Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Improvement

If you know Tim and I very well, you know we're always doing something to our house. Some little tweak or other. Well my favorite tweak I've done lately is something I wish I'd done months ago. When we moved into our house, the space between the stove and the vent hood was just ugly drywall. Drywall with nasty glue on it as well as pencil marks. I think the previous owners had planned to put tiles up, but just run out of steam. Honestly, I didn't even notice it when we first toured the house, but once we moved in, it bugged me everytime I entered the kitchen. We want to eventually put tiles there, but don't have the time or money for it right now, so I'd been trying different things to camoflage the ugliness: mirrors leaning against the wall (wouldn't work because the top of the stove is too narrow), hanging mirrors (too difficult to get even), and then I hit upon the idea of using some of the gobs of paint we have left over from painting our house and painting it. So I did that in about 20 minutes week before last while Stella was napping. It looks great! I added a couple of Starburst plates on top of it and voila!

An extra bonus, it cost nothing AND it adds a splash of the color that I want to be our accent color in the kitchen: aqua blue. It's inspired by our Starburst mugs and the Fiestaware pitcher Tim's Grandmother sent us. I'm on the prowl for a canister set and breadbox in that color. I also want to sew seat cushions for our breakfast nook chairs (the seats are ripped up very badly) and hopefully I can find some fabric in that color. That will be my next project, if I can get my sewing machine back from Tim's Mom (and make myself get out in the heat to hit the fabric stores)!


We did this a while ago, but I was waiting for everything to really get established before taking pictures. This is the landscaping we did out front:



We're going to add vines to the groovy trellises, but we didn't find what we wanted before it got too hot. So that will be a project for later. Our grass is a wee too long right now, so ignore that, as well as our poor brown monkey grass, which we want to rip out anyway. Droughts suck. Also, non-native plants suck. I really think the landscaping in our backyard is beautiful, but I wish that so many non-native species hadn't been planted. We have a bunch of ground cover that would be a bitch to rip out, but it is brown and wilted right now because of the heat. Ground cover is supposed to be low maintenance!

Front beds, used to be home to only monkey grass:



I also need to take pictures at night of our really cool new porch light (okay we've had it a couple of months.)


Can you tell I'm in a do-nothing mood today? Yeah:)



More beach goodness


I knew Kate had the good pics of Stella and us enjoying the beach!

Enjoying the Waves:



This just the cutest!

I can't wait to go back!

Food that's a bit off

I just got back from the grocery store about an hour ago and already I have discovered that the cherry tomatoes I bought are molding and that the box of Blue Bird 100 calorie packet cupcakes contained a packet with only 2 cupcakes rather than 3. WTF? I think I'll just look the other way on the missing cupcake (everything was completely sealed), but I'm going to return the tomatoes. I am sick and tired of crappy produce and meat that expires a day after you buy it. I swear HEB sends all its worst produce and meats to our local HEB. I keep saying I'm going to drive down to another one, but our local one is just so close and much more interesting in terms of clientele than the suburban one. Sigh.

Stella Meets Beach: Love at First Sight


We took Stella to the beach for the first time this weekend and she LOVED it! Her Aunt Caroline, Uncle Daniel and Aunt Kate were along to help corral a very adventurous toddler and we had a blast. Her Aunt Kate even sacrificed her birthday to join us! Stella thought the waves were the coolest thing ever and would just laugh hysterically when they splashed her in the face. It was a pretty strong wave day, but luckily we'd borrowed a friend's life jacket, so I felt much better when she'd try to evade our grip. She also enjoyed playing in the sand, then going and washing her hands off in the surf, over and over again. Another favorite was destroying her Daddy's sand castles and dumping mud on both of us. Most of the best pictures were captured by the official paparazzi, (her Aunties), so when I get those, I'll be sure to post more documents of the day! But here she is destroying her Daddy's sand castles, much to his dismay.


video

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Facebook

Don't ever let your husband set up an account for you on Facebook so that he can test some new feature he wants to link into his ticket selling software for your theatre company. Because then every two seconds you will get emails from friends notifying you that they have added you as a friend on their Facebook page and you will feel guilty because a) you have not even been to your Facebook profile, what's on there, naked pictures of yourself? and b) now you feel like you should go to your own never-visited Facebook profile and then onto theirs. And how the heck did everyone find me so fast any way? Is there some Facebook profile troll that notifies you when someone that you are friends with IRL (wow i've used that geeky phrase twice today) adds a Facebook profile? So weird.

