A better post

I do whine a lot sometimes, don't I?

I'm in a much better mood now that I spent most of yesterday stomping around. So here are some random happy pictures, including: Me and B, my mom and step dad, my amaryllis, and my awesome new Ikea tea kettle (a present from B's mom, who has discovered that if she buys me things she thinks are ugly, I usually like them)



Right now, I'm technically still on vacation. Since we moved into this house, I have not taken any vacation time over a day that did not involve driving across the country to visit people. So this Christmas break was supposed to be my chance to relax, work on my house projects, and get centered again. I took off 10 days. Which promptly got whittled down to 4, in order to visit family on opposite sides of the state. And now I sit in front of my laptop, working. I have a conference call in a few hours. I am very dissatisfied with my work-life balance. These are the things I wanted to do on my vacation:

Work on tiling my kitchen floor
Work on painting one or more rooms
Organize my office
Work in my garden
Read some poetry
Read a book for longer than 10 minutes, uninterrupted
Walk my dogs in the greenbelt
Attempt to make some fancy pastries with Julia Child
Scan a bunch of pictures into the computer
Reflect on the past year and make plans for a much better next year

I feel like I am suffocating under the minutia of ordinary life. I think I am burned out. I just need a break, but I can't get one.


I'm alive!

Really! I'm in Plano, TX! I don't know why I'm using exclamation points!

On Saturday we drove down to Lake Jackson where my Mom lives, and yesterday we drove all the way to Dallas. My butt hurts.

I'm a little late, but Merry Christmas!


The best time waster since Boing Boing

People Doing Stuff Random Image Finder

Everytime you refresh, a new random Google image search shows up. My favorite so far:

via Boing Boing


Poetry Thursday

Snow water

A fastidious brewer of tea, a tea
Connoisseur as well as a poet,
I modestly request on my sixtieth
Birthday a gift of snow water.

Tea steam and ink stains. Single-
Mindedly I scald my teapot and
Measure out some Silver Needles Tea,
Enough for a second steeping.

Other favourites include Clear
Distance and Eyebrows of Longevity
Or, from precarious mountain peaks,
Cloud Mist Tea (quite delectable)

Which competent monkeys harvest
Filling their baskets with choice leaves
And bringing them down to where I wait
With my crock of snow water.

-Michael Longley



Some of these are funny, but most just make me sad.


Peace and joy. And peace. Did I mention peace?

So after three years, and lots of growth and restructuring, I have found myself in the position of being the second most senior person on my team. And through a combination of that and luck, I will be moving to The Back Cube. No longer will people wander by our area and ask me "do you know where so-and-so is?" No longer will people hang over my cube wall and chat while they wait for someone else to come back to their desk. No longer will everyone in the West conference room know whether I am really working or posting stupid pictures on my blog.

The back of my cube will no longer be a 5-ft tall panel of bright green felt. It will now be a real, live, stripey wall that goes all the way to the ceiling! I shouldn't be so excited about this! But I am! It will be almost like an office! Almost! Except without a door! And with only one wall! Yay!


A friend of mine who knew I went to see the opera Madame Butterfly was reminded of an old cd she had by Malcolm McLaren (who looks like a muppet), the Sex Pistols manager. It turned out to be a bizarre mix of opera music and electronica and very early hip hop. It should be a disaster, but somehow it isn't. I've added it to my permanent iPod rotation.

Apparantly, the track for Madame Butterfly made it into the UK top 20. However, I was two that year (1984), so that's my excuse for not remembering.


I know it when I see it

My amaryllis has gone rather Georgia O'Keefe on me...

(sorry, Mom)


Overheard at the window, while waiting for Jimmy Carter to leave BookPeople across the street:

"I've got a water gun in my office. Anyone want to point it at the window and see how long it take for us all to get arrested?"

"Have you noticed that Republicans never speak at BookPeople? I wonder why that is."

"Chris said he thinks they dehydrated him and put him in a shopping bag and put him in the car earlier. They're just faking us out right now."

"Who is Jimmy Carter?"



I don't find this very accurate. But I'm strangely proud of being defined as a freak.

