Thursday, July 31, 2008

They should call it "Stalkerbook"

I came face-to-face with an awful realization the other night.

It all started when I emailed my friend MK from work, and we made plans to hang out the following evening (last night) and for me to sleepover at her apartment.

We decided to make our evening health-concious, and met up with our friend TC and her precious new puppy Smudge. We traversed the Katy Trail in Dallas, making it from about Haskell down to the Knox-Henderson area and back. I don't know exactly how many miles that is, but they're a considerable number of exits from each other. Or maybe it just felt like a long time because we were walking at a leisurely pace.

MK and I decided to continue our evening of healthiness, so we went to Eatzi's, where I had never been before. It's one of those places with a bunch of pre-made food- they have tiramisu and baguette and raw seafood all within arm's reach of each other. They also have one of those overwhelming salad bars where they ask you a million questions and you wind up with some grilled chicken- avocado- zucchini- pumpkin seed- garbanzo bean- raspberry vinaigrette combination that just doesn't add up to a cohesive salad unit. I would know, trust me, that's why I bought one that was pre-made.

Anyway, while MK was waiting for her lentil and shredded beef salad, I noticed a girl hanging on her boyfriend, who looked oddly familiar. I couldn't place where I might know her from, and then I read her sorority and college on her t-shirt and everything clicked.

I recognized her from Facebook.

A girl I had never met, I recognized from a high school acquaintance's Facebook pictures that I had seen probably two-ish years ago. I can't remember half of the logic formulas I spent days and hours studying spring of my senior year, and yet at the drop of a lentil I instantly recognized a stranger from the Internet.

I hope the only thing this reveals about me is that I have an excellent photographic memory, and not that I waste time on a pointless cyber social website. Glass half-full people, glass half-full.

"I'd be much more into this project if you disguised it as a Facebook application."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Whale Tales

Read and be inspired by this amazing family.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What can brown do for you?

I used to be a brunette.

Don't be concerned; I’m still a brunette today too. But in between brunette stages I was misguided, and I thought it would be in my best interest to get blonde highlights (as evidenced by my multitude of beautiful blonde friends, as seen below).

As an eighth grader I fell prey to a bored weekend when my friends RW and MK were staying over, and ended up with a head of red hair. Long, red hair. I’ve always been jealous of people with red hair, I think it’s fantastic, but it was not my color and I have since been content to admire it on others from a safe distance.

As punishment or something, my mom decided to just make me grow it out, so that by the middle of my freshman year of high school (a very critical time in a teenager’s life) my hair was half red and half my natural brown, which I referred to as being “mousy” in color. I convinced my mom that it was time for the help of a professional.

I got my subtle blonde highlights, which I loved and which I thought looked *awesome for all of high school. Then I turned 18 and got my driver’s license renewed. The blonde had reached a new level that I suddenly noticed differed greatly from the color of my eyes and eyebrows. Starting college, I knew I didn’t want to be unrecognizable during Rush, and in the senior pictures I had sent in, I was still blonde.

I got pictures back after Bid Day and my immediate concern was that the blondeness had reached epic proportions. I remember walking from the South Side parking garage to the Commons, where I lived at A&M my freshman year, and being stopped by a guy who told me I looked like Jessica Simpson.

Just for the record: no matter how annoying she is, it is ALWAYS a compliment when a Texas girl gets told she looks like Jessica. And who was I to argue?

I finally broke down at the end of that semester, cut my hair to my chin and low-lighted it back to my natural color. I’ve never touched hair color since, and yet I have still been bothered by the annoying problem of my driver’s license all these years. Security guards at airports and bouncers at bars usually feel the need to make a comment “wow, you look really different than your picture”. Thanks for the keen observation Captain Obvious.

Since my parents moved, I finally had a reason to get a new license. “Change of address” I told the woman at the DPS. I also pointed out that I am no longer 5’6, but 5’7, to which she promptly ignored me and asked if I was wearing my corrective lenses.

