key + arrow: a new blog

steel wall fam logo

Ardent & awkward I still am, and always will be, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve also started another blog.  This one is more of a niche blog. A life and style blog to be exact.  My boyfriend (over at boredpictures) and I are putting our heads together for this one, and we are really excited about it.  Please, please, pretty please check us out over at www.keyandarrow.com and read our first post!

xo,

A&A in Austin

Catching up.

Today is my blogiversary.

I logged in at random today, as I’ve neglected ardent & awkward to the point that I was dreading logging on to see the drastic fall in followers and large amounts of reading I had to catch up on.  Then the little corner lit up and surprised me, “Happy Anniversary with wordpress.com!,” it said.  I must have logged on for a reason, if only for a swift kick in the butt to start blogging again.  She’s still waiting on me, still lighting up her corners with loyal amity.  At the very least, I could return the friendship.

Since beginning this blog, my life has changed drastically.  I’ve not only adapted to a new city, but I now feel like it is my home.  And I fell in love.  Not the kind of love you can fall out of… the kind that lasts forever.  And we have a dog that turned us into those people… those people who treat their dog like their love-child… those people who show strangers pictures.

My job as a teacher is still tough, but it is not my life.  They are my life.  And writing is still a part of my life.  Though, if you follow my blog, you can clearly see the latter statement has not manifested in my blog.  I’ve taken a break and focused on my life, which is exactly what I needed to feel creative again.  I’ve got something else brewing, and I promise, it’s coming soon…  Thank you for hanging in there loyal readers.  Sending my love to everyone and hoping this post finds you in good spirits.  Here’s to catching up!

Our awkward family photo.

Our awkward family photo.

My love & I at a wedding in Miami.

Michael & I at a wedding in Miami.

The Sunday List: Puppy Love.

I’ve yet another smelly excuse for my absence on WordPress as of late…  No, trust me.  Smelly.  His name is Buddy.  He’s an adopted 2 month Catahoula Leopard mix.  Here is what I’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks.

  1. Chasing after him when he starts turning the pee circles in the apartment.  I’ve developed a sixth sense.  A pee sense.
  2. Ignoring his crate cries because he wants to play at 4 AM.  Mommy does NOT want to play at 4 AM.  Despite the ridiculous cuteness.
  3. Picking up turds with the few remaining plastic bags I have left after Austin’s plastic bag ban.  Those things are like gold.
  4. Holding him until he falls asleep on my shoulder.  I have to relish those moments while I still can.  He’s gonna be a big boy.
  5. Taking pictures of him and sending them to friends and family.  Buddy sleeping.  Buddy walking.  Buddy playing with toys.  Buddy tilting his head.  Buddy sunbathing.  I’m annoying the shit out of everyone.
  6. Teaching him how to sit, lay, stay, roll over, etc.  He and I are simpatico.  Food motivation is everything.
  7. Doggie proofing the apartment.  I rolled up my cute rugs and stuffed them in the closet.  After scrubbing them down a few times, I opted for less cute/less cleaning.  Thank Jeebus for tiled floors.
  8. Grabbing my slippers out of his mouth.
  9. Playing with him and laughing at his faux ferociousness.
  10. Loving every moment with my little terror.  He is the cutest thing since thinly sliced salami.

Buddy.

The Sunday List: The Busy Blues & Wedding Whispers

IMG_1020IMG_1075

I’m a sucker for alliteration.  Wait.  I mean, I fancy fun figurative phrases.

See what I did there?

I’m stalling.  I know I’ve been gone for a long time.  Thank you to those of you who have stuck around.  I appreciate patience… mostly because I have none.  I’d complain about how much work has sucked the life out of me lately, but that risks the chance of looking borderline narcissistic or like a rotten excuse.  Oops, I suppose I just risked it.  You know what they say, “Excuses are just like assholes.  They both stink.”  And nobody ever wants one.

My other excuse, only this one a little more rosy… is that my twin sister is getting married next weekend.  My sister reads these posts… or did read these posts.  I figured I had to get my butt back in gear (sans the smelly asshole) for her as a wedding gift.  Don’t worry, this is not my only wedding gift to her, or else I’d no longer risk the chance of looking narcissistic… I’d BE narcissistic.  I also sent her large glass salad eating bowls which turned out to be ginormous glass salad mixing bowls, in which she attempted to return, but they ended up being a final sale, so she could not return them.

Man, I know how to gift.

This is for you, my sister, my confidante, my partner in crime, and my best friend.  Ten reasons why I am incredibly happy for you.

