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Christy Claxton: Porch Talk

11 Things You Should Never Say to a Christmas Baby - December 8, 2013

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It's that time of year when my birthday becomes a bigger source of dismay than usual. I was born on December 25. Regardless of religious background, this is the biggest American holiday of the year. It's when people spend their last dime on gifts. It's the one day that every retail store in town actually closes, and it is CHRISTMAS DAY. A highly regarded holiday for the Christian people.

My people are Christian. I live in the American South. MOST people are Christian. Christmas Day is the celebration of Jesus' birth. It is his official, if not actual, birthday.

ain't nobody gettin' ahead of that one.

For those of us unfortunate enough to share our birthday with Jesus, we have not only suffered the secondary role in the day, we have suffered the same insensitive comments and questions over and over and over and over and over our entire lives. Here they are. Even though you've probably already gaffed with one of these this year, try not to do it between now and December 25.

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Why don’t you celebrate on June 25 so you have your own special day?

Super simple. I was born on December 25. That’s my own special day. Would you celebrate your birthday 6 months after the day you were born? Are you willing to pretend you’re 6 months younger than you are just to get a legit birthday party?  Hmmm?  That’s what I thought.

It makes you so special because you share your day with Jesus.

That’s exactly why it’s NOT special. Christian born Christmas babies take a back seat to Jesus. Something like, Merry Christmas, and oh, by the way, Happy Birthday. I’ve been inviting Jesus to my party for years and he has yet to show up with a good bottle of wine. He’s known for bringing the good stuff to the party, and I love good wine. Also, it’s a well-known fact that Jesus was NOT born on December 25. It’s also a well-known fact that I actually was born on December 25.

Do you get fewer presents because you’re born on Christmas?

Yes. Stop asking me that question.

So what do you want for your birthday?

Wow. That’s a hard one. How about a big frickin’ party that all of my friends can/will actually come to? I promise you. If you ask me this question, I will say, “nothing.” I know how much you want off the hook, and I know that’s why you ask. So let me just say it again, for the 49th time. “nothing.”

The movie theaters are open…

…and thank god for that.

I think Chinese restaurants are open.

Awesome. I’ll have an extra helping of sweet and sour chicken.

Oh! You’re a Christmas baby! How special!

This comment usually follows, “may I see your driver’s license?” So, if you’re a cop, bank teller, bouncer, etc., keep it in check. Don’t say a damn word. Just please. Shut up.

Oh! You’re a Christmas baby! That must suck.

Now you’re talkin’. Your cynical and honest response is much appreciated. Thanks for noticing.

Happy Christmas! or. Merry Birthday!

Stop it. You’re not that funny. Do you see me laughing?

Santa brought you instead of the Stork.

Well thank you so much for clearing that up. I had my imaginary delivery person confused with a Wise Man. I always thought I came in a little bottle of Myrrh.

Unfortunately, Christmas babies are the only people on the planet who hear about their birthday year-round. It’s not like this conversation only happens on December 25. Every time a birthdate is needed, we go through this nasty reminder that indeed, Jesus is not coming to the party with a bottle of good wine. We’ll have to buy our own and probably drink it without friends.

This leads to the final and most painful question...

"So, what are you doing for your birthday?"

Celebrating Christmas.

Food Porn - November 24, 2013

It's a cold and dreary day. The kind of day when I start cooking up soups and such that can be frozen and eaten throughout the season.  Soups are inexpensive and nutritious. Soups aren't particularly pretty own their own. Soups are something that people who need to trim the fat do to survive. Soup is food. Food is life. You'll die without it.

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That being said, I started thinking about food porn while I was making my soup. I started thinking about all the pictures of food I see on Facebook and Pinterest. Pretty food. Exquisite food. People post their food from restaurants around the world. People post the yummy meal they just cooked (I'm guilty of this one), people post pretty shots of farmers' markets. Today, I was sickened. It's nothing more than porn. It's showing off. It's bragging about the fact that you not only have food, but you have PRETTY food.

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If you're an American, you live in the land of abundance. Even if you're middle class like me, you're living in abundance. You eat 3 meals a day. You snack. You go out to eat. You socialize around food. You soothe your emotions with food. Then when you're feeling particularly narcissistic, you take pictures of all that food and share it on your social networks. I am part of this practice.

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Really. Does anyone care?

Really.

Ever eat a piece of cake in front of a child dying of starvation?

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Never?

Ever?

Not even on Facebook?

It's the season to give thanks. Why not give back?  There are people in your town that don't know where the next meal comes from at any given moment. School is about out for the holidays. No school breakfasts and lunches. Now a poor mother has to come up with that food.

But go ahead and post that pretty picture of your amazing meal at (fill in the blank here with the name of any restaurant) because it's more fun to look at that food than to look at skinny legs and arms on a 5 year old.

Look. I understand why we do it. Food is culture. We like to experience new cultures. Food is festivity, and everyone should have some fun. Food is psychology. We eat away our sadness with chocolate and such.

But at the very heart of this constant socialization of food, it's nothing more than pornography. Gastric tits and ass.

Exhibitionism.

So, I'm going to be an exhibitionist and post pictures of my food. I know you want to see it....

Here's my refrigerator. Not much in it. I live with a 20 year old man who works out. Men in general require more food.  Now think about a 20 year old man who hasn't eaten an egg or apple in a year.

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Not much in my pantry either because I have the luxury of cooking from scratch with fresh, whole foods. Ever hear the joke about WholeFoods?  WholePaycheck? Wouldn't it be nice to be me and get to laugh at that joke?

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Got some cool heirloom squashes from the Farmers' Market. Lucky-ass me.

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I'm drinking an inexpensive, yet palatable wine while writing this. I recommend it if you need a simple everyday wine just to keep around the house... Also, check out my awesome set of knives.

