Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Body Language...

...speaks so loudly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wedding planning, made easy.

I can see how people go crazy and turn into Bride-zillas with all the planning and decision-making involved in the production of a wedding. Especially when one is trying to make all the "stakeholders" feel as though they're having their fair say in things. Thus far, most of our stakeholders have done a really good job of restraining themselves when I'm sure they'd love to jump in and plan the whole thing, and I appreciate that. There have been a handful of minor-ly stressful moments (mostly attributable to lack of sleep and/or overwhelmed-ness with other facets of life), but all in all, the planning is going, well, really well.

I got my dress (which is sort of hilarious, as I bought it without being positive about the size or the design... it fits perfectly and is so beautiful that I can't imagine a more perfect dress for me). That took... oh, about a week.

We booked the venue (one we found on the very first day of looking at venues, after deciding neither of us was really willing to convert to Catholicism in order to get married at Dubina). Granted, we booked it more than a month after we found it (we found it a couple of weeks before we were "technically" engaged), but anyway, that was pretty easy.

Actually, finding Josh turned out to be pretty easy, too. It seems crazy, and at our first pre-marital counseling session, our counselor (Jammin' Judy) even said, "So, realistically, how do you think it sounds when you tell me you've only known each other since April and now you're getting married?" Yeah, yeah, Judy; it sounds ridiculous. But like I've said before, I just "knew." Josh says he knew on date #2 (which, incidentally, was at Dubina, thus the desire to have the wedding there). In a recent de-briefing with Jenny, I said, "Jenny, we haven't even talked about what you think about Josh since you met him!" to which she replied, "Friend, we don't even have to. Of course he's great! I knew you were going to marry him after your first date!"

So, yeah, so this whole wedding/marriage/life-partner/teammate thing, well, so far, so good. :)



(PS- I have a beautiful new niece who is pretty much the cutest little snuggle bug of all time. Lexi-lou [actually, it's Lexi Suzanne] was born on 7-16 and she and momma are doing quite well, thank you very much.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Extra, extra, somebody's getting married!!!

Yay! Josh and I are getting married! It's now officially official (though it's been unofficially official for at least a couple of weeks). I could go into lots of detail on the back story of how we met and fell in love, but for present purposes, I'll just give our engagement story. :)

So, Josh and I have known that we wanted to get married pretty much since we met. Actually, I knew on the second day we exchanged e-mails. But THAT is another story. So, we made a definite decision on the ring last Saturday and went ahead and bought it then. They needed to size it down for my tiny fingers and told us it would be ready on Tuesday afternoon. The original plan was to make sure the ring fit on Tuesday before it was shipped off to Josh's mom in New Mexico. With the ring out of sight/out of mind, Josh would get his wish of surprising me and officially/formally asking me to marry him. To me, he was [and is] my surprise, so I was sort of ambivalent about the whole surprise-official-proposal-business. Well, we both got exactly what we wanted (both in each other and in the proposal process).

So Monday afternoon, Josh called and told me that Kruger's called and that my ring wouldn't be ready until Wednesday morning. In another phone call, he told me that since my mom would be in town, his friend LyAnna had arranged a tour of the capitol dome for us Tuesday morning. The dome has been off-limits to visitors without special permission since 9/11. With the recent fiasco at the governor's mansion, we were told that it's strictly off-limits. So, the fact that we got to go up into the dome at all was pretty special (many thanks to Mark, the state trooper who came up on his day off to lead us up into the dome).

We met inside the capitol around 11:00 am, took the elevator up to the 4th floor, and then had to call for permission to go above that. Mark led us through a barred and locked door on the 5th floor and we began the twisty ascent upstairs. After climbing hundreds of stairs, we got to a small room at the top. If you've been in the capitol, you've probably seen the star with TEXAS surrounding it on the top of the dome. We were eye-level with that star. Above that, there is another windy staircase to the very top. Josh said, "I want to go all the way up. You coming with me, Babe?" I replied with some witty comment about descending into the tomb of Thutmoses the III and then having the electricity go out (in Egypt; yet another story), and that I was surely climbing all the way to the top of the capitol. Mom was complaining about her knee, and LyAnna claimed to be afraid of heights, so they stayed behind while J & I headed up together.

I was completely oblivious to even the thought that Josh would be asking me to marry him when we got up those stairs (probably because it was so hot and we'd been doing so much climbing). However, as soon as we got up, he turned me around, took my face in his hands and said, "OK, Babe, now it's just the two of us up here," and THAT'S when I realized what was going on.

I'll leave the details of that conversation between us...

