Wednesday, December 30, 2009

it's hard work

First an airplane terrorist couldn't manage to set off a bomb in his shoe. He was dubbed The Shoe Bomber. Now we've got a terrorist who could barely manage to set fire to his crotch. He was dubbed The Undie Bomber. Or, if you're a faithful Deb on the Rocks reader, he's now Captain Underpants.

But seriously. What's next ? The Earlobe Lobber? The Nostril Nabber? The Bra-Cupped Crusader? The Vaginal Villain?

In response to this most recent on-board bombing bungle, airports in Amsterdam and Nigeria have announced that, in future, they will use full body scans to peep on screen passengers. Security workers will be able to play peek-a-boo, I see you ... ALL of you.

In effect, they will be provided the airport perk of porn-on-demand.

While the screenee, one presumes, will feel embarrassed and violated, the professional peeping toms screening techs will feel titillated and transfixed.

And the passengers in the long waiting lines? Impatience will be replaced with a mix of anxiety and

If these full body scans make it to American airports? It will be a whole new world for the employees of the Transportation Security Administration. Absenteeism rates will plummet. Boredom complaints will vanish.

These workers, may, in fact, be demanding longer shifts, shorter breaks, and fewer vacation hours.

This news of heightened erotica potential for airport security workers may be the perfect answer to the ongoing debate about the unionizing of the TSA.

Future arbitration meetings might sound something like this:

You drop the union bid and we give you unlimited, in-person, pre-flight porn. Deal?

We'll consider it. But first, we will need between-scan conjugal visits. Because, in the words of our former president,

Monday, December 28, 2009

plowed under

Not with the cold, white stuff, unfortunately. Wouldn't mind trading in for some of that. No, I'm plowed under with the post-holiday residue.

You know, the ...

crumpled wrapping paper, didn't quite make it into black garbage bag

empty shirt boxes

pile of truffle wrappers, embarrassingly large

dried orange peelings


pine needles

fireplace ash

crocheted afghan crumpled on floor, displaced by new, plush snuggle throw

digital watch instructions, printed so small, impossible to read

lost gift card, lost gift receipt, lost mind

It didn't always look like this.


Happy Holidays-Almost-Over, bloggy friends!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

big win for mayor elect

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker
celebrates her runoff election victory
with her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard (in purple)

I love to see a woman beat a man make history. Especially when that woman is a lesbian.

In this case, Annise Parker was the first openly lesbian woman to be elected mayor of an American metropolis: Houston.

Every now and again the citizens of Texas get it right.

I also love to see it when history making members of the GLBT community show that they, too, cherish loving, longterm committments. Parker and her partner have been together 19 years. They have two children.

Why their two children are denied married parents doesn't make any sense to me. Kids of gay parents have it tough enough, don't they?

Take Mason, for instance, a young Austin resident who spoke before a public crowd to say he gets teased at school. You don't come from a "real family," is one taunt he's had to endure. And as research has now shown, there are psychological consequences of denying gay rights.

But in order for Parker to win the Houston election, she had to make some political and very personal concessions. During a campaign debate she stated she would not push for same-sex partner benefits for Houston's city workers. Denying health insurance for her very own wife partner.

“Personally it’s very important,” she was quoted as saying, “but, as mayor of Houston, do I want to engage resources in fighting that battle, or do I want to tackle the budget? Do I want to tackle drainage? Do I want to try to put more police officers on the street? It’s the difference between the personal and what this city needs.

One step at a time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

novel synchronicity

What are the odds of reading two novels, back to back, with the same unusual and unexpected ending?

In the first, a person fakes his death and moves to a particular southern state that shall remain unnamed.

In the second? A person fakes his death and moves to a particular southern state that shall remain unnamed.

And yes, the very same state.

The setting of the first book: New York City and New England. The second? England.

The first book I acquired from a neighbor. She gave it to me saying she couldn't get through it but thought I might like it (I did).

I wonder what this says about our friendship. Here's a book I hated. I think you'll like it.

The second book was sitting neglected, on my bookshelf, for nearly a year because I had regretted buying it. Not my usual fare, I wondered what the heck was I thinking. Book buyer's lament.

So late on this one night, after finishing the first book, I wandered to my bookshelf and reached for this second, unappealing one, thinking "This ought to put me to sleep."

In other words, no connection between the two books. Complete random coincidence that I selected two books with identical endings.

