Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


That's how people greet you in Guatemala. I prefer it, as you don't have to make the difficult choice of saying "Good afternoon" or "Good evening," which for us English-speakers is nigh impossible to distinguish. Just cheat and say "buenas." Covers all contingencies.

Anyways, back from my trip south. Guatemala is gorgeous, lush, cheap, and extremely dodgy in parts. I think some of that is due to the not-too-distant civil war. But there is a real bunker mentality there - sixteen-year-old "security" guards carrying machine guns at your local supermarket, concertina wire encircling most homes, attack dogs as pets. And I was so worried about it.

But you know where I actually got assaulted? Here, in San Antonio. Yesterday the Texan and I were baby-sitting for some friends. I was rough-housing with the kids (because we were entering our third straight hour of SpongeBob and I was going to snap if I had to listen to one more second of that) and, well, the four-year-old totally decked me. It was an accident, but I have a lovely black eye now. I need to go into my new place of employment in a few hours to turn in some paperwork, and I'm sure they'll be rethinking their recent hire. Ah well.

Back to Guatemala: Very cool place to explore. I actually did some museum visits this time - it's just a coincidence that one of them happened to be hosting a Christmas bazaar - and got to see a good chunk of the country. Besides running all over Guate City, I went to Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the black sand beaches at Monterrico. Both were stunning, but for different reasons.

And, at the risk of TMI, I kept my record intact of puking on every international trip this year. This time it was due to my insistence on having a heavy steak meal on Thanksgiving, when it was super-hot and a completely bad idea.

RollerDiscoMonkey was the perfect host and completely patient with my dueling cleanliness and water obsessions, gamely asking the server every time I expressed trepidation if the ice cubes were made with tap or bottled water.

I came back to Texas to find that the gun shop on the corner has opened up a shooting gallery. Good to be home.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Off again

Having just gotten caught up with my work email's in-box, I now am getting ready to let it surge wildly out of control as I take another week off. But this time, it's for something fun. My friend RollerDiscoMonkey is working in Guatemala, so I'm spending this week with her. While I'm truly sorry to be leaving The Texan on Thanksgiving, I have a feeling that the swim-up bar of the beach resort where we'll be spending Turkey Day will take away some of the sting.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2005

What up with that?

It's 40 degrees outside - that's Fahrenheit, folks, not Celsius. I did not move to Texas just so I could be cold in a slightly less humid climate than DC.

Why did I move here again?

Oh right, The Texan, who turns 25 today (heh. riiiight). Happy birthday, Tex. Thanks for putting up with the hissy cat and his even more demanding owner. I love you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Something you never would've seen in DC

We went to the vet today, not because Shrapnel had bitten anyone again (although he did manage to give The Texan's dog another good hook to the nose this morning). The poor dog had an even more traumatic experience coming: he was going to be fixed.

The vet's office had had a crazy day and was running late, so while we were cooling our heels, they told us to open up one of the examination rooms to see what was inside.

Sleeping on the ground was a full-sized llama. Who was snoring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Initial takes

Having been in Texas for not even a week, I feel well-qualified to discourse about it knowledgeably. Here we go...

* Everything is bigger in Texas. Including my ass, if I keep on eating like this. But it's so hard, what with Jack-in-the-Box, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Cabana on every corner.

* Goods are about two-thirds what they cost in DC. I drove The Texan nuts during our first visit to the grocery store - which is HEB, a chain that apparently has San Antonio in an iron vice clamp - by constantly exclaiming when espying some familiar product, "Do you KNOW how much this cost back home?" And when we went to SuperTarget, I about had a heart attack.

* People really are friendlier here. Of course, I'm coming from a city that has notoriously surly inhabitants. But still, it's nice. The Texan and I were out at a wine bar on Friday night (yes, they have those here). He forgot something in the car and went back to get it. Within two minutes, the people next to me had informed me of an annual wine festival the city holds and were comparing notes on our bottles of vino.

* Texans worship at the altar of air-conditioning. I have been FREEZING since I've been here. Which is odd, because normally I like things to be a bit cooler and often got in turf battles with roommates over the thermostat. But my god, I haven't been able to defrost since landing in San Antonio's airport. They are serious about wanting to be cool.

* The local paper - San Antonio News-Express - mostly runs wire stories but covers Mexico and the Americas very well. While they only have two pages of comics (as compared to the Washington Post's mighty three pages), they do have a solid page dedicated to advice columns. I think Billy Graham's has replaced Hints from Heloise as my favorite WTF column.

* Hot sauce really *is* on every table. And there is a beautiful thing known as the breakfast taco here. Not that crap breafast burrito you get at McDonald's. Basically they're small, cheap tacos that you eat at breakfast time, something I can truly get behind. They're so ubiquitous that in an article in yesterday's paper about obesity, they had a medical expert give the hint to skip the breakfast taco every once in a while and instead have oatmeal. As if.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hola from Tejas

Howdy from Texas, where I've been having a rooting, tooting good time. Heh. No cowboy boots yet, but the week is young.

All is going swimmingly with the move...with the exception of the pets. The Texan's dog is a Australian shepherd who could rip my cat Shrapnel from limb to limb if he chose. He has not, as he's a very sweet puppy who just wants to play.

Shrapnel, on the other hand, has apparently decided that the best defense is a good offense and will charge the dog every time they're in the same room. So far, he has ripped the dog's nose open and, more offensive to me, BIT ME. Yes, he literally bit the hand that feeds him. It was my fault to a certain extent, as I picked him up when his back was still arched, but I was just trying to separate the two before the fur literally began to fly.

The silver lining on this is that The Texan, who's quite a good photographer, managed to take the most awesome shot ever of Shrapnel taking a swing at the dog, mid-hiss. As ZFF commented, it looked like Shrapnel was a puma, poised to strike.

Hopefully we'll achieve an uneasy detente, as I'm quickly running out of patience with the constant refereeing.