April 30, 2006

Le Jardin - She Is Finished

After two months of hard work, I have dug my last hole for the spring. What started with the arrival of The Bench ended today with a few bags of mulch and several cold beers. It ain't Better Homes and Gardens, but it's ours, and we literally made it with our own little hands. Somewhere in the melee, I decided we needed to add a bed in the front to hide the utility and cable thingies (which I loathe) - no easy feat, considering just under the sod lay rocks bigger than my head, broken bottles, general trash, and a cement cap the size of a manhole that we still can't identify. Thanks "America's Builder!" The end result, however, was well worth the agony, and so far, everything seems to be making it.

The left side - mountain laurel, variety of lavender, butterfly iris, cherry sage, lantana, and viburnum.

The right side - viburnum, nemesia, indigo spires, butterfly iris, pintas, crape myrtle, and ligustrum.

The whole enchilada - please imagine the fence covered in fig ivy and trailing antique roses on the trellis. Oh, and me, lounging on The Bench with a cocktail and a trashy novel.

April 28, 2006

Into The Woods

The past week, Peach has been going "Into the Woods" for school everyday. Every year, some parishioners of the church her school is affiliated with invite the Kindergarten to invade their grounds (they have grounds, yo) and get back to nature. They have troops (she was a Mighty Mighty Lizard), and they go to Art, Science, and Photography centers everyday. They fish for minnows in one of two huge ponds full of man-eating koi, and they play in one of several meadows that has a rope swing, fort, monkey bars, the works. She left each morning in throw-down clothes and shoes, covered in bug spray, and came home each afternoon with rocks she found and God's Eyes she made, talking about Native American legends and things like SYMBIOSIS. I volunteered to help on Thursday, and it was like we were in another world all day - so green, so beautiful, so fun. All this about 5 minutes from downtown. Weird.

How would you like this to be your classroom everyday?

How would you like to see this out your window everyday?

How would you like to haul your ass up this driveway everyday to check the mail?

Actually, I saw the mailman drive right up to the front door. Sweet.

April 26, 2006

Olive Has A Boyfriend

And wouldn't you know it - he's a musician. And her Gymboree teacher. I've noticed over the past six months of her being in his class that her attitude toward him has changed dramatically - from shy to coy and flirty to full on, in his face, showing off. And he pays obvious, extra attention to her - complimenting her every move and note, blowing extra big bubbles just for her, and resolving all conflicts over toys in her favor. When we moved up to the next level recently, he advised me to stay away from a certain class because there were a bunch of rowdy boys in there, and he was concerned that Olive might get roughed up. How chivalrous. This is just his day job, but he is by far the best, most enthusiastic teacher at Gymboree, and he's just plain cool on top of that. He greets Olive warmly every class, and he makes sure to tell her goodbye, too. And today, he took it to the next level - a high-five and a pat on the head. She was beaming. We've just signed up for six more months, so we'll see where this mutual admiration society thing goes. Yes, he's at least 25 years older than her, but hey, it's working for Catherine Zeta Jones and that beak nose Michael Douglas. Who am I to stand in the way of love?

April 21, 2006

I Yam What I Yam

I lifted this meme from Vernicious Knids, but I see Badger nabbed it from somewhere, too:

I AM: a native Texan.
I WANT: Peach and Olive to be happy, healthy, and productive.
I WISH: I could win the lottery and start a summer camp on the Guadalupe River.
I HATE: willful ignorance. And snakes.
I MISS: my grandaddy, everyday.
I FEAR: missing or forgetting some precious moment, so Peach and Olive are under round-the-clock surveillance.
I HEAR: Olive singing "Hakuna Matata" 24/7.
I WONDER: where all the stuff I’ve ever lost goes.
I REGRET: a few bad decisions, most of which started with, "I'll just have one more drink ..."
I AM NOT: a morning person, but I try to smile through the pain.
I DANCE: pretty well, although my ass now has its own independent motions.
I SING: quite badly, but I do it anyway.
I CRY: easily, when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: the model of self-confidence you think I am. (Try NEVER.)
I MAKE big motions WITH MY HANDS when I talk, which usually results in me spilling something.
I WRITE: like I talk.
I CONFUSE: S. Lamar, S. 1st, and S. Congress - not where they are, just what's on them.
I NEED: to lose about 20lbs before my 20th(!) high school reunion this summer.
I SHOULD: stop worrying about the stupid reunion. I don't owe them peoples nuthin'.
I START: each day with Olive's feet in my stomach.
I FINISH: each day with Olive's feet in my back.
I TAG: Karla May, Malcontent Mama, Bookhart, and Jules.

April 19, 2006

How Cool Am I?

