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santa baby

December 24, 2010


slip an iphone under the tree for me
i've been an awful good girl


a set of flannel star wars sheets, too, light blue


think of all the fun i've missed


think of all the fellas i haven't kissed
next year i could be oh, so good
if you'd check off my christmas list




twelfth man day

November 22, 2010

sweet jesus, mary and joseph! they WON!!!

more than ninety-thousand attended the game. a record for kyle field. more than thirty-one thousand aggie students showed up for twelfth man day. a national collegiate football student attendance record.

i got to college station at six p.m. and walked and walked and walked because i had to park near holleman drive, which isn't all that close to kyle.



and when i finally made it to the stadium's gates i waited and waited and waited because so many wanted to get in and those gates are only so big. and it was so loud that i couldn't hear myself yelling over everyone else. and when the aggies scored that last field goal and the wrecking crew came on the field to prevent the cornhuskers from going anywhere, i was yelling and laughing and nearly crying all at the same time because being there on that day to witness that game was incredible.

so they didn't score a single touchdown.

neither did nebraska.

and for a change, the aggies weren't being penalized every five seconds.

all in all it was a pretty good day.

except for coach pelini. in fact, i'd say the days since the game have pretty much sucked, too. i couldn't really see the cornhusker's bench from where i stood, so i didn't know he was being such a belligerent maniacal prick to his team. but i learned of his poor treatment of his players the next day. and i caught a glimpse of it in the video below.

were you thinking this game would be cake, coach? have you not been paying attention? the aggies don't suck right now. they're coming into their own. i knew they would. i knew it two years ago when i watched cyrus gray bat down field goal attempts and run them, as well as kickoff returns, for touchdowns. i knew it when von miller was crashing into offensive linemen. they've got skills. you should've brought your game. but i'm oh so ecstatic that you didn't.

and now that sherman's got his head out of his ass (finally! THANK YOU!), the aggies are putting on some hurt.

so it was only the three-point-lead sort of hurt. a team that was eighth is now fifteenth. and that big twelve title? maybe it's not so likely to go to the cornhuskers after all.


i'd love to post a good video of the game from the stadium's perspective, but alas, the recorder's hands in every video i've seen have been so unsteady from being so excited. this is the best i can do.


can you not see the videos? click this and that.

as for the big twelve south title? the sooners must defeat the cowboys and the aggies must defeat the longhorns, which would result in a three-way tie -- sort of like the one from two years before between the red raiders, the sooners and the longhorns -- AND, in the instance of said tie, the aggies would need a huge helping of luck to be the winner of the south.

and for the big twelve north? nebraska plays colorado; missouri plays kansas. i'm pretty sure both the tigers and the cornhuskers will win these games. according to the tie-breaking rule put into effect last year (mostly because mac brown and the longhorns are a bunch of whiny butts and got all hot and bothered when oklahoma won that three-way tie even though they'd lost to texas -- the sooners' bcs ranking was higher than the longhorns', which is why they won the title) ... the rule states that if two teams in a tie situation are closely bcs-ranked (as of november twenty-eighth), then the outcome of the regular season's game between the teams would be used as the deciding factor. for example, should nebraska's and missouri's rankings next week be as they are now, nebraska would win the big twelve north, even though their ranking is lower than missouri's because they beat missouri.

and so my thanksgiving football wishes are thus:
missouri defeats kansas
nebraska loses to colorado
oklahoma defeats oklahoma state
and the aggies beat the hell outta t.u.

hot damn!!!

November 7, 2010


the unranked aggies beat the HELL outta eighth-ranked o.u.!

i almost didn't go to this game. i've been extremely tuckered this week and feeling a little sickly. long day at work followed by a nap left me groggy at three p.m. i had a bowl of corn chex, watched a little football commentary, and figured since this has been a season of some pretty serious upsets, the ags might stand a chance against the sooners, and i'd be pretty pissed at myself if they won, but i wasn't there to see it.

and sure enough! WHOOP!!!

* * *

in this morning's chronicle, richard justice has nothing but nice things to say about the aggies. five months ago, he was saying shit like this:

let's not make things more complicated than they are. in the end, texas a&m is sick and tired of living in the large shadow of the university of texas ... the aggies aren't competitive.

what shadow? the longhorns are four and five; the aggies are six and three. the longhorns have lost three  home games (against the bruins, the cyclones and the bears!); the ags have only lost once at home (against the tigers). seems like the ags are more in the sun than the horns, don't you think?

can't see the video? go here.

for this little ass-kicking, the aggies ARE now ranked. and the sooners are sixteenth.

and can i just say how cool it is to NOT see florida OR t.u. in that list? because that's awesome. :]

ninth and eighteenth

October 28, 2010

the topic of today's challenge post is regret. i could write a thousand words on this one, but i won't. it doesn't do any good. i can't change any of it. i can't go back to my childhood self and say love you. i can't go back to those days of torment and stand up instead of sit down. i can't go back to the day when i chose cottey over a & m. i can't go back to borders in stafford and stay there instead of going to san antonio. i can't fix things with adam. can't fix things with casey. can't fix things with my brother.

because i was supposed to learn something from each of those moments, those people.

maybe all that criticism i received as a child taught me the importance of critiquing my work. it should be perfect. i should be horribly harsh when it comes to examining every word of every chapter i write. because it has to be perfect for the reader. otherwise, she's gonna be furious at forking over twenty bucks for crap. how many times have yall picked up a book from one of your favorite authors who churns them out and wished they'd been a little bit better? seriously. 

maybe all that criticism will help me help my niece and nephew when they receive it themselves. the boy's got the griffin genes for pale skin and long, scrawny legs, folks. the girl's got a huge sensitive spot.

if i had gone to a & m, i wouldn't have gotten to meet so many different women from all over the world. i probably wouldn't've come out of my shell, either (except on game days, of course).

if i hadn't gone to san antonio, i wouldn't have met some of my better friends. and i wouldn't have left borders to go to barnes & noble and meet my even better friends swissy (a.k.a. keli), who reminded me of how much i love aggieland, and katy and ali, who give off so much light, it's contagious. :]

meet swissy, circa high school.

i wasn't supposed to fix things with either adam or casey because they weren't the right boys for me.

and my brother... a month or so before he died, i'd come home from san antonio for a long weekend or something and he'd been there. and he and i had gotten along really well. so well that my brother, with a broad grin on his face, had exclaimed to my mother as he'd left to go back to his apartment that he and i'd not fought once. 

we normally fought all the time. mostly because i was so angry with and disappointed in him.

it would've been nice to have heard the wonder and joy in his voice, to have seen it on his face. 

but i get to imagine it. and that's enough.

this ended up being a matlock project. learn about that here.