I finally got my new license on Monday and the picture is much better; since it actually looks like me and all. They didn’t change my height though, which was typical but also makes me think that instead of people commenting on my hair color, they will really start to notice that missing inch that was omitted from the card… because sometimes, it’s the little things.

"I tend to notice little things like that -- whether a girl is a blonde or a brunette."
- James Bond, Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The uninvited guest

My parents lived in a smaller Texas town when I was born, and I spent the first few years of my life living in a house whose backyard backed up to a huge field. My brother and I were allowed to play outside without parental supervision, but we had to stay on our yard’s side of the fence.

Because of the field, occasionally we had random wildlife roaming into the yard, and so we always had to be “on alert” in case there was danger around, and to yell and scream as loud as we could if anything happened. So as fate would have it, one chilly autumn afternoon, my brother and I were in the backyard running around, when I spotted it: a snake. Grabbing my brother and hurdling onto our Springer spaniel Barney’s dog house; I followed procedure and began screaming my little head off.

The snake in question was a black garden snake that was less than a foot long, and our dad quickly came out with a garden ho and tossed it back over the fence. We lived to play another day.

Fast forward 18 or so years, and in the suburban neighborhood my parents live in now we have discovered a new troublemaker in the backyard; one who digs holes. It was so destructive, digging narrow holes and pulling up roots, that Animal Control got involved. They suspected an armadillo was the culprit, and sure enough…

They were right. My dad woke up early to get the paper the morning after the trap was set and found this guy trapped. Of course the closest I would get to it was about five feet away, from the safety of our porch. I made sure there was a wall, a fence and clearly a cage separating me from the backyard offender. Don't worry, Animal Control came back to pick it up later the same day and to take it somewhere else, undoubtedly to pester someone else's garden.

I kind of felt sorry for it, after spending years reading about Peter Rabbit's narrow escape from Mr. McGregor's garden. I probably would have had more mercy for it had it had a cute cotton-tail or twitching nose.

I think it is safe to say I'll never be the one running outside with a garden ho.

"I am two with nature."
-Woody Allen

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My not-so-well-kept secret

I’m royally ticked-off with Brangelina.

I have slacked on watching E! like I used to with the New York girls, but I happened to catch a headline about the new twins who were born to Brad and Angie over the weekend.

I also caught their names, and to my horror I found that they named their daughter “Vivienne Marcheline”. “Marcheline” I’m not partial to, but Vivienne… I love(d) that name. When I have kids in 50 some-odd years, I wanted to name one Vivienne. WANTED being the operative word here.

I started having a thing for the name Vivienne when I went to the Met a few years ago and walked through a Vivienne Westwood exhibit. “What a great name: Vivienne Westwood,” I thought to myself, as I made a mental note of it. I’ve always loved really classic names and Vivienne has never been overused. Until now, that is.

Everyone, okay maybe every girl, has names they like for babies, and we’re all very protective of our favorites. You think I’m joking? Some of my friends who have sisters have even “called” names and agreed upon which sister gets which names so that there won’t be any disputes on down the line when both of them discover they wanted to name their daughter Suri Cruz II, or what have you. The naming of spawn is serious business, I tell you.

Remember what happened after the episode of ‘Friends’ where Rachel named her baby “Emma”? Before that episode, that name wasn’t even on the radar. It was still sitting gracefully on the cover of one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. Then it exploded.

Since Baby Emma on “Friends”, you can’t attend the birthday party of anyone under the age of six without running into at least 3-17 little girls named “Emma”. It’s been on the top 10 list of girl names for several years running now.

Maybe Vivienne won’t catch on like Emma did. Maybe she’ll just get lost in the litter of Brangelina children and all hope will not be lost.

Or maybe I’ll have four boys and I will get to learn once again that God has a great sense of humor.

“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.”
-Lin Yutang

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It isn't rocket surgery

I have gotten in the routine of waking up earlier recently, which makes me feel more like an adult and less like a teenager even though I’m living with my parents.

