Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So long, Weingarten Tuesdays

Yesterday you may have heard a great wail go up right around 11AM Central time. That was when I found out that Gene Weingarten is putting his online chat on hiatus until the spring. Sniff.

Gene Weingarten writes a humor column for the Washington Post and, like many of their columnists, hosts a weekly chat (question: why don't more newspapers do this? They're highly entertaining). He has a whole coterie of devoted followers who spend their Tuesday lunchtimes writing in their opinions on his comic strip pick of the week or submitting visible pantyline stories. And yes, it is that mature of a chat.

Anyways, while I am very sad at the thought of having a gaping hole in my Tuesdays, maybe it's for the best. I am such a devoted fan of Gene Weingarten's writing and overall online persona that it alarms me when I don't agree with him. To whit: I am having a large, some might say over-the-top wedding, the kind of which he firmly disapproves. I mean, I see his whole point, but when am I going to get the chance to force all my friends and family into the same room?

And it is even more upsetting when I can't even understand where he's coming from. A few weeks back, he went off on how tacky it was to have photographs of friends and family up in your living room. He grudgingly allowed it for an out-of-the-way office or den, but that was it. J-Dawg and I have actually had long conversations about how perplexed we are at this. Why is this tacky again? I like looking at pictures of people I care about, and whenever I throw a party, guests always gather around those pictures first and foremost. Okay, well, to be exact, they gather around the booze first, but the pictures second.

It's stupid because I don't know this guy, but thanks to the interweb, I feel like I do and that his approval means something. And I feel stupid when I think someone I admire wouldn't approve of me. Lame, yes.

Sigh. I should've known this idolization was approaching its end when he made a pronouncement that milk chocolate is vastly superior to dark chocolate. BITE YOUR TONGUE MISTER.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Good turkey day?

I've read a bunch of articles that claim the average person gains only one pound between Thanksgiving and Christmas. HA HA HA good one.

Of course, that may be my fault. Thursday we volunteered down at the SA Convention Center. Every year they put on a Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wants one. It started out as a deal for senior citizens in 1979, got expanded to include the homeless, and now is for everyone. Last year they served 26,000 people. I'd had my doubts about how effective a help we would be - I've done these things before and they usually have way too many people - but it ended up being quite, well, rewarding. I grabbed a pot of coffee and some sugar packets and circulated for two hours. My god do I now have a new-born respect for waiters. Know what everyone loved and took even if they didn't have coffee? Liquid creamer. Who knew that'd be such a hit?

Then we went home to clean up and headed back downtown for our Thanksgiving dinner at the St. Anthony. We totally got busted by the woman checking us in: she recognized us from six months ago, when we went to go look at it for our wedding (um, we decided against it, although it is a lovely historical register hotel). But the all-you-can-eat buffet made up for it. I tried, for the first time, deep-fried turkey. Holy crap, so THAT's what all the fuss is about. I have never had turkey that moist. Plus it was all-you-can-drink champagne. I think I got my money's worth on champers alone.

Friday night we went downtown to see the parade of lights on the riverwalk. Every year, they have a big to-do about turning on the xmas lights over the river for the first time. And, being San Antonio, they have to turn it into a party. (This city looks for any excuse to party. When they drain the river every year for its cleaning, they throw a mud party and have a mud king and queen. No joke.) For this case, they have a parade where all the boats that normally give tours of the Riverwalk are decked out and all lit up. It was fun to see all the purty lights, plus a lot of the boats had music. There was one who had SAPD singing in a band. Unfortunately, their float got stalled out in front of us, so they ran through their gamut of songs - all two of them - pretty quickly. Of course there were a lot of jokes about SAPD causing a traffic jam. A lot of the floats had dancers - I really like the folkloric dancers, although I thought at times they were going to tip their boat over. The only off-note was the float which got the biggest response from the crowd. It wasn't the one with Santa (who looked right at me squee I think I'm going to get what's on my wish list this year!). Rather, it was the float containing Ronald Mcdonald.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy (belated) birthday, Tex!

The Texan's birthday was Saturday, but I'm just now getting along to officially wishing him a happy birthday here because a) Friday we were celebrating his birthday* b) Saturday we were recovering from the celebration** c) Sunday I was frantically trying to finish up a work project that was due today***. Happy birthday, Tex!