days four and five

October 25, 2010


today, for the thirty day blog challenge, i'm supposed to tell you about my family. i'm supposed to do this in two posts, but i'm pretty behind with this thing, so i'll be combining a post or two or ten until i've caught up.

mom. the only one of us not from texas, born in colorado. the oldest of four children, the daughter of a naval doctor and a nurse. she graduated from lamar university, majoring in english and secondary education. she taught high school english. she's the sort of person who tends to everyone -- first her siblings, then her husband, then her children, then her mother and in-laws. she's selfless, creative and diligent. i'm pretty boring. dad's the one who's interesting.

dad. the youngest of two boys. my grandfather worked for shell. my grandmother worked as an operator, and later at a clothing store. dad also graduated from lamar university, majoring in elementary education. he taught fifth-grade english, then was an assistant principal, then a principal, then director of special education, then assistant superintendent, then superintendent. while he was climbing the educational ladder, he was pursuing master's degrees in curriculum instruction, administration and supervision and special education and doctoral degrees in curriculum and instruction, administration and supervision and theology. not all at the same time, of course. by the time i was three, he was a superintendent and was finishing up that last doctoral degree. he works. a lot. he's a jolly, yet control-freaky genius. who's gonna wanna know that tripe?

my older brother. graduated from sam houston state university with a degree in finance. he worked for kpmg-peat marwick, then deloitte and touche, then with my father. he was arrogant, clever and a FANTASTIC storyteller. he drank. a lot. died seven years ago because of it. he's in colorado, what he would call heaven. he would probably want me to tell you that he's a goddamned good-looking man. he pretty much told everybody this and often.

my younger brother. graduated from sam houston state university with a fine arts degree in studio art. he worked for best buy, foley's, best buy, petco, best buy, bank of america then best buy again. he's been married for eight years and has twenty-one-month-old twins, a boy and girl. take two parts adam sandler, one part johnny knoxville, and sprinkle with a generous helping of punk.

probably not a good idea to put pictures up. i don't think they'd like that very much.

probably not. you wouldn't like the influx of emails you'd get.

ashes and wine

October 10, 2010






san antonio. the deck at capparelli's on main. cheesy jane's on broadway. the skyline as seen from trinity university's campus. oktoberfest at beethoven maennerchor. the alamo.

for lacie -- the HELLA long list

October 8, 2010

FAVORITES:
COLOR: green
ANIMAL YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE AS A PET: french mastiff
FLOWER: rose
NUMBER: seven
SCENTS: blueberry muffins fresh from the oven, laundry fresh from the dryer, phineas bubbaphat fresh from the car wash
COLOGNE/PERFUME: ralph lauren’s romance for men/for women
HOBBIES: reading, watching movies, television shows, concerts, gigs, sporting events, writing, traveling
SPORT YOU ENJOY WATCHING: football
SPORT YOU ENJOY PLAYING: swimming
TOWN TO CHILL: london
CITY YOU WOULD LIKE TO VISIT: monterey, california
COUNTRY YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE: ireland
FOOD: chicken spaghetti
CEREAL: cheerios
DRINK: sprite
FLAVOR SNAPPLE: kiwi strawberry
DESSERT: paula deen's bananas foster bread pudding
ICE CREAM: blue bell’s grooms’ cake
RESTAURANT: l’bella bistro
BOARD GAME: scene it
BOOK: our mutual friend
AUTHOR: charles dickens
POET: me
MAGAZINE: rolling stone
TYPE OF MUSIC: alternative
SINGER/BAND: the airborne toxic event
SOUNDTRACK: pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl
MOVIE SEEN RECENTLY IN A THEATRE: the black swan
MOVIE SEEN AT HOME: becoming jane
MOVIES: the blind side, cinderella man, dedication, donnie brasco, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, the family stone, five hundred days of summer, the great raid, the last samurai, the lord of the rings trilogy, love actually, memoirs of a geisha, pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl, playing by heart, the princess bride, a river runs through it, robin hood: prince of thieves, seabiscuit, miracle, serenity, star trek, the star wars saga, steel magnolias, tombstone
DIRECTOR: george lucas
ACTOR: johnny depp
ACTRESS: jennifer aniston
TELEVISION SHOWS: bones, castle, extreme makeover: home edition, grey's anatomy, ncis, ncis: los angeles, private practice, rizzoli and isles, the unusuals, the west wing
CARTOON: the simpsons
ARTIST: vincent van gogh
ARTICLE OF CLOTHING: my twelfth man aggie sweatshirt
TIME OF DAY: sunset
WAY TO SPEND A SUNDAY: with my niece and nephew
WEBSITE: mine :]
SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: victorian literature
HOLIDAY: christmas
TIME OF YEAR: spring
PLACE(S) TO SHOP: for clothes -- abercrombie and fitch, anthropologie, banana republic, the gap; for music and movies -- best buy; for books -- barnes and noble booksellers; for furniture and kitchen gadgets -- southwestern furniture, restoration hardware, pottery barn, williams sonoma, sur la table
SAYINGS: any combination of cuss words, god bless it, blast it, that's a suck

THE FRUITS OF LABOR:
LIVING ARRANGEMENT: home, with parents
TYPE OF CAR YOU DRIVE NOW: 2005 pewter grey acura rsx
APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF HOURS YOU SPEND WORKING EACH WEEK: fiftyish
THE TYPE OF WATCH YOU OWN: silver bracelet-styled fossil
SOMETHING IMPORTANT ON YOUR DESK: books
WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSEPAD: i don't have one
ON YOU DESKTOP: aggie photos
ON THE WALLS OF YOUR ROOM: a painting my paternal grandmother painted, a bulletin board covered with papers and pictures of my niece and nephew, a clock my maternal great uncle made, a virginia stroud print my mother gave me, flavia prints my maternal grandmother gave me, a dried sunflower floral arrangement
THINGS YOU HIDE IN YOUR CLOSET, UNDER YOUR BED: bills, artwork
ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND: i don't have one
THINGS YOU LIKE TO BUY: clothes, movies, music, books, furniture and kitchen gadgets
IF YOU COULD AFFORD TO AT THIS MOMENT, YOU WOULD BUY: my own home
YOU COLLECT: see "things you like to buy"
YOU DON’T HAVE A LOT OF: money
STRANGEST POSSESSION: the splint for my teeth
MOST EXPENSIVE POSSESSION: phineas bubbaphat
MOST PRIZED POSSESSION: the antique icebox my great-uncle restored and my great-aunt painted
IF YOUR HOUSE WAS BURNING AND YOU ONLY HAD TIME TO SAVE THREE THINGS, THEY WOULD BE: jon's bulletin board, my laptop, the aquamarine ring joe gave me

