Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Monday, February 27, 2006

All the cheese to your heart's content

Saturday was my (mumbled) birthday, so of course I made it all about me. I dragged The Texan along San Antonio's mission trail, something I've been meaning to do but have been putting off. It's a trail of four missions - five, if you count the Alamo - that have been preserved, more or less well, and were what created the city of San Antonio. It's one of those things tourists do and locals rarely do (kind of like the Smithsonian in DC. Or any touristy thing, really). And having lived here for four months, I felt it was high time I did something to appreciate the local culture.

Maybe it's a factor of my age, or that these are better-presented, but these missions were much more interesting than the California missions I was dragged to as a child. A few of them were pure and simple ruins, but a few others were beautifully preserved (one, thanks to the WPA and the Depression). In fact, there was a wedding at the best-looking one - San Juan - that had what I would swear on my life to be two brides. I checked and there was only one woman in a white dress and veil up front, which means that a guest was wearing the same thing as the bride. How embarrassing.

Another thing that struck me was that the mission churches - which are all still active - don't have crucified Jesuses up front. I was raised Catholic and have traipsed through my share of Catholic churches here and abroad, and they almost always have a Christ on the cross somewhere in the church (just in case you forget why you're there, I guess). But none of these had it; at best, they had a sad-looking Jesus sitting, fully-clothed, with a crown of thorns. The San Jose mission in fact had what looked to be a friar in the front and center position above the altar.

Anyways. Afterwards, The Texan and I went out for a fab-u-lous dinner at a fancy restaurant on the Riverwalk (Las Canarias at La MansiĆ³n del Rio Hotel). It was down at the far end of the Riverwalk, so there weren't that many tourists. What they did have was a strolling classical guitarist who seemed to specialize in singing "Happy Birthday" to trapped guests. The Texan kept threatening the whole time to tip off the waitstaff that it was my birthday so that I'd have to sit through a rendition of it. He, however, did not, as he wanted to live to see his next birthday. Las Canarias has a menu option where you can sample five cheeses picked out by their wine and cheese steward. We took it and immediately regretted not getting the option where you try ALL their cheeses. Next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Out with the scenesters

Such as it is. Friday night, The Texan and I went to go hear a few bands play. This was officially to support one of his classmates, who was in one of the bands, but really it was more for me to get out to a club and hear some music - something I haven't done since I got here. We had a great time. It was very interesting people-watching. SA is not so much on the ultra-skinny guys and girls with ironic t-shirts and intricate haircuts (ahem, BLACK CAT). Instead, there were a lot of young-uns out to have a good time. They don't sell earplugs at the clubs, though. Luckily, I had a few sets I'd swiped from Virgin Atlantic a while back, and my precious eardrums were spared most of the onslaught of noise. Not that the music wasn't good - I'd just rather hear less of it and spare my hearing for my old age, assuming that the bird flu hasn't wiped man off the face of the planet by then.

Monday, February 20, 2006

At last

We have a winter...of sorts. It's been hovering around freezing the past couple of days (this is after temps in the mid-80s and needing the air-conditioner on earlier last week). I found out the hard way that our front steps will freeze under the right conditions. I had what I like to think of as a "Scooby-doo" fall down them yesterday morning: took one step and had both feet shoot out underneath me. Luckily not much was hurt outside of my pride. Also luckily (for my neighbors) my bathrobe stayed tied shut. Us former Girl Scouts know how to tie knots that stay tied. Goes to show you never know when knowledge is going to come in handy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Guess I'll be going to the movies soon

The other night, The Texan and I were catching up on our DVR recordings. We saw a boatload of ads, but one kept popping up, over and over again: the preview for "Eight Below," the new Disney movie about the eight sled dogs left to fend for themselves in Antarctica. After the, I don't know, ziptillionth viewing, The Texan sighed, turned to me, and said in all seriousness, "*I* want a dog who can play poker."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

You know you're in Texas....

....when the gym is playing country & western music. God, as if having to work out first thing in the morning wasn't punishment enough. My (revived) iPod did its best to drown it out, but still warblings of "my back and butt hurt, but I still get to my church for my woman" made it through my earbuds.

Besides the basic triteness of that song - it reminded me of that tired joke about playing C&W music backwards (you get your truck back, your dog back, and your woman back) - it rubbed me the wrong way, as it was going on about how a woman pulled this guy together and made him fly right.

While I am all about grrl power, this sort of thinking, that a man needs a woman to make him a responsible part of society, just bugs the shit out of me. I can see how being with someone can make you a better person, as they can bring forth or encourage parts of you that you might not even know about. In fact, I think that the best relationships do just that.

But to make your personal development contingent upon someone else making you do so...come on, you're an adult. Do it yourself. I don't want a project, and most people I think would agree with me.

