Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I found out recently that my friend ND would be coming in town from Hawaii for Spring Break. Separated from "the mainland" for many most of the year as a high school teacher and Master's student, she always prepares us with her List of what she wishes to do when she comes home. This time, she wanted a trip to Austin. MK and I, both needing a break and to get out of Dallas for a few days, got on board with the idea.

I met MK at her house, in windy, un-March and un-Texas-like 50-degree weather, we hopped into the HOV lane, mocking all of the solitary drivers as we easily bypassed 45 minutes of traffic and got to cruising South of Dallas on I-35. I got in trouble multiple times for yawning, especially since ND had big plans for us when we got into town.

MK and I have brothers who are friends and both seniors at UT. They were busy gearing up for Round-Up Weekend, which invites unsuspecting high school seniors to come and enjoy Greek Life, and staying with them would never be an option even on a regular weekend. Not to worry.

No, even better, ND has a lot of family in Austin, and her cousin gave her the go-ahead to have us stay at his house. From everything we heard of him before we got down to Austin, MK and I had a formed perception before we even met. 31-years-old, lawyer, divorced, manages a band, owns another business in Austin and San Antonio, expects ND to go to law school and eventually marry his best friend, etc.

He was back in his room when we got to his house, arguing with his girlfriend to try and understand that it was no big deal to have three 24-year-old girls staying with him all weekend. Since ND had been there all afternoon, she gave us a brief tour. I gathered a lot from the fancy car in the garage, the Burberry headcovers on his golf clubs, the fact that there was an endless supply of Gatorade, Myoplex, Coke Zero, Bacardi rum and butter in his fridge, and the two tiny Maltese puppies named Lexi and Slash, who MK called Slingblade and Machete all weekend.

We changed clothes, met M, our host, and headed to the Domain to grab a late dinner. One great thing about Austin is that being a vegetarian is really trendy and cool, so our waiters all weekend thought that I too was trendy and cool. ND was in the mood to go out, which is usually the absolute last thing I want to do on a Friday night, but we had the promise of the bars on West Sixth Street being a good time for "people our age" meaning not the crowd on the main part of Sixth Street (where people go out in Austin when they are in college or our for bachelor/ bachelorette parties). We stayed at a bar called The Ranch (hi, we live in Texas) all night. M was hanging out with his friend K, a grad student, and we all went back to his house and recapped the night as M and K made us Velveeta Shells & Cheese while lecturing us on the grave mistake of allowing guys wearing New Balance sneakers to talk to us. Literally.

At one point, while the water was boiling around the 3 a.m. mark, I was sitting on a barstool and felt someone start running their fingers through my now very-long hair. My friends are kind of touchy like that, so I didn't think anything of it until I glanced to my right at MK, who was sitting right next to me, and saw that no, she was not the one with her fingers in my hair. I looked slowly left to see that yes, it was M playing with my locks. "Nice- very soft" he said. At that point social norms had escaped us all, so I didn't bat an eye and replied "thanks, it's the Biosilk."

We did not wake up until 11 a.m. on Saturday, which is hugely lazy for the three of us and our normal routines, but it was nice to get sleep finally. We ate lunch at El Arroyo, and five minutes after ordering lunch, we stopped eating chips and salsa mid-bite to notice the huge tray of brunch migas and tacos the table next to us had ordered. Immediate order envy ensued.

We shopped along South Congress for most of the afternoon in picture perfect weather, weaving in and out of stores and lingering in front of the Hey Cupcake stand which offered perfection in the form of a carrot and cream cheese combination.

After four we got in the car and ended up at the Four Seasons next to the lake. MK and ND ordered glasses of chardonnay and I was in a different mood so I opted for champagne. We sat on a bench in the shade, trying to will a nearby couple out of their hammock with our minds. It was a failure. There were guests arriving for an outdoor wedding, and ten minutes before it started a hairy, shirtless man who had just finished an afternoon run decided to pause and stretch right next to the wedding altar. As we were all thinking you've got to be kidding, how clueless can you be? a Four Seasons employee asked him to move. Where did Stretch Armstrong decide to move? Directly in front of us. Pure entertainment.

After watching the beginning of the wedding to see the bride's dress, we left to drive out to the Oasis and have a margarita at sunset. We stayed a half hour or so after grabbing drinks, staring at the sun falling down over the lake and not saying much, which is something you're comfortable doing when you have known each other as long as we have. We went home and got ready to go out, and MK was out of the shower and sitting on the couch watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist when M and his girlfriend came home from dinner. We really weren't helping his cause at that point. We left and did not go home until six on Sunday morning. There was a ride in a petty cab in the middle of that somewhere. On the drive home Sunday, MK and I agreed that it was a great weekend, but I was thankful that we do not typically keep such hours.