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Pretty cool, huh?

It's also cool to own fancy cookware.

Too bad there are lots of people in my neighborhood whose fancy pan looks like this.

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Let's all take a vow of chastity and stop all the damn food porn.

You know...

Just stop.

Just stop.

The brain is an organ... here goes! - August 25, 2013

I never really know what's going to kick me into overdrive. Usually, somebody pisses me off because they've made some obtuse, and therefore insensitive remark about those who suffer. I'm grateful for my flash temper in these circumstance. It's how The Peace from the Porch Project started. An obtuse hospice manager asked my why I was wasting my time on participating in the local Relay for Life event.

I am grateful to that woman. She changed my life forever. She changed many lives forever. And she was just being a bitch. How cool.

Today, someone made an obtuse remark to my dear friend, Stacy Lieder. Many of you know her and love her - if for not other reason, she has made you sound AMAZING when you perform and she's on the sound board. The rest of you just know she's amazing. Period.

Stacy's mother died a few months ago. My hospice self wants to tell you that Stacy is grieving. She is nowhere near done with her grief. Stacy honors her mother everyday because she loved Jean Lieder, and Jean Lieder was a great and amazing woman who spent her life helping those who suffer. Jean died of Parkinson's Disease. As to be expected, Stacy saw the news about Linda Ronstadt having the same disease. Stacy took issue with the headline that read "Linda Ronstadt Admits to Having Parkinson's Disease."

Admits?

ooooohhh. Naughty Linda.

Stacy posted her feelings on her Facebook page.

The way I see it, it's a great time to validate the feelings of someone who is missing her mother. It's also a good time to remind the people in my circle - that extend beyond Stacy's circle - that no one needs to feel like they're a bad person because they have a brain disease. One commenter suggested Stacy stop preaching to the choir and bitch to the media.

  1. To make this suggestion to someone who is grieving is insensitive at best. It suggests that the commenter doesn't have time to "hear about it." Even if that wasn't the intention, that's how it comes off. It falls into the the realm of "it's God's will..." If you say that to someone who has lost a loved one, you're suggesting that God is mean and capricious. So there's that. A totally disrespectful and insensitive comment. This may have sparked the rocket to the top of my soapbox.
  2. Brain diseases are not by choice. Lucky you if you manage to live life without one. Sure. The media could be less sensational and say something like, "Linda Ronstadt Reports..." However, Stacy's voice will be ignored, most likely. Many voices protesting together? Now you're talking. I'm not convinced the commenter is willing to "take it to the media."  We're all full of well meaning suggestions for someone else to carry out, right?
  3. It's 6:45, I've only had breakfast and I'm drinking wine. O.K. I admit. This could be the culprit. I don't give a damn. I'm gonna say it like I mean it.

A very cool kid

Parkinson's is one brain disease. It's a humdinger. And we can "tsk tsk" and look away and feel pretty good about ourselves with that one. Let's take Addiction. Know anyone who fits the bill? You bet your ass you do.

My goal is not to call anyone out, but I have very close, dear and necessary friends who suffer from addiction. I have family members who suffer from addiction. They are all such good, loving people. Some people get past using and just live with the disease. Others use until they die. It's a brain disease.

How about bipolar disorder or depression. And probably substance abuse with it. Oh, now that's a big "tsk tsk." Are you shocked when your favorite actor commits suicide? Do you ever stop and think about it? I mean really think about it?

I met a really cool kid this weekend. He's animated, talented, sweet, gracious, well-mannered, and suffering from addiction. I can't not like him. He's adorable. I can't not like him. I want him to survive, but it's very hard for him because society sees it as his fault. A few people see him as a person. Most see him as a fuck up.

I guess I don't know where this is going just yet, but I do know that I want you to do your part and be a defender of those who suffer from a stigma due to a disease in the brain. If you have no problem "admitting" your grandpa has heart disease, then don't have a problem "admitting" that your child, or even you, have depression or addiction or dementia or whatever. You're not "less" because of it.

Why You Should Buy Food Security Products - July 27, 2013

The Attack of the 20 Year Old Male...

 

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Once again, my inbox holds an email advertising food security. However, this particular ad is different. Not only does it offer a great deal on food storage - something like 4,000 servings of freeze dried yumminess - this ad suggests that I'll need security for my supply. Safes and night vision cameras.

This can only mean one thing. People take the zombie apocalypse seriously.
I think that's dumb.
While all you people are trying to figure out how to survive the undead, I'm trying to figure out how to survive living with a 20 year old man.

I'm an expert, actually. I started my vigilance a few years ago with teenage boys.

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These voracious creatures come in deceptively handsome bodies. However, beware! They will eat every last morsel of food on the planet, and THAT'S why you need food security. They ARE the apocalypse...

Here's a quick pic of what you'll need.

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As you can see from the above picture, Costco offers the whole shebang. If you are going to survive while living with this creature, you'll need to stock up on your own food products, and then lock them up in a seriously serious safe.

The security cameras are good for late night munchie surveillance.

I set this operation up and here's what I discovered...

These creatures are drawn to well stocked refrigerators

It's impossible to live with a metabolic monster and not have a well stocked fridge. Fortunately, for me, my monster doesn't eat junk food. He prefers organic vegetables and super lean meats; like game and fish.

I shot this image with my super nocturnal night camera. You can see it's a stealthy creature that silently, and secretly, wipes out entire grocery lists in one REM cycle.

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Some believe that it's cheaper to feed these apocalyptic eaters fresh vegetables, whole foods, and such. I'm beginning to wonder if there's not some merit to the junk food phenomenon. There are days that I seriously consider stocking up on chips, cookies, sodas, and processed frozen pizzas. I know from past parties and camping trips that my grocery bill for junk fests is about the same as my weekly - well... now daily - trip to the Farmers' Market and Whole Foods.