The Goddess of Synchronicitous Endings guided me there, apparently.

And I wonder what this means, too.

Is the universe talking to me? Should I be thinking about faking my death and moving to a particular southern state that shall remain unnamed?

Or if my husband suddenly disappears? I know where to find him.

How about you, reader? Has this ever happened to you? Two books, read back to back, with an eerily familiar theme or ending?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

my kids are smarter than your kids

My daughter, BabyB, has determined that she can sleep on top of her bedspread, covered by a small blanket, and avoid making her bed in the morning.

And so, with this post, and with great pride, I hereby nominate BabyB as a candidate for the Nobel Laureate in Domestic Short Cuts.

And since there is a little known category called Family Laureates, The Curie family having won the most Nobel Prizes, with five, I will also nominate my son. He has discovered that, despite having a walk in closet, furnished with the usual array of clothes hangers, shelves and a string of hooks, he can organize his clothes better by laying them in discreet piles on his bedroom floor. Unfolded, even! That his mother nearly slipped a disc tripping over these piles on her way to open the window blinds is but a minor stumbling block of his revolutionary system.

BabyA comes in third place. She has devised a shoe organization scheme which may be too complex to describe in a short blog post. Her extraordinary design involves placing, or sliding, and sometimes kicking, her shoes, but most especially her slippers, under her bed where they wait, mismatched, until their partner shoe, or slipper, is put on the proper foot. How she does this has not been replicated by any other child scientists, or at least, a data base search has not yielded a similar reference. BabyA merely has to use the big toe of her unshod foot and slide it along the edge of her underbed, and, by a combination of tactile and sonar tracking, she locates the correct match. It's a spectacular process to behold!

Reader, does a child of yours have a Nobel-Prize-worthy discovery you'd like to nominate?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

the maroon and the orange face off

Deb of etc, etc, etc has an affinity for a unique combination: Texas and flamingos.

Today, while the pie crust was chilling and the turkey was basting, Sam and I took a short ride to capture one of Austin's most unique traditions: Flamingos on parade.

We spotted a rare flock of maroon flamingos:

And then a flock of orange:

And then when we back up a bit:

we see that it's not just college athletes who have a passion for squaring off on a field of green:

Complete with a referee,

a penguin to insure impartiality:

And Deb? If these pictures are making you yearn for Texas, pack your bags. I'll have the perfect vehicle waiting at the airport:

The Flamingo Express.

Okay, enough of birds and blogging. Time to get back to the real game.

Gig 'em, Aggies!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

two hours and counting

Two hours to the test.

Will my fetishistic cultish devotion to Edward be challenged by Jacob, or, rather, this latest cinematic update of Jacob, as my kids so fool heartedly believe?

All three of my kids are incredulous that I am solidly in lust with rooted to Team Edward. Surely, they plead, I can see that hairy dark, claw-footed warm-blooded Jacob should win Bella's heart.

But please, I argue, here is the Jacob of Twilight:

Because, I mean, what the hell? What kind of misplaced vamp-mullet is that?

What was director Catherine Hardwicke thinking, putting that Eddie Munster widow's peak on a teenage werewolf? Pretty clear to me whose team she was on.

That's right.


Even if she did dress him like a dud.

So the challenge is in place.

Will this latest example of institutionalized sexism in the Hollywood movie industry director do a better job convincing we cougar vampire moms to switch from Team Edward to Team Jacob?

Six-pack abs Game on!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

words every mother dreads hearing

And why, every parent who survives the raising of teenagers, deserves an all-expense paid trip to a caribbean island.

No, wait, deserves to be deeded the island. Along with a different cabana boy for every day of the week.

So here is what I heard:

I picked up my son from his after school meeting. He gets into the car.

Mom! You did NOT wear that today!

me: (whose training and work experience means having an answer for everything)


son: Seriously. MOM! Tell me you did NOT wear that shirt! I mean, look at it! All those swirly colors. And what are those? Are those sequins?!

me: What?!? I like this shirt. The sequins aren't that noticeable ... are they?

son: OMG, Mom. Are you for real? Yes! You can see them. Ughghghghgghghghghg!

me: It adds a little sparkle to my day. So what? And they aren't actually sequins. They are little sparkly bits. And besides, I think the little sparkly bits .... are ... pretty.

Friday, November 06, 2009

when shoes matter, part 3, the conclusion

So Sam, with the bad shoes and the El Camino, was history. Because shoes matter.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to mid-December. The winter weather had put an end to tennis and an end to seeing Sam.

