Monday, April 13, 2009

Some Of My Favorite Things Right Now...

*Quick side note: As I'm preparing to type this I hear the incessant squawks of a male grackle outside the window obviously trying his best to whoo a mate. I bend back the blinds to see him dancing about with his wings draped like Count Dracula's cape as he races around a perturbed female who is gathering the pieces of dried feather grass I weeded earlier. He's either so stoked to be shacking up with this busy little lady he can't contain himself as she collects debris for their love nest or he is totally pissed that she's not making a bed for him and is trying his best to get her to change her mind about the other bird. Ahh...the mysteries of Mother Nature.

This is my latest list of my current favorite things. This list doesn’t include the sentimental stuff like going for morning walks with the kiddo and the dog in this glorious weather, baking sweets with W, the satisfaction of yard work well done or dining on some grilled goodies al fresco every evening. Those are the other favorite things.

Dagoba Beaucoup Berries

Some of the all time best (and affordable) chocolate in stores. This flavor, however, sends me to the moon. Delicious.

Skinceuticals C and E

This one makes the list again. With turning 40 a mere weeks away, the war on staving off the wrinkles is officially ON.


The Hubs actually owns this (in PINK!) but I use it as well. Seriously is the best face scrubber out there. Makes a huge difference in the “thorough cleansing” department. Over time I’m sure the results will be visible although right now I’m poking at a zit that is below my lip.

Emmi Lattes

Like to have these in the fridge for a quick boost without the extra cost, time or fuss. W likes to reuse the containers for other beverages.

iPhone iPod Shuffle Feature

Best when on walks and when the most appropriate tunes roll out organically. Then it becomes the “ipod del fuego”! Helps me hit my stride.

Surprise Roses

Came home from an Easter family reunion Saturday to find a box of roses from my dad with a card that said, “To my sweet daughter: a dedicated momma, and a loving wife. Love - Dad (Pop Pop)." How freakin' thoughtful it that?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hello Summer...Here We Come

Every day it seems things are changing in both big and small ways around here. I appreciate the variations and try to maintain a consistent bit of balance and harmony as these little evolutions occur. The biggest will be when the Hubs heads out on the road for a month in a couple of weeks. Soon our days will be filled with W anticipating the arrival of the mail and trinkets sent from various cities, Skype-ing (Skyping?) and abbreviated phone calls. The Virtual Daddy will take the place of the flesh and bone version. Always a challenge, always a little heartbreaking.

We’ve decided to take W out of preschool at the end of the month, too. This will free us up for spur of the moment trips, save us some money and will really allow W and I to take on the summer full throttle…tennis lessons, swimming in the various lakes and pools, camping trips, and more time spent with family and friends. I’m already in the process of putting together a calendar of summer activities. Who knew Home Depot had free workshops for kids? Definitely on the calendar.

I’ve also taken on a little sales gig for a company called Clatterhead. I’ve got lots of flexibility and can do it from home. It’s been an opportunity to learn something new, make a little cash on the side and remain among adults in a professional environment. I’m loving the social media marketing world. So interesting, so now.

This week my event planning company was awarded a very large contract for a huge shindig to take place in 2010 (HOORAY!). Planning starts this July and I am REALLY stoked about it. Should take my company to new levels and really boost business. On my to do list next week? Get my website done!

There’s also a chance that W will have a playmate a few days a week, too. I’ve offered to care for a 13-month-old boy (for dinero, of course) and I’m thinking it will be good for W to have another warm body around, someone he can play with and entertain. He’s already suffering from “only child syndrome” and I feel this will help him cope with it.

