Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fighting Dirty

A year ago, our neighbors, the Meiers, sold their house and moved north. Okay, it was just to a vastly overrated planned community in north Houston, but the fact remains that they moved. Away. From us. AKA the commune. And for a freeeway wimp like me (trust me, everyome in Houston should be cheering that I only venture onto  Houston freeways when I have absolutely no choice), it might as well be Siberia. It's been a year and I still haven't gotten over their move. I'm pretty much waiting for the twins to graduate from high school (only 10 years to go) so that they can move back here once they no longer need a decent public school for the boys.

Now a new horror has arisen. For the past few months, our next door neighbors, who we share a double driveway with, who I adore, have been talking about selling their house and moving to a smaller home. They've been talking about it enough that I have been forced to concede that they are serious about this. So, I'm declaring war. And this time around, I'm going to fight dirty. I'm pulling out all the stops.

I started tonight with dinner. Which was a lovely chilled avocado soup, a tomato, basil, and feta cheese tart made with wonderfully ripe tomatoes from the farmer's market, a salad which included mango salsa and corn, shrimp, and steak. All finished off with parfaits of lemon cream and fresh blueberries.

Next up: my homemade scones. I haven't made scones in ages. But I'm going to make them soon. Very soon. And deliver them warm with raspberry jam. I may even attempt homemade butter. If I can find some of those little bottles of champagne, I'll be delivering them with the makings for mimosas.

I just want Sue and Andy to fully understand what they will be giving up if they put their house on the market. And yes, I know I'm being a whiney baby, but if you've ever had neighbors who were not just the people next door, but a part of your family, then you'll understand. I've already lost one our commune familes. I'm not open to losing another. So, it's war. Or rather, not so covert acts of food terrorism. If you can call pulling out all the stops on cooking and delivering it next door an act of terrorism.

I've learned my lesson the hard way. If I had taken the Meier's plan to move seriously and inundated them with freshly baked scones, I might still have them down the street instead of a terrifying (to me) 45 minute drive on some of Houston's finest (that would be sarcasm) freeways.

Monday, May 23, 2011

About Sara

In honor of my daughter Sara's graduation from college, I'm putting her in the spotlight once again.

She is a fiercely loyal, loving friend.

She loves tea. And coffee. And dark chocolate. And brussels sprouts.

And anything pink.

She is amazingly creative. She see the possibilities in things that others don't.

She loves to read and her taste in books is wide-ranging and much more interesting than mine.

She has an amazing inner moral code that she lives by. She stands by her beliefs and lives her life accordingly.

She loves animals. When we finally got our first dog shortly before one of her birthdays (after the kids had been begging us for years to get a dog), when it came time to blow out her candles, she stopped and exclaimed, "I don't know what to wish for now that we have a puppy!"

She truly doesn't care what you believe, who your parents or grandparents are, or how rich or poor you are. At the same time, if you are subject to acts of idiocy (like taking a baseball bat to her side rearview mirror on her car), watch out. I think it was a good thing the idiot who did that didn't hang around to claim credit.

While the sight of a spider might send her screaming for her dad to come dispatch the intruder, Sara is truly one of the most courageous people I know.

She sings like an angel. She doesn't like to sing solo or be the center of attention, but she does sing like an angel. And she loves music.

She doesn't give up on her dreams. Like living in Austin after college. Some of her dreams are still to be created, but I can't wait to see what she dreams next.

And then there is that off kilter sense of humor. Which is aimed at me a little too often, but then I've only myself to blame for encouraging her to develop it.

She encourages me to follow my dreams.

She is beautiful. Inside and out.

And I love her. Always have. Always will.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Stuff

A few comments on this week. Warning to my conservative friends. I'm gonna diss the Newt, the Trump and the Sperminator. I'm also going to say some very nice things about a few people at the end. So please bear with me.

Let's start with the Donald. Raise your hand if your fondest wish was for him to just go away and not make a mockery of the 2012 Presidential election. It was certainly one of my fondest wishes. And it came true! Despite Mr. Trump's tough talk and declarations that he would make his financial records public if President Obama released his 'real' birth certificate, it turns out that Mr. Trump's desire to keep his business dealings under wraps was stronger than his desire to fix America. For which I am profoundly grateful.

