• a variety of fine pickles •

...has MOVED to http://redhotjezebel.typepad.com/




my name is melissa, and i can't read.

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the unthinkable has happened. i'm trying not to panic, but it's becoming increasingly difficult.

my tv is broken.

the audio is perfect, but there's something wrong with the picture; it's a bit like watching scrambled porn; everything is all wavy and line-y. i thought at first that maybe the cable had gone out, so i just figured it was one of those things that would pass and in the meantime i would just watch movies on dvd and keep checking back to see if the tv was back to normal.
i popped in a dvd, and horror of horrors, the dvd looked the same as the cable picture.

crap.
there's no point in getting it fixed; it's the picture tube and it would cost more than the tv is now worth to fix it, so i'm having the new tv delivered on monday. MONDAY. it's going to be a long weekend.
truthfully, i don't watch a lot of tv, meaning i don't sit in front of it and actually watch tv. it's on when i'm home, period. it's background noise more than anything; that comes from living alone for so long and not wanting to hear noises that i am certain would scare the crap out of me if i actually heard them. creaking floorboards. wind. house settling. the odd rat running around. with the tv on i don't have to hear those things; tv is definitely my favorite method of escapism. i only have one tv, and it's in my bedroom. i don't have a tv in the living room, by design; when i have company over, i want to be able to talk to them - i don't want to have to vie for their attention during a commercial break. i don't have company over very often to watch movies unless we're very close, as we'll be watching the movie from my bed.
that's not the sort of thing that inspires great comfort when you're a casual aquaintance with someone, although i'm certain more than a few families started that way...

i am, admittedly, a tv head. even though it rarely has my undivided attention, i have to have it on. the first step is admitting i have a problem. i have a definite routine even though i don't necessarily watch tv, and it is very rare for me to have anything on that one could classify as "reality" television as i eschew all things reality. i freakin' hate reality tv - i turn on the tv to get AWAY from reality, not to watch somebody else's. (which is ironic because reality tv is so often very obviously scripted; truth be told, most people are boring as hell and nobody would watch if there wasn't someone behind the scenes stirring the pot just to kick up the "reality" anti-plot.)
it started out - to the best of my recollection - with survivor, and it all went downhill from there. now any b-list celebrity and washed up former celebrity and even a celebrity who only enjoyed 14.5 minutes of fame has a damn reality show. you don't even have to be a celebrity to have a reality show. i'm sure i'll be getting my reality show sometime this year.
i hate reality tv.
except rollergirls on A&E. rollergirls rock. okay, and sometimes dog the bounty hunter. i'm only human. it's so cheesy i can't watch it without crackers. admittedly, i watch it for dog's wife, beth. any chola who chases down bail-jumping white trash while wearing pole-dancing shoes gets my attention. she kicks ass, but i digress.
none of that matters right now though, because i'm not watching ANY tv, at least until monday. i'm watching wavy, wiggly lines...

that is totally and completely and without any doubt, the suck.
god, i wish i knew how to read...


never ever ever ever google your food

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especially while you're eating it.
i made that devastating mistake this evening. let's just call the incident a life changing event.
about twice a month i go grocery shopping - and i mean hardcore grocery shopping - the kind where i make a list and stock up on stuff like frozen goods, canned goods, dry goods, etc, and i leave the fresh meats, fresh produce and baked goods for weeknight shopping; i'd rather buy the meat i'm preparing for dinner on the day i'm planning to prepare it. that's the sort of shopper i am.
about two weeks ago, i did my most recent power-shopping at my favorite grocery store and bought scads of frozen things - i am single, after all, and must have some conveniences in my life - and amongst the items in my freezer for the last two weeks has been a package of lobster. lobster tail. "great!" i thought to myself when i found it in the seafood counter's freezer case. i love lobster! i know nothing about lobster, including how to prepare it at home; i know how to eat it at a restaurant, and that's the extent of my lobster prowess. but really, how bad can frozen lobster be?
tonight when rummaging around the fridge and cabinets and freezer looking for something to whip up as this evening's dinner, i came across that fabulous bag of lobster tails! "great!" i thought to my self, a second time. man, i sure love lobster. i'll be livin' it up as a single gal! i can't wait to ask the poor bastards at work tomorrow what they had for dinner tonight. suckers! probably spam or tuna helper or fried bologna. not me. no sir, i'm havin' LOBSTER!
i fired up my george foreman grill (i love my george foreman grill, i do.) and reached in the freezer for the bag of lobster. i think that was the first time i really took a good look at the package they were in; for the first time since buying this treasure of lobstery goodness, i read the words "squat" and "chunks" in very small print. the actual name of the product i had purchased and was about to prepare was "squat lobster tail chunks". squat? oh. well, that's just the species of lobster, i guess. sort of like crab. there's dungeoness, my favorite. and king, and alaskan. apparently there is maine lobster, rock lobster and squat lobster. makes sense.
i opened up the package, reached inside and pulled out this pinkish, frozen "chunk" of "squat" lobster. the shape was odd. i pulled out another. same shape. familiar shape. then another. exactly the same shape. i grew increasingly suspicious of this bag of lobster delightfulness, and was hit with a revelation; i did know this shape. i took one of the chunks to the freezer and plopped it into an ice cube compartment in my ice tray and guess what? it fit perfectly. like a glove. i started to read the packaging even more carefully.
"100% pure squat lobster tail chunks, pressed and molded, flash frozen from fresh." it was very small print.
so they gypped me in the presentation department. they could have at least made them mcnugget shaped so they'd be a little less recognizable as lobster-cubes. that seemed a little cheesy. could i live with it? hell yes i could, it's lobster. if i haven't made it abundantly clear: i.love.lobster.
i grilled those little gems up on the g.f. grill, and toasted a bagel (i love bagels, i do.) and whipped up a little garlicky-lemony-butter in which to toss my little lobster blocks. since i have a lot of photo editing to do, i thought i'd just take the whole lot into the bedroom, watch a movie and eat while working on my laptop. great idea, i'll call it a working dinner for one. still, there was something nagging at me the whole time; what the hell is "squat lobster"?
the texture was somewhat like that of lobster tail, as i recall; not what i'd call delicate really, but not chewy. it had firmness, it was slightly sweet, and it had cute little grill marks on it from the g.f. grill. i plowed on.
a little more than halfway through dinner, that nagging question had not yet subsided even though my mind was mostly trained on work, then it dawned on me that i was on my computer; i had the world at my fingertips. google! i googled "squat lobster".
i should have never googled squat lobster.
more specifically, i should have never googled squat lobster while i was eating squat lobster.
heh. turns out "squat lobster" isn't really so much lobster as it is SOMETHING ELSE THAT IS NOT LOBSTER. it's not even in the lobster family. it comes out of the water, and that's where the similarities end.
those curious little pink ice-cube shaped pressed chunks of squat lobster tail came from a crustaecean that doesn't even posess a tail. as i mentioned before, it's not tail, it's not lobster... it's crab. and it's not just any crab either; it's closest relative is HERMIT CRAB. tonight, for dinner, i had what might as well be hermit crab and a nice toasted bagel with a schmeer. oh dear sweet jesus i just ate hermit crab, and now i want to die.
i made the additional mistake of looking at a few photos of hermit crabs, errrr squat lobsters online, which only made it worse for me. that'll teach me about reading packaging in the grocery store a little more closely in the future, as well as nearly everything i currently have in the fridge, freezer and every cabinet and cupboard in my house.
from now on, unless i witness it swimming in a tank moments before i consume it, i will not be partaking of anything with the name lobster.


mitch hedberg feb 24, 1968 - mar 29, 2005

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today, i had a really crappy day at work, blah blah blah... i'd rather talk about mitch.
today is the one year anniversary of the death of one of my favorite comics, mitch hedberg. if you've never seen or heard mitch hedberg, and you have any sense of humor at all, it would be well worth your time to buy, beg, borrow or steal his two albums, strategic grill locations and mitch all together, which comes with the dvd of his comedy central special.
mitch hedberg had one of the funniest, most clever styles of delivery of any comic i've ever seen, and i have many times in the last year found myself saddened for never having been able to see him live, and no longer having the opportunity to see his HBO special that was in the works when he died.
tomorrow march 30th is the unofficial official mitch hedberg day; it's been designated as the day to bust out all of your favorite mitch hedberg jokes. some of my favorite mitch hedberg jokes:
"my apartment is infested with koala bears. it's the cutest infestation ever."

