Friday, June 29, 2007

Confidential to G:

Welcome back pal, you've been missed.

The Manolo is recruiting.

So the Manolo has posted a help-wanted for new bloggers to run his next blog, Manolo for the Big Girl and I'm thinking of applying.

I've missed professional blogging since my gig at the newpaper ended, I've got a strong and popular voice. Our main competish, The Austin Chronicle wrote that "Rhiannon [Lastname]'s refreshingly snarky "Miss Adventure," [is] regularly featured in the weekly entertainment insert XL, often providing the liveliest element of a section that frequently reads like a poorly researched Zagat guide." and Jen Lancaster, author of "Bitter is the New Black" wrote on her old blog she wished she wrote like I did.

Then there's the fashion stuff. I've got a great eye. True I'm not always crazy on big trends but that's because there's just not enough restrain and discipline of line in the current plus-size world for my taste, and that, second only to confidence, is what we larger than life gal needs more than anything.

What do y'all think?

It's Madlibs! It's Liturgy! It's THE CRANMERIZER!

You might THINK that perhaps I'm trying to avoid doing any actual work today, but the truth of the matter I'm trying to avoid doing any actual work today.

So I've come up with this little build-your-own collect dohickey. Amaze your friends, impress your clergy, it's the Cranmerizer!


Friday Five: Time, Talents and Tests

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them?
Well, there are personality tests and personality tests. I've got a good deal of faith in Myers Briggs-y sort of thingums, but my faith waivers just a little in the scientific basis of those "what sort of kisser are you?" creations.

Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture?
Y'all, I'm as practical as jumper cables and five times as fun.

I'm creative (e.g.: the time I was told to bring something creative to my pal Torvald's shindig and I brought a taxidermied armadillo full of home-made cookies) and intellectual (functionally bisexual Greek dudes, unhappy German men with moustaches and Mommy Issues, I can talk about 'em all!) but I don't think I get enough credit for my practical side. I'm in school full time, I work full time, I've got a full schedule of volunteering and ministry and I try to keep an active social life and, for good or ill, I do this mostly without a close support system. I couldn't do what I do without the grace of God, but then again I couldn't do it if I were just a silly girl teetering around in Manolos, either.

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had your yet? If so what was it, if not dream away what would you like it to be?

The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for. I worked my tail off when I moved to Austin to become a beloved fixture, and between my blog for the newspaper and my turns at go-go dancing and clubbing on Red River, I succeeded. Maybe too well. I stayed in bed over Memorial Day weekend because every single time. I went out the previous week, I mean no matter where I was --dry cleaners, Mexican grocers on the wrong side of town, dog park bent over picking up excretia, someone there knew me and wanted to talk. As an introvert (what? I totally am.) that was just a little too much for me to bear. I just vanted to be left alone.

4. If you were given a 2 year sabbatical ( oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...
I'm not sure what it would be, but I think I know where it would be. the small windblown island of Lindisfarne calls me back just as surely as any siren ever did. I miss it with my whole heart.

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you.
Extemporaneous prayer. My goodness am I crap at that. I mean there are a bunch of other talents that I'd love to have, but I'd never be called to use…playing boogie woogie piano springs to mind…but let's face it, I'm going to be called on to pray on the fly EVENTUALLY and it fills me with dread. I think I'm going to start memorizing collects tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hold on Darlings, I've Got a Plank in my Eye

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Walk (and Draw) The Line

That is IT! NO. MORE. SHOES. I just bought my first pair of Blahniks and now I have all the nice shoes I need (well except for the perfect black pump)I am not going to buy any more investment shoes for a Very Long Time Indeed. I have my blush and my mocha python pumps I got while I was in London, I have my ridiculous show girl pumps that my friend Biscuit said came from "Fredericks of Bangkok" and now I have these Manolos. I am calling a ceasefire.

When I first saw them I whimpered a little. Then I discovered that there was only one pair left at and it turns out that one pair was in my IN MY GIGANTOR YETI SIZE. Then I discovered they were more than half off AND I had a coupon code.

