Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring It On, 2013

Thirteen goals for the new year:

 1. Pay off my medical debt.
 2. Grow a garden that actually produces crops and doesn't immediately die.
 3. Listen more and interrupt less.
 4. Have Julia's typewriter cleaned and return it.
 5. Buy a car?
 6. Eat less meat.
 7. Finish my 2012 craft project, a handcrafted lamp.
 8. Start and complete a patriotic embroidery project of my favorite Calvin Coolidge quote, When I'm asleep, I can't mess anything up.
 9. Sell, swap, or donate any clothing I haven't worn in two years.
10. Move into a bigger house with my sweetie.
11. Travel more: Oakland/San Francisco, New Orleans, Dallas, Fredricksberg, Vietnam.
12. I frequently answer questions with yes or no without knowing what the correct answer is. For example, this Christmas when a dog walked into a restaurant and BBC's mother asked if it was a service animal, I said no without even checking or knowing. I suspect I've been doing this for years, but have just become aware of it and don't see any benefit from it. For the record, the mutt turned out the be a seeing-eye dog.
13. Cherish every moment of 2013!

Interested in seeing my goals from 2012? HERE they are. I didn't write a novel and I didn't teach any cats how to sit, but I had a great year! I paid off my overwhelming credit card debt, found an exceptional love, and discovered that 30 was the best age of my life thus far, which is why I will be 30 for another five years. And since I didn't meet two of last year's goals of traveling and learning to better listen to others, I've listed them again for another shot in 2013.

Thank you 2012 for being so good to me and I look forward to what 2013 has in store. Wishing all of my lovies a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best of 2012

My twelve favorite things about 2012:

 1. Three letters.... BBC. This time last year I would have emphatically told you that I didn't want, nor need, a boyfriend, but Brandon is so much more than just a boyfriend. I feel so lucky that a longtime acquaintance of mine turned into my best friend and partner in crime!

  2. Turning 30! Not only has 30 been the best year of my life, but I also had the best birthday party ever. My 30th bar mitzvah had a champagne tower, rhinestoned yarmulkes, dancing, tons of balloons, and pretty, pretty party dresses!

 3. Finally making that last credit card payment from my overwhelming debt! I'm not completely out of the hole, as I have some medical debt and student loans, but damn it felt good to write that last check.

 4. Monthly ladies movie nights! I've always hosted ladies nights throughout the past, but this year we successfully had regular, monthly movie nights. You can read more about them HERE.

Post movie dance party to Toto
 5. Electronic cigarettes. 2012 will go down as the year I stopped smoking cigarettes socially and became addicted to electronic cigarettes. Really, I love them and I smoke at my desk all day long, on airplanes, in movie theaters, while taking bubble baths.....

Blu-ing it up with Bridget

 6. B11 at Shitty Kitty Bingo. Shitty Kitty Bingo is a monthly charity event thrown by drag queen extraordinaire, Rebecca Havemeyer. The Frito pie is free, the beer is dirt cheap, the prizes are great (so long as you don't get the bag of cat shit), and the best part is when B11 is called! B11 in French is "be onze" which sounds just like Beyonce and incites a riotous dance scene.

 7. I simply love summer time fun and this summer was another splendid one. Fourth of July pool parties, beaches, swimming, falling in love with BBC in San Antonio, and wearing cut offs all day, every day; that's the life!

4th of July with Lacey and Beth

 8. The Ruttengardner wedding. Beth and Matt getting married was great, but not just because one of my besties married her sweet and adoring man. The entire week leading up to the wedding was a blast with Roadhouse visiting, BBC and I "took our friendship to the next level" at the wedding, and Matt was a great sport by shotgunning beers with the League City crew! Congratulations, Beth and Matt! I couldn't be happier for the two of you. 

The kiss
Beautiful view with Stayten and Jules
The LC crew post wedding shotgun

 9. Cat nipples! 2012 is the year I found an outlet for my obsession with cat nipples and began a Cat Nip Slip Tumblr blog, which you can follow HERE:

10. This song and every other Robyn experience in my life, including my first dance off, which you can read about HERE:

11. This year was an exciting year for my neighborhood! Three of my favorite people moved into my 'hood, one of which was BBC who is shacking up at my place. JJ never lived very far from me, but he's no longer a short bike ride away and is now in walking distance. Our quick pop-ins for catch up and a beer are one of my favorite things in the world! Emily J. bought a house just around the corner from me, which may become even closer if I move into her rental property in her backyard. Impromptu bonfires in her yard are sure to make this winter cozy.