"I especially hate turtlenecks. I wear a turtleneck it's like being strangled by a really weak guy... all fuckin' day. If you wear a turtleneck and a backpack it's like a weak midget trying to bring you down."

"This product that was on TV was available for four easy payments of $19.95. I would like a product that was available for three easy payments and one fucking complicated payment. We can't tell you which payment it is, but one of these payments is gonna be a bitch. The mailman will get shot to death. The envelope will not seal. And the stamp will be in the wrong denomination. Good luck fucker. The last payment must be made in wampum."

"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too."

"I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry. And that's extra scary to me, because there's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run. He's fuzzy. Get outta here."

"Sometimes I wave to people I don't know... very dangerous to wave to someone you don't know, because what if they don't have a hand? They'll think you're cocky. "Look what I got motherfucker! This thing is useful... I'm gonna go pick something up."
"I think pickles are cucumbers that sold out. They sold their soul to the devil, and the devil was dill."

and my absolute favorite mitch hedberg joke:
"this shirt is dry clean only. which means it's dirty."

ah, mitch... i loved you so. you are truly missed.

*photo courtesy of www.mitchhedberg.net


are the inmates running the asylum?

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the huge rat poop i found on my dryer this evening.


when i found my house, i couldn't believe how lucky i'd gotten; beautiful 1921 architecture, miles and miles of hardwood floors, three huge bedrooms, the most enormous kitchen i could imagine, a formal dining room, a deck, a charming side-porch, and all on a large corner lot with tons of hundred-year old pecan and oak trees. how did i get so lucky?

because it has rats. tha'ts how.
i first discovered that i had rats when i found a rat in the throes of death crawling through my photo studio after one of my dogs (a pekingese who no longer owns me) had mauled it. i would come to find, later, that it was trying to crawl home. home is the crawlspace under my house, and he was trying to get there via the hotwater heater closet, located in my studio. an open portal to the rat kingdom. a hellmouth. a rat hellmouth. i have goosebumps just seeing the words in print.
"just set out rat traps", all my well-intended friends say to me. "snap. dead rat." snap, dead rat indeed. then what? to date, i have found four dead rats in my house, and the afore-mentioned mostly-dead rat. to date, i have not disposed of any of these rats myself. i have had to call my sister megen's boyfriend kirk to come and remove the rats for me. sure, the only thing worse than a dead rat is a live one, and let me make this perfectly clear - i would no sooner touch a live rat than a dead one. its a physical impossibility for me to not scream, then cry, then lapse into over-dramatic hysterics upon seeing a dead rat, let alone go near one for heaven's sake. the time i found a dead rat in my toilet was so bad, i stood in the bathroom, screaming at the hideous vision floating in the commode until i grew hoarse. and no, i didn't flush it. kirk had to come and fish it out of the crapper for me.
my point in all this incessant back story is this; the rats are no longer afraid of me. it's not often that i see one, but when i do, it's always a very dramatic event where i curse at the "g.d. m.f'ing rats!" at the top of my lungs, then stomp and bang on things to frighten them back into hiding. my house is c-l-e-a-n. i don't leave food out, ever. i don't even leave dishes in the sink. my dogfood container is like fort knox. (although they've managed to chew into it a few times, sons of bitches.) my dogs seem virtually nonplussed by the presence of rats in my house, but neither of them are rhodes scholars, bless their little pointed heads.
last night, i saw two. two rats. that's a double sighting in a single evening. i was a little creeped out to say the very least; of course, i woke up every five minutes or so for the first hour i was in bed sleeping, imagining that there were rats crawling on me. both of the rats that i saw were in my kitchen; one was more gray, and one was more brown. and by rats, i don't mean cute little mice wearing red pants and white gloves. i mean rats. long, filthy, grody, disgusting freakin' rats. rats that leave huge rat turds as a calling card. both times i saw a rat last night they saw me and made their usual getaway, but with markedly less haste than usual. instead of shooting off to their emergency exit like a bullet from a gun, they just sort of, well, jogged away. it was as if they were saying "oh, hey, lady. yeah, i see you. i'm goin'." i did my usual stomping around on the floors, screaming curse words and banging on the stove to make noise, and the more i thought about what i was doing, and thought about the reaction i got from the rats when they saw me, the more foolish i felt. it's quite an unpleasant reality check, the realization that you've been imagining rats are laughing at you.

living in the historic district, as i've done three times now, rats are just an unpleasant little extra that comes with the territory. the rats have been here for longer than the people have, and apparently they're not going anywhere. in fact, the town i live in, temple, was once known as "ratsville" around the turn of the century, due to the huge population of rats.

the phrase "the inmates are running the asylum" has come to mind several times, especially in the last few days, but i can't help but wonder: are they really the inmates, or am i?




another day, another term of endearment

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tonight i had a lovely dinner of mesquite-roasted chicken breast i purchased from the deli at HEB, a few spears of fresh asparagus with lemon juice, and one of my favorite indulgences ever - king's hawaiian bread rolls. yuuuuu-ummmm. i have to pace myself so i don't eat all the bread first; i nibble very judiciously and deliberately to try and stretch it out for length of the entire dinner.
i didn't have dessert because the rolls were so good.
today was bad-mood monday at work. not necessarily the people at work, but the idiots calling tech support. especially the ones without enough synapses firing in their feeble little brain-lets to choose the right option in an automated system. "if your internet or text messaging isn't working, please press 3 for technical support" and "if you'd like to change your rate plan or add or remove an additional service, please press 1 for customer care".
i get it, but apparently it's a little ambitious for some people.

i start work at 9:30am every morning, and before 11am i had already been called a f*ing bitch and a f*ing c*nt. it was the most rediculous thing, i actually laughed at the lady [and i use the term lady verrry loosely] who called me those names. the conversation went something like this:
me: i apologize ms. martinez, i'm going to need to transfer you to customer care for that; as i mentioned, a few times, you have called the wrong department. you want a rate plan change, and this is technical support. i'll be happy to connect you with the right department.
her: i can't f*ing believe this sh*t. this f*ing bitch is gonna transfer me again. i can't wait till my f*ing contract is f*ing over. stupid f*ing bitch.
me: ma'am, i can still hear you. i haven't transferred you yet.
her: put your f*ing supervisor on the phone! i want to make a complaint because you just eavesdropped on a private f*ing conversation between me and my f*ing husband that was none of your f*ing business!

