Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do you hear the people sing?

"Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!"

Do you Hear the People Sing- Les Miserables

I am not a political person. You can ask anyone I know, and they would quickly tell you this is the truth. I never participate in political debate and rarely will even stand in on a conversation of anything vaguely political. It is just the way I am.

It is not that I have no opinions, far from it. I have enough opinions to drown in. I was always that child in school who would ask questions that would make my teachers vaguely uncomfortable. I saw things in a way that most people didn't and always had trouble with people who couldn't see other peoples opinions as valid.

Mostly I hate that most of the time I feel like people are trying to force their beliefs on me. It just doesn't sit well with me on any front. I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe and that is fine. Educated discussions are one thing. Mostly though political debates end with someones feelings hurt because the other party won't bend to new view points. 

Still I have opinions and thoughts, and it is not impossible to get me involved.

For those of you who are not a Texas resident, and somehow missed the social media explosion yesterday, let me tell you a little about what occurred in the Texas State Senate yesterday.

Yesterday was the last day of the special session of the Senate. On the table to be voted on was Senate Bill 5 which was a bill focusing on abortion issues. It was a fairly pro life bill that while it was being showcased to may as a bill improving abortion conditions was really cutting and restricting legal abortions to the point that it would make abortion options almost null. It would cut the number of clinics in the state from 42 to 5.

Texas is a very large state. Even if the clinics were evenly placed within the state you could be looking easily at a 7 hour drive one way to get to a clinic. I mean really how stupid is that? Talk about cutting out a woman's options.

This was a strongly Republican supported bill, and the Texas Senate is majority Republican. The bill was going to pass. In order to try and kill the bill Democratic Senator Wendy Davis (Ft. Worth) was attempting to fillibuster the bill to death. In order to accomplish her goal she was going to have to talk for 13 hours straight. By far not the longest fillibuster in history (that I believe was 42 hours long), but staying on topic and standing unassisted with no food, drink, or bathroom breaks for 13 hours is a fairly herculean feat.

Senator Davis made it just over 11 hours before the Senate flagged her with her 3rd infraction attempting to bring her fillibuster to an end. There was still at this point an hour and a half until the midnight cut off. It takes only about two minutes to take a vote. The Democrats scrambled to stall.

This was all being covered live and being broadcast across the web. There were over 180,000 people watching the live feed on YouTube. Austin and the capitol building were full of people protesting the bill and showing their support for a woman's right to choose.

The crazy thing was, I was watching too. Yes me, miss non political, was glued to the live feed coverage of the Texas Senate. I had live blogs going in one screen, I was following several friends on Twitter and Facebook, and I was even making my own posts about what was going on. Granted a number of my posts were asking for my more politically minded friends to explain to me what I was watching, but still I was involved.

Me. Involved in something decidedly political. Crazy.

Why you might ask? Why was this so important to me so suddenly? Well because it is.

Here is the thing, and I am paraphrasing a very wise friend of mine, I am not saying I am pro-life, I am not saying I am pro-choice, I am saying I am pro-woman. This is a bill infringing on my rights as a woman. This is a bill that could potentially effect what I am legally allowed to do with my own body and reproductive processes. Whether I would or wouldn't have an abortion for any reason is not important, what is important is I legally be allowed to choose and not have my options restricted.

No this bill was not outlawing abortion. This bill was in theory designed to make things safer. What this bill did do was limit my options. What this bill was was a way to eat the elephant that is abortion rights.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
How do you take away peoples rights? One limitation at a time. You whittle it away bit by bit until there is nothing left.

People just let it happen. Not just on women's rights, but on all of our rights.  You think it is just one little thing, or it is something that doesn't directly effect you, and then suddenly it is all the things and totally all about you. Then it is too late.

Years ago, when my mother was a teenager and in her early 20's, people got all up in the governments face about everything. My mother's valedictorian had the mic cut off during his graduation speech for saying political things. Her high school was actually stoned (as in people throwing rocks at them) over race issues. People sat in protest and stuck flowers in soldiers gun barrels.

Now you get some angry people sitting in front of financial institutions and state capitols and they are called bums and unruly mobs. I have to imagine that 40 or 50 years ago that they were saying anything positive about protestors either. Government is never fond of subversives.

What we do have now though, that my  mothers generation lacked, is the internet. We have social media. We can watch law being made in real time, and we can show our outrage from our living rooms as easily as we can from the state capitol. We can have literally have the voices of a world cry out in outrage as an injustice is being carried out.

And that is exactly what happened last night. I think I read somewhere that there was something ridiculous like 6000 Tweets a minute on the subject. That was just Twitter. There was Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and a slew of other social media sites lit up with people in support of Senator Davis' efforts.

It wasn't just on the internet though. There were still thousands of people at the capitol all day long watching the proceedings. People stood in protest of SB5 and sat in the gallery listening as every argument and appeal was lodged. They were there and they were not going to simply sit by and watch as their rights were taken away.

As time began to grow short Lt Governor David Dewhurst, presiding as President over the Senate session, began to show his frustration and perhaps even a little desperation as the clock began to quickly wind down. The Democrats had managed to eat up most of the remaining two hours but there were still almost 15 minutes left. A Democratic Senator from Bexar county, Leticia Van de Putte, attempted to move to adjourn the session but Dewhurst conveniently didn't here her and called for a vote on an appeal over the last infraction Senator Davis had committed.

Senator Van de Putte attempted repeatedly to question Dewhurst on why he had ignored her asking
 "Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?" but he just kept brushing her off.
Finally she asked him in obvious frustration "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”.

