Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grow Up to Be Food!

The weekend before last, Chad and I were walking past the lovely gardens at East Side Cafe and saw that they used Hastings galvanized metal feed troughs as planters. So out to a feed supply store we went to find some of our own.

I took my sweet time finding enough egg-sized rocks for the bottom of the troughs and raking up dead leaves to layer between the rocks and soil. I'm no master gardener, but I've read stuff about the importance of good drainage and compost. Then I got baby herb and veggie plants along with nineteen bags of good soil from my favorite nursery.

This Saturday I finally completed the plantings: red grape tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, yellow squash, mint, basil, lavender, thyme (three kinds - we use a lot of thyme), lemon verbena, dill and cilantro. Fingers crossed that we'll get some actual veggies and useful herbs.

Oh, and we have grass this spring. Pretty. The yard seems to dig the perennial rye grass seed from last fall. The grass feels nice on bare feet.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ennui... le sigh...

I had a dinner mystery show out in Killeen on Saturday night. Killeen is home to a nice, new civic center. The audience laughed in all the right places and participated when prompted. They clapped at the end. Our director said it was a particularly great show.

I was a featured extra in a music video shoot on Sunday for a local up and coming musician. The video was shot at the new, very nice Concordia University campus. The shoot was very well organized and efficient, even wrapping early for the day.

Despite these positive experiences, and a long to-do list, I am bored and feeling just kind of blah. I am questioning why I feel so lackluster of late. Maybe I need a vacation. Maybe I need to start a new sewing project or home improvement project. Meh... That stuff takes motivation and my needle is leaning towards empty just now.

Here's a list of ten activities I like. Maybe one of these will strike my fancy this week and snap me out of this funk.

1. Kayaking on Ladybird Lake, formerly known as Town Lake.
2. Seeing movies.
3. Having a leisurely meal at Austin Java Company which features lots of veg options in a super-laid-back atmosphere.
4. Planting flowers, herbs and/or veggies. Chad & I even tracked down some unconventional planters this weekend that are now sitting empty in the backyard.
5. Um... sewing. I have two patterns I've been meaning to try.
6. Reading. I'm in the middle of a book now that is supposed to be funny, but that is actually kind of stressful and hitting too close to home. Maybe I should stick that book in the freezer and start one that will be more fun, and less, you know, critically acclaimed.
7. Going out with friends. Anywhere.
8. Riding my bike.
9. Um...

Okay, a list of eight activities I like. Now I just need to get motivated. Woooohooo... Wait, no, sorry, that sounded really insincere. Let me try again. WOOOOhooo... Nope. Still not there. Whatever...

Monday, March 16, 2009

What I Learned in Class Yesterday

Yesterday I took a workshop here in Austin for acting. I won't mention the class name, the instructor's name or any class member's name. Overall, the experience left me feeling bad. You've likely heard the old adage: No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission. Well, one particular class member left me feeling bad about him, not just about myself. The overall experience left me feeling bad about acting as a hobby or profession.

Here are the top things I learned:
1. According to our instructor, no one can make a living from acting work in Austin.
2. Our instructor is now single, twice divorced and bitter about his divorces and his ex-wives.
3. As actors, we should just be ourselves when introducing ourselves to the camera, known as slating, but a more energetic, happier, confident version of ourselves... wait, not that energetic.
4. One of my classmates takes Viagra. He's also divorced after forty years of marriage. He has a habit of dating young, gorgeous and very expensive women. He's remarried now to his high-school sweetheart, but the fantasy does not live up to the reality. His new wife supports his acting hobby. He sometimes stays out until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and tells his wife it's for acting, when by his own admission, he could really be up to anything. (This declaration was accompanied by a smirk.)
5. According to my instructor, I look older than my headshot photos, which were taken ten months ago.

My personal observations from the class were:
1. No one looks good under fluorescent lights on low-quality video tape.
2. Low-end, consumer-grade video cameras really do add ten pounds, especially when one is filmed at an up angle, thus I should probably lose another fifteen pounds if I want to continue on in this particular low-end, consumer-grade medium.
3. My hair looks better curled or with its natural waves on camera, versus the blown-out straight look.
4. When the camera operator implores me to talk faster, louder, and not break eye-contact with said camera operator while simultaneously telling me to be myself, I start to look a bit nervous.
5. I do some good "crazy eyes".
6. Apparently, men (especially older men who take Viagra, bear a striking resemblance to Droopy Dog and have a habit of dating young, gorgeous, expensive women) don't like for women to talk. At all.

I came home and took a long shower to try and wash that day off of my skin and out of my hair. I still feel a bit queasy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Dad, the Master Squirrel Catcher

Today is my dad's birthday. I wish he was still alive so I could call him and wish him a happy birthday. I miss him.

My dad had a silly sense of humor, cracking corny jokes often, but he was funniest when he wasn't trying to be. Like the time a noisy critter moved into the air ducts of our house. Dad heard this critter rattling around for a few days. He couldn't get a visual confirmation of exactly where, or what type of wee-beastie, the critter might be. After several trips through the attic armed with a flashlight, my dad managed to scare the critter into eventually emerging from an air vent into our fancy, formal dining room. The critter was a flying squirrel.

Since flying squirrels are nocturnal, this critter decided to emerge into our dining room after dark. Since it was after dark, my dad was already wearing his jammies, which consisted of tighty-whities and white athletic socks. The flying squirrel was in a panic when my dad rounded the corner to see the critter gliding to a stop on the dining room chandelier. My dad, in full Quixotic glory, called for me to bring him a butterfly net and a box. My younger sister and I stood with mouths agape as Dad chased the squirrel around the dining room and into the living room, back and forth several times, finally cornering the beastie with the butterfly net and wrangling him into the box. Dad, weighing around 195 pounds, and standing tall at 6 feet and 1 inch, conquered his tiny, nimble opponent. What a sight that was! A sight that our neighbors were welcome to watch since the dining room and living room featured large sliding-glass-doors. (Our proper-Southern mom constantly fussed at Dad, my sister and I to close the curtains at night, but we rarely heeded these particular instructions.)

After a brief celebration and congratulations to our dad for apprehending the furry interloper, my sister and I wondered what fate lay ahead for the critter. After some lengthy, tear-filled negotiations, my dad promised my sister and me that he would drive the squirrel to a wooded-area about a mile from our house and release him or her back into the wilds.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thanks for the memories, and for accommodating the wishes of two tender-hearted little girls in your battle to keep the house varmint-free.