Thursday, September 30, 2004


I managed to listen for 20 minutes. I hate them both.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Reason #237 Why I Love Brian

He just brought me a drink involving ice cream, club soda, crushed ice, and Hennessy.

I am blessed.

Oh, by the way, I got an offer on the house. We may be moving in less than a month.

Free boozy ice cream sodas to anyone who wants to come and pack boxes with me. Anyone?

With a Garden Tub and a Working Fireplace

My house is now on the market for 20% less than what I paid for it, and people are tromping through here on a nearly daily basis poking through my medicine cabinet and laundry basket and porn collection. It's difficult in the best of circumstances letting total strangers into your home, but knowing that they are rubbing their hands together over a major bargain-basement price, which I am forced to offer because of my dire financial situation, the whole thing makes me resent the hell out of them, the mortgage company, the economy, George Bush, Milton Friedman, and God Himself. My house is now the cheapest four bedroom in the neighborhood, and it makes ME feel cheap by association. I'll be able to walk away from debt, which of course is good, but with absolutely no cash in hand, and certainly none of the investment I put into the place, most of which was inherited from my hard-working, frugal, conservative Yankee grandparents who carefully put that money aside from me so I could one day buy a house...and now look what's happened to their dream. Yep, I messed that one up but good.

And now with the vultures circling around my cheap little 4 BR 2 ½ BA it's only a matter of time before an offer comes in and we're out on the sidewalk. And this is just HOUSING stress I'm talking about here. We haven't gone into work stress, parenting stress, family-of-origin stress, all of which is considerable at the moment. I'm sure it will all work out, one way or another, but the next few months to a year is going to be challenging AS IF MY LIFE HAS NOT BEEN CHALLENGING ENOUGH.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Be Still My Heart

I have the cutest boyfriend. And the cutest babies. Ever. So there. Looky here.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

We Aim To Please

Searchers today looking for "how big are albatross" (We're #2 on Ask Jeeves!) and "sex unusual places" have stopped by the Big City, so we thought we'd help out a little.

First, the albatross. A female might weigh around 132 pounds, which is bigger than me. Males are even larger. Wingspans can exceed 11 feet. ALBATROSS ARE VERY BIG. Do not mess with them.

And a tip: next time, don't Ask Jeeves anything. Jeeves doesn't know shit. Ask Google, ask Yahoo, ask Dogpile. Let Jeeves stay in the kitchen polishing silver, like he is supposed to do. Later he can bring you a brandy as you sit by the fire in your smoking jacket, your trusty hunting dog at your feet, contemplating the enormous proportions of the Wandering Albatross.

Now, on to sex in unusual places. I'm afraid I haven't got much to share on this topic, as I've had sex in decidedly USUAL places. Honest. The closest I ever got was in my boyfriend's dad's corner office in an office building in Boston after hours. There were cleaning people just outside the door running a vacuum, and my boyfriend chickened out. The view was great, though. I've never done it on an airplane, or on a train, or in a public park, or while driving a car. I've never had sex in a tent. I've never had sex in a pool or on a beach. Not in a theater, not in a backseat. Not in a swing. Not in a public bathroom. Sorry.

We're off to our biweekly pozole extravaganza, and then to meet with an engineer to look over the new house, and then I'll be chaining myself to the computer for the rest of the weekend doing my work which never, ever, ever seems to end.

Fall is in the air. It wasn't a very hot summer, as summers go in Texas, but the cooler air is welcome. Things are changing in a good way. I'm keeping my chin up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Stress Test

Yesterday afternoon was composed of a series of stressful events, all bundled into one neat and tidy package, that almost sent me over the edge. With careful unravelling it all (mostly) worked out in the end, but I'm telling you people, I need ONE FREAKING DAY that goes my way and I need it soon. Please.

Suffice it to say that the car DOES indeed work, my ex husband NO LONGER wants my head on a platter, and I DO still have a job.

Okay, then.

And I wonder that I have panic attacks? Pshaw. Just one attack, actually: I haven't had another one, so perhaps it was just a fluke.

Good things are happening, too. Brian brought home flowers and apples and challah for Rosh Hashana (I like to throw in a little Jewish tradition here and there just to keep the kids as confused as possible). My friend in Houston sent two GIGANTIC boxes of hand-me-downs for the girls, they are set until the age of 4. Javi is now on a full visitation schedule with his dad, and I actually get to have entire weekends with just the girls (funny how entire weekends without the boys used to make me cry, and now it's something to look forward to). Fall is in the air.