I was busy preparing for a January trip to a list of interviews on the east coast. My schooling was nearly over. I was choosing to leave Texas behind. Close the chapter. Head back to the direction of my family and old friends. Feeling really good about it, too. For the first time, no man in my life to hamper my career plans.

But then, shortly before Christmas, Mindy called to tell me that Sam's best friend Austin had died suddenly. Suicide. Oh my god, how shattered Sam must be.

The funeral was held on an unnusually crisp and sunny afternoon. I saw Sam, one of the pall bearers, inside the church wearing this:

and a pair of these:

My heart broke for him.

The church was crowded. I squeezed in next to an older lady, also by herself. As the eulogies progressed, she handed me a tissue and we both cried.

Someone told me Sam was having a gathering at his house that night for Austin's friends. I was so tired. I had worked the early shift so that I could make the funeral. What I really wanted was to go home and go to bed. I settled for a late afternoon nap that nearly turned into an early bedtime. But I made myself get up. So in my smudged mascara and rumpled funeral clothes I went.

I showed up to a large gathering of old fogies older people I did not know. And no Sam. He was visiting with Austin's parents. I grabbed a can of beer and uncomfortably mingled. I waited to offer my condolences.

That's when Sam walked through his front door wearing these:

and this:

and this:

And most vitally, these:

Roughout pigskin Wellington style boots. Bought in the mistake pile of a Justin Outlet in Fort Worth, he later told me. The mistake? Leather soles when the bootmaker meant to use rubber.

The bootmaker's mistake transformed Sam into hawtness.

Suddenly I was seeing him for the first time. Gone was the older divorcee. Gone was the arrogant talker by the lake. Gone was the fuddy duddy in the El Camino. In this instant I was seeing a tall, handsome man, a person who was grieving for his friend.

So, there I stood, across the room, head doing a double take, jaw hanging open to my waist, thinking, for the first time since knowing him, I want this man.

I must have this man.

He dropped down in his recliner. Someone handed him his drink, a Weller and water. He looked drained and beaten and really sad. Here sat a man who truly had lost his best friend.

So it was more than the clothes. Or was it? I often wonder about the dynamics of this emotional whiplash. I think as I stood across the room, trying to observe him without being noticed, I saw a side of Sam that I'd never seen before. He was always so arrogant confident, before. Emotionally aloof. Socially at ease. Unruffled. Never revealing a weakness. Seeing Sam in those Levi's and boots the depth of his grief let me see past the superficial appearances. And remember, I was studying to be a psychologist at the time. I was driven to help people with their distress. The helper in me wanted to reach out to this man in need. To understand and comfort.

I bided my time, watching from my awkward perch as he was approached by one friend after another. Eventually Sam and I had a few awkward conversations but always surrounded by groups of people. And I couldn't read him with all of that grieving weighing him down. Was he still interested? Did I even stand a chance at this point? Had I blown it?

I racked my brain. How to make a move? If I should make any move. I mean, my god, what was I thinking? This was his best friend's funeral.

But I was due to leave town for a long weekend. And then it was Christmas. And then I was leaving for two weeks of internship.

It was now or never.

And apparently, I was not the only funeral attendee with sex on the brain romance on my mind. I was nearly cock blocked foiled twice: a slimeball trying to pick me up and a surprise visitor, Old-Home-Week-Holly, a tall, beautiful, blonde photographer trying to pick Sam up.

The crowd thinned out. It was time for me to leave lest I start to look like Maude stalking Harold.

Sam walked me to the front door. My heart was thundering in my chest. I turned to go. And then, at the last possible nano-second, I barely squeaked out, "Let's go out for a drink soon." He smiled, knodded and said he would like to do that. I called him the next day.

It wasn't long before I was wearing this:

And the boots were under my bed. For good.


The older lady at the funeral who handed me a tissue?

Turns out she was my future mother-in-law.

The inspiration for this three-part-post?

I came up behind Sam the other day as he was surfing the internet. He was shopping for a pair of boots.

The boots he was planning to buy?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

when shoes matter, part 2

My first three meetings with Sam took place beside lakes.

The first was Lake Travis outside of Austin at a camping weekend called Breast Fest (don't ask). Sam was wearing flip flops. But as I've said before, you can't really judge a guy's footwear by his flip flops. And besides, I was there with someone else. It was a brief introduction.

