Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Perhaps a break is required

The other day, I was just bowled over by a nail polish I espied at the store. Rich, luxurious, yet modern all at the same time. I rushed home and put it on (albeit while watching yet another Dirty Jobs* on TLC, a bad habit I have never been quite able to overcome. No one can put nail polish on prettily in the half-flickering light of the TV, and yet that is where I do my polishing). I was very proud of how nice it looked.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I looked down during yet another fruitless workout** and realized that my sophistimacated nail polish was THE EXACT SAME COLOR as the carpet at the gym. I mean, dead-on, one could be the identical twin of the other. And my gym, as I believe I've mentioned here before, is stuck in the 80s. Hence, what does that say about my nail polish choice? Obviously that I've developed a Stockholm Syndrome regarding my gym and have begun to see it as something to emulate, rather than the bully it truly is.

* We have gotten on a "Dirty Jobs" kick lately - the host, Mike Rowe, is charmingly goofy - and I urge you, if you ever are flicking around channels and happen to come across the one where they go to a South African monkey santuary, holy christ, do not change that channel. Normally they do three jobs per one hour episode, but for this one, it was such a clusterfuck, they spent the whole hour on it. TV gold, I tell you. Any show that has an entire TV crew terrorized by a monkey named Paddy is awesome. Not that they were in the wrong - the little brat took a fist-sized chunk out of the sound guy's calf - but it was still highly entertaining.

** I don't like to talk about the gym because I spend an obscene amount of time there and yet the results, they are miniscule. Sure, you can talk about building muscle strength etc etc but where is the lean? The mean? The svelte? I can only tell myself that muscle weighs more than fat for so long. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Trojan horse for the slow of mind

Saturday morning, I was lounging around the living room, flipping through yet another story in the Express-News about the manure fire - WHICH IS STILL BURNING - when the dog started barking his head off in the front yard. Now, our dog is very sweet, but lacks that killer instinct. Often we won't know that someone's here until they ring our doorbell. So I figured that if Che was alerting us to outsiders, it might be a big deal.

I look outside to see a guy in a hooded sweatshirt smiling at me sheepishly as he put a potted pansy in front of our gate. Since I was in my robe, I waited until he drove off to go investigate.

It was a yellow pansy with no note. There was just one coupon plugged into the soil: a plea to join Capital One.

So what would you do if you were presented with a flower pot that you hadn't asked for nor expected? If you're me, you bring it inside. Eh, I figured that the chances of someone lacing a pansy with ricin or something along those lines were slim to none. I guess there is the possibility that a camera has been placed in its petals and they are conducting consumer research by watching how people actually live. Probably not though.

It's looking pretty good so far. Let's see which lasts longer: my New Year's resolution for fiscal responsibility or the pansy. My bet is on the plant.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow day!

Technically, it's an inclement weather day, but I'll take it. SA got hit with freezing temperatures and lots of rain, creating an icy environment and cancelling pretty much life as we know it. I shouldn't get so excited about it, as that is just asking the gods to have an icy branch take out our power line (KNOCK WOOD), but still, it's kind of fun.

The only bad part is that it is impossible to get warm, even with the heater going all day. Normally my office is gaspingly hot, but today's it's remained quite chilly. The cat hasn't moved away from the heating vent, and the poor dog has only been outside in five-minute intervals.

Perhaps this will help put out our manure fire, going on since Christmas Day. That's right, we have our own Springfield Tire Fire. This manure fire is located about ten miles down the road from here in Helotes, a community that used to be beyond rural but now is where all the rich folk are moving to escape the city (and consequently bringing it with them). But anyways, the authorities first dinked around with the manure fire, as it would require over 100 million tons of water to put out (I know! You'd think you could see it from space). Public outcry soon changed their minds, however, as it's been unleashing an unthinkable amount of contaminated particulates into the air and water supply, and every day the paper has had yet another story where the government and the manure pile's owner are scratching their heads helplessly. Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of throwing us a bone.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cold MLK weekends I have had

In a weird twist that I'm sure was not intended by civil rights activists, I'm starting to associate Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend with stabbingly cold weather. No disrespect to Dr. King or what he fought for, and of course this says a lot more about me than his cause. But my god, it seems to be freaking freezing every MLK weekend. To whit, the ones that stand out in my mind:

* MLK 2000. I went to Reykjavik, Iceland, with my friend Envirogrrl for her birthday. Iceland Air was having a special from DC. Ostensibly they were trying to get people already going to the European continent to stop over for a couple of nights in Reykjavik, but we decided that that was as far as we were going to go. And it was absolutely gorgeous, if a bit dark (their days during the winter are something like five hours long). However, the locals proved to be somewhat difficult to work with, even though they almost all spoke lovely English. We were given faulty direction after faulty direction on how to find a bus stop that would've taken us from our hotel to the center of town. We stumbled around for an hour or so and finally found the rusty metal bus shelter that supposedly would service a bus to town. We sat down to wait...and wait...and wait. After about half an hour of sitting in the metal structure which provided zero defense against the icy gales, Envirogrrl turned to me and said, in all seriousness, "Ladyship, I think we're going to die here today." Eventually, a bus made the mistake of driving down our street. We ran in front of it, desperately flagging it down, and got the kind driver to let us on and take us directly to direct stop. Sometimes being an asshole American pays off.

* MLK 2003. The drumbeat of war had been picking up and was reaching a state of near-inevitability. Anti-war activists organized a huge protest on the DC Mall to rally people one last time. While I've never been one for protests and marches - all that earnestness tends to rub my black cynical heart the wrong way - this one I felt I should make an exception for. So Grits and I layered up and headed over to the Smithsonian to participate in the civic process. At first, the energy of the crowd and the speakers was empowering and exciting. Then the frozen ground began to have more of an effect on my psyche. Slowly I began to lose all feeling in my feet. It was in the teens out, and the ground was a mushy mix of frozen mud and snow. After an hour, I turned to Grits and told her, "I must leave. NOW." It was so bad, we took a cab directly to a Vietnamese place to get some pho soup and hot tea. I never did warm up that day - it took me until the next morning to defrost properly.

* And finally, MLK 2007. I've been trying to be more active at my dance studio - I understand that outside activities are one way you can make friends, once you're past the college years - so I decided that I would participate in this year's Mud Parade. San Antonio's long tradition of partying at the drop of the hat has prompted the city to hold parades for the smallest reason. Every year, they drain the river (of the Riverwalk), scoop up all the cups and hats lost by drunk tourists, and refill it. Then they have the Mud Parade to celebrate. I understand that traditionally it's a pretty big deal. This MLK weekend, however, it was in the 40s and raining. The Mud Parade consisted of the Mud King and Queen and my studio. Imagine the skimpy costumes you normally see on bellydancers. Now imagine wearing that when it's wet, windy, and cold outside, and your feet are soaked because you thought for some reason it would be a good idea to wear your water-shoes for the parade (pro: can't get hurt by the rain; con: completely ineffective at keeping your feet dry). It's not a lot of fun. You have never seen a parade haul ass quite so fast. We zipped up and down the Riverwalk in what had to be a record time.

Today it's even colder: a brisk 32 degrees, all day. Too cold even for the dog to be outside. But the cold snap should be over soon, as MLK weekend ends tomorrow.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It used to be my mornings had a nice, comfy feel to them. I'd get up, stagger to my computer, and start to wake up while going through my email.

Now my first order of business is to check out the comic strip "For Better or For Worse" (FBOFW to those in the know) and send a scathing email about it to G&T. We have spent far too much time this week analyzing what Liz would do if it turned out her previously blameless boyfriend Paul, who literally was Mr. Wright, were cheating on her. And by saying "if," I mean "since," as this strip IS SO EFFING PREDICTABLE.

Point the first: the main characters of the strip, the Pattersons, are always blameless victims. Point the second: the strip's author has said that after several decades of work, she's wrapping this up in the coming year, and you can tell. I mean, full power to the people, I'm glad to see a female comic strip writer with quite a lot of success, and lord knows I could never replicate it. But everything couldn't be more telegraphed if she tried.