If I wanted to kill this thing, then I'd go that route. I don't want to kill it. Like any good apocalypse story, I happen to love my end times eater. If you are harboring one, two, or even 10 of these killer food processors, then I'll bet you love yours, too.

What to look for

Not sure you're living with a metabolic force of nature? Here's what to look for:

  • Has lost interest in video games
  • Eats an entire bag of raw carrots in a day
  • Has taken up superhuman activities like Shaun T's Insanity workout
  • Possesses zero body fat

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This thing will always compliment your cooking. It's a sinister strategy designed to make you feel good so that you'll cook even more. It typically has extremely good manners; making it a shoe-in for invitations to expensive dinners with the girls. (Basically, your girlfriends absolutely love it, and they'll pitch in on the $38 steak and glass of wine it woofs up.)

Hide your stash

There's no guarantee a freeze dried food supply will save you in the event of an empty refrigerator, but for mere hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can be prepared. Never mind hurricane season or the threat of nuclear disaster. You need to think about that adorable little boy you just gave birth to.

I'm not saying girls can't become eating machines, but any healthy active young man WILL, without doubt, eat every morsel of food on the planet.

Lure them with World of Warcraft and a Big Mac

If you don't have the fortitude to live in the eating apocalypse, feel free to lure this skinny, muscle bound ball of testosterone to the dark side. You'll find plenty of great deals on video games and fast food, and in most cases, this will do the trick.

Try to keep all information about heart disease, obesity, and diabetes away from the eater. Otherwise, you're doomed, like me.

Do not become active yourself. If you do, you are encouraging energy burn-off. What I'm saying, is "sister. you asked for it."

In the meantime, stock-up on your life supply of Non-GMO, low sodium, freeze dried delectables, and get ready to survive...

An American Holiday Disaster - July 23, 2013

This is the story of 4 workmates that decided to celebrate the most American of American holidays - National Hot Dog Day.

 

This is Ada. It's probable that she's responsible for this mess.

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Like everyone else in this story, Ada works at Offers.com. Along with her co-workers, she helps promote the best coupons and deals on the Internet. As an expert in seeking out and advertising deals, it makes sense that Ada had inside information about National Hot Dog Day. There's no other reason the others would embrace $1 chili cheese dogs and American dogs from Sonic.

This is Ryan

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He's a photographer and the company videographer. He's also a "yes man" when it comes to adventures with the girls. And like any other fine young American man, he would definitely say yes to $1 hot dogs. He's also manly enough to add chili to his tater tots. There's no reason to foreshadow. Dear readers. You KNOW that every one of these people ordered tater tots with cheese, too. We ARE talking about celebrating a national holiday at Sonic.

This is Christy. me.

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I've been around awhile. Certainly long enough to know that $1 hot dogs are probably "iffy" at best. I admit to caving in to peer pressure. My original lunch plans included a container of left-over cabbage and green beans. Organic, of course.

This is Crystal. She's the office social coordinator.

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Although Ada likely instigated this whole hot dog celebration, it's not a done deal until Crystal says so. You know. She has THAT kind of influence. Please study the above photograph. We all know Lone Star Beer sucks, but I bet you looked at that picture and thought it was pretty cool.

Lunch for a Dollar

I think it's fair to say that anyone would get excited about a $1 lunch.
All I know is that Crystal said to me, "Oh my god. One dollar chili dogs at Sonic! We should go."
I can be non-committal if I have to, and at first, I felt like I would be able to resist this suggestion disguised as a proclamation.
Didn't work like that.
Crystal continued to explain that today was National Hot Dog Day, and that Sonic was selling $1 chili cheese dogs and $1 American dogs all day. "We should do it. You want to go?"

..."Maybe."

After a flurry of IM exchanges with Ryan and Ada, the decision was made. I blew off the cabbage and headed to Sonic with my workmates to celebrate.
Talk about a long line. Apparently, this holiday is more important than I thought.
In fact, there was a lady in front of us who ordered 84 dogs. 84!

Of course, our plan was to spend $2. That's 2 dogs. You figured out early in this post that we spent more than $2 each. Tater tots! No trip to Sonic is complete without tater tots! Ada and Christy got the traditional cheesed up variety. Crystal - being from El Paso and all - added jalapenos to hers. Ryan manned up and went full on chili and cheese. Add a cherry limeade, and one has ordered the most American meal possible on a hot July day. Lunch total - $6.93 each.

It looked like this.

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This is not something we shared. No-sir-ee. This is what we got apiece.

We were in and out of there in 30 minutes. Indeed. Fast food.
We took our American selves back to the car.

That's when the trouble started

Ada proclaimed she had cramps. Crystal seemed to think she might not make it back to the office before all hell broke loose. Although Christy and Ryan initially felt fine, Crystal's panicked driving changed all that. Our experience was somewhere between the stomach flu and a heart attack.

We did make it back to the office with our guts in tact, but it went downhill from there. Crystal got scary pale. Ryan didn't make his usual after lunch visit to our department. Ada got an eerily timed email about the 8 things that happen when you eat bad food. And let me tell you, these 8 things happen fast!  Here are 4 examples:

1. You may experience lethargy.

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2. You will experience bloating and gas.

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3. Possible vertigo.

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4. Depression and withdrawal.

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Trust me. We won't do it again.
Our boss - who's all about a good deal - even said, "Christy. Come on. You know better than that."

Of course I do! But I think it's appropriate that we try our own deals here at Offers.com. In fact, I'll bet there are 84 people who still think that National Hot Dog Day is the greatest American holiday ever! And no matter how bad we felt, I can promise you that none of us will give up tater tots with cheese.
Because THAT, my friends, would be un-American.

This isn't funny - July 16, 2013

I never thought that I would run out of compassion, but I feel like I have.