However, I did, of course, say yes, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Please check out our photos on Picasa. We're very happy and excited! Thank you for all your well-wishes!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Canine Fat Camp

So, Murphy's been gone at camp for just over a month.

He got home yesterday.

Actually, the dog who ate Murphy came home yesterday.
He is the rolliest, polliest, fattest version of Murph I have ever laid eyes on.

Which is in stark contrast with his condition before "camp," when he was slim, trim, fit, and had run 60 miles during the month of April. Keeping up with people who were running (with his tiny 4-inch-long-legs).

Now he weighs in at an impressive [actually, at a disgusting] 19.5 pounds.

Ugh.

And I am a horrible dog mom, who keeps calling him things such as "Fatty McGee the Lethargy King." Yes, I'm a bad person and should probably never have children of my own.

So now, much to his chagrin, he's unwillingly entered "The Biggest Loser: Wienie Edition." We went for a "bike ride" today (I rode, he ran... slowly). J & I are committed to walking him for an hour every evening (a challenge since it is hot in the evening and we have to be places early in the morning). One of the main objectives for the summer is to get him back down around 15 pounds where he belongs.

And he will never go to camp again.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Here. Safe.

Check the trip blog for more details.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Break-up with Blockbuster

I've quite recently been told that the quality of writing on my blog has gone way down since I've been in love. To that comment, I'd like to respond with the following:

Dear Blockbuster-

I'm not sure how you've gotten my e-mail address, but seriously, enough is enough. Leave me alone. I'm ready to opt out.

We had our good times, it's true. I'll always remember the many times I ran to you right at midnight so you wouldn't charge me a hefty fine. And there were the many evenings I'd come in looking for something that you didn't offer (that always was a "hallmark of our relationship," wouldn't you say?), but those times are in the past. Sure, we may have been "uniquely invested," but I'm with Netflix now and we're really happy together. I mean 'Flix comes to me, is reliable, e-mails me to let me know when he'll be here (and is always available instantly, whenever I need a fix), and consistently leaves me satisified. That relationship is really meeing my needs; we've been together more than 4 months and have established quite a long queue.

So really, Blockbuster, quit creeping over into my other e-mail accounts. I mean, come on! Saying things like, "You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost," is just far too little, far too late.

We're finished. Tell your webmaster. And leave me the hell alone.

Sincerely,

mjp (aka: viajera1077[at]yahoo)



And for those who aren't yet totally disgusted by my smitten inloveness, here's some pictures from the opera Thursday night night. The new Long Center + Carmen + fancy dress = nothing but great. Plus, J looks DAMN good in his suit. I'm not looking too bad myself, either. We are SO fancy. And we love each other--have I MENTIONED that?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

prayers

Josh's nephew Athan (who will be 1 at the end of May) had open-heart surgery this morning. The surgery went well, but the recovery period will be pretty intense for baby and family. Please keep this family (the Strebeck's) in your prayers...

You can read all about Athan and see his sweet smiling face here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bursting at the seams

I am disgustingly happy. Seriously, feeling this giddy should almost be outlawed--except how would "they" know? Probably because I would blog about it.


Ah, yes, so life is blissful and grand (with the exception of this giant metaphorical stack of papers I have to grade--they were all submitted electronically, so I can't just drop them down the stairs and give the heaviest ones the highest grades [per Joon Yee's suggestion]. But I digress...). This morning in church, I was so filled with soul-swelling gladness that I really thought I might spontaneously combust. The music + the message + the company = happyhappyhappy


Here's some pictures from Saturday... we hosted dinner at my place, then sat in the Soularium with pipes and scotch to round out the evening Sherlock-Holmes-style.

Ah, so happy. :-D
(and I love my new hair)

Friday, April 18, 2008

All of my Friends are Always Right

Ladies, this is for you:

Perhaps I don't tell you this enough, but you're right. Pretty much all the time. I can be right, but typically in those times when I'm seeking counsel from you (or when I'm not, but you give it anyway), you're right. You're right. I stand corrected, because you're right.

You were right for a long time about, well, you know. You were all right.

You were right yesterday, when I was freaking out about the misunderstanding. You're right. Everything's totally ok, and you were right.

Thank you so much, my dears, for being in my corner even when I'm not-quite-right. I believe this is reciprocal, sometimes I can be right... it's just that you're all right too.

And today, again, I'm alright. Thanks to all of you for keeping me in check.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
So a [woman]'s counsel is sweet to [her] friend.
Proverbs 27:9

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deep Smit

Pictured below is the object of such smit.
And after you read this, perhaps you'll be smitten, too.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Continued Validation from the World Around Me

To my married lady friends: I think you're already aware of this phenomenon. Another clear example of the patriarchy at work.

