June 28, 2009

Still Processing

I've tried writing this post several times over the past few days, but I just couldn't decide what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I still can't decide.

I've loved Michael Jackson since I was a little girl, sitting in Abulelita Turista's den, listening to my aunt's Motown 45s. I've grown up with him - sang with him, danced with him, screamed for him, cried for him, and through it all, I've marveled at his talent, his passion, and his power.

I remember skating to Off the Wall tracks and later watching MTV all night just so I could pick up a few more steps from the Thriller video. I wore out a Jacksons Live double cassette (yes, children, cassette) when I first started driving, and I paid $20 for a ticket STUB from the Victory Tour:

Yeah, so the face value was $28, but I was at camp and so sad to miss the show, so it was worth it in 1984 dollars. A few years later, though, I finally got the chance to see him live, and it was better than even I, the one crying in the cheap seats, could have ever imagined:

Songs that I had heard at least a million times sounded fresh and new, and the whole place was captivated by the spectacle. "Human Nature" still really stands out in my mind - mostly because it was never one of my favorites, but it became one that night. And as much as that other MJ, Mick, works the stage from start to finish every night, Michael worked it AND transported you. It was truly awesome.

I'm still not sure what to think - or how to feel - about all of this, but I've made a point to watch exactly ZERO coverage of anything remotely related to it. T-Bone was the first to alert me of the news, and besides reading a couple of initial reports on CNN.com, I've tuned out the rest of the bloodsuckers. Which is odd for me, because up to this point, I've probably seen every interview, report, and special that's ever aired. But now? I've got my own memories and my own favorites, and I don't need to be reminded of the equal-parts circus and tragedy that his life had become.

In my most fervent fan days, when my best friend P and I wanted to marry MJ, I wore one or both of these pins nearly every day:

So talented, so handsome, so seemingly normal. I've been missing him for a while now, which makes this new development that much more upsetting. And confusing.

June 23, 2009

My Two Cents

Y'all know I've had my problems with Kate, right? I mean, homegirl has changed a lot in the last year or so. I used to love it, back in the day, in that tiny house, when she was SO anal about organization and schedules, and there were post-its papering the walls. I LOVED that.

Then came the book deals and the obnoxious product placement and the tanning and the heels with every outfit and, as always, The Hair - now with more spikes! Even so, I genuinely believe she is hurting, and after The Announcement episode last night, I am totally on her side.

As for Jon, good luck with that mid-life crisis at 32. And nice diamond earrings, douche. Also, you're bald under those plugs.

June 19, 2009


That’s how I’m feeling at The Job these days. Of course, I’m so happy to have a job in this market and am thrilled to be working part-time. But the actual work itself? Meh, with a capital MEH. I pretty much learned everything I’ll ever need to know within the first two weeks. After that, it’s just rinse, repeat. For close to year now, can you believe it?

Now, if they were paying me a boatload of money, I might not be complaining. I could just punch in every day, keep my head down, and wake up 20 years later and be ready to retire. Which is what a lot of folks do around there. The air is thick with complacency, let me tell you. And that’s why I think, I hope, that even if they were paying me a boatload of money, I would still feel restless. I mean, if I’m going to do this whole Working Mom thing, I don’t want a Job, I want a Career.

To that end, I’ve never quit searching the job postings and putting out feelers for a Career. I kind of fell bassackwards into legal writing, so Drama degree and awesome courtroom antics aside, legal writing is my thing, specifically appellate law. I always did well on my writing assignments in law school, but I wasn’t on law journal, and I graduated nowhere near the top of my class. Even so, I somehow landed my first job based on my writing sample and jovial interview, and I loved every minute of it. I quickly learned that there are a lot of crappy writers making bank in the legal world and that, quite often, prisoners are better writers than attorneys. See, legal writing is not that glamorous, unless you get to present oral arguments, so most people do it begrudgingly, for better or worse. Which is kind of funny, actually, because oral arguments are really just a big show, a chance for judges to ask questions about what you or other people have written. What’s written is what gets laws made, not the dog-and-pony act. So I decided that if a person has any aptitude for good legal writing, they should do humanity a favor and pursue it. And that’s how I found my wheelhouse.