As busy as things seem to be and as rapidly as our days are being filled with activity, I’m loving the momentum. W and I are familiar with changes, new scenery and challenges. Last summer he and I moved to Marfa for 5 months. Who knows what this summer will bring? In the meantime, we have mucho on our plates.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Roll 'Em Up

I can’t sleep so I come downstairs to read the news online that I missed today. This leads me to horrifying stories of the latest missing children which then prompts me to do a search of my neighborhood registered sex offenders (City of Austin has a handy database complete with easy access to the addresses and latest creepy pics of your neighborhood pedophiles…there a couple a little too close by my casa, btw) and then I think…”Hey, what are the latest crime stats around here, too?” Yeah, I’m ready for some good sleep now.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


For the past several evenings I’ve snuggled myself beneath the covers in bed to read Under The Tuscan Sun, a wonderful and vibrant tale of a woman who buys a crumbling house in Italy and the daily life that develops in the midst of the dwelling’s rehab. I heard there was a movie of the same name starring Diane Lane but it doesn't seem to follow the book very well (no thank you, Hollywood). This is one of those well written tales that actually transports you to the countryside’s locale with its abundant fragrances, rivers of vino and mountains of local foods. These are my favorite sorts of books, ones where I can almost inhale the essences, hear the locals talking at a sidewalk cafĂ© and the descriptive mention of edibles actually makes my stomach growl in response. I have a tendency to carry with me the feeling of the story throughout the day and yearn for long, lazy lunches of seasonal dishes followed by a cozy siesta in a hammock, a bit of gardening and then dinner party preparations in anticipation a hungry crowd of friends. The Hubs and I had lunch at Enoteca today which was just about as close as I can get to Italy right now…and it was lovely. Some of my other foodie-oriented author favs include Peter Mayle, Julia Childs, Michael Ruhlman, Patricia Volk, Anthony Bourdain (of course), Amanda Hesser and Amy Sedaris (foodie?…not sure), to name a few. If you have recommendations of food memoirs, food travel and the like please let me know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Edible Garden

For the past five months or so I’ve been stalking my neighbor’s garden two doors down. Five months, you query? Yes, five months. This includes those winter months when, according to my yard, nothing grows. This seemingly lonely dude with a very frisky calico cat has one hell of a green thumb and I can see the digit from my kitchen window. I’m the neighbor standing on her tippy toes at the kitchen sink straining to see what he’s up to in that bountiful Eden of his while unknowingly scrubbing the color off the dinner plate in my soapy hands. A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by his stately fruits and veggies so I went to Home Depot and took great care in choosing my small collection of tomatoes, herbs and a Serrano pepper plant. I put them in massive pots on a ledge so the dog couldn’t annihilate them as soon I turned my back. I watered them and cheered for them and already things are looking pretty bad. Brown spots, yellow leaves and little growth plague my sprouts. The neighbor’s garden boxes, on the other hand, taunt me from afar with their deep green color and bushy appearance. Why does it have to be this way?

On a positive gardening note, the tot and I spent the morning at his school working on a gardening project. We built a compost area, a place for melons and a lovely little area for veggies to grow. 12 kiddos or so ran amok with plastic shovels, hoes and watering cans. Although at certain moments it was like herding cats, we got a lot accomplished and in a couple of months they will be eating goodies they have grown themselves. Alice Waters would be so proud. Yeay team!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Today I spent an hour working one of my all time favorite piano pieces from the movie Amelie. Let me pause here a moment to mention that I do not play the piano, cannot read music and cannot carry a tune but I am on a personal quest to learn this song even if it takes me the rest of my life. YouTube has a version that has been dumbed down enough for even the likes of me to follow. With the laptop perched on the piano and an earbud in my ear, I watched the solitary fingers of the phantom piano player over and over and over while listening to the notes and then I began play. While plunking along I can actually feel my brain sparking up in dark, quiet regions, probably the same regions built up like the Hulk in the brain of my musician husband. My fingers creep around on the keys like crabs on a hot, sandy beach. They are not nimble and elegant. They are clunky and awkward but the reward of actually playing a series of notes and creating this amazing melody on my own is such a thrill. I am, for now, hooked on this and will continue to torture those around me in my efforts to prevail.