So anyway, if you are my friend and want to be my Facebook friend, just know that it's not really me on that page. It is my husband pretending to be me. So don't be fooled!

Punky's Troubles Continue

So we had Punky's blood re-checked yesterday and also the results of her thyroid test came in. Tim talked to the vet about the results because I was at a play, but essentially Punky has something wrong with her thyroid that will require us to give her a pill every day for the rest of her life. It's really upsetting. And I feel really guilty about the fact that I am afraid I'm not going to be able to devote that much attention to a cat every day for the rest of her life. And how long is "the rest of her life"? She's 12 now. Are we talking 1 year, 5 years? If I miss a pill, is she a goner? (I'm guessing that's not the case.) Anyway, I'm just trying to be lazy and push it out of my mind for today at least. I guess tomorrow or Monday I'll call and get all my questions answered from the vet. And yes, of course, it's a whole other mess of money, but that's not really affecting my upset level. It's just the fact that I am now going to have to get a cat to take a pill every day. Not my idea of fun. Especially since I haven't been able to get the Pepsid AC she's supposed to be taking down her for the last 4 days. Sigh.

I never recapped the awesome weekend of awesome

First, a picture of my fabulous birthday dress, as requested by k and Katie:



Unfortunately, you can only just barely see the barrel of the gun that is printed on the bottom right corner. It's hidden by my purse. It's like the "Loaded Gun Theory" official dress;) Even though I have to yank the tube top portion of the dress up more than I would like to, I LOVE this dress. If you know me IRL, you will probably see me in it soon:)

Last weekend was yet another weekend of awesome awesomeness. I have been partying like a rockstar a great deal lately. First, Friday night we saw The Beauty Queen of Lenane which, unfortunately for you, closes tonight. It was fantastic, nay a PERFECT production. And I was bursting with pride that so many of my friends were involved. First off, the stupendously talented Jennie Underwood played the evil old hag mum to perfection. Secondly, the also talented, many hat wearing Lorella Loftus played her daughter, and she gave a sublime performance. It was the best thing I've ever seen her do and to top that off she also produced. Wow! As an extra bonus, the two men cast were fantastic actors as well, they not only held their own against the two powerhouse women, but gave back as good as they got. And another friend, Frank Benge, was directing. Bravo everyone! It was a deliciously wicked (and heartbreakingly sad) good time. Tim was pissed off that he had missed the other two shows in the trilogy (Skull of Connemara from Renaissance and Lonesome West from Hyde Park) that I had seen without him. Tim and I's college TA for Theatre History did the dramaturgy, so we got to geek out in a post-show talk back and then talk to her afterwards. And then we talked to all our friends until the week hours of the morning. It made Saturday an early rise for Stella's friend's birthday party, but it was worth it.
Discussing the finer points of water guns with buddy Meyer. Amusing anecdote: Meyer's mom told him not to shoot the water guns at people and I was like, "what else do you do with them?" and she was like, "thanks for undermining my Mom authority, Julie!"

Saturday I went shopping with two of my sisters that I won by marrying Tim, Caroline and Christine. That's where I got the aforementioned dress (thanks again, Caroline!), as well as some kick-ass jewelry. If you are local, check out SoLa on South Lamar at Mary. This was the first time I'd visited and I fell in love! Then we went out to dinner at Fleming's, courtesy of the extremely generous Daniel and Caroline, for the steak I thought I'd have to die and go to heaven for, followed by dancing(!) at Vicci, which turned out to be a nostalgia club and sounded like my high school prom, but was fun anyway. We ran into a bunch of friends celebrating one of my friend's birthdays.

Captured mid-dance, with me in mid-eye-roll over music

Sunday was lunch with the Tim's fam, followed by sweet baby Georgia's baptism, where the toddlers did stupendously despite the fact that the Baptism coincided with naptime and we were honored to serve as proxy grandparents. Extra bonus: we weren't called out by the priest;) (Actually we had prior permission to serve.)


Now I have to go get ready for yet ANOTHER toddler birthday party at the park, that's due to begin in less than an hour!















