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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mobile in Mobile

We're blogging on location here in Mobile, AL today.  Habatcha.  But our presence is entirely inconsequential, since everyone's completely focused on the big title game between Alabama and Texas.  I told my in-laws that my head is about to explode trying to figure out the rooting rules (e.g. Supporting a Texas team is usually mandatory versus out-of-state opponents).  They responded threateningly with, "You know where your loyalty lies."  The discussion kinda fizzled after that.  A real headline from the Mobile Press-Register yesterday:

Favorite hats?  Special chairs?  Houndstooth panties?  What's your Bama ritual?*
This is serious.

I continue my (temporary) unemployment, proving every single day that I'm worthless without a schedule.  I've been trying to rest my fuzzy brain and blind eyes from these infernal compuscreens.  So no post Monday.  I'm nigh on to abandoning the 'official' Monday posting schedule, since I've blown through those for 3 or 4 weeks.  I know nothing of the news, have no real bones to pick, and have little to post about.  But on to the crumbs I do have.

We continue to buy every set of baby clothes in sight, since Jack seems to literally outgrow everything in a single week.  Our last foray to the store lasted us for about a month.  Really.  He's talking a TON, with new words coming from everywhere.  He displays all sorts of new talents, some of which we've taught him, some of which we can only wonder at the origins of.  Was that proper anglais?  Probably ain't.  Twasn't.  Anyway, I get up there one morning, and Jack starts flapping his fingers, thumbs interlocked, hands crossed...  like a butterfly.  There's just no telling.

As with all little kids, the frightening malleability of Jack's mind is shocking.  I was carrying him one day, and well, I spit.  I spit, alright?  Immediately, I hear the little sponge on my arm going "Puh!  Puh!  Puh!"  I shudder at all the little bad habits of mine that will come to light over the next few years.  Like I've noted before, parenting seems to be the most potent of motivations.  Motivation for improving oneself.  Motivation for improving the relationship between hubby and wifey-wife.  For religion.  For one's health.  For finances.  For fixing things we can't fathom yet.  For changing habits we cannot change now.

Like not spitting.**

*For more entertainment, be sure to read the waaaaay over-the-top society column on the left side of the Houndstooth Knickers article.  You're welcome.
**I don't HAVE a problem! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hi-yo, Silver, Away!

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty "Hi-yo, Silver!", The Lone Ranger
This blog is tardy.  I'm sorry.  We've been traveling.  But fear not, you won't miss a single thing (gee, lucky you).  The crumpled brown napkin beside me contains my blog notes for the week.  Really.

In no particular order:

Texas Burger
I have a new favorite burger joint.  Like those real estate folks say, location, location, location.  Texas Burger in Madisonville, Texas is great because it lies at the exact place where gas gauges tip to more empty than full, and bladders do the opposite.  And they have chocolate Blue Bell shakes.  And good cheeseburgers.  And their fries are silly good.  We hit the place coming and going from Fruitvale.  And Jack got to display his newest grown up trick:  Dipping his french fries in ketchup.

Now, no heckling from the peanut gallery about feeding our kid healthy food.  We eat more quinoa than the Incans, and Jack's favorite food is broccoli, so back off.  When you're road tripping, all bets are off.  And it's about the only time I ever just stride up to a register and demand ice cream from a total stranger.  Oh yeah, the ketchup.  For one so young, Jack has a very evolved routine for the consumption of the red stuff:

(1) Grasp french fry by the extreme end with the right hand.
(2) Do your dipping with gusto.
(3) Switch the fry to the left hand.
(4) Suck all the ketchup off the fry without damaging it.
(5) Bite off some of the fry.  If there's fry left over, switch hands and return to step 2.  If not, go to Step 6.
(6) Repeat step 1.

It's like a Japanese tea ceremony.

Anyway, after the crew's insulin shot into the ionosphere, and then crashed to earth like a firey meteor, we arrived in Fruitvale for Christmas with the Top Brass.  It was great to be up in the hometown.  And Jack got about every toy they would sell my mom, including two (!) LARGE stuffed horses.  That whinny.  Jack's still debating between naming them Scarto and Argento, or Waylon and Willie...

I even got to pop off the Glock Blunderbuss 51 times.  But who's counting?  While I'm making an old quart oil bottle pay for it's many crimes, Majesty is in the house talking to Jack:

H.M.:  What does daddy's gun say?
JMW, Capt.:  BOOM! (laughing)
H.M.:  What does daddy's gun say?
JMW, Capt.:  BOOM! (more laughing)

Before we went out to Fruitvale, we met our great friends Jody and Tonya and their kiddos in Sulphur Springs, TX.  We even got to eat afterward at a true diamond-in-the-rough restaurant, San Remo.  Real-deal Italians made their way (I only shudder at how) to North Texas and found it in their hearts to make me the finest veal piccata I have ever eaten.  Seriously, this happened.  The butter and white wine sauce, the capers, the veal pounded just so and browned properly...  I get a little emotional just talking about it.  And Jack got his first taste of (again, road trip, so the wheels are off)... wait for it...  TIRIMISU.  Check this out:


My man looks like some sort of cartoon character.


Oh, Tonya's grandma cracked me up when she exclaimed, "Boy she [Jack] sure is pretty.  That's the first time I got a good look at her!"


"She gets a lot of that, ma'am.  And thanks."