You know I'm not one to use the Lord for my own sordid purposes, but friends, I'm pretty sure Jesus really wanted me to have these shooz.

Reminds me of this Harvey Nicks ad...looks like it'll be beans on toast (the Texas translation is breakfast tacos) for the next month for me.

You want some crazy with those eggs?

I'm rather neutral on the après Church brunch experience.

It's one of those things like working out or cleaning the kitchen: it's not so bad once you actually do it, but you still not-so-secretly wish you were in bed, covered up to the chin with fluffy comforters and watching Tennessee Williams movies and rewinding the parts where Marlon Brando or Paul Newman take off their shirts (um, so I've heard.)

However, in the spirit of good fellowship I've been brunching with handful of folks from our 20's/30's group and friends, it's driving me crazy.

To be fair, I like most of the people, there's Lee, the old-fashioned southern boy and Torvald the only Dutch boy I've never --not even once-- been tempted to kill in his sleep. In fact, I like the majority of the folks with whom I've brunched. Plus a passel of peeps who are otherwise very nice.

But then there are the Others.

The Others range from the mildly maladjusted to the full-on wackaloons, and frankly, I just do not want to put up with that sort of nutjobbery on the one day I have specially reserved for rest and re-creation.

I will gladly spend time with the Others any other day of the week, at any time. I mean, that's the Christian thing, right? Love the unloveable.

Want to talk my ear off on Saturday night about how depressed you are and how your therapist Just Doesn't Understand? Fine. Need someone to morally support you in uncomfortable conversations with your parents who are just as horrible as you? I'm your gal. Want to insult me to your passive/aggressive heart's content because (not so) deep down you resent the hell out of me for living "your" dream even though I've worked my tail off to get here and you've done nothing but mope? Bring it on.

Just don't sit there and insult me, or even worse, patronize me, during the few hours I have designated for plain old uncomplicated relaxation. I won't snap (usually) but it's hard to observe my own personal Sabbath when my one overriding desire is to slap you with a fish.

Whew, that was deep. I guess it's time for a little palate cleanser. I give you a vintage Paul Newman from his underrated turn in Tennessee William's Sweet Bird of Youth

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summertime Friday Five: Racing, Recipes and Rock'n'Roll

Favorite summer beverage

We never knew when it would happen, but on the very best days of summer my brother and I would hurry home from school, open the avocado green refrigerator that was older than the two of us put together and see that beige Tupperware pitcher sitting on the top shelf that meant Grandmama had made Russian Tea. Russian tea was a sort of non-alcoholic Planter's Punch. We'd spring into action. William would run outside to get some fresh mint from the side garden and I'd get out the glasses. With quivering arms (the pitcher was a little too heavy for me to lift as a wee bairn) I'd pour two tall glasses. Sometimes in our haste we'd forget to wash the mint and a little big or dirt would get into the glass, we didn't care. It was Russian tea. It was summer.

2. Song that says "summer" to you.
One good nostalgic turn deserves another. Mungo Jerry singing "In the Summertime" (youtube link. If you don't know this song you MUST click) my little brother and I used to pull our shirts up over our bellies and dance around like Baloo from the Jungle Book, slapping our stomachs to the rhythm and making what we thought were grunting bear sounds I am not positive, but I bet if William and I were in the same room this very moment and this song came on we'd start bellyslapping just out of habit.

3. A childhood summer memory

When my grandfather brought home The First Car I Ever Loved, an ultra-rare 1984 flatbody Conquest. I must have been five years old and I'd stand in the white cobbled driveway (it had oyster shells in it! so cool!) in front of the car. As the sun set I'd raise my arms and the headlights would magically pop up! then I'd lower my arms and they'd close their eyes. Years later that Conquest would finally become mine, and I'd spend all my time and money taking it to meets and races. Then the night of this race (click here to watch me driving up to the starting line) I blew my manifold housing, since I couldn't afford to have parts forged, I had to sell my sweet baby to a jet mechanic. So long Buckaroo!