I rearranged my son’s room while he was in school this afternoon. As a child I always loved coming home to a setting such as this when my mom, finally fed up to here and here and here with my clutter and chaos, took charge and somehow made me feel like we had actually moved to a completely different house. All of my toys would seem almost new again and, oooooh, look at my bed over therrrrreeeee! But W is kind of a control freak, like me. He likes his things just so. He warns us to not touch his monster trucks or disturb the circle of cars he has made the whole length of the couch. I tried to showcase his toys in a way he’d really appreciate the new arrangement (but for the love of jeebus why does just about every boy toy have to be 3” long?). I prayed that he wouldn’t totally spaz out and refuse to re-enter his domain. It was a possibility. It has happened before. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when he came into his room after school, gasped and said, “It’s great!” His lovely dimples were the ultimate proof.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Little White Lie

Okay, I admit it. The post before this one was a smoke screen, a weak attempt to convince myself that my relationship with Facebook was more akin to a giddy coffee date than a gluttonous multi-day orgy but orgy it was. I don’t actually linger there like a ne'er do well barfly but do check in possibly 20 times a day for a quick fix, a social bump, if you will. In my opinion, that’s over-commitment when there are other, more important activities to be done…like blogging (“Dear mom, I’m so sorry I made you look at that picture of those green cupcakes for so many days.”). So I’m solemnly swearing to fewer daily voyeuristic activities on Facebook and more engagement with the family, the pet, and the world around me in real time. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.

My SXSW exposure was minimal this year, a stark contrast to when I once worked for the man behind the giant curtain of the conference. I didn’t see or do much but it was really just enough. Tuesday night we embraced our friends from Spain as their energy and enthusiasm engulfed us at Vino Vino. We sang, danced and drank bubbly until after midnight. W thought it appropriate timing to come down with a cold/cough/allergy-type bug that kept us home the rest of the week so for once I got plenty of rest, was hangover free and the bank account remained intact. Plus the Hubs got mucho attention as he bounced from gig to gig to gig while working like a rock n roll hound dog. Laundry got done, meals were on the table and the coffee crutch was delivered bedside in the mornings. Saturday was a double dip as the band played two shows and the kiddo and I saddled up for a full day of rock n roll hoochie cooin’. It was great to be back in the fray. W is well versed in the art of backstage etiquette and took to it like a duckling to water. Here, now, is a photo essay of the day…

Doesn't get much cheesier than this...

On the hunt for the backstage catering like a baby shark...

"This is called a keg. You will appreciate this later in life."

Never too early to learn how to string a guitar.

W misses the entire first show. This was good for his attitude later tho'.

Backstage at the San Jose. Great evening!

"Hey, someone get that kid away from me. Scaaaaaaary."

* Dear Bloggerdotcom, why do you have to be such a turd site? I've been trying to upload pictures for like EVER and now you're not letting me upload any more at all. What gives? Do you need a lap dance? Yours, K

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Internet Gripith

So this is what has happened...I finally joined Facebook about two weeks ago after resisting with every ounce of marrow in my core. For those who don’t know (“Hi Dad!”) it’s that social networking site that, without warning, shoves you right back into ones childhood of passed notes (“Will you go with me? Yes…no…maybe. Check one.”), roller skating with your crush, science fair mishaps, skipping school to swim in a boyfriend’s pool, weekend campouts, high school days, college days…you get the idea. Thankfully my rendezvous with Facebook was like a summer romance. Initially I was wooed, excited and smitten. I hadn’t seen nor heard from SO MANY PEOPLE from my past and it’s been amazing to reconnect but, as I hoped, I don’t feel the need to constantly lurk and post comments and such. I am grateful to now have this huge virtual rolodex and a way to reach out to everyone, make plans for visits and catch up on the last 20+ years. It is remarkable to see how everyone has aged, how some people changed so drastically and some barely at all. And let’s not forget their own children, the offspring of tin foil apple core bong makers and once drunken water skiing slalom competitors.