To my unmarried lady friends: What are we complaining about?!?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trivial Pursuits

So, we've recently formed a trivia league which competes in the live trivia night at Plucker's on Wednesday nights. Last week was our first night (when our team name was "The After-School Specials," and we had 10 people, 42 points [the winning team had 50], and a good starting experience).

Tonight, with a new team name (Public Mastication, followed by various taglines [choking on the chicken, we've got your creme filling right here, finishing off the competition... you get the picture; we're all VERY mature), we TIED FOR FIRST PLACE by scoring 63 points. We had a GREAT team with various smarts (and the sports round didn't totally finish us off this week). I'm proud to say that I contributed three of those answers. My three definite contributions were to the questions:

  • What was the name of the farm in Charlotte's Web?
  • What is the first line of the Sesame Street theme song?
  • What two countries does Hadrian's wall separate?

If you know the answers, maybe you too can win a prize. Post them below if you're interested in competing.

What a fun night, a fun team, a fun almost-total-victory (we wound up taking 2nd place, as there was a wing-eating competition of the "Fire in the Hole" wings... Sid finished 2nd [just barely!] and will likely suffer the consequences for a few days to come... we let him keep the $25 gift card for keeping us in the game).

I love Austin. :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Civic Engagement

I have the day off today; this is the first day I've had off all semester (not counting Spring Break, which didn't really count, due to all the childcare). Well, I did miss one day of class for the rally several weeks back, but I digress. Today is a much-needed day for sleeping in, catching-up, writing papers, grading neglected papers, and restoring balance in my life.



I spent the whole day Saturday at the Travis County Democratic Convention. Remember when I was feeling all political and involved a few weeks back? Yeah, so that had pretty much worn off by the time I remembered I'd signed up to be a delegate for my precinct... the fact that we met at 6:00am on Saturday to carpool to the day-long convention (I got home shortly before 5:00pm) didn't help much, either. The entire week leading up (and much of the time I was there), I thought of these couple-friends of mine, we'll call them Rose & Charlie. Whenever Rose gets upset with Charlie (which is somewhat frequently, in my experience), he'll remind her, "You could've said, 'no,' Rose. You could've said, 'no.'"



Regardless, I didn't say 'no,' even though several opportunities presented themselves to do so, and I wound up in the poorly-lit expo center all day long along with 7,000+ of my neighbors. I will say that my fellow delgates of precinct 437 made the day much more bearable... in fact, getting to know my neighbors was the only thing that kept the entire thing from being a huge slaughter of a good weekend (the fact that I have today off is also helpful). Our group is really representative of the transitions my neighborhood has experienced over the past years... there were some old-school-78704-ers who bought their houses for $7500 30 years ago when the neighborhood was a red-light district, and then there were the new-money urban hipsters who have gentrified and changed the face of the neighborhood. There were also some poor-but-fabulous student types (such as myself) who brought spiciness and sass to the whole affair.

Don't get me wrong, being involved is cool--I like the fact that I'm participating in new and different ways in an historical election, I just also think that having a community meeting to vote for the delegates would have been a much more efficient way to accomplish that which we accomplished in roughly 11 hours at the Expo Center. Civic engagement is a somewhat new and enriching experience for one who grew up without being really community-involved. At the end of the day, I was even more amazed at the inefficiency of the governmental process, inspired by people who stand up for what they believe, annoyed by those who continually blame one source for all of society's problems, and pretty sure that I don't fall neatly on either side of the ideological line. If you're really keen to get an idea of what the whole experience was like, there are about a ton of blogs I've found with pics, etc. One such is here. Oh, and the greatest T-shirt of the day (although I really do love those 1930's-propoganda-esque Obama shirts) was probably this one:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tardiness: Excused; Guilt Questioned

I woke up earlier than usual this fine Monday morning to go do an observation at 8:00am. Being as how I have class at 9:00, I had pre-emailed my instructor that I would be late today.

During the observation, I got a ton graded. I also may have made some brief observation notes (but did I mention how much I got graded?!?).

I got to campus in time for class and even got a great parking space at Mitsi's-Secret-A-Parking [it's not really a secret, but I like to pretend it is. This parking reminds me of Mandy's-After-5 parking when I was at Tech]. But since I already have permission to be late to class, I am clearly not going to go on-time. That would just be silly.

