Tuesday, September 30, 2008

month end wrap-up

September was busy - lots of work and meetings with a good dose of fun sprinkled in.
Here is the stuff I couldn't get organized enough to write about.

My friend Scott introduced me to the wondrous Flowing Well Park. As you can see I didn't plan properly - I only brought the glass jar. It was delicious water and a fun field trip.

My cousin Diane married the lovely Tony in Chicago and they threw a fun reception for the Indiana folks. The wedding featured all of my favorite things - cake, love, BBQ, open bar, music and a bouncy house. Pictured exiting the bounce house is June Bug, Nora and the bride (in green). I belong to the fabulous Riviera Club. When I managed the coffeehouse I used to live at the pool during the summer - sometimes spending five hours a day swimming, reading and napping. I am not able to take as much advantage of it now, but I still love it. I spent Labor Day weekend trying to squeeze in a whole summer of swimming.

Beth and I were honored to be Eucharistic Minsters for Uncle Cletus' Funeral Mass. He was buried in his WWII uniform. He was buried with the full military rites. You can see my dad saluting in the background. This photo brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it.

After the funeral dinner (where I ate a whole weeks worth of Weight Watchers points in fried chicken, green beans with bacon, mashed potatoes, gravy and pie) I hitched a ride with my cousin Chuck on his Harley Davidson. It was a blast, riding down the road in my dress. It is is very out of character for Miss Safety First to ride without a helmet. That said, I trust my cousin Chuck with my life and I said a little prayer that all of the other drivers would be just as careful.

I love line-cooking day at Second Helpings. I'm surrounded by friends and family and lots of laughter. Pictured: Mom, Nora, Ann Herr Mitchell and Mrs. Herr. My friend Kristi did a great job and we're roping her in to volunteering for every line cooking.

And later that night...as evidenced by the same dress....I attended a fundraiser/fashion show for Dress for Success. I love what Dress for Success does- outfitting women for job interviews and providing work clothes. I ran in to cousin Nina (granddaughter of Cletus and MaryAlice).

Talk Like a Pirate Day. Who can resist a chick in a mustache and tattoo?

Work Day at Tammy's. My dear friend Tammy is having twins. A great groups of troops rallied to paint, patch and assemble. I surprised Jerry on a ladder, not a good idea. I guess I'm not the brightest light bulb in the pack.


I had a total meltdown the day before my trip when I realized that my drivers licence was not in my wallet. I needed it to rent the car in Austin. I could always use my passport for i.d. for the plane and to get my press pass, but I had to have the licence for the car.

I combed my house, truck, brief case, pants pockets and anywhere else I could think that I might possibly have left it. No luck. I looked online to see what I needed for a duplicate licence. There were four absolute requirements and the passport could cover two of them, proof of residence was easily covered with a piece of postmarked mail. I was totally screwed on the proof of Social Security number. I certainly didn't have my original SS card - I'm not sure that I've ever seen it. It might be locked away at the farm. And I had no time to go to the SS office to get a letter stating that I'd applied for a duplicate card.

One of my co-workers convinced me to go to the licence branch just to see what they would say. I couldn't believe it when I laid my stuff down on the counter.
Do you know your SS number?
Yes and I rattled off the number, it got punched in to the computer.
Okay, that will be $10, get your photograph taken over there.

My "woo hoo I can rent a car" side wanted to do a victory dance. My social justice "none of our students could have gotten away with this" side was a little miffed, but quickly got over it.

I took this photo with my iPhone as I left the branch.

Last week I got this letter in the mail with my drivers licence tucked in it. I was scheduled to give a talk at 5:45 in the morning at a factory. I checked in to the guard house at 5:30 (I had to leave my house at 5:00) and no one ever came to fetch me. I finally left at 6:15, never using the factory ID that I was issued. The guy forgot to give me my drivers licence when I handed him the ID. Fine, its early in the morning. But why did it take three weeks to mail it back? I probably would have gotten a good laugh out of the whole thing if the letter didn't imply that I'd messed up....I never left the guard house and I was never told the meeting was cancelled.

On the bright side: I like my new photograph better and now the weight is actually right.

Here's to a new month. Cheers!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I had a fun last day in Austin. Uncle Bruce met me at the rental car place. Did I tell you that the key got stuck in my first car? I was so sure that I was doing something wrong when the key wouldn't come out of the ignition. As it turned it was just plain old stuck. By the time I'd driven to downtown Austin, parked, jacked around with the key, drove back to the rental place and back downtown I lost three hours of the festival. Which set up a 'Nora running through the park trying to find the media check-in place with seven minutes to spare" race. I was dodging bike racks, hippies with clipboards and strollers to get there, but I made it. If I would have missed the check-in time I have no doubt that I would have sat on the sidewalk and sobbed. 

