Friday, July 21, 2006 

a sign...

... that i've been working hard and it is stressful:

i dreamt about work last night. manuscript markup, organization, freelancers, reviewers....



in my attempt to recreate the macaroni grill's bread, i made a delicious rosemary foccacia.

i also made baked ziti (recipe to come)... but i think it lacks something texturally. am i completely nuts to think it would be better with a sprinkling of bread crumbs on top? i think i've been watching too many episodes of the sopranos -- i fear that artie bucco and a band of italians will hunt me down and destroy me if i mess with their cuisine.

i was going to make tiny veggie meatballs (yes, i am a crazy food experimenter) but the bread and ziti alone kept me up till near-midnight. another day, perhaps....

cooking cheers me. last night i listened to music from my mid-college years (jude and holly cole) and i took my time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 

An average of more than 100 civilians a day were killed in Iraq last month.

via nytimes

Monday, July 10, 2006 

the skunk story

skunks grunt in a threatening manner. you probably don't believe me if you've never encountered a live one... but they do.

april 1998, spring break of my freshman year of college.

camping for the first time. boquillas for the first (two) time(s), h/javalinas, hot springs, tequila, mexico bud.

four young men, two young women in tents (ours was yellow), a faucet just a few feet away, the bathroom a small hike.

jenny and i went to use said facilities on night two. it smelled of decades of children's urine. the mirrors were warped ---- but the toilets flushed, the faucets worked and we had toilet paper.

we pushed the door open to walk back to the campside, refreshed and happy when the most terrifying sound (other than a bear, of course) one can hear in a Big Bend canyon quickly pierced the air between the black and white beast and our eardrums.

that is right.

there was a skunk right smackdab in the middle of the street/trail between the bathroom and our campsite.

i looked at jenny. she looked at me. she indicated with rightward nodding motions that perhaps we could circumvent said skunk by veering to the right when

Nyeh Nyeh Neyh! (x3)

two other skunks joined our good friend.

we squealed.

they squealed, which was almost as frightening as the grunting, so

jenny and i ran back into the bathroom. we tore out a toilet and barricaded a door.

(i'm just kidding with that last part.)

we sat in that restroom for over an hour, occasionally peeking out at the skunks who were patiently sitting MERE FEET away from the door. ever ycreak of the metal door elicited an off-key trio of grunts.


the boys thought we were fixing our makeup (as though one could with the crazywarpmirrors) or bonding in some sort of odd gossip fashion. they finally came to look for us; i think that J and i lost a couple of lives when we heard the banging on the bathroom door. they're here for us!!!


apparently the scent of the very manly robust 19-year-olds had frightened the skunks away, and our camping buddies did not believe our tales.

we walked back to the campsite, relieved.

and then.

Nyeh Nyeh Nyeh!

we were surrounded.

our campsite had two picnic tables, which we promptly climbed upon, our smugness over being right tempered by fear of the wily striped bastards.

three skunks circled us, their little cute faces marked by a long white mark that extended to the tip of the tail, warning us of their potential to cause misery.

we sat there, stood, talked, marvelled ---- longer than j and i had been holed away in the bathroom.


eventually they left. with relieved sighs we returned to the business of camping, though we were all tempted to pile into the Ford SUV for the night,

and that was perhaps wise.

each night, quite late, i would awake to hear to a grunt or two right next to my head, i'd open my eyes to see the impression of a nose in the yellow canvas tent, a skunk right there.

i can't hold my breathe long under water, maybe twenty seconds.

i think i held it for hours on those nights.


and yes, they do grunt.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 

July 4th weekend

some friends from dallas came to round rock for the weekend -- lots of swimming and junk food and matrix movie marathoning.

then i took off for the bay, where the usual activity took place. we caught crabs, drank beer, ate aunt penni's incredible baked beans along with poke salad and a slew of other foods, conversed and caught up with each other beneath a cloudy sky. the uncles cooked some of the crabs. we had about six who'd been rejected for consumption after being put to sleep with ice. the cousins and i decided the best thing to do was stage a race -- we each bet on a crab and lined them up on the deck. the first to wake up and crabwalk to the safety of the bay would win.

mine won, after about a two-hour race (go #2!).

then the "kids" (the youngest being kel, who's almost 21) all decided that it would be a good idea to take the makeshift raft (planks of wood on a block of styrofoam, flanked by two barrells.). we wanted to see if it could carry a load of five young adults and as many beers in a plastic bag. as soon as aunt jac shares the pictures she took i'll post some. we tried to paddle to the bay with four little oars and rich kicking in the back... it was an incredible amount of fun. i think our aunts and uncles did this sort of thing when they were our age.

it was a glorious day filled with good conversation and activity. i crashed there so i wouldn't have to make the 3+ hour trek back to austin so late. after midnight yeager and i headed down to the dock to honor the tradition of sitting and conversing, at peace amidst the tranquil water gently slapping the wood.

i climbed into the couch's hideabed next to my cousin karl and a beautiful (growing!) golden retriever pup named tess. she took up most of the bed between us.

she doesn't snore like my jack, but it was comforting to sleep next to the soft furry puppy, surrounded by loved ones, aunts and uncles and cousins -- friends -- tucked into beds in the gently swaying house perched on thick red rounded stilts.

* * *

all i have to say is that uncle pat owes me a dollar.

and i'm grateful that my aunt and uncle keep up the yearly tradition which brings anywhere from 25-50 friends and family together.