Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back from the (walking) dead

Otherwise known as a cold in August. Weird how these things can just knock you flat. I've been just exhausted this week. And yes, I *would* like some cheese with my whine, thank you.


Last weekend The Texan and I had quite a little adventure at our first arena rock show here in SA. It was Godsmack with Rob Zombie at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater way on the north side of town. When we got there, The Texan pleaded with me not to bring my purse, saying that here it's just not done (for safety reasons). I resisted at first - I feel nekkid without some sort of purse - but in the end, figured he knew what he was talking about and stuffed it in the trunk. Sure enough, the whole time we were there, I saw maybe four other women with purses.

Which is fine, but while I remembered to bring what's truly important (lipstick and money), I forgot to take out my ID. You know how some venues make noises about checking for ID but really don't? Verizon Amphitheater isn't one of those. NO ONE would sell me beer. I even tried pleading with them, telling them that I'm well into my 30s, but to no avail. (One mortifying moment: The Texan got us beers later in the evening, and randomly picked one of the five people who wouldn't sell me alcohol. The guy smirked, "So you got someone to buy you beer, did you?" I AM WELL BEYOND 21, JACKHOLE. Jesus.)

So there was a breeze, the curly fries were a-plenty, and we were drinking beers out of plastic guitars in the grass seating area. All was well, even after we got bumped out of the "family" section (no booze, no cigarettes). Come on, if you bring young-uns to a Rob Zombie concert, you kind of get what you deserve, don't you?

So good time...until it the show was over. The Texan couldn't find his keys. And, since we'd been in the grassy area, we'd migrated all over the damn amphitheater. We spent a good half hour retracing our steps and looking for his keys. Nada. We filled out forms at the front desk and resigned ourselves to waiting for "Max," their on-site locksmith. We waited...and waited....and waited.

While waiting some more, we saw these two 20-ish guys walk across the parking lot, pushing luggage. We idly wondered who would bring suitcases to a rock concert, but didn't think anything really of it. Then they came up to us and asked us a wonderful question: "Do you guys know anyone who lost keys?"

(insert heavenly chorus of angels singing)

Sure enough, they'd been in the grass section and had found The Texan's keys. We were so grateful not to have to deal with the locksmith that we started thrusting fist-fulls of cash at them. One of them said, "No money, but would you mind giving us a ride?" Turned out they were working their way back to a small town south of SA and didn't have transport. We figured, what the hell, and drove them home. Normally I don't pick up hitchhikers but special circumstances and all that. Plus they turned out to be really nice kids.

When we dropped them off at their designated spot, we found out it was a bar, so we figured - the night's been weird already, why not add to it? And went in for a drink. That, my friends, was a shit-kicking bar that could hold its own with the best of them. The Texan went to use the bathroom, came back rather pale, and warned me, "Do NOT go in there." But everyone in there was extremely nice and even though they didn't have bourbon - how can I cry in my drink, a la a true country gal, if I don't have bourbon? - I enjoyed myself.

Moral of the story? Rob Zombie's not that great live. But Godsmack has some talented musicians. And hope that your keys are picked up by good Samaritans.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chicken ropin'

I can think of no more evocative phrase than "chicken ropin'." A friend who grew up in SA and its environs told me last winter about a magical rodeo where the cowboys took up their ropes against chickens. After seeing his imitation of the chickens getting roped, including a flapping of the wings and much squawking, I was hooked. I had to see this myself.

****Please note, animal lovers, that the chickens probably aren't fond of getting roped, but they are not harmed by it. I admit, none of the animals at a rodeo would probably be there by choice, but there you go.****

Anyways, my friend called me up last week while we were still in SF. He excitedly informed me that the following weekend was the (in)famous chicken ropin' rodeo, which, thank god, we would be back in Texas for.

So Saturday, The Texan and I struck out for Pleasanton, a little town maybe 20 miles south of SA that prides itself on being the birthplace of the cowboy. As such, every August they hold their "Cowboy Homecoming Weekend," where cowboys on the rodeo circuit converge on the city for one last gasp.