That is right she called him out for being sexist on the Senate floor, and the gallery went wild.

The live feed was almost deafening as the people in attendance began to clap and cheer. Only they didn't stop. At all. They just kept cheering and screaming and chanting from their seats. The noise was so great that despite Dewhurst's best efforts to silence them he could not be heard.

At one point after the crowd had been carrying on for about five minutes he called for attention, but no one would listen to him. No Mr. President you may not have our attention. We will have yours. With their applause and cheers they were saying that they would not stand by silently and watch this bill be bullied through. If the Senate would not allow Senator Davis fillibuster the bill to death, the people would do it for her. 

It was a moment that made me suddenly fiercely proud to be both a Texan and American. For a moment our voices were all raised, both in the gallery and through the internet, and no one could miss that we would not stand an injustice to fall. We are the people. We will be heard.

The clock ticked down, and despite his best efforts to sneak the vote in anyways, the session closed on the bill not being passed. With our voices raised as one, we had won the battle.

Sure it was a rough ending. The Lt. Governor tried to say a vote had gone through before the midnight deadline. There are allegations that he even attempted to alter the time stamp on the vote to make it read before 12pm, though I can't confirm any of that. When it looked like they were going to cheat and get the bill through anyways the crowd was enraged.

The capitol was full of angry citizens who filled the rotunda and sat in protest. State Troopers were dispatched to deal with the crowd, but voices still rang out across the world. There was not going to be any silencing anyone now. We were going to scream until things were made right.

It took several hours but in the end Dewhurst had to admit that the bill had died. He had to admit that the vote was invalid. At close to 3am, after several hours in a closed door caucus, the session was adjourned. Texas awoke this morning with the rights of its women still intact.

Certainly this is not the end of SB5. Governor Perry can, and probably will, call another special session of Senate to try and push the bill through again. He can do that as many times as he needs to either push the bill through or to finally hear the unending voices that cry foul.

It was in that moment last night, as I sat on my couch watching the screen of my laptop, that I realized something. I realized that the world was changing. I realized that maybe in this moment we had seen a power in ourselves that we have been denying. Perhaps we were waking up to see that the elephant is almost devoured and we have to use our voices to stop it.

I know that SB5 is not the biggest scariest most threatening legislation out there. It is one restrictive bill in one state. It is just one small bite. It is not something as monumental as DOMA being overturned (which thankfully that was overturned), but we have to remember every little bite, is one bite too many.

If we do not stand up against the small things, how can we ever stand against the big things. Right now we are the ants and they are the grasshoppers.

Do you hear the people singing Lt Governor? Do you hear them politicians everywhere? You really should.

Monday, June 24, 2013


This past Sunday we took advantage of a rare free afternoon, and the husbeast and I went to see a movie. Sunday afternoon movies are the best. The general fact that we can typically make a matinee and pay less makes them even better. There is just something nice about getting lost in a movie for a few hours on a lazy Sunday that is just so appealing.

We decided, or rather I decided, that we should go see the new Superman reboot, Man of Steel. I have been interested in seeing this since they announced it whereas the husbeast would have been content to see it when it just happened to come on TV one afternoon when there wasn't anything better to watch. In fact I think he might have opted for a rerun of Pawn Stars or Duck Dynasty to watching this movie.

It wasn't so much that he was opposed to a reboot of Superman, he just wasn't interested in the least. This wasn't the reasoning I had been expecting from him as he followed me reluctantly into the theater. I was expecting him to be on the side of the argument that a reboot was a bad thing. He is a huge fan of the original movies with Christopher Reeves so it wouldn't be far fetched for him not to support a new Superman.

After a bit of prodding I got from him that really it was the idea of reboots in general that he was no longer interested in. You hear all the time that Hollywood has run out of ideas, and looking around I can't argue with that. How many reboots have we seen in the last decade? We have had two Spiderman franchises, multiple Batman franchises, people who will argue that X-Men has gone into a second franchise even as the people behind it are struggling to merge the two. There are more Punisher and Hulks than most people can count. They have even remade pretty much every horror movie there is from the lowly Prom Night and Last House on the Left all the way up to Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Everything is a reimagining of something that we have already seen.

I know there are many people out there who are very much against this trend. People who are rabid fans of the original see no need for it to be remade. They love what they have already and see it as perfection. Remaking it is insulting to a die hard fan of the original. It is a sentiment that I can completely understand.

On the other hand I can see use in rebooting certain franchises. I think making the stories and characters more accessible to new generations is a fantastic idea. The stories are really timeless, but time doesn't stop. Updating and modernizing something so that it speaks to new audiences is a good thing. I mean they have been doing it with Shakespear for almost 500 years, and it is part of the reason it is still so well known and loved.

Sure the original will always be wonderful, and it would be great if everyone could go back and watch it and love it, but you know sometimes that isn't possible. Sometimes the original was wonderful for its time, but now it comes across as so dated and cheesy that it is hard to appreciate and take seriously.

Take Star Trek for example. I am a fan. I have always been a fan. I cut my teeth in Sci Fi on Star Trek: TNG. I actually own all of TNG. I have seen all of Deep Space 9. I watched Voyager on and off. I even watched Enterprise and found redeeming qualities in the show. That being said I have never watched the original series.

I know that should get my geek card revoked or something, but it is the truth. I just can't handle the level of cheese that is the original series. I know for its time it was so amazing. I know that it was incredibly forward thinking. I know all the wonderful things about it. None of that makes me able to watch it and take it seriously.

