Monday, May 30, 2005

I made it to Missouri. In three days I drove over nine hundred miles to visit Amy in Columbia. I met her med school friends, did her laundry, cleaned out her back closet and hung out with my cousins at the pool. Downtown Columbia is a lot like Austin only much smaller. I finally ate at Shakespeare's, a great pizza joint, and I finally saw Ruthie perform live (her website is under family). She was quite good and I felt almost like a mother or grandmother would as I filled with pride watching her perform.

My wallet however emptied as I was charged five dollars at the door (not to mention the cost of beer and tip) to get into a bar that had only about ten people in it, mostly locals. I met the man who brings his long haired wiener dog to the shows, and the man who hides his wiener under a dress and fake breasts, Natalie. There was also a drunken young man with a severe limp saying hello to everyone, four Hispanic cowboys, three friends of the guy singing on stage, the bouncer, the bartender, my cousin the hippie and me. Definitely not what I anticipated. In fact, it was probably the most random assortment of people I've ever sat in the same smoky room with. Usually you can peg a bar: the Library has mostly frat kids, the Ritz gets the punk kids, the Black Cat all the middle age reminiscers. But no one in this bar seemed to fit. We were all misfits looking for the end of a stressful week, a break before the dawn of day. We were there to hear Lux and be soothed by Ruth's pure tone and unique style.

And we were, sort of. Although I don't know if I could have relaxed at all being in Columbia worrying about my sister Amy non-stop. Not even cheap beer and good music could do the trick. But it was an evening, and it was Ruthie, and I was proud . . . and humored by the crowd.

And now I'm in St Jo Mo. The famous, the infamous. Hanging out with the rents and my grandparents, mulling over my life - my childhood, my future, and meeting kids I used to baby-sit who are now getting married. WTF? When did they grow up? When did I? And how much more growing up do I have to do before I'll be satisfied?

I don't know, but for now I'm resigning myself to a vacation in St. Joseph: garage sales, swimming pools, Sunday school dinners, what could be better? Perhaps another trip to Ruthie's bar with the dogs, transvestites and hippies. But St. Joe's got its own delights to offer I'm sure. I can only imagine what an evening at the Ho will have in store . . .

Until next time . . . this is Ann, signing off from the 1997 All American City. Sweet dreams and goodnight.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Well, the turning of 27 was an interesting one. Probably the most exciting thing that happened was a call from a guy named Russ in Colorado who wished me Happy Birthday. Unfortunately our mutual friend chose to remain "anonymous." Why? I don't know. Who knows a guy named Russ who lives in Colorado? Big Phil? Wee One? I have no idea.

The day itself started off great. Mom called at 7am. Michelle, Joy and Rachel called at 7:30. "Happy New Year's!" Michelle hollered. "No wait. Wait. I mean, Merry Christmas! No that's not right. I've got it this time . . . Happy Fourth of July!"

My boss at school had a present waiting for me at her desk when I arrived at 8:30. She is one of the most giving people I know. She keeps quarters at her desk for kids who come by asking for money. And candy by her door. I love it.

But that's about where the cheer ended.

At lunch, I learned that a year and a half ago my boss lost her oldest son to an infection that ate his heart. After diagnosis, he was gone in six weeks. His birthday was May 3rd. He would have been 28. She said she'd been meaning to talk to me about it. "I was raised in the church," she told me. "I used to believe in God. I don't anymore."

She cried and I cried and then the bell rang and I cried some more when my 4th period hellians about pushed me over the edge.

Life has peaks and plateaus, beauty and bitterness. How to manage the paradox of it all is the question I wrestle with now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Last night at 3:45ish, I heard Zorba crying outside my window. Now Zorba's cries all sound the same. It's a deep throat, yet high pitched moan that sounds like a cat in pure toture. Knowing however, that this startling sound that woke me up was just my youngest cat, I went to the back door, opened it and let him inside.

Now, our normal early morning routine consists of him heading straight for the food and then straight for my bed where I try fruitlessly to fall back asleep. He jumps on my chest and begins licking my hands demanding to be pet and scratched to sleep. I usually comply. It is the responsibility of a mother.

But this morning Zorba didn't head straight for his dish or my bed. He sat in the living room and then outside my room and whined some more. This is not normal. Zorba only cries when he wants to be let into the house. Otherwise, he is just not a talker. He's a growler. He growls at me or Radley or a shoe when he's cranky, but he's not usually (unless he wants inside) a meower.

I was perplexed and cooed at him, coaxing him to be silent and go to bed. I refilled his dish with food, picked him up, tried to pet him, but to no avail. He always returned to moaning in the living room.

I eventually drifted back to sleep ignoring his mouth (another mark of a good mother). When I awoke in the morning however, Erin (my roommate) said, "Did you see the present the boys left for you last night?" Uh oh.

She heads off to the living room as I finish up brushing my teeth. "Oh no!," I hear. "It's gone!"

I enter the living room/dining room area and see a plethera of feathers, but no bird.

"There was a dead bird in here this morning when I let Radley in at 5am," she reported. "But it's gone now."

That's correct. The bird was gone: body, beak, feet and all. We searched to find it, supposing it had been batted underneith the couch, the chair, into my closet. No luck, no bird body. Only feathers fluttering about our feet.

So the babies struck again. Usually it's Radley who is my little hunter (remember the jay birds mom and dad?), but this was Zorba's fi
Okay family, one week from today. Here is the long awaited list. I'm sorry it is so slow in coming. I am lamenting entering into my late 20s however. I'm sure you understand. We can celebrate when I come home at the end of May with grandma, grandpa, Amy and Emily, Carla and Tom, Shannon and Gerald, and Marsha. It'll be fun.

Ann’s 27th Birthday Wish List

-DVD Connie and Carla
-DVD Jesus Christ Superstar The Movie (1974 version) If not this then, CD Jesus Christ Superstar, the original Broadway cast
-CD “Prayer Cycle” various artists
-CD Quiet Lovely
-CD The Cranberries “No Need to Argue”
-CD Jet
-*Nintendo Game: Super Mario Brothers 2
-*Nintendo Game: Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr.
-*Nintendo Game: Dr. Mario
-Book: Plan B by Anne Lamot (the sequel to Traveling Mercies)
-Book: Genesis: Translation and Commentary by Robert Alter
-Book: The Book of Exodus: a Critical Theological Commentary by Brevard S. Childs
-Book: Sinéad: Her Life And Music by Jimmy Guterman
-Sheets (double bed, taupe, cream, or some neutral color)
-Ink Cartridges color and black for HP1350; Hp Photo Paper
-Money to pay bills.

* These Nintendo games are easy to buy on Ebay – just punch in the name of the game and Nintendo NHS Game System. Jeremy can help you if you get confused.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Austin ISD has done it again. After not receiving January or March's paychecks, I did manage to find my April paycheck in the mailbox Friday right on time. However, they only paid me $75 a day for my work, nevermind that that wage was two promotions ago. I currently make (as of last week) $115 a day, and on my last paycheck, I should have been paid $95 a day, but of course wasn't.

AISD, you're killin' me.

But at least some of it was there, so I am grateful for that I guess. Hopefully they will issue me another check soon with my supplementary income.

I am counting my blessings, to be sure (I'll be unemployed as of May 25th again), I am just never sure the package they'll come in.