Word, y'all. What a wild and wacky weekend we had. Here are the highlights:

Friday - We took Peach and Olive to my parents' house in San Antonio and went to see Bob Dylan at the Municipal Auditorium. Damn good show, but Bob has traded in his guitar for a keyboard as of late, so it was a bit odd to watch him standing stock still, and in profile no less, for the whole show. Merle Haggard opened, and he pretty much kicked major ass, too. The crowd was mixed, from grandpa to grandbaby, from biker to school teacher - and I found out that your dad sitting next to me really LOVES him some Bob Dylan.

Saturday - We took Peach and Olive to see Ice Age 2. A great choice (she says sarcastically) for Olive's second movie in a theatre, especially since they said ass, damn, and crap all within the first five minutes. Nice. Later, we dyed Easter eggs and celebrated my grandmother's 94th birthday.

Sunday - A Happy Easter was had by all. We did the baskets and the egg hunt and then stuffed ourselves at brunch at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort. I wanted to just check in to a room to sleep it off, but we had big plans for the afternoon. My mom took Olive home, and my dad, T-Bone, and I took Peach downtown to see The Lion King at the Majestic Theatre. She had no idea until we pulled up in front of the theatre, and I handed her a ticket. She was so surprised and absolutely loved the show, as did my dad, the most unlikely Broadway musical fan you'll ever find. Please go see it if you ever get the chance.

Monday - On our way back to Austin, we stopped at a children's store in New Braunfels that is full of those cupcake-type dresses that you need for weddings, First Communions, and - sniff - Kindergarten graduations. Yes, I can't believe it myself, but next month, my BABY is graduating from her loving little preschool and moving on to the cold cruel world of elementary school. How in the hell did that happen?! Later that night, T-Bone treated me to an evening of pure magic in the form of my rock 'n roll boyfriend Chris Robinson and his pretty little brother Rich. Oh.My.God. They played an acoustic(!) show at the Texas Union Ballroom to a crowd of about 700(?), and I was completely overwhelmed. We were sitting 3rd row center, right in front of Chris natch, and they played every one of my favorite songs and threw in a few great covers and new stuff as well. It was almost perfect - thanks to several of the Super Fans (i.e. loner pasty-white overweight dorks) around us who insisted on talking the whole time. How do these assholes ALWAYS find me?! When they weren't comparing setlists from those shows they saw in Lafayette and Baton Rouge in '94, they couldn't help themselves from yelling out "Whoo!" and "Oh yeah!" during the quietest portions of the songs. And they were yelling out requests, too. As if. Chris finally had enough of their bullshit and told the crowd that if all they wanted to do was talk the whole time, they needed to get the fuck out. So embarrassing for the so-called Live Music Capital of the World.

Tuesday - Peach went back to school, and we got back in to the normal groove. Sort of. Upon further reflection, I decided that I was too distracted by the Super Fans to fully enjoy the show the night before and that I couldn't stand the thought of Chris being in town one more night and me not seeing him. SO, my darling husband agreed to help me track down tickets (for which I will repay him, in part, with a Catherine Keener film festival), and we hooked up with a sketchy (aren't they all) scalper that afternoon. Come 6:30 when the doors opened at the Cactus Cafe, we were among the first 20 folks inside, and I sat 10 feet from my boyfriend. The place only holds about 150 people, so it was VERY intimate and so much better than the night before. Chris was in a great mood and joked around a lot in between songs. I felt like we were all hanging out at someone's house, without that pesky Kate getting in the way, and with just a few outbursts from some of the Super Fans that managed to sleaze their way in. It was totally worth the price of admission, and I am so glad we made the effort to go. I am a lucky, lucky girl. Until next time, my sweet ...

April 14, 2006

Ears Looking At You, Kid

Here's one of those great grandparent gifts we all love - a book of bunny riddles for our super reader, just in time for Easter. I had it stashed in the holiday stuff, and Peach nabbed it when I was getting out the Easter baskets. Ever since, we've been peppered with all 48 riddles, several times over, and each one ends something like this: "Get it? A bunny uses a HARE brush! Get it? A HARE brush!" Gets her every time, sweet baby.

April 11, 2006

Thank You, Eastah Bunny - BAWK! BAWK!

I love those damn Cadbury Eggs. How gross is that? I also love the whole line of Russell Stovers candies (especially the coconut nests, minus the jellybeans), and I quite enjoy the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg, even though I don't really like the regular Peanut Butter Cup. The Egg's chocolate is softer, and there's a better chocolate to peanut butter ratio than with the Cup. Finally, I love the Rainblo Egg-Shaped Gum - the kind that is so super sugary that it can't possibly sustain its sweetness for more than about half an hour so you end up with a wad of about 6 pieces in your mouth and chew until your jaws hurt. Mmm ... I can't wait until Sunday.