Star Trek has become one of those things that is just for the fans. It is a thing that just the geeks love. It grew into this thing that a lot of newer generations weren't willing to try out because it carries a little social stigma with it. There was nothing new and cool about it for a lot of people.

Then J.J. Abrams got his hands on it and made it all shiny and new. Very shiny in fact. Throw in some hot young stars and a reboot that honors the existence of original cannon but allows for a completely new story and adventure to emerge, and you have created a new generation of Star Trek fans. You have extended the life of the fandom and that is a good thing.

Of course not all reboots can recapture the magic of the original. Some stories can't be modernized or fail miserably in their attempts. Some reboots don't honor where they are coming from and simply turn it into a mockery of the cheese that wasn't meant to be cheesy to begin with. This is all too often seen when they turn old TV series into movies. I think though that is a post all to itself.

It is exhausting though. With all the remakes, reboots, and reboots of reboots going on I can see how someone could no longer be able to get excited over a story that once would have thrilled them. There comes a time when you have to just stop and say "What? Again?".

As it was we were left with a feeling of indifference from Man of Steel. It was not the catastrophe that many have made it out to be, but it wasn't the amazing revitalization that was hoped for. I had points of character development and plot that I could not reconcile as a Superman fan. I had points that I could not accept from a movie in general. I had things about it though that I adored. It ended up a draw for me.

So was this worth the reboot? Was this something that furthered the fandom and the franchise and enhanced the entertainment of the world? I can't decide. It certainly was no Star Trek, but I can't say it was another Punisher fiasco either.

Of course that is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those.   

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I have hit this spot in my life where things are about to be thrown into the chaos of change. Some of these changes are of my own choosing and some of these changes have come out of left field and smacked me right upside the head. No matter why they are happening though, they are happening and I am along for the ride.

The frustrating part is I can't actually say for certain that things are going to change. It is more this huge threat of change hanging over my head. I have been told these changes will be happening but it is all really vague. I mean there are no guarantees that the changes will actually happen or not.

I know I am being incredibly vague right now. I am sorry but I can't help it. No really I am legally obligated not to talk about it. Turns out work doesn't like their employees talking about stuff that goes down in the office, especially if it comes across in a negative tone. I am not saying I would talk about work in a negative tone, but that is probably again only because it is a matter of legality.

Some of the changes are personal growth things, but I don't actually want to talk about them. I am one of those people who never wants to talk too much about the things I am trying to do just in case they don't happen. I don't want people to get all worked up over my projects only to have them fall through.

Still I am very excited and nervous about all the things going on. It doesn't really help that everything seems to be happening all at once. It would have been nice if they could have staggered themselves out a bit more. Of course then I imagine it would be exhausting to just finish going through one huge change only to have to tackle another huge change. I guess it is better to get everything done at once.

I just need to get myself into the head-space where I am happy about change. I know that change is inevitable. I know that everything does change, and it is necessary for it to do so. Without change there is stagnation. Nothing good comes from stagnation; mosquitoes, smelly water, rot and decay, boredom.  All unpleasant things.

I need to remind  myself that all things happen for a reason. The upheaval at work (not that I am saying there was an upheaval at work), the things in my personal life, hell even things at faire, they are all happening for a reason and so that I can move onto to new things.

Knowing all of this doesn't make change any less scary. I like my routine and my security in the normalcy of my life. I like being comfortable and knowing what will happen next. I don't typically mind spoilers. I am just that sort of girl.

I am also the sort of girl who likes a good adventure and hates getting bored. I would rather be moving forward than not moving at all. I don't ever want to get stuck in the mire of life. Always forward never back and certainly never still for too long.

I suppose this is all the universes way of saying that I have been at this platform long enough. I suppose it is time to move on to the next adventure. I may be dragging my feet a little, and be unsure of what is ahead, but I promise you I am definitely going along for this ride.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Unappreciated behavior

Gentlemen of the world I have a request of you:

If you are ever faced with a woman asking a question about a vehicle or a piece of electronics please do not assume she is some sort of stereotypical clueless female. Just because people like to joke about women knowing nothing about cars or computers does not mean that is actually a universal truth.

We are not all hysterical delicate incompetent creatures that need you to talk slowly to us, pat us on the head, and tell us not to worry about it. When we come to you with a question, a concern, or to just flat out tell you there is a problem you should actually pay attention to the thins we say and attempt to solve the problem stated.

I am not very knowledgeable about cars. I know some rather basic things but am known to use technical terms like 'thingy', 'whosit', 'whatsit', and 'doodad' when referring to car maintenance for the most part. I do rely on the husbeast to handle most things that go beyond getting an oil change, the brakes checked because they are squeaky, and having a flat tire replaced.

That being said I can tell when there is an actual problem and can typically articulate it enough that you should be able to look into the issue. So when I say to you that any time the outside temperature drops below 60 degrees that my front passenger side tire loses enough air pressure to set my cars sensors off and that the tire does not regain the pressure when it gets warmer, and this has been the case with three different tires in that spot, I expect you to actually take that concern and look into it.

I realize that today the problem was indeed a drill bit in my tire causing an incredibly slow leak, but that does not invalidate the other issue I have had with this particular wheel. I asked you to look into that problem as well as the fact that my tire was flat. The phrase "I am sure it is nothing, you shouldn't worry about it.' in no way endeared you to me.

Also while I am not a technical genius, I know more about computers than your average Joe. I can get through a lot of things that most people couldn't do. I take a certain amount of pride in being able to function on the above average scale here.

I am more than smart enough to know I will have to remove my phone from the case before I can take a picture of the broken case with my phones camera. This is not something you need to explain to me in detail. Twice. A simple 'There are instructions on the Otterbox website about how to enact the warranty' actually would have been sufficient. You do not need to ask me if I know how to find their website either.

