Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

Here's a shocker, I'm in therapy.  I was delighted when the wait list cleared and I was finally able to see someone about my anxiety and adjustment issues.  Running a few minutes late and sweating (what else is new?) I finally found the little green awnings and made my way into my therapist's office.  God's sense of humor was on a roll that day, trust me.  As I plopped down into my little couch (sofa, for all you Texans out there) I look up and the first thing I notice above my Doc's head was this big, beautiful, amazing old print of....The Golden Gate Bridge.  Well played, irony, well played.

As I start to discuss a little bit about my anxiety issues, (some things even I know to keep private and off this blog, for now) I am hesitant to bring up my problems with Texas, but since it's more than half the reason I'm here, I let it flow.  I tell Doc that I hope I don't offend him, and that he's probably going to roll his eyes, but this girl ain't fully down with the ways of the big T.  "Listen, I'm from Philly", says Doc with a smile on his face, and then I knew I had found a new best friend.  He told me something interesting.  He said I'm not the only person he's working with right now, at this exact moment in time, that is having the same issue.  Of course he couldn't tell me much about this other gal other than she moved here recently from California, but suffice it to say she had also moved in to the "west side" (hmmmm) and that she wasn't feeling the local country club set that was surrounding her (hmmmm).  He told me that they are making progress and that she's now starting to wear her nose ring again in public.  I wanna go high five this girl, and I'm not even particularly a fan of the nose ring, but you get the point.  He gave me some good advice, none of which I'm ready to share yet, and a few Kleenex Puff boxes later, I inked my next appointment and headed to my car.

I get in my car.  Black might not have been the best choice.  I'm sweating and it's only May.  I blast the a/c. (Move tip #1, your automobile air conditioner must remain on high speed for at least five full minutes before you turn on the radio, lock your doors or fasten your seat belt.  It's a matter of survival.)  As I click the fan speed down and turn the radio up, I pull out onto the road home, still sniffling from my session.  My tears of pity are replaced by tears of "ARE YOU F'ing KIDDING ME?!". My own sweet little mini cooper speakers are betraying me. "The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the live long day!"  Full on, old fashioned trumpeted battle hymn of the early 1900's is now blasting out of my car.  I mean, come on, I had to laugh at this one.  Then just to rub it in so deep that I felt like I was being punked, it was followed up with George Strait proclaiming his love of this land with "If It Weren't For Texas".  As I drive through the (ok, they are beautiful) hills on the way home,  I'm left to think about the fact that I told the Doc, "If I think about living here for the rest of my life...."...and then I made that blow your head off gun gesture with my right hand while my left hand mimes out brains shooting out of my left ear.  The whole thing is just, well, damn humorous if you ask me.

Written by John Sinclair, 1903-

The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live long day.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn-
The Eyes of Texas are upon you
'Till Gabriel blows his horn.

On the plus side, there's a Steinmart not far from the therapist office. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

If You Ain't Texas, You Ain't S#*!

But she's been so polite with her observations so far, how could she write this? Traitor! Bubba, get your gun...

OK, this could be the post that offends the most, but I wouldn't be authentic if I didn't address this longhorn in the room.  Can someone please explain to me why Texas has to remind me that I'm in Texas, like EVERYWHERE I turn?  There are TEXAS edition trucks.  There is a  historic yet strangely written Texas pledge that is recited in my son's elementary school. (The first time I attended a weekly assembly I had been told how cute it is and how it would uplift my morning by attending.  I can't put my finger on it, but there was something vaguely brain washy about it.  I was uncomfortable.  This is where the Texas pride, I suppose, gets into our children's minds and establishes them as proud Texans for life.  I know, I know, my friend count just went down as I write this, but it is my truth.) (I so want to write "so suck it", here, but that just wouldn't be very lady like.) There are Texas branded bar stools in 8/10 homes here. Patio furniture? Must have the Texas star in iron on it to pass muster.  There are more Texas flags  here than roadkill, and trust me, that's a lot of flags. Funny story about the flags everywhere.  My good friend's friend came out to visit her from San Francisco.  She asked my friend, "What is the deal, why are there so many banks out here?"  To which my confused friend answered, "Oh, honey, those aren't banks, we just put flags everywhere out here." 

Now lest you forget, I am indeed a born Texan.  I still tear up at military homecomings, little children selling lemonade from their front yards, and the beauty of a perfectly grilled T-bone.  That said, I think you might not realize how intimidating you can be with your pride. Please give us newbies and  homecomers a little adjustment time. Maybe we'll get there. I mean, we'll get there.  I know I should expect no less from a state that yearly tries to secede from the rest of the union.  When I was a little girl growing up in Texas, I remember a bumper sticker sentiment that stuck with me through the years.  "If you ain't Texas, you ain't shit."  I'm not even going to start with the proper grammar thing, because I'm no English teacher, but that just doesn't make you sound very smart people!  More to the point, maybe I don't want to be *shit*.  Is that so wrong? 