Moving on to the Newt, one of the highlights of my week was the film showing the Newt being chastised by a fellow Republican party member as being an embarrassment. This right wing and right-thinking gentleman went on to advise the Newt to get out of the Presidential race as quickly as possible to avoid 'making a bigger fool of yourself.' My new fondest wish is that the Newt will take the man's advice. It's truly the best advice he'll receive about his presidential aspirations.

Next up: The Sperminator, aka Arnold, aka Scumbag Cheater. Call me a cynic, but whenever any politician, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or what have you, starts ranting talking about family values, the evils of single motherhood, etc., I start to wonder what dirt is hiding under his bed. In the Sperminator's case it was an extramarital affair that resulted in a child. A child who is no doubt freaked out at having his real origins being discussed in the news continuously. So, we've got a guy who's a hypocrite, a liar, and a cheater. And it does make me wonder what other dirt is hiding under his bed.

Finally a few kudos. To the woman who was raped by the head honcho of the IMF for reporting him right away to your coworkers and police. That took great courage and I hope that you know that, as difficult as it is right now, you are an example for all women who have been attacked.

To any friend who helps another through a tough time, thank you on behalf of the person you helped. It's tough out there some days and it's nice not just having a shoulder to cry on, but someone to tell you how terrific you are when you don't feel terrific.

To my sister Jane, congratulations on being named a 2011 Distinguished Alumna by the University of Texas Texas Exes. Can't wait to see how you get out of wearing that burnt orange blazer in October. Read all about it here.

And last, but not least, to my darling daughter Sara, who graduated from the University of Texas today: Congratulations!!! I am so proud of you and I love you more than you can imagine. And who knows, maybe someday you too will be named a Distinguished Alumna of UT and get a burnt orange blazer. Heaven knows, back when Jane graduated, we didn't think that she'd be awarded this honor some day. Oh, and Sara? I'm really, really glad that I didn't have to make a dress for you this time. It was fun the first two times (Middle School and High School), but it was much easier this time to pull out the credit card and order your regalia online. (But I would have made one if one was needed.)

Me, Sara, and her grandmother (aka Gigi, aka Larry's mom) after the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts Commencement Ceremony. It's been a good day.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I'll Remember

There are certain days and events that are indelibly burned into my memory. I am old enough to remember the day that John F. Kenedy was killed. I am a child of the '60s and the Vietnam War. So, I remember when Robert Kennedy was killed and Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. When I was growing up the interuption of a TV program for a 'Special Report' immediately evoked fear of the most elemental kind. I know where I was when I heard about the Challenger explosion. I was driving home from Kenedy, Texas where I had been visiting my mom. But 9/11 was beyond all of these. I still remember the surreal silence of no planes flying above our house and comforting my daughter who was frightened and couldn't sleep in that silence.

I will now remember forever sitting in my den hearing President Obama announce that a great evil had been removed from the world. When the news organizations announced that he was going to address the nation on a national security concern, my past experience with this sort of thing tended to the terrified. My stomach sank in a way that is all too familiar. But then, the news reporters began to get hints of what it might be. Could it be that Osama Bin Laden was finally gone? It could.

There are those who say we should not rejoice at the death of another human being. I understand and respect their beliefs. But I'm maybe a little more hardhearted and practical than most. I'm a mother and I have experienced what I call the 'mother grizzly bear' reaction. As in if you threaten or hurt my child, watch out: I am going to come for you. America saw too many of its children die on September 11, 2001, killed by a man who joyfully took credit for the destruction he ordered and only regretted that the death toll wasn't higher. I also seriously doubt that this heinous criminal would have done anything other than fight to the death. I am grateful that we are spared trying him as a war criminal. I'm sorry, but there are those who deserve death for their crimes and Bin Laden freely and gladly claimed responsibility for his and didn't waste a single instant of regret for any of the innocent lives he took. Sometimes the only way to deal with pure evil is to eliminate it totally from the face of the earth and I believe that this man was nothing but evil. He chose his path years ago and the path he chose was a violent one. Justice was done tonight.

To the extraordinarily brave people who made this possible: Thank you. Thank you for your service to America and to the world. And to those who hate in the name of religion. Stop. Now. We must stop using violence and hatred to express our religious beliefs. Only then will we have peace.