Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's time to go shopping

I realized that I have spent the past week either in a) my workout clothes or b) what is little better than a muumuu. I mean, technically it's a khaftan I bought to wear over my bellydance costume, but damn if it isn't comfortable. Lightweight, airy - perfect for hot Texas weather. But for all intents and purposes, a muumuu. Sigh.

This also came home to me a week or so back when I went to put on my khakis and found pen ink all over the back. Not like a pen had exploded, but more like someone had drawn on my ass. Now, I think I would remember something like that happening, so my best guess was that there'd been an open pen in the grass where I was sitting the night before, watching a performance at the Folklife Festival. Luckily, The Texan's mad laundry skillz were able to get the ink out, but for a while there, it was touch and go. Those pants comprise like 90 percent of my wardrobe - without them, I'd be hosed.

The thing is, I really hate shopping for clothes. It's always stressful, I start snapping at innocent bystanders, and eventually end up storming out of a dressing room all peevish and FINE, I will wear CRAP, WILL THAT MAKE THE FASHION INDUSTRY HAPPY? My mom learned by the time I was 14 that it was safer just to give me a certain amount of money than to accompany me on any shopping trip. My attitude, sad to say, hasn't improved since then.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Only in Texas

Sunday, while driving through the great city of Comfort, Texas, we saw one of those big trucks that transports cars. Its load was golf carts...Hummer-style. Seriously: think H3, but in golf cart form. They could probably roll over our car (a Ford Escort) and not even blink.


This was en route to what I think has to be the closest thing to paradise this side of the Mississippi: Stonehenge II. We went there on a lark because what's not to love about a mock-up of the real thing? That has a few Easter Island statutes thrown in for the hell of it?

But it turned out to be like Shangri-La. It's in the town of Hunt, Texas, and yes, we almost killed a deer while we were there, but it was because the damn thing jumped in front of the car (calm down, The Texan braked in time).

Except for the rather bloodthirsty name, Hunt was gorgeous. Picture the slow-moving green Guadalupe River wending slowly through riverbanks crowded with tall, old, leafy trees. There are lily pad clusters scattered in groups across the river. Everywhere you look is greenery. With the exception of a few distant cars, there's quiet. Best of all, the air is balmy and almost cool.

This may speak more for how freaking hot we've been lately - Saturday, I got my first case of heat exhaustion (I got up to the point of where I'd stopped sweating before we realized the extent of my distress) - but it was really a lovely little discovery. I'd recommend it just for the drive alone.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thanks to the restorative powers of Long Island Iced Tea...

...I'm all better.

Yesterday, I was a bit under the weather as work stresses knocked my immune system for a loop. I slept a good chunk of the day and duly got myself ready for a night out. I normally would've stayed home, but we had tickets to see Lewis Black at the Majestic Theater and had been looking forward to it for some time. He was hilarious, as was his opener. The Majestic Theater is one of those old movie houses that's been renovated so it looks as it did in its glory days and my god, the place was gorgeous. All rococo and colors - just stunning. And afterwards, we went to Zen, a Buddha-themed bar which I'm sure is not at all disrespectful, where I had Zen Island Iced Teas until I was whole again.

But the best part of the night came actually before the show started. The Texan and I were waiting in line to buy some drinks*. He ordered two beers and I stood demurely by like the supportive girlfriend I am. The bartender said, "Sure, but let me see her [points to me] ID." Tee-hee. Their policy is to card anyone who looks under 22. To be blunt, 22 is long over the horizon for me. I told The Texan, who mocks my daily skin regimen, that this was vindication. My sister, ever the smart ass, asked me how the lighting was in the theater.

* Guess this got me too hopped up on ego-juice as I took one sip of my beer, set it down on the ground in front of my seat, and promptly knocked it all over my purse. Us 22-year-olds can't handle our alcohol, you know.

I just can't let this one pass unnoticed

A headline in the "lifestyle" section of yesterday's Express-News:

"Redneck Chic: The 'Hee Haw' Culture is hot and very marketable."

While I like to think of myself as trailer park fabulous, this hits maybe a little too close to home for comfort.

Monday, June 19, 2006

You know, it kinda was

Text-messaging conversation between J-Ditty and me Friday night:

J-Ditty: Where are you texting me from, heaven?

(Close - it was Cha-Cha's on Bandera. Home to the best margaritas in this life or the one after it, bar none.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Not for me

For some reason, I bought soy yogurt the last time I went to the store. And not just one - five of them. I have been gamely eating them, as the only other option is The Texan's - shudder- peach-flavored yogurt. But man are these...bleak. Yes, that's about right. Sorrowful imitations of the real thing.

Of course, I usually buy the yogurts with oreo crumbles on top, so shows how my tastes run.