If you should hear a whistling sound followed by a thump and a little puff of dust rising up, however, plesae take a moment to pray for my soul.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


This is Roy.

This is Roy's Map.


Battle of the Bulge:

VE Day:

Did I tell you? Is it not the coolest?

Roy has melanoma, and he has decided to forgo the chemo/radiation in favor of letting the cancer take its course. It's in his lymph nodes already, so he doesn't have a whole lot of time left. I'm not sure if we'll see him again, but I sure hope so. He's a sweetheart. He and I talked about death and hospice and morphine as Brian and his mother loaded up the car. Roy is the first person I have ever met who seems completely at ease with the notion that he is going to die, and soon. Kind of remarkable.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Things to do in Austin When You're Dead

Things to do this weekend while not attending the ACL Fest or the Wilco/Calexico concert at Stubbs. Not that I’m upset or anything. Not that I’m missing an awesome line up of bands or anything. Not that I resent having five kids and not being able to just cruise the music scene or anything. Not at all. Oh my GOD, Wilco and Calexico at the same show. I’m fine, really:

1. Drink

It’s Friday night (well, okay, it’s 5:15 p.m.) and therefore it is TIME TO BREAK OUT THE WINE.

I don’t have much more to add to that, really.

2. Be nice to the in-laws

Brian’s mother is here visiting. She’s here to love up her grandbabies something fierce and then head on back to California until next month. It’s like heroin, she’s gotta have her fix. I completely understand; my children are irresistible.

3. Hug a Vet

Tomorrow we’re driving out to Kerrville to visit Brian’s great uncle Roy, who fought in World War II. This man was on the beach in France on D-Day, he was at the Battle of the Bulge, and he can tell you some stories. Amazing guy. Since Jack is a heavy duty World War II fan (seriously, my 6-year-old’s FAVORITE movie is Tora! Tora! Tora! and who doesn’t love a movie with three exclamation points?), I like bringing him over to see Roy. There aren’t many folks left who can tell you what it was like to slam into Gold Beach on June 6, 1944. There aren’t many who can give you a first person account of the Battle of the Bulge. Roy has a map, and I’m telling you people, it is the coolest map I have ever seen. It is both map and timeline, and it shows his progress through the war with his unit, starting at Gold Beach, and ending in…Belgium? I’ll have to get back to you on that. It’s a red line traced on a map of Europe, with dates and events pointed out along the way. It is a COOL MAP. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

I never got to meet my grandfather, because he died when my mother was still a child. He’s really the only family member I can think of who fought in World War II. My father’s father was too old to fight in the war (my mother’s father was pushing it, really) and his children were all too young. I think that Roy may be the first person I’ve ever met, at least as an adult, who fought in the war.

4. Eat

Tonight: Hamburgers on the grill. Oranges stuffed with orange sherbet for dessert.
Tomorrow morning: Blueberry pancakes and bacon.
Tomorrow afternoon: Mamacita’s. It’s a restaurant. Without a webpage. You can probably imagine the menu, though.
Tomorrow night: Not sure. Taking suggestions.
Sunday morning: Krispy Kreme.

Monday, September 13, 2004


Allison cried herself to sleep in the "contraption" the other day...

Carrie kept playing, oblivious to her sister's teary plight:

But Allison was the perky one when we went out for brunch this weekend:

While Carrie dreamed in blue:

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Panic Button

I had my first ever panic attack last night. I used to describe an event that happened to me in Calcutta as a panic attack. It involved heat, dust, the overpowering smell of rot, crying children, begging lepers, crowded, narrow alley-ways full of vendors, screaming goats being dragged by ropes to their slaughter, the blood of said goats trickling down the pavement, and 21-year-old me having a full-fledged freak-out and high-tailing it back to the idling bus where I cried and hyperventilated and wished I weren’t in India anymore. I say I used to refer to that as a panic attack, but with the benefit of hindsight I now look upon it as a perfectly normal reaction. Last night, on the other hand, was a textbook panic attack.