* As part of his gift, I cooked him dinner Friday night. I made a spinach dip, steak, twice-baked potatoes, green beans, and a cheesecake. Oh, and it took me SEVEN FREAKING HOURS. Guess I'm a bit rusty - he usually does all the cooking around the house. It all came out dandy except for the cheesecake. Riddle me this: how can the batter taste perfectly acceptable and cheesecakey when raw, but after it's cooked, it loses all its flavor? Seriously, it tasted like a boring egg custard. It killed me to throw it out, as I'd put it in an Oreo crumb crust, but it was unsalvageable. Bleah.

** He had to go out and do some work on his actual birthday (hence the previous night's festivities), whereas I lay on the couch all day and a good chunk of the evening. I did jump up to make him some frozen taquitos when he got back from his work - never say I don't know how to show someone a classy good time - and managed to burn my index finger in the process. I now have a lovely blister on my index finger. O the agony I suffer for love.

*** I need to go and collapse now. Work is, well, work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

For those of you who still have holiday shopping to do...

I present to you a new line of clothing, "Habeas Couture." http://www.habeascouture.com/ Tag line: if you're not with us, you're wearing us. I particularly like their baby bodysuit onesie that reads "Unlawful enemy combatant." Perfect for the little Gitmo detainee in your life.

I am leaning toward a t-shirt, if only to piss off the locals. And 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Center for Constitutional Rights' Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative (http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/gac/). I guess it would be faster to actually donate to the center, but then I would pass up a chance for a snarky t-shirt.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Flying high

Last night, The Texan and I had one of the most uncomfortable flights I've had in a long time. It was almost like a someone was working from a list. Screaming baby in the row ahead of you? Check. Continual turbulence? Check. Zero air conditioning and thus stale and hot cabin? Triple check.

Turned out that the pilot had to keep climbing to get the plane in a relatively unturbulent flight path. Guess how high we were up? 39,000 feet. Normal cruising altitudes for passenger planes is 32,000 feet. I've never been that high before. And believe you me, you could definitely feel the difference. The cabin was not that well-pressurized - I had to chew gum the entire 2.5 hour flight. And I'm guessing that all of the plane's resources were focused on keeping it going at that high altitude, which may have been why the A/C wasn't working. The screaming baby was just icing on the cake. And frankly she was just expressing what the rest of us were feeling.


Good trip though. We went to LA to visit Casa Ladyship for the long weekend. While there, I think I ate my body weight in baked goods and pork products. My septugenarian father has recently discovered that he can cook and that he likes doing it. So we all benefit as a result. Plus I made The Texan create his potato and leek soup. Every time we go home, I force him to cook for my parents. I'm trying to make them feel that at least someone's going to make sure I get a home-cooked meal every so often.

And, er, I bought my wedding dress, which surprises me more than anyone else, as I had negative intentions on buying one. Ever since I got engaged, people have been asking me about what I intended to do for the wedding dress. And I have had two firm answers: 1) No white gown - I wanted a ball-gown, preferably in a jewel tone, and 2) I was going to have it made.

However. Mama Ladyship wanted to take me dress-shopping, and what Mama Ladyship wants, Mama Ladyship gets. So off she, The Texan (clutching my camera so we could document the whole ordeal), and I went. The first 8 dresses were just atrocious. And I'm not a good shopper anyways - I tend to get a wee bit crabby under the best of circumstances. I even apologized to the woman helping me - excuse me, bridal consultant - about it. She was quite gracious and waved off my apologies. She said that she's seen much, much worse. And she also said that the biggest divas are the bridesmaids. Now, I've been lucky in that I've never had an ugly bridesmaid dresses, but some of my friends have had doozies. And it just adds insult to injury, not only having to wear a dress that does awful things to you but then having to cough up $200 for it.

But I digress.

The 9th dress. Angels may not have been singing, but I am pretty sure they were humming a bit. I didn't trust my instincts though. You know how when you go shoe-shopping, and everything is just so painful you want to amputate your feet? Then you get a pair of shoes that only make you want to drive hot pokers in your eyes, and you think, "Wow, these are like walking on clouds - I'll get two pairs?" And then the next day you're weeping in agony 14 minutes into your day and plotting how you can return scuffed shoes for a full refund (which I've done FIVE TIMES)? What I'm saying is, sometimes things look good only in comparison. But Mama Ladyship and The Texan both assured me that it wasn't just a relatively good choice. It was a beautiful dress - and it was even $100 off.