I'm wondering why this happened.
Have I listened to too many hard luck stories?
Have I experienced too much extreme suffering?
Is it the daily commute?
Am I just becoming selfish?

So here's what I'm looking for...

my compassion.

I used to have this full, meaningful life.
I spent most of my days helping others. At work. At "play." While sitting in meditation.
Then one day, it just stopped.
I just stopped.

It's a curious malady.
I'm aware of a certain circle of judgement from the outside arena.
I kind of don't care what people think.

Did I personalize all of that "do the right thing" too much?
Did I do it all for the wrong reasons? Was it my ego? Was it some higher force driving me? Was it biological hardwiring? Does environment play into it?

I don't know, but suffering wears me out these days.
I don't suffer. I'm pretty content. But suffering wears me out.
I'm rather ashamed of that, actually.

O.K.
So I won't go on and on.
It's just such a strange experience for me. The flatness, the conscious ability to will myself away from helping when I know damn good and well that I can help.

Let's just call it ambivalence.  

Is underemployed a better solution? - July 7, 2013

Josh is writing his Freshman term paper on "Living in America on Minimum Wage." Lucky him, he lives with  me, and just because I'm curious, I'm sourcing the articles and research resources. Naturally, I'm going to form my own thesis and contentious opinion on the subject.

Here's what's got me fired up this morning:

"You didn't even mention the worst idea of all, which is raising the minimum wage when we already have an effective-- we have a 14 percent unemployment rate in this country." - Stephen Moore.

First of all, economists and "scholars" are the worst people to weigh in on minimum wage, and Moore's statement is proof of this. He recommends keeping people in poverty by underemploying them rather than raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 so that the massive corporations - like McDonald's - are forced to cut their workforce to meet bottom line goals.

Seriously?

Another argument against raising the minimum wage is that it will make it too hard for companies to provide health insurance for workers. Last I checked, I pay for part of my health insurance. If I only made minimum wage, I'd forgo the benefit because even $25 a paycheck would be enough to get my electricity turned off due to non-payment. I'd take my chances on my health. I'd hope that I never got sick enough to need to see a real doctor. Then if I did, say get in a car wreck, I'd just refuse to pay the bill and let the fine American people take up my slack.

Here's the reality, as I see it. $1.75 more an hour is not going to bankrupt Wal-mart, McDonald's, or Taco Bell. There may be some stock adjustments, but it's not likely that a wage boost will be the deal breaker. Indeed it will be painful, but it really is necessary.

I think the thinkers need to tip better when the pizza boy comes because they have no concept of what it means to live on even $10 an hour, much less minimum wage. If the corporate nation, as a whole, is resistant to raising Americans out of working poverty, than the individuals who make up this nation should ante up personally whenever they can - and "whenever" is way more often than they think.

Whether it's total unemployment or working poverty, the very fact that this nation has such a visible problem is embarrassing. No matter how you slice it, poverty is the thing that will destroy our nation.

  • Mothers working 2 full-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet
  • Who's watching the kids?
  • Mothers without health insurance
  • Who's paying for the doctor visits?
  • Mothers not showing up to work because the car broke down
  • Who's going to pay to get it fixed?
  • Mothers picking up a third job to get ahead
  • Who's selling you your fancy-thinking economist his weed?

Ivory tower thinking will never solve our poverty problem. One must engage in the dirty masses. You know... sort of like Jesus. One must physically empathize with those who never got a good education because no one was home to make the kids do homework. One must look into the flesh and blood face of a mother sitting in an emergency room at midnight with a baby suffering a 104 degree temperature because hoping it would go away didn't work this time. One must walk into the home of a minimum wage worker and see the broken stove, the hole in the living room floor, the two or three cans of beans that make up the entire food supply, the twin bed that two adults share.

I'd take a hefty bet that Stephen Moore has never done this.
Stephen Moore has never had a personal relationship with a family that hasn't had hot water in years because the hot water heater went out a really long time ago.

Are there exceptions? You bet.
Wendy Davis.
She is exceptional.
However, she is the empathy that we, as a nation, need to start making the folks in the tower really understand how hard it is to be her. If it was easy, then Moore is right. $7.25 an hour is all you need to get there.

11:11 - June 29, 2013

It's where I'm supposed to be. I distractedly looked down at my phone at the farmers' market this morning, and it said, 11:11.

I started looking around because I figured there was someone I should be connecting with. I didn't see anyone who was looking for me, so I blew it off as more wishful thinking from this hopelessly hopeful (albeit, secretly hopeful - I don't share it with others) romantic. I'm a creature of habit, so my usual trek through the market is to make a clockwise trip all the way around, maybe get a tamale, maybe go sit and listen to the live music and eat it, then leave. Since I got the magical 11:11, and I didn't see the person I was meant to connect with, I cut straight across the market and bought squash and corn. I pretty much forgot about the magical time stamp.

I did run smack into Josh. He's leaned up and ripped up since I've seen him (like two weeks), so I almost bounced off his chest. We chatted, shared our plans for the day, went to see the milk lady, but she was out of 2%, Josh sampled all her cheeses, thanked her, and I went home, and he went to Barton Springs.

By the time I got home it was - I shit you not - 12:12.
O.K.
I should probably freak out a little. I mean that MUST mean SOMETHING. Although I have no idea what.
Maybe it just means nothing.
Maybe it is just a small signal that things will be good.

Maybe it's just a coincidence that made a psychological shift in my outlook, and I will make things good.

I spent the whole day at home. I cooked. Josh and I ate. I talked to a lifelong/childhood friend. I worked out. I listened to Elton John's Greatest Hits on vinyl. I vacuumed. I am content.

It's this whole thing about happiness. You have to be happy to find happiness.
11:11

I am happy.