12. And finally, although this may be cheating, I once again have to list BBC. I have never been in a relationship that was so caring, fair, and wonderful. I've truly met my match, which makes me feel like I have to thank all the frogs I kissed before I found my prince. I love you, darling!

For a blast from the past, HERE are my 11 favorite things from 2011!

Holiday Times!

My holiday vacation starts tomorrow at 5am sharp. BBC and I will be heading to Georgia to spend Christmas with his family. I'm looking forward to a side trip to St. Simon's Island the most. Sure it will be too cold to enjoy the beach in a bikini, but I'm still looking forward to a nice shell-collecting walk in a cozy sweater.

St. Simon's Island, GA

After Georgia, BBC and I head to Houston to spend a few days with my mum and dad. I really wish I could have more time with my family, but am fortunate to know that the little time I have will be a blast. My family is exceptionally wonderful and I consider my mum and dad to be best friends of mine rather than family. My favorite family Christmas tradition is our English Christmas crackers. Everybody crosses arms as we sit down for dinner and pop the crackers. They typically include a cheesy gift, a joke or a fortune, and these dorky crowns. Yes, it's mandatory that everybody wears one!

Beth and her daddy, 2010

I hate brussel sprouts!

My mum, having a blast playing with her cracker toy

Wishing all my lovelies happy holidays and safe travels!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LD's Gift Guide

I'm beginning to get in the Christmas spirit! I've been accused in the past of being one of those Bah-Humbuggers, but this year I feel like my spirit is changing. First off, let's set the tone with my favorite Christmas song:

Giving gifts might be one of my favorite things in the world, but at Christmas time I just don't have the funds to give everybody what I'd like to. So, every year for Christmas I make jars of my famous pickled green beans. After overdosing on cookies, cakes and other gifted sweets during the holidays, I like giving something savory and at about $3.00 a pop the cost can't be beat. This year I've made more than ever before and will be shipping some off to those I love, but won't get to see.
Ready for another Christmas song?

Without further ado, and in the spirit of giving, I kill two birds with one stone by presenting a list of presents. For those of you looking for last minute gift ideas, here is a gift guide. For those of you who I love and wish I could buy things for, consider this a virtual present that I personally selected for you:

For the gardener or outdoorsy person in your life:
Wooden potato barrel allows you to grow hundreds of potatoes in 2 cubic feet! £44.95
Bonfire log $28. I actually saw a stack of these yesterday at HEB. A portable bonfire with 1.5 hours of burning time. The only thing needed is a match!

 For the technology savvy:
Solar powered charging station $22
Milk Tape, the USB MP3 mixed tape holds up about 15 songs and comes in a cassette case $15

Universal USB adapter,  $20

For my fellow boozehounds:
Carry your boxed wine in style with The Wine Sack, $69.95
A flip flop with a flask! The Reef Dram Sandal, $45
iPhone bottle opener case, $24.99

For your birther, end-of-the-world, super religious, tea party family members:
Tactical bacon, delicious bacon in a can that can last over 10 years, $19.99
Jesus Shaves mug, $11.99 Just pour your favorite hot beverage into this mug and Jesus shaves his beard!
God Hates Kittens tote, $15

 "Help Lord, The Devil Wants Me Fat", Christian weight loss guide, $11.99
Last month when I was in Dallas, Jamie and I came up with the perfect scheme for charity gifts for your religious-right family members. You donate money to your favorite charity (ASPCA, Meals on Wheels, etc.) and a fake charitable donation card is presented to the loved one of your choice for an organization they might support, such as the NRA, Westboro Baptist Church, etc.