me: (laughing) i'm terribly sorry that you feel like i was eavesdropping on your private conversation, especially when you were speaking directly into the phone. i'd be glad to put my supervisor on the phone, but she's going to hang up on you if you curse at her, and i will too if you curse at me one more time. now, is there anything else i can do for you before i transfer you to the correct department?
her: no, you can't do anything for me. you haven't done anything for me but waste my time!
me: okay then, you have a good day, and thank you for choosing [insert cellular carrier here, said with huge fake, toothy smile on my face].
her: [in a vague attempt to seem as if she weren't addressing me] stupid f*ing c*nt!
me: um, ma'am, i'm still here. [click]
can't say i didn't warn her.

i get sick, sick pleasure out of acting like cursing bothers me that much, because i get to hang up on jerks with no manners who were raised by a pack of wild hillbillies.




spring time in texas for five more minutes

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after five straight days of gray, rainy, windy, 40 degree weather, this weekend has been absolutely picture perfect. it's been in the mid 70s all weekend, and sunny sunny sunny. i so desperately needed sunny weather this weekend for a photo shoot i had, and i got my wish. i had an outdoor shoot this afternoon at a local university in a neighboring town and although it was a little windier than i'd have liked, i really have no cause to complain. the campus is starting to look spring-like, with flowers budding in unexpected places, and trees full of new, bright green leaves. there are still fallen leaves on the ground, and the grass is still trying as hard as it can to turn green; in short, it's beautiful.
here in texas, we have a very short window between what most people would call "winter" and the sometimes oppressive heat of the summer. if you've never lived in texas, here's the lowdown: summer in texas starts in early may, sometimes mid-april, and lasts until usually mid november. no kidding. in between, we have about twenty minutes of autumn, then it gets cold, then for about another twenty minutes, we have "spring". winter in texas isn't as picturesque as say, new england. winter-weather in texas hardly ever produces a beautiful blanket of white snow; winter-weather in texas is most often a thick layer of ice covering everything, especially the streets. our streets, ironically, weren't built for ice, which always turns into horrible black slush, which will undoubtedly freeze over again, and so on and so on until it finally gets warm enough to melt completely. this pisses everybody off because it means you have to go back to work. yes, most businesses that aren't critical close during an ice storm. texas all but shuts down when the weather turns bad, and it matters not what's going on in the rest of the world, the weather is always the top news story when it's bad.

there are a scant few weeks of potentially crappy weather left in texas, then it's time to belt in for the heat; since we had an atypically mild winter with only one ice storm, we're all anticipating a very hot, long summer. i can hardly wait. i am, of course, being very sarcastic.

my photoshoot this afternoon was a single mother and her three very cute kidlets, one of whom did not want her picture taken. she moped and pouted and covered her face and even cried a couple of times. fortunately, her mom said "get out of the picture and go sit in the car." and i never stopped shooting. she's conspicuously missing in some of the photos, especially in photos of the rest of the family, but she came around after a little while and decided that sitting in the car alone was even less fun that being photographed. she even started smiling after a few minutes, and in all, it was a great, very productive family portrait shoot. because it was outdoors, i was able to take advantage of one of my favorite photographic tools: natural lighting. i love natural light and would use natural light exclusively if it was an option. studio lightings' got nothing on the sun.
i not only had a productive shoot today, i had a productive two days worth of weekend. i didn't get as much sleep as i would have liked, or even as much as i probably needed to get, but i got more work done than i thought i would. i matted and framed a bunch of black & white prints last night, and now have eight of my photographs newly framed and hanging in various places throughout my house. yay for black & white photographs with a white mat and a black frame. gorgeous.

it really was a pretty good weekend.


make mine corporate with extra foam

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i've often mentioned "my morning sunshine", carlos hernandez at the starubucks on i-35 in temple, texas. starbucks. just the mere mention of the word, and i'm feeling nearly sluggish enough to head straight there for something with four shots of espresso in it. i like my coffee sweet, and i like it strong. for me, the strength dictates the sweetness; i take my coffee strong enough to peel the paint off of a car, but i don't necessarily want it to taste like it could. carlos gets it right each and every time. indeed, all the baristas at my starbucks get it right, but i think there's just something innately caffe about carlos.

living this close to austin, i see bumper stickers all the time in favor of smaller, independently owned coffee houses, eschewing all things starbucks primarily because it's a corporate machine. i'm certain there are other reasons some of the greenies boycott/dislike/curse starbucks, but i don't care. the fact that it is a corporate machine, however, doesn't negate the other fact of the matter: it's just damn good coffee. sure, i'm all for supporting and patronizing the smaller, hip coffee houses owned by good people who work hard for their every dollar. i've been to millions of these little brew houses, and i've had many a delicious cup of coffee, or latte, or espresso and even, on occasion, something frothy and frozen with whipped cream on top. i would never cast aspersions on a good cup of coffee or it's birthplace. truth be told, the hippie in me would love to open a chic, hip little coffee house someday. when it comes to ordering a strong, delicious coffee though, especially one that's going to keep me going for several hours, i never go any farther than starbucks. i am truly addicted to starbucks.



sometime last year, i read somewhere that starbucks coffee is something like 55% more caffeinated than folgers coffee, and that's why it's so addictive. that's how they can keep people coming back for their morning, afternoon and or evening brew; it keeps them going as long as their needs demand they keep going. i have no idea if the statement about the caffeination of starbucks coffee has any truth behind it or not, and truly, i don't care. it matters not to me. it does keep me going and it does keep me not just a little bit wired for hours on end every day. i'm something of a junkie, but i'm certainly not alone. starbucks wouldn't be the corporate machine it is today if i were alone. ah, the good people in seattle really know what they're doing with the beans.

i had the distinct pleasure of photographing several of the baristas - especially carlos, my morning sunshine - at work early this morning at my starbucks in temple. i tried my absolute best to stay out of their way, but was apologized to more times than i remember by baristas who thought they were in my way. caffeinated people are just friendly and polite. i was even allowed behind the counter for a few shots to get a little closer to the action. that's the kind of action i can really get into.

i was intrigued at what a well-oiled machine they were operating; i had no doubt that it was as my coffee is perfect and fast every morning, but i've never been in the thick of it like i was today. hands everywhere, reaching for whole milk, cups, steam wands, shotglasses full of nectar of the gods; hands pumping vanilla and caramel and chocolate and hazelnut syrups into coffees and frappuccinos; hands reaching into the bakery case for something unbelievably delicious wrapped in rice tissue and a craft paper bag printed with yellow swirls and a very recognizable green & black logo sporting a crown-clad mermaid. i got the distinct impression that even if i had actually been in someone's way this morning, they'd have just gone right around me without missing a step, a caffeinated smile on their face the whole time.
so cheers to the indies. cheers to those single, stand-alone coffee houses somewhere with good foot traffic and great coffee. i wish no ill will and have nary a disparaging word for these establishments; i wish them nothing but hand-over-fist prosperity.

as for my coffee, however, make mine a tall quad espresso with equal and steamed whole milk, and make sure it comes from starbucks.
..and from carlos, my morning sunshine.