Running from Rick - June 23, 2013

Since I'm not much on hitting the town lately, I had no idea that a person was branded "East" or "West" in Austin. However, I hear the young 'uns at work say things like, "He's a west side guy." This particular description is usually dripping with disdain. It is much cooler to be an east sider.

I get it. I understand why. The East side has disguised itself as the real Austin. Here's a newsflash, kiddos. That is not the real Austin. That mythical city is gone. Although the east side has the laid back, live and let live feel of the ancient city of coolness, it's still not Austin as old farts like me and my old fart friends remember it.

So today, me and my old fart friend, Allison, went to see a movie at the Violet Crown Cinema in the Second Street District. After the movie, we decided to go down onto Second Street, pop into a restaurant and grab a glass of wine and some food. Seriously. I'm not making this up. We got lost. We walked to the end of the block and stood there slack jaw like a couple of stupid tourists. This is especially poignant because Allison was born and raised in Austin. Finally, we walked the entire block. Much to my satirical joy, I spotted a street map on a building.

I don't even recognize Second Street. When I moved to Austin, in the early 1990's, the only reason you even considered going near the empty, creepy, dirty area that is now the Second Street District, is because you were going to the famously Austin cool, and perfectly grimy club, Liberty Lunch.  Talk about a real Austin outcry, when they tore that place down...

So what does this have to do with Rick?

Austin has gentrified. Even the hipster facade on East 6th is really just a bed head hairdo on a fat wallet. Music is not our thing. Tech and fancy food is our thing. Rick is racing across the country insulting cities and states and then asking them to move the party to Texas.

Low regulations, willing workforce (that means smart young hipsters willing to work for pennies to the New York dollar), and plenty of space to re-purpose into Second Street Districts are Perry's campaign. Has this guy ever taken a walk or run around Town Lake (look it up, transplant. It's the name of the lake if you've lived in Austin long enough to know exactly where Liberty Lunch was)? Do you think he ever drank Buckhorn beer at the Black Cat Lounge? Do you think he's ever been bitched out by the lady who ran Dry Creek Saloon?

I'm not saying there should be no progress in Austin, I'm just saying it's a sad day when Allison gets lost in the downtown of her hometown. That's all I'm saying.

Ventriloquism

The scuttlebutt is that Perry will make another run for President. Well, good luck, buddy. This man is a known idiot. He's got a little slot right in the back of his head where his handlers and lobbyists slip their hand to move his mouth.

Basically, the boy ain't smart. But he's got smart money propping him up. Honestly, I think the American people will reject him. Frankly, you can't go around insulting some guy's hometown and expect him to think you care about him. He won't even get the nomination. He'll simply be a splash of bizarre reality TV humor.

I don't really care. What I care about is that I can't find my way around the block on Second Street. I care that I want to hang in a low rent setting, but it's hipster vibe means I run the risk of running into some CEO from Sacramento. I care about the lack of regular venues where impromptu little musical magical jams and performances crop up because all of the longtime Austin players like to hang out there on a Sunday (Perry probably never went to Artz either). I care about the ceiling caving in on me at the Broken Spoke, but I care more that it looks so sad and defeated cramped in between "new build."

Austin's still a pretty city. It's still a great city with so much great stuff to do. I just wish the people Perry is wooing into town would make a better effort to preserve the reasons they moved here in the first place.

How to Rob a Bank - June 19, 2013

We got some disheartening news at work a few weeks ago. The company has decided to make an accounting adjustment and pay us 7 days in arrears.

Everybody on my end of the building is freaking out. We're the po' folk. You know... writers working as merchandisers. Marketing graduates working as merchandisers. Copywriting, creating online shoe deals, managing content. All for Austin salaries. And that ain't the best in Texas, let me tell you. People love to live in Austin, and Austin companies love to underpay because they know we'll take it to live in our great city.

When a company makes an accounting adjustment that takes one week of pay and plops it at the end of your worklife at that company, things get a little punchy. Basically, we get it when we quit. (Isn't that an optimistic prospect?)

Really, I don't know what's going on, but a few days ago, Crystal let us all know that the Prosperity Bank down the street had just been robbed. Since everyone's begging from Peter to pay Paul, I suggested we rob a bank.

Well. The fantasy started. So here goes.

A bank robbery as imagined by me and my 5 workmates

Anna said you cannot rob a bank without this get-away car. A badass war wagon is a must.

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She said it works best if Ryan Gosling is the driver.

Then we started a list:

  • Do it for a dollar to go to jail and get free medical treatment.
  • Go during lunch when there’s only one teller.
  • Pick an ugly bank because people don’t like to go in there. They prefer a pretty bank.
  • Queen Latifa should be the ring leader. 

Along with these few ideas, I did some research, of course. Honestly, it doesn't seem to be that hard to rob a bank.

(A shout out to the NSA...)

Let's just say we're famous girl robbers...

How would that go down?

I think Anna would be Bonnie Parker. I know the car is not as cool as the Healey, but Bonnie is an icon. Who wouldn't want to be Bonnie and go on the most famous bank robbing spree in history?

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Kathryn could be a Barbie Bandit. I mostly picked the Barbie robber because it's such an antithesis to Kathryn. But hey. Every girl should go glam just once, and it pays better than teaching yoga on the side.

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I'll give Chelsea the honor of taking on the Patty Hearst persona. Mostly because we'd probably have to brainwash Chelsea to do anything "wrong" anyway. She has a bad case of "nice."

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I'm going to give myself the unglamorous persona of the Starlett Bandit who was only named that because of her sunglasses and her preferred robbing locale. Otherwise, she was pretty frumpy and dumpy. Yea me!

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Alyssa was at home with a sick kid today, so I picked the popular girl robber look for her - the one that requires a ball cap and sunglasses. For some reason, this disguise seems to work for the robber...