Also I do not need you to explain to me what a lifetime warranty is.  I am not an idiot and like to think I don't come across as one.

I am amazed I have kept my composure all day and not slapped someone verbally (or physically) for their belittling misogynistic patronizing behavior towards me. They are just damn lucky I am a lady.

Friday, June 14, 2013

First kiss

Fireworks. Clouds parting and angels singing. Everything else in the world disappearing. Absolute euphoria. Breath taking. Electrical. Pure magic.

These are all terms that we imagine when we think of that perfect first kiss. Movies and literature have got it worked into our brains that when we get that true loves first kiss that it should be this cinematic magical moment that ingrains itself into our minds forever.

Unfortunately those cinematic moments are more the exception than the rule. I have to say my list of first kisses leans more toward the awkward and uncomfortable than the amazingly magical. In fact my very first kiss ever was a nearly traumatic experience.

I was caught completely off guard. We were sitting in the car talking awkwardly when my date just sort of grabbed me and kissed me. It wasn't like the kiss was unwanted or anything. I wanted to kiss the guy. I really wanted to kiss the guy, I just hadn't realized that was where the kiss was going to happen. So I was more startled by the sudden kiss than anything else. Also he was a very bad kisser.  He was incredibly rough and forceful and clumsy, not at all an appealing kiss combination.

I had one first kiss where I was drunk and in my memory it was like I was being mauled by a Saint Bernard. He was all beard and slobber and fumbling. I mean being drunk didn't help I am sure, but I kissed him later while sober and it was just as bad if not worse. When I was sober I didn't have the warm alcohol feeling to wash away my distaste.

Then there was my favorite bad first kiss story with the 'desperate friend'. This guy wanted to date me so badly. I mean he really was just crazy about me. Our mutual friends had to convince me to give him a shot because he was so hung up on me and I just had no interest in him. I gave it a shot and wow did I regret that.

The entire date was awful. It was epically awful. He was running late because of work but called me every 15 minutes to give me updates and had his roommates call me when he couldn't, and he had to beg the restaurant to seat us when they were closing in 5 minutes, and well desperation just isn't attractive.

The date ended with us on his couch watching a movie. He tried a very awkward line to get a kiss (something like after seeing the two main characters kiss saying "That looks like a good idea." only he posed it more as a timid awkward question than a smooth line), and I, trying to be a good sport let him kiss me. It was like what I imagine kissing a sweaty dead fish would be like. He was cold, clammy, sweating, and he just pushed his very thin stiff lips to mine as hard as he could for about 30 seconds before pulling away.

Yea, there was no second date.

Of course sometimes the kisses are worthy of the movies. I have been lucky enough to have two in my memory bank. Yes one of them is the husbeast, who does win best all time first kiss in the history of ever.

The runner up was a guy in college who had the bluest eyes and the deepest voice I have ever heard. Seriously between looking into those eyes that could hypnotize you and listening to that voice that was just enthralling, yea I didn't stand a chance.

We had been at a party one night and I was being sober friend for one of my guy friends who was once sober friend to me. I was in charge of making sure he did nothing stupid and got home safely. Always have a sober friend people.

When it reached the time that he was needing to go home I realized a flaw in my plan. The friends I arrived with, who had driven, had already left. I had no way of getting him home as drunk as he was. Sure we were close enough to walk to our respective dorms, but he was too drunk for that, and I was a girl and didn't walk across our dark pine forest campus alone at night.

The guy with the eyes and the voice came to my rescue and offered us a ride. We took my friend home first and he made sure he made it to his dorm room safely. Then he drove me across campus to my dorm. On the way we began to chat and when we reached my dorm we hadn't finished our conversation so he circled the lot a couple of times. Then we began to just drive around town. Eventually we ended up out at the scenic overlook sitting on a picnic table looking out at the millions of stars that hung in the night sky over a beautiful pine forest.

Our conversation went on for well over an hour. We chatted easily about everything from literature, to theater (my major), to opera (his major), to everything in between. The night was that perfect temperature where spring in Texas has not quite given way to the oppressive heat of summer. It was warm but there was a cool breeze which made it very comfortable to be outside.

He had moved down to the bench in front of me and I was rubbing his shoulders as we chatted. I had reached my arm around his chest so I could get a better angle on his shoulder since I was sitting on the table above him. I had done this twice before and this time he was prepared. Since I had to bend my head close to his he simply turned and met me as I moved in.

Unlike my first kiss ever where I was just suddenly and abruptly kissed, this kiss was smooth and fluid. While I was not expecting it he had planned for just the right moment. The angle was ideal. He was able to bring a hand up to my face and very gently move my face into the kiss, and then with his free arms slide me off of the table and into his lap without ever breaking the kiss.

Also he was an amazingly good kisser.

Up to that moment it was the best kiss I had ever had.

Then I kissed the husbeast.

Then I had the last first kiss of my life, and it was all of those things the movies promised me. The world literally faded away and it was only the two of us. The kiss took my breath away leaving me dizzy and giddy. There was an electric rush than crawled across my skin and up my spine. It was a kiss of such epic proportions that I don't see how any first kiss could ever compare.

We were out at a Halloween bonfire at a friends property. We had all been drinking and having a good time and were all laying in a giant pile near the fire being mellow as the evening drew to a close. I was laying in his arms and he leaned in and softly asked me in a gentlemanly fashion if he could kiss me.

