Thursday, March 29, 2007

These are my cats.

This is my dog.

This is my cat on top of the refrigerator.

Any Questions?

So Janie is great: fairly obedient, house trained, very loving, submissive, playful (but not hyper). She can sit on command and shake (but only if there's a treat). She can also fetch until the game becomes too exiting for her and she feels compelled to run around in circles ignoring you and thus ending the fetch game. She is protective of me (growls and strangers, men and people with pet smells on them). She is loyal, and when she gets nervous, she knows her mama and comes to sit as close to or even on my feet if she is able.

Truthfully, "the cats" are getting better with Janie who is also getting better with the cats. The first few days they growled and slapped her and she chased them at which point the top of the refrigerator became their new home. Zorba has yet to return to anywhere else. Potter though is younger and secretly wants to befriend Janie while still maintaining a macho "I run this place" attitude. First he ventured to the top of the table... then to the hallway at night... then into my doorway... my bed and now will even stay on the bed if Janie jumps up to join us (until Janie wants to put her paws on Potter at which point he runs away). As you can see, they are getting along much better.

I even caught them both sitting on the couch gazing out the window together one day when I returned home from work. They'll also both lay on the floor now in the same room at a fairly close proximity and not disturb each other.

Zorba however, hates Janie and sticks to the countertops and the refrigerator. Seriously.

Last month (pre-Janie) I took the brave step of putting in a kitty door. The cats have been loving that - going in and out as they please. It's me who worries and has to be big enough to let them go. But I locked the kitty door when I adopted Janie. After exposing the cats to janie for a week and finally confident that they wouldn't run away in protest, I let them go back outside again. So they seem pleased about that. Zorba even came down from the fridge for lovin' today while Janie was outside. Baby steps.

Unfortunately, Janie has some health issues. She was a shelter dog on death row that an adoption agency took to find a good home for her. While under their care, she couldn't receive all the tests and meds she needed. So after a trip to Dr. B, my vet, I've discovered that janie has a mild case of heart worms and also something in her intestines that is contagious to humans. Granted, it's only transferable from fecal to mouth, but little miss hypochondriac, as if she wasn't washing her hands enough, is now verging on compulsive. But it's all treatable. And Janie has none of the side effects they predicted: pain, appetite loss, lethargy. She eats like a pig and even ran around like an ape gone mad in my house this evening. I do have to be careful about that though because she is not supposed to be active! Although it's hard to keep a dog bedridden, she can't get excited for more than five minutes because the medicine is killing worms in her heart and is therefore hard on the heart. So after thinking, "good god, the dog's gone mad" when she began herding nothing around the house and even crashed into the back door she was running so fast, I finally got her to sit still and chew on a bone. Whew!

So that's the news on the new dog and the boogerheads. More to come, I'm sure. But our next adventures lie in the musical Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, my family flying/driving in and Mom and Amy experiencing Holy Week for the first time! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another musical is upon us. I'm in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber this upcoming weekend. Nights are when I usually blog and those have been occupied lately. Forgive me.

But in case you want to see the show, it's Saturday the 31st at 7:30 and Sunday the 1st at 2:30. First Baptist Church, 9th and Trinity. Just in case you're in town (and most of my family will be!!!!)

I'll blog more about my new dog (who I found out today has heartworms) soon.

Sigh. Soon. Soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The moon is a sliver tonight and I don't know why.

Scientifically, I know why: the shadows, the positions, the sun, the earth...

But I don't know why it struck me so. Usually full moons grab my attention. and for a brief moment I am seduced by Hollywood and wonder if I can't really see it inching towards the earth getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer, shooting towards earth where it will hit us and that will really be it; the end.

But the sliver moon? I rarely notice it.

I am more apt to note the circumference that completes the sliver crescent with the dark side of the moon filling in the rest of the circle. That always puzzled me as a kid, why could I see the rest of the moon in shadow? And why could I see the moon during the day when I was supposed to see the sun?

And though I saw the circle finishing out the moon and the darkness filling in the gap, it was the sliver of light i identified with tonight.

And I don't know why.

Monday, March 19, 2007

So my friends Michelle, Frank and I travelled to Marfa to relax...

and to laugh. These pictures were taken one night when we were playing with Frank's computer. Hot huh?

My goals for my mandatory vacation time were to read, ride horses, look at cacti, go hiking, write in my journal and sit on a wooden front porch in the wooded mountains and meditate about my life.

I did get to read,

a rad, but intense book called The Kite Runner. It's been highly recommended by two of my friends, Nancy and Sam, so it must be good. They're right. I'm 150 pages in and they're right.

I also journaled each morning at the Brown Recluse,

but I didn't process much about my life or my future or my job, which may be all for the best. Loser Ann gave herself a backache worrying about work on Tuesday night at dinner when she was supposed to not be thinking about workat all. She was supposed to be relaxing. Sigh. Her friends were irritated with her, but the food was delicious and the waiter very nice and well informed about the "cool" spots in Marfa.