The other morning (on a Saturday, no less) I woke up at 7:30 AM, congratulating myself on my early start and ready to be productive. My early bird high lasted as long as it took me to walk downstairs, to find my Dad and one of his friends walking inside from finishing a 10-mile bike ride and a 5K. Nothing like a little side of Worthlessness to go with my coffee and yogurt breakfast.

My brother and I got our Dad an iPod Shuffle for Father’s Day. We weren’t actually home on the day he received it, so I finally took the time to sit down with him and set it up. I thought it would be really straightforward to explain and take no time at all. I was wrong. In explaining the Shuffle to my Dad, I did not realize I would be trying to bridge the generation gap in a single afternoon.

First I had to set up an account for him and show him how to download songs from his CDs into his iTunes folder. He wanted to know why he couldn’t just buy the songs with his iTunes gift card, and once I explained that you didn’t want to buy music you already owned, he wanted to listen to a clip of every song on every CD to eliminate songs he didn’t want.

Then there was the conundrum of the iTunes store itself. I showed him the search feature, and we looked up hit songs from the 70’s to see if there were any he wanted to download. Most listed were not by the original artists, which warranted a host of other questions: “but how am I supposed to know if I like this version… do I have to listen to all of these... why are there various artists… why is the sky blue?” You know, things of that nature.

Once we got the music selection settled, we were onto step three, which was using the iPod itself. He started listening to it and wanted to know why all the songs were out of order, or SHUFFLED, if you will. We figured out how to un-shuffle them, and I had to wonder why Apple hasn’t considered making an iPod Sequential or something by now, for the 50+ crowd.

Everything was set up and then my Dad discovered that the headphones wouldn’t fit in his ears. I should have seen that coming- being his daughter, a direct descendant of his gene pool, and knowing that I too needed special headphones when I got my first iPod because I had the same problem.

It was nice, however, to be able to show him how to do something for once… and now he has sweet jams for all those 5K’s.

"The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wedding Diaries: The 2008 Edition

Pre-wedding bridesmaids
How many monogrammed travel bags should one person have?
Great band
The happy couple

As I mentioned, my friend KR, (now KB) got married last weekend. KB was one of my roommates my last two years of college, and a great friend since the beginning of college when we pledged the same sorority. KB getting married meant that I got to spend three days in South Texas playing with my friends celebrating a major event in her life.

Since most friends my age use their travel days and travel budgets to attend weddings, we treat them like vacations that also happen to be reunions. I'm easy to please these days.

While we were getting ready for the wedding, my friend JP was talking about how her upper lip starts quivering whenever she smiles too much, i.e. when you're a bridesmaid and all you do is smile and hold flowers for two+ hours while you take pictures before a wedding, are concious of a photographer lurking and taking candids of you during a wedding and ultimately the formal pictures after the wedding.

I thought I was doing great, until 1. we learned at the rehearsal that we would all be singing the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" without the words in front of the entire congregation, and 2. we all got in position at the church and I found myself in the direct line of the video cameraman, meaning when Mr. & Mrs. B watch the video of their vows 20 years from now; about half of my face will be in the shot the entire time. And we all thought that prom photos were demanding. Child's play- that was only practice for the marathon that is wedding photography.

Ten of us drove to the Salt Lick in Dripping Springs after the wedding Saturday afternoon, and we spent the night at LB's house in Austin, mainly hanging out in the hot-tub and talking about adult matters such as sedans, grad school and Lasik eye-surgery... which was closely followed by a game of Categories in the pool and an 11:30 bedtime.

"To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey'd,
Such seems your beauty still."
-William Shakespeare, Sonnet 104

Friday, July 4, 2008

Never fully dressed

I drove to South Texas last weekend for the blessed event in which my dear friend Miss KW became Mrs. KB. More on that later.