For the animal lover in your life:
Austin Pug Rescue 2013 calendar, $20
 Pet umbrella, $9.95
Cat ice cube tray, $10
Cat tote bags, $20

 For your BFF:
I Am Not A Doormat doormat, £26.95
 Beyonce paper dolls, £7.95
"Fifty Shades of Chicken", a parody cookbook, $12.98
Dolly Parton throw pillow, $36

Happy holidays my lovies,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Girly Thoughts on a Girly Night

Last night my ladies movie night gals and I left my living room for a night out at Alamo to watch my favorite holiday rom-com, Love Actually.  It has been a holiday tradition of mine, for about 7 years now, to watch the film in December with some of my best friends. Shannelle, Beth, and I used to snuggle up in my king sized bed with hot, boozy drinks and sing along to all the songs in the movie. Alison, Emily O., JJ, and I would lounge around the Emilaurison house with stove-made s'mores and Lone Stars that were too cold to hold in the winter. Needless to say, the tradition warms my heart just as much as the movie itself.

Last month while watching Bridget Jone's Diary  at our ladies movie night, I was shocked to learn that Letty had never watched Love Actually.  The only solution for this was to get her to the theater! Letty is not only a hilarious and talented actress, singer, and comedienne, but she's also a very hip wife and mother. More importantly, she's a dude's dude kind of lady and I was mostly interested to see if she would be as emotionally touched by Love Actually  as she was by R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet.  So, naturally, we decided to do a joint/linked posting. You can read her's HERE!

And now, on with my post:

Last year Love Actually  changed for me. Although I had been broken up from Mr. Ex for nearly a year, it was my first Christmas since we ended. Looking back now, I don't understand why I was having such a hard time with it, but I was pretty miserable and listening to this song endlessly:

Last year I hosted a co-ed viewing of Love Actually,  cooked a huge turkey, and desperately tried to withhold my tears from my guests. It didn't feel cathartic enough, so after they left I watched the movie a second time, while sobbing, and was surprised that the scene that produced the most tears had changed from this one:

to this one:

CRAP! YouTube doesn't allow embedding on the only video of this scene I could find! You can view it HERE.

At the time I wasn't entirely sure why the Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman scene moved me so much more than before. Sure, I understood overwhelming disappointment brought on by self-inflicted excitement. Many times throughout my life I have imposed a false sense of hope onto a relationship just to feel foolish when that optimism is unmet in the end. Last year it was especially fitting since I was reliving my most recent breakup, but more unexpectedly, my emotions were heightened by a new relationship expectation.

Last Christmas I made plans to spend Christmas Day and the following day with my "real" father. He and I had recently reconnected after nearly six years of not seeing each other and practically zero interaction whatsoever. While I can't pinpoint a single incident that lead me to end contact with him, I was full of disappointment whenever I thought about our relationship. Essentially, it just didn't feel good to me to have him in my life.

Last year, while I was sobbing watching Emma Thompson's character eagerly open a gift from her husband, which she had anticipated to be the gold necklace she had found in his coat pocket instead of the Joni Mitchell CD she actually received, I remembered a particular Christmas from my childhood. I must have been in kindergarten, as my parents were on the verge of a divorce, and my father came home early from work and asked my sister and me to wrap a special present for our mother and hide it deep underneath the tree. It was a bottle of her favorite perfume, Cacharel's Anais Anais.  By Christmas morning I had forgotten all about the special bottle underneath the other presents. My mother had opened a handful of gifts from my father already and reacted enthusiastically to each one, thanking him and telling him how wonderful, thoughtful, and loving he was for every single gift. Just when we had thought all the presents had been opened, my father instructed my mum to look once again because he thought there was one present left. Alas, there was the present my sister and I had wrapped! This really confused me as a child, because my mum had already unwrapped a bottle of Anais Anais  and I had assumed that my father re-wrapped the gift my sister and I had messily scotch taped together.  My mother seemed very surprised and a bit reluctant to open this last box, but she unwrapped the present and started crying when she saw that it was another bottle of her favorite perfume. She repeatedly asked my father if he had bought it for her and was very emotional. I couldn't understand why this second bottle of perfume elicited so much more reaction that the first, or all the other gifts he gave her for that matter. It wasn't until many years later, as an adult, that my mother explained that she had bought all the other gifts for herself, pretended they were from my father, and was genuinely shocked by the one present he actually got her.