Friday, June 20, 2008

My little fashionista

Yesterday afternoon I was putting on my fabulous dress that Tim's sister Caroline got me this weekend for my birthday and Stella said "Tube Top" (it is a tube dress, indeed). I just swelled with pride. She then proceeded to help me pick out shoes to match. Man, I love my girly girl, and if she decides eventually not to be a girly girl, that's just fine, but I'm really excited about the fact that one day I'll have a buddy to go shopping with! Even if it is a little annoying now when she insists on wearing a fancy dress when we're going to the playground or that I should wear gold ballet slippers to the grocery store.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Super-Cute Stella Moments

On the way home from the pool this morning I was listening to Fire in the Streets by The New Pornographers and I'd sing, "Sweet, Sweet, sweet, sweet fire in the streets" and then Stella would sing firrrrrrrrrrrrre from the backseat. Adorable!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Punky's Home

So Punky's back and as feisty as ever. I think the staff at the vet's was VERY glad to see her go. Everyone I spoke to made sure to tell me how ornery she was. We're supposed to stuff some antibiotic and Pepsid AC down her gullet, and that's presenting a bit of a challenge, but not too much blood loss (on our part) so far.

Stella is in one of her awesome "keep myself entertained for hours" moods, so I'm gorging myself on my Apartment Therapy feed. They do like 100 posts a day, so I never actually get through it, but I'm at least making an attempt today. It's amazing how much Stella entertains herself. I'm always amused at people who say that their children get bored, especially at the end of the day, and they just HAVE to put on the t.v. Even at the end of the day, Stella is never too bored to play with her Little People on the floor while I sit by her and listen to NPR. And I'm never too tired to reach over every once in a while and move a little person from a bus to the airport so they can gather around the table and "eat cake". I don't think Stella is exceptional either, but if you plop a kid down in front of tv from birth, you don't even give them the chance to develop an attention span like Stella's.

This is actual an area where I have a lot to say, but Tim's Mom is here and I've got to get all geared up to go to Town Lake for his weekly run. Wish me cool thoughts!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Punky's Turn to Shine

So first off, I realized that it's only been two months since Roxie was put to sleep, not three. I guess grief affects your ability to count. Anyway, Punky is in hospital, as they say in the UK. We took her yesterday and they ran a lot of tests and decided the most likely culprit for her sickness was pancreatis. So they had her spend the night and apparently she's eating again which is good. Fortunately, pancreatis is a one-time thing and she should be cured and well on her way this afternoon. Unfortunately, pancreatis apparently costs just shy of $800 to cure. Hopefully the treatment they've given her so far will work because really, that is several times what I can afford to pay for my kitty to get well and so the well's pretty dry after this in that department. Either cats are more expensive than dogs or hospitalization has gone up, because I think both Lucy and Roxie "only" cost about $400 each when they were hospitalized.* So now that I have hospitalized all of my animals, I guess Punky can be sure that we don't love our dogs more than her.

*I just double-checked and yes, Lucy's visit was actually $400 for one night (although she stayed a second night and therefore cost another $125.) Roxie's visit was actually much closer to Punky's and was $700. Add that to her $500 teeth cleaning and her $300 teeth cleaning and that was a practically a million-dollar dog. (I'm not even including when we had to put her to sleep because that's just tacky). Holy crap, I just discovered that that Roxie hospitalization was actually over $900! So I guess Punky could still stay another night and not reach that limit. The moral of the story? Animals are expensive!

It's so hard though when they bring you that estimate. It's like you're being asked to put a price tag on your pet's life. And I hate it when they don't really give you other options. Anyway, hopefully Punky will be well and will stay that way for a long time to come. It'd also be nice if she went back to her usual healthy self and didn't cost us anymore money for a long time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hoity Toity Condos

So the hotel where my parents spent their honeymoon and where Tim and I stayed one night during our week and a half long "homeless period" between our old apartment and our first house is being replaced by condos:



God bless 'em if they get those prices. As Tim points out, it's right on the lake, which is amazing, but on the other hand it is not walking distance to downtown. But it would be pretty cool if I had oodles of moolah.