ME, MYSELF AND I:
THREE BEST QUALITIES: intelligence, compassion, generosity
THREE WORST QUALITIES: insecurity, temper, laziness
THREE WORDS OTHERS USE TO DESCRIBE YOU: effervescent, bright, inspiring
THREE WORDS YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL SELF: independent, successful, content
THREE THINGS FOR WHICH YOU ARE OFTEN COMPLIMENTED: smile, writing skills, sense of style
THE NUMBER OF DRINKS THAT CONSTITUTES YOUR LIMIT: three
BEST PHYSICAL FEATURE: smile
WORST PHYSICAL FEATURE: posture

YES OR NO (THERE IS NO MAYBE):
KEEP A DIARY: yes
LIKE TO COOK: no
EXERCISE REGULARLY: no
SKETCH WHILE ON THE PHONE: yes
HAVE READ A BOOK IN THE PAST MONTH: no
LIKE CROSSWORD PUZZLES: yes
WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO FILL UP THE TANK: yes
SNORE: yes
CAN REMEMBER JOKES: no
PLAY CARDS: yes
TALK IN YOUR SLEEP: yes
EAT FAST: no
SET YOUR WATCH A FEW MINUTES AHEAD: no
ARE ALWAYS LATE: yes
OFTEN GET HEADACHES: yes
SMOKE: no
WRITE LETTERS REGULARLY: no
CAN WHISTLE: no
BELIEVE IN DESTINY: yes
CHANGE YOUR BEDSHEETS WEEKLY: yes
BITE YOUR FINGERNAILS: yes
ARE A VEGETARIAN: no
HAVE EATEN IN RESTAURANTS ALONE: yes
HAVE GONE TO A MOVIE ALONE: yes
HAVE TAKEN A VACATION ALONE: yes
READ THE NEWSPAPER DAILY: no
GET OUT OF BED AS SOON AS THE ALARM GOES OFF: no
SAVE LETTERS: yes
HAVE SWIPED A BIT OF CASH FROM YOUR FOLKS: yes
GET ALONG WITH YOUR PARENTS: no
EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI: yes

PICK THREE:
PEOPLE YOU CONSIDER TO BE GENIUSES: william shakespeare, charles dickens, hunter s. thompson
INVENTIONS YOU CONSIDER INGENIUS: language, paper, the pen
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TOYS OR GAMES: fisher price's little people (they don't make them like they used to. they used to be really cool), richard scary's townhouse, barbie
WORDS OFTEN USED WHEN SPEAKING: fuck, shit, damn
SOUNDS THAT DISTURB YOU: nails on a chalkboard, sirens, thunder
THINGS YOU WOULD NEVER DO: murder, cheat, steal
CHARITIES TO WHICH YOU WOULD DONATE MONEY: march of dimes, aids research, cancer research
QUALITIES YOUR IDEAL GUY OR GIRL WOULD POSSESS: charisma, spontaneity, confidence
QUALITIES YOUR IDEAL RELATIONSHIP SHOULD HAVE: communication, passion, variety
YOU’RE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT CD’S WOULD YOU WANT WITH YOU: three compilations i'd made
WHAT DVD’S: dedication, star wars: episode vi - the return of the jedi, pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl
WHAT PEOPLE: johnny depp, brad pitt and adam sandler

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR:
IF YOU HAD THE TALENT OR THE OPPORTUNITY, YOU WOULD: bed and breakfast my way across western europe
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS: the same as i am now
HOPE TO RETIRE AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF: when the wheels fall off
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SPEND THE YEARS FOLLOWING YOUR RETIREMENT: floating in the waters off california
A DREAM YOU HAVE HAD MORE THAN ONCE: i never remember them well enough to answer this. a long time ago, i had several that took place at hogwarts castle.
YOUR DREAM CAR: porsche boxster
WHERE YOU’D MOST LIKE TO LIVE: california in the winter, colorado in the summer
DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL: sometimes
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY: pay off my debt, give some to my parents, some to my brother, some to my niece and nephew, buy a house, furnish it, buy a porsche, take a trip to western europe and write without feeling guilty for not working a “real” job.

EMOTIONS:
THE ONE YOU TEND TO HIDE THE MOST: madness
THE ONE YOU EXPRESS THE MOST: angst
THE ONE YOU’VE EXPERIENCED MOST OFTEN LATELY: despair
A MOMENT WHEN YOU ACHIEVED ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS: i was laying on a sofa with a guy, watching high fidelity. somewhere between the time he turned the movie on and the time he'd turned it off because he'd thought i'd fallen asleep, i'd stopped thinking and just was. it was glorious.
A PIECE OF MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU SENTIMENTAL: damien rice's the blower's daughter
THINGS THAT ALMOST ALWAYS MAKE YOU HAPPY: my niece and nephew, flowers where i wouldn't expect to find them, a beautiful day, a good drive at dusk, laughter, a great story told in a book, on a screen or canvas or in a song.
WRITE THE COLORS THAT MATCH THE FOLLOWING THE EMOTIONS – FEAR, HAPPINESS, ANGER, JEALOUSY, LOVE, SADNESS, GUILT, LONELINESS: white, orange, red, yellow, pink, blue, black, gray.
YOUR OPINION OF OUIJA BOARDS: bogus until i'm near one
DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: sometimes
WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD: despair
BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD: contentment
DO YOU HAVE MOTION SICKNESS: no

CHOICES:
SUNRISE OR SUNSET: sunset
SWEET OR SOUR: sweet
SAHARA OR HIMALAYA: himalaya
DOLPHIN OR EAGLE: dolphin
OLD OR NEW: new
COKE OR PEPSI: coke
DRINKS, HOT OR COLD: cold
WEATHER, HOT OR COLD: hot
DRIVE OR FLY: drive
YESTERDAY OR TOMORROW: tomorrow
RED OR BLUE: blue
BEATLES OR ELVIS: beatles
FIRE OR WATER: water
SQUARE OR CIRCLE: circle
LIGHTNING OR THUNDER: lightning
BLACK OR WHITE: black
OCEAN OR FOREST: ocean
DOGS OR CATS: dogs
DAY OR NIGHT: day
LEAVES OR ROOTS: leaves
WRITTEN OR SPOKEN: written
CARPET OR HARDWOOD FLOOR: hardwood
EARTHQUAKE OR HURRICANE: hurricane
CITY OR COUNTRY: country
VANILLA OR CHOCOLATE: chocolate
ABSTRACT OR FIGURATIVE: figurative
SUN OR RAIN: sun
BOXERS OR BRIEFS: boxers
PEN OR PENCIL: pen
HORNS OR STRINGS: strings
SUMMER OR WINTER: summer
DESTINY OR CHOICE: destiny
NEW YORK OR PARIS: new york. definitely new york.
SILVER OR GOLD: silver
CROUTONS OR BACON BITS: bacon bits
HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL: half-empty
DRINKS, WITH OR WITHOUT ICE CUBES: with, unless it's a can of dr. pepper. then it's without.
THUNDERSTORMS, COOL OR SCARY: scary, in a cool way
ROLLER COASTERS, COOL OR SCARY: scary, in a scary way
ONE PILLOW OR TWO: four
PAPER OR PLASTIC: paper

the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight

September 29, 2010

the news today was full of stories about children bullying children. one couple opted to homeschool their teenaged daughter who was told repeatedly that she was a slut and a whore. but that didn't stop her peers from finding other avenues by which to deliver their abuse. they found her online. she'd block a user. they'd create another profile.