I'm actually hoping to miss the theoretical discussion part of this morning's class, as I was so busy grading last night that I chose not to read for class today. This has been a hallmark of previous semesters, but I've actually done a better job this semester. Regarless, in my self-induced tardiness, I have come to the library, caught up on friends' blogs, and done some more grading. Ah, the freedoms of excused tardiness! So much better than the "dangit-I-was-late-again!" guilty kind.

Speaking of guilt, how is it that mothers become such proficient guilt-mongers as their children grow up? I swear that my mom has gotten much better at this skill over the past few years. I wound up not going home for Easter which, a week before, seemed cool to everybody. Gas is expensive, I have school stuff, and I was just there (albeit for fewer than 24 hours) a week and 1/2 ago. But suddenly on Good Friday, my absence is no longer ok. Case in point:

  • Well, everyone's going to be here for lunch Sunday. We're all going to church together [except for you].
  • Well, it sure would be nice to have some help singing the Hallelujah chorus, but I guess we'll just have to get by [with our screechy sopranos].
  • Have fun with your grading [when you could be here with us].

I need to ask my mom-friends if they feel this inner voice of guilt was implanted in them at the time their children emerged from the womb, or if it's a skill that's honed with age and experience.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Happy Easter. May you be blessed by the love of Christ.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy anniversary, girls!

Today is the girls' 3-month anniversary. We're quite happy together. I found the "before" picture last night on a stroll down photo-memory lane (after taking a 3 hour nap that totally messed up my regular night's sleeping), so decided to wear the same thing for an "after" picture. Check out how the shirt doesn't have the stretch wrinkles! The girls are by no means tiny, but they are ever-so-much more-manageable. My hair is a heckuva lot longer now, as well.

So, there's my boob post, by special request. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's not easy being green.

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Apparently, it's kind of a big deal to some people... on the way home, the parking lot of the Dog & Duck was full of people celebrating in revelry. What I want to know is, how did they get the day off? Also, what's up with St. Patrick? Something about snakes and getting them the hell outta Ireland, maybe? I'm absolutely for getting rid of snakes by any means possible, so maybe I should increase my celebration of this blessed day.

I'm doing my own part for "green" today. It sort of started by accident. I'm sure you've noticed that gas is extraordinarily expensive. After cruising around the great state of Texas last week (and spending a considerable amount of green to do so), Joe Jetta [who's green, incidentally] & I arrived safely, yet completely out of gasoline, back in Austin. I totally need to fill up (and probably have enough gas to get to the gas station), but don't want to spend $50 to do so. So, I did what any starving grad. student might do, and pulled my bike out of storage yesterday [yes, it was in the storage closet... what does that say about my exercise habits?].

I rode to The Tavern for beers and basketball with some girlfriends yesterday, which was lovely (the ride, the conversation, the b.ball for the Badgers--though sadly not for the Horns). This morning as I loaded up for school, however, my ass was sore as anything from yesterday's piddly ride. This is going to take some getting used to.

I did cruise in to the post office on my bike on the way home, where I ran into my uber-Austin-vegan friend Travis (who was there on his bike; check out his website). That was a fun moment.

To be totally honest, this move wasn't motivated by my desires to save the earth or reduce pollution. It was all about saving a few bucks for a few days. Nevertheless, I've realized that it is very "green" and Austin of me to ride my bike and/or use public transit (they're buying gas anyway, I may as well take advantage of that fact), so I'm going to try it for the week... let's see if I can go car-less for a week. I'll also publicly proclaim here my intention to ride my bike to school for the rest of the semester (when I have class; when I teach, I'm still going to be allowed to drive, after this week). I live less than 2 miles from school; it is all uphill on the way there, but flying-fast on the way home. There are lazier people than I who get by car-less in this city. Besides, it will be good practice for when we want to ride into town from the yoga resort we're staying at on Turkey's Mediterranean coast (ok, so that is still in the works).

So, I may not wear green the rest of the day (because my green shirt's all sweaty now), but I'm going to attempt to live it. Beat that.


And in random things I found on the internet today... check out Yahoo's homepage. Please note the tag line of the "lead story:" "One woman's marriage ended over her husband's gaming addiction. Learn how to avoid this scenario." Then the links right below are the following: "Find the most addictive games" and "5 best-selling casual games." Find out how to avoid this scenario, or just say "Screw it," and find awesome games (that may end your marriage!). Hmmm.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Salute to Those who Own Toddlers


Lincoln with his bear, "Tartar"

As one who lives on her own, there are many things I take for granted. These things are brought into spectacular view when sharing my home with a 3-year-old. For example, on my own, I typically tend to have sufficient quantities of:

  • paper towels
  • clean sheets
  • towels
  • toilet paper
  • clean dishes
  • food that is appealing to the general population of the house
  • privacy

That is all a little different with the addition of a very small person. To my friends who are moms, I officially salute you.