My friends and I visited a winery via Michelle's request (she want to be a vine-a-tician or grape bearer or something - correct me on this jargon too michelle).

Some of the wine was good and some I could have done without. The funny part was that the woman who poured our tastes was new, and we were her first wine-tasting. She picked up the first bottle with her supervisor behind her and carefully poured Frank, Michelle and I each a glass half full of wine. Now, if you know much about wine-tastings, you're only supposed to receive about a quarter of that amount. Otherwise you're drunk by the fourth bottle. And we were tasting eight! So her supervisor gently informed her that she was not really supposed to give us that much wine each time. We all looked at each other and laughed. She spent the rest of the time trying to pour less and less. It was pretty amusing.

We also visited Fort Davis

where we went up to the MacDonald's Observatory to view the mountains.

B-e-a-u-tiful. It was pretty cool. Although my ears never popped, this is how high we were.

Back in Marfa, we ate dinner at the Paisano Hotel (remember the pic of Mich and Frank with their wine looking very chic and sophisticated?) where the actors from the old classic Giant all stayed.

(Did I tell you that already?)

Anyway, I do believe I covered the basics. Although there were no trees or snow like I expected, walking in the dusty streets was a welcome change to the hustle of austin's tar and traffic. And though we didn't have time for horses, the winery was a welcome addition that I never would have thought of. If I had to sum up this trip I would use the words, laughing, playing, eating and surprise to describe it. My friends and I had a great time (so did Janie). And if I think of more to tell you, rest assured, I will.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Full of artist studios and foundations owned by a few people, Marfa proves to be a very interesting town. It's very kitch, but also very small. So there's one cool coffee house, but there's no wi-fi. There's one cool local band, but the lead singer is an ass and got kicked out of the hotel restaurant the night we ate there. There are lots of neat adobe buildings many of which house art galleries or are rented out to book stores or artists studios, but they're all "owned" I guess by these federations, most of which have the name Judd painted on the windows. It's known for it's eclectic feel, but I have a feeling the most unique people there are visitors, most of whom were on vacation from Austin the few days we were there. We probably met as many Austinites as we did Marfians or Marfadites, or something.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Along the road to Marfa, I discovered windmills.

This isn't the appropriate term for them, but I'm ignorant and have a horrible memory, so I'm calling them windmills. Michelle can correct me in the comments. Anyway, these ginormous windmills produce energy. And we passed a lot of "high energy grids" or something like that. Companies like Whole Foods get their energy from such windmills. Apparently they're a great source of energy that doesn't deplete our resources. So if you own or are a part of a company that needs to get on the ball about facing ecological issues - bring up the windmills to your boss or your owner. Do a little research first though, this is definitely not a class A presentation on energy resources. Not to mention I can't remember the dang name of the windmills.

I also found a cool pen at a gas station. Just for the record I love pens and it is totally acceptable to buy a super cool pen at a gas station when you're on vacation because vacation is the time to splurge. I love my pen that has a monkey on top of it.

Unfortunately, the monkey is supposed to light up and doesn't. That's the risk you take when you buy from a gas station, not going to lie to you.

I bought another memento from the trip from a local jeweler. Agate is the rock found in Marfa and the surrounding area. It's a beautiful stone that comes in a variety of colors. The cool part about it is that it looks 3d and you can see "things" "designs" whatever inside the stone as if they were bottles that someone built a little boat inside of. So of course I bought a cool ring from the local guy who sells Agate and makes jewelry out of it. Awesome!

I've mention cacti several times I'm sure and of course you know I have my ever expanding cacti garden at my house. Ahem. So of course I had to buy three small cactii native to the area. Plus my landlord had this cool mini-cactus cactus bush in front of our efficiency and said I could clip some of it off.

In addition, one of the houses on the way to the Brown Recluse where we had coffee every morning (but did not check our email) had a PURPLE cactus bush in their yard. Well, I'm not going to lie to you. I coveted that purple cacti plant. So one night after Michelle and Frank had gone to a local bar (owned by an Austinite - i told you!), on their way home they decided to still my beating heart and get me a little snub to plant in my garden. Lo and behold, when they came bounding into our little house where i was reading, they presented me my present and beamed about their sneaky accomplishment. It was Michelle's idea, but Frank's pocketknife (necessary for "camping" as we were) that completed the task. It's beautiful though and already planted in the ground.

I'll take a full picture of my ever-growing garden when I get the three other cacti that I bought planted...

Friday, March 16, 2007

I put my fingers up to my forehead and began messaging. A headache had come on. That stinks. Thirty minutes till we arrive home and I get a headache. A few minutes later my normally unconscious swallow was now dry with a little pain. Then my ear began to throb.