thirteen-year-old asher brown took his own life so that he wouldn't be bullied anymore.

and a rutgers university student set up a webcam in his room, recorded his roommate, eighteen-year-old tyler clementi, having sex with another boy and broadcast the video across campus. clementi, an aspiring violinist, updated his facebook status with jumping off the gw bridge sorry and ended his life.

here's talent the world has lost. here's love. here's hope. and you've killed it, you who cannot appreciate and respect another's differences. this breaks my heart.

and let's not forget (or did you even know of?) fifteen-year-old phoebe prince, formerly of county clare, ireland whose family had relocated to massachusetts. her presence in south hadley was not so well-received. she hung herself. her twelve-year-old sister found her. the taunting continued even after her death on her memorial facebook page.

or thirteen-year-old megan meier of missouri who also hung herself after being bullied through myspace by the mother of one of her peers.

a mother did this.

and there's tale of nine-year-old montana lance found dead in a bathroom at stewart's creek elementary school.

nine.

what will happen to those who caused these individuals such pain?

to brown's tormenters? nothing. to clementi's? maybe five years in prison for invasion of privacy. maybe.

they'd probably say it's the boys' fault for being weak.

i say it's the bullies' fault for being so.

past weeks' wisdom

September 23, 2010

i've been slacking on my bible quotes.

i've been slacking on a lot of things.

i put the quotes up for two reasons: to remember the generosity of an incredibly kind woman, and to attempt to strengthen my faith. the latter's much easier than the former.

so i owe picky about a dozen weeks' of wisdom. don't worry. i won't put a crapload of quotations in one post. but i will be playing catch up. not every day. but when i post the wisdom, there will be several quotes until i'm where i should be.

i feel like i'm always playing catch up.

by the way, did you know that august thirty-first was blog day? i did not know this. i was supposed to write a post about my five favorite blogs. i think i've kind of been spotlighting my favorites already, but here's a short recap, in case you missed it. i'll even give you caps! YAY!

What I love most about this blog is the feature Moments with Joey. The author is a fifth grade teacher. He is frequently amused by the conversations he has with his students. So much so that he began jotting down tidbits on Post-it notes and whatnot. Every now and again, he posts the more entertaining chats they've had.

SECRETARY: What can I do for you, Mr. Z?

TEACHER: Well, Joey here says he hurt his ankle and needs some first aid. He also told me that you guys have a chainsaw to take care of student injuries. I told him I could just use scissors, but he was adamant that the chainsaw would work better.

SECRETARY: [playing along]. As a matter of fact, we do have a chainsaw. I keep it right here under my desk.


[The secretary points to the cupboard space beneath her laptop. Another teacher passing through the office pauses after overhearing the conversation].


PASSING TEACHER: You’d better put a tarp on the floor if you use the chainsaw, or you’ll stain the carpet.


JOEY: Maybe we could just get some ice instead.

What I love most about her is her generosity. Courtney, while caring for her infant son, took in three of her sister Stephanie’s children, none of whom were over the age of six, if memory serves, while Stephanie recovered from a horrific plane crash. Courtney…she’s amazing.
This from a post the week after the accident:

In this past week I've felt my sister near to me, sometimes when chaos consumed and always in very quiet moments. As my mother whispered in my ear one week ago, “Steph will be wherever her children are.”

Just before I sat down to write, I double-checked all of my babies. I kissed each one and whispered a little secret in their ear.

"It was a nice day." I whispered out loud in the quiet nursery.

"Indeed it was." I felt Steph reply back.


(since i've not blogged about her as much, you get two excerpts.)

There was the day when I had The Chief. I was in bed succumbing to the numbing pull of a reluctant epidural. I had the shakes. Page said, "You have the shakes. It is normal." But I shook and shook and felt a little scared. So Page climbed in bed with me and wrapped her arms around me while I shook. That was all that could be done. And it was enough.

There was Sunday when I visited Stephanie. All wrapped in clean white bandages I talked to her closely. I put my hand on her heart and listened to it beating. Strong. Strong. Strong. And I restrained myself from climbing in bed with my sister to wrap my arms around her while she shook.


Stephanie is incredible. The best example of goodness and perseverance I have ever seen. Ever. And when so many people would balk and become bitter after having experienced half of what this woman has endured, she remains faithful, sweet and gracious. She shines. Beautifully.

This from before the accident.

It was one of those days.

One of those days where I lay on my bed (while the other three children miraculously are napping...at the same time) and nursed my adorable six-month-old blob of love while the mulberry tree (sparrows nest included) out my window rustled in the wind.
One of those days that reminded me why I love being a mother.

One of those days that created another happy memory, kinda like last night when Mr. Nielson and I went to yoga together, and I just melted with love for him. He was so cute doing the poses and winking at me in downward dog.

I even have freaking pony tails. Hot dog! That has never happened to me—seriously.

One perfect day down, millions more to go.

Alexis writes about coping with postpartum and clinical depression while raising two very young boys. Sounds depressing? She does it with such wit and flair, though, so that even when she's feeling her worst, she can still find humor. Just the other day, she wrote about the seven hormone dwarves. Pretty funny stuff.