Shells and cheese were waiting for us in the fridge, nicely packed in Gladware, when we returned.

"So we were southbound 35,
We were headed down the road,
Hit the border by the morning,
Let Texas fill my soul..."
-Pat Green, Southbound 35

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Cat's Away

Dear Amy,

Thanks for hanging out me this week since M&D decided to split for Colorado to go skiing. Nevermind that Breckenridge got five inches of snow in the past 24 hours or that Mom can't actually ski because she broke her foot that day I had to go to the vet. Who needs groomed mountains and four-star cuisine? You have vegetable pad thai, tonight's episode of Gossip Girl recorded and ME... what more could you possibly want?

I appreciate the fact that you make sure the couches, chairs and beds all through the house all have blankets for me to sleep on whenever I feel like lounging in their respective rooms, and that you sleep later than M&D do... I need my beauty rest. You should know by now that, without fail, I will steal the spot you were just sitting in on the couch or the blanket you were just snuggled in, because you took the time to preheat it for me. I know you admire my space-defying ability to take up as much of the bed as possible, even though I weigh about 14 pounds. If you would just give me my own pillow, I would not have to wake you up in the middle of the night by sleeping on yours.

I don't really know what an oxymoron is, because, you know I'm a dog and all, but I think that drifting to sleep on my plaid bed while you spent Saturday afternoon watching March Madness from a bubble bath would constitute as such. I like it when you talk to me like I'm a person, because I will always cock my head and acknowledge that yes, I understand exactly what you mean.

You know that I have to sit rightnexttoyou, and that I will start kicking you the minute you stop scratching my head. I hate the agony of going on a w-a-l-k with you and knowing that you're going to take me inside and leave me there while you leave again to go on your own j-o-g.

I will inevitably smell your clothes when you get home to make sure you haven't been cheating on me with other dogs; an unforgivable transgression.

For the record: I'm only following around until Mom gets back.



"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. "
-Edith Wharton

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Housekeeping Items

Tonight I am opting for a list; instead of covering all of these unrelated topics in separate posts... enjoy the random! 

1.  I am a March Madness enthusiast. My free time since Sunday has been occupied by hanging out with my brother, home for the week on Spring Break, and poring over wins/losses, Conference Champions and the like.

2.  I love the movie Love Actually. I actually like all of the movies I mentioned in my most recent post, but that one is truly a favorite, just not one I want to watch with a male family member. Apparently Watchmen and Zack & Miri Make a Porno should also make the list- friends told me they were recently mortified by those two as well.

3.  I did keep a blog when I lived in New York, and if you would ever like to read it, please be my guest!

4.  I got the Bag Tag from Cindy forever-ish ago. Here it is... finally :)

My first love is Kate Spade, but my trusty black Longchamp and I are going strong on a whole year together. I really like the brown/black combination. 

I carry a khaki Marc Jacobs wallet, which moonlights as a clutch.

My iPhone was making this picture possible, and is therefore missing.

I always carry two books, minimum. I have a paranoia of running out of things to read. Currently I have three: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, The Emperor's Children and Lies Women Believe (reading it for Bible study).

Also included is the case for my sunglasses, a pair I recovered a month after leaving them in a car in the Bahamas over the summer after $75 in shipping charges, lengthy conversations with private airport employees, U.S. Customs and UPS. Those things aren't going anywhere. I have my car key, gum, phone charger, headphones, shoes I bought at H&M last weekend in Atlanta that were still in a bag in my purse (bottomless pit, I tell you) and the most important thing at the moment... my 2009 NCAA bracket. I have it online too, but I like keeping the handwritten newspaper version around as a quick reference. It's old-school.

I have other various miscellanea- check book, headbands, Pilot Precise V5 pens, lip gloss, hotel room keys from traveling for work, pennies. I'm afraid I'll lose all of those things if I dump them out...

5.  Erin gave me the Lemonade Award, which was very sweet and which I would love to thank her for!

6.  As of Wednesday, I am three weeks into Lent and going strong as a vegetarian. I have not had a bite of meat in 21 days. Sitting next to someone eating a filet or even just a turkey sandwich, I think I have something of an understanding of how alcoholics feel at bars. Resisting is not easy, but it's possible. 

"Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time' is to say 'I don't want to.'"
-Lao Tzu

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Your Epidermis is Showing

I embarrass easily. I even get embarrassed for other people.

I go to see a movie at the theater maybe once a month. It's a good escape for someone like me, who typically feels the need to do a minimum of eight things at a time when I am at home. Unlike other activities, I never see movies alone. Movies are more of a social outing, which can be good, or in my case oftentimes downright awkward. I always seem to end up attending movies with boys when there is an uncomfortable amount of nakedness on-screen.

Titanic: Christmas Day 1997. My family including my parents, younger brother, who was 11 (I was only 12), all saw a fully nude Kate Winslet. Very risque for a PG-13 at the time. It was a great movie, obviously, but uncomfortable as my mother reflexively shielded my brother's eyes at that part. I think we established on the way home that we had both already endured The Talk in school, and didn't need a round two of Birds & the Bees.

Love Actually: around Christmas 2003. I went to see this movie for the first time with my friend ND and my cousin, BH who randomly became friends in college. I was visiting Austin one weekend and had heard good things, so went to see enjoy some good old-fashioned British humor. The scene where the two people are carrying a normal conversation while performing a scene in an adult film, as if what they were doing was so irreverent and not at all intimate, completely caught me off guard. ND raised a hand to shield BH's eyes, as if it were going to help anything at that point.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall: seen in April of 2008 in New York with my roommate KR and MN, a guy who we went to college with and became friends with after we all moved to New York after graduation. Within the first five minutes of the movie (warning: spoiler), there is full frontal male nudity. We all froze staring at the screen, with MN between us, as we weren't good enough friends with him yet to laugh it off or talk about it immediately. Not to mention the movie itself was still playing and there were only stifled giggles in the theater. We laughed it off in a flippant "ahh no big deal, that was awkward, let's not bring this up again until we know each other better" kind of way.

The Reader: I have not seen this movie but I did read the book. I was having a drink after work one day recently with my soon-to-be roommates, MG and KS, who were leaving to go see Slumdog Millionaire afterward. They were asking for my opinion, and when I found out they had seen The Reader, I asked what they thought of it. The first thing they mentioned was, again, the full frontal male nudity. I heard "you see a penis!" from one of them and "it's HUGE!" right after from the other. The two noteworthy features of the film are not the story line nor Kate Winslet's Oscar performance (there she is again!) but the fact that there is a penis in the movie and it is huge. So priceless. My parents saw this movie and let's just say the most I heard from my mother was "oh, it was a bit wild!" Wild. Seriously?

People react reflexively in these situations. No one can look away, no one knows what to do with their hands, no one wants to look at the people of the opposite sex in attendance. In a movie theater as a captivated audience, the awkwardness is shared. Anyone with even the slightest sense of modesty is blushing even though it's dark. People unnaturally adjust clothing, as if to make sure it's still there.

I know everyone has their "this would only happen to me" moments... I should start paying more attention to the disclaimers on movie ratings.

"At least embarrassment is not an imitation.
It's intimacy for beginners..."
-Alice Fulton

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

At the Table

I had a weekend full of long, unhurried and delicious meals. Is there really anything better than that? I seriously doubt it.

Dinner Friday night was spent with family, both immediate and extended, at a place with a great chef that my parents frequent. It lasted three hours over cocktails, wine, salad and potatoes (hi, we're still observing Lent over here) steak and fish for the others, all of which were praised. I sat and looked down the table at the group lingering over dessert, and wondered how many times I've sat at different tables with the same people. Countless, undoubtedly.

Saturday mid-afternoon I was with two friends, MK and FR, who I have known since the ripe age of nine. The three of us roamed in and out of stores in the downtown square of the city we grew up in, and settled on a bottle of refreshingly cold Pinot Grigio and salads in a restaurant bar as it was deserted and in between meals. We sat there as afternoon stretched into evening, talking, drinking and observing the other group in the room. It was men in their late twenties, early thirties, in tuxedos sitting and drinking before a 6p.m. wedding. I could not help but hope that the man I marry doesn't feel the need to drink four glasses of Stella Artois before tying the knot.

We left as the evening crowd started to roll in, and hours later met up in Dallas for dinner, Italian, with FR's family. I had not seen her older sister, who is married, nor her brother, who goes to college on the West coast, in a very long time. There were other family friends of theirs present and after a brief consultation with the wine menu, bottles of Chianti made rounds with everyone present. We had pizza and talked celebrated birthdays until everyone finally had to refuse finals rounds of everything.

