Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Yesterday I went and got my hair cut, and as I was leaving the salon, saw Leslie just up ahead on the sidewalk, trundling down South Congress in a chic black dress. I'll miss him and all the other kooky folks in this town.

The living room is slowly but surely emptying out these days. Stuff getting crammed into boxes. Plus a last minute cooking bonanza/clearing out of the freezer is in order. Don't you hate it when that happens? You gotta cook all that stuff. One lb of frozen shrimp, check. One bag of frozen peaches, check. One frozen pizza, check. One sheet of puff pastry, check. Who's going to eat all this food? It's out of control.

Meanwhile, what thinks you of my new hat? I'm totally and completely smitten with it. It's just like the ones Angelina Jolie wears in all those ads for her new movie. Set in the 20s. In Los Angeles. I'm cool with channeling that look. Just FYI, I bought it at The Limited and it is wool and was only $25. I love that store.

Adding to the "change is in the air" theme, it is finally starting to look and feel like fall down here. Which of course makes me want to bake. I made this banana bread after a spate of banana bread sightings on the blogs. Speaking of clearing out the freezer, that's where I stash all my over-ripe bananas.

Yeah, I threw some chocolate chunks and nuts in there. Too much probably. Next time, I need to go for more simplicity. I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, but what I really need to do is hunt down my grandmother's recipe. That's what I grew up on. So of course that's what I end up comparing everything to.

My aunt arrived today to help me pack. My dad joins the party on Friday. On Sunday my uncle gets involved via unloading efforts. This here is a family affair. It's nice to have folks nearby to help with that stuff. And due to some recent developments, I have one less day to pack than originally planned, which sucks. But soon it'll be over and I'll be exploring my new town. With my new hair. In my new hat. Living in my new apartment. Yeah, and going to my new job. It's my own personal do-over. I'm going to miss Austin something awful, but sometimes fresh is good.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Looking for an apartment in Austin?

You are? How fantastic! I've got one to rent. Please help me get out of my lease so I don't get bled dry paying two rents because the mean-ass management company isn't letting me off the hook for having to break my lease. (HELLO? I got laid off!! How rude.)

Oh, and that stuff about the management company being mean-ass? Not true. They're a dream. Really. Come! Rent!

As you can see, the apartment is really cute. It's in a condo building in a beautiful historic neighborhood close to downtown. All your windows look out at trees and lawns and houses, etc. Look to the north and you can see the UT Tower. To the west and you can watch the sunset.

Like this one. I took this photo from the balcony. Beautiful, right? Everything was renovated just a few short years ago, so the appliances, carpet, tiles, bathroom fixtures, etc. are all new. Look at this cute color scheme in the kitchen.

Nice, right? Stacked washer/dryer is also included in the unit - it's new as well. And there's two - count 'em two - balconies. One off the bedroom and this big one in the back. Do you like plants? You could put a lot out here!

There's the door to the other one in the bedroom. Lots of closet space in here too.

So what do you think? Well, yeah, the square footage is small (588 square feet) but you wouldn't know it from the really neat, open layout. Did I mention the vaulted ceilings? And all those windows? Yes, the space feels really airy and bright. Of course, you should think about it. It is pretty expensive. But it's close to everything. Walk to the Capitol, walk to campus and all the fun stuff on the Drag, you know. And the neighbors are super-quiet. I just hear birds pretty much all day.

Okay, thanks for coming by! What's that? Oh, yes, as a matter of fact, I did just vote!

Early voting is key I think this year. You don't want to be stuck in monster lines on election day. So I got it done early. Wise move I think. You should do it too. Okay, bye! Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Keeping Austin Dallas Weird?

Yes, it's true, I did get a job offer, and I have accepted it. Unfortunately, it is not here, it is there. A place I had absolutely no desire to live in. But it was a job in my field (aren't many down here), so I applied for it and, welp, there you go.

This is also my second relocation in a year - something, as I told someone yesterday, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I hate - no wait, loathe - moving. So you can understand why amidst all this, I'm a little less than elated. Even though getting a job is a wonderful thing and I should be grateful for it.

I never spent a lot of time in Dallas, despite growing up in Forth Worth, so I don't really know much about it. Hopefully I'll come to like it. Got any tips?