I responded in the only logical way I could at the time; I shouted no, jumped up, and ran to hide in the barn. Yes ladies and gentleman I ran away from the cute boy asking to kiss me. I am just good like that.

I had reasons at the time for my actions. Part of it was alcohol, part of it was liking another guy, part of it was that this was someone who lived in the 'strictly friend' category in my mind. None of this made me want to kiss him. Plus I panicked.

One of our mutual friends tried to explain to him about my being into someone else and seemed to convince him that I did not find him repulsive. The same friend then came and talked me into coming out of the barn and rejoining the party.

As I walked sheepishly back down toward the bonfire I could see that he was sitting in a chair on the cement slab at the top of the hill. I walked by and quietly apologized for my weird freakout. He beckoned me closer wanting to apologize for spooking me.

There was only the one chair on the slab and since he wanted to talk to me but not make me stand he pulled me down to sit on his lap. He began talking quietly to me making his apology. I to this day can't tell you what exactly it was he was saying. He was very warm, I was very embarrassed for my behavior, and he was speaking very softly. 

In fact he was almost whispering requiring him to lean in so he could speak almost directly into my ear. He shifted my weight on his lap and moved to whisper into the other ear. He then shifted again switching ears. He continued to do this as he spoke, his voice soft and lulling. Each time he shifted his mouth moved further from my ears and closer to my mouth.

Then we were kissing.

There was nothing else in the world but his kiss. We were alone in the woods on that slab with nothing but each other and that kiss. It was perfect.

So while the movies often set us up for perfection in a world full of fish lipped, Saint Bernard slobbering, awkward forced kisses, there is always hope. Every story is based in reality somehow. I am here to tell you that those movie kisses can happen, and the movies don't really prepare you for how amazing they really are.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Based on a true story

So today I am giving you all a little treat. This is something different for this particular forum. I have probably talked about writing (other than the blog) a couple of times. I like telling stories and always have. The thing about writing is you can get inspiration from the strangest places.

I have been inspired to write from dreams, from conversations, from music, from inanimate objects, or stories people have told me. The last in that list is not normally something I do. I mean writing something that is a retelling of somebody elses story? It always sounds a bit dicey to me. (Though thinking about it I do it a lot in my blog)

I come by my story telling honestly. My mother loves to tell stories. She doesn't make them up mind you, but she loves to recount events that have happened to her. She is very animated and can keep you hanging on every word. Like I said, I come by it honestly.

My mother also has some of the strangest stories that are absolutely true. For example there is the one about President Nixon calling her on the phone when she was in grade school. Yes the president called my mother, probably from the oval office, because he was responding to a letter she wrote to him.

That isn't the story I am telling today. I know I am such a tease.

No, instead I am giving you an actual story I wrote that is based on a true story she told me. Some facts have been changed as have all the names. Some of the events took place, and some I just made up. The entire piece was an experiment for me. It is written in a style that I never write in. I have had to go back and check my tenses like a dozen times and I still don't think I caught all of them.

Anyways, this is a little something I wrote, based on a true story.
I hope you enjoy.

I’ve never considered myself lucky. I’ve never considered myself extraordinary. Hell I am not sure I have ever really considered myself. I mean I am what I am. I am an ordinary run of the mill American with an ordinary run of the mill 9 to 5 cubicle job, with an ordinary run of the mill suburban home with an exorbitant mortgage and bills I can barely pay.
I come from a broken home, like most people seem to now days. I excelled at something in high school, only to do nothing particularly special once I graduated, like most people seem to. I did not finish college, like most people seem to.
I could be any other American, sitting home on Tuesday night on my couch watching American Idol, eating pizza, and surfing the net. Nothing special here. Nothing to write home about. I could be anyone else really.
At least that is what I have always believed. I mean I never stopped to look at the individual events of my life, and the lives of the people in my life, to see whether or not I am anything out of the ordinary. I never looked to see if I rose above the word average.
Average is normal and comfortable. I have always been ok with average. No one expects too much of average. Sure it is not terribly exciting, but it is at least reliable and consistent. Like a late model 4 door American made sedan. Nothing exciting or flashy there, but it sure will get you from point a to point b.
I am a sedan?
Who the hell wants to be a sedan? I mean no one wants to be a sedan. It could be worse, I could be a minivan. Or an old used station wagon with no AC and a strange stain on the back seat, and a rear window that won’t roll down. That would be worse. Though I must admit that would take me out of the realm of average.