Emma was married and divorced in her twenties. She left her husband on her lunch break. Divorce is still perhaps the greatest tabooed subject in existence. And yet, Emma talks about it without any fear or reservation. Start at the beginning with this one and work your way forward. She's kind of wrapped this story up, and has a new blog now, called Emmasota. I almost gave you the link to her new site, but that would make it easy. There's a link to her new blog on her old one. Yall like reading about how two people connect, right? Read the first one first.

i wish i lived in utah so i could meet these folks. well, emma, she's in minnesota. em? as much as i like you, and even though i've friends from college also residing in minnesota, tis WAY too cold for me there. WAY TOO COLD. feel free to come to texas, though. right now, it's lovely here.

and now for the wisdom:
then jesus spoke to them again, saying i am
the light of the world. he who follows me shall
not walk in darkness, but have the light of life
(john 8:12)

but sanctify the lord god in your hearts,
and always be ready to give a defense to
everyone who asks you a reason for the hope
that is in you, with meekness and fear (1 peter 3:15)

but, beloved, do not forget this one thing,
that with the lord one day is as a thousand
years, and a thousand years is as one day. the
lord is not slack concerning his promise, as
some count slackness, but is longsuffering
toward us, not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance (2 peter 3:8-9)

thank god for the twelfth man

September 19, 2010

because had it not been for the generally badass student section, i.e. east decks of kyle field, the aggies would've lost yesterday.

to florida international university.

how pathetic would that have been?

the ags didn't score a single touchdown until the fourth quarter. more than forty-five minutes of play, and all they could do was kick a couple of field goals. oh, and throw a crapload of interceptions. i've never seen so many in one game. four interceptions in a row. i didn't think that was possible, but there it is.

but what sucked more than that was the fat, bald, bearded redneck in section one hundred forty-six, row thirty-seven, seat one telling me, who was seated two rows up and three seats to the right, to get off the wood because i was so tall that he couldn't see. that i wasn't supposed to be on the wood anyway.

the wood is the bleacher. the idea of the twelfth man is that you stand on the wood for the duration of the game, except when a player is injured, during halftime or when the war hymn is being sung, to show that you're willing and ready to fill in should the team need you. 

the tradition of the twelfth man began january second of ninteen-twenty-two. e. king gill, who had played football before but was only playing basketball at the time, was pulled from the stands and asked to suit up. he didn't play. but he stood there, waiting should they've needed him. he was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the aggies at the conclusion of the game.

back to the redneck. it wasn't halftime, we weren't singing, and, at the time, no one was injured. but i, who has been to nearly every home game for the past two seasons, usually with a currently enrolled student of texas a&m university, i don't understand how the twelfth man works.

i told the man why i preferred standing, and that i was in the right. he insisted that i wasn't. i stood on the wood for a bit longer. and then i, being the regrettably easily intimidated woman i can be, got off the wood. and then, then i sat down.

you don't sit in kyle field while the game's on. ever. and yet, i was so frustrated, so pissed off, so smart-assed that i thought, you can't see? here. let me make you all kinds of happy, jackass.

only i was miserable.

eventually, i got up and walked out. i was so angry with myself, with him, and was missing my brother horribly right then (my brother who would've told him to shove it, i'm sure), that i ended up laying down on the sidewalk just outside the stadium staring up at the sky watching the setting sun paint the clouds different colors and attempting to calm myself down. i laid there for quite a while. most people ignored me. every once in a while someone would stop and ask if i was alright -- an older aggie fan, a security worker, a cop, a paramedic. another cop. i was almost calm again. would've gone back inside in a second or two. but that second cop came up and told me that i shouldn't be lying on the sidewalk. that i was acting like a child.

so what if i was? why the hell should that matter to him?

this, of course, only pissed me off again.

i got up, made my way behind the megatron, or whatever that giant television in the south end zone is called, was almost to the west decks' gate when the stadium got significantly louder. all the sudden, the student section got fierce. so i went back and watched them, not the game, because honestly, what i enjoy the most about the game is the intensity of the student section, the amount of raucous they create. that the aggies win, that's great. but it's not what makes me smile. the sights and sounds of the twelfth man in action, that brings a great joy to my heart.

so i sat on the east side of the south end zone on the track staring toward the north end of east first deck where the corps of cadets and the fightin texas aggie band stand, and up at the second and third decks, where the fish and the sophomores and some of the juniors stand, and even the not-so-student sections of the southern ends of the east deck, near where i was supposed to be. i'd listen to the commentator's account of the game, though i didn't really need to hear him. i could see on the board between the first and second deck who had the ball, where it was, and what down, how many yards to first, etc. etc. but more, i could tell by the vehemence of the crowd how well the ags were doing.

and it was beautiful to see.

of course, i was told by one of the aggie gatehawks, for lack of a better term, that sitting there wasn't a great idea.

and of course, i got mad again and made my way back to the west gates.

a lot of students, though, were running back to the fray. in fact, i heard one say to his friends that maybe the reason the team was losing because they'd left.

and the twelfth man just got louder and louder. because, where the aggies had been behind by fourteen points at the start of the fourth quarter, now they were behind by seven. and the golden panthers of florida international could not even score a field goal.

so i went back. into the stands. to the last row of section one hundred forty-five. and i stood there and screamed as loud as i could, so much so that my head was bound to explode, and i waved that white towel as frantically as i could, and i jumped up and down on that wood in an attempt to make as much noise as possible.

and that, my friends, is how you watch a football game.

that is how you screw an opponent. the ags won twenty-seven to twenty.

i texted my friend when i got back to my car and made sure i had it right. i did.

so to the fat, bald, bearded, redneck jackass in seat one of row thirty-seven of section one hundred forty-six. i'm so sorry that i'm too tall. i'm so sorry you're too lazy to root for the aggies the way it ought to be done. but i will be standing on that wood for every home game played for the rest of this season. and if you can't see? that's just too damned bad. sit closer to the field next year.

and for now? get on the wood.

music for the masses

September 13, 2010

maybe. some may be a little loud for your tastes.

depeche mode's violator. soundgarden's badmotorfinger. acdc's back in black. tool's undertow. joni mitchell's hits. van halen's best of van halen volume one (as if there's ever gonna be a second volume, but hey...whatever). radiohead's in rainbows. aerosmith's devil's got a new disguise. elvis presley's thirty number one hits. creedence clearwater revival's chronicle, volume one. rage against the machine's rage against the machine (i HATE when band's self-title albums. how hard is it to come up with a name?). audioslave's audioslave.

u2's the joshua tree. the beatle's one. metallica's load (yes, i choose this one over metallica, because i only love three songs and like a couple more on metallica whereas i love seven and like all but say two of the rest on this one). stevie ray vaughan's stevie ray vaughan and double trouble: greatest hits. jimi hendrix' ultimate experience. the carpenter's love songs. the eagles' their greatest hits. prince's the hits. zz top's greatest hits. cyndi lauper's the essential cyndi lauper. pearl jam's rearview mirror. smashing pumpkins' greatest hits.

coldplay's parachutes. def leppard's hysteria. hole's celebrity skin. the police's every breath you take: the classics. madonna's the immaculate collection. the cure's galore. no doubt's the singles. portishead's dummy. sinead o'connor's i do not want what i haven't got. the strokes' is this it. eminem's the marshall mathers lp. janet jackson's design of a decade.

tracy chapman's telling stories. the pixies' doolittle. beastie boys' paul's boutique. nine inch nails' the downward spiral. mgmt's oracular spectacular. sara bareilles' little voice. counting crows' august and everything after. cold's thirteen ways to bleed on stage. black lab's your body above me. dashboard confessional's a mark, a mission, a brand, a scar. evans blue's the melody and the energetic nature of volume. feist's the reminder.