On a completely unrelated note, Punky appears to be sick. Tim's noticed she spends a lot of time just sitting around, and then Saturday I noticed she felt thinner/lighter than usual when I picked her up. Then yesterday evening I noticed it didn't look like she'd touched the food we'd put in her bowl the day before. We're taking her to the vet today at 5, and I'm really concerned because I realized last night it's been exactly 3 months to the day today since we had to have Roxie put to sleep. So please pray that Punky's problem is something minor and easily fixed. I know she's just a cat, and we talk crap about her a lot, but we do love her, and since she's only 12, I'm expecting her to be around for a long long time. And I really don't want to lose another pet anytime soon. I'm sorry this is the only picture I could find of her and she's looking so ornery, but she really can be sweet sometimes!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Probably not getting a friend in after all

So they finally posted that house and it is priced out of reach of most of the folks I know, I think (as well as myself):

http://www.themaryecompany.com/fullad.cfm?id=139

But it is beyond awesome. Check out the planter in the bathroom! And the sunken open shower with dual shower-heads! And the floating staircase! It is the absolutely coolest. Man, but if they get that price, it will be a whole new record for this neighborhood by 10's of thousands of dollars. So good luck, because that is a pretty groovy pad!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cool House for Sale!


So the really cool house down the street for us is now for sale! Tim and I have drooled over this house and dreamed about seeing its interior since we moved in. It's got a sunken living room and loft up to the dining room/kitchen, at least from what we can tell peeking in the windows. It's also huge, 2600 square feet. Unfortunately the realtor doesn't have the listing up on their site yet, but I am obsessively checking. You should buy it and become our neighbor and then we can go inside the house and have really cool parties where we don't have to worry about how much we drink because we can just stumble back and forth between each other's houses. It would be awesome!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beer Wednesday?

Dog vs. Cat!

Today is one of those days where it is only 3pm and I already want to just sit around doing nothing and drinking beer. It's not like it's been a tough day. I took Stella to the Children's Art Park at Symphony Square this morning and we had a great time watching Ballet Folklorico with her friends and then getting her face painted like a cat. Then we came home, I did a bunch of cleaning for my best friend Diane and her husband who are coming to spend the night tonight and hang out, and now I am mindlessly surfing the internet. I think it's being outside that makes me want a beer. Possibly it's being so hot that I had to come home and take another shower when we got back from the park. I dunno. But I'm hoping that Mapquest's Estimate of it taking 4 hours and 50 minutes to get to Austin from Fort Stockton (where they were when they called at 1:40), is a little conservative and we can still get out in time for happy hour once they arrive!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Other Recountings of the concert

Check out Tara's great recounting of our experience. She remembered a lot of the important elements that I forgot to mention, like all the a-holes that can't behave with huge groups of people. Austin ModHouse was apparently also at the show and has some pics from the Dallas show that are good, but actually taken from a vantage point further away than we were here in Austin! He also comments on the concert-goers' behavior. (There's a bunch of other stuff in his post, so you'll have to scroll down to find the Cure stuff). Austin ModHouse also mentions how great it was as a teenager to go to the concert of bands you and your 10 friends bonded over loving and realizing there were THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU! Last night I had that moment when a sea of people sang along to one of my top 5 favorite Cure songs, "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea".
This morning I did a little more research to find out how the friend of mine from high school died. And I unfortunately discovered a memorial page where I found another friend from high school had died, Sarah Zaffos. She was my brother's age, and I remember her as a very sweet young girl who played one of the girls in the Crucible, as well as understudy for my character, Reverend Hale. She died in a car accident a little over a year ago. So sad. And so weird how you get sad when you find out about these deaths, even though you haven't seen these people in over 10 years and they've been dead for a little while.
Another weird thing is that it seems that both the girl from my class and another friend of mine who died about a year ago both took their own lives. And I remember both of them being two of the happiest people on earth. Of course, that's when we were kids, and you never know what life had thrown at them since then. But they are still two of the last people I would expect to have heard that they took their own lives.

I could have done without that!

We had to goth it out a bit. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of all 4 of us, because I didn't want Tara and Jeff to think I was a dork.

I think I could have gone my whole life without seeing Porl's nipples. And once I saw them through his mesh shirt, I could not take my eyes away. Although to be fair, his new look is the best one he's had ever, so kudos to him.

Robert Smith made my heart skip a beat, still, even 17 years after I first saw them in concert, 18 and a half years after I first fell in love. Simon looked so young that Jeff thought he was a new bassist and I had to convince him it was good old Simon Gallup, the 2nd longest running member of the Cure. They were amazing, I could not believe that they had the energy to get up there and do that with such enthusiasm when they are all nearly 50.