Lincoln and I have had a pretty fun few days, all things considered. A photo synopsis of our goings-on:


It poured all day Monday, so we went to see the dinosaur bones at the Natural Science Museum on campus. It was pretty cool. There was a wall of snakes on the fourth floor, though... I am such a paranoid wimp, I had to cover my eyes the entire time we were on that floor... I almost elected not to walk down the hall at all (I quite literally had shivers down my spine just thinking about being in proximity to that many snakes. Ugh. The shivers are back now just thinking about that horrid wall of evil).


On the way back to the car, we stopped to check out the rushing Waller Creek.


The rainy day made us a little stir-crazy, so we had a rollicking good "Crazy Dance" session.


It finally stopped raining, so we had a lovely day out Tuesday. Lincoln LOVES Austin!


We fed bread to the swans and ducks at Town Lake. Murphy thought we were feeding him and kept trying to take bread from Lincoln's hands. The swans hissed at Murph (was anyone aware that swans hiss?).


Our much-anticipated picnic became a reality at Zilker.

We then played, played some more, took Murphy home, and went for milkshakes at Amy's/Phil's [P. Terry's milkshakes are better and much less expensive, but we did get our really cool photo-booth pictures taken at Amy's. Granted, something seemed to be wrong with the printer and the quality is not what I'd call "good," but the experience was totally worth it (and I actually had cash on me!). The second photo in the strip is my personal favorite. In the first, I was saying "Don't pick your nose" (note the hand lowering from his facial area). The third is classic deer-in-the-headlights-m.j.p., and in the fourth, Linc could be one of Raphael's cherubim)].

After the milkshakes and more playscape-madness, we visited the downtown library and brought home some books and videos. We should have done that Monday, but c'est la vie. I find the downtown library to be a vastly confusing place. Odd, as I typically use the even-more-confusing PCL.

These boys are pretty tired after a long day.

Murphy crawls underneath the blanket to snuggle with Linc.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

freaky friday [especially since it's thursday]

Second freakiest thing I've seen this week: THIS AD
I only wish I would have been clever enough to have written this about it:
"Unless this product is PhotoShop in a bottle, I seriously doubt that you will go from looking like a 90-year-old woman who's spent her life living on the beach to a sun-kissed 20-something after using it. As Judge Judy would say, "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining." (And for the record, it should be "fewer" wrinkles.)"

Freaky accurate: This hilarious bit on graduate school (anyone who has heard my complaints about my current lack of 3-day weekends can attest to the stunning accuracy of this report.)

Freaking hilarious: "Poll Dancing" by Texas Monthly (With a title like that, how could it be anything but greatness?)

Freaky just: The Sasquatch. Yikes. And I don't mean this one:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Austinization

Murphy & Skippy really like the new blog header (check out how grey Murph's muzzle is getting! It's creeping towards his goatee. He is getting up there... almost 3!)

In honor of the new Austinized format of the blog, I feel it apropos to include some images of this past idyllic Austin weekend. My continuing journey towards complete Austinization made some great progress last weekend.

For starters, did you know that the Independence Brewing Co. does monthly tours and tastings? This month they had a huge Texas-Independence-weekend-sized block party. Live music, barbeque sandwiches, people who brought games, dogs, chairs, and free delicious beer.


We ran into some friends of J.Y.'s from college (one of whom looked strikingly like Glen Hansard) with whom we hung out at the beer fest. It was such a fun time and the beers were great. Pictured here is the "Austin Amber."

Perhaps the most unique and delicious of the beers sampled on Saturday was the [soon to be released, but not currently on the website] Southside Black Beer. I've always been a little afraid of beers one can't see through, but this was like coffee... coffee beer. The perfect after-dinner beer. Yum; I wish I had some right now.

What better way to follow an afternoon of beers and friends than with delicious tacos? I sadly missed the new Torchy's grand opening last weekend (although I ate there on Friday before Saturday's big hurrah), but got the opportunity to check it out this weekend. It has it strengths and weaknesses.



The sign outside looks pretty good, but doesn't actually say "Torchy's" on it anywhere. And at night, only the outline is illuminated.

However, once one gets inside, the menu and food quality is the same of the stand. AND, the Brush Fire is now an enduring part of the Torchy's repertoire (no longer just the featured taco of the month!). That and the Green Chili Pork are my very favorites.

