Sunday, June 26, 2011

a happy day

What I would have given to be back in New York yesterday.

It was a historic day, a victory so many people have been waiting a long time for.

New York granting marriage equality seems to signify a shift, hope for the rest of the country.

How I wished to be there to see the Empire State Building from Washington Square Park (like I used to nearly every night) lit up with PRIDE, to celebrate with strangers in my old neighborhood on the west side, to hug the people I love and reflect on the goodness that's out there and the change that's possible.

When I told B the news he jumped up and down and high fived me. I could tell he saw it as a victory too, for our friends and for his rock hero. He said to me, "Man, I bet Freddie Mercury is up there dancin' in Heaven!"

I see it as a chance for him to grow up in a world that's a little more accepting, a little more fair.

It does get better and, though it doesn't always seem so, it is getting better

Friday, June 24, 2011

twenty six

My birthday was Sunday. Juneteenth! I'm 26 now and it feels good. It fits, somehow, better than 25 did. 

I've always preferred even numbers.

B planned a little dinner for me, and the people I love took good care of me.

Taso gave me these perfect Betsey Johnson sunglasses. I'm not throwing around superlatives willy nilly here. These are everything I could ever want in sunglass: my favorite color, the exact right shape for my face, nice and dark, little heart details and BJ's name scrolled in hot pink.
I was totally satisfied but he had another surprise for me... Are you ready for this?

ALL 7 SEASONS OF SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE ON DVD.

I don't know if you're aware of how much I love this show. I have waxed poetic about it many times before on this blog, but the gist of it is: supports dance as a sport and an art form, gives dancers jobs, showcases amazing choreography, features real talent, DEBBIE freaking ALLEN. It is literally the only show on television that I care about and care I do.

Sadly (for everyone else), this show is not out on DVD. I just so happen to know a magician named Taso g. who "acquired" every episode ever, put them onto DVDs -- color coded by season -- and organized them in an archival safe box with a lock. Yep. I thanked him by immediately dragging him to the nearest TV to search through every season 5 disc till I found my favorite piece, Kayla and Kupono dancing Mia Michel's "Addiction." 
Chills. Every time. 

A couple days later my sister from another mister, Wendy, took B and I out to dinner and gave me a goody bag full of things that I love - clementine and coconut lotions, a book about the films of John Hughes (she always gives me great books), a cute car accessory (that will bring good karma to my car search), a gift certificate to get the sandals that I so badly need and this:
A reusable -- I like to think of it as permanent -- iced coffee cup filled with an iced grande soy chai. I have an addiction and she is enabling me. And I love her for it.

Then we got snocones and hers had sparkles and I was awed and slightly jealous.

B made me beautiful handmade art and a red velvet cake, and my mom gave me a Shabby Apple dress.

I was in a grumpy mood, as happens around this time every month, but it was nice. I feel very loved and very content to venture forward in years. My mind is more calm than it used to be, and my impulses more centered. I worked through so much in the last couple years and feel quite accomplished, despite my lack of employment at the moment. I am happy in my relationship and in parenthood, despite its many challenges. Nothing is perfect. I'm discouraged by not having found a job and being poor. I still let things make me grumpy that I shouldn't, but I'm getting better. I'm learning. I'm realizing and correcting (or apologizing for) my mistakes more quickly.

All we can hope for is progress and here I am, at 26, feeling as though I am progressing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

this is the opening scene of my life movie

i am running 
not from anything or toward anything
just running

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This summer I am:

1. Attempting to learn Greek. So far I know how to say:

woman
girl
man
drink
swim
all day

The problem is I can't write them because the Greek alphabet is a whole other level of confusing and I feel awkward writing them phonetically. Just trust me that I now know how to say these six words by heart.

2. Working part time at a mechanic shop.

3. Literally (maybe not but probably) melting to death. See below.

4. Dealing with that by eating lots of Bahama Bucks sno cones. This is my signature cone that I have dubbed the "SNOtorious B.I.G." - Grape and Jamaican Rum. Someone - anyone - please appreciate that with me. I'm so clever/baller I can hardly stand it. 