It was a marathon concert. 3 hours and 15 minutes. Yep, 3 hours and 15 minutes! They barely took a break other than the 5 or so minutes between their two encores. I was starting to think that they were just going to play all night. It was steamy and crowded in the audience, I think all of us barely made it through, but it was worth it. What a fantastic concert, and I could see every facial expression, every weird eye movement and hand motion, every bit of smudged lipstick on Robert pretty much the whole time. (Sarah, man, it totally sucked you weren't there, we could have squealed together!) There was a section, at 2 hours in, at the end of the "real" concert and during the first encore, where I was totally ready to go. They were playing the real noodlers and some really really old stuff that I barely know, and we were all dying of thirst. We almost did leave, but we were all SO glad we stayed for the second encore, which included 3 Imaginary Boys, Jumping Someone Else's Train, Grinding Halt (which I figured would be the ending song), 10:15 on a Saturday Night, Boys Don't Cry (which I also figured would be the last song), Fire in Cairo, and Killing an Arab (where he changed the lyrics to "Killing Another"). It was non-stop, I've never experienced an encore that long. Man, some of my favorites, where he just wails and you really see the guitar Gods that they are. They really need some Cure on Rock Band, pronto.

During the crappy opening band (65 Days of Static; if you like trancey stuff, you might love it), I went and got Tim and I beers and ran into someone I went to high school with. It was bizaare because he knew my full name (Julie and my maiden name), and I was stuck there like, "dude, I know I know you but not where from!" I correctly guessed high school and he kindly volunteered his name while we were hugging. I totally remembered him, but he looks very different. He apparently manages a bunch of Darque Tans and he offered to "hook me up". I was like, dude, I'm at a Cure concert, I don't use Darque Tan! That cracked the girl in front of us up. He was really sweet, bought Tim and I both beers (well, he was buying me one, but I mentioned I was buying one to take back to my husband and he picked that one up too), and I gave him my phone number. He and his girlfriend have a 8 month old, so I thought we might catch up and connect on the parent level. It was weird, though, because he's all tan and buff now and he was just normal in high school. We ran in different crowds, although we knew each other from 5th grade on, so I have no clue what we'd talk about. But I felt so bad about not knowing his name right off the bat I felt like I had to make up for that. He did tell me that a mutual friend passed away, which made me very sad, but he didn't know how she died.

So it was sort of a bizaare night, to say the least.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Cure!

Tim and Jeff and Tara and I are all going to see the Cure at the Austin Music Hall tonight. I'm pretty excited. This is going to be the 4th time I've seen the Cure live in concert, but it will be the smallest venue I've ever seen them in. The Austin Music Hall fits 4,400 people with general admission. By contrast, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, where I have seen the Cure twice, seats 16,151 people between the seats and the lawn. So it's pretty exciting to see them in such a small place.

I was trying to think of other big bands I have seen as much as I have seen the Cure and I think only Depeche Mode and Tori Amost tie them. I've also seen Radiohead 3 times so they are up there as well.

On a completely unrelated note, Tim is playing Rock Band right now and it is SO much louder than a normal videogame! I really like the game, but when someone else is playing it as the drummer, you really have to look hard to find a place in the house where the noise doesn't reach. I am sitting in our room in the back of the house, as far as you can get from the living room, with the white noise machine on, and I still can sort of hear it. I don't know how Stella can sleep through it.

He must be on a song that requires more enthusiasm because I can completely hear it now. I don't want to be the bitchy wife that doesn't allow her husband to play videogames, so I guess I'll need to find a pursuit that doesn't require concentration. Perhaps I'll pick up the microphone. If you can't beat them, join them, after all!

Well said, AC!

And by AC I mean the Austin Contrarian, not the Austin Chronicle. The Austin Chronicle rarely says anything well these days. Check out Austin Contrarian's post on how condos will help everyone get housing in Central Austin:

http://austinzoning.typepad.com/austincontrarian/2008/06/downtown-condos.html

And read the Austin Chronicle's bitchy little article he links to. Newsflash: there are young people living downtown. Young people with money who dress well. They may annoy me too, but they're here, get used to it.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Gas Mileage disappointment

So I have been guesstimating that I get about 30 miles to the gallon in my little Scion overall. But last time I filled up I decided to actually keep track of how many miles I went before I filled up again. Sadly, that particular tank averaged only 26 miles per gallon. Perhaps I did a lot more city driving than I usually do. I want a Prius, they get 44 miles to the gallon. I wonder if you can fit 3 kids across the back in one of those things? All I can say is that with gas getting more and more expensive and the environment getting more and more "warmed" I sure want to try!

