Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wildflowers and country roads

Well, I’m all excited. I’m taking off early tomorrow afternoon for a road trip. That’s right – ROAD TRIP! My niece is 99.9% decided on Texas State as her first choice college, and we think if she actually sees the town it will seal the deal. So we’re toddling down to the hill country to soak up the atmosphere and see what we can see.

And it’s a great time to do it too. This is the start of the wildflower season, and the Texas wildflower sightings blogs are saying things are starting to bloom. So – new development – I bought a real digital camera. Yes. It’s true. No more blurry camera phone snaps. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a nice field of blue bonnets to share with you.

Plus, it’s spring. I’ve got the itchy foot. Need to go hook up the gypsy wagon and ramble.

The weekend promises to be fair. I'm going to pack light, plan little and see what the next turn in the road brings. If I’m able to find a hot spot along the way, I might be able to post some pics. Otherwise, I’ll catch y’all on Monday. Hope you have a good one too!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If looks could chill

Okay, you’ve seen the thing about baby slings? Something about size and construction and if you use it the wrong way, your baby could get smushed. Serious stuff. And considering how many parents I know who are just really in love with the sling thing, it’s probably causing some major anxiety for a lot of people.

But here is the thing that I have learned in the couple of months since my nephew was born – I will NOT be mentioning it to my sister. Oh, yeah, she got several as baby gifts and hand-me-downs. But she’s been told. Many times. By many people. There is an immediate need for people to e-mail, call and clip newspaper columns to give the new mom. Need? It’s a compulsion. And if I open my pie hole, I will get THE LOOK.

My sister has been a teacher for years. She worked childcare through college. She’s been a stepmother for several years. Her ability to give the skunk eye has been honed to a laser-like clarity. She could stop a volcano in its tracks. Pacific islands could employ her to stand on their shores, and at the first sign of a tsunami, she could train one eye on the horizon and emit such a ray of stink – ZZZZZZZZZZZZZT – show’s over, folks, you may return to the beach.

Usually, she’s far to polite to train this secret weapon on other adults (usually). But I, her beloved sister, she has no hesitancy about boring a hole into my brain with one terrible look. Especially should I feel the need to convey information that she’s had to sit politely through 50 times in the last hour by people who’ve felt the need to WARN the new mother.

So, I keep my little bits of trivia to items both obscure and humorous. Like the article I saw in the NY Times about parents who use the Dog Whisperer’s techniques to train their children. Okay, perhaps not all that useful. And I did get a little bit of the eye for it. But totally worth it to see the look on her face.

One Huffy Bike, No Waiting

So last night was ushering for Spring Awakening. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a pop musical with the broad context being budding teen sexuality, from top to bottom. The themes are love and how we reconcile the adults we are going to be with the society we live in. A little “language”, a little nudity, some hot button issues (masturbation, teen sex, child abuse, homosexuality, abortion). So in usher briefing, I asked, “What do we do if somebody is, mmmm, traumatized?”

I thought it was a legit question. The house staff were of the opinion that there were warnings on the website, warnings in the lobby, warnings in the advertisements – mature matter, not recommended for children under 15, blah, blah, blah (ha! Spring Awakening joke). So nobody should be coming in not knowing what they’re getting into.

But sometimes people think they know. But they don’t know. And then there’s a teenager wanking off on stage. It could be startling. Even though this is not the nudity part. It was pretty obvious.

And as I seated people I tried to pick out, “Who will it be?” There was one brother and sister, older, 70s maybe. He was big and bluff with a bolo tie and cowboy boots and a bushy beard, with a booming country accent. She was tiny and a little frail. She was wearing varying shades of beige with a satin scarf tied under her chin like a kerchief. I kept my eye on them.

Actually, it turned out that the walkouts were 2 women who looked like they were in their 30s, at least in the darkened house. Evidently, they thought they knew. But they didn’t know. The older siblings had a ball. Loved it. And they were having a lovely little chat about finer points as they left.