The only other thing I got is the makeup tip my best friend Laura gave me. Laura Mercier, that is. On the date we got engaged, I celebrated by going to Blue Mercury (alas, only in DC, but it lives everywhere on the internet) and, um, got a full makeover. What, how do you celebrate taking on a lifetime commitment to the person you love? They had a Laura Mercier makeup artist there, who was quite good, even if he did spend an awful lot of time name-dropping Laura Mercier. Yes, yes, we get it, you work for the firm and you and her are BFF. ENOUGH.

But the guy was good and he taught me a neat trick. In order to make your eyes stand out and look really white, line the inside of your upper eye lid (that means inside the lash line) with navy eye liner. I was dubious, especially when it involved implements of torture so close to my eyes - there's a reason why I don't wear contacts, folks, and it's because nothing squicks me out faster than having to touch my eyes - but damned if it wasn't true. Even The Texan had to admit he could tell a difference.

When I was but a young lass and absorbed with the proper way to apply the Merle Norman makeup I purloined from my mom's bag, Seventeen told me that you should never, ever put makeup on the inside of your eyelid so to avoid contamination. Has this thinking changed, or am I about four months from going blind?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cultural diversity in the heartland

I was flipping impatiently through the Express-News "big" Sunday section yesterday (they had a section of recipes for a Tuscan picnic) when I came across an interview with Eva Longoria. Now, San Antonio looooooves her. She's dating Tony Parker, a star of the Spurs, and they're our small taste of Hollywood glamour.

So it was one of your typical hard-hitting interviews - why is SA the greatest city on the planet, what are her favorite things about SA, how awesome is SA, that sort of thing. She was gamely playing along, kind of giving non-answers, but then the interviewer hit pay dirt. S/he (I dunno exactly) asked Longoria about Tex-Mex food. She went to town talking about all her favorite Tex-Mex places around here. Cool, good to know that these places do rate. Then she goes on to say that she's opening up her own restaurant in LA as "you can't get good Tex-Mex there."


As any displaced Californian will tell you, there IS no good Mexican food outside of California -okay, Mexico doesn't count - as they try and cram Tex-Mex down your throat at every opportunity. And that is simply not Mexican food. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. (My friend Frequent Flyer has accused me and Grits, another southern Californian, of being Mexican food snobs. I wear that sobriquet with pride.) After having lived here for a while, I've gotten so I can enjoy Tex-Mex, but it's never going to be my favorite.

So I was especially delighted to go to the Folklife Festival this weekend. Even with it being 100 degrees out, it was fun walking around all the booths of all the cultures in the SA area. It was a nice reminder of the diversity that we have here. I had a beef kibbe sandwich (Lebanese), cheese rangoon (Thai/Laotian), baklava (Greek). Only disappointment was that they didn't seem to have an Indian booth, and I had my mouth set on a samosa. Sigh. Best part was the sampling of the Texas wines. You'd think that red wine on a hot day would be unappealing. You would be wrong.

Probably the most exotic thing I had, however, was Lone Star Lite beer. Verdict? Just like water, which, on a 100-degree day, isn't a bad thing. The Texan sniffed that it was sewage water, but since he was holding a Bud Lite at the time, I feel he had little cause to act uppity.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

THIS is what's wrong with the bridal industry

"Lisa Levy waited for years, her girlish hopes and dreams ever deferred, the shining prize just out of reach. 'I always, always wanted that KitchenAid mixer,' said Ms. Levy, a pharmaceutical marketer who married in March and registered for and received a black five-and-a-half-quart model from Williams-Sonoma. 'I was afraid to buy it because on some level I believed I'd never get married if I did.'" (From the New York Times, June 7, 2006)

Okay, I know that she was kidding, but there must've been a part of her who believed it, because she thought of it enough to say it to the NYT. Christ. If I waited to get married before I got kitchen implements, I'd still be eating with a spork.

I don't blame her - well, not totally. Women have been raised to fetishize a big, blow-out, princessy wedding where you can ream your guests/parents/credit cards to the limit in order to live the fantasy.

I'm having a hard time with all this. I'm in my early 30s, so I've had a loooong time to get my very fixed ideas as to what I'd like in a wedding; then again, I've seen too many examples of people freaking out over what truly are non-important things. Then again, I'm starting to see how bridezillas arise: you're spending a LOT of money on what, let's be honest, for most of us will be the biggest party of your life, and by god you want to get every penny's worth.