Of course, it's always cheaper to have one paid for car than to buy a brand spankin' new one, so for the time being, we'll be continuing to tool around in the Scion, 26 miles per gallon or not!

It's over!

Of course, it's not really over, it's just begun, but at least we have a presidential candidate! Whoo-hoo! I wish it had been Hillary* or, even better, John Edwards, but it's Obama and we've got to go with it. Rally the troops and defeat the Republicans. That's THE most important thing. Because if there's anything the last 8 years have showed us, it's that Nader was wrong; there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. A BIG difference.

So I will have to learn to love Obama. We all will. Because there are a lot of racists in this country who will never vote for a man who is part African-American. It's just a fact and honestly one of the reasons why I thought both Obama and Clinton were bad choices in a year when the Presidency should have been a lock for the Democrats: one is black and one is a woman. And I think the thought of that enrages a lot of Americans. So we're going to have to work doubly-hard this year to get Obama elected. If he wins, it's going to be historic. It's going to be amazing and historic. And perhaps it will not be as incredibly inspiring for me as if a woman was President, because I still see him as another MAN, not really as a BLACK man, but it will still knock down a lot of walls and maybe we can start to repair the damage done by 100 years of slavery, followed by 100 years of segregation, followed by 40+ years of systematic racism.

Okay, that sounds pretty fucking amazing. Bring it on, Obama, let's kick their asses!

*until she started going crazy and refused to drop out of the race. And now she's begging for the V.P. position. Please! That's going to happen and then monkeys are going to fly out of my butt. Although it would be a good idea because maybe we could get all those "working-class" white folk who supposedly wouldn't vote for Obama.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Heathens?

We have not been making it to church too much lately. In fact, we have been twice since Easter. For those of you who do not remember when Easter was, it was a tad early this year, March 23rd. So yeah, we're not getting any attendance awards. Basically, our rash of non-attendance coincided with our church service being moved to 9am. And if you have a two-year-old you know that 1) you do not wake the two-year-old before the 2-year-old wants to awaken and that 2) you can not get anywhere in a hurry with a two-year-old. Our church is about 15 minutes away with no whammies. So if Stella sleeps past 7:45am, we ain't making it. Every time we have made it to church since they've been doing the transformation to Praise-y church, I've nearly fallen asleep and been really annoyed by the guilt that is heaped upon all of us. Tim tells me this is what the people want. They like to go to church on Sunday to cry and wail and hold their hands in the air and forget their miserable lives for an hour or two. Then they go back out into the world and yell at their kids and belittle their spouses before asking forgiveness again the next Sunday. This is not my idea of a grand time, as I do not find that my family makes me miserable and I don't really want to give up time I could be enjoying with them to seethe and feel resentful in a church pew each week. I'm also REALLY annoyed by the fact that they do not do a children's time in the early service and they do no edumacation at all during church, so Stella just goes to the nursery and plays with toys for an hour with the 2 other kids whose families come to the 9am service. Hardly a religious education. BUT after much discussion and a decision that we really did not want to make a decision about continuing to attend our church or not, it was decided that we would just make it if Stella woke up in time and if she didn't, we would not beat ourselves up about it. So Sunday she woke up at 7:30am and we went to church. I was facing it as the "make or break" service. If church sucked again this week, I was outie. To be a heathen or find another church, one of the two. So, of course, it was easily the best service in a while, although still not anywhere near as great as it used to be before we sold out to the "unchurched" or whatever the heck you'd call them. I was reminded of why I liked our church, mostly the people, who are awesome and like a second family, and I decided that I would just continue my haphazard church attendance until they pissed me off again.

Then we got a cheerful phone message from someone on the financial committee Tuesday night essentially asking for money, but as an afterthought also asking if we were happy with church and that she was "checking in." (I saw who it was and we were eating dinner, so I didn't answer). Both Tim and I did not return the message, but are both more than mildly annoyed with the fact that people from our church are now behaving like annoying telemarketers or our alma mater and calling us during dinner time for money.

