Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mystery Comments

I was looking over old blog posts last night and saw some new comments I feel that I should address.

Ryan - I found Java furniture at Skandinavia Furniture ( and Nest (

Melissa - Sorry if I offended you or other Starbucks employees/fans. I think that Starbucks is a great company with good practices regarding sustainable farming and generous employee benefits. My sister worked at a Starbucks for a while, and only had nice things to say about the company. I was writing in hyperbole when I joked that Starbucks doesn't want people to know about the "short" size. Next time I'll put a wink emoticon so you get that I'm just being silly.

Mick - Thanks for the heads-up about Wildflours Bakery ( It's nice to find businesses that have a charitable aspect to them.

Janie, Our Sweet Dog

We're in love. Her name is Janie. She's slobbery, licky, sweet, funny and eager to please. As previously mentioned, Janie came from the awesome people at Blue Dog Rescue. Who knew that we'd fall in love with this forty-pound, Lab-Terrier-mystery-mix back when we were cruising the Wee Rescue (also a great group) website for a small dog? Our friend, Emily, got a Blue Dog Rescue friend and raved so much about Blue Dog that we decided to give them a try.

Janie nursed her three puppies in foster care, and was just the best little unwed, teen mother ever. Her puppies all got adopted, but she was still hanging out waiting for us to find her. Janie had hip surgery and eye surgery a few weeks ago to correct some mystery injuries. She's recovering nicely, though she still hops on three legs when she's in a hurry and her eye looks a little teary at the end of the day.

Janie goes to work with Chad. She made friends with another dog at work. Janie and Lupita love to wrestle and slobber on each other. They're BFF. I think I need to get Janie a collar to match Lupita's collar, kind of like the necklaces that say "Be fri" on one half and "st end" on the other half, so that you put the halves together to read "best friend".

Janie wants to make friends with our three kitties. Feline relations have been polite, if a little tentative. They're all much more comfortable if I'm in the room petting them or brushing them all at once. They'll sniff each other politely, but no cuddling or playing together just yet. Janie is a tiny bit scared of the kitties, whimpering a little on the few occasions that a kitty has hissed at her. Given her size-advantage, that's probably good.

Janie loves to chew on things, so we make sure to keep lots of Kong toys and Nylabones around, so that shoes don't look enticing. (Janie, I love you, but stay away from my shoes, please!) Janie loves to give people kisses on the chin or bare toes. She wants people to sit on the floor with her and pet her and rub her tummy. She loves, loves, loves going to Redbud Island dog park to play. She gets along great with other dogs. She gets in the water up to her chest, but hasn't done much swimming yet. She has webbed toes like her Labrador Retriever relatives, so she'd be a great swimmer if she wanted.

Janie knows her name and always comes when called. She is great at "sit" and we're working on "stay". She also knows "shake" but has a hard time balancing right now after her hip surgery. She walks very well on a leash without pulling or straining.

Yep, we won the awesome-dog lottery. More photos and anecdotes will follow, I'm sure.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Movies I Watch Repeatedly

Recent health issues have seen me spending more time on the couch than usual this month. I've been reading through back issues of Esquire, GQ, Wired and Texas Monthly. The September 2007 issue of GQ featured an interesting article on Barack Obama, and an unrelated quote from Chris Matthews stating that Rudy Giuliani would nab the Republican nomination--haha, he was wrong.

In addition to reading outdated publications, I've been watching movies. When I'm ill, watching familiar movies can be like a visit from an old, close friend. You know pretty much how it will go, with comfort in the familiarity, but you also are reminded of the qualities you like, and once in a while you discover some new detail. Here is my list of movies that I can watch again and again.

Enchanted April
Bridget Jones' Diary
Match Point
The Devil Wears Prada
My Neighbor Totoro
Howl's Moving Castle
Spirited Away
Roman Holiday
To Catch a Thief
Bell, Book and Candle
Mystic Pizza
Groundhog Day
Cinema Paradiso (only in original Italian language with subtitles, the dubbed version is bad)

What are the movies you watch again & again? Maybe you'll find (like I did) that some of your favorite movies are not necessarily the same movies that you watch repeatedly.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I swear that I am eating. I am even eating cookies and chocolate on a daily basis. I lost another two pounds, which brings the total up to twenty-six pounds lost since March 2007. Just eight more pounds to lose! I'm so glad for the healthier lifestyle now, but all this weight loss makes getting dressed a chore. I went through four wardrobe changes this evening before heading out to see Skyrocket at Antone's. The first top I tried was too big, and it makes me a little sad. It was a Marc Jacobs wrap-shirt (see photo) scored from the clearance section just six months ago, now a little too big on me. The second wardrobe reject of the night was a pair of jeans purchased six weeks ago. They were tight when I bought them, but Chad says they're too big now. I would just return them, but I washed them and hemmed them. Sigh...

I donated four large shopping bags full of clothes to a charity just two months ago. Now it's time for another closet overhaul. When I hit my goal weight, I'm going to Hem to treat myself to two pair of designer jeans. The good news is that I saved most of my good skinny clothes from college that I liked, and they fit again!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stylish Friends!

Mention of two friends caught my eye today as I perused the Style column of the Austin American-Statesman online. I'm proud to have such note-worthy friends who garner nice mentions in the newspaper. Yay for Maggie S. & John L.!

