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Archive for October, 2009

Y’all, I’ve arrived in DC from Texas with a little wistfulness and a touch of a twang. The goings on for work went well, then I got to spend three top notch days in the company of gracious and hospitable Ann and Bob, in their home in West Texas.

I had never been in West Texas before – only the Dallas metro area, and always for work. And being from a so-blue-it’s-green state, I had definite preconceived notions about this “We were once a sovereign nation and if this dude in the White House doesn’t watch his Ps and Qs we might become one again” red state. What I found was a lot of beauty in the landscape, warmth in the people, and vultures.

vulturesYep, you read right. I’m not speaking in metaphors – I saw literally dozens of vultures. Mostly they were circling overhead – presumably searching for their next meal of truck-flattened raccoon (of which there was puh-lenty).

And while I was fascinated, I was also a little creeped out. When we drove  by one sitting on a fence post, I literally shuddered at the hunched shoulders and bare head. Nevermore or not, I’d take a raven over a vulture any day.

Along with vultures, I saw a skunk (on the other side of the glass, thankfully), cardinals, house finches, chickadees, a few varieties of doves (can you say pigeons?) and many, many deer – ten point bucks and teenage spikes and does and even a fawn. They’d come right up to the house to check out the water features and the bird feeders – I spent more than a few minutes sitting at the top of the steps looking out through the wall of windows, admiring the animals.

Oh, and there was one other beast: the Texas Longhorn. While I’ve experienced my share of cows, these are in a league of their own:

Longhorn

Please note: this image has NOT been digitally enhanced! That’s really the rack on this animal. Can you imagine having that thing running, or even moseying in your direction?

As my friend Lisa would say, Oh HELL no!

All in all, my time in Texas was terrifically satisfying. Now I get to spend a week in DC with three of my favorite people. Life is good.

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So I’ve been in Texas for 24 hours now, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Texans love their flags. I counted no fewer than twenty 20 Texas state flags between the aiport and the hotel – that famous lone star is waving over every corporate park from DFW to downtown. I’m not certain I’ve seen twenty Washington state flags in my lifetime, but Texas’ is snazzier, wouldn’t you agree?

texas-flag  Washington_state_flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with the state flag, I’ve seen an abundance of the stars and stripes, one of which was ginormous. Hugemongus. Very, very big.

The second largest flag I’ve seen, which was also mucho grande, was for John Deere. That’s right, the tractor company. Corporations proudly fly their logos (usually just to the right of the Texas flag, which is just to the right of Old Glory). I saw Deloitte, NEC, even Medieval Times was flying their flag.

2. Texans are chatty, y’all! Everyone here (with the exception of a few taxi drivers) has launched right into conversation. No one is a stranger. While I dearly love Seattle, people there aren’t known for their welcoming or forthcoming ways. I’d forgotten how hospitable this region is. And how much they love to talk.

3. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. I’ve seen more than one of these, and I’ve been in three buildings so far:

firearm free zone

Now I’m off for my first Tex-Mex of the trip. See ya later, y’all!

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With one leg in the shower, a little bit crabby and a lot sleepy, I had to back up and stand, dripping, in the doorway to my bedroom to make sure I hadn’t mis-heard: “The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to President Barack Obama” said the stoic NPR news announcer. “He brings hope to the world….” Now wide awake, a little teary, and grinning from ear-to-ear, I returned to my shower.

A good start to the day that was already guaranteed to end well, since tonight we’ll be celebrating the effervescent Jenny.

Way to go to both of these people I love!

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This weekend, I came out of the closet – about this blog. First to Joe, in a post-massage two-Manhattans haze, never giving him the URL and knowing he’d never go looking for it (the man doesn’t even have voicemail, let alone an affinity for web 2.0).

I like to think that doesn’t count.

But today – today it was deliberate. I outed myself to two of those amazing women – Jenny and Jen. And the closet metaphor is a good one, because these are the two that I turn to when my actual closet is no longer cutting the mustard. It’s never outstanding, mind you, but this week its dismal contents got me to the point where, as Jenny mentioned, we had to venture out on one of my biannaul clothing stock ups.

I loathe clothes shopping, because I suck at it. For a long time, I described myself as fashion retarded, and I mean that

Okay, so maybe I'm not quite this bad!

Okay, so maybe I'm not quite this bad!

word in the literal sense: when it comes to clothing, I am s-l-o-w. If it were up to me, I’d wear jeans and a black tee shirt every day, throwing in the intermittent skirt when the occasion calls for it. (When I mentioned that plan to Jenny and Jen, Jenny replied, “and that would be different how?”) So I tend to avoid shopping for as long as possible, then call on people with skills I don’t even begin to have, skills I truly marvel at, like mixing and matching colors, envisioning what that sweater might look like with this shirt and that pair of pants, honing in on the clearance item that fits well and brings out the color in their eyes.

They might as well be speaking Farsi or working with imaginary numbers for all the chance I have of understanding it.

By the grace of God, someone has always played this role in my life: in high school it was Danielle, in college it was Beth, and Julie and Angie have served in this office as well. I’m indebted to these women. They’ve taught this remedial student a thing or two (Raglan sleeves + big boobs = uh-gly), steered me clear from fashion disasters (Beth’s “Rona, what the hell are you thinking?!” has been uttered more than once), and – no exaggeration – brought me real peace of mind.

So I’ve come home from a truly satisfying day, spent in the company of two who have a hold on my heart, and I’m grateful – that the closet in my bedroom has been taken off life support once again, and that my writing closet has been flung open to good friends.

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