December 29, 2006

here it comes.

the year is drawing to a close, as we all know, and the wind is blowing hard in austin. tornado watch. thick black clouds moving fast. the low familiar rumble. and cooler weather to follow.

the day began with innocuous grey skies. i awoke in a nighmare sweat, after dreaming of tornadoes and being lost outside, without cover. and, oddly enough, my biggest fear was not the elements, but losing my job for not being able to get there.

my workout with maria was cancelled at the last minute, and part of me was relieved, as i felt like staying in bed and sleeping off the nightmare. instead, i got up, had a cup of coffee, and watched the skies. helen suggested we walk the dogs before the rain came, and so we left the recuperating clemmie at home, and leashed up moe and charley and lucy.

we walked the hilly 2 mile loop of our neighborhood as the sky drizzled on us in fits and starts. the wind began to blow. i took off my sweater, felt the rain fall on my shoulders. the pups panted. helen and i walked and walked and laughed. we channeled cesar milan's calm-and-assertiveness when neighborhood stray dogs approached, barking. not one came near.

i tell this story for its manifold significance to me:

1. i got out of bed after a long night of nightmares. a year ago, i would have remained pinned to my bed, probably for the whole day. the colossal fear felt so acutely in dreamlife would have stolen the energy required for me to simply take on the day.

2. even though my workout was cancelled, i made my body get off its ass. this is a big deal for a sloth like me.

3. i had a wonderful morning with my love, not to mention my dogs. i enjoyed the neigborhood where i live. the bad juju of bad dreams fell away, and my day is now light and joyful.

despite the now-black sky, the tornado watch, the rain pelting the roof--i am calm. and strong. and i am very ready to dive into barton springs on new years morning, holding helen's hand. what better way to christen the new year than baptism into it?

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December 27, 2006

christmas in photos.

meet angela the christmas sock puppet angel.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
hello world.

i would write, i really would, but. in approximately six hours, helen and i must get up and take both clem and shiloh to get neutered and spayed, respectively. i'm tempted to take photos of clem's last night with his balls, but i'm worried that may be considered puppy porn in some parts of the world...such as texas.

for now, head on over to flickr to enjoy photos of christmas eve in the country, christmas day with the pets, and helen's incredible sock puppet angel craftiness.

more soon.
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December 23, 2006

christmas eve eve.

twas the last day of work before christmas, and all through the office...
the good saturday workers waited with hope for santa cloffice.

i think that's how the poem goes anyway.

in a mere forty minutes, i get to drive home in the rain and dive head first into yuletide cheer. bring on the pound cake, bring on the wine and spirits. i'm so ready.

all presents are wrapped. it's a decadent holiday this year. we've gone a little overboard with the gifts, but. there is so much to celebrate. gifts are tokens. we know it's not about the material things. still, i am counting the hours now until helen gets to open her presents...

we re-decorated the christmas tree last night. i suppose i was a tad bit naive in thinking the poor charlie brown tree would survive for two weeks in a house full of clem. and cats. clem chewed through two strings of lights, and successfully removed several branches from the tree's metal trunk. he'd like to think i don't know it was him who did it, but he has gotten into the habit of dragging everything he puts in his mouth to his little bed. his bed has been covered in fake pine branches for days now. incidentally, shiloh has taken up the hobby of breaking ornaments. i think we're at half capacity now.

and so: now our tree has a new string of lights whose wires are hopefully situated in a clem-proofed manner. we are hiding the ornaments until christmas eve. and the bad kitty spray bottle is nearby.

the house is full of lights and stars, and helen created a beautiful christmas spider. angela, the sock puppet christmas angel tree topper, is almost complete as well.

tomorrow, we are packing up tara and alllllll of our dogs, and driving out to mason to spend christmas eve with helen's mom. and christmas will be gorgeous: chris comes home from california! and tom is hosting a dog nativity play. i do believe that moe will play the part of a camel.

2006 may have come in with a thud, but she's going out with a bang!

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December 20, 2006

my little man.

my little man.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
enjoy a vintage gunther video, circa early october. look! he has grown!
and yes, those are my calves and feets.

the last two seconds are priceless. you may wish to freeze the frame to behold the cutest cuteness you have ever beheld.

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December 19, 2006

it's here! it's here!

Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
my new baby came today, packaged appropriately in a diaper box.

i am so excited about the prospects of this camera. there is a whole world waiting to be shot.

helen, i say it again: thank you!

after a daylong reprieve from all things kidney pain, i am back in bed clutching my belly and back (one hand front, one hand back). xrays are scheduled for tomorrow. work is being amazingly supportive. i just want to be well. despite the craziness of the week before christmas, i enjoy working the overtime, solving christmas gift drama for people. i just want to feel myself again. and i can't believe i'm saying this: i want to be working out again! i miss maria, and i miss my body feeling healthy. however, i do not miss lunges. at all.

come on body. cheer up. it's christmastime!

as i convalesce, feel free to visit flickr, where i'll be posting all sorts of photos from bed. even bum kidneys can't keep a girl away from her new toy.

as for this particular photo, this is shiloh, who is spending her last week with us. greg (g) will officially adopt her just after christmas. i'm glad i've gotten to document the first four months of her life. today, she sneaked outside for the first time, and her eyes are open to the wonder and joyness of that big back yard where the dogs hang out.


time to get her spayed.
time for me to take a pain pill.

before i go, however, here's a blurry shot of chloe and little gunther. (it's another view of the window from the bed, of course.) for size comparison, remember gunnie's brother pablo? (his name is now claus.) he is now the same size as chloe. gunther is, officially, tiny.

blurry mother and son.

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December 15, 2006

this is what it looks like to pass a kidney stone.

this is what it looks like to pass a kidney stone.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
in case you ever wondered, this photo effectively demonstrates what my torso feels like right now.

the recipe for relief right now looks like this: one part vicodin. two parts water. a whole effing gallon of it.
come on, sweet kidneys. please give birth to your precious stone. i'm over this.

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December 14, 2006

merry christmas to me.

merry christmas to me.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
holy crap i'm excited. dearest schmelen: thank you. you know how to make a girl ridiculously happy.

here is what i got with the camera:

- Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens. This is an excellent, famously sharp lens. I purchased it two months ago new, and it still is under the manufacturer's warranty.
- Sandisk Ultra II 1GB Compact Flash Memory Card
- A two year warranty on the camera through Square Trade (fully transferrable to the winner of this auction).
- Lowepro Nova 1 Camera Bag - This is an excellent bag from one of the premiere photographic bag makers. It has adjustable compartments, and is great match for this camera.
- The original boxes for the camera and lens.
- All documentation and manuals
- All original software, including a full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2
- USB Cable and Video Cable
- 2 Batteries (non-OEM but both are in great condition and last a long time between charges
- Battery Charger that plugs directly into a wall socket (again non-OEM, but is even more compact than the OEM model, and comes with a car adapter)
- Digital Rebel Field Guide - a fantastic book by Charlotte K. Lowrie with in-depth information on getting the most from this camera, with full color illustrations

to hank, the seller: you are a good man. thank you for selling this gorgeous baby.
Posted by bananie at 4:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

oh the joy.

moe and charley are tired of this.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
after waking up for the past five days with an all-too-familiar pain in my back, i finally went to the doctor this morning, and left with a script for antibiotics and vicodin. (hooray for the latter.) it seems that december is official "bananie passes a kidney stone" month.

and so i am home sick today, sitting on the porch now, barefooted, as it is 75 degrees at sunset. it's awfully hard to remember that christmas is next week in such weather, but i'm getting good with the practice.

on saturday night, helen and i took the scooter out for a wintry tour of austin. fish n chips at mother egan's, and on the way, an unofficial tour of east austin christmas lights. the houses over here are small and unassuming, but holy oh my goodness, our neighborhood is certainly festive with the lights. i hunkered down against helen as we rode, for it was actually cold outside.

after mother egan's, we walked 37th street, where there is a trail of lights on ecstasy. lights upon lights and a disco ball in the middle of the street. a thorougly yule-tided old stove in a yard. lights strung around stop signs. a manger holding "the baby cheeses". these 37th street residents are insanely into the spirit of the season.

and so, on sunday, i dragged out the christmas tree from the crawl space in the attic. it was packed away in a big tupper, and its spindly branches needed a lot of fluffing, but soon it was put together, and looking just like its twentyseven dollar self. helen and tara and i decorated the old girl, and she gleamed proudly in our front window.

of course, i forced charley and moe (the only dogs in our family who truly understand the word "stay") to sit in front of the tree for photos, and as you can see, they were mighty enthused to be a part of the project.

now, three days later, the tree is all but dismantled by shiloh, the christmas calico. (see right corner of the photo.) the tree topper has fallen off, the garland is repeatedly dragging on the floor, and several round decorations have gone missing. priceless.

and now, it's time for a painkiller, and some more browsing of ebay for my christmas present from by beloved schmelen: a new camera...
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December 12, 2006

shiloh = christmas cheer.

we will SO miss calico number three (ie shiloh nouvel) when she goes to live with her greg (formerly gregg) next week. for now, we have a priceless bit of video caught last night. as we decorated the christmas tree, ms shiloh's ass somehow came into contact with the extra lights that come with christmas light strings. watch in glee as she twists and twirls to the tune of sufjan stevens. lucy makes a brief cameo, as does the beloved christmas tree itself:

oh, and. shameless plug. please and thank you...

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December 8, 2006

put the lights on the tree!

no one can escape christmas cheer a la sufjan stevens. happy happy bananie.

pee ess, this was even featured over at perez hilton! sufjan, may you sell a bazillion more copies of your records.