It's hard for me to imagine trying to hold it together to make the last family Christmas seem normal for your two young daughters. It's hard for me to imagine elaborately purchasing, wrapping, and opening gifts with your family when you are miserable and just months away from ending an unsuitable marriage. What isn't hard for me to imagine, however, is getting that surprise bottle of perfume and being overwhelmed by the optimism it gives you within a relationship. I've felt that optimism many, many times.

Last night, while I was crying at the Joni Mitchell gift scene next to my lady friends, I cried not just for my mother's Christmas all those years ago, but I also cried out of joy; joy that comes from a lesson learned, irregardless of how long it took to finally learn. Even though my father didn't speak a word of it, I learned this lesson from him. All types of relationships, be they romantic, familial, or platonic, are set up to fail by imposing too many expectations and hopes into something that is wrought with error. Knowing that makes it much easier for me to forgive the people who haven't met my expectations. After all, they failed by my standards, not theirs. And perhaps, from their angle, they did the best they could. So in the spirit of the holidays, last night confirmed my introspective, Christmas Carol-esque growth as a human and I've learned to forgive again.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Cocktails

And so the holiday party season begins! Tomorrow my boss, Steve Martin, will be having his annual Christmas party at his house for his chemistry research group. I'm very excited that BBC will be able to join me and as always, the newest student to join the research group will be dressed up as Santa Claus. Yes, we do sit on their lap in order to receive our presents. I, once again, will probably be given a fancy bottle of champagne, which is probably the best gift possible for your assistant. In preparation for your own work holiday party, I present you with this guide for how much alcohol you should consume:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When You Know It's Love...

Last night I fell in love with BBC again and then again for a third time. Don't get me wrong, I know we're still fresh at this even after 9 months and my sappy words probably make you old time lovers roll your eyes, but just read these two stories and then try to tell me I didn't find my perfect mate.

Last night BBC played the following song:

I couldn't stop myself from jokingly busting out a few dance moves and then he said, This used to be my favorite song to break dance to. Yeah, my man used to break dance and imagining him doing so made me laugh uncontrollably. Naturally, I wouldn't let him show me any of his moves. After all, he's an old man now and I don't need any trips to the doctor because of broken freak bones.

We were trying to solidify our Christmas plans and make time to visit his parents in Georgia and my family in Houston when Rudyard's Pub in Houston posted a photo on Facebook of their December menu special, Frito pie pizza.

Frito pie pizza pie

BBC and I both have a soft spot for Rudyard's, but I think it's fair to say that I love Frito pie much more than he ever could. My sweetie immediately said, We are going there for Christmas and eating that.  It must be love!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Reflections

Wow, December is officially here and I'm a little shocked by how fast this past year has gone by. From the outside it would appear that very little has changed in my life since last December, but in actuality there have been several important and big changes. I'm still the proud mother of two lovely kitty babies, I still have the same wonderful friends filling my life with joy, I'm still happy at my two fulfilling jobs, I still haven't bought that new car I dream about since living without a car suits me best, and I'm still completely in love with my same adorable garage apartment. I guess the biggest noticeable difference over this past year is the addition of my wonderful boyfriend, BBC, but in actuality, the biggest difference is me.

This time last year I was dreading my 30th birthday, fearing a life of spinsterhood, and wallowing in a little bit of self pity. (Blog flashback from this day last year HERE) Sure, I was still an upbeat and outgoing LD, but I just felt like there was so little purpose in my day to day and that I had disappointed myself with where I was in life. Turning 30, which turned out to be completely painless, has been one of the most wonderful moments of my life. It sounds ridiculous that a single birthday could adjust my outlook on life, but that's kind of how it worked out for me.

In the weeks leading up to my 30th birthday, I began looking forward to the landmark. This year two outstanding and beautiful women in my life should have been turning 30 along side me, but their lives were cut short. That put my age into perspective; realizing that I had earned my 30 years and should be proud of them and move forward living an amazing life for the people that I loved that couldn't do the same. My purpose may not be to cure cancer, or write a best selling novel, or invent a purse that functions as a stealth take out box for buffet meals, but what I can do is make sure that the six feet of space around me is the best six feet of space I can make it. I'm not able to make this world a better place, but I am certainly able to make those who encounter my six feet circle feel welcomed, important, and appreciated and that's about as much purpose as I need. I'm far from a religious person, but I am truly blessed with my life.