a bottle full of phenobarbital

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i think the week is finally over. the week days are over, anyway. it's been a long week from mishaps at home to horrible mishaps with photo orders to my niece, gracie, who's having more seizures. i thought she was out of the woods, but apparently she's not.
she seized last night from 9pm until somewhere around 11:30pm, my mom told me today. nobody called me last night because they wanted to sort of downplay her seizures so as not to freak my sister out, so i didn't find out about it until this morning at work. my poor sister; she's one of the best mothers i've ever seen, and she lives and breathes for gracie. watching gracie have a seizure is nearly more than she can take. i completely understand.
i went to my parents house tonight after work so i could spend a little time with family and be near my little princess grace. i brought her a stuffed duck - it's the softest, cutest thing, and i just had to get it for my gracie. she loves it. it made her laugh and she cuddled with it a few times, then sucked on the duck's bill and tried to chew on it. score. i held her and gave her the bottle of formula with her medicine in it tonight. a bottle full of similac and phenobarbital. i wanted so badly for it to work. i'll hear tomorrow morning if gracie had a seizure-free evening tonight; she seems to have seizures almost exclusively in the evening, especially when she's overly tired or has had a lot of excitement during the day.
i have a photo shoot tomorrow morning with carlos, my morning sunshine! i have to be at starbucks at 8am in the morning (on a saturday!) and another shoot at my house in my studio at 10am. after that, i'm seriously considering taking a nap for a few hours to catch up on what i will have missed by waking up so early on a saturday. how old does that make me - i'm pre-scheduling my naps. i have another shoot on sunday, but the time is still up in the air because the subject wants outdoor photos, and the weather has been dodgy at best lately; if it's not too cold & windy to be outdoors, then it's raining. might end up being another studio shoot, but i hope not. getting out for photos of people will be nice for a change.


someday, when i kill that guy

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this evening i was invited to dinner to celebrate the 21st wedding anniversary of my very good friends fred & michele at our favorite sushi restaurant, nami in belton. i've had sushi in san francisco, new york, los angeles, dallas, houston, and i'm certain a few other notable cities that undoubtedly have fabulous sushi, but nami is by far the best sushi i've ever had. did i mention nami is in BELTON, TEXAS? seriously, they've got something going on at nami. by all accounts, this should be some dodgy sushi; it's in central texas, the farthest point inland one can get in texas. and it's in texas. nothing at all about that combination even whispers "good sushi". no matter, it's consistently exquisite in it's quality & freshness, and a work of art in its presentation. a great pleasure in my life is taking a skeptical, self-proclaimed sushi afficianado to nami and watching the changes in their demeanor when they realize just exactly what they've stumbled upon.
we all had a wonderful time and of course, beautiful, delicious sushi & sashimi. my favorite sushi are superwhite albacore sashimi and saltwater eel, or nagi. every time we have sushi, i have to repeat the proclaimation that when i'm on death row for killing that guy, i want albacore sashimi and nagi as my last meal.
what guy? you may be asking. whatever. i'll probably kill some guy one of these days just for pissing me off, cheating on me or just for leaving the toilet set up one too many damn times. makes no difference; whatever the circumstances behind my last meal in this mortal coil, i want it to be albacore sashimi & nagi, and i want it from nami.

from one of the orders at our dinner tonight, left to right: edamame (of course!) seared salmon, nagi, albacore.


travel plans, cocktails & dog barf

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well, my birthday trip to atlanta has been postponed for a little while; my best friend corey, whom i was going to atlanta to see, is going to be coming here to texas instead. dallas, to be precise. i'm still off work from the 7th - 11th, and am planning lots of things to do while i have time away from the monkey-pit where i work.
as i was going to throw my fabulous, swanky cocktail party on the 16th of april, i have now decided to have it on the 8th, which is the day before my birthday. that's better for a party i think. although i'd rather be in atlanta on the 8th celebrating my birthday with my best friend corey, this way i'll get to have him at my home for my cocktail party! yay! it just wouldn't be a cocktail party without him there, and it'll be far and away swankier with him there. he really classies-up any door he darkens.

i'm so excited as well about sending an invitation to my friend stef in italy! i've never invited anyone in italy to any of my parties before; i'll bet this is her first party invite from texas. cool.
and now, on to the dog barf.

yesterday morning i was in my bathroom, blowing my hair dry before work as i do every morning. my dogs willie & hank love my hair dryer; they clamor for me to blow cool air in their faces so they can bite at it. it's one of those things that makes them a little crazy, jumping and running in circles and barking at my hairdryer. they have a really good time while i'm drying my hair, and yesterday was no exception. hank must have had a little too much fun though. apparently he had jumped around and turned circles a bit more than he should have because he lost his breakfast about six inches behind where i was standing. he lost all of it. i didn't realize it until the smell hit me; a purely human-vomit sort of odor that really grossed me out. as i was drying my hair at the time and wanted to be done with that before i tackled the dog barf on the bathroom floor, i finished blowing my hair dry, all the while gagging at the stench, dreading the knowledge that i was almost done with my hair and would be on chunder-duty as soon as i was through.

i turned off the hairdryer, unplugged it, put it away, and turned around to survey the grody, horrible mess on the floor... but it was gone.

between being grateful that i didn't have to do the dirty work myself, and being repulsed at the means in which it had disappeared, i'm not sure which one weighed heavier. it's still about fifty-fifty.



i really don't want to go to work today. i've been thinking it's thursday all morning and it just dawned on me that it's only wednesday. i hate that. it never happens that i mistake a day for the day before it; i'm always ahead of myself. it's cold today. that has nothing to do with not wanting to go to work, but it doesn't change it either. i am burned out on work. the thought of dealing with morons who purchased a product that's smarter than them and can't be bothered to read the f'ing manual appeals to me very little right now. i'm going to spend the entire day clock-watching and rolling my eyes and groaning and hitting my mute button and calling people "dumbass" and "idiot" and "asshole". i know i'm going to be doing that because i did that all day yesterday, and the day before...

i'm already making a list of to-do for the weekend which, sadly, isn't for THREE MORE DAYS.


somebody peed in my cornflakes

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after much contemplation, i think it's high time i said something. maybe no one will hear it. maybe no one willread this. if this falls on deaf ears or, blind eyes as the case may be, it matters not. there is something i really want to get off of my chest.
i work in the communications industry. cell phones may be a social nuisance, they're my livelihood; cell phones and all their rediculous counterparts - accessories. sure, they get on my nerves as much as anybody else, especially when they're utilized in inappropriate situations, but having left my cell phone at home once during a work day, i realized just how celldependent i am, and as much as i hate to admit this, i do view cell phones as a modern necessity. i can't imagine or remember my life without a cell phone. i don't even have a home phone anymore. as cell phones get smaller and smaller, it makes me wonder just how minute they're going to be in five years. you don't even have to be in the same room with your cell phone to be talking on it anymore.
i'm referring of course to the bluetooth headset.

that
being said, i think it's really rude to make eye contact with somebody while you're talking on a bluetooth headset. the poor sap with whom you're making eye contact thinks they're being spoken to and they couldn't be more wrong. you have absolutely no interest in the idiot you're looking at, yet because your lips are moving and you're looking right at them, they're prone to trip, stumble and fall all over themselves to try and understand what it is you're saying to somebody other than them. one of my supervisors just got a new bluetooth headset and no less than four times today i thought he was addressing me because he was walking my direction, moving his lips in speech, and looking me directly in eye. how important do you have to fancy yourself to view a cell phone as too cumbersome to carry around? if you're driving a car, sure. for safety reasons and self preservation, i'd prefer if some people had a steering wheel in their hands and nothing else. but seriously, at work? are you kidding with this? besides, i have to tell you; you just look nuts. that headset is small. if i can't see it, i'm just going to assume that you're on a day pass from the home and are having a pleasant conversation with yourself.
done.
i'm really sad and not in a very pleasant mood because i completely forgot that susan gibson was playing the saxon pub in austin tonight at 8pm. i remembered sometime around noon today, when it was too late to make a schedule change. crap. i've been looking forward to seeing her for weeks now, and i guess with all the family stuff last week it slipped my mind.

