foot fence to get to them.
I have kept my mouth shut on the issue of Pit Bulls and their danger. I was one of those people that said, "It's how they are raised." because I knew people who had pit bulls that were sweet, funny dogs.
I don't feel that way anymore because I almost lost my sister because of two "sweet, funny" pit bulls.
Last September, two weeks after Crash died. My sister was savagely attacked by two pit bulls in her own driveway.
She was inside her house but her garage door was open. She heard strange noises and her inside dogs were barking at the door that led to the garage.
She opened the door and looked around. The first thing she saw was blood.
She looked further and at the end of her driveway where two pit bulls standing over something bloody and with orange fur. She knew immediately it was her cat, Rocky. The dogs had cornered her cat in the garage, killed him and dragged him out into the street.
The dogs were walking away from her cat's body so she ran out there to see if by some miracle he was still alive.
When she saw that there was no way he could be alive, she cried out.
The dogs heard her and turned and charged her.
Without turning her back to them, she ran back into her driveway but they were on her before she could do anything.
They were lunging for her arms and hands and trying to knock her down.
She was so terrified that she didn't notice they were tearing pieces of her flesh from her upper arms.
She backed herself into her garage but they had her cornered.
Her husband had a huge metal shop fan that he would turn on while he was working on his hobby, motorcycles, so she crouched down and tried to hide behind it but the dogs would grab her arms, trying to pull her out from behind the fan.
Even though traumatized, she had the sudden idea of turning the fan on. It was so loud that her own dogs and cats were afraid of it.
It worked. As soon as she flipped the switch, the sound of the fan startled the dogs and they ran into the driveway.
She took this opportunity to run to the door and hit the garage door opener/closer.
She then called 911, my mom and Sister #2.
She was hysterical. My mom couldn't understand what she was saying, she was just screaming and screaming.
Mom was at work and my sister was about 3 miles away and they both made it to Sister #1's house before the ambulance and police did.
On the way, Mom called Sister #3 and then she called me.
What Mom and Sister #2 saw when they got there will haunt them forever. Sister #1 was in shock and covered in blood. They had never seen so much blood. Sister #2 said her eyes were wild and her pupils were fully dilated.
Luckily, the ambulance arrived soon after and I actually beat the ambulance to the ER.
I didn't know the details of what happened, just that she had been attacked by pit bulls. Suddenly, everything I had ever heard on the news about these attacks came flooding back and the only thing I could remember were all the people who had been killed and I prayed the entire way there.
She was lucky. The dogs never got her face or her throat. She was able to remain standing during the attack but they ripped up her right upper arm, tearing tissue and muscle away from bone and she'll be forever disfigured. They also broke her left wrist. It was considered a compound fracture because they ripped the skin, exposing the broken bone.
That is how unbelievably strong these dogs are. One of them grabbed her wrist and broke it with it's jaws!
She had to have multiple surgeries and had a cast up to her armpit for months because it just wouldn't heal.
The story of the pit bulls was what has become a cliche. The woman who owned the house was keeping them for her ex. She didn't know they got out and claimed it was the first time.
Animal control said that they had picked the dogs up before, so no, it wasn't the first time. They had a history of getting out.
The story was immediately picked up by news stations and the newspapers and that began months long debates over the dangers of pit bulls. People fought about it day after day in the letters to the editor section of the local paper...all because of my sister.
The CBS affiliate interviewed a neighbor of the pit bull owner and he said "I let my 4yr old nephew play with those dogs all the time. They were really sweet."
All my sister said was, "I'm glad it was me, then, because there wouldn't be anything left of that 4 yr old."
Thanks to all of you who showed me some birthday love.
I loved every single message and comment. It was very kind of you and I do appreciate your sweet thoughts!
I spent the day shopping (my favorite activity). I had gift cards and they were burning a hole in my purse.
I bought a bunch of new cosmetics from MAC and Benefit.
I love how these bitches flatter you and try to make you feel so good about yourself while somehow convincing you that you need their products.
I totally fall for it.
My third MAC lipstick this week, this time in Pink Plaid which I ended up giving my mother.
Yeah...I know...cosmetics are boring if you don't have a va-jay-jay.
Let's tally up the swag from friends and family:
Lon loaded me up with tons of stuff, including:
The most perfect gift a person could give me, a Barnes & Noble gift card.
Bath & Body Works stuff in yummy Brown Sugar & Fig.
Lots of chocolate...I mean LOTS
Yummmmm smelling candles!
Gift card to Macys
Tranquil Mint shampoo, conditioner, sugar scrub and pillow mist from Bath & Body Works. This stuff is amazing. Go...run...get some!
Gift cards, gift cards and gift cards. Those bitches KNOW me!
After the shopping, I headed to Minute Maid Park and watched the Astros beat the Oakland A's in extra innings.
My boy Brad Lidge in his first outing since being made the closer again, botched our lead and tied the game but he worked his way out of the inning without inflicting further damage and that counts for something with me.
So, I used my Barnes & Noble gift card to purchase something I've been wanting for a while but haven't been willing to buy for myself...
A Moleskine notebook.
I've always wanted one but they are a little extravagant for a notebook. I figured it would put my gift card to good use.
Has anyone ever had a Moleskine? I've heard nothing but great things about it as a sketchbook, journal, etc...
Hey...they said Hemingway used one. That sold me!