  1. Thank God you didn’t decide to marry Jordan Knight from NKOTB.  What a nightmare he turned out to be.
  2. He has made your life easier.  Better.  And NOT more difficult.  Such a simple thing, but it takes just the right time in our lives to figure this out.
  3. You didn’t make me enter taffeta hell or endure stripper-pole-”exercise”/”empowerment”-wedding-shower torture.  I love you.  Thank you.
  4. Mom will get off my back for all of two seconds about getting married.  I kid.  Maybe three if I’m nice.
  5. You’ve created a really good excuse for another party.
  6. A really special party, in mamasita’s partial wedding dress, made with her own hands, our aunties’, whom we always looked up to, and their homemade sweets, on the wrap-around-porch of our parents’ home.  With loved ones.                                                                                                                                                                                And lots and lots of booze.
  7. Nick is really neat.  No really, he is a tall, handsome, delight of a Norwegian Nightmare.  I’m so glad you finally found your dashing brutal husband.
  8. I’ve seen a new side of you, that I always knew was there.  There is an inner romantic-sans-cynic in you that is oh-so-beautiful on you.
  9. I know you have found someone who will take care of you and create the balance and harmony in your life you have always craved, although you may not have even been aware of it.
  10. You are fully aware of it.  And that means you are happy and whole, and nothing makes me happier.

Consider this my speech at your wedding.  It’s my third gift to you… NOT speaking at your wedding.  I hope you like it.  Love you, piss.

I can’t wait to see you get married!  You are going to make a beautiful bride.

 

The Sunday List: The Invisible List

Eames Chairs @ Designhaus, Vitra, Weil am Rhein

(Photo credit: Ergonomik)

 

Last weekend, I was sick with a head cold, and sans Internet.  Therefore, I lacked posting power.  My once daily-never-miss-a-beat-postathon has now dwindled to once a Sunday.  When I miss my Sundays, I have a difficult time catching back up.

 

So here is a one-sentence-quick-update: I’m still hanging in there at a job that has its rewards but oft makes me yank out my hair and steals away my “free” hours, while coming home to a wonderful WordPress photog-man by way of Georgia that I finally feel I deserve.  Whew.

 

When one facet of a life finally comes together, it reveals in a not so flattering light, all the areas that have yet to come together.  Scrap that.  The career is fully together, but in a completely back-asswards way, which requires a reinvention of the self… like turning a sweater inside out, only to realize the seams were SUPPOSED to be on the outside all along.  It’s the look.

 

“Georgia” and I are both artists.  He is an artist in every visual way possible… ways that make me wonder if my brain is missing an entire lobe.  My brain transfers images into words, not images.  It’s entirely confusing.

 

Nonetheless, we are both thankful to have jobs… and not just jobs, GOOD jobs, but our creativity is shrinking as fast as the youth have now lost the majority of their athlete role models in 2013 (can we say, de-press-ing?).  Needless to say, we need to do SOMETHING and fast.

 

We’ve been in the process of brainstorming some ideas for our future and were further inspired after watching the Eames documentary regarding the power-artist-couple who created not-just chairs, but an entire era of modern, affordable living.  IKEA whowha?  They had somehow managed to create a seamless lifestyle between work, play, friendship, and family–the most genius part of their legacy.

 

So for this Sunday’s list… this sounds lame… but I’m creating an invisible brainstorming list.  Why invisible?  Because I AM lame, dammit.  But secondly, because I can’t have you going and stealing my ideas now can I?  I’m going to spend some time brainstorming ways to keep my creativity alive, and I promise to share it when I watch those dreams come into fruition… It’s all about visualizing the dream to make something happen.

 

Good thing I’m not really missing any lobes.  At least, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

 

 

That number 8, man, it’s good.

 

Soon,

 

A&A in Austin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sunday List: SoCo Blues.

SoCo, the surrounding area of South Congress A...

SoCo, the surrounding area of South Congress Avenue, is a vibrant area of Austin, TX. The avenue leads directly into downtown Austin, ending at the state capitol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My parents own a vacation home in a neighboring Austin, small town on the lake, and they have given me an opportunity to live out there rent free this upcoming summer to save money.  Ideally, this money would allow me to place a down-payment on a house.  I don’t want to live in an apartment for the rest of my life.

There is almost no downside to this, except for sacrificing my undying affection for walking out of my door and taking in my beloved SoCo every single day.  I’ll miss it.  It’s where I met my man, or rather, saw him for the first time.  It’s where I found myself again.  It’s the sights and smells… the very heart of Austin.  It’s something to start thinking about, so I needed to sit down and list all the pros for leaving this place for a while and saving up in the country.