Oh, and I just joined Twitter last night. Let the wild rumpus start!

Yesterday was a much deserved day off after the success of a huge Mardi Gras condo topping off event I coordinated in downtown Austin the day before. I decompressed while doing yard work and W deemed it warm enough to do this…

Love Texas in February.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Topsy Turvy

Hello. Sorry to leave you with a week and then some of Har Mar but it has been cah-razy up in here. What I need is some serious balance, a notion so eloquently mentioned recently by Karla May. Reading her post made it clear to me that I, too, need some balance ‘cause lately it’s been like this…

I read the Wall Street Journal most days but lately it’s been difficult because I’m completely distracted by all of the doom and gloom headlines that riddle each page. Here is a short list from today…

-job losses soar
-explosives proliferate
-steep drop in demand
-hopes against hope
-boom falls hard in global crisis
-posts record drop
-losing streak
-more plants at risk

Makes it challenging to take on the day with a spring in your step knowing the road to success is seriously eroded right now. At least the Hubs and I have no fear of losing our jobs because we are self-employed but our risks are great ones and the task every day is to gain new clients (in my case) or book another strong gig (in his case). Creating some balance is essential so that in the midst of our hard work no one is left out, we don’t overlook our own personal needs and the needs of others and we focus on what matters in our little world. Yes, balance it is.

And for the extended family, here are some pics of the sprout in all his growth spurt glory...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Har Mar

Y'all, the Hubs just called to say he wrote a song with Har Mar Superstar today. "Har Who?" I asked.

Check it. He's my new dance partner. Rowr!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Catching My Breath

Spent a long, relaxing weekend with family outside of Big D. Mucho fun-o until the rancid jalapeno hot dog weiners invaded the bodies of my mom and her boyf. Ugly scene, folks. My little bro, who is an EMT, made the living room look like an ER with mom hooked up to an IV and meds scattered about. Yikes. Those weiners were the only thing the kiddo and I didn't eat. Whew!

Today. Today it was very quiet in the house. Eerily quiet. The tot spent the day at school, the Hubs is out of town. My brain, however, was not quiet. It was a whirly dervish of activity, concerns, ideas, chaos. If you could mic my brain matter it could easily be mistaken for a morning on Wall Street. The new event planning business is great but I never leave the office. Never. And thanks to my iPhone, I, again, never leave the office. I work constantly, at all hours because I can, because my office is in my house or on my phone wherever I am and I can’t help but look at my emails 5,000 times a day. I like my boss though. She’s cool with watching taped episodes of Bourdain in the morning while drinking carrot juice in her pajamas and tries her best not to check email and send out inquires and other correspondence for 5 freakin’ minutes. Impossible. Oh, and another small gift of being your own boss? Last minute opening at hair salon means you can get you butt in there pronto! Last time I got my hair did? October. Good-bye roots! Hello colored hair shafts that stand at attention!

(So I’ve been trying to write this for the last 25 minutes but the dog and child have been rough housing and it’s very distracting like “Godzilla in your living room” distracting. I think it’s good for both of them to play, wear each other out until…until W gets “hurt” and gets as mad as a hornet's nest and chases poor Ruby Tuesday like he’s going to skin her alive but instead gives up and breaks down in tears of frustration and exhaustion. And you know what I do? I yell at both of them because blogging is hard, people! I yell loud enough for folks in Mexico to hear me and I am not proud of myself. I have to go hug both of them now.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Working like a beaver here (Speaking of beaver, I remember when I was about 12 and living in far east Texas, my best friend’s dad has a CB radio in his RV. We would hang out there, drink pink champale we swiped from her mom's secret booze hiding place and eat our way to the bottom of a hot sauce jar and bag of tortilla chips. That was pretty cool but the best part was talking on the CB to truckers. We never said dirty or bad things to them mainly because we didn’t know how to talk that way yet but we did say these two things often, “Breaker one nine for a west bound, you got an east bound a-lookin.” and “Hey, any you truckers want a commercial beaver…come back.” We had NO idea what a commercial beaver was.) Seems some event planning business has come my way along with a lovely little sponsorship sales position for this sweet film fest . We are currently looking for all sorts of sponsors for the 5 day hoo-ha so if anyone is interested, drop me a line and I’ll send you one of the most impressive decks I’ve ever seen. Will make you want to jump right in pronto. The work has encouraged me to start my own business so I’m going thru the motions of getting it all set up. VERY exciting and momma totally needs some scratch y’all. Plus I LOVE planning and participating in events, parties, shindigs, whatever you got. It’s in my blood and I feel blessed to be here. The timing is perfect as well.