Meanwhile, this also means I can begin (tentatively) spending money again. I broke the seal on Saturday at Maker Faire with Stacey, home to the Bazaar Bizarre craft fair and rock-em-sock-em robots. It was a perfect Texas fall day (i.e. warmer than you'd prefer, but pleasant). I took lots of fun pictures which it'll probably take me forever to sort through and edit, so we'll just go straight to the product shots.

My goodie of the day was this calendar from ilee papergoods. Here's her etsy shop. She had traveled all the way down from Seattle to sell her beautiful cards, and seems she does custom wedding invites too.

So pretty and perfectly seasonal. And of course the best month is my birthday month - October! Looks like my birthday's on a Thursday next year.

I also got to meet Elizabeth Soule of e.soule, whose pictures of tiny animals I covet. This one in particular of course.

She usually sells them on these wooden blocks and then you put it on the wall and it's gorgeous, but I'm not that financially flush yet. Or, rather, might not ever be. But I was able to buy my favorite little polar bear photo on a card. So that scratched the itch.

She's got a horse collection now too. Did you know she takes these with a Polaroid camera? You can shop her stuff here.

She also sells many of these as just prints. You know, frame-it-yourself deals. I'll keep that in mind going forward. I am looking to expand my polar bear print collection.

And yarn lovers everywhere collectively swooned.

Okay, I better get going. I'm heading over to the local NPR station to take pledge calls. Yeah, this was a commitment I made before I found out I needed to move in three weeks. But procrastination's my middle name, so...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I consider this and just about every Taco Bell commercial I've ever seen to be interchangeable. Which is probably why I never eat there. Gross.

Oh and sorry mom. You probably won't be able to watch this. She wasn't able to watch the Cosby clip either. It's that whole surfing the web from Belgium thing. Bummer, ma.

Okay, we gotta talk music for a bit. I was so happy to get a music infusion thanks to a birthday-related Amazon gift certificate. I still like to buy CDs instead of just getting stuff off iTunes. It makes me feel special. And I always get several at a time and then listen to them one at a time, until I get tired of it. Then I open the next one. This can take weeks, which makes the purchase last months. Which is great, esp if you're poor. Like me! :):):):) Yay, poor!

But a week or so into the first CD, I discovered LaLa and it is my new best friend. Basically you can listen to any of the songs (or whole albums if you like) one time for free before buying it, and can buy it for super cheap (10 cents) to listen to it on the web all you like. Then if you want to buy it buy it like regular mp3s, you can do so for about the same price as iTunes. But probably without those crazy restrictions like you can only place this on 5 computers and burn it x many times blah blah.

Anyway, sometimes a song gets into your head so bad and you're listening to it on youtube or whatever and finally you cave and buy it on iTunes. Well, on LaLa, you can do that for 10 cents and then just get it completely out of your system. A week or so ago, it was this Belle & Sebastian song for me. Could not stop listening. Oh, and the video is hilarious.

Then a few days later, it was this one. Ben Folds + Regina Spektor = Bliss. That video is a little weird. Okay a lot weird, but Ben and I go way back so I hold nothing against him. And Regina took over my friend Natalie's lease when they moved out of their upper west side apartment, so we're practically BFFs, right? I mean, I spent a lot of time in that apartment.

Then I explored some more of Ben's new album and came across this one. Oh gee, that song is just swell. As for the video.. well, he's definitely one for theatrics that Mr. Folds. The version of the song that plays here is a little different from the regular album version. So if you like it, check out the regular version, please. It's a little less fancy. Which I like. I listened to the rest of the album but was kinda "eh" on it. But those two songs are gold.

Anyway, I went and put 'em on my LaLa and - did I mention the first 50 "web songs" are free? - now I can listen to them as I sit at my desk all day and try to pass the time. Cos that's mostly what I do these days. Pass time. Make quick trips to the print-n-copy and the post office to put together packets of writing samples or fax applications or W-9s or whatever. And at night I watch tele. It's an exciting life.

Today is twofer-Tuesday at Double Dave's so in a little while I think I'm going to go out and pick up some of these.

It's like two meals for $4.50. Three meals if I practice restraint. Which is hard. Yum.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sappy much?