Well, I guess if you’re going to be one of those people who gets offended, you’re just going to be one of those people. There's no age limit on jumping on your Huffy bike. Some of the oldest theater goers last night had actually lived some of what happened in the show. They were around prior to cheap, safe and reliable contraception and before the sex-ed unit in health class, when you may have suspected it wasn't really the stork that brought babies, but may not have had a real clear picture on what the causes were. They’ve seen years of change and that there is very little new under the sun. And maybe it has made them even less likely to find honesty about the human condition offensive.

Me, I loved it. That score deserved every award it received. And, as I’ve said before, I’m pretty hard to offend. I’ve already signed up to usher another night.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A sheep of a different color

Okay, this is so wrong. But I totally want to do it. I can’t. But I want to. It won’t fly at my work place. It would not fly as an usher. Most of my family would just roll their eyes. And lets face it, their eyes are still rolling from the no-processed-foods and no-TV thing. They just do not get why on earth I do these things. My family is pretty mainstream. Extremely mainstream. It does not take much to be the family oddball. And actually, it’s pretty much the same at work. It’s really not so much that they want to do offbeat things and don’t out of fear. It’s more that offbeat things would never occur to them in the first place. And when they see it, it pretty much doesn’t compute.

And I’m not talking anything too extreme. Cause all I really want to do is dye my widow’s peak green. Remember a couple of months ago when I was whining about my widow’s peak coming in gray? And I said something kind of offhand about dyeing it green? Well, I’ve kind of gotten obsessed with that. Like I really, really want to do it. Would not fly. Want to do it. It’s not like shaving my head. Or piercing my tongue. Or going full goth. It’s just a little color.

But I think it would make me happy. I’m bored. I’m becoming boring. Maybe it’s my mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s what I’ll do instead of cruising college bars looking for a boyfriend or taking up skydiving.

But no "maybe". I won’t. There are only so many things you can do when you are just a little odd. I’m not full-on kookie, I’m just kind of on the edge of the main stream. Not really the black sheep. More of a sandy sheep. Or, given one crazy moment and bottle of green food coloring, a green sheep.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Snow and Show

So. Interesting weekend.

I had planned to lay low on Saturday, sleep in, do laundry, knit a little. Because it was supposed to be raunchy cold and rainy. And I’d just started my spring buzz and didn’t want to blow it with a final tantrum from winter. As of about noon, the weather report was, well, we may have a few snow flakes around the Metroplex . . . Uhm, wrong! Around 8 I was at a friend’s house for dinner, and she looks at the window and says, “Man, it really looks like it’s coming down out there. At 10:30 when I left, I had to use my window brush to scrape about 2 inches off the window. By Sunday morning, it was 5 inches of icky-wet snow. “Wubba-wubba a few flakes.” Bull. How do you people keep your jobs? TV meteorologists. People who weren’t smart enough to work for NASA.

Anyway. I live in a part of town with excellent snow & ice removal, so I wasn’t too bogged down and managed to get a few things done on Sunday. In time to go to –

My usher gig at the Soweto Gospel Choir. Sooooo amazing. Okay. I totally acknowledge the irony of a happy agnostic feeling the spirit at a gospel show. I was singing Oh, Happy Day along with the rest of the crowd by the end of the show. What can I tell you? I love the South African sound. Ever since I was introduced by Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mabazo (the coolest Lifesavers jingle ever), and hunted through stacks at record stores (yes, record stores, back when you actually had to leave your house to buy music from long-haired guys in flannel shirts and Captain Beefheart t-shirts) for anything by Johnny Clegg. And the SGC didn’t disappoint. The harmonies in South African music are as tight as anything Motown ever put out, and they have a blend of traditional music and dance, ecstatic rhythms and pure showmanship that is heart-racingly fun to watch. I admit that I was the tiniest bit devastated that they didn’t do the South African national anthem, which I would really like to hear performed live someday. But it was a fantastic show, and I saw a lot of smiling, no grinning, faces on the way out the door.

I'm actually sad that I'm approaching the end of my TV hiatus. I've had such a good time at the performing arts center. Perhaps a good reason to curtail my TV viewing permanently.

TIME: Quotes of the Day