It was not a great afternoon to begin with. We had driven by the new house. I said some things about being frustrated that nothing was happening, and that I was anxious about our future housing plans. Brian felt hurt, and there was an afternoon of strained silence followed by an evening of weepy talking-it-out. It ended well enough with us settling on building a replica of Wim Wenders’s place in L.A., or at the very least a decision for me to be less worried about the future and more involved in the process. I went to bed feeling better in general but maybe a bit more unmoored than usual. An hour later I woke up feeling hot and shaky. My heart was pounding in my chest, and my first thought was "I must be sick," followed immediately, and for no logical reason I could think of by, “I am going to die.” I This thought took hold of me by the throat and didn’t let go. I managed to get out of bed and go upstairs; I needed Brian. He followed me back down to the bedroom and held me, trying to calm me down. I couldn’t breathe. I felt suddenly cold. My heart was going thump, thump, thump, and then bangbangbangbangbang, and then thump, thump, thump again. All I could think of was my imminent death, and the fact that Brian would have to raise the girls on his own. I think I fell asleep for a little while, woke up feeling the same way all over again, and then fell asleep for good about an hour after the whole thing started. At 5 a.m. I woke to the sound of Allison whimpering in her crib upstairs and I went up to get her, feeling normal.

I’m surprised, more than anything. I’ve always had tendencies toward depression, that’s been an off-and-on struggle for me since I was a kid, really. But I’ve never had any kind of anxiety issue. In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as the opposite of anxious: I pride myself on my ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. I think of myself as particularly even-keeled. I just hope it was a one-time event. Even more so, I hope to God that never happens to me in public. I can’t imagine what that must be like.

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's the Little Things

Being from Texas, Brian has this way of saying "lawyer" that simply makes my knees go weak. I'm a Yankee, and where I come from we say "loyer" all high and nasally, but he says "lahyer" and what can I say, I want to rip his clothes off every time.

We've been sick around here lately. Brian had something go horribly, terribly wrong in his back a few weeks ago. There were a few wonderful steroid-induced happy days, but then the steroids ran out, and THEN a virus struck us both, seeming to settle in our bones and joints and muscles, and unhappiness descended. I tried to get by on ibuprofen which didn't do diddly squat, so yesterday I broke down and took a V*codin, which was marvelous. Today I broke down and took another one, and spent four utterly miserable hours trying not to vomit while riding around in the car (you know I'm really sick when I'll relinquish the driver's seat -- that happens about twice a year). The nausea has now passed, thank God. I think I'd rather be in pain than on the verge of puking on someone's shoes.

Here's to a healthy weekend, everybody! And to getting caught up on work!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Pahk Yah Cah in Hahvahd Yahd

So I finally saw Mystic River tonight, and I have a few notes:

1. It sucked.

2. Word to Clint: It is bad enough that you made your actors sound like total fucking morons (Brian: "Is she supposed to be from Georgia or Boston?"), but you need to know, for future reference, that black people in Boston DO NOT DROP THEIR R'S. Laurence Fishburne just made me laugh out loud every fucking time he said "cah." Oy gevalt. Brian had to actually turn on the English subtitles so he could understand what everyone was saying.

3. "The neighborhood"? Was their some reason you people couldn't say "Chelsea"?

4. Loved the product placement. Especially the rations of Jello in the back room during the wake scene. Holy shit, they had enough Jello in that pantry to feed an army.

5. I have to say it again. It sucked.

Clumsy exposition. Weird shifts of character for the Dave guy. Creepy "you are the king, you can rule this town" sex scene at the end. Seriously bizarre telephone calls between Kevin Bacon and his estranged wife with the perfect lipstick whose entire face we ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE...what was up with that? And where was she calling from? A rainy phone booth? The garden of Eden?

I'm shaking my head here. I just spent two hours on that movie and I can't for the life of me figure out why it got so much good press. Have I gotten too picky?

Anyway it all still managed to make me really fucking homesick and maudlin.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Inappropriate Thoughts Du Jour

Clinton hospitalized.

Maybe the dems can spin this in a good way? Heroic recovery? Sort of like when Reagan got shot?

Those Big Macs are really coming back to haunt him.

Musicians Unite for Sudan.

"We Are Sudan, We Rape and Pillage..." Pillage rhymes with village. I think I could come up with a song here!

Cary Tennis's advice colum today.

Incest is totally hot.