The patio is nice... there is a small stage area (and a pretty terrific band was playing Saturday night), but the lights aren't the same as the trailer. The lighting is nice, and the whole thing is rather cozy, but I'm not planning on eliminating the S. 1st trailer from my regular rounds.


Service-wise, the new Torchy's is still working out the bugs. Mike, the owner and brains behind the Torchy's empire, took our orders. There was some mix-up in the kitchen and we got flour instead of corn tortillas (which they fixed pretty promptly). We did have to wait a little longer than customary at the trailer... maybe because it was pretty packed. The BYOB policy is still in place, and last I heard there was some question about getting TABC licensing, due to the new location's proximity to Dawson Elementary. But that's mostly hearsay. I'll definitely be back for more taco goodness, but chances are I'll be walking to my traditional trailer Torchy's.

Maybe I should marry Torchy's.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Don't tell Sarah's mom...

It's been a busy week. It's been a FABULOUS weekend. There is so much to blog about, but I'm going to try to stay on topic for a bit.

On Thursday, Anissa called and convinced me to skip class Friday to go with her to Waco for a Clinton rally [incidentally, she tried to convince me to cancel class Thursday so we could go to an Obama rally... what a bad influence that one is]. So Friday morning, I cruised up to Jorge-ville, and we headed on to Waco for the rally.

Having never been to a rally before, I'll tell you what you might expect [at a small town rally]:

- a lot of posters being waved about



- giant flags


- a considerable amount of standing and waiting



- some excellent photo/video opportunities (especially if you're at a small-town blue rally in the middle of a red state)
video

- hordes of people pushing to the front for handshakes/signatures (I was literally pushed by the crowd up up against the barriers [how do those not fall over?]; I did get a signature on my poster, though [may be hard to see in this photo]! History is mine!).
- giant skull art (perhaps that's unique to Waco and not generalizable to all rallies).
It was a good time, overall, once we got past the excessive standing/waiting part. We met some nice Waco-ites(?), did some interesting people-watching, and felt very political and involved.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bitches get stuff done!

Topic #1: BITCHES

Regardless of your political affiliation, you should definitely check out this video. You can fast forward to where there's 2:09 left if you want.

Yeah! Don't you feel all fired up now! Seriously. Bitch is the new black! Couldn't have put it better myself.

I have a sort of girl crush on Tina Fey. I really think we'd be good friends. Amy Poehler, too (plus she's married to Will Arnett, who's likely not a jerk [see below], but played one on TV). Maybe I'll invite them to my graduation party, as I'm sure they'd enjoy themselves. Those ladies are smart, kinda nerdy, and hys-terical. They would fit in well with my friends.

Topic #2: JERKS

A friend sent me this link today. Go read it now.

The friend who sent it said, "sounds too familiar..." So true. One of my girlfriends and I frequently commiserate about "Kryptonite boys." Maybe you've had the misfortune of being associated with one of these characters. The article portrays the situation perfectly: "we meet the jerk and in some twisted way are seduced by his confidence, charm, and passion. We don't see these as the disguises they are: confidence is really arrogance, charm comes from him being a player, and his passion is being the center of his own universe."

Kryptonite boys [I know of one reported case of a Kryptonite girl, as well, so maybe I should say Kryptonite people] crawl under your skin until sometimes all you have is anger to keep you safe from them and the tremendously dangerous pull they have over you. All reason goes out the window when you're involved with them. And there's no known cure, so one must remind themself over and over that they are not and never really were good for you.

Topic 3: SONGS OF THE WEEK

This week's songs are topical.
For Topic #1, some classic Elton John.
For Topic #2, (so hard to choose!) The Plain White Tees (in honor of this week's angries).

Take care of yourselves, bitches. Don't let the jerks get you down. (And remember, they're not all jerks.) :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Da' beers, da' Bears, De' bate

[this has nothing to do with Da' Bears, but I like saying it]

I'm so bummed out that only 100 students got to attend last night's debate. I'm also a little irritated because one of my classmates (who's an international student--not going to be able to vote here) DID get to go. Grrrrr. Of course, that irritation might be linked to the general malaise of my stomach from having beer, fried pickles, and cheese/bacon/jalapeno fries for dinner while watching last night's debate at a nearby bar [as we were unable to get into (a) the real debate or (b) the screening at the Union].

I still don't know who I'm voting for. I liked what both candidates had to say about bilingualism/promotion of foreign languages. I thought the question was so very interesting...
"Is bilingualism a threat to American society?" Yeah, a big huge threat. Goodness knows we wouldn't want people to be able to communicate with MORE people. It's not a threat to any of the other societies in the world... come on, folks.