4. An adult summer memory
I'll give you two for the price of one. The location is the same, the wild rooftop garden of a crayon-colored townhouse in Washington DC that had been converted to a hostel.
Scene 1: July, 18 1998. I had turned 19 years old that week and was truly in love for the first time. He was Dutch and looked like a tall, blonde Leonardo DiCaprio. Most importantly, he had moved across the ocean to be with me. Earlier that day we'd pounded the pavement of my former hometown and as night fell we sat on an old couch, my head resting on his lap, his left hand idly playing with the strap of my pale green dress.

I knew it wasn't going to work.
He knew it wasn't going to work out.

It didn't matter. We were two young kids, drunk on freedom and wild honeysuckle, and we were in love.

Scene 2: July 16, 1999.
One year and one ugly break up later I had returned to India House which strangely enough was being run by a bunch of young Irish girls. The man was John, a Belgian soccer player and all around good guy. I don't have many regrets, but I regret the way I treated him. He was a rebound for me, pure and simple. Arno, the Dutch Guy, hated Belgians, so out of spite I found myself a Belgian and set about making him mine. Unfortunately, he was also the only man I think who ever truly loved me. God, I was an idiot.

As the girls sat in the house, glued to the small television as the story of JFK Jr.'s plane crash unfolded, John and I were outside looking at the moon. It was bright enough to reveal the hidden faces of statuary that had been long overtaken by honeysuckle and ivy and the fireflies floated in the air flashing their mating call in pale green and yellow. I was on my back in the grass as John propped himself up on his elbows next to me. I told him that the moon was the other direction. He looked at me seriously with those dark handsome eyes that couldn't have been more different from Arno's blond and blue, and said "Dilleke, I like your snout."

5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future.
In Texas, summer is a battle. It's not something fun or relaxing, it's you against the weather. Every once in a while you get a break with a night that's just a little bit cooler. If I could, I'd like to take one of those almost-cool nights, throw a picnic basket in the convertible, grab some friends and drive into the country. We could build a small campfire, someone could bring a guitar and we's sing and look at the stars until the embers died down. Then I'd pile the folks back into Stella and drive home in silence while my tired friends sleep, quiet and happy.


Recipe for my Grandmama's Russian Tea

4 cups triple-strength black tea, cooled
1 forty-six ounce can unsweetened pineapple/grapefruit juice
1 can orange juice concetrate, diluted with water (or maybe rum? -ed.)
1/2 cup lemon juice
sugar if needed

Directions: mix all together, chill and serve with fresh mint.

Rhiannon's Modified Russian Tea
4 cups triple-strength black tea, brewed with slices of ginger, cooled
1 forty-six ounce can unsweetened pineapple/grapefruit juice
1 can orange juice concentrate, not diluted
750ml limoncello or white rum
juice of 3 fresh squeezed limes

Directions: mix all together, chill and serve with fresh mint and two aspirin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

For Your Listening Pleasure

It's raining here in Texas, a real gullywasher. My hair is still wet from the mad dash from the parking lot 4 hours ago and I've been listening to my Rainy Day Mix, which I have thoughtfully uploaded for your enjoyment.

A Dream - John Cale. A reading from Andy Warhol's diary off the John Cale/Lou Reed album "Songs for Drella"

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone - Al Green. A great cover of the Bill Withers' classic.

Apocalypse - Wyclef Jean from "The Carnival" the smartest, most orchestrally beautiful hip hop album I've ever heard. The haunting cuban-flavored soprano vocalizations are chilling.

Black Coffee - Peggy Lee. From the 1956 album of the same name. What happens when the Fever cools down.

Black Winds- Little John and The Monks. Spooky 1965 B-side from the only single this little-known Pacific Northwest garage band released.

Blister 2000- Violent Femmes. Bouncy horn-filled revisioning of their 1982 indie pop hit, Blister in the Sun.