Freak- INFJ
20% Extraversion, 80% Intuition, 46% Thinking, 53% Judging

Well, well, well. How did someone like you end up with the least common personality type of them all? In a group of 100 Americans, only 0.5 others would be just like you. You really are one of a kind... In fact, I do believe that that's one of the definitions for the word "FREAK."

Freak's not such a bad word to describe you actually.

You are deep, complex, secretive and extremely difficult to understand. If that doesn't scream "Freak!" I don't know what does. No-one actually knows the REAL you, do they?

You probably have deep interests in creative expression as well as issues of spirituality and human development.

You've probably even been called a "psychic" before, because of your uncanny knack to understand and "read" people without quite knowing how you do it. Don't fret. You're not actually psychic. That would make you special and you'll never accomplish that.

You're also quite possible the most emotional of them all, so don't take this all too hard. Nevertheless you most definitely have the strangest personality type and that's not necessarily a good thing.

The Brutally Honest Personality Test

My life in pictures

Monster in the cold

A mutant carrot that looks like a pair of legs

A spider I found in my closet (he was relocated to the lime tree on the porch)


Poetry Thursday - one for my fellow tea snobs

Tea Mind

Even as a child I could
induce it at will.
I’d go to where the big rocks

stayed cold in the woods all summer,
and tea mind would come to me

like water over stones, pool to pool,
and in that way I taught myself to think.
Green teas are my favorites, especially

the basket-fired Japanese ones
that smell of baled hay.

Thank you, makers of this tea.
Because of you my mind is still tonight,
transparent, a leaf in air.

Now it rides a subtle current.
Now it can finally disappear.

-Chase Twichell



Three years ago today, it was really cold outside. But we wanted an outdoor wedding, so we had one. With a bonfire. I wore sneakers under my dress. We had tiki torches and hundreds of candles. The caterers forgot half of the food, so we didn't get to eat anything. We almost forgot to sign the wedding certificate. My sister didn't realize she would have to make a toast until it was time to do it, but she managed a great one. Afterward, we went to the Driskill hotel, where bellmen took our bags, opened doors, and swept us in. It was like something out of a movie.

Two years ago today, we were very sleepy. We had spent all day and night travelling, and we were seriously jet lagged. But we dragged ourselves to a little cafe for croissants and chocolate, and then explored Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame. We looked for where the Bastille had stood, but weren't ever sure whether we found it. After dark, we got lost on the Right Bank near the Louvre and tried to take pictures of all the Smart Cars.

One year ago today, we ate bbq sitting on the plywood floor of our new house, which was under construction. We kept our coats on because the gas had not been turned on yet. We dreamed up plans for future renovations. We discussed where to put the few pieces of furniture we had and who got to use which room for an office. We were excited.

We will probably spend this evening at the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park. It's not what we expected to be doing, but it will still be memorable.

Thank you, B, just for existing.


*UPDATE* Anonymous only

Okay, you can successfully leave comments if you do it anonymously.

A Cautionary Holiday Tale

A few weeks ago, near dusk, B and I were driving around with Sebastian and Monster. We were vaguely aiming toward a park in Rollingwood. Instead, we noticed a little road off Bee Caves that we had never seen before, so we turned. The road was rough and overgrown. It eventually dead ended at a small creek under Rollingwood Drive. We parked, let the dogs out, and happily wandered around for awhile.

When it got dark, we loaded the dogs back up and headed the way we had came. Pretty soon, we found the road partially blocked by a horse trailer and some sumptuous looking palanquins. We managed to maneuver around and kept going. Then we found that someone had closed a metal gate with a padlock across the road. We were stuck.

We hiked back to the trailer and the palanquins and found a path leading up a steep hill. At the top of the hill, we found an angry and unchristian Baptist who snarled and told us that the road was private (it wasn't) and interrogated us about what we were doing (he wasn't convinced by our 'hiking with dogs' excuse - obviously we were out to rob him of his camels).

Finally, he said he would send someone down to unlock the gate for us. We hiked back to the car, and then discovered that the padlock was not actually locked. So we let ourselves out.

I hope that man gets camel poop on his shoes.