DAMMIT!


my pretty foil hat & doo doo brown head

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why i am so compelled to post about this i might never know.

i sit here at my new laptop, my head completely wrapped in aluminum foil. if i were so inclined, i would probably be able to descramble porn on cable. i have that much foil on my head. why? that's a simple question. because i love to wear a shiny foil hat and walk around my house in heels and a tutu. just like everybody. i'm wearing foil on my head because i want to be pretty. it's part of my regime du beaute, or however the hell you say it in french.

with all this foil on my head, am i pretty? not particularly. maybe if you have some reynold's fetish, but not to the average person. i'm wearing my paint the house/color my hair/bleach something or other tshirt that i wouldn't be caught dead wearing in public. is it pretty? not particularly. hopefully, when all is said and done, and the water in the shower runs clear and ceases to resemble the shower scene from psycho, i might be pretty. i have little splashes of bright red on my cheek and the tops of my ears right now. i'm waiting on the timer to go off.
when the timer goes off, the pretty begins, or so i like to imagine.
i was born a redhead. no, really. i'm one of those rare true redheads - not orange red, but auburn. really. ask my mom. she used to say "i'd rather be dead than red on the head' and her pennance for that was giving birth to a little girl with her paternal grandmother's haircolor; auburn. i've always considered that a boasting point for some reason. whenever somebody asks me "is that your natural hair color?" i always think to myself "what the hell." then tell them "yes, with a little help." i've always loved being a redhead, but i miss it. i've colored my hair for years, just to punch up the color a bit. then, when i had my hysterectomy six years ago, my hair turned brown. brown. not deep chocolate-cocoa brown. not tawny brown, not cappuccino brown, not caffe brown, not even dishwater brown. no, it was doodoo brown. the color of poo. a fresh crap. i hate it. it's not that brown is a bad color - quite the contrary! i love brown on most people. it's just that, well, i'm a redhead. i've been a redhead since the day i was born - literally. that was sort of a special thing that i had going with myself for a lot of years when i came to terms with having red hair, and getting past the redhead comments and teasing - and even living with and learning to love the small smattering of freckles i get in the sun (if i don't burst into flames first) and the ones that i've had since i was a child. though i'm not as freckly as someone with orange-red hair is prone to be, i still have some. my mother used to call them "angel kisses". that made it nicer for me.

i used to refer to myself as a hellcat redhead.

now, i'm a dog crap brown-head.

whats worse is that i've been having to buy haircolor for the last few years that covers grays. i swear it on all that is HOLY i will never have white hair. i'm a redhead, damn it.
god kill me now.
the real trick will be not leaving remnants of red hair color on my brand new white pillow cases tonight. that's a talent of mine. it's sort of like a redhead calling card.


i heart flickr

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swf iso recipes

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the cocktail party planning is approaching full swing; i have designed the invitations and they're ready to be printed as soon as i make up my mind about the date. it's a cocktail-attire requested soiree, and i'm having petitfours made instead of a birthday cake. that seems like a very grownup thing to serve. i think this whole cocktail party idea is really just something to validate that i'm an actual grown up. i'll probably be yearning for my childhood by next year and will have to throw myself a birthday party at mcdonald's.

i'll be serving canapes and hors d'oeuvres and of course, cocktails. i'm limiting my cocktails to a well chosen few:
red & white wines
champagne
martinis
for the martinis, i'm considering:

grasshopper martinis (because i love mint & chocolate - and this is my birthday)
pomegranate martinis
chocolate martinis
rosemary salty dog martinis (recipe courtesy of my friend matt!)
mojito martinis

most of the aforementioned potables may not qualify as actual martinis, but i'm serving them in martini glasses because, again, it's my birthday. and i want it to be swanky. what's swankier than a martini glass?

i'm not completely married to the list of five i've posted here; if you know of a particularly good cocktail or martini recipe, please pass it along! i'm going for about five different martinis, depending on whom i can sucker into playing bartender for me. i'm also in desperate need of some really recipes for good hors d'oeurves and canapes that won't require taking out a loan and can preferably be constructed a day or two ahead of time. i'm definitely looking for finger-foods just for guests to nosh on and rave about for years to come. i'm not necessarily looking to fill anybody up. this ain't a dinner party.
any suggestions?




beautiful, firm, fresh bagels. i love bagels, almost all varieties from onion to garlic to blueberry to sun dried tomato, but the best is plain. especially on sunday mornings; my most favorite breakfast on a rainy sunday morning is a bagel with cream cheese, nova scotia lox and a sprinkling of non pariel capers. that's the glorious breakfast i made for myself this morning. i woke up to the sound of lazy rain hitting my deck and the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting from my kitchen. (thanks to the self-timer on my coffee maker - the marvels of modern technology!) i lay in my bed weighing the options; do i stay here in this bliss of billowy white feather blankets and pillows in my inner sanctum, or do i venture to my kitchen to fix myself some coffee and a little becks & posh?

i knew for certain i was a grown up. i chose coffee. it was 6:45 on a sunday morning. i've been up ever since, but have enjoyed a fabulous breakfast as described above, and several cups of coffee, in my bed. breakfast in bed - the best of both worlds. if the steam wand on my espresso maker wasn't broken, i'd have had a cappuccino or breve as well. having had as much coffee as i've had, i'm amply caffeinated as it is. if i had an espresso right now, i'd probably start scraping and painting the exterior of my house, rain or no rain.

i love sundays. i think maybe i love sundays even more than saturdays; the only negative aspect to sunday is that there's no cushion. saturdays have a cushion -it's sunday. still, i like to keep my plans relatively loose on sundays with no real timelines or deadlines, with the exception of sunday dinner at my parent's house. it's usually at six in the evening, and it's always unbelievable. without fail. last sunday, my mother made thanksgiving dinner. she's amazing.

i'm going to visit my little princess grace at my parent's house a little later this morning, so i'm very excited. i'm also pretty excited about planning a cocktail party...
my friend shellie and i were talking via email yesterday and she convinced me to throw myself a birthday cocktail party. since i'll be in atlanta for my actual birthday, it'll be after my birthday when i'm back home. so i'm going to have a cocktail party, and it's going to be fabulous. it's going to be my fabulous, swanky cocktail party for my thirty-fifth birthday.

shellie asked me in an email yesterday to describe a good cocktail party - i love questions like that. my answer was:

"A cocktail party? Just really good mixed drinks in pretty glasses like martinis, tartinis, cosmos, sours, something shaken, something stirred, an olive here and a cocktail onion there… lemon wedges and orange slices and bits of exotic fruit and cheese as people mingle and laugh and admire new haircuts and fancy hats and talk and walk with their drinks and listen to something that sounds like latin jazz playing in the background, faint enough that maybe they can’t quite make it out, but it makes them happy."

that sounds divine to me. and very swanky. it'll be a semi-formal affair, of course. you don't have to wear a tux or a belle of the ball formal, but you can't wear jeans. shellie suggested i have a black & white formal - everybody dressed in black and/or white formal attire - and me in a red dress. i love that idea. i'm going to send out invitations in the mail complete with an admission ticket - to be presented to a doorman at a velvet rope. hehe! i love that! and it's relatively easy to pull off, as well. shellie's husband fred, also my very good friend, will be recruited as a strolling musician, playing acoustic guitar and serenading cocktail party guests as they mingle with their fancy drinks and hors d'ouevres.