We discussed the phone call a bit that night before forgetting about it entirely, decided that neither of us wanted to call them back, so I should send an email, but get Tim to give it the okay before I actually push the sent button. Tim is more allergic to church than I am, but he is kind enough to accompany me because it's something I consider important. But he also knows I have a habit of getting overworked and making big scenes when the church people piss me off. See, I have a lot of respect for our pastor and the others who run the church, but I don't think they have any more of a direct line to God than I do. In other words, I believe they can make mistakes that I can disagree with and I don't believe that they are infallible. In fact, I am wary of giving them money because I don't think they are good stewards of it and they are always running around saying "the sky is falling, the sky is falling, we're going to run out of money and close at the end of March if we don't get $80,000" and then nothing more is said and it is 2 months later and they're still open. So I have been drafting the email in my head for the past couple of days and I go back and forth between a long honest one or a "sorry, can't give right now" one. I sort of prefer the second option because I believe the first one might tip my hand and I'll be forced to stop going there and will have to find a new to at least Baptize my future children. While I want them to know how I REALLY feel, I know that it doesn't really matter because I've sent emails and discussed my concerns before and have basically been told, "sorry, we're dying, we've got to do whatever we can to get more sinners in so we can survive."

Hmm, I just re-read this post and it's starting to become apparent to me that just having nice people is not a good reason to continue going to a church. Stella's waking up, so I guess I'll have to hold that thought for another day. I'd appreciate any advice anyone has though!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Book Recommendation

I just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend checking it out. I'm reading it for my book club tomorrow night, and it was a fantastic book. Set in the 30's in a traveling circus. Fascinating stuff. Go read it, now. And if you don't want to purchase or visit the library yourself, lemme know and I will let you borrow it. Because you don't want to miss it, I promise. I read it in about 3 sittings, it was so engrossing. I read 200 pages Sunday afternoon alone. A page-turner. So go read it already!

Some Days...

So today is like one long temper tantrum punctuated by brief moments of quiet. Mostly when Stella has food in her mouth. I can't completely blame my poor little one because she has a cold and a lowgrade fever, but I have to say it is very frustrating that she is not napping. I've been trying for the last hour and 20 minutes, but it may be time to give up. Yes, it is going to be a very long afternoon/early evening indeed. Sigh.

The Post Birthday Hangover

I don't literally have a hangover, I'm just having a hangover from the transition to being treated like royalty to being a lowly commoner again. Yesterday, every diaper was changed swiftly and I slept in until nearly 9. This morning when Stella woke up at 6:44am, I was on duty again. And I'll be on duty again until after 7pm tonight. Without a car. But I'm trying to be cheery! For one, I have completely abandoned plans to purge caffeine from my diet. At least for now. I am currently drinking a half decaf/half full caffeine cup of coffee, but that's more because we ran out of full caff than because of a new regimen. It's just too damn hard to keep up with Stella without caffeine these days! Admittedly, I have been going to bed too late at night and Stella has also decided to start getting up earlier, which does not make for a happy Mommy.

Last night, after a great dinner, I went over to Waterloo for a birthday music buying orgy. It was awesome. I was sort of buzzed from the bottle of wine at dinner (Tim drove so the responsibility of finishing it fell to me) and I had my wishlist and my birthday money and I went TO TOWN! I got: the new We Are Scientists, What Made Milwaukee Famous, the old Ghostland Observatory (I heard it was better), Flight of the Conchords, Fischerspooner's #1 (somehow this didn't make it out of Blue Fish with me), REM'S latest, Accelerate (which rocks, btw), and the Once Soundtrack. I only have 7 days I think to listen to them and decide if I like them or not. Otherwise I can take them back to Waterloo. That's what rocks about Waterloo, you can return cd's you don't like. I definitely love the local, man. Of course, I was a bit disappointed that they were out of Jarvis Cocker's solo album, but you can't always get what you want.

Well, I have to go now because Stella won't stop playing with my cd drive. Oh it is going to be a long day indeed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Another Year Older. Another year wiser?