Maybe I just don't understand Texas as a brand.  I did however, really love your Don't Mess with Texas anti-littering campaign.  The problem is you've seemed to take a clever ad and turned it into a shove it down your throat way of life here. I get it. I live in Texas. I'm reminded of that everyday when I see deers being mounted as art in living rooms, when I feel the sting of a mosquito on my leg, and when I hear good old boy cement pond builders tell me they need to talk to my husband about the technical plans for the pool because I wouldn't understand them because I probably only worked retail in my past and would probably only understand if we were talking about shopping for shoes. *

*True story.

On the positive side, the actual shape of Texas is pretty cool.  Especially in the form of a waffle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's the Music, Stupid

I get it, I get it. As a reformed neo groupie of the 1980's, trust me.  I totally get it.  However, if you are a mom, live in the sticks, er, burbs, have a wonderful husband that you'd rather stay at home with and make fun of the Batchelor on ABC, sometimes it can be hard for it to always be about the music.  Nothing makes me feel older than trying to look glam while simultaneously making sure my upper arms are covered and that I'm wearing sensible shoes. (Thank you Jesus for the cowboy boot.)  When you tell people you are moving to Austin, the first thing these never lived in Texas souls squeal is "OH MY GOD, I LOVE Austin! Music Capital of the World! I'm so jealous!"  Trust me, it's as predictable a response as the failed relationship count of the Batchelor - who, by the way, best BATCH ever? Brad Womack...a former Austinite, who apparently, local gossip just found out last weekend, has moved to Houston (What up H-town?!) to find a "normal" girl.  Good luck with that Brad.  Here's hoping you come back often to your Austin bars because I'm one of those goobers who would actually make it a destination just to be able to take another cool facebook photo with you.  Here's hoping our next photo op together turns out better than the one of us at the airport where I could use some serious photoshopping...is that a word? 

Anyhoo, when I moved back here I thought sure, it would be cool to be able to see a few bands in a more casual and close setting.  I made a bucket list of musicians I'd be willing to take the long and scary at night drive down Hwy 71 for: (forgive the bad grammar, it's just the way I speak)

1.  Radney Foster
2.  Kelly Willis
3.  The Wagoneers
4.  Raul Malo and The Mavericks

Radney Foster at The Shady Grove.  He even sat a few booths away eating dinner first.  I tried to be non-chalant about the whole thing but I was dying to know if he was having the chicken fried steak, or the vegan burrito.  He's my favorite singer songwriter, and while I've met him before in a small venue in Berkeley where he and my hubs discussed websites they owned, it was still as thrilling as before.  Bucket list Texas music count: 1 out of 4, Facebook photo count 1.  Radney Foster:  CHECK.

The Wagoneers at The Continental Club.  While I'm still good friends with my buddy Tom Lewis, drummer extraordinaire, I hadn't seen the other guys in years.  Partly because they hadn't played together as The Wagoneers for years.  Now on the comeback scene and about to blow up bigger than ever, I was very excited to come out and hear and see my friends again.  Funny footnote; these guys played my first wedding....the best memory I had from that day, that's for sure!  Here's where it gets icky.  Being in that club, seeing all the "Bettys" and the chicks giving me dirty looks for getting some attention from my friends just made me quickly realize how much too old I am for this kind of high school feeling scene.  Don't get me wrong, the band was amazing. They even did a special dedication to me from the stage. I was touched.  The years have been good, no GREAT to these guys and I know their success is going to be huge, which is well deserved.  It's just that icky "don't look at my man" kind of immaturity that left me feeling a little sad, but a little glad that I could go home and hug my kid and hubs and let them know how grateful I am that I have them.  Bucket list Texas music count: 2 out of 4, Facebook photo count 2, plus I made it into the music video they made that night. If you blink, you'll miss me dancing 80's freestyle.  The Wagoneers: CHECK.

Kelly Willis, FREE show at our local outdoor mall.  My 6 year old dancing up front in his dirty T-ball uniform. 'Nuff said. Bucket list Texas music count: 3 out of 4. Kelly Willis:  CHECK