i'm going to start designing the invitations today - i'm very good at designing invitations - and sometime soon i gotta find some fantastic cha-cha heels.
this is gonna be good. this is gonna be swanky.


i've earned it

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after all the trips back and forth to the hospital pediatric unit, all the late nights and nights with no sleep whatsoever, all the late nights with the phone ringing at all hours, all the hours spent worrying and praying, gracie is finally back at home with her mommy, and my mom and dad. my sister said gracie smiled and giggled when she saw the front door of the house; she was one six month old who was thrilled to be home again. we all share that sentiment, more than she'll ever know.
she's not out of the woods, but she's got a little more blue sky now. the phenobarbital is working very well at keeping her from having any seizures. sure, she's a little more sedate than her normal energetic, bubbly self; she's still bubbly - but a little more like a glass full of coca-cola that's been sitting out for about five minutes instead of a glass full of coca-cola that just came out of the bottle. still, a little less energetic than normal for a little while is much better than seizures, so we're all happy with the trade.
that being said, i took myself to bed bath & beyond after work with a gift card that's been burning a hole in my wallet for about three weeks, and bought myself brand new bedding. all white. i can't believe i bought all white bedding with two filthy, porcine boxers - and on a rainy day no less. i just couldn't help myself. it's beautiful.

for several years i've had gorgeous ralph lauren bedding on my big antique white bed with carved headboard and footboard. it was so tall i sometimes had to jump into it, especially with the huge, fluffy feather mattress on top of my big, overstuffed mattress. i've loved it, i've loved in it, i've been sick there, i've sought solace there, i've cried there, i've laughed there, i've spent countless hours dreaming there... so naturally, it was time to kiss it goodbye. what? i just needed a change.

my ralph lauren bedding was this unbelievably beautiful antique floral comforter in dusty hues, complete with ocelot-print flat & fitted sheet and moroccan market printed pillow cases. i know - it sounds a bit like a hot mess, but it's not. it's decadent. it was part of a ralph lauren collection several years ago; the idea was a rock star's english country estate, hence the ocelot and seemingly clashing prints. i think it was loosely based on someone like mick jagger - someone with a never ending store of cash, loads of class and just a touch of trashiness. i didn't have the cash, i rarely had the class, but i always had the trashiness. heh.
the bed, along with all the bedding have been moved into my guestroom; i moved the lower profile bed of the same size that was formerly in my guestroom into my bedroom (but i kept the feather mattress!) and clothed it with it's brand new, gorgeous white bedding - white fitted & flat sheet, all white pillow cases (i have six pillows on my bed and a body pillow - now, all in white pillow cases) and an unbelievably soft, billowy, dense yet still lightweight down comforter. i just want to be in it. it's a little bit of a culture shock being in a bed so much lower to the ground than the bed i've slept in since i was 18 years old. of course, it'll hurt less when i roll out of it in my sleep too, i suppose. yes, i still do that. about once every six months i can count on hitting the floor; this way i have a shorter distance to fall before i slam my face onto the hardwood floors.
the popcorn* is popped, the movies are out of their netflix envelopes, and my new bed awaits, willingly. it's calling to me... i've earned it this week.

*orville reddenbacher's CINNABON popcorn; oh my god have you tried this? it's a bit like eating popcorn-textured cinnamon rolls, complete with butter and cinnamon on the popped corn kernels, and ICING that you drizzle over the popcorn when it comes out of the microwave. it's unbelievable - if you like popcorn at all, have a sweet tooth, especially when watching movies, it's impossible to beat. it's also so popular here that it's hard to find. tracy, my friend from work gifted a box to me on wednesday! I LOVE TRACY!


amazing grace

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how sweet the sound.

gracie in her hospital crib. her mommy made certain that it would feel as close to home as possible.


my little gracie, the light in my heart is doing much better today. she'll be going home tomorrow morning some time before noon. all of her tests came back completely normal. she passed every last one of them. how could she not with all those people praying for her?

last night for the first time, two nurses watched her have a seizure; it was the first time any hospital staff (besides the xray tech yesterday who didn't really "see" it, and wasn't watching for it) were witness to one of her seizures, so we were all grateful - not that she had an episode, but that there were now witnesses to her seizures other than family.

her neurologist has put her on phenobarbital for the seizures which, to me sounds pretty hardcore, but apparently it's what they prescribe pretty regularly. she hasn't had a seizure since they started her on it, which is beautiful news. she's a bit gorked out. stoned, really. very mellow. still very sweet and more giggly than i thought she would be. she laughed and laughed at her cousin dylan tonight in the hospital! it was so precious. she does my heart so much good. i held her for about an hour tonight and fed her - two bottles. she is fortified! as i held her she chewed on my i.d. badge from work and growled at me and tried to work the fingers on her left hand; they're all taped together to the first knuckle from her little i.v. port, which is on the top of that hand. she did alright maneuvering those little fingers. she's remarkably nonplussed by all this fuss and medical nonsense.
kristen, gracie's mom, has all but moved in to the hospital room with all the comforts of home; all of gracie's favorite blankets and toys to her favorite night-light lavender lamp that kristen always turns on when gracie goes to sleep at home. kristen is such a good mommy. i think there are some people who were born to be somebody's mother; kristen is most definitely one of those people. i always wanted to be that kind of person. i'm glad both of my sisters are.

gracie will have to take phenobarbital for about six months; she's on a loading dose right now and for the next few days (which is why she's so mellow and sedate right now) and as soon as her little body is used to it, she'll be put on a maintenence dose. honestly, whatever works and keeps my little nine from having those horrible seizures.
i love her so much sometimes i feel like my heart might burst.

gracie, her aunt megen and uncle kirk in her hospital room (she adores both of them and flirts with uncle kirk!)


the princess and the pee

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my 6 month old neice gracie was admitted into the hospital last night around 10pm. she had apparently had 8 seizures in a period of about 30 minutes. i desperately wanted to be there, to be near her and to be near my family, but my mother insisted i stay home and come to the hospital in the morning. i wouldn't be allowed in to see her or even be anywhere near her because she was in the pediatric unit. i told my mother i didn't care, and that i just wanted to be there, but she told me to stay home and try to get some sleep.
i didn't get any sleep last night. i prayed, i worried, i wondered, i worried some more, i tried not to worry, i prayed some more; all the while my head felt like it was filled with turning wheels that wouldn't stop. i couldn't turn my mind off all night. i'm not sure what i was feeling. i felt so powerless to do anything to help, and i felt helpless here all alone. that's a terrible feeling. i don't know that there would have been anything at all i could have done to help; i would have done anything. i couldn't do anything. i couldn't have done anything. i don't know what to do, except pray.

i went to the hospital this morning around 7am, completely disregarding the 10am - 8pm visiting hours; i wasn't met with protest of any kind. when i got there, my sister and gracie's dad were asleep in the mommy & daddy bed, and gracie had just woken up and had re-discovered her feet. she was in her hospital crib made of chrome and set high off of the ground. it reminded me a little bit of a jail. she was a little groggy, but in good spirits despite having just woken up. i just stood there leaning on her crib, and we talked and she gurgled a little and cooed at me some more, and sometime around 8:15 or so the nurse came in to check her vitals. milicent. she was wonderful. i'll always remember her telling gracie "we're going to fix you." that meant a lot to me. at about 8:45 this morning the doctor came in to take gracie to her MRI, so i left for work. i stayed at work just as long as i could, then decided that i just needed to be with my neice and my family. i left work around 1pm and went back to the hospital.