I was officially back in Austin.

You can tell by the allergies.

My two good friends Michelle and I travelled to Marfa this week.

While all my other friends went on cruises or had friends in town or did the SXSW thing or even just worked, we travelled to West Texas with my new dog Janie.

It all happened rather quickly to be truthful. I planned on taking a few days off after playing Youth Minister for two months at my job while Kevin took a much needed sabbatical. Then my boss instructed me to take a few days off (bonus). I have a friend in West Texas who said I should get out of the I35 bubble and check out the rest of Texas. So I mentioned this to Chris, Michelle and Frank one night as we sat around discussing the Oscars who agreed that a trip to West Texas would be fun. Next thing I know, within a few days of UT's Spring Break, we had decided to actually act on our musings. Sans Chris who had to work, Frank and three women (Ann, Michelle and Janie) took off for Marfa where we had rented two little "houses" (one bedroom abodes) to spend a few days.

I shortly discovered on the drive up there (where I spent most of the time sleeping, petting Janie, and running through my songs for FBC's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

that "the mountains" where I had been told we were spending vacation were not like the mountains up north and east with tall trees, steep and narrow roads, snow, etc. The mountains of west texas are in the middle of the desert. They are desert mountains: shades of brown spotted with dark green shrubs and cactii.

Although they were not purple mountains majesty, they were majestic in their own way: stilling, peaceful, powerful. I began to understand that the Westerns I had never really watched with the cowboys and the horses and the deserts took place in these hills. They were not sci-fi, outer space, or magical-land fairy tales like the other movies I watched that I had no context for. Those western films were about real places real people.

One film, Giant, was actually filmed in Marfa. We visited the hotel where the actors had stayed and I saw the brown hills they ran horses in, pulled my ballcap down to keep the dust that blew in their eyes out of my own and appreciated the cool breezes at night that required an extra blanket that the day's hot sun didn't require.

My vacation had begun.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Loud noises outside my house. Three men in city of austin shirt digging huge holes in my mansion neighbor's and my side yard. I take the recycling out to the curb.

"Ma'am, I'm gonna need you to not use your water. No flushing the toilet, no running water. I'll come knock on your door and tell ya."

I return inside and quickly brush my teeth and use the restroom.

. . .

Knock, knock, knock.

"Okay, ma'am, I'm un-hooking it so don't run any water for 30 minutes or so - maybe an hour, probably not that long. Don't flush your toilet, don't run water. Okay?"

. . .

Knock, knock, knock.

"Ma'am can you flush your toilet for me so I can see if I got this hooked up right?"

. . .

Knock, knock, knock.

"Ma'am can I fill up this bucket with some water? Do ya mind?"

. . .

I go outside to put letters in the mailbox.

"Ma'am, you makin' lunch?"

. . .

Knock. Knock. Knock.

"We're leaving now, you can take a shower or whatever. Bye-bye."



Monday, March 05, 2007

During the ice storm in January, my tree looked like this...

In February, my beautiful tree began to look like this...

It's petals opened up an aroma of sweetness that I'd never smelled before. And I love my tree.

This is me telling the tree I appreciate the good smelling blooms on it's branches (the ones that aren't dead, and half of them are dead, i would not lie to you - if you have a chainsaw and some free time, call me).
So I felt motivated by spring and started in on my yard. Week one I mowed the front and for the first time the back yard (when I first moved in the back was mostly dirt - actually, so was the front - but after all the winter rains, i have grass, or at least green stuff growing). Week two I dug up the rose bushes that spent last year growing up through the bushes that the former owner planted after having cut down the rose bushes apparently not realizing they were perenials. (there's a lot this man didn't realize but i will refrain from listing any further details). I planted them where the former ugly bushes/weeds were that I cut out. Week three (Friday) I began to feel for my sad cactii garden (no comment Emily and Amy) and so pulled out the plant that the "ice storm"

in January had killed. In it's place I planted beautiful catus plants that need no water :) and will, I'm sure, flourish in my cactus garden. Enjoy...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Last week some friends and I gathered to watch the annual Oscars...

Most of the time was spent laughing at Ellen, whom I love, and playing with Potter. The Oscars had some great moments this year - the people posing as the variety of objects and scenes, the Jack Black trio, the cutie kid from Little Miss Sunshine and Nicole Kidman's georgous dress.

Since the Oscars, I've seen two movies: The Illusionist and Running With Scissors. If you're looking for an easy watch with suspense, romance and my ex-boyfriend, Edward Norton (we broke up when he began dating Courtney Love - gah! I had to end it. Anyone who would choose her over me is seriously disturbed. I mean, really.) then this is the flic for you. However, if you're looking for an intense, funny, difficult, based on real life flic that is now probably in my top ten favorite movies of all time, then Running With Scissors is for you.

That's my official Oscars and non-oscars update.

Potter's precious isn't he?