The second meeting was many months later in late spring, beside a pitiful excuse for a lake. My friend, Mindy, set us up on a blind meeting, I guess you'd call it. I searched for a lakeside parking spot, while, unbeknownst to me, Mindy searched for the white pick up truck Sam was driving.

I had been led to believe it would be an afternoon of girl talk. Instead she was playing matchmaker. I had long believed her boyfriend Rowdy was trouble. His brother, Sam, she informed me, had recently moved back to town, divorced. Made perfect sense to me. Bad seed.
Sam showed up wearing shorts and a pair of these

No socks. Me no like.

Besides being underwhelmed by his shoes, I thought he was old. He was seven years older and graying (though his hair was long and I did dig me some long hair). I wasn't into older guys. Almost all of my former boyfriends were the same age as me. And more recently, being a graduate student studying at a snail's pace at a school full of undergrads, I was dating younger guys. Call me a 20-something cougar.

So here we sat at the lake. Sam and Mindy caught up on their shared history of long lost friends. Me giving Mindy disapproving looks. Thinking Sam was arrogant. Begrudging the fact that we didn't pick up any beer. Him thinking I was a grouchy bitch (his words, I learned later). And likely a flake.

You see, he wasn't terribly interested in meeting me, either. He questioned Mindy's judgement for dating Rowdy, the ne're do well.

So, it turns out, I wasn't the only person by the lake pre-judging. We were a regular ole Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, minus the English gardens and regency costumes.

So no sparks on this meeting. Nada.

Or the next. Mindy didn't give up. She surprised me one afternoon, Let's go for a ride in my new car! Off we drove. She headed for the lake again. She mentioned having talked to Sam earlier. I smelled a gray haired rat. I asked her to stop at the convenience store. This time I would be fortified.

And as I suspected, there was Sam. I was no more interested this time than the last. I drank my beer, fuming and glaring.

It might have come to nothing altogether if it hadn't been for Mindy turning her attentions to Sam's friend, Austin, whose name, it now turns out, was a foreshadowing. The four of us got together for tennis on a regular basis.

Sam showed up on the courts wearing these:

Hmm. Stan Smith Adidas. Possibilities. Especially since I was wearing the same shoes. Another omen. This time of a match made in shoe heaven.

But we still weren't generating any sparks.

I do remember, one spark of intellectual interest, or maybe spiritual interest is a better word for it. The four of us were eating pizza in Sam's living room after a cold night of tennis. Austin and Mindy were having an enthusiastic discussion about life-after-death. Mindy shared her near death experience. Austin wanted to know all the details. Sam? I think when you die, they put you in the ground and you turn to dirt. Like a dog. And that's it. I snapped my head in his direction and looked hard at him. Who is this guy who dares to speak such an unpopular belief? Not as romantic as Mr. Darcy's declaration of secret love, maybe, but it took my notice.

Several tennis meet ups later Sam asked me out on a date. I didn't have the heart to turn him down. And then, as if to remind me why, he showed up on my doorstep wearing these

Desert Boots. Ugg, as my daughter likes to say. All I could think, and it's still daylight.

To add insult to fashion injury, he was also wearing these


Not such a terrible choice, in and of themselves. Wranglers were THE blue jean of choice for long, tall Texans scootin' the boot at the dance halls. And I can remember drooling on admiring many a cowboy in this get up. But it was the cowboy boot at the end of the leg that justified the Wrangler label. Otherwise give me Levis or give me dudsville.

So we leave my living room, my date in Desert Boots and Wranglers. He escorted me to what I thought would be the white pick up truck I saw by the lake. What awaited us at the end of my driveway was this

A white El Camino.

Great. An old man car to match the old gray-haired divorced man and his old man fruit boots. He may as well have been leading me down the nursing home hallway to the social room.

I braced for a long night.

His company, on this first date, was pleasant enough. But spooked as I was by the old man trifecta, I was hugging the passenger door all the way home. Afraid he would go for the good night kiss, I practically flew out the door the moment he put it in park. I ran up the steps to my front door, taking them two at a time, never looking back.

He asked me out one more time, a couple weeks later, to a college football game. I already had tickets and plans to go with a younger guy friend. I figured that refusal would be the last time he asked me out.

And it was.

So how did Sam finally generate some much needed shoe spark?

Click here for the conclusion.

And Happy Halloween, everyone! May your evening be filled with fun and frivolous shoes.