In an effort to keep myself honest and also to measure my packing efficiency, I decided to take inventory of everything I packed for the weekend and then to record what I actually wore when I arrived home. I was gone for three nights between Dallas, Austin and a handful of small towns in South Texas. Here goes…

What I packed/ What I wore:

- 7 dresses/ 5 dresses
- 1 gingham nightshirt/ 2 gingham nightshirts*
- 3 pair of shorts/ 1 pair of shorts
- 3 blouses/ 1 blouse
- 2 camisoles/ 1 camisole
- 2 cardigans/ 1 cardigan
- 1 skirt/ none
- 3 pair of sleep shorts/ all
- 1 t-shirt/ none
- 2 bathing suits/ 1 bathing suit
- 1 bathing suit cover-up/ none
- 2 hats/ 0 hats
- 2 tank tops/ both
- 1 pair of athletic shorts/ none
- 6 pair of shoes/ all
- Etc.

*I don't know which figure was more startling: the fact that I somehow managed to wear five dresses in three days, that I left with more gingham nightshirts than I started with, or that I triumphantly wore all six pair of shoes that I packed. Part of the problem was that I was driving, so I knew I could bring whatever I wanted and somehow manage all of it. It's like when you go to the airport with your father and brother and know you can pack to your heart's content since they'll always carry everything anyway. I also like to have choices, but now I'm wondering why I thought there would be any "active" part of this or any wedding weekend, and why I also felt led to bring hats. When have I ever worn a hat during the course of a wedding weekend? Never. Well noted.

The surplus of gingham can be explained: upon my arrival at the B&B where we were staying, my friend AR showed me into our room and to my monogrammed tote bag (way cute) from the bride, filled with gifts for the weekend. At the bottom of the bag I spied a pink and white gingham checked nightshirt, and as AR gushed "isn't it so cute?!" I pulled an identical one out of the bag I had packed from home. Gingham never fails to amuse.

I may need help in the area of packing, but I like to think I'm an above-average shopper, and in recent years I have come into the position of unofficial personal shopper for my family. Two weekends ago my brother and I had the unprecedented occasion of each of us having the weddings of friends from high school on the same night. It was the first wedding he had attended in years, and the first for him of a friend his age.

He made it home from Austin for the weekend with a pair of wrinkled khakis, two button-down shirts, boots and various athletic shorts. Even better was the fact that the clothing items to choose from in his closet at home were a Dallas Stars jersey, bowling shoes, a hunting jacket, a t-shirt from a youth group weekend seven years ago and a few polo shirts. He usually dresses in an acceptable manner, but anything appropriate for a wedding was conveniently left in Austin.

I grabbed car keys and took him to Brooks Brothers; picked out a sports coat and pants while he tried them on with a quizzical "do you approve?" look and shrug of the shoulders. Lucky for him, I had been shopping with our dad the night before, so he had nice selection of new ties to choose from at home as well. He found a book on gentlemanly behavior after we bought his clothes, which had a chapter titled A Gentleman Gets Dressed for a Wedding. I was thinking it would have been helpful to have, except for my doubts that even the most savvy of gentlemen could pull off a hockey jersey and bowling shoes at a wedding.

"I hold that gentleman to be the best-dressed whose dress no one observes."
-Anthony Trollope

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Welcome to my new place! Looks kind of exactly like the old one, I know.

I’m enjoying being back in Texas again and have spent the past few weeks at weddings, organizing my closet and figuring out how to work everything in my parents’ house. I know, no rest for the weary.

I have a new job that I start on Monday, so I get to enjoy a few more days of unemployment before that happens. I received a lot of encouragement from all ends after I decided to make the move back to Texas from New York, and for that I am truly grateful.

I got to spend the weekend in the company of a friend who will soon be moving from Denver back to Texas, and listening to her and everything she has struggled with in trying to make the decision that was best for her was like listening to myself a month and a half ago. She had the same words, the same hesitations and similar feelings that I had a difficult time articulating- and it was a blessing to be able to talk her through everything and reassure her that yes it was a hard decision but no I don’t regret any of it.

All of that to say that I’m glad I shared my sentiments of the subject of moving, and everything else for that matter. It is much easier to clarify my thoughts and examine my actions when they are written down, and now I have a journal of my time spent in New York, which is basically priceless to me.

New city, new blog, new start. Enjoy.

“In my end is my beginning.”
- Mary, Queen of Scots