Click *here* for the full article.

Photo credit: Laura Skelding for the Austin American-Statesman

Friday, February 08, 2008

Janie Came A-Callin'

Monday evening our probably-dog, Janie, came for a home visit. Janie has been upgraded from maybe-dog status to probably-dog status as an outcome of this positive visit. Janie frolicked in our big backyard and made herself right at home by taking care of a little business back there. Then she came inside to demonstrate her superior doggy knowledge of the requests to sit, shake, high-five and down. She also showed us her belly for some rubs.

Janie politely sniffed each of the cats. Sonic and Marigold were so at ease with Janie that they took catnaps while she was here. Kenji, ever our nine-pound scrappy, bossy, queen-bee, bravely marched up to Janie and hissed to let her know who's boss around here. Janie gave a tiny whimper and ceded some space to the K-monster.

Janie has her hip surgery today. Send her happy thoughts as she recovers with her awesome foster-mom from Blue Dog Rescue. If all goes well, we could have Janie in our home in two to three weeks!

Political opinions fell by the wayside as I read this sad but sweet-ending story today about two dogs who came all the way from Iraq to find a home in the U.S.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Five Things

I enjoy reading the Design Notebook blog by Austin American-Statesman design columnist, Melanie Spencer. Her Monday Mood Lifter this week was a list of five things she loves about her home. She asked readers to share their own list of five things. So here is my list of five things I love about our current home and my list of five things I want to love at our next home.

Current home:

1. I love the layout of our house. The sleeping rooms are at one end of the house and the social rooms are at the other end. The house has a great flow.

2. I love our original hardwood floors. The floors are a gorgeous dark-honey color and no one will ever mistake them for veneer or laminate. We have a few area rugs, but I don't ever want a home with carpet again if possible.

3. I love that we have customized our home with paint colors we chose. No shiny white walls here. No concern about getting a deposit back. No reverence paid to resale value.

4. I love the deck. The weather here is nice most of the year, so I love having more area to entertain or lounge.

5. I love our driveway. The interlocking paver stone driveway has a quiet elegance to it. It makes the whole curb-appeal greater. The paver stones can shift without exposing unsightly cracks the way that concrete does. Our driveway is just wide enough for Chad and I to get our cars past each other, which means we don't have to move each other's cars to get in or out of the driveway.

Next home:

1. A fireplace -- Chad and I both miss the fireplace we had at our posh condo for the year that we lived there. On cold nights, we would make a fire and warm ourselves in its glow. We didn't like to leave the warm living room to trudge up the stairs to our not-as-warm bedroom.

2. Not located on a major road -- during our married life, Chad and I have always lived on major, high-traffic roads. Now we live at the corner of a major thoroughfare. Next house/condo must be tucked away on a quiet, lazy, low-traffic street.

3. At least two bathrooms -- we only have one bathroom now. It's not a hardship, but I really liked the two-and-a-half bathroom situation at our aforementioned posh condo. I had my own full bathroom in the hallway. I gave Chad the master bathroom. Guests had the half-bathroom down on the main floor/living level.

4. Lots of mature trees -- We have two good shade trees right now. We've planted three teenage trees and one baby tree. For me, nothing says "established home" like an abundance of mature shade trees.

5. Indoor laundry room -- The posh condo had an indoor laundry room just off the kitchen with a door you could close to hide the drying rack full of unmentionables. Our current house has a laundry closet at the end of the carport outside. The doors are big shed doors that in let in dirt, leaves, bugs, slugs, toads and other junk you don't associate with clean laundry. I want to be able to do the laundry in my jammies in our next home, and not have to constantly wipe dirt and grime off of our expensive high-efficiency washer and dryer.

You may wonder why we didn't buy the aforementioned posh condo when we had the chance. We agonized and flip-flopped over that decision for two months. The condo was offered at a great price. We loved the interior of the condo. We liked the wooded setting of the hillside on the west side of our building. The condo had a two-car garage with plenty of storage and big closets. However, the homeowner's association was in major turmoil with allegations of embezzlement by the property management company. The location was just outside of central Austin, on a road with notoriously bad traffic and dangerous curves and hills. The AC system needed to be completely replaced. Both garage doors and both garage door openers needed to be replaced. Ultimately, we decided we didn't want to jump into the homeowner's association fray and the location wasn't right for us. Our 1952 house in a more central location is the perfect starter home for us. We look forward to at least five more years here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Like Summer Camp

I've finished my performances for another year of the Fronterafest theater festival. I am all at once tired, relieved, sad and wistful. The bonds forged during a Fronterafest theatrical production are like the bonds I formed at summer camp as a kid: emotional, fun, slightly sleep-deprived and most sweetly fleeting.

I am bone-tired and yet can't sleep. I am already thinking of the piece I want to write for next year's short-fringe (shows 25 minutes or less in length) and hoping that Max (my writer-director friend who has graciously cast me in five of his Fronterafest pieces) will cast me in his show next year.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I Can Go Too?

Chad has been traveling the past two weeks. I miss him when he's gone. Marigold tries to stowaway in his suitcase. I don't think she would enjoy riding in the luggage compartment.

Fortunately, Chad will stay in Austin for the next few weeks.