Anyway, I wasn't really expecting anything to be crystal clear after the debate, but it would have been nice. I know I'm NOT voting for Ron Paul... I guess that's a step. I should totally be focusing more on the local side of things, as that's where my vote will actually make a difference; I'll add it to my to-do list.

Speaking of to-do list, I am so dog-gone tired... I've been utterly day-to-day lately just to get everything done! Some sleep really would be nice. I shouldn't bitch about this... a classmate from Motivation had a baby 3 weeks ago and is back in class AND teaching. I think her name must be Wonder Woman. Shoot.

Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. Wicker? So much. Guys named Frank really catch my fancy. He is so funny, in an erudite-professorial-way. He "flossed his brain" today in class [picture the "arrow through the head" trick, but with yarn]. Too funny... not funny if anyone else were doing it, but hilarious because you know that the tidbits of brain that might stick to the metaphorical floss would be rich with intelligence. Plus, it was just funny how he hid behind the overhead to put the "brain floss" on.

And I sat by Joey Tribbiani today. I had to cover up my doodles of his pirate "ARR" tattoo, 'cause I swear he was looking at my notes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

proud moment

So, I'm giving a test at this very moment. And just about 2 minutes ago, I was backing up to get something, and I literally FELL OUT OF MY CHAIR.

Yes, that's right, in front of this group of college students who are 1/2 mine and 1/2 not, I fell on my ass, out of my chair. I'm so proud.

There's a reason my middle name is Joy instead of Grace.

[They did say that I provided a great intermission from the test... so glad I could be of service.]

Sunday, February 17, 2008

irony, 2s, songs

I just read three articles for class about blogs. Now I'm blogging about reading blogs. The best way I can explain what's going on in my brain right now is by means of this stunning visual aid:

This weekend was a weekend of twos:
2 runs 'round the lake (progressively building endurance... We ran [vs. walked] more of the distance today than Friday!)
2 times the parking lot was filled with fire trucks, police cars, and EMS vehicles upon arriving home late at night (no joke! there was a fire in one of the buildings last night... never found out what happened the other time)
2 movies about restaurants/chefs/food (both highly recommended: Eat Drink Man Woman and Big Night)
2 Asian-inspired meals
2 names for the uber-guapo guitar player at Saturday's party (Dwayne or Leon? We may never know)
2 trips to Torchy's (Murphy was so exhausted after today's run that he didn't even respond to the opportunity to go to with)
A new feature of the blog... song(s) of the week. These are retroactive... things I've been listening to over the past week:

Friday, February 15, 2008

2 Timothy 3:2-7, 9

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth... But they will not get very far because, as is the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blog o'the Week

1) I had a kick-ass lesson plan the other day; it was actually 2 kick-ass lessons rolled into one. We practiced assessing ELLs' English proficiency using the SOLOM and the 5 Stages of Language Acquisition (while simultaneously learning about concurrent validity and inter-rater reliability). Then, I split my students into random groups and assigned each one a candidate to research their views on/voting record on/plans for dealing with immigration. They're presenting tomorrow... I'm excited to learn from them.

2) I am beginning to understand statistics. This is magnificent. I get z scores and T scores (and can figure them, when given mean and standard deviation).

3) My sweet friend K made me homemade chocolates and wrote me the loveliest of cards for Valentine's Day. It helped to take away some of the hate I have towards Valentine's this year.

4) My friend from Istanbul is pumped that I'll be in Turkey and can't wait to take me all around. I'm pumped that I have a friend in Turkey to visit!

5) I narrowly escaped making a VERY foolish life choice over the weekend. Logic, reason, and good old taking-care-of-myself-ness kept me out of what could have been one of the worst personal decisions since... well, maybe all time.

6) Elizabeth told me that in her professional opinion, I'm doing GREAT. That's right folks, GREAT. Then I almost made the bad decision (but didn't; because I'm GREAT).

7) I'm watching Disc 2 of Season 1 of Weeds right now. I'm gonna say--I like it.

8) Someone in San Marcos really likes my blog. Hmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

peak experience

Oh my.

I had the most wonderful amazing-sushi-fatabulousness experience this evening.

I'm sort of in shock from the wonder.

Joon Yee & I went to Uchi, and now that I think about it, I don't know if I even have words to describe the grandeur of it all... we both made happy sighing noises all the way home from the restaurant. The sashimi--good. The tasty bits of sea bass drizzling in citrus vinagrette with garlic and black pepper--amazing. The yellowtail, crispy shallot, avacado, golden roe, other magical ingredients roll--quite sure I'm dead in heaven right now.