Anyway, after the car was dropped off, Uncle Bruce took me to see where his brand new condo is being built and Longhorn Village. It is in a great community in a beautiful spot. I'm so excited for him! 

I got to spend some time back at Sheila's. I worked on the NUVO blog and took a dip in their lovely pool - having fun with the self timer on the camera. 

In my effort to be the perfect guest, I really blew it. I washed the towels and sheets, replaced the Diet Coke I drank and left a bouquet of roses on the counter. I gathered up all of my trash to put in the big trash bin. As I was packing I ran across the new undies that I'd purchased for the trip. As it turned out I'd accidently bought way too-big grannie panties. I decided to go ahead and pitch them, knowing that I'd never wear them. As I was headed to the garage the doorbell rang. I sent the trash on the kitchen counter, let Uncle Bruce in - and forgot to go back and carry it to the bin. I realized on the way to the airport that I'd left the pile of trash- with undies on the top on their counter. I was mortified. 

With the exception of the great underwear gaffe, it was a fabulous trip. I'm so glad that I did it. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

austin city limits festival, day three

I'm having a wonderful time. You can read the updated posts here.

I've really enjoyed hanging out at the festival by myself. The only time I wished I had a friend with me was when I walked by the giant jackalope. I really wanted my picture taken on it. Right before I left I handed my camera to a stranger and I'm glad I did.

Kim, I'm sorry - wore the Chucks to the festival and an assortment of other sensible shoes There were lots of young things in mini-skirts and cowboy boots. I'm old enough to go for comfort on the 90 degree days. Hell, I'm old enough that these Chucks were made in the USA.

After ACLF I found my way to the Continental Club and it turned out to be the highlight of my trip. I loved being there and felt at home sipping my whiskey and leaning against the wall watching the band and the dancers. Several of my guitar-playing friends love Redd Volkeart, and I can see why. Chatting with him turned in to a great brush of guitar fame. The guitar player from the Foo Fighters joined our conversation. Wheeeee!
Click here for the boiled down from my blog posts for print review of the festival.

austin city limits festival, day two

More blogging from ACLF here.
I'm enjoying hanging out with my Uncle Bruce. I met him at 7:30 Mass this morning, had a doughnut with his church friends and visited Aunt Bernadine's grave.
I hate to throw in the towel, but I'm going to nap before I head back to the festival.

Friday, September 26, 2008

austin city limits festival, day one

Here is a quick and dirty post about day one of ACLF- read it here.

View from the Ryan Bingham stage

Alejandro Escoveo

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

hello....anyone still out there?

I don't blame you if you're gone, really. I could type pages about what I've been up to and such, but I don't have the energy to write it and it wouldn't be that interesting to read. 

Overall life is good, if not still out of whack. 

The breaking news: I'm in Austin for the Austin City Limits Festival. When I found out that I had a media pass I bragged to exactly one person and you can guess what happened...no media pass. The music editor had committed the pass to two people. In the end it all got straitened out, ACFL took pity on the situation and issued me one also. 

Ironically, Aaron, who lives in Austin, is not in town. The selfish ba*tard is working in a kitchen that feeds hurricane relief workers. Everyone has an opinion on whether Aaron not being is good or bad. It does feel weird to be here and not see him. 

My sweet cousin Sheila and her family are letting me stay at their place. Which is beautiful and amazing. I think the bedroom/bathroom/dressing room I'm staying in is bigger than my house. And there is a pool in the backyard. 

Uncle Bruce fixed dinner for us. Grilled steaks (we're in Texas, ya know), baked potatoes and salad. I'm suspending Weight Watchers (lost 15 pounds so far!) for this trip. 

Off to bed. A very nice bed, I might add....

Oh, I'll be blogging about the festival for NUVO. You can read the posts here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

half ass

...or is it half assed? Or half-ass? Damn it, I can't even title a blog post these days. I started this one weeks ago and couldn't even manage to hit the "publish post" button.

I feel like I've been running on tilt for the last three weeks. And it was bound to happen, really. I always joke that I'll be running at full speed and then, whomp: I'll just fall over and it will all be over.

My out-of-wackiness started the day after the fair ended. I had a frustrating day at work (as so many are, I just don't write about it), and it was one of the nights that I stayed until 8:00 to finish stuff up. I went home, fed the cat and went to bed. I woke up in a panic at midnight, realizing that I'd forgotten to pick up my projects from the fair, including two pretty valuable PEZ dispensers. I grabbed the entry book and read the bold type warning that basically said: anything that is not picked up is gone forever, dumbass stupidhead poopyperson [I might be paraphrasing a bit].

