Saturday, May 26, 2007

Angst - n. A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression.

Remember how you didn't really feel comfortable in your own skin in high school? If you answered ,"no," then please slap yourself a few times. Done? Let's move on. For all of my dorky accomplishments in high school (such as collecting lots of trophies for speech and debate competitions, maintaining honor roll status, being the editor of the video yearbook) I never felt cool or popular or like people understood me. I had angst, and so did my music collection. There were lots of depressing ballads about how the singer had angst and felt that no one really understood them. Sensing a theme here?

Tonight, Chad and I went to the Morrissey concert at The Backyard. Morrissey is one of the pioneers, legends and stars of angst music, who moped his way onto the scene back in the 1980s. He's pushing fifty years old, but the man can still sing! He delivered an amazing show with lots of the old hits and some newer songs. The Backyard is a beautiful outdoor performance venue with a natural backdrop of trees and a great sound system. The night was cool with a light, barely perceptible drizzle falling. It felt good to be outside. It felt good to be at a Morrissey show. However, when I looked around at the crowd of my fellow concert goers, it did not feel good. I saw aging hipsters (yep, count me in with that lot.) I saw sunburned, drunk people who seem like they go to every show that plays at The Backyard, regardless of who it is, and regardless of their musical taste, or lack thereof. I saw a few dorky, high school or college-age kids with their asymmetric haircuts. I saw several audience members who looked to be about the same age as Morrissey and who sang along to every word. Overall, it made me feel uncomfortable in my own aging skin, but not caring so much whether people understand me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy House-Anniversary to Us!

We closed on this cozy, old house one year ago today! It's been hard work. In short, Chad and I filled in 54 years worth of wall cracks, sanded and painted every wall, painted or covered every ceiling, painted all the interior trim work in every room, gutted and remodeled the bathroom, scrubbed and scoured every dirty nook and cranny, built and filled a storage shed, hired a guy to fix the underpinning, hired other guys to build the deck and hired other guys to install a driveway. 99% of the hard work happened in the first six months. I won't lie. It was rough. Nothing that I'm willing to repeat, EVER! The daily stress combined with the kitchen housing paint supplies for over four months, meant that I ate fast food for just about every meal. Despite all the sweaty hard work, I gained 15 pounds on my short 5'2" frame. UGH. I've lost 14 of those pounds now, a measurement of life getting back to normal.

I'm glad (words can't begin to describe how glad) that we didn't move to New York City when the offer came last February. I couldn't bear to leave this home that Chad and I worked so hard to make our own.

I have to give some thanks and pay some respect to the people who made it happen.

Chad, thank you so much for being the motivator when I was a cursing, crying heap nearly immobilized by the amount of work we had to do on this house. Your "one foot in front of the other" drive got us through a major amount of work in record time, and amazingly we still like each other.

Adam Stephens, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Capstar Lending, thank you for making the whole mortgage process such a cake-walk! You rock! Readers in the Austin area, call Adam at 512-459-2407 when you're in need of a mortgage.

Sarita and Karen Kuykendall of Wilson Goldrick Realty, thanks for your invaluable assistance in the house search and for not sending us on our way when you heard our ridiculously low price limit for the area of town in which we wanted that rare gem of a fixer-upper.

Thanks to all of our friends who suffered through seemingly endless house conversations... yawn. Thanks to all the friends who complimented the end product. Thanks to all the friends who have spent time with us here and helped us build some great memories.

My one regret is that my dad didn't get to see the house after the hard work was complete. He and my mom saw the house before we even closed on it, before we had done anything to it. I got the distinct feeling that they were going to send the nice little men in white jackets to haul me & Chad off to the funny farm. Dad lived long enough to see photos of about half of the interior work. Dad and I shared some laughs over projects gone awry. I think that he started to understand our vision for the house and why we bought the place we did.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Goodbye Gilmore Girls

Tonight was the final episode of the television series, The Gilmore Girls. I have followed this show from the first episode through the last, for seven seasons. This is real loyalty on my part as I have never followed a show from beginning to end that was on for more than one season. I did not even follow my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer through to the end because the quality of the story lines diminished greatly with time and with a change of networks to the point that I just didn't care anymore.