5. Going to Duck Pond Park, but only at sunset when it's not as hot. It's me and B's favorite place to sit on a blanket and feed the ducks. B likes to walk to the other side of the lake alone and I begrudgingly let him because independence is important and it's really not that big of a deal and I can still see him and blah blah. I still don't like it.

6. Going to lots of meetings for things that I hope happen soon because unemployment (or partial unemployment) is the worst.

7. Spending a lot of time indoors.

a graduation gift from my mom

She hand folded $20s into origami shapes. That's spicy vegan queso made out of cashews and it's eat-in-one-sitting good. The green smoothie book is to accompany the food processor I bought myself because I'm a grown up now and grown ups buy themselves kitchen appliances instead of Betsey Johnson dresses (HA yeah right).

The point is: my mother knows me. Thanks, Terry!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kobe and Missy

My old friend Missy and her husband Ryan were in town over the weekend on photography business and they made time to take me to my favorite restaurant for an early birthday dinner. I've been going to Kobe once or twice a year since I was 2, with the exception of the last two years that I was in New York. The mushroom soup is my all time favorite and the huge plate of fresh veggies they give me usually gives me two meals worth of leftovers. Kobe was a birthday/Christmas tradition in my family and I'm happy to reclaim it. (I think I'll start hashtagging stuff like this #reasonstonothatedallas #optimism.) B also loves it and breaks his vegetarianism for the shrimp every time. This time we got the room where you sit on the floor and the 6-year-old inside me was thrilled. We indulged in pre-dinner Japanese Fruit Punch and chocolate mousse instead of the usual green tea ice cream. It's heaven. They also sang to me in Japanese because Missy told them it was my birthday, and I was sufficiently embarrassed. I didn't get any pictures of my main course because I was distracted with putting it in my belly as quickly as possible and teaching B to use chopsticks (we've been working at it for years). 
So many leftovers. Thanks for hanging out with us, Missy! We love you!

P.S. Can you believe how giant my son is?

That time I gave B a camera and he used it to take video of Freddie Mercury dancing around in hot pants and being awesome.

Dr. Pepper Festival

The official soft drink of Texas turned 120 last weekend with a big celebration in Dublin, Texas. Between the Greek birthday theme, my love of carnivals/street fairs and the like, and B's Dr. Pepper obsession (I don't let him drink it but once he had Dublin DP at a taco place in Austin and decided it was the nectar of the gods - the fact that I don't let him drink makes it all the more exciting), we decided it was time for a trip to Dublin. There they still have the original DP bottling plant (it's one room) with equipment from the 1930s and use pure cane sugar instead of the corn syrup that's used in regular DP. Dublin DP is the tastiest and I decided to give B a free pass for the day. It was hot but the Dr. Pepper frosties helped.
1937 machinery. Old, reused crates and bottles that they wash and resell in Dublin.
B was shockingly great at all the carnival games.
Never happier.
Taso made off with one of the old crates because I just wanted it so bad. Splinter has since claimed it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Epic Road Trip 2011: New York to Texas

A couple weeks late but here it is: the documentation of my move back to Texas...

With Taso at the wheel and my life in the back of a Budget truck.

First, a song. My song. The song that has seen me through so many moves, upheavals, life changes - a thousand different roads in the last 8 or 9 years of my life. This song plays in my mind every time I make physical or emotional transitions. It has followed me all over the country and it meant something entirely different to me when I moved to New York than it does now. If you please:


Now on with the move.
 We picked up the truck at 9am and loaded everything we both own into it. It was not easy. In fact it sucked and we required showers, a hearty meal at my favorite Brooklyn diner (whatup Toms!) and large amounts of complaining before we could start our journey. The first hour(s?) of driving through Brooklyn and Manhattan was not much better...
Driving through the city in our beast of a truck was challenging enough without the added heartbreak of saying goodbye. 

But once we made it out of New Jersey the mood began to relax. The drive through the Poconos was absolutely beautiful. I begged for a stop in Amish country (something I've always wanted to see), but was denied, so here are my beautiful pictures of us rushing past it. Picture me whining while you look at them.