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Crystal, who started this whole thing, wouldn't go along with the final deed, so she gets to be an unknown robber chola.

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another shout out to  the nsa

(I did it in bold, with H3 tags, in case they had their spy gear off the first time...)

Could we? Would we?

Seriously. Could we? We're smart enough and unlikely enough suspects to probably pull this off at an ugly bank. The Prosperity Bank that got robbed is easily the ugliest bank in Austin. Surely we can find the second ugliest.

It's an exciting thought, and a group of girls can dream, can't we?

Anna

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Runs a fancy food trailer that smashes the Austin Qui mystique!

Kathryn

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Yoga guru with a studio right where the Sheiks like to land their helicopters for F1.

Chelsea 

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Owns the rights to Adventure Time and therefore, owner of the world's only diamond studded Fionna hoodie.

Me 

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I made two "shout outs" to the NSA - come on. I'm going to jail.

Crystal 

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Tasked with making my jail cell look better than Martha Stewart's

Alyssa

(No picture available - what the heck?!?! I couldn't even rob one from Facebook.)
Buys and successfully runs Adam & Eve - 'cause y'all. that's where the real money is!

So.
We'll give this some thought over drinks. I think I'll host a "poor baby" happy hour this weekend for those of us reeling from the 7 day cash crunch. If anybody hears Ryan Gosling will be in town, be sure to tell him where I live!

Lift - June 15, 2013

Lift.
Lift your  boobs.
Lift your butt.
Lift your mood.
Lift your understanding of why women do this to themselves.

I'm talking breast implants.
Not the kind required after a mastectomy.
The kind that improve self-esteem, sexual attractiveness, professional success, body image, some doctor's income...

As usual, this was NOT the blog I planned to write. However, I went to see "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" at Top Notch Burgers last night. My friend and I were sitting in the bed of my truck, enjoying the movie, which was made in 1985, when Morgan Fairchild appeared on the screen as her sexy 1985 self.

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What I noticed is that she did not have big breasts. She was 1985 sexy, but her breasts were normal. Naturally, I researched her boob size over coffee this morning. Indeed. Her current breasts are much more endowed than her 1985 breasts. Why would she do this?

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I don't know.

Maybe she felt saggy and old. Personally, I think she still looks great. But I'm not obsessed with breasts - including my own.

Just the Facts on DD, please

I did a fast bit of research, and I found an article in the Guardian that explains why humans are the only ape that keeps fully inflated breasts for our entire lives. Here's why. Humans are the only ape creature that finds them sexually attractive.

Well. Duh.

This article also explained that human female butts have the same allure. Boobs and butts signal to the male that the female is highly fertile. Apparently a slender waist indicates higher fertility, too. (There were scientific footnotes, so I "trust" the article.)

Then I found some junk science that accused men of causing menopause. Since old men prefer women half their age, they make the older female useless as reproductive mates. Therefore, the thrown over old lady stops bleeding. Well... o.k.

I don't know any older women who WANT to have more babies - mostly because they remember how exhausting the first round was. Besides, most women want a life of their own. I'd argue that the Red Hat Society makes more scientific sense than Morgan Fairchild's desire to reproduce in her 60s.

That being said, I DO think older women, and unfortunately, perfectly perfect young women believe their gravity defying butts and boobs will make them more desirable - i.e. less lonely.

Find a reasonable option

Now, if you're considering implants, try to find a doctor who strips you down and forces you to look at yourself in the mirror. Try to find one who makes you explain what is really wrong with your body. An ethical doctor will tell you if your need for bigger boobs is caused by depression, or something like poor self-esteem for no good reason.

If you can "fix" you without surgery, by all means do it.

  1. Breast implants are not covered by insurance
  2. The medical problems that may arise due to the implants are not covered by insurance
  3. Plastic surgery can go wrong
  4. The person who requests bigger boobs or butt on you should be tossed out with the rest of the trash

Look at these things. They are going into your body. They do NOT feel like the real thing, and that matters if you ask me.

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As for your butt, I'm sure you can do a butt implant, but my workmate found these yesterday as she was managing merchant pages. We market all kinds of stuff for all kinds of companies. We had a good time with this one.

Booty Bras and Padded Panties.

Some of these things make a thong gone wrong seem like a soft pat on the butt. I mean, damn. Ouch. But wow.
We decided these were ultimately a bad idea if you're out trolling for a man.
Exactly what do you say when he discovers your buns are actually affected by gravity?
Hopefully, he's a kind soul who loves you for your inner qualities, but chances are he'll become suddenly unavailable if he hasn't known you long enough to notice the rise and fall of your behind from one day to the next.

There's probably nothing wrong with you

I understand that we are ultimately animals designed to procreate in order to survive as a species. And if, in fact, boobs and butts, enhance our long-term survival plan, then try to take care of yours. Especially if you want to contribute to the human population. But I also suspect there's a really smart person out there who's gonna love you for being your best natural self.

I don't think you should let yourself go because it may send signals that you aren't willing to work on yourself and ultimately your relationship. But then, maybe I'm saying this while looking through my own lens. I'm attracted to people who take care of themselves. I tend to look at a healthy person, a hard working person, a compassionate person, and a person with neat/clean surroundings as the most attractive to me. That's just me.

You, on the other hand, may be exactly what the perfect mate is waiting for - no matter what your bathroom looks like. So love yourself. If you think you can improve, then try some proven exercise, good diet, therapy, etc. before you let someone cut into you. If you can step back and evaluate your body with a little scientific disconnect, and you really think a lift would make sense, then it's your body to improve.

(As a footnote: I'd like to remind everyone to get their annual wellness exams, do breast self exams, or get your sweetheart to do it because he/she may notice a difference before you do, and mammograms as recommended.)