her MRI results came back completely normal, praise the lord. no tumors, lesions, fluid. her seizures aren't febrile - meaning they're not caused by fever. the doctor said again today that although there is still more testing to complete, she's reasonably certain it's eplilpsy. the photo above is gracie during her eeg. she was the best patient ever. never cried once, until she got hungry enough to let somebody know about it. we mcgee women are food-aggressive, and she's definitely a mcgee woman. a little later in the day gracie's daddy & i went downstairs with her and a doctor for some xrays. that's where i saw her have a seizure for the first time.

we were all holding her down on the xray table; an xray tech had her little legs, and her daddy had one arm and i had the other. suddenly she started voilently jerking her arms, and her whole body sort of quaked as her head shook. it only lasted for about six or seven seconds, but it was very frightening for me. afterwards her eyes sort of glazed over a little for about ten seconds, then she was just sort of back, like nothing had happened...and then she peed and pooped all over the xray table. that's my gracie.

i came home for a few minutes to let my dogs outside, have a little dinner and start a load of laundry and i'm going back to the hospital. she'll probably be there until saturday. it doesn't matter who your higher power is; i don't care. but please, say a little prayer.


what i did on wednesday night

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recording studio, austin texas. singing back up vocals and harmonies for fred fuller. this was F-U-N. fred was piloting my camera.




above: weird creepy mysterious stump arm!


my nine

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i'm not entirely sure how to get this out without coming across as overly dramatic. i might not be able to do it, but i'm going to try. if it happens to be touched with drama, well then, i guess that's just who i am, and this is the way i feel.
i'm very frightened, because i love her so much.
in my family, everybody - my mom, dad, sisters, nephew, neice and me are all either born on the 9th, 13th or 16th of the month. my dad, my sister kristen and my nephew dylan were born on the 13th of april, july and january, respectively; my mother and sister megen were born on the 16th of june and january, and i was born on the 9th of april. my niece mckayla grace was born on the 9th of september. she's my nine, my little princess grace.
she turned six months old on the 9th of march, just a few days ago. also, just a few days ago, she started having seizures. she's possibly been having them for longer than that, but that is as early as anyone realized what's been going on. my sister kristen, gracie's mother, noticed she was doing something that didn't seem quite right; she'd stiffen from about the waist up and her eyes would glaze over as if she were staring, wide-eyed; her arms would go stiff as well, and this behavior would sort of pulse repeatedly for several seconds. when my family started noticing, the episodes became longer. the first time most of my family were witness to an episode was on saturday when my sister megen was holding gracie and playing with her. gracie was sitting up on megen's lap when gracie started seizing, but megen didn't realize what she was doing for about ten seconds or so, nor did anyone else in the room. at first it seemed just like something toddlers do; flailing their arms and sort of bucking under the hand that's holding them. when she didn't stop, it became apparent that something was wrong. she seized continually like this for nearly five minutes as megen held her securely, and everybody tried not to panic. then, it was over. while everyone else in the room tried, some unsuccessfully, to choke back tears, gracie went on playing as if nothing at all had happened.
that was the first time she seized with everybody looking on. she's seized many times since then though, including yesterday when her mommy took her to her doctor, and today, when she saw her neurologist. her neurologist said it's seizure disorder, or epilepsy. she has to have testing that's going to scare her next week, probably here in temple at scott & white hospital, possibly at children's hospital in austin.

tonight i went over to my parents' house to spend a little time with my mom and dad, my sister, and of course, gracie. i sat on my sister's bed while my neice lay on her back, playing with her feet, and trying to get her socks off. she nearly got them. it was just the two of us in there on my sister's bed. i sat there while she just looked at me. close to fifteen minutes. i just talked to her and touched her little pink cheeks and her little button nose and played with her tiny fingers. all the while, she just looked at me. a few times she cooed at me in approval when i brushed her little cheek. i made sure she knew how much i love her. i must have said it a thousand times, a thousand different ways. the way she looked at me; i don't know how to describe, exactly, the way it made me feel. i don't know if that's the way a mother feels towards her child but i imagine the feeling i had sitting on that bed while she looked at me - really looked at me - must be what it feels like to be a mother and know that someone loves you without question, and to know that the love is returned, completely.

i can't have children of my own; something about my little gracie just feels like, well, mine.

i promised her that she'd be just fine no matter what her doctors told her mommy.
she has to be alright. she's my nine.



gracie sleeping while her grammy (my mother) held her.

if I needed you
would you come to me?
would you come to me for to ease my pain?
if you needed me
i would come to you.
i would swim the sea for to ease your pain.
well the night's forlorn and the morning's born
and the morning's born with the lights of love.
and you'll miss sunrise if you close your eyes,
and that would break my heart in two.
if I needed you, would you come to me?
would you come to me for to ease my pain?
if you needed me,
i would come to you.
i would swim the sea for to ease your pain.
baby's with me now
since I showed her how,
to lay her lily hand in mine.
who could ill agree,
she's a sight to see
a treasure for the poor to find.
if I needed you,
would you come to me?
would you come to me for to ease my pain?
if you needed me,
i would come to you.
i would swim the sea for to ease your pain.


rude awakening

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i woke up this morning at 6:50 to my dogs dancing around my bed, wanting to be let outside to go for a wee. as i was crawling back into bed at 6:51 after letting them outside, i thought to myself how glad i was that it was sunday, and i could go back to bed and sleep as long as i wanted to. i laid my head on my pillow and started to settle back into sleep, when the realization hit me like a cinder block to the head, and i shot straight up in my bed.
this was tuesday. my alarm was just about to go off.


that completely sucked.


reason # 47,387,184 why i love texas

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this was my view from the parking lot at work this evening as i left for home. how lucky am i to be a texan?



the princess & the soap maker

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yesterday's post made me think a lot. well, a lot more. when i wrote the words "i still don't know what i want to be when i grow up.", it started some wheels a'turning that had come to a grinding halt years ago. what do i want to be when i grow up?

when i was little, i wanted to be a princess, just like in fairytales. most little girls, i would imagine, have the same fantasy when they're very small. i wanted to be snow white, actually. i wasn't afraid of the wicked witch, and i wanted a bunch of dwarves as friends. hanging out in a diamond mine wouldn't suck either. however, since prince william was my best bet for that fairy tale to come true, and he doesn't seem all that interested (the english are so aloof), i've opted to decide to be something else when i grow up, whenever that happens.

the things that have crossed my mind as to what to be when i grow up are:
a pastry chef.
i'm not all that talented in the pastry-making arts; i'd eat my baking but i'm not sure if the general populus wants to.
a stand up comedian.
when i was about 7 i remember telling my aunt that i wanted to be a comedian when i grew up. i can't remember her reaction so it must not have been very encouraging.

