Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Monday, March 31, 2008

San Antonio, you're welcome

We got our scooter so that The Texan could use it on his commute to school. We knew, of course, he would only use it on days where it wasn't wet out. Seeing how we live in Texas and havve had an incredibly dry winter, we figured that would be most days.

Guess what? Rained most of this weekend. San Antonio residents, we are single-handedly responsible for breaking the drought. When you use your sprinklers without a care in sight, be sure to throw a thanks our direction.


Even with the rain, we managed to blow through a tank of gas already. The Texan and I have been going on little driving tours around our neighborhood, more to enjoy the fresh air from these twilight rides than anything else. Anyways, guess what our mileage was on our first tank of gas? No, higher. No, higher than that. Ready? 91 mpg!!! I am so hopped up on that it's not even funny. I feel as proud of that as if I'd designed the thing myself. I've been telling everyone I could reasonably expect to listen semi-patiently about this. And apparently scooters get better mileage once they've been broken in. I have to give mad props to the Kymco corporation: they know how to build a scooter.

Of course, having said this, I'm sure something untoward is going to happen to us and/or the scooter. Knocking wood while I type this.

Friday, March 28, 2008

And then there were three

The Texan and I are rapidly approaching our first wedding anniversary, and things are finally calming down a bit, so we took a step recently that we'd previously discussed at great length. He is extremely excited about it; I'm a little more reticent but looking forward to the new adventures that are sure to ensue. This addition to our family may be a bit pricey but I think in the end we'll be glad we did it.

We got a scooter yesterday. A sparkly blue Kymco Agility, 125 cc, to be exact.

Even in Texas, land of oil refineries, gas is well over $3/gallon and is expected to get to $4/gallon this summer. While it may drop after that, we're never going back to the land of the $1.50/gallon of gasoline - the prices are only to get higher. So officially, this scooter, which we're expecting to get anywhere between 80 to 100 mpg, will be a way in which to save gas. The Texan can ride it to school (it's not highway legal, so it's side streets for him) and I can use it as needed. I did a few calculations and at current gas prices, this scooter will pay for itself in a little over two years - less if the prices go up as I think they will. And we can take it with us when we leave Texas for more urban environments.

Unofficially, though, the reason why we got it is that it's a really fun new toy. We've already put 70 kilometers on it (why does the rest of the world insist on clinging to the metric system?) from various rides around town. Even with the two of us on it, and we are not small people, we reached 50 mph a couple of times and were able to more than keep up with traffic.

I have never driven a motorcycle or a scooter, and the one we got has a large enough engine that you have to have a motorcyle license to drive it. So it's off to motorcycle school for me! I think The Texan is going to come too for a brush-up of his scootering skillz. That should be pretty fun.

The dog is probably the only resident of our household who is extremely unhappy about this turn of events. When we drove up the first time and honked at him in the yard, he ran around the back of the house, barking furiously the whole time. Even after we called him over to introduce him to it, he was dubious and kept a very careful distance away from it. This dog takes a while to adapt to change - he freaks out every time we rearrange the living room furniture - but I'm sure he'll learn to live with it. He'll have to: the scooter is going to be parked behind the shed when not in use, so Che had better get reconciled to sharing turf with the big loud monster.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

For better or for OMFG

I know, I know, I shouldn't be reading a comic strip that does nothing but raise my blood pressure. And yet, I cannot avoid it. Every day I check it out first thing online to see what new levels of inanity it will contain. Believe me when I tell you it does not disappoint.

The latest storyline is that Liz' ex-boyfriend from high school, whose wife cruelly forced them to have a child and then insisted on running off to avoid the child to focus on her career (as women in the workforce do), finally proposed to Liz. By saying "We are good partners." Oh, hold me as I swoon from the romance.

Then Liz goes on and on about how she "gets" to wear an engagement ring to show off that she's taken. And that she's having her friends as bridesmaids as payback. Lord knows other what sort of Bridezilla-erish behavior we're going to see from her. Oh wait, no, I forgot, she's perfect.

And when she told her mom that she was engaged, her mom said, "Finally, FINALLY you're engaged!" With that, you might expect Liz to be in her 50s or well on her way to menopause. Nope, girlfriend is maybe 24. Yes, good thing we got that rotting carcass off the market.

The storyline is expected to carry on through the summer (and yes, I did read up on this on the internet, because I apparently enjoy inflicting pain on myself). It's going to be a long bumpy ride.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Texas tales

Front page news yesterday? That we had mud rains. I have never heard of - or even imagined - such a thing, but apparently it's not unknown. There was a fire in Mexico and the ashes travelled northward to be brought down during a small rainstrom we had Tuesday. Utterly bizarre, and all the carwashes are making bank, as everyone looks like they drove through 1000 miles of desert.


