Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rouse and Respond

September 30, 2010

I didn't clue in that tomorrow was an "Odd Friday" until it was too late to schedule a workshop. Let's defer it a week and make October 8th a "Really Odd Friday (Since It Is Really Even)".

Perhaps I can rouse your interest with this photo:

We had a funny discussion at the Chet store yesterday. One of the young interns (when I say young, I mean younger than me. Actually, I mean A LOT younger than me.) walked in complaining about his father. He said something like, ". . .and why would I listen to someone who always tucks his shirts in his pants, even when he's wearing a t-shirt?" This prompted a lot of head nodding and body language that screamed agreement from the other youngsters. I, on the other hand, slumped behind my desk and pulled my jacket closed around my middle to hide that I counted myself among the shirt-tucking scum they were criticizing.

I made several attempts to defend shirt-tucking:
  • It's easier for the ref to see someone tugging on your jersey and holding you back illegally if your shirt starts tucked in, instead of flapping in billows at your side.
  • It's easier to make a fashion faux-pas if you leave it out:
  • It's a generational thing. If you are over a certain age and you don't tuck your shirt in, your friends will assume senility or dementia. (Note to friends of this age: do you have flashbacks of coaches making you do horrible things if your t-shirts weren't tucked into your gym shorts AT ALL TIMES?)
I left out the obvious disadvantages to the shirt tuck (makes it difficult to conceal the "heat" you are carrying; may be inadvisable in certain weight classes). I also left out the very important advantage, illustrated by my first photo above.

This is my friend, Ian.

He prefers the shirt-tucked-in look because otherwise you could not view his ever-so-special rattleskin belt. Not only did Davis get a pie for my birthday, but Jimmie Homburg gave Ian this belt for my birthday. He has wanted one for months!


On a different wave length, Karen asked:

Did the foosball table come with the apartment or did you actually have that shipped??

Davis had a foosball table here in Bryan before he left for Ohio (thanks Tracy!), but he didn't take it with him. Within a few days of arriving in Columbus, he started bidding on an E-Bay foosball table in Dayton. He assumed if he won, he would have to find someone with a truck to help him pick it up.

Well, he won the bid, and bought a very solid, high-end foosball table. I got the news in an excited phone call on a Wednesday evening. He told me he needed to make a new friend who drove a truck before Saturday.

If he were in Texas this would have been easy-peasy. I see fifty or sixty of them in my (faculty) parking lot every morning. You can spot even more in the student lots.

Not so much in Columbus.

On that Saturday, he drove his Honda to Dayton, hoping he could remove the table's legs and possibly fit all the pieces into his sedan (remember how much he fit in just a few weeks ago?). The table owner (and apparently pickup owner, as well) somehow took pity on him, and loaded and carried the foosball table to Columbus for him.

It made him almost as happy as pie.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mother (yes, it's a verb)

September 27, 2010

I'm pretty sure I could get used to flying first class. Even if I couldn't get used to it, I would like to try. I don't even have any bad stories to tell about our flights to and from Columbus. We were relatively on time with relatively good weather and relatively good connections. I did draw two seats out of four legs of our flights that did not recline (if that's what the two inch tilt on an economy seat really amounts to). This is not a whine-fest though. I just don't really like flying anymore. No fear. No complaints about loud, unruly, or obnoxious fellow passengers. Just the realization that flying coach doesn't trump driving somewhere in my barcalounger-like mini van with sat radio.

As best I can tell, Columbus is a lot like Bryan, in that it has a Kroger, a Target, a Lowe's, and an Ashley's Furniture Store and tens of thousands of young adults without supervision. Davis's apartment there is his first (except the one he stayed in in Budapest, which was just a mile or two beyond my motherly reach). His place is only about 500 square feet, so we had to be careful about what we purchased (Notice no trips to Sam's? Storage is an impossibility.).

We managed to stock a decent, though compact pantry and pick up some cleaning implements so that he can maintain the place. We also filled the white board with to do lists a couple of times and managed to cross off most of the chores. I left one for him to do after we left (lower right hand corner).

I also made a cute little weather chart along the top of the white board so he would know he needed to carry an umbrella (if he actually owned one) when he left for class this morning.

I kept thinking that 500 square feet was small, but for Davis it was big enough to hold a full-sized foosball table, a queen-sized bed, and a desk made from a narrow door and that was big enough. Ruby has taken to the apartment, as well. I think this is the first time she has ever gotten to hang out in a grad student's pad.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


September 23, 2010

When I told Davis I would send him pie, I thought I would go down to one of his favorite pie places (Must Be Heaven or Readfields), place an order, fill in his address, pay the bill, then get all the credit for being a fabulous mom. It turns out that shipping pie from a local place costs about ten times as much as carry out. So I moved to Plan B. The Interweb, of course.

For my birthday (and to celebrate his first class day, and to encourage him in his qualifying exams, and to have something to snack on when I visit him tomorrow), I found a local company: Delightful Cakes that would do a strawberry pie for him. Though I haven't tasted the pie yet, I would love to endorse this company. Not only did they still have fresh strawberries. . . Not only did they offer free delivery. . .Not only did they deliver the pie EXACTLY (within three minutes) when they said they would (Davis had only a very small window when he could be home yesterday), but Sandra offered to take a picture of Davis when they made the delivery so I could share the moment.