a guitar player.
i have absolutely no talent for the guitar despite my most valiant efforts to learn; i've tried no less than 5 times to learn to play acoustic guitar and learned "me & bobby mcgee" twice. that was as far as i got and it wasn't all that good. i finally gave my guitar away because all it did was collect dust in places that i couldn't remove it from, and of course, mock me.
a professional soap maker.
is there actually a market for a professional soap maker? maybe if your last name is proctor or gamble, and even then you'd probably have to have been born into it. so while i make soap myself from time to time, i think relying on it for my income and profession would be unwise.
a singer.
hm. this one is a possibility. of course, it's all based on marketability; there are probably enough trashy lounge singers in the world already.
a kept woman.
i think this might be an extension to the princess fantasy from when i was a young child. this option becomes more and more attractive with each passing day. however, there aren't many sugar daddies beating a path to my door, so as alluring as the notion might be, i think it's best not to wait for this one to happen.
a photographer.
this is the one i think i really want to happen. i have a talent for it. i have a hunger to be better at it. i have a lust for the lens. best of all, i don't want to do it to become rich & famous. although this would be a really cool bonus, i want to do it because i enjoy it; i enjoy making art that makes people happy, or think, or smile, or get teary-eyed, or look at themselves and ask "is that really me?"

yes, i think that's the one. i think i want to be a photographer when i grow up. i've known that for a long while now, but it's amazing how it feels to see it actually written down.

concerning photography and money; there's an (old?) addage that comes with photography:
what's the difference between a photographer and a pizza?
a pizza can feed a family.
good thing i'm single.


on turning 35

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before our show last night, i was sitting outside having a cigarette with don sowersby, our pedal steel player. smoking is always a conversation starter; if two people happen to be smoking within ten yards of each other, a conversation is inevitable whether or not those two people knew each other before they lit up. we were doing what people do when they have a cigarette together; talking about whatever. our conversation ran the gamut from a broken string on his steel to an old back injury to somebody's new car to age. age. when did i get so old that i started actually talking about age? after a qualifying statement that he doesn't normally ask a lady her age so i didn't have to answer if i didn't want to, he asked me how old i was. i told him that in less than a month i would be turning 35. he told me that age was a state of mine (adding that maybe that's why he feels so damn old), and that his father in law once told him that nobody ever has any common sense until their thirty-fifth birthday. he didn't know what being thirty-five has to do with common sense, but i didn't care. it sounded good to me. i'm all for getting some common sense, especially if i don't currently have any. i've been operating on the assumption that i did have some common sense all this time. i guess that proves his father-in-law's theory.
is age really just a number? i hear that all the time and have spent countless, immeasurable amounts of time wondering if it's true, then convincing myself that it can't be true. age isn't a thing; age is a place. it's where you are in your life. my age, almost 35 is feeling like somewhere in the middle of nowhere. i don't think i know where i am. i'm not sure if that's a good thing, but i don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. it's just sort of, well, a thing.


this age, this impending number dangling over my head like the sword of damacles has been on my mind for some time now. the fact that it's less than 30 days from rearing its ugly head doesn't do much to ease the anxeity of that sword busting loose and impaling me right in the youth.

i don't do things typical thirty-five year olds do; at least not any of the thirty-five year olds i know. i'm not married. i have never been married. i don't have children. i don't own my house. i don't have cocktail parties (admittedly, this is something that has nothing to do with my age, and i certainly could have cocktail parties if i wanted to; i just needed to lament for a moment about my love for cocktail parties and my severe lack of having them.)

am i doing something wrong? am i doing everything wrong? is there some sort of gauge that i don't know about that tells me what i'm doing right or wrong? do i know when i'm grown up?am i supposed to be grown up already? i don't think i am. i still don't know what i want to be when i grow up. whatever this place is, i don't know quite where i would find it on a map. it stands to reason that since i don't know where i am, i have no idea where i'm going either.

thirty-five, that number, is sneaking up on me and will land on me in less than a month. twenty-nine days, to be precise. maybe it is true, what don sowersby's father in law told him. maybe i will just magically get my common sense when i turn thirty-five. maybe i should start looking at it like that.

i'm twenty-nine days away from recieving my common sense.

that sounds infinitely better than turning thirty-five.


art & how to swing it

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i did get out today. i did take photos with my new camera. i did enjoy it. i did not let my camera intimidate me. i let it teach me. i am having to relearn all sorts of things that i haven't used in years and years and years. aperture. shutter speed. iso. f-stop settings. i am currently in a learning curve. but i did manage to make a little "art", if you'd like to call it that. i would like to call it that. i actually visited a few places where i'd taken photos before with other cameras; although it was a bit deja vu-ish, it was satisfying to see the finished product when i loaded the photos to my camera. you can see some of them by going to my flickr.
i took lots of pictures of our rehearsal today as well. something about wires, instruments, microphones, amps & low-lighting that makes me happy. looking at the photos, i can almost hear the music. that might just be leftover music in my brains from the actual show, i suppose...



and miles to go before i sleep

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i've been dying for this camera for ages. i've eyeballed it on line, at the store and everywhere i saw it. yesterday, i got it.
so now what?
it intimidates the hell out of me, but i think that's probably just because it's fresh and shiny and new and i'm a bull in a china shop. i don't even need the china shop to break stuff. i'm not afraid of it, just very, very intimidated... so you'd think i'd have been out on the road or something at the crack of dawn learning about it, camera in hand, taking pictures of whatever caught my fancy. instead i opened up my back door while my dogs went out for a weewee and just started shooting. this is what i ended up with:

there was this female dove doing the hokey pokey on a telephone wire above my deck out my back door. HOW RUDIMENTARY IS THIS? HOW MUCH MORE AMATEURISH COULD I BE? i know. but new camera = experimentation. i do like the way the DoF came out, and when i blow this up, i can see every scale on that bird's foot. that's cool. 8.0 mp is a thing of beauty.
i haven't loaded any photo editing software to this new laptop yet, and something about me just refuses to load this or any photo from my new camera on my old laptop. i don't need to get at my photoshop that badly just yet. i'm hoping that this photo of the bird putting her left foot in before she shakes it all about is the last of it's kind. i'm going to pull up my big girl panties and STOP being intimidated by this unbelievable camera and make some art.
maybe.


woman on fire... part II

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so the pc relocation software didn't quite go as planned. sure, it went swimmingly on my new luxurious shiny kickass laptop with the beautiful new display and fabulous keyboard with absolutely no sticky keys and 4 completely functional usb ports... not to mention the ultra-fabulous cdr/dvdr 8x drive that reads data flawlessly. which is less than i can say for my crappy FORMER laptop.
okay, so that was a little harsh, and i owe my old laptop a sincere apology. i'm sorry. i didn't mean it. you're... still operational. sort of.
the pc relocation software didn't go as planned, as mentioned nearly verbatim above, because when i inserted the disc into the drive in my old laptop, i got a message something akin to "the disc is unreadable. it may be corrupt..." which is par for the course for my old laptop. always paranoid. corrupt. the disc must be corrupt because you can't read it. no, dear friend. it's you. your drive has been shot for nearly a year now. i can't remember the last time i was able to actually read a disc in that damn drive.
my point in saying this is that for the last 5 hours, i've been copying files from my old computer via shared folders on my wireless network. again, and i can't say it enough, thank god for wireless networks. i can't transfer over any of my programs, but there are only a couple that i need on my new laptop, and one of them is photoshop. i can't move that one. and ms front page. can't move that one either. and i gotta have those. gonna have to buy photoshop cs. don't know how to use it... i'm great at 7, and they don't sell it anymore. crap.
nonetheless, i've done little to nothing with my NEW 8 MP DIGITAL SLR CAMERA, which should always be in all caps from now on, because every time i say it i shout it. no, haven't done anything with it except install it's software on my NEW LAPTOP. but tomorrow, make no mistake about it, i'm going on a date with my new camera. john corbett be damned...
on a completely different note, my dad (who's an artist) turned me on to a very cool website for artists and photographers. thanks, daddy!





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About me

  • I'm melissa mcgee
  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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