Guest entry

Since B refuses to get his own blog, even though he spends most of his days at work surfing the internet and coming up with blog-like diatribes, I am usually the only recipient of his delightful wit. Today, I am sharing the love:

My new Degree deodorant had "LIVE LIFE" boldly imprinted upon its product surface. Such powerful affirmations upon my bathroom products help me live my life to the fullest. This is a worthwhile improvement to the previous, unadorned version that I had grown accustomed to. It is fortunate that my deodorant manufacturer makes this effort to emphasize the vitality and vivacity of its customers' otherwise dull and hopeless lives.

And I can only wonder about the poor fools using a different brand.

A love story for the ages

The Bride of Frankensteer


I saw this picture after hearing an NPR story on a book of Ellis Island hospital photos.

I'm not sure what it is about the photo that struck me as so beautiful, but I have made it my desktop picture. I was very disappointed and sad when I heard that a group is cleaning up the hospital up to make it into a museum. The 'stabilized' corridor has lost everything that made it so haunting and beautiful.


Peace and fog

One thing I love about my house is that when it gets rainy and foggy outside, I am enveloped and isolated in my own bubble. You can see the branches of the trees close to the house - big bur oaks and ancient cedars - but nothing beyond. It makes me feel like I'm up in a peaceful treehouse, removed from the rest of the world. It makes the noise from the city recede and, along with it, the noise from the rest of my life. I am so lucky to have a retreat like this.


On Tamara's suggestion, I just finished Feed by M.T. Anderson. In the tradition of 1984 and Brave New World, Anderson takes current trends and extends them to a believable, if not exaggerated, dystopian future. In the book, consumer culture and the internet have been taken to extremes. Every child has a feed implanted at birth. The feed is basically a brain connection to the internet, which allows companies to beam advertisements directly into your head. People have become dependent on the feed - most are illiterate and have lost the ability to think independent thought. For all its depressing themes, the book is funny. The details of the consumer culture are disturbingly recognizable in such things as a show called Oh? Wow! Thing! and the slang used is dead on.

The main character Titus (presumably as in Andronicus) is a typical teen. On a trip to the moon, he meets a lonely outsider and rebel who could teach him a lesson. I think the cliched plot is a part of the message - an original story could no longer take place in M.T. Anderson's world. The novel is funny, subversive, and ultimately tragic. It's one of those books that makes me feel as though I need to push it on other people. So I am. Read it.


Yellow Snapdragons was one of my absolute favorite blogs and will be sorely missed.


Poetry Thursday

Staying at Ed's Place

I like being in your apartment, and not disturbing anything.
As in the woods I wouldn't want to move a tree,
or change the play of sun and shadow on the ground.

The yellow kitchen stool belongs right there
against white plaster. I haven't used your purple towel
because I like the accidental cleft of shade you left in it.

At your small six-sided table, covered with mysterious
dents in the wood like a dartboard, I drink my coffee
from your brown mug. I look into the clearing

of your high front room, where sunlight slopes through bare
window squares. Your Afghanistan hammock,
a man-sized cocoon
slung from wall to wall, your narrow desk and typewriter

are the only furniture. Each morning your light from the east
douses me where, with folded legs, I sit in your meadow,
a casual spread of brilliant carpets. Like a cat or dog

I take a roll, then, stretched out flat
in the center of color and pattern, I listen
to the remote growl of trucks over cobbles on
Bethune Street below.

When I open my eyes I discover the peaceful blank
of the ceiling. Its old paint-layered surface is moonwhite
and trackless, like the Sea—of Tranquillity.

-May Swenson


A happy dog

B and Star Trek are two of Sebastian's favorite things. And he's not even on the doggy prozac anymore - he was just having a delightful evening.



Nothing says holiday cheer like bunches of terrified children. Enjoy!

via BoingBoing


First Christmas

This is our first Christmas in our house. We owned the house last year at this time, but it was missing some floors, toilets, a shower, and most of the kitchen, so we weren't really able to enjoy it. This year, however, I feel very settled. While we still have several years of major projects before the house is finished, it feels like home. Between my parents' nasty divorce and years of anonymous apartments, it has been something close to 10 years since I have really felt like I had a home. It's a nice feeling.