So here I am, average boring me standing in the soup aisle debating between hearty beef stew or chicken noodle soup, again. The sodium content of my soup is the most interesting thing that I am going to encounter today. Dear God, my life is average and boring.
And that is when I notice him.
Standing by the Ramen noodle cups, just staring at me. At first I assume I am in the way. There is always that guy in the store who wants something from the shelf in front of where you are, and they never say anything, they just stare at you with that glassy sort of expression until you manage to move out of the way.
At second glance though I realize he is not looking at me in the ‘pick a soup and get the hell out of my way’ fashion. He is staring at me instead in a searching fashion, as though he was trying to place me.
I don’t recognize him as a regular customer at this store, thinking maybe it is someone I have run into in the baking aisle when I wasn’t paying attention. I do realize I vaguely recognize him from this trip. We brushed hands in the produce section as we both reached for a red onion at the same time. I think I apologized to him, but now I am wondering if I did.
As I think more I realize he has been following me since the onion. I had just brushed it off to he and I having the same sort of list. It happens in the store. You get behind someone and end up following them all the way to the checkout. But this guys basket is almost empty. A loaf of bread, and that onion is all that is in there.
And he is staring at me.
I glance over my shoulder, hoping maybe there is someone else in the aisle that he is staring at, or at least a stock boy that I can run and hide behind should this guy get any creepier. Alas I am alone. The one day that there seems to be no one in the store, and I pick up a stalker.
I turn my attention back to the soup. Perhaps if I just ignore him he will just go away. Only now I can’t focus on sodium content if I tried. Hell I have picked up a can of clam chowder, and I hate canned clam chowder.
He suddenly steps closer “Excuse me?”
I nearly throw the can at him, I am so startled. I have to look like a complete idiot.
“What? I mean yes?” Rude stuttering soup throwing idiot.
“Ohh I did not mean to startle you young lady I just…I can not help but to think you look exactly like someone I used to know.”
Wow was that a pick up line or something? I give another glance around looking for a hero stock boy, but find we are deserted in the aisle. Why don’t more people want soup today?
Turning back to him I give him a good look finally. Now that he has spoken to me I don’t have to just glance at him out of the corner of my eye. He doesn’t look like a crazy person. Dress slacks, button striped dress shirt, looks like he took off a tie and jacket, probably left them in the car. He has mousy brown hair that is well kept, and is showing quite a bit of grey. The goatee he is sporting is almost completely grey and doing nothing to help him look younger. He has on wire framed glasses that seem to accentuate the lines at the corner of his eyes. Those little lines give away his age more than the grey hair does. I would place him maybe early 50’s, late 40’s if he has had a rougher life. I would guess school teacher really; nothing scary about that right?
Of course it is always the nice quiet ones who end up hacking up their neighbors pets and serving them as pate at the next HOA meeting.
“Err well…I don’t think I know you.” I offer lamely. I just really want him to go away. The last thing I want to deal with tonight is some weird old guy hitting on me, or you know, chopping me up and making me into pate.
“Are you by any chance related to Elizabeth Andrews?”
And I have to stop. I actually give the guy a double take.
“That is my mother’s name.” Holy shit I do look like someone he knows.
A large smile breaks out on his face “Are you Audrey?”
Ok too weird for the supermarket.
“Yea I am.”
I am not sure his smile could get any larger, but I think it might have. This guy looks like he just found his long lost relative or something, and I am just looking at him utterly confused.
“My God the last time I saw you you were only two. You had little curly pigtails and a ruffly dress”
“Yea mom used to love to dress me like a doll. Who are you exactly?”
I think he finally realizes he has been acting like a crazy person as he almost looks embarrassed for a moment. He might be blushing. I don’t think I have ever seen a man blush. Probably just the fluorescent lights.
He extends his hand to me, still smiling broadly “Dale Krane, I was almost your father.”
Well now that is not an introduction one gets everyday of the week.
I can’t help but to look dumbfounded as I shake his hand. He has a good firm handshake, though he is careful not to crush my hand. I am no slouch when it comes to handshakes, but I think his rather strange statement has caught me more than a little off guard as I can only just manage to squeeze his hand in return.
“What?” I have all the eloquence of the can of clam chowder which I am still holding in my left hand.
“She never told you about me ehh?” His smile is almost mischievous though he doesn’t seem shocked in the least.
And no my mother has never mentioned him. How the hell are you almost someone’s father? I am guessing he dated my mother, but, I am the youngest of three. My parents were married 7 years before I was born. That doesn’t qualify for almost.
Unless my mother was having an affair. Oh god I don’t even want to think about that. My mother is as straight laced as they come. The thought of her cheating on my father is just wrong. I mean this guy, Dale, he is not bad looking, and I can imagine 30 years ago he was probably hot and all, but, eww.
“No, I can’t say she ever mentioned you at all.”
He is shaking his head and letting out a little chuckle, the way people do when they have no intention of explaining themselves, and want you to know it. It is something my husband does and I hate.
“Probably for the best. How is she though?” His expression changes when he asks about mom. God I can almost see genuine curiosity and concern in his eyes. Who the hell is this guy?
“Good. She is good. You know. Same as she ever was.” Of course that is as far as I know. I am beginning to wonder how much I know about my mother. Strange men who declare themselves almost my father showing up in my supermarket are making me question my life.
Definitely too strange for the supermarket.
“Well that is good.” He is nodding a little with a nostalgic look about him. “Well if you talk to her, tell her I said hello.”
“Yea I will do that” That and a lot more. Mom has some explaining to do.
“It was nice to see you again Audrey. I will let you get back to your shopping”
“Nice to meet you Dale.”
And then I am alone again with my clam chowder, staring down the aisle where he disappeared to.
What was that?