It was while watching this video this afternoon that it finally clicked. This could really happen.

I do try to not linger too much on politics here. Except for Palin and her polar bear issues. Because really, that's wrong. But all that aside. All of it. Realizing that someone might become president that you would be proud of - and I mean really, truly proud of - well, it's quite a revelation when you get that feeling for the first time. For many people of my generation and younger (define that how you will - I'm 28), this is probably a first for them too.

Suddenly you don't give a crap about what state the economy is in. You don't give a crap about the nuances of the issues. Or about the fact that you're unemployed in a recession. Someone you believe in, who you trust, might become president? I don't know. Maybe it's just been a really long eight years, but, I mean, I started to cry. What a baby.

I know everyone who's reading this is planning to vote, so I won't even remind you to do so. But really though. Please vote. I know you will. And think about the future of this country when you do. All things are possible when people have hope. Okay, now I'm even making myself nauseous. What's next.

One of my favorite etsy shops is having a sale, but the shirt I really want is full price on their main site.

This would help to make my life complete. But you know I'm not much of a fan of squirrels. They dig up the potted plants on my balcony and just wreak general havoc. But maybe if one could be trained to play the snare drum.. well, we could work something out.

That would look good on a onesie too, right? Yeah, they do that.

They put this one on shirts and onesies too. Love it.

Write it down here.

This little phone makes me happy. His face kinda reminds me of Meatwad and his little snaggletooth. (And if you get that reference, you are cooler than I thought.) Anyway, send this card to someone you're missing lately.

Okay, off to go, well, get some work done. That was the plan for the afternoon but instead I've been getting sappy over videos and hand-washing some new yarn developments. And oh yeah, blogging. Total time-sucker.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hiding out in the abbey

Did you know that October is Adopt-a-Dog month? The Austin Humane Society is reducing their adoption fees to celebrate. If you live nearby and have been thinking about getting a pup, go in and take a look. And if you've been thinking of adopting a cat, there are some cuties of the feline variety in there too. Don't discriminate, that's what I say.

I just started volunteering at the animal shelter again and I love it so. I was a regular there when I lived here 5 years ago and have been waiting all summer for the schedule of weekend jaunts and settling in to quiet down before returning to my old habits. Which I have.

Being back there hasn't helped my recent anguish re the possibility of leaving Austin. Yes it's true. The possibility is out there. My strongest job nibbles right now are out-of-town. In Texas still, but not here. Which is hard considering I wanted so badly not just to return to Texas, but to return specifically to Austin. I love this town. But I have just had really crappy job success here. As in none. So we'll see. Perhaps I am meant to be just a regular person, a la Theo Huxtable.

Isn't that just the best few minutes of television the world has ever seen? I think so.

Anyway, I sorta feel like Maria and Austin is the abbey and the reverend mother's all, "You have to go find your life!" and I'm all, "I don't want to go!" And I left and then I came back and then I might be forced to leave again. (Um, yeah, I wasn't kidding about that Julie Andrews worship before.) It's just so hard, being torn like that.

Plus I adore my apartment. It's lovely and quiet (if a bit expensive). I took that photo above while sitting at my desk - yes, that's what I see all day. Not bad. Oh well, wait to worry, as my ma would say. As of right now, I haven't gotten a single job offer from anybody, so why get all worked up.

But really, go visit a shelter and adopt a pet right now. This one worked out.

On the topic of Susie Homemaker (that's me), not too long ago, I made this Rosemary Flatbread from Gourmet (via Smitten Kitchen). It's the perfect way to use up some of my crazy little rosemary plant. It's the only plant I haven't almost killed this summer. It's such a good little plant. Get those fresh herbs while you can, winter is coming!

I made this first batch to go with one of my favorite soups - Spiced Chickpea soup. It needs a good bread, or flatbread as it were, to go with it. Now I want to make more, just for nibbling purposes. You could really just sit and eat this stuff, as if it were a bag of potato chips. I kept sneaking a piece as I walked by the kitchen. It calls to you like that.