W is going through some super-duper hardheaded phase that makes me want to send him to boarding school. Is there such a thing as a boarding school for belligerent tots? How about baby boot camp? Seriously, his scowls, pursed lips, folded arms and defiant attitude is making momma nutters. I thought backtalk happened at 16 not 3? Much too early for this nonsense. He does have his unbearably sweet moments where he “wubs” me and says, “I want to give you a big hug” and goodies like that but, man, he’s been a little challenging lately. Please tell me it’s temporary.

Oh, the other day the Hubs and I made la bomba shrimp and corn salad. This is serious goodness with the right collaboration of flavors, textures and color. I like to add chopped tomato, too. This is not a meal we would eat with friends because we literally stuff it in our faces like participants at a pie eating contest. There's just something about it. Give it a try for sure.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I’m unloading baby stuff these days, putting it on Craigslist and giving it away. It’s been hard to finally come to terms with the fact that we aren't going to make a sibling for W. Three is enough though and I’m finally starting to believe it. Folding his tiny clothes into little piles and sniffing his soft toys for hints of his former infant self has been a little heart wrenching to say the least. Many reasons guided us to our decision like the fact that I turn 40 soon and don’t want to put career-oriented goals on hold again AND W is finally starting to bond with the Hubs. The thought of the possibility of another 3 years of mommy-centricity like W exhibited is unbearable. And don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t all my decision. The Hubs has some thoughts on it, too, like he’ll be on the road and I’d be the one juggling two kiddos while running a business. Ummm…no thanks. W’s just going to have to be okay with Jelly Cat as his constant and floppy sidekick. Maybe he’ll create an imaginary friend. I never had one of those. Way too many Barbies and stuffed animals around when I was a girl. Oh, and tons of pets. I mean, ridiculous amounts of four-legged, two legged and no legged creatures. So for now and always, we are 3 plus a dog.

Recently I was thinking of some of my favorite things around the house these days. I thought I’d share them. Feel free to mention your own favs.

-A giant faux black sable blanket (not my chair pictured). Love this thing. It’s huge and weighs a ton. The whole family lives beneath it when it’s cold out. Almost the perfect substitute for a fireplace, almost.

-Voluspa Floraison Linden Blond Tabac Perfume (whew, that’s a mouthful). Have worn it for years and people often ask me about it. Smells nice without being obtrusive.

-My black Dearfoam house shoes. LOVE them and have gone through many pairs. I have this thing where I loathe walking around the house (any house) barefoot. Never do it. Don’t like random floor crunchies sticking to them.

-Illume pineapple cilantro scented candles.

-Favorite coffee mug that has a ghost on it that says, “boo.” That’s what my dad has always called me since I was little.

-The pictures and W’s art on the fridge. Very special to me.

-Cannot live with out my daily dose of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. I’m not aging without a fight.

-Soft Soap Pomegranate body wash. Awesome and cheap, especially if you by it at the Dollar store.

That's all on the list for now. Twas a very long, busy day. Time to get the tot to bed and head that way myself. Goodnight.