And that’s what led me to LawNerds. And that’s what led me to The Job. And that’s what, hopefully, will lead me to The Career. Actually, I’m a bit frustrated with that last part because there have been some opportunities over the past few years that I feel like I wasn’t properly considered for, especially since my area of expertise is so specific. At the state level, there are really just two Top Prizes in this type of law - one of which I've already worked for, and one, perhaps foolishly, I’ve had my eye on for years. Again, wasn’t on law journal, wasn’t in the top of my class, didn’t go to a “top tier” law school (however, we are nationally-recognized for our social justice programs, which I find makes for a very low Future Asshole Lawyer Rating, which really should count for something). BUT I can write my way around anything and managed to land a pretty prestigious gig right out of the gate, so gimme a break. I’ve applied a handful of times over the years, as have millions of others I’m sure, and I can’t help but feel like my transcript is what does me in every time. Not so much what’s on it, but what’s not on it. It doesn’t bear the crest of some ivy-covered institution or even my beloved undergraduate alma mater, and it sure as hell doesn’t say “cum laud” of any variety. But, really? That’s all you’re looking at Top Prize Prize Patrol? Not my PUBLISHED writing sample? Not my STELLAR references? Not my resume of TWICE the years of DIRECT experience preferred for this position? And I don’t even get an interview to charm you with my nerdy legal anecdotes? I know they have to cut down the field somehow, but I defy you, Prize Patrol, to find someone who will work harder, work faster, and work better than me. NOT possible. And while my crippling lack of self-confidence usually keeps me and my crazy aspirations pretty well in check, I ain’t playin’ around on this. You will have me, Top Prize. Before I am old(er) and gray(er), you WILL have me, and you will see what you’ve been missing. And I will laugh my ass off.

Okay, Universe. Make it happen.

June 15, 2009

So Far, So Good

We made it through the First Week of Summer ’09 with flying colors. Dance camp was a great success, we hit the pool a couple of times, and we enjoyed a quick but violent dousing of rain Thursday night. My crunchy grass was so thankful.

Speaking of, I hate Bermuda grass (which the builder planted in the green space that butts up to our yard). I also hate St. Augustine grass (which the builder did a craptacular job of planting in our front yard and which I would love to set fire to). So you can imagine my disdain for the effing Bermuda that has invaded my GD St. Augustine and now has designs on my flower beds. Really, I’m all about organic gardening, and we’ve had great success with it up to this point, but I will not hesitate to go hardcore chemical on that shit if it doesn’t BACK OFF. We’ve pulled, we’ve dug, we’ve covered, we’ve cursed, and STILL, it wants to get up close and personal with my roses and lantana. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let it happen. So, you’ve been warned, Bermuda grass.

Also, T-Bone has been working his little patootie off getting our porches ready for painting. Because June in Texas is the perfect time to undertake big outdoor projects. We’re just doing the floors at this point, but it takes a lot of prep work, so my BIL lent us his powerwasher to make semi-quick work of it. That thing is awesome! I’m just looking around for more things to powerwash before we have to give it back.

So between yard work, porch work, and a ninja cleaning of la casa on Sunday, this old gal is hurtin’, y’all. My MIL is here helping us out for a few days, and I may have to defer my pool duties to her this week. As great as the water would feel, I literally don’t have the strength to wrestle with my bathing suit, which is a whole ‘nother story. Nightmare, really.

June 8, 2009

Summer Job

So today marks what I consider the first day of summer and the first summer EVER that I haven’t been home with Peach and Olive. Even when I was working for LawNerds, I was at least working from home, so this is the first time that I’ve really felt like a Working Mom since I started The Job in September. Up until now, they’ve been at school while I’m at work, so I had a pretty good idea of what they were doing every minute of the day. But for the next three months, not so much.

We’ve started off The New Normal(?) with a week of dance camp – Disney Princesses for Olive, Broadway Divas for Peach – which culminates in a “show” on Friday. Next week, “Information” Bible School (per Olive), which wraps up with a family picnic after Mass on Saturday. Then, the REAL fun begins.

With a schedule more managed and obsessed over than Obama’s, Peach and Olive are hitting the road this summer, with stops in all parts of the Lone Star State. They’re spending time with grandparents, great grandmothers, brutha- and sista-cuzins, and a brand spanking new cousin, due to arrive in August. Part of the time, they’ll be here entertaining their visitors, and part of the time, they’ll be living out of suitcases. And they couldn’t be more excited. Luckily, since the Powers That Be at The Job let me cut back to 30 hours a week (which I’m still thanking my lucky stars for) AND they’re pretty flexible on when those hours are, I’ll be able to condense my weeks, and then join them for 3-day weekends wherever their tour happens to stop. We’re not going to Colorado this summer (sniff), so I’ll be taking days off here and there instead of in a clump. And the way it looks now, I’ll be working, at most, 4-day weeks for the majority of the summer, without using much vacation time, which is kind of awesome I have to say. But of course I’d rather be at home with Peach and Olive, planning fun-filled days on our wide open schedule, but duty (and law school debt) calls …

June 4, 2009

And The Painted Ponies Go Up and Down

Well, it’s official: Peach is a 4th grader and Olive is a Kindergartner. Yesterday was the last day of school and the annual GGMS “Gates of Life” ceremony. Every year, we gather in the auditorium, a group of parents form a tunnel for the “graduates” to run through one at a time while the rest of us chant their name, and then they land in the open arms of their teachers. After everyone who is “moving on” goes through the Gates, the teachers serenade us with Joni Mitchell’s The Circle Game. And everyone weeps. It’s adorable.