Okay, I better get to bed. I've got gobs of stuff to do tomorrow, so no sleeping in like I did today. But seriously, it was the first morning this whole week that either an alarm or roofers didn't wake me up at the crack of dawn. So I think I earned it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This coffee shop is noisy

I had to get out of my apartment today because they're re-doing the roof of my building. All this is still part of the recovery from that giant thunderstorm in May that blew over one of the chimneys and, oh yeah, blew out my living room window sending rain, hail, and shards of glass all over nearly every square foot of my 588 square foot apartment.

Oh football, how I love thee. You've got to allow me some blog space to make a fuss. First of all, due to an extremely early morning on Saturday, I passed out in the afternoon and slept through nearly all of the Vandy-Auburn game. Thank goodness I caught the end. "And the nerds shall inherit the turf." I just love it when the underdogs win.

Also, everyone is getting into such a lather over the Texas-OU game this coming weekend. Me too I suppose. But geeze, I was like, can we finish going over this weekend's games before you guys go cuckoo over next weekend's? And really, have either of these teams played a worthy opponent so far this season? Do they deserve those rankings? I guess we're about to find out. PS, who is the hottest QB?

OU's Sam Bradford

or UT's Colt McCoy?

The correct answer is neither. Really it comes down to these two:

USC's Mark Sanchez

or Florida's Tim Tebow?

Yeah, Tim's got the advantage of loads of cute kids piled on and around him in this photo. How sweet. But he needs the assistance since he's up against Sanchez who is knock-down hot. Please bear in mind I'm not a fan of either team. This is based on cuteness factor only. Please register your votes below.

Did I miss anyone? Make your opinion known. Chase Daniel was ruled out because his neck is just a little too thick.

On an unrelated, yet probably more interesting note, is it wrong that these little hair feather doodads are becoming less appealing to me because Kenley from Project Runway wears them all the time? Because, you know, she tends to come across as really obnoxious.

And one last thing. I know Ike is in the rearview for most of us, but I just recently came across this clip on YouTube. Gotta love those folks who are like, "Hey, there are going to be loads of camera crews on the beach. This is the perfect time to debut my new bear suit!"

All our love to ya Galveston. You're a special, special place.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All things Julie

Today is the birthday of Julia Elizabeth Wells. Or you might know her as Julie Andrews. Or Dame Julie Andrews, if you want to be all formal about it. It's also my birthday, but who cares about that. I'm not big on birthdays. But I do love Julie Andrews and prefer to focus on her today.

Here she is as at 14 or 15. She had quite a set of pipes even when she was young. Mom sent me an Amazon gift certificate today, and one of the things I'm definitely going to get with it is her latest book, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.

You do know that she was the original Eliza Doolittle, right? But the studio wanted a big name star for the movie version (and she wasn't back then), so Audrey was put in instead. It all worked out though, because then Julie was in Mary Poppins and got an Oscar for her role. Here they are in 1965, Julie was just 29. The Sound of Music came out that same year and there was never any more doubt about her star power.

More pretty.

Wanna hear a funny story about The Sound of Music? From this book, which is to die for if you're a fan of the movie:

Still, if writing "Something Good" was a comparatively easy task, performing it for the movie was not. The gazebo setting had been reassembled back on the Fox lot, and its many glass panels required the director of photography, Ted McCord, to employ complicated lighting effects. He positioned some extremely powerful, old-fashioned Kleig lights to point directly downward along the columns of the gazebo. Unfortunately the Kleig lights worked by shooting carbon arcs against each other and they made a terrible flatulent sound every time they were fired up. This noise sent Andrews into gales of laughter, while Christopher Plummer started giggling at the idea of the Captain and Maria proclaiming their eternal love for each other nose to nose. ... The two of them lost it. Wise called "Cut!" and set up the cameras again. Frrrrrmpff! went the carbon arcs, and the giggling began all over again. Wise called a two-hour lunch break, prevailing upon the actors to curb their "unprofessional idiotic laughing." Once lunch was over, it was back to the set and again the carbon arcs made their flatulent sound. More laughter. Wise, normally the most patient of professionals, threw up his hands--after all, by this time he was behind schedule--and decided to shoot the entire sequence in silhouette, so the camera would not catch his stars' childish misbehavior. It turned out to be a happy accident.

They do seem a bit giggly in that scene. She's such a whiz with comedy too. I love this bit with Carol Burnett:

All I can say is, pray you age this well.

Happy 73rd darling.