SA has a big bridal expo at some point this month. I'm of mixed emotions about it. On one hand, that much frou-frou in one setting could send me off the deep end (we went to go look at one place already and I sulked for four hours about it); on the other hand, I hear they have free cake samples. My sister told me in all seriousness that one bridal expo they went to was the happiest day of her life. Hee. In her defense, she went with her then-fiance, they won some prizes and apparently were washed away with all the champagne. So I'm leaning towards maybe going. It just feels...strange. A lot of the bridal stuff is geared towards 22-year-olds (I'm guessing - who else wants to wear a strapless gown?). But free cake and champagne can do a lot to rectify that.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Emergency broadcast system

This morning, Texas Public Radio stopped its show right at 7AM on the dot to run a test of the emergency broadcast system. I was surprised to hear it - I thought they'd stopped doing that once the Cold War ended. I have memories of having my Saturday morning cartoons - THE VERY BEST KIND - getting interrupted by that damn test, but I don't really recall hearing it since. The Texan informed me that all radio stations have to do it, but Texas Public Radio is one of the few that actually does it at a time when people might be listening. With that, he drops me off at the gym and heads off to school.

I get through my cardio routine and head over to the free weights. Ever since my beloved iPod died, and my lazy ass hasn't gotten around to getting it fixed, I've been forced to listen to whatever's playing over the PA system at the gym. Generally, that means a lot of crap. Today, however, they were streaming quite a bit of good dance music - oldies, from way back in 2000. I was grooving along to the beat when I heard the emergency broadcast system go off again. This time it was stranger, because I'm pretty sure that my gym has satellite radio, which I didn't think was bound by those kinds of regulations. I wonder if the government knows something.

This all brought back, ahem, fond memories of growing up in the Cold War. Not to get all crotchedy about it, but I truly don't think kids today realize how scary that was. Sure, now we have to worry about terrorism, but let's face it: a majority of the U.S. population is secure from attack. I'm not downplaying how awful September 11 was. I lived in DC at that time and in fact lost my job because of it (long story). But there is nothing like the threat of thermonuclear war to ruin your day.

And a lot of it was I'm sure played up - trying to keep a docile population accepting of its government and so forth - but a lot of it was legitimate too. I grew up in southern California, a place that put a lot of emphasis on earthquake drills, but even we were raised to accept that a nuclear war could occur.

To indicate how inculcated we were to this idea, a vignette: When I was 12, an Aeromexico airliner collided with a twin-prop in the airspace above my hometown. Everyone on board was killed, as were people on the ground unfortunate to be in the aircrafts' paths. But when I heard that plane screaming towards Earth, my first thought was, well, it's finally happening: the Soviets have launched a nuclear attack. And I just waited. I mean, what are you going to do at that point?

The sad thing is that while the possibility of a full-out nuclear exchange is considerably less these days, a lesser (and yet still poisonous) version still is likely. Things haven't changed as much as we'd like to think.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Painters on the verge...

The radio silence over the past week is largely due to the home improvement we've been doing. Compared to most projects, this is small potatoes - repainting the inside of the house and swapping the contents of the two bedrooms - but oh dear god. The angst. The frustration. The paint tracks everywhere.

When we started this project one week ago, we were so innocent and carefree. We figured we'd get the place done in four days. WAHAHAHA. Thus far, we have managed only to paint the two bedrooms, and are ecstatic about it, as it means we can finally stop sleeping on the fold-out sofa-bed.* Touch-ups be damned; as soon as the paint dried to slightly damp, we got our bedframe back together.

Yesterday was the worst day. We were painting a very small room a) this god-awful paint that was incredibly sticky, b) had paint from that #%!%!$ power sprayer everywhere, making everything sticky (at one point, I had no less than three separate items stuck on my feet), c) swelteringly hot, and d) filled with fumes. As the minutes, then hours ticked on, I began to make bargains with fate, god, whatever powers that be that we could finish the job before one of us went crazy and started bashing the walls in with our fists.

So we now have a smurf blue room and a gorgeous cranberry room, or as everyone else calls it, the red rum room. We're taking the weekend off as a sort of mental vacation. Next weekend, the fun continues. I'm thinking drinking heavily should make it more bearable, if a little sloppier done.

* The other day, I got back from yoga and called the cat's name. Nothing. Weird, I thought, as he's always there to greet me/attack the dog as we come through the front door. I start looking through the whole house, which is a complete mess and has its contents strewn about like someone had picked it up and shook it. To make things really interesting, he's a grey stripey cat in a house full of shadows. After about ten minutes of fruitless searching, I bring the dog in to help. He? Was no help. So now I'm starting to get frantic that somehow the cat got in a bag of trash and was tossed out and now was heading east back to DC, a la "The Incredible Journey." Right when I'm starting to sob, a thought crossed my mind and I unfold the sofabed. Out popped Shrapnel, looking rumpled but none the worse for wear. He apparently had been back there exploring when the bed got made on him, pushing him to this empty space in the bed. Of course, you'd think that he would've protested when that happened or at least spoken up when I was frantically calling his name. Nope. But later on that day, when we had to put him in the bathroom so he wouldn't step on fresh paint, you should've heard him squawk. So let this be a lesson to you: don't make up your sofabed without checking to make sure all pets are elsewhere first.