Bossa Nova (Luckiest Girl) - Shivaree. An arch bossa nova from tremble-voiced darling, Ambrosia Paisley.

Cold-Blooded Old Times - Smog. Catchy lo-fi gem from Bill Callahan's alter-ego.

Falling is Like This- Ani DiFranco. Sweet, lyrical effort from everyone's favorite "righteous babe".

Gone Til November- Wyclef Jean. Another turn from the once and future Fugee. Before I was a good girl I had a very odd night at one of his after parties. Very odd.

I'm Wrong About Everything"- John Wesley Harding. A wry little folk-noir ditty. Come on, we've all been there.

Let My Love Open the Door (e. cola mix)- Pete Townshend. The second of three tracks on this mix also found on the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack. A great remix of an otherwise borderline-schmaltzy song from the king of the windmills. If I ever did a contemporary worship service, this would be the recessional.

Live and Let Die- Guns and Roses. Shut up okay? Just shut up.

Nobody But You- Lou Reed. Also off "Songs for Drella", Nobody But You is a poppy little bossa about Andy Warhol's hangers on.

Satellite- Dave Matthews Band. As a high school student in Virginia in the mid 90's, "Under the Table and Dreaming" was practically issued to everyone with a learner's permit.

Say Yes- Elliott Smith. Beautiful wistful song off "Either/Or"

Stormy Weather- Etta James. Listen. What else is there to say?

Sometimes You Just Can't Win- Mouse and The Traps. A bittersweet ballad from an underappreciated 1960's garage band.

Bonus Track

Monday, June 18, 2007

The "C" Word

I love children, Dear God do I love children. In a perfect world I would have a whole litter of them. I'd give them baths and take them to the zoo and I'd let them have all the adventures they could ever hope to have. Sadly, this isn't a perfect world.

Marriages fail; not just sometimes, most of the time and while I'd LIKE to think I'd be married forever, I have no reason to believe it would happen.

Realistically, I can't see myself as a kick-ass minister if I'm also the primary caregiver to my child. I'd need a work-at-home husband who would be the primary caregiver amd surprising emotionally-balanced men who are willing to dedicate themselves to fat, funny Anglican ministers-to-be with a penchant for hotrods and boys with tattoos are few and far between.

I know, I'm as shocked as you are.

Anyway, all of that was just to say this. I just had to have The Talk with a great guy, and it was all about children.

Let me tell you how awful THAT was.

He's been the first serious contender since Michael and I'm just crazy for him. I'm not in love with him, but I could be very easily. He would be the perfect husband and father and we would have been great together.

Except he wants kids.

Right now.


And I can't do that. I suppose if I had wanted to I could have kept him hanging on with the promise of "maybe" but that wouldn't have been fair. I don't REALLY know if I want to have kids. If I did know, if I could give him a timeline maybe things would have been different, but "maybe" also means "maybe not" and for me the odds are 50/50. I couldn't let someone else stake their happiness on 50/50 odds.

So there I was, just sitting there KNOWING it was probably one of the biggest mistakes I'd make in my life, telling him "I'm sorry; it's just not going to work out." It's killing me to even think about it, but I know it was the right thing.

He's going to be a great husband someday and an even better father. Too bad it's not with me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tagged for the Very First Time!

Here we go:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Now my 8 things.

1) I have a terror, a positive terror of the sound of a garage door opening, especially if I'm in bed. I came by it honestly but I would rather have a snake slither across my foot than hear a garage door open while I'm all tucked in.

2) I dated a bona fide punk rock legend for about six months (five and a half months longer than I should have). No I don't kiss and tell.

3) The only way I can be as outgoing as I am is to spend as much time alone as possible.

4) This song is about me written by a popular musician who I won't name because of google. He was a former friend's ex-boyfriend. It took me a year and a half to actually listen to it all the way through. It's a pretty little song. In the spirit of full disclosure I'm fairly certain he actually got the tattoo, but I never endorsed it (the song either for that matter) nor have I seen it.

5) I'm abstinent, even though no one believes me.