I had a finance committee meeting the next morning. I have a hard time sitting still through those on a good day, let alone when I pictured my precious circus pony Pez hitting the dumpster. That meeting rolled straight over to another meeting. My plan was to race to the fair and throw myself on the mercy of whoever I needed to. I was dashing out the door when I decided to check my messages since I hadn't been at my desk all morning. Woo hoo! One of the state fair volunteers remembered me from all of my visits to the building and knew that I worked at Second Helpings. When I didn't pick my stuff up, he rescued it for me. Yippee! Thanks Dave!

My last three weeks have included things like staying late at work, having several programs and files open and not clicking on "save" enough and having everything freeze up and get lost. I know Ralph, Jesus Saves! Which then made me push the limits on turning in my column. And it is really bad for me to know that I can submit it a week late and it still gets to print.

I had two groups of touring musicians stay at my house last month and friends were generous enough to put me up. The first group was lovely and I always look forward to Amy's visits. Amy Speace has played to thousands of people and was hand-picked by Judy Collins as her opening act. I was disappointed in the turnout in Indianapolis - only a handful of people. Amy wrote about it here. Anyway, I had fun getting the house ready- blowing up air mattresses, cutting fresh fruit, laying out towels and dusting. We had a great time catching up and I enjoyed meeting one of her new band members. I love being to offer my washer/dryer and wireless to folks that have been on the road. We drank a beer, caught up on our lives and I grabbed my pajamas and toothbrush and headed to Tammy's to sleep. As I was putting on my pjs I realized that I had not brought clothes for the next work day. Luckily it was casual Friday and I didn't have any appointments. My jeans, black tank and flip flops were a little more casual than usual, but it all worked out.

The next group made me really nervous. Six people that had been on the road for ten days. Their gig didn't end until midnight and it was 1:00 by the time the van pulled in to my driveway. They were rocking out to something AC/DC-ish, singing along at the top of their lungs with the windows down. By the time I parked and ran up the driveway hissing, "turn down the music," neighbors lights were flipping on and I could see curtains parting. I gave the two guys that I've known for years a tour, reminding them about where the lights are, etc. I sniffed something through the window that sent me flying out the door, "could you please not smoke pot in the driveway, or the house for that matter." I felt like such a raving bitch by the time I walked out the door at 1:30. I was scheduled to give a talk at 6:45, which meant leaving Tammy's at 6:15. I was careful to remember to grab clothes this time.

I burst out laughing when I unloaded my bag in Tammy's spare room - I'd grabbed a freaking tablecloth instead of a skirt. I also forgot to bring shoes and I was wearing cowboy boots. I figured I could sneak in to Tammy's room (if I could get by the big dogs holding guard) and grab one of her skirts. As it mercifully turned out, the talk was cancelled. I had a 9:00 meeting that I went to wearing the jeans. I stopped by my house to grab a skirt and was greeting with sleeping bodies, pans of food on the stove and overflowing ashtrays on the front step. Ugggh.

From there I decided to have lunch in the neighborhood instead of at work. I had a lovely time sitting in the sunshine and visiting with neighbors. A woman that I volunteer with on a project accosted me and yelled at me about the project and how mad she was. I'll admit that I needed a little kick in the ass, but no one deserves to be yelled at in public. As you can guess, the already strained relationship is worse.

I've had such a tight schedule of meetings and talks and work that if one little thing goes wrong a catastrophic domino effect starts. One day last week meetings ran in to meetings that ran in to more meetings. At the last meeting I was taking a deep breath envisioning a hunkering down with a library book at home. My cell phone rang and I learned that I was late for work at the Red Key. I'd totally forgotten that I'd picked up a Wednesday night 7:30 cooking shift. I raced to the bar and cooked 30 burgers in my beautiful dry clean only dress. I did something I never do and drank a shift beer while cleaning the kitchen. Just as I was walking out the door my phone rang again. I'd forgotten to go see a friend's band play. I pulled up to the venue, still in my good dress, smelling like grease, smoke and sweat and burst in to tears as I was racing to the door.

Typically I revel in those sort of days, putting on my superchick cape on trying to do it all, be everything to everyone.

Lately I feel like I'm not doing anything quite right. Work, writing, part time jobs, friendship, blogging, homeownership, boys, family and volunteering are all off-kilter. Even my cat is giving me hell and my bike and car are rebelling. Thrown-up hairballs, flat tires and plugged fuel filters abound.

Tomorrow will be a better day....right?