I watched longingly out the window as the quaint homes, rolling hills, lakes, farms, handmade/antique shops and miles and miles of green stretched out around us. It was a peaceful, beautiful drive with my friend next to me.
Then that friend threw me out of the back of the truck in a Chik-fil-a parking lot somewhere in Maryland, exposing my bum to the world and bruising my body and pride. This story varies wildly depending on who is telling it, but I maintain that I was the victim. I made a video ranting about it that has been played on a loop by our family and friends since we got back to Texas... if you're interested. One good thing came out of that experience: that is where we got Richard, our faithful co-pilot.

Virginia gave us more beautiful landscapes and wonderfully repulsive truck stops. This one in particular was my favorite because Taso got to diss ex-roommate Sam's (hottie in the hat) rival school from her undergrad and bond with Coach Beamer over their mutual love of barbecue sauce. He also tried on several "sweet" hats and settled, of course, on the most embarrassing one.

I had my own fun visiting my long lost love, Target (the only Target in New York is in Brooklyn and does not deserve to be called Target - it is disgusting and useless and I don't feel bad saying that because it's 100% true) and my guiltiest pleasure, Starbucks (I know, I know). I also tried to photograph an old movie theater in one of the tiny towns we drove through that was nearly demolished. I had fleeting thoughts of trying to buy it and save it, but I think I have a enough projects right now.

Finally...

Nashville.

I had no idea what to expect aside from a little knowledge of the Country Music Hall of Fame and some celebrities taking up residence there, but I was blown away. Maybe it was just the little corner of Nashville we ended up in, but it was enough for us to extend our trip by a day and face the 100 degree heat on foot just to explore it. The first place we headed was Belcourt Avenue, home of the historic Belcourt Theatre. Taso and I both knew of the Belcourt (me through my association with art house theaters and he through their sweet one-off posters that he likes to buy on the internets) and had always wanted to visit. I have enough to say about it that I'll save it for its own post, but I will say that it's inspiring what they do there and I learned a lot from visiting and talking to the people who work there. We knew the Belcourt would be awesome but what we weren't prepared for was how awesome that entire part of town is! I think all of the hippest, nicest, chillest people in the South inhabit that little section of the city. Belcourt Ave. also happens to be home to some of the best of Taso's two favorite foods: chicken strips and hot dogs. (He has been talking almost seriously about moving back there just for the chicken ever since. He actually uses the word "delicate" to describe their flavor.) Here's a little look at our favorite parts of Nashville:

(Aveda products in the hotel = happy!)
 Here I had that Iced Rosewater Mint Cuban Latte (O. MY. G.) and got to try Las Paletas. I'd seen them on the Food Network forever ago and thought about them ever since (I love popsicles and they claim to be super tasty, super fresh gourmet pops in unique flavors), but didn't remember where they were. I certainly wasn't expecting to randomly happen upon them in my new favorite city! So very exciting! Here I am enjoying the Hibiscus - YUM - before heading across the street to this awesome, overpriced-but-worth-it vintage shop where I spent money that I do not have.
 
 (I want to live in messy bookstore just like this one day.)
Literally the happiest day of Taso's life. Check out how cool he's playing it in the pre-meal photo. Not fooling anyone.
Perfect citrus-y salad + vegan hot dog with fried avocado slices, lettuce and a pickle spear. I am the queen of green. I understand if you envy me for getting to eat this meal.

Sadly, everything ends. After two half days of bliss it was time to head home. We had one night left that I planned to spend in Memphis enjoying some good blues and not eating because 1.) I was too stuffed from Nashville and 2.) I'm pretty sure BBQ and BBQ are the only foods they eat there. 

Memphis was kind of a let down in the end. The Gibson factory was closed and Beale street was completely booze soaked (neither of us drinks so the whole no open container law thing is just not that exciting). It was fun to walk around for a bit and soak in the city but, honestly, the music wasn't very good that night (and I love blues) and it all felt a bit tourist trap-ish. Taso did get to try on more hats so, there's that.

The last leg of the trip was peaceful and happy, if a bit tedious once we hit flatland country. We both needed showers and a change of clothes but we'd had a trip we'll never forget, we made it in one piece and we were home. Yay!