Sunday morning after church I spent some time alone reading and drinking coffee before meeting up with a few friends for brunch. The place we went is not known for their attentive service, but I didn't mind so much considering I had not seen my friend HR in quite some time because she lives in Houston. She is hands-down one of the most naturally funny people I know. I think I speak for everyone else who was at the table that morning when I say we could just listen to her talk and tell stories about the middle and high school kids she works with for hours.

It is wonderful for me to consider that the company I keep does not become tiresome. I like that I'm at a place in my life where though everyone I know is working or in school or busy, people still enjoy and take advantage of the time that we do get to spend together. The experience is all the richer when it ceases to be an obligation to family or friends, and is met instead with a desire to talk and share and enjoy.

I know that this phase in life will not last forever; friends and family will age and marry, move and have kids and the opportunities for such time spent with my favorite people will become less frequent. I'm glad to savor it as long as it is willing to last.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-Virginia Woolf

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

I have found that crushes have an interesting way of benchmarking personal growth.

Like the marks my brother and I made on the door of my bathroom growing up to measure our height as it corresponded with age (until he was finally taller than me), the kind of person you are attracted to is indicative of many things, not the least of which is your own maturity level.

Different people I've liked over the years can be viewed now as representative of where I was as an individual at the time. I sat down recently and made a list of them, and it made me smile as I re-lived those boys who had their day in the sun of my mind and will remain filed away on some non-descript archive shelf in my brain as people I once wanted to be with.

As I went through each one- the significant ones, not so much the passing interests, I found two commonalities that I had never directly considered before now. The first was that none of them are married or engaged, and I don't know how many are in relationships at all. This may not be saying much, since I'm not dating anyone either, but a number of them were older than me. Am I attracted to people afraid of commitment like I am? I myself am intimidated by the idea, so did I like these guys because I knew on some level I couldn't have them? Just because I go to weddings often doesn't make me any less terrified of marriage. Interesting... verrrrrry interesting. I never thought of myself as a masochist but this fact might suggest otherwise.

The second light bulb, which should have been more obvious, was that of the guys I've had significant crushes on, I have never ended up dating any of them. This was a doozy. Guys I've gone on dates with in the past have typically not been ones I'm that interested in dating. How does that happen? I create false and unrealistic expectations for guys I care about, essentially sabotaging the situation or don't even give it a chance to get off the ground before burying it. My crushes have been one self-fulfilling prophecy after another because the same cord that strikes when I like someone also triggers my doubt. In some ways this is a form of self-protection, and in many instances these guys did not know how I felt or may have only had inconclusive ideas of such feelings from me.

Such is life... I'm not pining after these guys and suddenly I gain some perspective.

I've had other guys who were passing interests but I am hesitant nowadays when I have these feelings because, according to my glaring failure of a track record, the guys I have crushes on are not the ones I end up dating. Why am I just now realizing this? Great question; I wish I knew the answer. We're not kids anymore- there is no more passing notes, checking boxes or having other friends handle your relationship woes. If you want something done, you've either got to handle it yourself or have some great telepathy skills.

Add that to the list of superpowers I am lacking, right behind flying and invisibility.

"...we accept the love we think we deserve."
-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Monday, March 2, 2009


I heard all the rumors going into tonight's finale of The Bachelor and honestly, I didn't doubt any of it. Chris Harrison has more of a flair for the dramatic than any woman I've ever seen. It's definitely two hours of my life I'll never get back, and though I have missed a few episodes and moments of this season, I admittedly will be watching tomorrow night, for more of an explanation of what the heck happened.

I read plenty of recaps of the show, and that's not what I'm here for... I just have one question:

If a Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader can't win, then WHO CAN?!

"The saddest thing in the world, is loving someone who used to love you."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

That's my name, don't wear it out

I never realized I was spoiled by having a short name until I started blogging. I get annoyed (read: lazy) typing The Manhattan Transfer whenever I want to post a comment on someone else's blog and I'm on a computer where it isn't automatically saved. 

Amy, however, is just three little letters. So much easier. There's also the drastically different and cuter lowercase version: amy

To some I am Ames, just A if our conversation is Gossip Girl inspired, or my middle or last names (both of which are uncommon), if I know you in real life. 

I will still refer to friends and family by their initials- that won't change. We still protect the innocent around here! 

And since we all know how much I love quotes, I can now include song lyrics bearing my name... don't worry, there are many.

"How do you like them apples?"
-Good Will Hunting