a fine frenzy's one cell in the sea. fuel's something like human. garbage's version two-point-oh. indigo girls' indigo girls. middlefinger's three martini lunch. ingrid michaelson's be ok. linkin park's hybrid theory. matchbox twenty's exile on mainstream. dave matthews band's under the table and dreaming. live's awake: the best of live. korn's korn. lifehouse's no name face. rachael yamagata's happenstance.

poe's haunted. staind's dysfunction. silversun pickups' swoon. tears for fears' the best of tears for fears. toad the wet sprocket's p.s. stone temple pilots' thank you. sarah mclachlan's fumbling towards ecstasy (it should be toward, by the way. i want to correct every time i write that). tori amos' little earthquakes. the fray's how to save a life. the airborne toxic event's the airborne toxic event. and there're the boys in the photo above. what made milwaukee famous' trying to never catch up.

out of the ashes

September 11, 2010

it was such a beautiful morning as i sat down for breakfast. but i realized there were none of the usual birds outside my window, and i wondered do they know something i don't (angel franco).
the u.s.s. new york.

and for those few of you who may be reading this and going to kyle field today, you should stand for the duration of the game, and you should yell as loud as you can while the aggie defense does its damnedest to hold the line, and you should wave that white towel as high and as fast as possible for those who can't.

if you're watching a game in another stadium, if you're taking your kids to the park, if you're out having dinner with your family...celebrate life as best you can for those who can't.

eyecandy of a sorts

September 10, 2010

so while i was on that european trip, i met a lot of kids bound for college. and the thing i found most alarming, really, about their education is that they were oblivious to what good cinema is. i ended up making a list for one of the girls of movies i thought were worthy of attention. i filled up a sheet of notebook paper -- both sides -- and had gotten about halfway down a second sheet. that's a lot of cinema. i don't think she'd seen more than a dozen of them.

actually, i should've begun this post by saying today was an okay day. first time in a long time my head's felt right. it's amazing how clouded depression makes it. how heavy it seems. how heavy i seem. and then, all of the sudden, one day it lifts a little.

what this means, though, is that i still feel like blogging, but i don't have anything chomping at the bit to get out into the open.

so the next few posts will be lists. i like making lists. a lot. the first will be of films, though for the sake of the potential lengthiness of this post, i shall keep it to paragraph form. many of you might have seen most of them. but maybe it's been a while. maybe you should watch them again.

the shawshank redemption. schindler's list. the star wars saga - episodes four through six. the dark knight. the lord of the ring trilogy - the director's cut (you HAVE to watch this version. it's SO cool). fight club. the silence of the lambs. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. star trek. twelve monkeys. the princess bride. good will hunting. pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl. patton. harry potter and the sorcerer's stone. the matrix. the blind side. x-men. ocean's eleven. hitch. top gun. robin hood: prince of thieves...

i've to stop here for a second. because i LOVE alan rickman in this movie.

locksley! i'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon!

why a spoon cousin? why not an axe?

because it's dull you twit! it'll hurt more!

okay. continuing on...

big daddy. jerry maguire. marley and me. sleepless in seattle. mr. deeds. the devil wears prada. seabiscuit. walk the line. the last samurai. interview with the vampire: the vampire chronicles. the pelican brief. the client. se7en. my fair lady. a beautiful mind. donnie brasco. fear and loathing in las vegas. spy game. a river runs through it. steel magnolias. playing by heart. fever pitch. sleepers. one fine day. a love song for bobby long. serenity. sliding doors. tombstone. when harry met sally. memoirs of a geisha. miracle. mr. magorium's wonder emporium. the notebook. philadelphia. love actually. love happens. life as a house. life or something like it. the last kiss. three-ten to yuma (the one with russell crowe). cinderella man. sixty-one. becoming jane. pump up the volume. the boondock saints. the breakfast club. the count of monte cristo. the cutting edge. jay and silent bob strike back. for love of the game. the family stone. dedication.

just so you know...the ocd in me is not happy that a.) it's not alphabetized; and b.) the bolded titles (which would be the ones i dig a helluvalot) aren't evenly spaced throughout the list. as if alphabetizing them would ensure the evenly spaced thing. the sad thing is, there actually is a method, of sorts, as to the order of this list. so even when i try to appear random...

but hey! there's a lovely photo of johnny depp up top. i'm (mostly) focusing my interests on the pretty pretty at the top of the post.

pregame

September 8, 2010


ninety minutes. the fightin' texas aggie band is seconds away from entering kyle field, followed by the corps.



sixty minutes. the corps continues its march-in. the tailgaters begin to fill the stadium.


thirty minutes. the team concludes its pregame practice.


twenty minutes. the spirit of aggieland.


ten minutes. the flyover.

by the time the cannon's fired, more than eighty-thousand people have crammed themselves into kyle field.

the road to aggieland

September 6, 2010


you leave hours before the game. unless you don't mind getting stuck in traffic, you don't care to see the corps march-in or the flyover or to be in the stadium when the cannon's fired, signaling the start of the first quarter.

i say this because two years ago, i didn't leave hours before, and i had to park a hundred blocks away, after having circled all the lots for an hour, and i missed the corps march-in, and i heard the cannon sound before i'd managed to get to the intersection of wellborn road and george bush avenue. if memory serves, for that game i also sat in the north end zone, in the fifth deck. way up high in the sky. with the bats.

because not only had i arrived late at the game, but i'd bought my ticket two days before rather than two weeks before.

so if the game starts at six p.m., you leave no later than three.

you take highway one-oh-five, which runs from my lovely city to navasota. this takes about forty minutes. more if there's traffic. then you take highway six to f.m. (highway? can't remember) twenty-one-fifty-four. you want to go to millican. you want to do this because if you don't, you will be stuck in the increasingly congested traffic on highway six the closer you get to college station. if you go to millican, the chances of you having the road to yourself are really quite good. until you get to wellborn, an itty bitty town just outside of college station. this'll take another twenty minutes or so.

not long after you've turned onto this road less traveled, you will occasionally see aggie flags in front of residences. the closer you get to college station, the more frequently you see those flags, and the more likely you are to see them in front of businesses.

this road will eventually turn into wellborn road, which will run right past the west side of kyle field.

well before wellborn intersects with bush, you have to make a choice. pay the twenty dollars to park in the west garage, which is on the other side of wellborn road, and, therefore, in short walking distance to the field. or go down a side-street before you get to bush in hopes of finding a spot of road in front of someone's house where you might park your car for free. and if the game starts in the evening, the more likely you are to have a great hike to the field. which means you will be walking back to your car at about ten p.m. along a well-traveled road, which has no sidewalk, and some of the homes have fenced off their property rather closely to the edge of the road, so there will be times you will be walking on it.