  1. It’s only temporary.  My beloved SoCo will still be here when I return.  I could never afford a house in that neighborhood, but who knows, maybe a SoCo miracle will happen.
  2. Easy access to a washer & dryer.  Never underestimate being able to wash your clothes whenever you want to without having to plan an entire day around it.
  3. Goodbye to slamming doors & crying cats. My neighbors are loud.  And their cats are, too.  My parents have one neighbor… about an acre away… sans cats =  BONUS.
  4. My bully will thank me.  Unless I decide I am dying for a good acid refluxing, I can probably avoid driving down to the local corner store and stuffing my face with fried (possibly) chicken & oily fried okra.
  5. My pocket-book will thank me.  Isolation seldom sees Spontaneous Shopping Sprees and Dining.  They are practically strangers.
  6. I can get a dog!  I like the idea that now I can get a dog, but I might be missing the point of saving money… shoooooot.
  7. Deer are pretty.  That’s it.  They’re just pretty.
  8. Nesting is fun.  I loathe moving, but I’m staying away from the negatives here.  It’ll be fun to nest again and find new ways to decorate and organize (oops, my Virgo is showing).  Plus, it’ll be great practice for nesting in my very own house… closer to my beloved Soco.  And until then… I’ll still see SoCo on the sly.  Sounds dangerous!

The Sunday List: The Pros & Cons of Cleansing.

The Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse (Photo credit: Casey Serin)

If you recently started following my blog, I should tell you that I met my boyfriend via WordPress.  Never thought I would say that I met my boyfriend on the Interwebs… but I did.  Nonetheless, it turns out no matter how you meet, you inevitably gain the relationship version of the freshman fifteen.   But it’s not my fault.  It’s the cornucopia of sights and smells that permeate South Congress’s fault.  It’s love.

I couldn’t not show this Georgia man around and boast that Texas BBQ is better than his.  I couldn’t not indulge his soft spot for Tex-Mex in his first go-round in TEXas now could I?  I couldn’t not take him to all of my favorite inventive French and Thai restaurants.  I couldn’t not stroll down the most romantic street in Texas to pick up wine and pizza at Austin’s hot spot, Home Slice, and then in the morning, whip him up the best breakfast he’s ever had in order to impress him for a short period of time now would I?  Shooooooot.  It’s SoCo’s fault.  Bitch.

After seeing the path me and my bully were going down, Georgia and I decided to go on a cleanse.  The cleanse of all cleanses.  The Master Cleanse.  Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun.

I’m on Day 5 out of the 10 Day cleanse.  I’m so hungry I could eat a moldy TicTac.

Pros

  1.  Already by day five, I’ve almost dropped the relationship weight…  not him… the weight on my bully.
  2. My skin has a new sheen to it… not Martin Sheen… like a shiny sheen.  I’m sorry, I’m dumber when I’m hungry.
  3. My favorite pants fit me again without having to shimmy shake and huffy puff.
  4. “Babe, I made you dinner” entails pouring him a glass of Master Cleanse juice, and somehow I still feel like I’ve made him dinner for once.  I’m easily amused.
  5. I’m easily amused.  I think everything is waaaaaaay funnier when I’m delirious.
  6. I wake up feeling rested.

Cons

  1. The first two days, I had ridiculous headaches from the lack of caffeine.  Giving up my addiction to coffee was the hardest part.
  2. He’s now seen my cranky pants.  And they are hideous.
  3. When I’m hungry, apparently I don’t think straight.  I left my cell phone behind for the first time EVER… in a Barnes and Noble… because I was taking pictures of cook books.
  4. My schnoz is sensitive.  I smell food EVERYWHERE.  And it all smells very, very good.  Sitting around people eating real food makes me angry.
  5. I can’t exercise while on the cleanse.  Ha.  I’m kidding.  This doesn’t make me sad.  It just makes me weak.
  6. Gimme a burger.

The Sunday List: I Heart Dallas.

English: Interstate highway shield with name o...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since moving to Austin, I’ve heard nothing but shit-talking among native Austinites and wish-they-were native Austinites alike about Dallas, TX.  There is an entire store across the street from me that is dedicated to T-shirts and magnets praising the liberal-minded, free-spirited, music-loving, outdoors-centric Austin and poking fun of the more conservative, metropolitan, industrial Dallas.  I was born and raised in Dallas.  If I had to Sophie’s-choice-it between the two polar opposite Texas cities, I would choose to live in Austin… that’s why I am here now…   le duh.  Don’t get me wrong though, there will also be affinity in my heart for the Big D.  It’s where I grew up.  It’s the mother who one second embarrasses the crap out of me, and who the next second, makes me heart-warmingly proud to know her.