I think sending Davis a pie was one of the nicest presents I have ever had for my birthday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


September 22, 2010

Feel. As in feel the love. These must be among the most beautiful girls in the world (plus Wally). They are growing into the team I always hoped they would become.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving and Thinking

September 21, 2010

It's Tuesday, September 21, and it's time to play, "Whatcha Up To?"

For me it has included:

  • (Wednesday) resuming the School for Christian Living on Wednesday nights at First Presbyterian Church. We will go "In Search of Paul."
  • (Thursday) making my coaching debut against my former trainer Elvis (my current trainer Wally traveled with the A&M women's team to Portland). We lost 1-0 (my team and the Aggies).
  • (Friday) hosting beading with my lovely friends. Boy they do beautiful work!
  • (Saturday) spending the morning touring possible venues for a Bill White/Robert Earl Keen event (I hope to see you at The Corner at 6:00 on Friday October 22), and spending the afternoon doing much-needed weeding in the iris bed and now wishing I had seen the poison ivy before I grabbed it.
  • (Sunday) marching the the Fiestas Patrias parade and shepherding one last house party (number 15).
  • (Monday) mailing lanyards, doing office work, and mixing with the beautiful people of the Microplex at a fundraiser. I also added in a date night with Walter.
  • (Tuesday) oil change, committee meetings, plus teaching.
Of course, these are all add ons to the usual business of the day. At least part of the time in the last week I have been contemplating the bathroom (and why is it called a bathroom if there are no bathing facilities?) around the corner and down the hall from my office. It is a quite lovely public facility although not as practical as these better options. It has a little vestibule with a couch-y kind of thing, presumably from back in the day when women became indisposed and their bosses wanted them to be able to lounge about for a bit before they got back to the filing (instead of clocking out and heading home).

That's not the point I have been pondering. We have a number of stalls. That's also not the point I have been pondering.

We have eight sinks, all in a row, about ten yards worth. The only place there is a hand soap is to the left of the first sink and to the right of the last sink. Paper towels are even further to the left and right. Basically, no one uses three-quarters of the sinks because they would have to collect soap, commute, wash, rinse, then commute back to the towel area.

Why make the investment? Seriously.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


September 14, 2010

Recycle. Reduce. Re-Use. The mantra of the greenies.

And here is a new idea that does all three, while highlighting red, white, and, uh, blush:

With this self-service wine vending machine, you can reduce individual wine packaging by reusing and recycling containers. Bring your own resealable container, then select your vintage and pump. This handy meters keeps track:

Then you print and pay. Eliminating packaging is not only greener in an ecologic sense. It is also greener in a monetary sense. Cheaper shipping is passed on to the buyer with lower prices. You can read the complete story at Dr. Vino's blog.

This whole story leads me to think about what the ideal container to bring home wine in would be. It would have to be re-sealable and big enough, but not too big. What would you use?

Monday, September 13, 2010


September 13, 2010

I never guessed I would spend so much time thinking about dog fur. I grew up in a home with dogs, but back in the old-fashioned days, dogs lived in the backyard. Maybe on the coldest, nastiest days they would get to claim a spot on an old towel in the laundry room.

My life and my dogs' lives are different now. It's not unusual to see Willie curled in a ball on the sofa, hindquarter twitching a bit in rhythm to his bunny dreams. Teddy has thousands of years of breeding built into her system which demands lap time (and a spot on the bed between my right leg and Walter's left leg). Uma feels obligated to pace around the kitchen if anyone else is there, to claim any carelessly dropped morsel of anything (and I do mean anything, including a scrap of celery).

They each have their own grooming problems that require attention for them to live inside. Willie's short, sleek hair isn't as big a problem as his continually muddy feet, but he does shock shed (if he gets scared or if his cervical stenosis flares up, we find his stubby red fur on all the furniture). Teddy doesn't shed, but her tail plume and ears pick up burs and beggar's lice. She requires beauty shop appointments every couple of months to maintain her beauty and keep her coat manageable.

Uma, however, is in a league of her own. She is a fluffy dog who sheds year round. The solution:

This little tool (actually called a FURminator, but I think it sounds oh-so-much-more potent to drop the "m" and call it a furinator in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger accent) can take the fur off! In fact, the neighborhood birds leave bribes on my back porch and window sills, trying to entice me to furinate her so they can collect her fur and add to the loft and plushness of their nests, much like if they feathered their nests with luxurious Hungarian goose down. Here's what a minute and a half of furinating produced:

Now, as John Cleese might say, for something completely different.

This is something that made me say Hmmm last week. I pulled up to a red light (first in line). I checked my rearview mirror hoping not to see some careless student driver about to be ticketed for failure to stop. Instead, I saw a shiny red Prius, just like mine. Then before I looked away, a third shiny red Prius pulled up and joined the line. I felt like I had wandered into the filming of a Toyota commercial and that the three of us were supposed to rev off on some adventure while the loving-eyed camera followed our moves around tight curves with beautiful vistas as the backdrop.