So the sane thing would've been to snatch that dress off the market real quick-like. But since I was still clinging to the idea of having a colorful ballgown made, I wouldn't buy it. Instead, I went home and drove every member of my family crazy, showing them pictures of the dress and pesturing them about whether they thought I should get it. Finally The Texan went to go take a nap in the hopes of escaping. NOT BLOODY LIKELY. I went and woke him up so I could list pros and cons of buying the dress. Finally, probably just in the hopes of getting some shut-eye, he agreed with me that I must, nay, needed to rush out and buy the dress. Which I did. And am very happy about.

Oh, and I even bought a veil. I figure if you're going to fall off the non-traditional attire wagon, you might as well go for broke.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Problems with depth perception

GI Jane was here this past weekend (SA is a lovely place to come visit during the winter. AHEM). I did the usual tourist sites with her - the Alamo, the Riverwalk - and decided that we should splash out away from the madding crowd a bit. So I dragged her off to go do the Mission Trail. Frequent readers may remember that I did that on my birthday this year and rather dorkily enjoyed it, so I was happy to have an excuse to do it again.

On the way there, we were driving down Highway 151, which goes right past Lackland Air Force Base. GI Jane was driving and keeping her eyes on the road like the responsible member of society that she is. I, as the passenger, had the leeway to look around, which is why I spotted first the series of four fighter jets flying in a tight diamond formation. They were flying together so closely and moving in such unison that I thought at first that they had to be a toy model of sorts. But then I remembered that Lackland was supposed to have an air show last weekend and they were probably rehearsing.

Even GI Jane, with that sort of scenery, looked away from traffic to watch the planes. We were both watching when another fighter jet flew across our line of vision. It was far enough away that it, too, looked like a toy airplane. So imagine how it looked to us. Relatively speaking, it was about an inch or so long.

We were both gaping at the other plane when all of a sudden one of the fifty billion or so butterflies that have inundated San Antonio this year hit the windshield. Keep in mind, the butterfly was also about an inch or so long. And it couldn't have been better timed. It arrived right after we were surprised by the fighter jet coming from one side and gave the windshield a solid smack. I have to admit, we both jumped, half-convinced that it was one of the planes heading our direction.

GI Jane, to her great credit, kept her cool and didn't swerve into the median, as I probably would've had I been driving. It took a while for our heart rates to come back to normal though.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Damned with faint praise

Actual conversation I had Friday night after my bellydance performance:

Stranger in the women's bathroom: Hey, you were great up there!

Me: Thanks!

SITWB: So are you a beginner?

Me: (Only if you consider 4+ years of weekly classes a beginner.) Er, to this studio! Sort of.


Not my best showing, to be honest. Sigh. I did however figure out how to make curlers work with my hair, knowledge that would've made life so much more bearable when I was in elementary school. (Like most things, it comes down to proper product) So I was all done up, complete with false eyelashes and body glitter, not unlike a drag queen. That part was fun at least.

The bright spot was that there was a neighborhood cat who kept coming over to see what the fuss was about and ended up on stage a couple of times. Very cute.

And, speaking of cats, I was at Shisha, an Arabic falafel joint that has, you guessed it, shisha last night. They now have all sorts of flavored tobacco. Back in my day, we had to take apple or nothing; now they have everything up to and including margarita and cosmopolitan flavors.

They also had a sweet little orange and white kitty sitting outside, meowing at people as they went by. I had to cool my heels a few minutes waiting for my takeout and I spent them getting increasingly nervous that a cat was lost and vainly asking for help. So I pulled the manager aside and asked him if he knew about the cat. He chuckled and said yes. Apparently the kitty's been there for about four months and has taken up residence outside the restaurant. They feed it all sorts of treats, but the manager told me the cat's favorites are chicken and milk. Now that is a pretty good set-up. If it wasn't for having to have a job and, you know, somewhere to wash my hair, I could think of worse places to live than outside a friendly shisha joint.