When we got there, we realized two things very quickly: 1) It also prides itself on being the hottest festival in the United States (no contest, in my mind), and 2) they didn't have an ATM, which meant our meager cash reserves would not be able to keep up with our need for crappy American beers in a vain attempt to stave off the heat. (Does anyone really use cash any more? I never have more than a couple of quarters on me.) Still, the most important thing was to rush over to the chicken ropin' area, where they were in the midst of their competition.

We got there in time to see three cowboy pairs try - and fail - to rope a chicken. Apparently it's not as easy as it looks. A bit anticlimatic, but I did get to pet a buffalo (NOT A EUPHEMISM later on in the day and I bought a purse, so all was well with the trip.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Life is livable again

The Texan stopped by the store on the way home from school for two very important items: a pack of toilet paper, and uber-sharp tweezers. The first one he got because, well, I'd think that would be self-explanatory, and the second one was because I'd left my trusty pair behind at J-Dawg's apartment in San Diego and I've been crawling up the walls ever since.

See, with my pasty skin and dark hair, every single incoming hair can be seen even before it's worked its way through all the layers of epidermis. So by the time I have an eyebrow hair that needs to be taken care of, I am poised and ready. Except when I misplace my tweezers, in which case I go batshit insane.

The Texan graciously offered me the tweezers from his shaving pack, which were nice in a pinch but overall not up to the long-term assignment of keeping my Mediterranean heritage from asserting itself all over my face.

This new pair, however, is more than ready. It's so sharp it kind of scares me a little. But all's right in my world and my eyebrows are, again, stubble-free.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Kids, don't try this at home

We're back from our whirlwind trip up California's coast. It was a blast and just gorgeous. Why did I move away from there again? Sigh.

Of course J-Dawg's reception was the highlight of the trip. It was held in San Clemente, a lovely beach community about half-way between LA and San Diego, at the home of the city's founder (www.CasaRomantica.org, NOT Rancho Relaxo as I kept wanting to call it). The reception had something I'd never seen but will have to emulate: mashed potato martinis. Yup, they are pretty much what they sound like. So tasty. So starchy. So good. More importantly, the bride and groom were very happy and had a good time, which is what really matters.

We almost didn't get a chance to experience it though. The Texan, G&T, ZFF and I were all at the same hotel. The bride's mom had plans for us to get a ride to the reception so we could drink with impunity. They kept changing, as things tend to in these kinds of situations. The last I'd heard was that we were to be down at the hotel's lobby at 5:45, where someone whose name I didn't recognize would pick us up.

So we go downstairs, meet a couple of other people who are there for "the wedding," and hop into the van. The driver introduces himself and we all do the same. As we drive through San Clemente's wee downtown, G&T and ZFF, who'd gotten there a day earlier, tell me what they've been up to. They mention that they went for a run and passed the entrance of the Casa Romantica, which we then passed in the car. Hmm, we think, guess there's a back route for cars.

Of course, there wasn't a back route. We were being delivered to *another* wedding which was on San Clemente's beach - not the one we'd all come into town for. Once we realized that, and saw the Casa Romantica towering over us from a nearby cliff, we asked the driver of the van if he would kindly deliver us to the correct wedding. And, being a nice guy and laid-back Californian, he did. He even invited us to their wedding's after-party if we were in the mood. God bless beach dudes - you really can't get more easy-going than them.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Off to the Left Coast

We're heading out at oh-dark-thirty tomorrow for a long-anticipated trip to California. Figuring we'd better do it right, we're planning on driving along Pacific Coast Highway from its inception south of LA all the way up to San Francisco. The real impetus for the trip is J-Dawg's wedding reception in lovely San Clemente. Can't wait! I've basically highjacked this vacation and am forcing The Texan to meet up with friends and family along California's coast, when all he wanted was to take some pictures along the beach. Cross your fingers that we're still speaking to each other after our first road trip together. I'm making certain to pack a bunch of my CDs; otherwise, it's going to be all about Judas Priest for eight days. See you all in a week!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Shopping is fun

Sunday I went with a friend to Central Market, or as San Antonians call it, "Gucci-B". Ha. Ha. Ha? Okay, for you non-residents, the dominant grocery chain here is the HEB, and this is an upscale version....still not funny? Okay, moving on.

It is quite swish though - reminded me of a Fresh Fields, but Texas-sized. We spent two hours in the store and only got through half of it. Of course, my progress was delayed because I had to stop several times in every aisle so I could ooh and aah over the merchandise. I had to be physically wrenched from the cheese section.