but if they've won, you won't mind that so much because there will be lots of horns tooting hullaballoo, caneck! caneck! and lots of passersby yelling whoop!

i should've stayed home today

September 1, 2010

the trouble with going to sleep unhappy with yourself is that you wake up that way. only it's worse, because, while you were sleeping, all those negative feelings you had magically intensified exponentially, so that when you wake the next morning, you have maybe two hundredths of a second to revel in the glory of the sunlight and the comfort of your bed before your brain switches from automatic to manual.

and when that switch takes place...

some days, nothing good can come of that.

this morning, i woke at ten after seven. by fifteen after, i was feeling despicable, and the feeling wouldn't be shaken, no matter how many times i tossed and turned or how much more deeply i buried my head to snuggle under the covers.

so then i tried to distract myself by watching tivoed shows. ones that had been camping out for months, waiting for me to remember that i actually liked them. i watched three rivers. why i liked that one, i do not know. i watched ncis: los angeles. that one i love. i watched the last two episodes of grey's anatomy. these made me cry. both of them. so much for distraction.

by this time, it's eleven or so. my head's started to hurt. i figured maybe if i eat, that might help. so i all but hobbled downstairs to the kitchen (on days like this, mental anguish begins to take on a physical form, and all my joints hurt, especially my knees and ankles) to pour a giant bowl of cheerios.

i camped out on the sofa and flipped through a dozen channels. first i settled on football. while last night, i might have succeeded, momentarily, in shrugging off despair with the glee of anticipating a fast-approaching football season, this morning, football could not pacify me. so then i switched to what not to wear, because i think stacy and clinton are cool. this morning, however, they annoyed me. so then i switched to are you smarter than a fifth grader. no luck there either.

by this time, i was crying again. i figured sitting at home's not helping, and i have errands to run -- money to deposit, bills to pay, vehicular registrations and inspections to make current, a vehicle to wash. responsibility. so i went back upstairs to change. i managed to quell the tears while doing this. but then, as i got my hair wet -- because fine, curly hair never does well the day after -- the tears came again. the more i stop and start this crying, the more despairing the tears are. i remembered i'd left my comb in my father's car the night before. so it's back downstairs to my parent's bathroom, still crying. somewhere between the landing and the doorway to their bedroom, the crying morphed into full-on wailing and misery.

which morphed into wrath seconds after i've entered their room.

and by this time, by this time, i might as well have been hunched in a ball in a corner.

wrath terrifies me. whatever strength i think i might have dissipates rapidly in her presence.

tears that were once huge rivers became quiet streams that are more reluctant to flow, and i was chanting no, much like my nineteen-month-old niece and nephew do when they're crying and miserable. no. no. no. scared. because i never think i'm going to get through it when i'm in the throes of wrath.

but somehow i do.

and i'm grateful for this.

i rounded the corner, passed their closet, into their bathroom, still chanting. i rummaged through my mother's cosmetics drawer for a comb and sat on the commode to slowly, slowly, run the comb through the tangles. five minutes or so of this, and i was better.

drained, but better.

the trouble is, i didn't indulge wrath.

usually it's better if i let her play for a bit. harder to handle. harder to live through. but better in the long run. usually, afterward, i'm tired but nice. i won't smile at you, but i won't tear your head off, either.

i've got those errands to run. and on this day, i wasn't so sure of my strength. so i shoved her back.

somewhere between the time i left the house and the time i came home, i got ugly with cranky and snarly. so much so that by the time i got to the last errand, i was at the i'm-gonna-tear-your-head-off-just-for-looking-at-me stage.

when i was twenty-five, my family went to austin for the fighting irish versus the longhorns football game. a handful of my older brother's friends met up with us. i'd been having a conversation with one of them -- i'm a pretty sarcastic girl, and those who know me are amused by this, as they should be, because i mean it in good fun, but those who don't aren't so much. this one didn't know me. all of the sudden, he comes out with god, you're bitter. i don't even remember what i'd said that prompted him to say this, except that whatever i'd said, i hadn't meant for it to be so sarcastic that it offended.

flash forward twelve years. i thought of this conversation today. of this friend of my brother's.

today, i was a prime example of bitter hag. ugly with it.

this is what happens when i don't give into wrath.

i bitched at an employee -- an elderly woman who works in the floral department (what a lovely job that must be. really. happy and thoughtful) -- for not washing her hands after using the restroom before returning to work. i snarled at the library staff because printing a single sheet of paper is more of an inconvenience and challenge than i think it ought to be. god forbid i should consider that they don't have to offer such a service. i don't have a printer hooked up to my mac. my mother's printer's not communicating with her computer, and my father's computer is off limits. so i have to borrow someone else's. that it doesn't work like i want it to do so is, apparently, a criminal offense.

the best example? i stopped by a courthouse, after having finally succeeded in enlisting the help of a reference librarian to get the damned proof of insurance card i needed so that i could get my registration updated, and had been walking, rather intently (in other words, in a don't-fucking-talk-to-me fashion), when a woman had the audacity to smile at me and ask if i worked there.

what? (said in the same fashion as i had used when walking.)

do you work here? (she's walking toward me, still smiling, still being friendly. curious. in need of help.)

i was wearing a t-shirt promoting a grand junction, colorado brewery, capris and flip-flops. i looked like death. no. (said in a what-the-hell-would-make-you-ask-such-a-stupid-question tone of voice.)

now she's not so friendly. now she's taken aback, and a helluva lot smarter than she'd been a second before. she proceeded to tell me that the building was locked, that i couldn't get in, that i was rude...etc, etc, etc.

the moment i heard that i can't get in, i turned and headed back to my car. so while's she's telling me that i'm rude...

i could hear this boy's voice in my head, just as i could while at the library. see his face just as clearly today as i'd seen it a dozen years before. god, you're bitter.

earlier today, i found a picture of me as a first-grade student. i'm sitting there with my hands in my lap, my arms pressed to my sides, my shoulders slightly drawn up. i'm grinning. beautifully.

i wish i could be that girl again. i wish i could channel her and infuse my present personality with a bit of the cute and funny my mother said i was back then.

i don't understand why i have to hurt so much. i don't understand how i could hurt others knowing how much the hurting sucks ass.

i've watched that nfl ad twice today. i will probably watch it another dozen times in a desperate attempt to recapture that sense of yee i felt for most of last night.

random quarter

August 3, 2010


one. so i'm a little jealous of those girls who get to register for gifts for their homes just because they get engaged. not that i have a house. i have a room and a bathroom. but someday...hopefully. a girl can dream, right? so i figured, screw it. i'll make me some wish lists.