Now, the intelligent move would be to stop reading the strip. No can do, my friends. Somehow, while I've managed to duck the siren call of "Apartment 3G" and other soap opera strips, I am compelled to read FBOFW. As such, I can tell you that Liz already went through a cheating boyfriend back in college (now that I think about it, that also went on for about a year too); I remember back when the first dog was put to sleep (there've been two, I believe); I know that Michael's crabby upstairs neighbors, alas, made it out safely when the husband set the house on fire by smoking in bed.

Wait for me to get drunk and I'll expound on my theory that Lynn Johnston, the strip's author, is secretly getting paid by the Canadian government to buy domestic complaisance to their fire and police departments by constantly portraying them as aw-shucks-ma'am sorts. (As G&T points out, the firemen not only save Michael's brood's lives, but wash their sheets to boot. WTF!)

Anyways, this torture should be ending soon with the strip's upcoming demise. I only have to hold on for a few months more and I shall be free. In the meantime, Liz: kick Paul to the curb if you must, but do NOT go back to your high school sweetheart. You can do better.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Let the blogging begin!

Or not. I have a sparkling new desk to write on, thanks to The Texan's Christmas generousity. It showed up on Friday and after some salty language from The Texan as he put it together, it now stands proudly in our office. I had thought that its purtyness would inspire me to a) keep it neat and b) write more.

So far, I have spilled a faux aquarium on it (you know, with sponge fish instead of the real kind) and strewn all my Christmas bills across it, but so far, I've managed to avoid any coffee cup rings.

I almost feel the way you do with a new car: every time you take it out and park it somewhere, you cringe, just KNOWING that a ding is coming along with your name on it. This desk's new patina will wear off soon. In the meantime, I'm enjoying pretending to be a grown-up with a big girl desk.

(And, seeing how I haven't written in here for nearly a week, you can see how well b) has held up.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Everything's bigger in Texas

On New Year's Day, I was desperate for a chicken shwarma. So I drove to not one, but two falafel houses trying to get one. But alas, they were closed for the holiday - much like a lot of SA. So, really for lack of a better option, I went into Freebirds Burrito. I know, it seems like blasphemy to go into a burrito chain in a town that has a taqueria on every corner, but sometimes you don't have any choice.

I was able to get a Bird salad - basically a burrito minus the tortilla in a bowl - which was quite tasty. I bought a Monster Burrito for The Texan, since he'd expressed interest in something that he could eat for lunch the next day. Two days later and there's still half a burrito sitting in our fridge. That is one large burrito.

Thing is, that wasn't even the largest burrito option available. For the truly gargantuan appetites, they have the Super Monster burrito option. It is, in a word, ginormous.

I came home and checked out Freebirds' website. The Super Monster burrito's tortilla ALONE has over 800 calories. This is before you put anything in it. For a little perspective, a McDonalds Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese has a mere 730 calories. Crikey.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ghosts spotted: 0. Bottles of champagne: 2

We spent NYE in happening downtown SA, where they close off a few of the streets for a block party that culminates at midnight with fireworks. Of course, we spent the night from about 8PM firmly ensconced in barstools at our favorite bar, Drink. It was charging people after 10PM, but grandfathered people who were already there in for free. We were able to step outside and watch the firework show through the trees, or, for the really lazy (and as the 13-minute show progressed, that became pretty much all of us), you could sit in the bar and watch it on one of the TVs.

(A word to the wise, and I cannot recommend this strenuously enough: avoid Johnny Rockets' chili cheese fries before consuming massive amounts of carbonated alcohol. While undeniably delicious, I was burping the damn things up all night.)

A little before 2, the hours of drinking took their toll and I pushed for a return to our hotel. We stayed at the Menger, which is right across from the Alamo and where Teddy Roosevelt formed the Rough Riders. Apparently he and some buddies were drinking in its bar and, as so often is the case, thought it would be a good idea to go invade Cuba. Or something like that. Anyways, it's a really old hotel and is supposed to be haunted by 30 different ghosts.

I went out after we stumbled back to our room in order to get some ice. I figured it was late at night, the halls were empty, and I was drunk - in other words, it was the perfect atmosphere for me to see a ghost. Nada. I am a bit bummed about that, but you can't win them all. Outside of a phantasm-free evening, it was a great NYE.