I remember the first episode of The Gilmore Girls was delayed due to the horrific events of 9/11. I wanted something on the TV that was sweet and uplifting after seeing, but not believing, the fall of the twin towers. My mind needed a happy place to take refuge, and as shallow as it sounds, The Gilmore Girls was that televised refuge.

I will miss this show, the story lines, the characters and the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut like I miss a friend who has moved cross-country. Sure, I can still watch the show in reruns, much like I can email or phone that long-distance friend, but it's not the same when you are no longer privy to the day to day news, when you're not there as lives unfold.

There are many reasons that I connected with this show, and it would be way too psychologically revealing to list them all here. I will sum it up with these three reasons:
1. Rory Gilmore and I have the same birthday which is October 8.
2. We both hate raisins with a passion, not even wanting to eat food that you have to pick the raisins out of, such as an otherwise yummy muffin, because said food has been tainted by raisin-ness.
3. We both had high school best friends who are Korean.

I know, the similarities give me chills too! It's like Amy Sherman-Palladino (the creator of The Gilmore Girls) heard about me!

I recorded the series finale of The Gilmore Girls to watch later, so that I could go out with some friends tonight. (See, I'm not a total TV-obsessed loser.) One of the friends has a sister who loves The Gilmore Girls even more than I do. The sister stayed home to watch the series finale as it was broadcast. This caused another friend who was seated next to me to roll her eyes and express dislike of the show. Gasp! Tread lightly on the subject of The Gilmore Girls, my friends, for this show will always have a soft spot in my heart.

I have to go find more kleenex now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Homicidal Fairy Princess

My fellow Murder Mystery Players and I debuted a new show last night in honor of Mother's Day entitled "Death Plays the Market, the Mother of all Crashes." The show is set on October 29, 1929, the day of the great stock market crash.

From left to right:
Jeff Johannigman as Anthony Discenzo - mobster out for the accountant's blood
Me as Victoria Van de Voort - rich witch before the market crash, now just a poor witch
Phil Klickman as Vincent Van de Voort - Victoria's previously rich husband, now poor and charmless
Tracy Cathey as Shirley Hemlock Holmes - the show's detective and a mystery writer
Gary Dean Hamilton as Alouiscious Snee - embezzling accountant who gets shot when news of the market crash hits
Anna Maria Garcia as Mitzi O'Malley - rhymes with ditsy, Vincent's secretary / mistress

I loved my costume which weighed about five pounds with all of the intricate beading. Tracy was kind enough to loan me her grandmother's vintage dress and jacket, a tiara, a fan with which to whack people on the noggin or knuckles, a beaded handbag in which to carry the fake gun / murder weapon and some costume jewelry. She even did my hair up for me, with about a pound of bobbie pins and hairspray. She's so nice! Oh, and yeah, my character, Victoria Van de Voort, was the killer. I felt like a very fussy, homicidal fairy princess.

The audience was very receptive and laughed at our jokes. They all had fun trying to figure out whodunnit. Some of the family groups in the audience seemed happy to have the distraction of the dinner show versus the alternative of awkward / tense dinner conversation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Goin' Forth and Bein' Fruitful

No, not me & Chad. I'm NOT pregnant, I repeat NOT pregnant. This past weekend Chad and I traveled to the Atlanta area to visit his family which is now a little larger. Welcome Everett! Baby Everett doesn't do many tricks yet, but his big brother, Foster, knows lots of cool stuff like walking, talking and even cleaning up his toys. Everyone in the room has to clap when Foster puts away a toy. Foster watches and knows if you don't clap. He stares impishly and expectantly until you make with that clapping.

The newest addition brings the count to four nephews and one niece. Hmmm... I wonder which one I can interest in Hello Kitty and all things Sanrio?