Neither of us bother to correct people anymore.  And this happens daily  Don't mind the blue, the trains, or the baseballs, people.  But then I think, these are the very same people that didn't realize they cut me off on 610 this morning.

Oh, and on a related note, many of you will be relieved that we got Jack a haircut last week.  It ah, didn't go as well as the first time.  Anyway, you can see his eyes now.  We were starting to get a lot of "Aw, his hair matches daddy's!" comments.  Dang right it does, sister!  I'm trying to look as much like this kid as I can, as fast as I can.  Wouldn't you?!

Okay, gotta run.  I'm tired.  Almost like this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Unemployment, Wattage, and the Wawah

Your correspondent woke up today with little idea what to do with himself.  (Temporary) unemployment is nice.  Don't let anyone tell you different.  Except for daytime TV.  That stinks.  I've been expecting Dr. Drake Ramoray at any moment.

We took Jack (along with our buddies Nick, Teresa and Lyla) to Lights in the Heights a few days back, and it was every bit as neat as I remembered.  Okay, okay, I get you.  Christmas lights, big deal.   But this is basically two streets' worth of neighborhood block party.  No cars allowed.  The crowd, like Houston itself, is eclectic.  Cowboy hats strung with battery powered lights, bagpipers, a guy on that motorized cooler thingy they sell at Bass Pro, Goths, Dickensian carolers, rickshaws, everything.  And bands.  Lots of bands.  One year there was this en fuego Zydeco band.  And the lights are ridiculous.  A house two years ago hauled in sand for "Christmas on the Beach."  I drove by six months later and still could see sand in their grass.  A guy (with the house to match) wears a Blackhawks jersey with GRISWOLD across the back.  Lyla and the Skipper rode in the wagon; he kept taking off her hat and she kept untying his shoes.  Whatever.  Oh, I'll spare you the one about me parking next to the haunted house with the crepe myrtles cut like punji sticks.  My leg is still black and green.

We were doing some shopping a few days back and popped into our go-to parking lot in this too-tony little shopping area.*  A big permanent arbor has been built in and around the parking spaces.  And they had set up a nice little farmers' market complete with a string quartet.  And people were slinging collard greens, goat's milk, tallow honey, and all manner of things delicious.  One booth was even hawking Indian food.  It's like they let me plan this thing!

Oh, and there were the goats.  We were pointed over towards two week-old baby goats, being tended by an 8ish year old boy in an odd gray woolen coat.  Jack pretty much crawled in the bucket with the flop-eared things.  The kid then struck up a conversation with us.  The flop-eared kids (next to the talkative kid, and our curious kid) were still being bottle-fed.  One was nameless and was going for 25 clams.  The other, Jefferson Davis (not kidding) was on offer for FIVE HUNDRED BUCKS.  About the time I decided that the overzealous kid added a zero, I notice the large brass buttons on the jacket, marked "CSA."  I then get an earful that Lincoln was a rat and that Jeff Davis was the greater man.

A lady behind me wryly added, "Uh huh.  The South will rise again, honey."


*  This is the one where Majesty witnessed the full-length mink coat on a 70-degree day last year. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Achtung! Schnee!

Love In the Time of Cholera

If you've got a weak stomach, turn back now.  You'll need to Lysol your PC after even reading this post.  We've been sick.  Yes, again.  The entire crew was sloppy sick with the cholera, the malaria, the yellow fever, the boxer's knuckle, the grippe, the turf toe and the ague.  All at once.  Thar be vomit on the sails.  Thar be poopy on the poop deck.  OH, THE HUMANITY!  And everyone's drawing straws as to who's going to have to swab out the head.

Our bacterial cruelty knows no bounds; we even got the Babysitter's Mate sick.  On Monday, I had the distinction of being the only adult that could walk, so I got to weakly drone, "No Jack.  Get down from there.  You're going to fall.  Don't touch the stove.  Don't climb on it either.  Why do you have to unplug the tree?  Why do you hate Christmas?!"  He didn't feel that great, either.  After turning his nose upward at sequential dinner choices of (a) Jell-O, (b) Yogurt, (c) Toast, and perennial favorite (d) Scrambled Eggs, he went for (e) None of the Above.  I gave up and tossed the kid in bed after administering some milk.  He slept all night.  I did too.  So no blogging done that day.  But we did get in screenings of The Jungle Book and Live Free or Die Hard.  Sue me.  Oh, you should see Jack when the Elephant Patrol shows up.  He swings his arm up in the air like a trunk.  It's a riot. 

And I don't have pictures of us this week.  Because you don't want to see us.  No, really.  Going to try to spruce up this place with some much needed pics and video during my time off before heading to Greener Pastures Capital.

Achtung!  Schnee!
Thanks to my old high school buddy Lance, my itsty-bitsy German vocabulary includes the phrase, "Achtung! Schnee!"  I'm told it means, "Attention!  Snow!"  Which isn't terribly useful, but it does come in handy in those situations where you need to alert people to, y'know, snow.  And holy yellow snow, Batman, it actually came in handy in Houston last week!  Get a load of this action:


That's REAL SNOW falling, friends and neighbors.  Honest!  I can't tell you how many dozens of tropical plants are dying in this picture.  But it's a lot.  Oh, I heard that it's the first time that measurable snowfall has been recorded in Port of Houston in consecutive years.

It's that darn global warming, that's what it is.