Monday, January 05, 2009

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

In our household I try to make an effort to speak kindly, to add lilts in my voice to convey friendliness and interest because W is always listening and learning. When my nerves are frayed and I’m about to pack my bags and take advantage of one of those Southwest Airlines “Wanna get away?” promos I really have to make the effort to be nice. I grit my teeth and say the second thing that comes to mind, not the first because the first is cranky, mean, ugly. I have noticed lately since the little fam has been cohabitating in such close and frequent proximity that the Hubs has been expressing himself sweetly and adding the lilt, too, and no longer sounding like his interrupted, mildly interested self. I listen to him talking to W and smile to myself knowing we are all trying our best in this new and unfamiliar situation of constant family-ness. Score one for the home team.

On a daily basis I am entertained by W’s three-year-old dialogue and imagination. His little brain is currently being fed by his all time favorite movie Yellow Submarine. He started watching it on YouTube this summer and then Santa brought him a discontinued copy via Russia (totally pirated and copied it seems). He will watch it three times a day if I allow and there are many random moments where he breaks out in to a Beatles tune from the soundtrack. One recent morning on the way to school and while waiting at a light I hear a small voice in the backseat sing, “All the lonely people. Where do they all come from?” Was very poignant since it’s a corner where the homeless hang and people are waiting on the bus. He usually can’t go from one room to the other without a the soundtrack sung at the top of his lungs…All You Need Is Wub (complete with his hand shaped like a gun minus the trigger and waving around like in the film), Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Cwub Band. He still sings Bad To The Bone, too, and it goes something like this…

“On the day I was born, a saw gadder ‘round, gage a white window, joy they bound, dista bow, see da (something, something), they could tell right away-yah I was bad to da bone, bbbbbbbaaauud…” and so on. It’s quite funny. Thank jeebus he’s forgotten about Who Let The Dogs Out. Loathe that song

His curiosities are what leave me completely in stitches. And he won’t let you get away without answering him. Interrogations usually go something like this…

“Mommy, do cats pee outside…yes or no?”
“Mommy, are cookies treats…yes or no?”

So you have to answer or the questioning never ends. The other day this was asked…

Him: “Mommy, what’s guff?”
Me: “Hmmmm…it means attitude” (I know! Lame answer but he caught me off guard.)
Him: “It means you’re wild.” (He has said in the past that Gogo, his grandma, gives him guff. Yep, she’s pretty wild.)

Good times in the Chaos household. It’s dang cold out today which really confuses things since it was in the 80’s on Sunday. Tonight’s menu is my favorite turkey chili recipe with unsweetened chocolate and cinnamon. Yes, it totally rules. The last batch of peanut butter “thigh thickening” cookies are in the oven, too. It smells like Mrs. Field’s up in here. Oh, and I’m on day 5 of the “no alcohol allowed” wagon ride. Yippee! Am going to totally blow it when I fall off on Jan. 11th at a formal little dinner we’re attending. Oh yes, I am.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bring It On

Hello 2009. Sure am glad you’re here. I was just about fed up with 2008 already so good timing.

A photostream of some of our pics from 2008 have been added to the “W’s Work” link on the right. I couldn’t figure out how to make the 2008 pics their own little space. Oh well. BTW all of the images were taken with my iPhone. Damn thing is the shizzle.

I obviously didn’t resolve to blog everyday hence no January 1 or 2 write up so the pressure is off. I will however attempt to blog as often as possible and I’m sure there will be much to fuss about, much to applaud, and even more to drink to in the coming year. Since I’m not bringing home the bacon right now we’ve cut back on our snobby wine clubs and wine bar splurges so I’m considering stomping my own grapes in the clawfoot tub downstairs. Hell, the blackberry jelly many of you got for Christmas turned out fine, right? I do have a couple of irons in the fire though and some direction on a little personal endeavor so we’ll see how it all goes. I don’t think we’ll be in the poor house anytime soon. If it starts to look that way though will you all buy my homemade hooch? I think I’ll call it “Catherine The Grape” named after my toenail polish.