I just got back from my first trip to the D since I moved out here to Austin.  It was my father’s birthday, so I took my sweetest with me to see where I grew up, and I was reminded of all the wonderful things I see when I look at the Big D:

  1. Diversity. I miss this in Austin.  It’s not that there isn’t diversity at all in Austin, but it’s not at all like the Big D where the entire metroplex is sprinkled with people from all walks of life to learn from each other and help contribute to a unique blending of cultures.
  2. Dressed-to-the-nines.  Men from all over seem to always say that some of the most beautiful women reside in Dallas, TX.  After going back, I have to say, I agree. Again, it’s not that beautiful people don’t reside elsewhere, but it seems that there is another breed of people who reside in Dallas, TX.  Perhaps it’s because some of the cliches are true… We love to shop.  Our hair IS big.  Or at least, better.  (Ha!  Kidding).  But really… North Park, here we come!  We really do dress-to-the-nines, and sometimes it’s just to go to the grocery store.  When I moved to Austin, I thought it was funny that women here not only wear their yoga pants to the gym but also for the purpose of shopping… WHA!?  You mean to say that yoga pants outside of the gym is socially acceptable, and I am only just now finding this out?  Dammit.  These Austin women are really on to something.
  3. Southern Hospitality.  It’s true that southern hospitality does not simply reside in Dallas, TX, but maybe it’s just nice to go back and realize that the people there have not lost their charm.
  4. Family. The Dallas metroplex is surrounded by suburbia, but family is important to Dallasites.  It’s obvious.
  5. Industrial Living/Cow Town.  You can turn the corner and on one side of the road is beautiful industrial architecture, and on the other side is a cow or five.  It’s pretty astounding.

Don’t worry Dallas; my heart may be in Austin now, but I’ve left a piece of it with you… and your big hair.

Morning Headaches & MJ.

English: Michael Jackson 2nd June 1988. "...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s interesting.  I’m eternally sentimental.  At 11.  Still at 21.  At 31.  I can’t help it.

Maybe it was the combination of the spontaneous chocolate ice-cream cone or balancing the wine in my glass just enough to not splash out to the tune of the Thriller album playing in the background.  MJ makes me move like my inner five-year-old.

But maybe it was just the way Michael makes me feel.  No, not MJ.  Michael as in my Michael.

I drunk-texted an old friend last night.  The kind of old friend you leave when you turn thirty because it’s time to move on from morning headaches, cotton mouth, and “Shit, what did I say last night?!”  The kind of friend who has cleaned up your vomit but who, without hesitation, buys you another drink.

I’m listening to Ratatat, and it made me think of you.  I miss you, Mo.

This morning, my Michael woke up with a headache, and he leans over and says, “You were a dancing fool last night.”

I was.  Wasn’t I?

The Sunday List: Fighting the Back to Reality Blues.

Guit Blues

Me and my GEH-TAR don’t wanna go back to work!  Noooo, darlin’!(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is my first day back to work after two weeks off for the holidays.  Yes, I know that I am a lucky shut-yo-mouth for even getting two weeks off, and I won’t lie, these two weeks off have been near perfect bliss.  On top of the bliss, Friday, the day before the break, I dealt with a bully of a parent for the first time ever in my seven years of teaching.  This break could not have come in a more timely manner.  Looking on the bright-side of this undeniably vexing experience, I learned quickly just how supportive my administrators and coworkers are because of it.  They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and appreciated.  None-the-less, work has become more of a dreaded thing than it has in the past.  It’s easy to get used to the sleeping in, the extra time to whip up gourmet breakfasts, watching my boo (yep, said it) do his thing on the computer (he has a real job where the holiday lasts 1.5 days), and staying up late to finish off another bottle of champagne.  I know how to live.

Sweatpants: Threat or Menace?

Sweatpants: Threat or Menace? (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

Below are reminders of the things I like about the daily routine of work.  Because I need the reminders.  I seriously need them.

  1. Gourmet breakfasts are good for my taste buds but not for my bully (belly is pronounced “bully” when it’s full & happy).
  2. I’m much more convincing when I demand a “it-has-been-a-long-day-massage.”
  3. Normal sleep schedules are not overrated.
  4. This is proving harder than I thought…
  5. I can’t count that as one, can I?
  6. Or that one… Shooooot.  Okay… here’s one… My sweatpants will sustain until my next break.
  7. I know.  It was a stretch.  Get it?  A stretch?  Sweatpants stretch.
  8. Okay, here’s a real one.  Sometimes my students are pretty great.  Their handshakes, smiles, genuine curiosity, and appetite to learn make each day a little bit better.
  9. I have the capacity, once again, to inspire someone.
  10. My boo (shoot, I keep doing that) will have dinner and beaucoups of hugs waiting for me when I get home.  He’s sweet like that.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and I wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2013!