Do you ever have days where you just cannot give a rat's ass, no matter what? Well, the horse I was riding yesterday was having one of those days. It started when we interrupted his dinner to root him out of the pasture and get him ready to ride. Then he was forced to trot, which apparently he is not fond of doing. It culminated with The Texan (who'd finished his lesson before mine) and me getting him ready to go back to the pasture.

He was tied off to a sturdy metal railing - how sturdy it was, we found out pretty quickly - and despite the horse's reluctance to be there (he kept shuffling back), started undoing the saddle. We got everything off him and commenced brushing when he apparently decided enough was enough. He backed up and continued to back up until he was rearing up on his back legs. I screamed and ran around the other side of the railing. The Texan was between this horse and another one, so just had to stand there. My horse kept on pulling until - snap! - the thick, corded rope, not unlike something you'd use to tie a sailboat to the pier, had snapped. The metal railing, however, held.

I had visions of the horse cantering off onto the freeway, which is ridiculous as the stables are completely fenced in, but let's face it, you're not thinking that clearly when 1000 pounds of horse is rearing above your head. Anyways, the horse got his temper tantrum out of his system and walked two steps away, where he quietly waited for The Texan to gather him up (I was too shaken to be much use). Let me tell you, no one has ever brushed a horse more quickly - we still had to get him ready for pasture - than we did after that.

My scream and the resounding crack! as the rope broke attracted everyone's attention in the adjoining padlock. My instructor was there and called over to see if we were okay. She also added that if the horse did that again, not to try to stop him from rearing up. NOT A PROBLEM. While I pride myself for being pretty strong - thank you, peasant heritage! - I don't kid myself that I could take on a horse in those kinds of circumstances.

Thus far, I have had four horse-riding lessons and have screamed during two of them. This is not the track record I'd hoped for.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back in the land of the longhorn

I am back from LA. It was a good trip, and I got to spend quite a bit of time with the family and with old friends - I MEAN LONG-TIME FRIENDS, MY FRIENDS AND I ARE NOT OLD. I have got to get that right, as I kept making that mistake when doing toasts.

One thing about my family is that oh dear god is it impossible to rent a movie that everyone will find acceptable. Restrictions? No swearing, no undue violence, no risque or sexual situations, no drug use, no animals getting hurt. Stop and think about the last movie that you saw. Unless it came from Pixar Studios, chances are good it violated one if not many of these rules. We ended up getting "3:10 to Yuma," which I'd already seen and thought would hold up okay. It sort of did - there were a lot of people getting shot, and one horse being ridden by a guy whose gunpowder cache was exploded via a bullet (which I'm pretty sure Mythbusters would say is impossible). Pobody's nerfect, as they say.

And I hate to say this, but my love affair with the Coffee Bean's Iced Blended Mocha is on, well, thin ice. To whit: I looked up how many calories is in one. LALALA not thinking about that. And adding on to it, their lids are crap. I had bought two while shopping at Ralphs' - damn their marketing department for putting one in the store! - and was juggling them while trying to get my bags in the car. I put the mochas down on the trunk while shifting things around, ignorant of the fact that the one with whipped cream was dangerously top-heavy. The damn thing fell over and flat-out exploded, dousing me, the car next to me, and my car with iced blended goodness. Now, a responsible citizen would've cleaned up the mess entirely. I however was pissed off and ready to get the hell out of Dodge, so I made a few cursory swabs at cleaning the slush off, then jumped in the car and skedaddled.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fully clawed

My family always had at least one cat around the house as I grew up. And while they were fussed over and loved by all, they all had the same favorite: my mom. Perhaps it was because she was the one who fed them; maybe it was because she abstained from putting makeup on them. Who knows.

At any rate, as time goes by, the attrition rate has increased to the point where there's one cat standing. And while I joke about my cat Scratchel being kind of an asshole, this one - let's call him Ditzy - takes the cake. Of course, Ditzy is semi-feral, so maybe nature's more to blame for this one.

Ditzy will not let anyone pet him besides my mom. Smart cat, sucking up to the one person in the house who makes the major decisions. Since she's been sick, his care became yet another one of my dad's new responsibilities, and like most of them, he's been a thankless and tedious task.

I arrived at LAX Saturday night and was shown a fresh scratch on my dad's hand that he'd gotten while giving the cat treats. I winced at it, but thought, you know, Dad's in his 70s, I'm sure he just wasn't moving that quickly.

Ha. Ha.