So, I think I get it now, why Uchi has been touted as the best restaurant in Austin since I've lived here. It's not just sushi, it's damn creative and amazing.

I'm going to go have sweet dreams of my dinner now. Aah.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ok

Over the last couple of years, playlists have come to play quite a significant role in my life... Titles of some more emotionally-charged lists include (in alpha order): bad bad man, happy love, heartbreak, missing you, sabbath, and splitsville.

Looking back over these lists tonight, I decided to put together a new playlist for the space I'm in now. The title: being ok.

It's taken me a bit to get to the point of putting this list together, but it now seems apropos. There are still subtle overtones of hurt, sad, some hate, and maybe an incidental tribute to the past, but mostly the list is simply about being ok.

And I like that.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK Weekend Airport Rant

Lubbock, TX= safest airport in the US of A? Maybe. Also MOST ANNOYING. This is the 2nd time I’ve been stopped there and had something taken away from me (well, this time it was almost taken away from me… but I went and checked another freaking bag so it wouldn’t be) that “holds more than 3.4 ounces” yet is EVER SO CLEARLY NOT FILLED TO CAPACITY. Last time it was a tube of toothpaste. This time, it was my face cleanser from Origins (see why I went back to check another bag; like hell I’m letting them throw that out).

Then, after I go check the additional bag and have to re-go through security (the check-in man asked me, “You still you?” No, buddy—I’m from a soap opera and I just had an emergency face transplant so I could get my evil friend on the plane…. Heh heh heh), they pull me aside and go through my backpack. Also, they were going through EVERY checked bag. My was full of dirty clothes and new-to-me-clothes I bought over the weekend from the Goodwill. Oh, and maybe some yarn and a crochet hook.

So, the guy is going through my backpack (into which I put my purse, as I customarily do at security). Granted, I did have a Diet Dr. Pepper in there (a new, unopened one, I will add) that I had forgotten about. So he pulls that out, proud to have caught me, a clear terror threat. Then he goes through every additional pocket. He found some Oragel that I didn’t even remember having, as well as a 3.5 oz. tube of lotion [it’s a wonder that got through… I was planning to fill the last .1 ounce with something to make the rest of the lotion explode] that were in my purse and scolded me, saying they were the right size, but I’d best keep them in the plastic baggie. Then he threw my DDP away, or maybe he drank it himself. I left and promptly removed the Oragel and lotion from the safety of the plastic baggie and put them back into my purse where they go. Hello, how is this helping anything?!?

Now, I’m all for security, but see, I’d traveled from Austin to Dallas to Lubbock with all those same things in tow, including the [maybe] 1/5 full face cleaner. You’d think that if it was that big of a security risk, someone would have given me a stern talking to long before. Seriously, I’m just annoyed.

Then I got more annoyed because they got my hopes up with the promise of a $100 voucher if I’d take a later flight to Dallas. I quickly and gladly volunteered (would have meant a much shorter layover here at the despicably low-ceilinged Dallas Love—in addition to low ceilings, the place is plagued by noise pollution—is it really necessary to have plasma TVs at every gate showing Judge Judy? I mean, with the airport-wide announcements, conversations of loud talkers on their cell phones, and the elevator music [currently playing “Love Lift Us up Where We Belong”] don’t we have enough audio input?!? Isn’t there SOMETHING that could go?!?). The guy told me to get on the plane and they’d come get me. I prayed silently the whole time that someone really would come pull me off the completely-packed plane; I only began to give up hope once we were actually taxiing onto the runway.

So, I’m here at Love, DDP-less, hoping my bags make it to Austin, without a $100 voucher. I did get to keep my aisle seat on the flight from Lubbock, but the lady across from me kept talking about me to her daughter (the aisle is not exactly “sound proof”); “Look, she’s got scrunchies on her wrist! Three of them! Why do you think she’s got that?” Actually, they’re rubber bands. I usually keep one; I happen to have three today because I’m TRAVELLING. They’re for putting my hair up. I know, I know, what a concept!

Ugh. Also, why can’t airports just HAVE free internet? Why must I go through a 3rd party provider for the low low cost of $6/hour? Don’t they know I’m a poor grad student? Who actually uses T-Mobile, anyway? [“The winner takes it all! The loser has to fall”… I know, Mom, I miss you too… We are educators who have your best interests in mind. ITT Tech… call 1-800-GENERAL RIGHT NOW!!!... (synthesizer solo about 2 octaves too high) “The winner takes it all! The winner takes it all!!!”]