April 8, 2006

My Inner (and Outer) Chelsea

When Clinton was first elected president, I always felt so bad for Chelsea and the way she was treated by the media. Of all times for your dad to be the leader of the free friggin' world, you're 12 or 13 and in the ugliest, most awkward period of your life. She (and Bill and Hil) seemed to handle it well, but I often wondered what if that had happened to me? Now, if it was when I was 12 or 13, I might have been okay, because I was a way late bloomer, and I still looked fairly cute. But come 14, freshman year in high school, THAT, my friend, was my Chelsea moment. Exhibit A (as if you need more than one):

Hi. Yeah, I know. Sorry for the poor quality, but you get the idea. There are several unfortunate things going on here:
  • The Bangs. The Picture was taken about 6 months after my first ever trip to the beauty shop. I always had long, all one length hair, and my mom or my aunt cut it for me. I never wanted bangs, wings, or perms and was happy with my stick-straight Cher hair. But no. My mom HAD to convince me that my hair would look "cute" with "wispy" bangs and that she knew a "great" stylist who could cut it for me. After much cajoling, we went the Friday before Spring Break when I was in 8th grade, and in a matter of seconds, the great stylist grabbed about half of my hair, pulled it all to the front, and CHOP. I immediately started crying, and, as some sort of a twisted souvenir, the great stylist gave me the hunk of hair, which was thick enough to wrap my big ball ponytail holder around, and tried to "style" what was left of my hair as I sunk lower and lower in the chair. When she was through, I walked out without saying a word, leaving my mom to pay for this nightmare. As soon as I got home, I grabbed a barrett (actually 2 or 3) and pulled all of The Bangs back and sulked for the rest of the week. Flash forward to The Picture, taken a couple of weeks before I started 9th grade, and I STILL had this much to grow out.

  • The Perm. In an effort to make lemonade out of the lemons on my forehead that were so thick neither sun nor water could penetrate them, and I had major breakouts up there for the first time ever, my aunt offered to give me a perm. At home. To take the edge off The Bangs. She used those metal rod rollers, and it stunk to high heaven. I was hoping the chemicals would just burn The Bangs right off, but better judgment prevailed, and she didn't perm them at all. THANK GOD. The good news/bad news was that while, yes, The Perm briefly made me forget about The Bangs, it turned out more like a Ted-Nugent-on-a-Really-Bad-Day body wave frizz. My aunt told me it didn't "take" because I went swimming the day after. I French-braided my hair everyday for the rest of the summer.

  • The Braces. I only had braces on the top four or six teeth, and I only had them for about 9 months, but, of course, I had them in The Picture to complete the Trifecta from Hell. Add to that, I had never worn makeup up to this point and had yet to develop anything, anywhere, so I looked like a walking 2x4.

Now lest you feel too sorry for me, I have to say that, despite my pitiful appearance, I was a very happy kid, with lots of friends, and I had a great time at school that year. I just went about my merry dorky way and secretly prayed for my Chelsea moment to end. And starting somewhere around the spring semester, it did start to end. I started wearing makeup, I got The Braces off, The Perm fizzled out, and The GD Bangs finally all grew out. I grew THREE inches over the summer, and I started my sophomore year as a whole new me.

But here's the thing. You know how your yearbook comes out around Homecoming the year AFTER the one it covers? So they can include graduation and summer fun and all that shit? You see my problem. My sophomore year, I had several classes with juniors and seniors, many of whom didn't know who I was the year before, so when that damn yearbook came out, and everybody was passing them around for people to sign, I can't tell you how many looks of utter shock I got when people saw The Picture. I had more than one stupid football player say to me, "What happened to you?" or "Is that really you?" or "That's NOT really you." Thanks?

The Picture was a thorn in my side for a long time, mostly because my mom is one of those who puts every school picture up on the icebox, in order, so my beady eyes stared me down every morning until I left for college. I used to take it down and hide it and move the later pictures up to fill in the space, and damn if my mom didn't find it every time. Now, I can look at it and laugh my ass off, as I hope you are.

My thanks to Karla May for forcing my hand on this post. I have been working on it for a while, and after viewing her awesome hair journey, I had to humiliate myself, too.

April 5, 2006

Have I Mentioned I Have Two Girls?

Behold the Shoe and Tutu Departments in Peach and Olive's closet.

April 2, 2006

Yeah Baby!

While playing Apples to Apples this weekend, Peach brought the house down with one of her plays. We play the adult version, so some of the cards are a bit beyond her frame of reference, but she loves it anyway. The word to play on was,"busy" and Peach said, "Oh - I've got the perfect one! I don't need any help." So she plays "Austin Powers." I thought, she's never seen those movies and has probably never even heard that name, but the description must have said something about the character that made him sound busy. Anyway, I was the judge that round and chose T-Bone's card "assembly lines." Totally shocked that her card didn't get picked, Peach said, "Come on people! Austin Powers! They give us our lights - hello?! They're busy!"