While I now have all sorts of new oils, cheeses, and meats (like sausage, but not just any sausage: ground chicken with feta and spinach!) which I'm cramming down The Texan's throat before we head out for vacation this week, without a doubt, the best purchases came from the wine section. As it should be, really.

One is a 2004 red called "House Wine." It's 70 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent merlot, and 5 percent syrah. Its maker is www.magnificentwine.com, but I'm not too sure about them, since they apparently lost their domain name in the end of July and still haven't gotten it back yet. Still, how can you resist anything with that kind of plain-wrap label?

Even better is the wine with a pretty pink label that's strewn with hearts. Its name? "Bitch." Simple, yet effective. It's a 2004 barossa grenache, and in the section where normally you'd read about the special growing pattern of the vinery or what the wine-makers' opinion of life is, you have the word "bitch" repeated 76 times. At least their URL works (www.gratefulpalate.com) but I didn't see the wine on their website.

I haven't tried either of them yet - I'm savoring the labels - and maybe I'll wait for a dinner party to bust them out. Then again, they *are* supposed to be fairly decent (per the Central Market employee who we asked), so maybe I'll uncork one while I watch one of the "What not to wear" episodes that my DVR kindly saved for me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The rules work

The rules are sacrosanct. The rules must be obeyed.

I speak, of course, of Stacy and Clinton's rules from TLC's What Not to Wear (to be called WNTW forwith, largely because I am lazy). Even though every guy I know mocks me for my abiding loyalty for this show, its truth cannot be avoided. (I sound like I'm about to start prosletyzing about the good word, don't I. In a way, I guess, I am.)

At the beginning of summer, we set the DVR to record WNTW so I'd have something to watch instead of glomming onto The Texan's Mythbusters (another fine show, I might add). I naively suggested arranging it so it would tape every episode whenever it was on. Very quickly we realized that might not be a good idea - the show's on roughly 5 times every day. Within weeks 97% of our space had been taken, mostly thanks to the preponderance of WNTW on the DVR, so we had to change it to save only the last five taped. Even so, I always have a ready supply of shows available.

I think I've been spending way too much time watching it, because now there are certain items in my wardrobe that previously were acceptable but now clearly are not. My stubby jeans, for example, are WAY too short for my legs. My cargo pants' pockets add more junk to my already ample trunk. And so forth.

Tuesday I succombed and bought a pair of pants that Stacy and Clinton had, like a mantra, insisted that everyone on the show buy: dark wash, wide-legged denim trousers. You know what? They were right. Such was my confidence in the two fashion experts that I bought these jeans ONLINE, something I've never done. I had them air-mailed to me and as of yesterday afternoon, I am now the proud owner of a pair of jeans that fit. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A word to the wise

A little sage goes a loooong way.

Despite my rapidly-advancing years, I am something of a novice when it comes to cooking. This partially was because my mother was such a phenomenal cook that, growing up, I ceded the kitchen to her, and partially because I am a lazy ass. When I moved out on my own, 90% of my meals that I prepared were sauce from a jar poured directly onto pasta. That big thumping sound you just heard was the Italian half of my family spinning in their graves at that admission.

But when I moved to SA, The Texan balked at eating that much pasta. So we have worked out an arrangement where he cooks and I do the dishes, making both of us very happy. (He does laundry too, as well as all the yard work. I, um, provide moral support around the house.)

However, last night I was feeling somewhat guilty, as I hadn't cooked anything more complicated than soup in weeks. So I offered - nay, INSISTED - that I would cook The Texan saltimbocca and orzo salad. I used RollerDiscoMonkey's recipe, but decided at the last minute to swap out spinach and instead use sage. Turns out you can't just do a one-to-one ratio for the two. The saltimbocca was tasty but still at times a bit sagey - felt like you were biting into a tumbleweed. The orzo salad was good, but it would've been better had I mastered basic reading skills years ago like I should have and properly read how much feta needed to go in there. So we were a bit short.

Ah well, The Texan graciously ate everything on his plate and even had seconds of the saltimbocca. That should get me off the hook for dinner responsibilities until at least after Labor Day.