6) I secretly want to be a mechanic. I want to own my own garage and restore classic cars. I'm actually pretty brilliant at fixing things.. No one believes this either.

7) There is one person in each generation of my family who can just naturally understand almost any language just by listening to them for a while. My mother was the one in her generation; her father was the one in his (he spoke seven Asian dialects fluently). I'm the linguist in mine even though I rarely let on.

8) I also secretly want to be a pioneer/survivalist. I love nothing more than chopping wood, hauling water and eating apples off the tree on the side of some mountain in Virginia. Also? I know how to build traps and shoot.

Let's see, whom shall I tag? Okay. EK aaaand, anyone else who wants to play!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Booty Hooty Hoo. Seriously.

Friends, this is a plea for moral support. I feel almost totally beaten. Please send whatever prayers and good thoughts you can afford my way.

It takes a lot to make me feel really beaten down by life, but wow yesterday got me. Aside from a mysteriously "returned" rent check that's going to cost me an additional 115.00 in fees and two papers that needed to be written last night but never made it beyond the notes stage I had to have Stella towed because the parking complex is repaving the parking lot and didn't figure people needed more than a day's notice.

9:00 p.m. Called AAA with every last shred of information about what I needed and what company I wanted to use (I had made arrangements with the company --who had towed stella before-- earlier that day). including the company's internal dispatch code. Given an eta of 12:00. Fine, no big deal, I can work until then.

12:30 Called AAA. Discovered somehow my call had been cancelled, and then the towing company shut it down for the night. Asked why but they couldn't tell me because the system was down. He'd call back in a half an hour. Meanwhile I called the towing company directly. No answer.

1:00 a.m: No call back from Systems Down guy or answer from towing company so I call AAA again. New person. Said that the order had NOT been cancelled and that he personally just spoke to the guy himself who assured me he was no more than 25 minutes away.

1:30 No one shows. I call AAA again get a new person again. I beg that they just send someone, anyone as long as they had a flat bed. Stella is a 20 foot long 5000 pound car with rear wheel drive and nothing holding on the front wheel. I cannot use a wrecker.

2:30 A wrecker shows up. Wrecker guy was very creepy and actually made me feel unsafe. Kept grabbing his crotch and spitting and invading my body space. He calls his manager who has a flat bed and is about 30 miles south of Austin. He wants to see it before he will agree to tow it away.

3:00 Call AAA again, get a new person, tell them that I will not use these guys and to please, please send me a new truck. A flatbed this time. For reals.

3:45 HURRAH. John from Lamott Bros. towing shows up, freaks out at the car, makes me sign a waiver. Very nice man.

4:15 a.m.: After a half hour of machinations, WD40 (mine, not his) and prayer, it's on the flatbed.

4:30 a.m.: Stop in the middle of 5th street. Apparently car jumped when going over a bump. Had to tighten her down even more. I freak out silently in my head.

5:15 a.m.: Bliss. Car is unloaded safe and sound at Crushproof. Tip John profusely.

5:40 a.m.: in bed, finally.

8:00 a.m.: wake up.

This morning I get a call from my landlord saying my rent check was returned (bank error, but that doesn't help me) He will need a 925.16 money order (rent plus $50 returned check fee plus $25 initial "late" fee plus $5/day additional late fees) by tomorrow.

Paper STILL isn't written. Take home test STILL not completed. Class in 7 hours and a full day of work.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

She Tells Me What I Want, What I Really REALLY Want

Is there any surer sign of delicious things to come than being abused by a hundred-fifty year old Vietnamese woman?

I was craving a noodle bowl, so I headed to what people optimistically call "Little Saigon" aka, the strip mall off the interstate next to Target.

My regular noodle house was closed but Sunflower, just across the parking lot, was open.

After about ten minutes of playing with a cute little Vietnamese girl who kept showing me magic tricks wherein she would make starlight mints vanish and reappear ("you keep looking there, I'll be right back") an ancient woman with a note pad came up to me and asked what I wanted.