Yesterday, I walked past a bedroom and saw Ditzy sleeping peacefully on the bed. I started crooning to him, as he is a beautiful grey silky cat, and he started kneading his claws the way cats do when they're very happy. So I decided to try my luck and pet his ears. He drew back, and I figured I'd stop while I was ahead. On the way out, I put a few treats down for him and because he didn't look like he'd seen them (cats have poor close-up vision), I tapped the bed to demonstrate there was something there. Big mistake. He made short work of my hand. It looks like someone took a sewing machine to it - I've never seen such a straight line of striations. He's not getting any more treats from me. Today, at least. Maybe tomorrow it'll turn out better.


BTW: Day three of working while hunched over my parents' china hutch. Seems to be coming along okay, but I think I'll need a massage when I get back to SA.

Monday, March 10, 2008

(Non-American) Football

Friday night the Texan and I decided to do something outside of renting a DVD and drove instead out to lovely Cibolo, Texas, for a double-header of the Texas Pro-Soccer Tournment. Or something along those lines. It was a bunch of exhibition matches of MLS teams held all last week while they went through their spring training. I am not bitter at all that we bought tickets on Thursday for $35/pop and then they were on sale Friday for $10 each. Nope, not in the slightest.

Outside of getting reamed in the wallet, it was a fun evening. Even more so as we had no clue who was playing. We'd thought it was Chivas USA vs. Houston, but we got there right when the players were coming on the field and were engrossed in purchasing BBQ brisket sandwiches when they were announcing the players, so we didn't pay attention, figuring they'd mention it again. WRONG. While they technically had an announcer, he was there to thank sponsors and didn't give any hints as to who was who. And because it was at a high school stadium, there wasn't any big-screen to show you close-up of the players or instant replays or anything like that. At the half, we got a hint that we were actually watching DC United vs. Toronto, but we weren't sure who was who.

Finally, 78 minutes into the game, we definitively decided which team was which. Nothing gets past us. And, to confirm it, 86 minutes into the game - for you non-soccer players, that meant that there were four minutes left for the entire match - DC United scored. GOOOOOOL!!!! And they won the game, hooray.

I used to occasionally go to DC United games when I lived in DC. I'd half-worried that the asshole with the drum who went to every single game and beat the drum until it bored into your soul was going to be at the exhibition match. Turns out I missed him, since in his stead, they had half a dozen teenage boys blowing on horns at random. MUCH more annoying.

We had to sit near the top of the bleachers to get decent seats. The climb damn near killed me, but I felt better when a few high school girls wearing varsity jackets sat near us, huffing and puffing, and wondering how it was that they were athletes and yet couldn't handle the hike up the bleachers. You and me both, sisters.

The Texan and I left after the first game as I was half-frozen. It was in 40s and dropping and I'd forgotten how cold that was. My (um, uncovered and sockless) feet were numb by the end.


The next day, I bade adieu to The Texan and flew to LA for a week with the Ladyship Family. I'm working from home this week and am happy to report that Mama Ladyship seems to be picking up, health-wise. The only fly in the ointment is the wine opener. Last time I was here, I accidentally packed the good corkscrew in my carry-on bag. Guess what? It went through airport security, even though the TSA screener watching it go through x-ray said to his colleague, "Hey, look, that looks like a corkscrew" - AND LET IT GO THROUGH. I was happy not to lose the corkscrew but come on now. Anyways, I left the good corkscrew in Texas, so I've had to make do with an inferior version. Not the worst thing that could happen, that's for sure.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Denied my good citizen sticker

How many chances as an adult do you get to be rewarded with a sticker for behaving well? Not many, I can tell you that. Hence my (perhaps too large) disappointment with not getting an "I Voted" sticker today.

I almost didn't get to vote, period. I got into a little bit of a tussle when they asked me for my voter's registration card (which I didn't have on me) and then for an ID. I could be off on this, but I am almost positive it is illegal to ask for a government ID when people are voting - bad memories of poll taxes and the like. They got all huffy when I told them that, asking "How can we tell who you are?" but I have been voting since I was 18 and I have never been asked for ID. In fact, I voted here in Texas (last year I think it was) and I wasn't asked for my ID. The ire, she rises. Plus I still, um, don't have a Texas driver's license and they were looking at my DC driver's license all askance. I finally convinced them just to look my goddamned name up in their computer already and lo and behold, there I was. Assholes.

Walking up to the elementary school to vote I was accosted by the usual last-minute-politickers, who I ducked very easily. You know, I'm starting to think that perhaps one of the most important things I learned while at UCLA was how to avoid canvassers/peddlars (going up and down the main drag, Bruin Walk, was at times like running a very earnest gauntlet of Hare Krishnas, Jews for Jesus, and everything in between). College IS useful - you heard it here first.