Plus, it was a really irritating song.


Yesterday, in a move that I'm sure is completely unrelated to why I have to work out so goddamned much just to maintain my (sorry) level of fitness, The Texan and I hit the grocery store for after-VD candy. He got Sweet Tarts, I got Reese's Hearts. These were slightly smushed, but their essential core of deliciousness was unchanged. We ended up having a late lunch and just snacked for dinner. I ended up having Reese's hearts and leftover champagne from VD. The Texan and I have completely different tastes in champers - he likes sweet, while for me, the drier, the better (another reason why we're perfect for each other) - so special occasions entail the purchasing of two bottles of champagne. Oh darn, I have to have my own bottle. The horror...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm really not in the mood to work today

I've been spending way too much time sliding over the linoleum in my socks - to the point where I make up reasons to have to walk down the hallway. Good clean fun, right? Albeit somewhat (okay, really) lame?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Suburban displeasure

I've gotten into the habit of having The Texan drop me off at the gym when he heads out to school and then walking home once I'm done. It's nice, because it has allowed me to get to know my neighborhood. It blows, because it allows me to get to know my neighborhood.

Actually, I like my neighborhood - everyone I've met has been uniformly friendly, there hasn't been any drag-racing or anything of the sort. But what I can't stand are all the dogs.

Keep in mind, I like dogs - more so now that I'm exposed to one on a daily basis (The Texan's). And I understand that they are a bit more, shall we say, exuberant than cats. Which is fine, viva la difference, and so forth.

But it drives me crazy when I walk down the street and every. single. dog. races to its fence and starts barking its fool head off. WHAT DO THEY KNOW? Why must they do that? Is it the cat fur permanently embedded in my clothes? Do I exude a cat-lady pherome? What?

And to make it worse, there's this one really yippy little dog that's allowed to run free (do NOT get me started on how many people do that here)(are they not aware of cars?)(and don't tell me it's a suburban thing - I grew up in the 'burbs and no one I know would've dreamed of letting their dog outside their fenced-in yard unattended). It's about the size of a Chihuahua and gets just frantic in its barking. It always follows me for 20 feet or so, I guess to make sure that I don't have any plans of staying on its territory. And it irritates the living piss out of me. I've tried scaring it, I've tried ignoring it, I've tried making friends with it. Nothing works.

It's to the point where I'm starting to half seriously consider one of two things: 1) Introduce it to my cat, Shrapnel. If Shrapnel can stare down a full-sized Australian shepherd, he could easily learn a little pipsqueak that's maybe a quarter of his size some manners. 2) Provoke the dog into somehow biting me. This branch of Texas has a serious rabies problem, and so all animals that bite humans are quarantined, no matter what their vaccination status is. Then I would sue its clueless owners - not for monetary damages, but just to scare them into locking their damn dog up. Or I could just let it go. It's just an animal, for chrissakes.


Another irritant is that I dropped my iPod yesterday and I think that it's gone to the big Apple store in the sky. I've dropped it many times and in many places, but never on such an unforgiving surface as cement. It froze into place and wouldn't respond to my increasingly frantic pressing of a key, any key, just respond for the love of god respond! And when I came home and plugged it in, hoping it would reboot, nothing happened. I'm going to check out Apple's website, but I fear the worst. Farewell, my electronic friend. It's been real.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A danger to myself and those around me

Over a 36-hour period this weekend, I managed to:

* Damn near gut myself by falling directly onto the corner of a bedside table. I was reading quietly in bed, all calm and peaceful, when the phone rang. As I have a Pavlovian reflex where I must answer the phone when it rings, come what may, I immediately leapt out of bed and headed toward the phone. Unfortunately, my feet got tangled en route, and instead of stopping to clear them of the sheets, I pressed forward to sad results. I now have a lovely shiner mid-abs.

* Kick the dog square in the nose while I was trying to step over him. The poor dog was asleep at the time, which is akin to running into a telephone pole (i.e., no one to blame but yourself, loser).

* Poke the cat in the eye when I bent down to pet him. My guilty conscience says he's been squinting reproachfully at me ever since. Or he might just be doing his usual glare. Hard to say.

* This clumsy rampage finally shuddered to a halt Monday morning (at least, GOD, I hope it's over, knock wood). I went into my home office, all ready to start off another busy work week, and realized that my ceiling light was off for some reason. I reached up, tugged (gently! I swear!) on the chain to turn it on...and brought the entire lamp shade down to the floor, where it immediately shattered and sent glass slivers to the four corners of the world. The cat had finally forgiven me for poking him in the eye and was hanging out by my ankles; this sent him winging to the opposite end of the house.

Things seem to have calmed down since, but I'm not entirely certain this phase has passed. Until it does, if The Texan were smart, he'd steer clear of the mess.