"I would like the crispy tofu. Number 71."

"No, no salt. No good"

I explained to her that the no salt thing was okay, and that I'd still like it. She then explained to me that no, I wouldn't still like it. Instead, I wanted the number 77, crispy tofu with mixed pickled vegetables and salt.

I tried one more time for the plain tofu, but after she made an awful face, I demurred and let her bring me the 77.

My God, it was the most delicious Vietnamese food I'd ever had. Perfect crispy tofu without any sour or bitter flavor, crunchy pickled carrots, purple cabbage and onion shreds with fresh tomato slices and topped with a pile of cilantro. There was a little bowl of some manner of fish sauce with a hot sauce floated on top and on the side, a small bowl of sea salt mixed with black pepper and garlic.

It was so good I liketa died.

I told the lady how good it was. She seemed partially pleased but mostly confused as to why I'd given her trouble in the first place.

As I left and she was sweeping up with a broom that had no discernable handle, just a ribbon tying the straws together, she yelled

"next time you come back, I give you something GOOD!"

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Five: Escape to Truth or Consequences

Even though I've only just returned from my real dream vacation, I'm yearning for the simpler pleasures of my vacations of old. One girl, one car, and one destination: Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

I used to go twice a year and stay in a little hostel right on an offshoot of the Rio Grande. The hostel hasn't changed much, the tubs are still bricked-in minnow baths and the main structure is a shabby, low set adobe rancher, but now the money-hungry son is running it and the prices have tripled since I first crashed-landed in TorC, on a impossibly starry night in 2003.

1) What book(s) will you bring?
I always bring a well-loved book to give away during my stay, and I always am given a book that changes my life in return. It's never failed me. Once I gave away "The Teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui Way of Knowledge" by mushroom-enthusiast Carlos Castaneda. Another time I got "Man and Superman" a play by George Bernard Shaw. I devoured it and it remains tied with Our Town for my favorite English language play.

2) What music accompanies you?
There's a long lonely stretch of Interstate 10 where even radio waves don't roam. Typically I make my own "mood mixes" I have a disc for driving through a storm in the desert. I have a disc for when I'm heading through El Paso (there are a LOT of songs about El Paso) I have a disc for feeling homesick and a disc for being a wanderer. Mostly though I just have a hand-held tape recorder, a whole mess of blank tapes and my own silly voice recording thoughts as they bubble up and burst along the long, empty highway.

3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
Sunscreen, Aleve, Lip Balm and two cases of Ozarka water. That is all ye know and that is all ye need to know. I travel light. Well, except for the water.

4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
I'll take my cell phone out of necessity --a girl alone on a road trip to nowhere needs to take precautions-- and my hand-held tape recorder. I wouldn't dream of bringing a laptop or an iPod. They're the electro-fruits of the devil.

5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?

I'm rarely hungry on vacation. Usually I'll live on smoothies and whatever fresh fruit I brought from Texas. But I had one of the finest meals I can remember while in T or C at a crazy steak house that didn't seem to realize it wasn't 1973 any more.

It was a place out of time, all brown leather and wrought iron and dark wood. The menu was as dated as the décor: red meat, clams casino and brandy alexanders. Once inside I fell victim to some sort of time warp and ordered not only a steak, but the clams casino AND a brandy alexander for dessert. Immaculate. Strange, yes. But immaculate.

One last thing about Truth or Consequences. The stars. The stars. There are stars upon stars. So many stars that it's impossible not to feel dizzy and insignificant and entirely amazed at the wonderment of God's own glory. As a young girl in Washington DC I used to spend a lot of time in our school's planetarium. For a special treat, Mrs. Howell would turn down the setting on the projector and show us what it would be like on a perfect, lightless, cloudless night.

That setting, even at its darkest and most breathtaking couldn't even compare to the glory of the stars above Truth or Consequences.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Smell a Rat

Friends, there is only so much organic oatmeal a girl can eat. Personally, I've eaten enough of the stuff that I could probably consume an entire pig-sty worth of bacon in one sitting and my cholesterol would still be enviably low.