“Why did you buy clam chowder?”
“Just put it away.”
“But you hate clam chowder”
“Just put it away”
I swear my husband never actually looks at what I buy at the store, why is he questioning this today?
My mother has conveniently not been answering the phone for the last half hour. I had barely made it to the car before I was dialing her number. Nothing but voicemail the first three times. She was going to think something is terribly wrong at this rate.
“Mom!” At last woman.
“Audrey? Hi baby. Did you call me earlier? I was in the garage painting the cupboard doors.”
Mom is always painting something. Or building something. Or knitting something. It just depends on the week. I swear that woman has more creative projects going than all of the DIY network.
“Yea that was me. Hey mom, do you know a guy named Dale Krane?”
And there is silence. I am not sure if that is a good sign or not.
“Yes dear, I am here. Dale Krane? Where did you hear that name?”
“From his lips. I ran into him in the grocery store. He followed me from produce to canned soup staring at me, until he finally asked if I was related to you.”
I think I know where I get my eloquence from.
“Mom who is this guy?”
I hear a long slow sigh from my mother. “He is someone I knew when you were little. Why? Who did he say he was?”
Ohh I know that tone. There is something here.
“He said he was almost my father.”
My mother barks out a laugh followed by a short snort. “Ohh that is rich.”
Not the reaction I was expecting, but at least it leaves me hope that my mom didn’t have an affair.
“So he wasn’t almost my father? I mean what the hell was that supposed to mean anyways?”
“Ohh no he was almost your father, at least I suppose that is one way you could look at it.”
It is my turn to be silent.
“You got quiet honey.”
“Yea. Umm mom do you think that perhaps you might explain that statement to me?”
“Which one dear?”
Ohh god is this woman frustrating “The one where you say this strange man was almost my father.”
I must have raised my voice more than I intended as my husbands head is now poking through the kitchen door a look of confusion on his face. “Who was almost your father?”
I wave him off with a small frown, though he only comes into the room fully now, his curiosity piqued.
“Audrey you don’t have to shout at me. I dated Dale after I left your father. He and I were almost married.”
“You never told me that.”
“I didn’t think it was important.”
“It wasn’t important that you almost married some guy? I mean come on mom if you almost married him then he must have been important.”
“Well you and your brothers were so young, I didn’t think it mattered. Not even Brian remembers him. I didn’t marry him, what does it matter.”
My husband is now mouthing to me “Who are you talking about?” and I am again trying to wave him off.
“Well it is something I think you would have mentioned.”
“Well I am sorry Audrey. I didn’t think it was important.”
I am not certain it is important. I mean so mom dated some guy and almost married him before I could even remember. It can’t really be anything that affected me.
“How did he look?”
“Dale. How did he look?”
“Umm good I guess. No point of reference here. He looked like a school teacher.”
“Rocket Scientist.”
“Excuse me?”
“He isn’t a teacher, he is a rocket scientist. Works for NASA. Or at least he did. I suppose he could be teaching now, though I somehow doubt it. He didn’t like children.”
I am looking at my phone slack jawed. My expression is doing nothing but to frustrate my husband.
“You almost married a rocket scientist, but didn’t.”
“Ok there is something you are not telling me here. I have a feeling a lot of somethings, but lets start with this.”
“Well sweetheart I am not sure what to say. I met him through my parents after I left your father. Dale was rich and brilliant and handsome and he thought I was wonderful. He was also incredibly romantic. This one time he took me to his families estate in Vermont and we went on this sleigh ride in the snow. He took me out to this field where there was a picnic set up waiting for us. It was amazing.”
“Amazing. Rich. Romantic. Genius. Right I wouldn’t have married him either.”
My husband gives me a dirty look at that comment, and I can only roll my eyes at him.
“Ohh it wasn’t that. It was you.”
“Pardon me?”
“Well not you. Actually it was your brothers.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean. Brian and Jason were what 3 and 4? How could they have driven off Mr. Perfect?”
“Well Dale thought boys should be shipped off to military school as soon as possible, and mostly be forgotten about. You on the other hand he adored. He thought you were fascinating. He used to say you were almost like a little person.”
I have always heard geniuses could be idiots, and that statement just proved it.
“So you broke it off with him because he wanted to send the boys to military school?”
“Pretty much.”
“Pretty much. Wow.”
“What? You and your brothers were the most important thing to me. I wasn’t about to ship the boys off to be raised at a boarding school.”
“They probably could have used it.”
“Well yes, in hindsight, but I wouldn’t have given up the opportunity to raise your brothers or you for anything in the world.”
I am just shaking my head. To think, had my mom not been opposed to boarding school I would have been raised in a wealthy family where they have Vermont estates. Probably have trust funds and party with heiresses. Hell I could have been an heiress.
“Honey was that all you wanted to talk about, because I really have to go put the second coat on those doors.”
“Yea mom. That was all.”
“Alright I love you sweetheart.”
“Love you too.”
I am just staring at my phone, and my husband is just staring at me. I am not sure why, but this is really just freaking me out a little. Not that this made any real difference in my life, but it really could have.
“Are you going to tell me what that was about?” My husband is always one to have to know everything. The way he is standing with his hands on his hips staring at me he looks more like a gossiping housewife than the hulking mans man he is.
“Ohh nothing, just that I was supposed to be an heiress.”
I just shake my head. I really don’t even know where to begin.
“Never mind. Just put that damned clam chowder away.”

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kolaches, and dishes, and bloodbaths, Oh my!

I've been sitting here most of the afternoon trying to decide what to write about today. I have come across several ideas that sparked in my mind but lost most of them to something shiny or my phone telling me it was my turn at Ruzzle. What can I say, I am easily distracted today.

So considering I can't seem to focus on one thing long enough to write an entire post you are going to get some random different topics until I feel there is enough content to justify a post. It is good to be in charge.

- I was reading something on Buzzfeed about why living in Texas is amazing. I have plenty of my own reasons, but the list was full of amusing entries, many of which I would not have considered (and still wouldn't). About halfway through they listed off kolaches as one of the reasons that Texas rocks. I found this incredibly amusing.

First off I am quite certain that the Czech danish is made in other states, as I am certain that Czech immigrants settled elsewhere. I can't say if kolaches are as popular elsewhere, but these lovely eats are not a Texas phenomenon by far.

This amused me on another level though. If you know me well you have probably heard my kolache rant. For those of you who have never stood over a bakers box in the breakroom with me while I espoused my very strict pastry views, allow me to share.