two. and that is why i was in macy's china department that stormy saturday a couple of weeks back. i was scanning all the pretty, pretty and making me a birthday gift registry. i did one for pottery barn the next day. and one for restoration hardware this past weekend. i'll do one for williams sonoma, too.

three. the mass last night was about greed. one of the readings was about the man who'd decided to build a bigger barn because all the things he'd collected didn't fit in the one he had. jesus called him foolish. yeah, yeah. i get it.

four. the past week or two, i've been posting film quotes in my facebook status updates. some were from harry potter films. and while researching one day for the best line from the first flick, i was reminded of this by dumbledore: it does not do to dwell on dreams, harry. and forget to live. yeah, yeah. i get it.

five. i like the songs they play in mass the most. does that make me bad? that came out wrong. i meant the parts of mass i most enjoy are those in which i have the opportunity to sing. i've probably mentioned that before.

six. the tune that's played while the collection is being taken and the priest is preparing the bread and wine for consecration is one of my favorites. it's called mighty to save by hillsong. when they play this, i love being in church. i feel good. i want to be there. so much so that this time, i was tempted, very tempted, to stay past having received communion. i would've.

seven. except i caught one of the life teen youth leaders and his little brother staring at me in a manner that was reminiscent of the manners of others who have taunted me in the past. i was, unfortunately, bothered by this. boys. half my age. are intimidating to me. ridiculous. i jetted soon after snatching the host from the priest. and of course, as fate would have it, i had to brush past both the boys as i vacated the premises. it's not the mockery that bothered me so much as the fact that it took place in church by someone who should set an example.

eight. over and over again, i sang this on the way to the movie theater. the last movie i remember watching in the theater was iron man two. i figured i should treat myself. anyway, i'm singing this in hopes of recalling a better memory of mass. even hummed it as i crossed the street from the garage to the main entrance of the theater.
saviour, he can move the mountains

my god is mighty to save
he is mighty to save
forever author of salvation
he rose and conquered the grave
jesus conquered the grave
shine your light, and let the whole world see
we're singing for the glory of the risen king

jesus, shine your light, and let the whole world see
we're singing for the glory of the risen king
i felt a little better by the time i stepped inside.

nine. i should preface the next bit by saying that i am not, by any means, a fan of zac efron's. at all.

ten. but since having seen the trailers for charlie st. cloud, i've felt compelled to see it. it made me cry. i knew it would. it's about a man who's dealing with the death of his younger brother. it's not an exceptional movie, by any means. but it made me think i should lay off bashing zac efron a bit. he did a pretty okay job. in fact, in some scenes i was seriously impressed. he meets his younger brother's ghost every evening at sunset in the woods near his home, where they play catch. at first, the time he spends there is the highlight of his day. but eventually, he becomes a hostage of sorts to the promise he'd made his brother years before. the best scene in the whole movie is one which shows just how reluctant he is to go to those woods, how helpless he feels, how obliged and, most of all, how angry he is with himself for going, for being incapable of refusing to go. the director knew exactly how that scene should go. and efron played it so convincingly well.

eleven. the first few months after my brother died, my thoughts were consumed by the oddity that god would take him, who was so valued in this world, and leave me here. i was angry because of this at first. now i'm merely perplexed by it. he keeps giving me second chances. i haven't the foggiest idea why. it'd be nice if someone could come along and illuminate this for me, as efron's character had someone shove him a bit of the way toward clarity.

twelve. it'd be nice if just once, i had the gumption and the tenacity to find the answers myself instead of wanting to take the easy way.

thirteen. i want virgin airlines to have a hub in houston. i'm sick of continental and delta, and united sucks ass because they are cheap bastards. you don't even get those little bags of pretzels. ridiculous.

fourteen. i can't wait for fall to get here. FOOTBALL SEASON! cooler climates! scarves and boots! yay!

fifteen. having said that, i will be sorry to see swimming weather go.

sixteen. my nephew went underwater the other day. i set him on the steps for a second to rest my arms and go under for a second, just to get my hair off my face. he stands up, hops to the second step, then the third. the third being much lower than the first and second, considering his height. much lower. that won't be happening again. ever. the boy's amazing, though. i snatched him up, and when he surfaced, he didn't gasp or sputter or cry or anything. acted like it was no big deal. so let's recap. i've bitten his fingers (he stuck'm in my mouth, and i wasn't quite expecting it -- i don't think i told you about that. i was feeding him his bottle, and he was investigating those marvelous white things in my mouth). i've dropped him on his head (i don't think i told you about that, either -- he didn't want to be held, and wriggled out of my grasp. i'd managed to hunch down as he fought to be free and keep him close to my legs so i could, maybe, have a better hold of him, but just as his body was about even with the middle of my calves, he did a champion wriggle and fell right on the top of his head on a ceramic-tiled floor. he was not happy, but recovered quickly), and about drowned him in our pool. i don't think i'll be winning aunt of the year any time soon. don't, whatever you do, tell my brother. he will never let me babysit him. :]

seventeen. i think the plant i bought a couple of months ago is slowly dying. or there are bugs chomping on it. one of the two. not good.

eighteen. my aggie season tickets came in the mail today. oh. how i love them so. they are beautiful. if only i could frame them. i am sitting on the east first deck (the students' side), near the south endzone from whence the players emerge onto the field. somewhere between the upperclassmen and the visiting team's goons. this should be fun.

nineteen. i'm quite fond of the television program rizzoli and isles. it's pretty nifty. you should watch it.

twenty. i've also become fond of the closer. should've given this one a closer (hah!) look when it first aired.

twenty-one. my hair's bugging me. i don't look good with short hair. i don't look good with longer hair. i'd buzz it again but that would piss off my family. and it certainly would not bode well for my job hunting efforts. you girls with long hair...how does it not drive you batshit every damned day?

twenty-two. i only like new potatoes -- i think that's what they're called...those purple/red ones? -- if you put melted cheese on'm. contrary to this, i don't like cheese on regular potatoes.

twenty-three. i don't like eating food with my hands unless it's pizza, burgers or sandwiches. fried chicken? i don't normally touch the stuff. too greasy. too messy. yucky.

twenty-four. my great-aunt died today. she was this short, chubby italian woman. incredibly stubborn. i remember that she smiled a lot, a great, genuine smile. the kind that made you think of light and happiness. and she was always so, so interested in what others had to say and how they were.

twenty-five. i will make pizzelles this week in honor of her. they will probably suck, because i've never tried to make them before. she used to send us tins full of them when we were younger. she didn't do that for most of her relatives, even for her some of her children, if i remember correctly. she must've really loved us. i didn't like'm at first. and then, of course, right around the time she began to ship them less and less frequently (because she was getting older and older), i started to love them. and every time i thought of her, i thought of those pizzelle tins. i will miss the jolliness of her.