But even with my special delicious add-ins --chopped dried tropical fruits, wheat germ, flax, turbinado sugar-- there comes a time when a girls soul (and by soul I mean stomach) yearns for something that doesn't look like something out of an all-Carmen Miranda production of Oliver Twist.

So you see, I NEEDED cheese. In fact, as I perused the fancy fromage section of my local prohibitively expensive market, I discovered that I needed SIX cheeses.

First I needed some Blue Stilton. Aside from haggis, Stilton was the only good food I had in England and I had been craving the stuff since setting foot back on American soil. Unfortunately I couldn't find just plain Blue Stilton, so I picked up a Huntsman (pictured above) which is like a layer cake of Blue Stilton and glorious Double Glouscester.

I also picked up a gorgeous pot of ewe's milk soft curd cheese from France, a sort of Spanish triple-crème Brie, a bit of a Pecorino Toscano, some Camembert/Gorgonzola and a gorgeous slice of cave-aged Roquefort, still covered in leaves.

The handsome checkout man from Istanbul rang them up, along with the French rolls and dried apricots to go with it, at $50.00. Yikes.

My plan, because I am above all a Girl with a Plan, was to set the cheeses up on a nice plate and eat off of them with whatever fresh fruit and bread I brought to lunch that day. There was no reason that plate shouldn't last me 10 days. So, feeling slightly better about my budget (I'm perfectly willing to spend $5 a day for a gorgeous lunch) I headed back to work, arranged my cheeses nicely, took a bit of each and wrapped the plate, slapped my initials on in big green letters and tossed it in the fridge to wait it out until lunchtime the next day.

However, when lunchtime the next day arrived, there was something amiss. Someone had unwrapped my plate, and …wait for it…cut out all the Double Glouscester from the Huntsman, leaving the Stilton sitting there like a debutante without a date.

Can you believe the nerve? I've had problems with people stealing my food in the past, but that was when I forgot to label it, so I could only get so mad. But THIS time not only did they know it didn't belong to them, they didn't even have the decency to appreciate what they were stealing. It would have been one thing to steal the $30/lb Roquefort or the unusual Spanish triple-crème but NO, they just went for the yellow cheese. They probably thought it was Velveeta.

So, today I typed out a small sign, mounted it on cardboard and taped it on top of the plastic wrapping:

Please Do Not Steal Any More of My Cheese
(I have licked all the pieces, anyway)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I Ain't Talkin' Mississippi

So Oxford, maybe.

I know this is a textbook case of cart-before-horse but I'm less than two years away from graduation and provided all goes well with my discernment process I need to start thinking about Seminary.

Until recently the plan had been to go to ETSS. It's an excellent school, my favorite seminary by far, and has the added bonus of being less than two miles from my apartment. I know the retired provost, the retired dean, several seminarians and a good chunk of the professorial staff. In fact, that's just the problem.

It seems like I know everyone in this town.

I was barely 20 years old when I moved to Austin. Aside from my grandparents I didn't know a soul. Now seven years later the door guys at punk clubs know my dogs by name and I can't go to the grocery store or sit down for brunch without running into some guy or gal I know.

It's not like I'm pulling a Garbo. I don't vant to be left alone (that was the line, btw, not I vant to BE alone) I LOVE Austin, this is MY town. I've spent years making it my town. Plus the people are great, where else can you get a church usher who will offer you a gin and tonic before the 11:15 service or a burly tattooed door guy offer you homedic remedies for your shar pei's dry skin? This place is practically paradise...and yet.

And yet it's all just getting a little claustrophobic for me. I need to get out. I need a change, big time. I need to be someplace I've never been before. That's where Oxford comes in.

If I do a two-year stint at Wycliffe Hall seminary at Oxford I could fulfill my dream of living abroad, I would be able to come back to Austin refreshed, finish with a year at ETSS and be ordained --and happily serve-- in the Diocese of Texas.