Growing up we would often visit my great aunt and uncle who lived in Schulenburg, TX. It is a little sleepy community very close to Columbus, TX. The highlight of going on these trips was the fact that we could get barbecue from the central meat market, and kolaches and pigs from this one little bakery in town. They were this amazingly wonderful sweet part of my childhood that I will forever cherish.

That being said, what you get at a Dunkin Donuts or even at the famed Czech Stop in West are not really kolaches. I mean they are, in the most basic of ways, but they so are not. If you had eaten what I grew up on, lovingly made by this little old Czech woman who probably didn't speak much English, you would understand what I mean.

First things first, there are no savory kolaches. Sausage wrapped in dough is a pig in a blanket or sausage in a bun. Still tasty, but not a kolache. You can call it a kolache all you want, that doesn't actually make it a kolache. I hate being tricked into thinking there may be kolaches only to find a box of pigs instead. Also most commercially made pigs have too much bread to the amount of sausage, or the wrong kind of dough.

Secondly kolaches are not bread and jelly, as one of my coworkers recently described them. They are bread, but not just bread. The bread is light and sweet and buttery and not a roll but not a biscuit and certainly not cake. It is sort of hard to explain, but when you taste it, you know it. All too often what you get is nothing much more than a standard, overly dry, yeast roll with a divot and some preserves in it.

Lastly most kolaches you buy are mostly dough. The divot is never big enough to hold much of the filling. In the end you are left with slightly hard, slightly dry, under filled pastries. That is not the experience you really want to look for.

I still try one every once in a while to see if they are any good, but I am usually disappointed.

-  Yesterday was one of those days where nothing went right. I had bribed the husbeast on Saturday night with new terrain for warhammer if he would take me to buy new dishes on Sunday. He is very easily bought. I must remember this in the future.

I have a dish problem. I love dishes. I can normally walk into any store selling dishes and find something that I want to go home with. Sometimes it is a bowl or serving platter, sometimes it is a set of glasses, sometimes it is a tea cup, but there is always something.

Of course this turns out to be one of those times when you should never say 'always'.

What should have been an hour trip down to World Market and back home turned into an eight hour ordeal. We drove all over. We went down around the Galleria, we went way up into Plano, hell we went all the way to Allen at one point. We went everywhere we could think of and came up with nothing but disappointment.

We were met at every turn by incredibly small and incredibly unsatisfying options. After leaving a giant two story monstrosity of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I decided it should be renamed Bed, Bath, and some other random crap. They had the bed and bath thing down, but it was sadly obvious why there is no specific reference to kitchens in their name.

By the end of it all I was so disheartened that I just gave up. I never give up on shopping. If shopping were an Olympic sport I would have gold medals. I can find anything. Anything but dishes apparently.

I have been told by the husbeast that since I already let him buy the terrain that I can still have new dishes, that there is no time limit on the promise. Such a good husbeast.

- I do not watch Game of Thrones. It isn't because I am opposed to lengthy period dramas where all your favorite characters die, I am totally in for that. I just don't get HBO and am currently over my limit on shows I am following. I also haven't read the books but that again is a lack of time/over committed thing.

So last week after the Red Wedding episode came out and everyone lost their minds over it I admit my interest was piqued. I wanted to see what exactly all the fuss was about. So when I was conveniently offered a chance to watch the offending scene I jumped on it.  What can I say I am only human.

Now I admit I don't know anything about the show or the characters. I had nothing invested in anyone I saw on screen. I got to watch just enough of the action before the incident to at least understand the characters relationships to one another (can you tell I am trying not to put in spoilers?).

All that being said, I am not certain what the outcry is all about. I mean it was no more graphic than a lot of movies and television out there. I admit the first offense was a little more disturbing because of the manner in which the act was carried out on that particular person, but that was about it. Otherwise it was not that bad.

Perhaps I am desensitized to things like this from reading too much Shakespeare. Honestly it is no worse than Titus Andronicus. Of course that would probably be putting to much credit in the hands of a good portion of the viewing audience to be that familiar with Shakespeare. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Visions of summer dance through my head

Fridays are always hard to manage. With images of farmers markets bustling with people maneuvering their way through a sea of fresh produce, picnics with dozens of friends happily chatting away around games of volleyball and wooden sword fights, late evening gatherings of celebration, good satisfying hours spent digging in the dirt, and sleeping in with no alarm scheduled floating through my head I find it nearly impossible to focus on anything but what is to come.

By the time faire ends I have gone four entire months without a single weekend. I want you to sit back and think about how hard that must be. If you have never been put in the position to miss out on your weekends, whether voluntarily or forceably, you are lucky. I mean I volunteer to give up that time to do something I love, but it doesn't mean I don't love me some weekend time too.

I always find that the first month or so after the end of faire I sort of overcompensate for the lost weekends. I rarely can make it through June without completely booking myself up. Every year I tell myself we will take June off. We will have weekends of just laying about doing nothing. It never happens.

There is just too much to do. I want to go to the farmers market early in the mornings and buy beautiful fresh fruits and veggies. I want to have people over so we can cook out on the grill. I want to work in my garden. I want to go hang out with friends in a relaxed atmosphere. I want to go on vacations. I want to visit my family. I want to go swimming. I want to do all the things.

Maybe it is some sort of leftover programming from when I was a kid. Summers meant doing things you couldn't do during the school year. In a way that has not changed. Winter breaks are about hunkering down for warmth. They are about visiting family and celebrating togetherness. They are about home.

So as I struggle to make it through one last workday this week I will happily distract myself with all the glorious summer thoughts that are drifting through my head. What summery thoughts are you clinging to in order to pass the time at work?