Olive will be in the same class next year, but Peach is moving upstairs with the “big kids,” so she actually took a stroll through the Gates this time. Her teacher called her name last, and a roar came up from the crowd as she made her way to the front. I really thought she might cry because she LOVES her teacher so, but she was just too excited and probably taken aback by the reaction when her name was called. I got some cute pictures and video (natch), and then we waved goodbye to GGMS for the next three months.

T-Bone and I took the day off, and Mama Turista came up for the festivities, so by noon, we were ready for a celebration. First stop, Molly’s Sno Cups! Yeah, it was lunchtime, so what? See, we had to kill some time before our 1:45 movie, and we didn’t want to spoil our popcorn appetite with anything stupid like LUNCH, so shaved ice covered in sugar syrup was an obvious choice. We hadn’t hit this particular stand before, mostly because their parking situation is horrendous, but I have to say, they know what they’re doing over there – nice texture to the ice, judicious amounts of juice all the way to the bottom – I’d give ‘em a top score of Five Brain Freezes. Plus, they donate all profits to the Children’s Hospital, so swing by sometime this blazing hot summer.

Next, we went to the Drafthouse to see Night at the Museum II. I loved the first one, and I think I love this one just as much, if not more. Plus, before the show, the Drafthouse always shows random clips somehow related to the movie, so for this, they had several sketches from the old Ben Stiller show, including B-Minus Time Traveler with Janeane Garofalo – hilarious.

After the movie, we hit Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies and the teacher store for some summer workbooks. Honestly, is there anything more awesome than a store full of school supplies? I didn’t think so. In fact, Peach and Olive were so excited, we had the lady at the counter sharpen their new pencils so they could crack open their workbooks in the car on the way home. THAT excited. A mere three-plus hours after school ended for the summer.

We ate an early dinner at the delicious Hyde Park, and dangit if those french fries aren’t still some of the best you’ve ever had. I don’t know how they do it, but God love ‘em for it. We left there fat and happy and ready to settle in for the night.

After such a full day, I expected to have some late sleepers and lazy bums at home today, but as I left at 6:45 this morning, there was Peach, in her bed with her booklight on, tackling another page in her new workbook. With Olive looking over her shoulder.

And the seasons they go round and round.

June 1, 2009


Our home phone is apparently on the fritz, which I found out last night when, while talking to his mom on his cell, T-Bone informed me that MY mom had called his brother and his mom looking for us because she hadn’t been able to reach us for two days. I realized then that I had turned my cell off at Mass yesterday morning and forgot to turn it back on, and T-Bone had left his cell in the car for most of the weekend. Anywho, the whole thing set off a Turista Family APB because if you ever want to throw my people into a tizzy, appear to be missing for a few hours.

I have to say, however, part of it stems from the fact that my aunt was actually kidnapped when she was 18, so nothing sets off Abuelita Turista more than not knowing where you are, or where she expects you to be, at any given moment. (As for my aunt, she escaped from the guy, unharmed, about 12 hours later, and when they finally got him, her testimony helped put him in the pen, which happened to be in the exact same town the genius was taking her to. Oh, the irony.).

The other part of it stems from the fact that I talk to Mama Turista at least once a day, and Abuelita at least once a week (she’s got a tight schedule, y’all, what with Bridge, Chicken Foot, Kiwanis, and Altar Guild), so if they can’t get me by home phone OR cell, that could be considered cause for alarm. Especially if you’re a worrier Drama Queen like me. Plus, Peach has been ailing with unexplained stomach pains for the past week (no, it’s not her appendix, and the doctor just recommended that she throw back some Tums for a few days – thoughts?), so when I finally talked to my mom last night, she said her first thought was that we might have gone to the hospital. And as she had been on the Hotline with the rest of The Clan throughout the week, as per usual, everyone was on high alert, and there were NINE messages on our Call Notes, just from Mi Familia Loca, from the past 24 hours. Three of which were from Abuelita, all of which sounded something like this:

Peach? Peach, this is Abuelita. I was just looking for your mommy. I’ve been trying to get in touch with y’all. Are you ever home? Tell your mommy or your daddy to call me. This is Abuelita. Okay. Be careful. Love you. Be careful. Okay. Bye bye.

Peach’s voice is on our message, so every time Abuelita calls, she addresses her message to Peach. Much like she did to T-Bone when his voice was on our message. Every time. I know she knows she’s not really talking to them and that she’s leaving a message, and I’ve told her on MANY occasions that I’m pretty much the only one who ever actually listens to the messages, but do I ever get a shout-out? Hells no.

But we’ve got it all straight now. Everyone is present and accounted for, all being careful. Now all I have to worry about is those two “solicitors” who were roaming the neighborhood this weekend, who I didn’t entertain when they rang our doorbell on Saturday, who were probably casing the joint as I stared at them through the upstairs blinds, and who probably cut the phone line and are cleaning us out as I type this at The Job, knowing the alarm will alert no one since the phone line is down. Perfect.