The Diocese would then have an Oxford-educated priest on their bench, I'd have a big leg up when applying for future positions, and if I ever do make the permanent move to the other side of the pond I'll have more of a footing there.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wishin' and Hopin' Friday Five: Now with Disclaimers!

**Disclaimer: It is mating season for all God's creatures. Even for those young lovelies such as myself whose springs remain flingless, one does tend to get a bit of spring fever. That being said, please note that whatever crazy romantic, nostalgic and possibly scandalous stuff entailed in the following blog is strictly the result of hormones and three consecutive weeks of being cooped-up inside my apartment from the rain**

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world?

My high school sweetheart and I would be blissfully married in a little 19th century farmhouse outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Each Spring as soon as the fawns were born in the wild woods beyond our garden gate we'd get out the ladders and buckets, I'd tie my hair back in a red and white kerchief and he'd don his oldest t-shirt --doubtless some grey and threadbare number from our alma-mater and current employer the University of Virginia-- and we'd scrub the winter sleep off the old house, tending to the gutters (mind the wrens nests!) and coating each wall with white wash, rubbing our fingers over the pockmarked surface, blemished to perfection by time and the scars of civil war muskets.

We would drink lemony cold Russian tea with mint from the garden and work well into the afternoon. Then, leaving a trail of dirty garden gloves and crumpled socks, we'd head to the shower. He'd let me go first --I always take longer-- then, scrubbed clean in new cotton shirts, we'd head out to the nearby mountains with a horse blanket and tinny old radio. I'd tell him the stories of the constellations and he'd make silly jokes. Finally, we'd fall into a comfortable silence, count the fireflies and just wait for the shooting stars.

2. Have those hopes visions and dreams changed a lot, or are some of them still alive and kicking? (share one if you can)

That still sounds good to me right now. Maybe not the high school sweet heart --although he was the singularly kindest man I've had the good fortune to kiss with tongues-- but everything else sounds about perfect. Even the Virginia part.

It's strange. I love Texas. I would die for Texas just as my ancestors did. It would be an honor. I will never forget that the blood that coursed through Ben Milam's veins as he led his men to victory in the legendary Siege of Bexar is the same that pumps through mine. Yet I am feeling called away. Called "back" to Virginia, or maybe even Britain.

Then reality sets in and I know I'm bound to my diocese. I've got to dance with the one who brung me, and that means three years in seminary and possibly another three years in the diocese. That makes me feel a little claustrophobic. Of course I'm fortunate enough to be in the financial situation where I can afford to go to seminary anywhere in the world and after all, it's not unheard of to do two years at Cambridge or Oxford and then finish with a year stateside.

3. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Comforting, challenging or frustrating?

Ah lahk mah scriptures lahk Ah lahk mah mey-uhn: challenging, comforting and strong. Oh, and able to open jam jars.

4. If resources were unlimited, and you had free reign to pursue a vision what would it be?

My gosh I don't know, I'm 27 years old! Don't fence me in! There are so many.

I want to run a small bakery on a British Costal town.
I want to be some parish's beloved but kicky vicar.
I want to spend my life documenting mystical experiences.
I want to do tequila shots off all the male characters of the television program
Friday Night Lights with special emphasis on the big dumb troubled-but-hot one even though in he's not even remotely my type.

5. Finally with summer upon us- and not to make this too heavy- share your dream holiday....where, when and who with...

Well the troubled-but-hot guy is still really working for me, so let's take that, toss him in my Cadillac, fill the trunk with Lone Star and clean underwear, drop the top and cruise Route 66 all the way to San Bernardino. Days on the road buying cheap sunglasses and stopping at all the roadside attractions and nights nursing lonestars in old mom 'n' pop motels. Paradise.

And now, because you know you love it, I present The Friday Hotness:

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins, the aforementioned troubled-but-hot football player from Friday Night Lights. Because, you know, in Texas ALL high school fullbacks are 26-year old underwear models.
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