Today is my 31st birthday. Actually, technically I do not turn 31 until like 8:11 tonight or something like that, but we all know that's just annoying B.S. to insist that your birthday does not occur until the actual time you were born. This year has seen a lot of exciting changes and events:
-We sold the first house Tim and I bought together.
-I survived living with my in-laws for FOUR MONTHS! (and we are all still on speaking terms!)
-We found and bought our dream house.
-Stella started talking up a storm and added running and walking sure-footedly to her repertoire.
-I acted in one of my all-time favorite plays as probably my all-time favorite character (Little Murders).
-I lost 34 pounds and got back to a size (10) I hadn't worn since my freshman year of college.
-We painted the entire exterior of our house.
-We lost our dear dog Roxie:(
-We were in the wedding of the century (Tara and Jeff's).
-Angelina and Brad procreated a few more times. (They're fast buggers, sort of like rabbits.)

A big year, right? And while I can't say I am eager to go further into my 30's, I will say I am very happy to be alive and I much prefer aging, even as varicose veins make my thighs look like roadmaps. This weekend we celebrated, and celebrated and celebrated some more. Friday night we had a very small soiree with some of our nearest and dearest (I didn't think far enough in advance to plan for a bigger scale party, but at the same time, sometimes it's nice to just hang with a few really close friends and get to actually talk to everyone there for long periods of time). Stella spent the night with her Baba and Grandaddy and so Saturday morning I slept in until NOON! Then we went over to see Stella briefly and get Christine and Brian and headed out for lunch and shopping at the Domain. I had no clue my sister-in-law was such a shopping fool, I am very excited now about having a shopping buddy and will now probably force her to shop with me every time we are in the same town;) We had a blast making fun of all the ridiculously overpriced, undersized clothing in the shops there, and, because there is safety in numbers, we went in Tiffany's and oohed and aahed over the fantastic jewelry there. As Christine put it, "thanks boys for sufficiently blinging us out that we can go in Tiffany's and the salespeople will actually believe we might get something in there!" It is amazing what a few diamonds will do:)

Saturday night we went to dinner at South Congress Cafe because I was like, dammit, we can go out to eat as adults, sans kiddo, and I want to eat somewhere that adults eat! We were not disappointed. Man, it was delicious! I had the Beef Milanesa with crawfish gravy, which everyone agreed was to die for. I would highly, highly recommend this restaurant. The prices are just a teensy bit above a middle-of the road restaurant (say 10-15 for most mains), but the tastes are a world above it. We had a fantastic time talking and eating and drinking. Then we headed over to the old standby, Opal's, for some delicious beers and more conversation. A special thank you to Tim for being the DD so the rest of us could indulge. He's such a fantastic hubby:) We had an awesome time. I feel so blessed to have married into a family that accepts me as one of theirs. I always wanted a sister growing up (not that I don't love my brother, but we couldn't trade clothes or make-up tips!), and I now have three! It is totally the coolest.

Sunday we actually went to church for only the second time since Easter, and it did not suck, unbelievably. But that's for another post. Sunday afternoon we ate at Kerbey (we've been eating out way too much lately), and after Stella's nap decided that we needed to brave the heat and get out of the house. After all, about the only thing you can do in air conditioning is shop, and that is really not an "activity", especially since we'd spent the day before doing that. We went to Town Lake to walk and even took Lucy, who was in heaven and SO well behaved! Even when a muddy, wet dog came up and started getting all up in her business, then jumped up on me and got me all muddy, Lucy was totally chill. Can't say the same for her owner, who I had to yell at to have come over and get her dog, and then said I should expect wet muddy dogs to jump up on me if I come to the leash-free zone of the trail. Uh, yeah, no one else's dog was jumping on random passerbys!

But I got over our altercation, and continued our walk which, unfortunately, was marred by the fact that the trail is closed down in large chunks between South First and Lamar, so we had to walk on the street in full sun a lot of the way. That sucked. But all was forgotten by a trip to the fountains where Stella got to run around in her swimsuit and we ran into Bill, (I asked her if she wanted to go over and say hi to Bill and she just started running towards him. So cute!), and we went and had snowcones. Yay, snowcones! Can I tell you how much I love snowcones? A lot. A whole hell of a lot.

So that's pretty much a perfect birthday weekend, capped off when we got home by some Rock Band with $20 worth of brand new songs (thanks Tara and Jeff for my "Rock Band Gift Certificate")! I have no clue what I'm doing today, other than NOT going to the grocery store. I'm pretty sure I'm blowing my birthday money on new music, but Tim also is supposed to buy me something for my birthday, so perhaps Mama will go get a new pair of shoes:)