How to Attract a Creep with Online Dating - June 12, 2013

My original plan was to write about online dating sites and their curious marketing strategy. Notably FarmersOnly.com.  A workmate said they run an ad during "Mad Men." We're trying to figure out what farmers have to do with Don Draper. However, I got sidetracked. As often happens with me, I got interested in the human element of the online dating community. 

I started reading profiles.

Here's what I know. A poorly written profile will land you the finest creep on the planet.

I did not make this up

These are actual profiles. I did not change a thing:

"I am usually at work 5 days a week i have new car 2013 i have no kids i like go out eat i do go clubs once in a while." – Female profile - she can expect to land herself a jobless drunk. Good thing she's got a car!

"I'm a good hearted person who is looking for some fun & love again at the same time, I've been hurt way to many times." - Male profile - After I honed in on the "to" v "too," I thought this poor guy will probably actually marry that overbearing witch that reminds him of his mother.

"Hey Everyone Just On Here Looking For Friends Or Clients I Am A Stripper At Chica Bonitas:) I Love To Dance And Have Fun"  - a professional woman…

"Hey I'm Thomas. I'm not gonna out a lot here, gives us more to talk about but I'm 23 and moved to Austin over then summer." – I like ‘em stupid - Seriously. What would you talk to him about?

And finally... This profile belongs to a man, but really and truly, there are plenty of women who could own it, too. Do. Not. Reply. don't do it... 

The jerk you're going to attract 

"I hold a slightly skewed view of the world. I'm blunt while sometimes exposing peoples' peculiarities in a jovial manner... or a insidious motherfucker, depending on your disposition. More often, however, find myself steeping in a pool of self-defecating humor. Poop jokes... " - enough said. Please exercise self-respect to avoid this person.

I'm old fashioned. While I see the value in online dating, I think you could cut out that step and just get out into the world. Engage in a hobby, a special interest, a volunteer activity. Get a 3D sample before you commit to a date. 

I may add to this blog later, but that's a start!

Disaster Cuisine - June 8, 2013

The annual invasion of tornadoes right up the middle of America and the inaugural tropical storm for 2013 means it's time to buy your disaster food supply!

Better yet, if you're a disaster food supply retailer, it's time to market the mystery meal supply that some Americans know they need, and other Americans believe they need.

You KNOW you need it

  • because you live in Houston or New Orleans, and a two week interruption in utility service is just part of dealing with a hurricane.
  • because you live in Oklahoma, and a two week interruption in utility service - and quite possibly, grave damage to your home - are part of dealing with a tornado.
  • because you live in L.A. or San Francisco, and the "big one" can happen any time.

I'm a Texan, so in my mind, it's fairly easy to protect the emergency food supply from the impending disaster. Most of the stuff comes in waterproof buckets. I don't know what you do if you live in L.A. and the earthquake crushes your food pantry. I guess you keep the food supply in the storm shelter if you live in Oklahoma.

Anyway. These "survivor" kits are necessary and well worth the money if you live in a disaster prone area.

You BELIEVE you need it

  • because you listen to too much talk radio.
  • you hate the President.
  • you drink too much and spend your night time hours sharing paranoid hate-speech memes on Facebook.

The marketing powers know you WELL. In fact, they name their emergency food supply websites things like, http://www.mypatriotsupply.com. (Note that I've made it easy for you to get all freaked out and buy your supply of nutritious, Non-GMO, freeze dried broccoli and cheese dip by providing a link to a patriotic business... umm).

Price shop, please

I think I can say with absolute lack of authority that none of these emergency food kits tastes very good. After all, we're talking survival, not dinner at Ruth Chris. I was actually inspired to write this blog because Costco sent me an email featuring their survivor food supply special. So here goes!

Costco is the best price hands down. Only $149.99 for 700 servings. But it's a short lived promo. Buy before June 23. After that, the price is $200. But that's still a way better deal then the competitors.

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I'd like to note that I've never seen anyone in Costco who looked like a paranoid patriot. Indeed. This company may suffer from a liberal marketing strategy. Therefore, I don't recommend wearing tactical gear into one of their warehouses. You'll probably be followed...

Next, I checked a leading competitor that has good SEO rankings. Watch out! We're talking a whopping $1395.00 for the same 700 servings. I attribute this price hike to the high cost of celebrity endorsements. People. Mean is expensive.

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Finally, I checked with our good patriots and delicious food suppliers. They're only asking $999.99 (don't confuse that with $1000) for 700 servings. The only reason I can find for their pricey patriotic food is that it appears to either come with really nice dinnerware, OR it has the ability to protect your fine dinnerware during a terrorist attack.

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Let me know what you think.

Regardless of where and why you buy an emergency food supply, I wrote this entry to demonstrate the importance of shopping around. Food supplies are a great example of businesses preying on fear and paranoia.

Even if you hate the President, try to use your head and spend your last dime wisely.

Daily Dose of Dog Hair - June 5, 2013

I don't know how people with dogs have time to do things like watch t.v.

Here's my home routine:

AM: Get up. Feed dogs. Make coffee. Vacuum dog hair. Drink coffee. Eat. Shower. Go to work.
PM: Feed dogs. Feed me. Run dogs. Vacuum dog hair. Go to bed.
Every other day or so: Extract dog hair from my couch (this is usually inserted somewhere between run dogs and go to bed).

Sounds like a dull existence, but I look at it this way. I save over $100 a month on cable.
How do I spend my money?
Wine (because every dog owner needs it), laundry detergent (because every dog owner sleeps with a dog), dog food, of course.

Is this your life, too? Are you looking for ways to make your t.v. free mornings and evenings more efficient and clean? 