Please consider yourself invited to our Bead-i-licious Beading Workshop on Friday (September 17) at my house, come after you finish school or work. Stay as long as it fits in your schedule.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


September 12, 2010

Friends all over the country have done a much better job calling awareness to Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. There was even a letter in my local paper today, AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO WRITE IT. Even President Obama outdid me, signing a proclamation last Thursday:

I'm going to do my part this Friday and jump back into the lanyard game with both feet. I know that Bryan High has an in-town football game (come early and you can still make kick-off), but Rudder's game is out of town and Consol has an off week. A&M is in-town against Florida International, but that still frees your Friday afternoon/evening up for fun and friendship.

It has been way too long since I have spent time with my beading friends. What better way to to spend time than to do something you like that creates beauty and also does good in the world?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


September 9, 2010

Nursing a blister on my left heel today.

I'd like to claim that I got it clocking a left-footed shot into the upper 90. Nope. Also negatory on breaking in new boots during my team roping trials. Nor is it a fire-walking injury.

Yesterday morning I put on my not-so-stylish Red Ball rubber boots before I took my morning stride around the lake with Pup 1 and Pup 2 (FYI--Pup 3 almost always sleeps in). I figured with the two-plus inches of rain on Tuesday, I would have to splash through some mess went I went off-road around the lake. I was wrong. All I encountered was firm ground. The thirsty ground had soaked it all up. Completely.

I wish I had straightened my sock and pulled it up tight before I started out. I will know better next time. Of course, some times the rains are so far apart, I forget such pledges.

The Tuesday rain did help in one aspect of my life. You may have noticed that I posted about our first tournament game last weekend, then never wrote another word. I have to say that my pride ran fairly shallow for the other two games, and not because we lost to some stiff competition. Rather, I had some disappointment about the way my team members treated each other when the pressure of the game ramped up. My mother taught me that if I didn't have something nice to say, I should say nothing at all. Thus, my silence on the subject.

Tuesday night, in lieu of practice, we had a team/parent/coaches meeting to get back on the maturity track. I do not want to give into the stereotype that 13 year-old-girls can't help it if they are mean to each other or disdainful of adults. I have a much higher opinion of them than that. We will see what happens going forward, but I am willing to bet that if we give them the tools to cope they will figure out a way to change their behavior. If not, I suppose they will need to find someone else to play for.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Read/Watch/Listen: Learn

September 7, 2010

I asked my students this morning "Where do you get your news?" I wasn't looking for a specific answer like Fox News or The Eagle or Ezra Klein's daily blog Wonkbook. What I wanted to hear was that they consulted a variety of source. None of us can get by with sourcing our news from one place. Variety is not just the spice of life. It is how we can triangulate the world and figure it out. Regularly consulting more than one source is good. Mixing it up so that you don't always hear the same point of view is even better.

Of course, that takes us out of our comfort zone.

I found the photo that I led with this morning on my Google news reader. It came across on a blog that I try to read regularly. When I followed the link, I found the website of

Photographer David Zaitz

who does really fantastic work. In just a brief moment, I made a discovery and learned about something I had never known about before. It's less threatening to learn about artists and "cool" things than it is to learn about things that might rearrange your underlying conception of the world. I force myself to do it anyway. It's why I read all the op ed pieces in the local paper, instead of just the ones that will make me nod in agreement. Sometimes it feels like drinking from a fire hose to read, watch, and listen to all the different things I tune into every day. But I do it anyway.

I hope you will take a step towards the uncomfortable zone and choose to read/watch/listen to at least one source of news that may contradict your usually held opinions.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


September 4, 2010

The Aggieland Texans U-14 girls team (my team) played with energy and enthusiasm. They slipped one past the other team's keeper to go up 1-0, then let in an unstoppable free kick that bounced down off the upper corner and into the opposite side. They handled the ups and downs of the game (including the red-carding of an opponent on a pretty minor offense and the ejection of the opposing coach) with maturity. They also raise their level of competitive spirit instead of whining and making excuses when the other team played fast and hard.

Final score 1-1.

I am really proud of them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


September 2, 2010

I sagged a little under the weight of August. It's not that I'm unaccustomed to the heat. That I can tolerate. And I don't mind resuming soccer practice or prepping for the start of the semester. You will never find me complaining about raising money for pediatric cancer, so the various showings we had for our lanyards that netted more than $2500 the last couple of weeks and the fantastic NB Fun Run in Cypress that cleared $10,000 were high on my list of "Must Dos." The dozen house parties I shepherded and attended in August were among the most important things I have ever done in my life, and even with at least three more pending in September, I do not begrudge a single moment they took. Whence the sag? Well, it's not because I've shed so many pounds that my belt no longer holds up my pants. I think it is accumulated sag. Just a bit too much here and a bit too much there.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try to become a recovering sagger. The first casualty of the sag was my robust online life. I am hoping to return to form quickly with more ppw (posts per week) and more lpp (laughs per post).

I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can suspend the sag.