The Mavericks at La Zona Rosa.  First of all, here's a word of advice if you do live in the burbs and are coming into downtown for a show.  Diet Coke is your best friend.   Plus, zero Points Plus!  Raul Malo is the VOICE.  I'm sorry all you contestants on some silly TV show, Raul has already been given the title of The Voice by me and many others , apparently at birth.  The Mavericks were one of my favorite bands EVER.  Once I went to see them at the Warfield in San Francisco.  My buddy Tom (see above), was opening up for them so he took me backstage to watch the show from the side of the stage.  I got to meet everyone in the band except Raul. (Curses!)  Robert Reynolds, bass player , (aka: the ex- Mr. Trisha Yearwood) even gave me a little kiss on the cheek when we said goodbye.  To which I blushed and tried to act cool and walk away casually.  Only I didn't realize the door I had opened to walk through was, in fact, a custodial closet.  I sat in the dark for a few seconds before making my own version of the walk of shame out of the closet where, you guessed it, the guys were still standing.  I got a round of applause for that one.  Not my most proud moment.  Anyhoo, flash forward to last weekend where I found myself standing right in the front of The Mavericks, (Thanks to Whitney's husband and Erika who pushed my 5.2 frame to the front of the stage!)  Let me just say something to the guys out there who are reading this.  Listen closely...If you are a DUDE, you shouldn't be pushing your way to front row unless it's a Metallica show.  It's just wrong.  You think Chris Isaak wants to see you? It was the same with this show.  There was one particular buggar who looked like an old, fat, drunken version of Radney Foster.  He kept trying his move of trying to drunk dance next to some girls who were near the front, thinking we'd be all like, "Woo! Yeah, Party, Come Stand By Me Upfront!"  I'm sure that was his game plan, but I wasn't budging.  I noticed him try with a few girls.  Didn't work.  Then he made the mistake of trying with me.  Elbows firmly in place and ignoring him stance not working, I finally, at the displeasure of my friend Erika who I think thought he would kick my 5.2 ass, say to him, "Dude! Why are you trying to push your way up here? Guys shouldn't be fighting to be front row. Leave it for the girls!"...to which I then realize that he's wearing a gray ruffled mini skirt.  #KeepingAustinWeird.  Once I got over that laugh, I have to admit, I enjoyed the show just as I would have way back when.   With Raul leading the band, and in a quiet moment when his voice alone could command silence from a rowdy and drunken crowd, it hit me.  I felt the tears fall from my eyes as he sang an unexpected Waltz Across Texas, and for a little bit, I forgot about how I didn't need to hear live music, how I was OVER Texas, and if my arms were looking fat.  For that little moment, I got it.  It's the music stupid.   Bucket list Texas music count: 4 out of 4. The Mavericks:  CHECK

So now what? I've got a check mark on all my Texas music bucket list wishes.  It almost makes me a little scared that now that those are done, is there really anything left here to look forward to?  Once you get past the music, then what?  Sigh....maybe Willie Nelson and I can hang out at the car wash sometime.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I've Got Good News and I've Got Bad News...

The bad news is that people out here don't care about what you do for a living.  The good news is that people out here don't care about what you do for a living.

If you can't escape the heat, find some water.  The fact that it happened to be at the car wash, and the water wasn't used for me particularly, didn't really matter.  I was in search of liquid even if it was just to watch all the cars get their relief through the always anxiety provoking automated car wash tunnel. I follow along the glass windows inside the building as each car, eh, who am I kidding, each TRUCK got their turn at the robotic bath.  Car washes always cause me anxiety. (Get to know me and you will quickly see pretty much everything causes me anxiety. I'm like Bethenny Frankel on Red Bull...on a good day.) I don't know but I think it was all of those trips with my mom to the corner car wash that started this apprehension.  Raise your hand if your parents used to treat the car washes like haunted houses?  "Woo, watch out for the big monster!" Flap, flap, went the big scary rubber tentacles that did more traumatizing of little children then actual cleaning of the automobile. My big sister would squeal with giggles, my mom would do her best horror film damsel in distress acting, and I? Well, I think I was curled up next to that weird hump in the bottom of the back seat, in a fetal position until it was over. Good thing we didn't have 5 point harness restrictions back in those days.  Can you imagine being trapped in your seat for this? No? I'm the only one. (Shout out Ralphie May, shout out.)  Not that the old fashioned do it yourself stalls conjured up any sweet fuzzies for me either.  My sister and I went to one of those good old fashioned crank your own squeegee bucket stalls with our dad.  He gets out of his Starsky and Hutch red Ford Torino, points to the sadistic contraption and gives us one rule. "Keep your fingers away from this thing."  Exactly one minute later, there I was, age of about six, finger pointing in a place it shouldn't be, but it was if memory serves, at the encouragement of my older sister and partner in crime.  Somehow the crank turned.  (I can't throw my sister under the bus for this one, the memory is too hazy, but let's just say it would have been hard to crank my own middle finger through to the STUCK position.  Hard, but not impossible.)  The only thing I remember next was Dad's voice, "I told you to leave that thing alone.  Don't you dare cry."  The ride back from the emergency room was silent and tense.  Dad was not happy that we didn't listen to him, but I think he was most pissed off that his car didn't get to finish getting washed.  After what seemed like an eternity but was most likely ten minutes in the car, Dad finally turned to the back seat where two pouty faced and scared little girls sat like dolls without a working pull string in their backs, he spoke. "Do you wanna cry now?"  I could feel the burning behind my still little at this point nose and whimpered out "Yes."  Permission to cry granted.  Then the floodgates opened, probably with a bit more hysteria than required just to make all parties involved feel a smidge guilty about the whole thing. 