Dog owner must-haves:

  • one of those velvety lint brush things
  • lifetime supply of Scotchgard
  • a little vacuum cleaner stick thingy
  • old sheets to protect the couch and your bed just in case you ever have house guests or some unlikely romance

I swear by that little lint brush. However, it's important that my couch is velvet - albeit cheap velvet. Rubbing a velvety brush against the grain of a velvety couch will suck off even the finest dog hair. I live with an old mutt of mysterious origins named Odys.

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He sheds every ancestor since the beginning of dog time every day. This little brush saves my life and my downtown, "I'm so hip i live in austin" pride. Of course, unloading a couple of cans of Scotchgard on the couch help with drool and human mishaps.

The little vacuum stick is my nightly dance partner. I throw a little vinyl on the turntable and vacuum my concrete floors - every. single. day. ...sometimes, twice a day. What I suck up PROVES that carpet is evil and the reason our children will die sooner than our grandparents who never knew the stinky fuzzy floor covering called carpet.

Old sheets are for the Evil Sunny bin Laden. She's dog #2, and she owns my bed. She's mean, so there's no negotiation on bed ownership. She's not quite as generous with hair ejection as Odys, but close.

There's a third dog named Ellie Mae, but best I can tell, she's only responsible for the worst dog breath on the planet.

Then the boy moved in

K. Got dog clean under control.
Josh is moving in. Josh is David's best friend. As you may recall, David lived with me a few years ago. Now Josh is moving in. Thankfully, he's outgrown teenage boy stink, but he's picked up a few man habits; like dipping.

So far, one spit cup under the bed...
Small oil leak from motorcycle in garage...

Oil leak remedied with piece of carpet that was used to haul the $50 refrigerator I bought for the garage - anticipating the need for more food and beer due to young man on premise.

As for spitting. Well. My dad does it, and my mother survived AND keeps a super clean house. My only comment has been, "You better not get throat cancer because I expect you take care of me in old age."

Should I kick that cup over, I'll report on the fastest way to get that goo off the floor.
...another reason to Scotchgard the couch, I suppose.

Get Outside of Yourself and Look - June 3, 2013

I made big plans to look back at myself from across the pond.

There's a Buddhist instruction that says, "Get outside of yourself and look."
Meditation is supposed to be the vehicle, but I've gotten pretty lazy about that, so I decided that I'd look back at myself from Budapest. I thought I'd find career enlightenment. I thought I'd come to some bold new strategy for making more money and ensuring my financial stability in this increasingly expensive city.

It didn't happen like that.

I had uncomfortable dreams about relationships. I woke up crying. I felt people that I love more than I should crashing down on me. I had dreams about people with no faces.

It's not surprising that looking back at myself would reveal just how out of tune I am with my own heart and mind. Nobody wants to be honest about love and intimacy - especially me. I want to be independent and strong, but let's face it. I'm not. I have taken a serious relationship thrashing over the last few years. And frankly, it beat me. Now it's everything I can do not to give in to cynicism and bitter isolation.

What have I learned? What do I have to be honest with myself about?

  • I don't use my head enough when it comes to relationships
  • That doesn't mean I'm too nice, it just means I have very poor boundaries
  • I mix up being bold with being stupid
  • I place too much value on the wrong people and not enough value on the right people
  • It's O.K. to say "no."

I hope that admitting these things to myself make it easier for me to shift directions and surround myself with people who have as much to give as they take. More balance. I hope to find relationships that make me want to invest and be involved - that I look forward to engaging in.

I've taken the initiative before, and stepped out to find new surroundings. In some ways, my last brave leap bombed. In others, it produced some great results. I guess that's just the way it goes.

yeah, that felt good - January 22, 2013

yeah, that felt good

Don't let anyone woo you away from your routine.
I've recently bought a little condo just east of SoCo, and there are 3 wall-size mirrors in it. It's a great space illusion idea, but I don't need to see myself to feel like my space is big. However, I can certainly turn pretty much any direction, and see my reflection, and say to myself, "Don't let anyone woo you away from your routine."

Obviously, that's what's happened. Now I'm exhausted.
People laugh at me when I say I'm an introvert. It's people that don't know me as well as they think they do. You know, your friends... the experts.

I've had a lot of quality friend time lately. They've been amazingly helpful as I remodel this condo. They give me social time - which I admit I need - and they wear me out. Women are drama queens by nature. I don't know one that will admit it, but we are all drama queens. That's what wears me out.

Sunday afternoon I felt like I'd been through some kind of energy vortex that eats every buzzing molecule of vibration in my body. I wanted to shut down and be a hermit. However, I had a date with Lenny. I thought that would be the last straw. The last slurping up from the bottom of my Big Gulp of misunderstood extroversion. It was not. Not only did he put me at ease and bring me back to me, he was late, so I had to sit at the bar at Threadgill's and wait. About 4 of my other people (your friends and your people are different) came by. Just a passing hello, quick chat and hug filled me up enough to keep me off the bottom of the used up energy dumpster.

So I took off my oxygen mask and took a quick breath of thin energy and let the mirror speak to me.

Now I'm getting back on my routine.

1. Cherish alone time because introverts need it to replenish and fool people into thinking they're extroverts. I have a minor in Theater and I'm a performing songwriter. People! What makes you think I can't fool you?

2. Sleep late if I need to. And I have needed to.

3. Meditate in the morning and in the evening. Go waayyyy down into the beta wave and stay there for as long as I can.

4. Exercise every day.

5. Pay attention. That's the only way I'll know how to find my people.

6. Spend more time with my people.

I have to do this because I don't like the current version of me. I'm cranky, I'm knee-jerk, I'm distracted, I'm self-pitying, and all of that makes me lonely. Six months ago, I decided to be more social. It was a good decision. It got me off the sidelines. But that was a really treacherous part of the path. I need a little smooth walking.

Why? Because the path is going to get rough again, and I can't be a good friend without my people.

That's all.

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