Monday, February 06, 2006


My home's natural state of bliss may be on a shaky foundation.

Today's Washington Post had an article about how picky today's daters are. Using Seinfeld's excuse about a woman having "man hands" as an example of the near-impossible level of perfection some people claim they want, the author talks about the moment where, for a reason you can't quite put your finger on, the person you're dating is just not going to work out. She calls it "the taquito moment" (from a health nut who cited his date's love for 7-11's taquitos as his reason for giving her walking papers).

Um, what's wrong with frozen taquitos? I LOVE them. I serve them at parties, to great acclaim I might add (unless everyone's been pulling faces behind my back and whispering, "for god's sake, where'd you dump those horrible taquitos Her Ladyship keeps plying us with?"). I buy them by the case: in fact, I have 25 of the little suckers waiting for me right now in my freezer.

Should I be worried that The Texan is going to have an honest-to-god taquito moment in the near future? I'd better force him to eat one, pronto, so that he can see I'm not insane and acknowledge that these frozen taquitos are heavily-processed and overly-salted slices of heaven.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Living in a dream world

Wednesday, on my way to work, The Texan asked me to pick up a few cans of sliced olives. I immediately agreed, as I knew it could only mean one thing: he was going to make his world-famous pasta salad. So I stopped by the ubitquitous HEB to grab the olives, and as is often the case, wound up with a whole cart of items.

I was so proud of myself, too, because I'd remembered a bunch of things we were about to run out of, plus I got treats for the dog (canned food WITH gravy. now that's good eating!) and myself (ridiculously expensive conditioner). Oh, and a bunch of flowers to top everything off.

So I stagger up to the front behind my overloaded cart, munching on a sample of free pizza (verdict: crap but it's free. And it's pizza). As they start running my items through the scanner, the checkout girl asks me how I'd like to pay for the items.

See where this is going? I immediately flashed to when I'd been shopping on-line earlier that day. My poor wallet was, alas, sitting in my desk. No problem, I thought, I'll write a check. Then I realize that my checkbook is sitting next to my wallet. I had to tell them to forget about it. I feel for the poor stocker who had to go around and put everything back on the shelf. They asked me if I wanted to come back for the stuff, but that would've entailed an hour of round-trip driving, so I told them no-go.

I did have one bit of inspiration. I asked how much the olives cost. They were exactly one dollar, and I had my change purse with me. So, thanks to some quarters, a few dimes, and many, many pennies, I managed to pay for the one item on my list. Technically, I got what I came to the store for, so the trip wasn't a failure. Just a massive loss of dignity.

The worst part is that ever since, I've been living in an alternate reality where I'd bought the things I'd put in my cart. Every time I remember that I didn't, I come crashing back to earth. For example, yesterday I felt like soup for lunch. Cool, I'll just have one of the cans I bought...oh wait. The dog was behaving very well; I'll reward him with some special food....no, no can do. And so on. Let me tell you, this other universe is a much better one. It's well-stocked.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A tentative sigh of relief

Damn near the last thing I did before I got on the plane to leave DC was to go to my beloved hair stylist one last time. She was able to read my mind and take my pathetically lame directions ("piecier, but not choppy") and turn out a great haircut that required minimal upkeep. In fact, I followed her to three salons, which sounds a bit stalkeresque. But she liked me! It wasn't just because I was giving her money!

Anyways, I held off as long as I could, but this week I gave up and made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored. Just a touch-up of the natural color. Yup, no grey hairs here. But if there were to be grey hairs here, then they would be at about 25 percent of my hair and focused at my crown, as the stylist at my new salon wrote down. (Bitch.) (Sigh, just kidding. It was getting a bit Lily Munster-like.)

So I've been grilling all new female acquaintances as to where they got their hair done. The same name kept coming up: a place that was an Aveda concepts salon. Off I went, with a little trepidation.

It turned out okay, although for a while there, it was getting rather poufy. I had visions of coming out with Pageant Hair. But it defluffed nicely, and my hair has color again. Hooray.

One strange thing: the place is a no-tip salon. I've never heard of such a thing. I asked my stylist what the philosophy was behind that. She hemmed and hawed, but I deduced finally that they try to make it so that each stylist/colorist/whatever can be plugged in or out as needed, so they didn't want to have customers worry about who to tip. Frankly, we figure it out everywhere else, but hey, if they want me to pocket the money, I have no problems with that. One thing I wanted to ask my stylist was didn't it suck not getting tips? I mean, I'm sure they pay well, but not at the same level as tips would provide. I didn't quite use those words, but my stylist volunteered, "It's a bit hard at first, but you get used to it." Then, clearly remembering her training, she straightened her back and continued, "But it works out great. I love it." Despite this clear evidence of brainwashing of their employees, I think I'll go back.