Anyways, back at the local car wash, 2011. This particular trip to the car wash was one of those trigger days for me.  (Hee, Trigger was a horse. 1 point for the cowboy reference.)  Having safely escaped the tunnel of fear, I plop down in the fancy wicker settee and wait a bit while the guys did the drying off of my car outside.  This car wash isn't so bad.  There's cute little gifty things to buy, a soda dispenser, beef jerky, wind chimes, and even an autographed picture or two of Willie Nelson, who's said to be a frequent customer here. They even have a barber shop in the corner nook.   I noticed there was a woman who was running the place who seemed to be very busy.  She had been running to the stock closet, answering phones, ringing up customers and dealing with the crew outside.  I smiled at her as she scurried around.  She made a few more rounds around me and that's when it happened. "Miss, you seem like a nice gal. You got a kiddo in school during the day?" Yes, I tell her, a kindergartner.  "Well, how about you work here during the day? I need some damn help and you seem nice. I'm serious. You looking for a job?"

I smiled (and maybe shat my pants a bit but no one needs to know about that part.)  "Oh, no ma'am, I work from home, but thank you for the offer!"

As I head home, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.  So I choose cry.  "I am an entrepreneur! I am a business woman! An award winner! An inspirational mentor and speaker!  I work in fashion! I do television interviews! I have fabulous and famous friends! "  I call my husband in between laughs and cries.  He loves me no matter what.  He's used to our lives being nutty and exciting.  He affectionately refers to me as Lucy Ricardo because  he never knew what kind of trouble I was getting us into while he was at the club, I mean, his high tech computer job.  He talks me off of the ledge by saying, "You should be flattered! She took one look at you and could tell you were capable and likable and you got offered a job on the spot! Do you know how many people need jobs right now? You should be proud that you give off that vibe!"  He's right, as usual.  I tell him I love him, even if he gets all the way to the 3rd chorus of  (working at the) Car Wash by Rose Royce, before I hang up. 

And therein lies the issue.  We're not in Kansas (or California) anymore.  No one gives a crap about the glamorous at times life I have left behind.  Sometimes I just want acknowledgement of that.  Other times I realize I need to get over it. Maybe, just maybe it's OK to just "be".  Be a creative and driven person, yes, but also just BE a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend.   

P.S. Bonus Texas Lesson: No matter how clean your car is when you drive off the lot, you will have exactly 18 bug guts splattered on it by the time your tires make a few rotations.

Enough with the ranting, where's the positive you promised in every blog post?
*Willie Nelson goes to my car wash.  Willie F'in NELSON.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Howdy, I'm sweating.

Howdy from H. E. Double Hockey Sticks. I mean, Howdy.  Since this is my first post, let me apologize upfront to all the amazing, friendly and ever so supportive Texans in my life. Thank you for being patient with my adjustment issues, my complaining about the heat, and my heart's yearning to make peace with our decision to move back to this land that so many of you love. 

Here's the skinny, once I was gone from this place for a few years, I really did miss your stars at night, your big open skies, and well, your Luby's. (I know, I know, but you're just gonna have to trust me on that one, 'cuz it happens.)  After years of living the life in both Southern, then Northern California, the unthinkable happened. I had officially turned into a California Girl, minus the daisey dukes, bikini on top. I'm a mom of three, no one wants to see that anymore.)  Having survived my first summer here from  July 2011 - October 2011, which is apparently what folks around here call "summer", I feel like I'm finally in a position to start venting, I mean, helping others that might be making the transition, not just from my beloved California, but from pretty much any other state in the country, to Texas.  (See there, I wanted to be a wise ass and term it "God's country", but the whole thought process behind it that made me giggle might offend the GCB's. (Look it up, preferrably before the network cancels it.)   I digress, my point is, I moved here at the start of the "worst summer in the history of Texas". It was literally 100 degrees for 100 days in a row...except that one day when the cool front came in and it was a chilly 99.  I literally thought we had taken a wrong turn and ended up in Hell.  But guess what? I survived, and maybe you can too. I mean, you can too, with a little help from this journal, at least you will be properly warned, I mean, prepared.  **If you have any questions along the way, send them to me. I might be busy sweating through my MAC Studio Fix makeup, but I would love to answer them as honestly and as smartassly as possible.

So here we go. I find myself proceeding with a bit of caution, and a lot of hope that we can be friends again Texas, but first we have a few things to hash out....