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December 7, 2006

all is well.

thursday = day off.

no class today. doing a bit of work, with sufjan in my ears. helen is by my side, and we're sitting at cafe mundi. after a week of being sick and not working out (maria is also on vacation), my body was aching for some movement today. and so we hopped on our bikes and rode 4 miles to our favorite coffeeshop by the railroad tracks. my legumes were very happy to work. the ride that used to leave me winded now leaves me wanting more. i want to pedal and pedal and explore austin like i explored erie as a kid.

if there is anything i am learning from my experiment in living healthier, it's the reconnection with place. until i got my first car at age 19, i was very aware of place and distance. my main modes of travel had always been walking, biking, or bussing. i was intimately acquainted with the terrain of my city. i had an unconscious respect for time: you had to allow lots of time to get from point A to point B. and there was never an opportunity to simply zone out on the journey. my senses were always awake with city smells, sights, and sounds. wherever i was, i was there.

and then i forgot. self-contained in my little car, i turned up the music, stepped on the gas, and lost touch with distance, with place. erie became canton became nashville, and i never noticed a difference.

how far, how fast we can travel from home without sensing the journey at all.

on my badass bike now, i am remembering. i only travelled four miles today, but i did not miss a moment of the trip. my own legs have brought me from home to the coffeeshop. i was chased by a dog. i made eye contact with people in their yards.

i am awake.

(pee ess: gunnie seems to be rallying again. my little fighter.)

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December 5, 2006

round three.

picture of health.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
or is it four?
gunther just celebrated his four month birthday this week, and he's sick again. he's hungry, but he's got the nasty kitten diarrhea.

gunnie is not what you would call an affectionate kitten. he's more of a perching bird than a cuddly cat. when he suddenly becomes a fixture in our bed, when he purrs for anyone other than his mother, we know he's not feeling well.

we have almost lost him three times.
please get well, little bird.

the vet will be open soon.
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December 4, 2006

all is calm.

....but me.

sufjan is stored safely on my ipod, and he's singing christmas songs. i am sitting in a chair just as my mother sits, leaning on my hip with legs tucked behind me. in the small space behind my knees, charley is curled into a small ball, head propped on my calf. i call her my "firstborn". she is more my dog than any animal could ever be. she sleeps now, trusting in me with all she's got.

i left the lights off at dusk, and lit candles in the livingroom for quiet. i am home alone (with a houseful of animals, of course). it's a workday, but i am still at home, still fighting off this cold/flu thing that's kept me in the house since friday. i am trying to be calm, trying not to worry about where i am not. this quiet is a gift, i know it, i know it. so why can't i shut myself up a minute?

have you ever had all the elements for a mindful moment, but missed it altogether? i have everything i need. everything but the words to say, and the belief to mean them when they come.

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December 3, 2006

one more video.

if you survived the cuteness of the video below, prepare to recognize just how crazy we are with the pets.
note: we do have two visiting dogs, but the loud singers are ours.

i am proud to present: rehearsal night for dog choir caroling.

Posted by bananie at 8:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

videoegg is way better than youtube.

here is an example of the ongoing abomination of a love affair between one puppy and one kitten.
enjoy a cameo by tara, as well as the thrilling background of the eukanuba dogshow!

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December 2, 2006

benefits of being sick.

roberta flack sings through the record player. helen is in the kitchen, chopping potatoes for a veggie bake. clem and shiloh wrestle on the chair, carrying on their interspecies affair. she's got her arms around his neck and is biting his nose. now he's biting her ears. she gets angry, and leaves him. hopefully, he won't go after anyone's panties now. he's become one of those puppies lately.

even though i am stuffy, i can still smell the gorgeous coiled incense that chris brought us back from taiwan last summer. it smells like the home we have made. sweet and smoky. pure. it's no cheap, perfumy incense. its scent is holy, like the old A frame chapel of st. augustine's.

i need to write tonight, even though i don't have much in the way of words. i am working on an essay for class called "why i cannot write".

i miss having something to say.

i'm quiet, stopped up, but still quite content with my whereabouts. a little while ago, helen came in from the front yard and announced, "the lady at the halfway house down the street is asking the ice cream man what he wants for christmas." and i love the fact that the fantastically annoying and rusty ice cream vans never cease to come through our neighborhood, despite the weather being effing cold. it reminds me of life in belfast four years ago. i was there.

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December 1, 2006


still cold outside.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
i blame it on my armpit hair. yes, i've got a nice blond fro under my arms now, and as i prognosticated, their growth has brought on colder weather. the other night, we celebrated with a glass of wine on the porch, as we watched the weather turn from seventysomething to thirtysomething in a matter of hours.

one would think that, given my ability to control the weather, i'd have a stronger immune system. but. no.

my eyeballs are burning and one is watering in an itchy, annoying way. i'm boring even myself with this post, so i will now take.a.nap.
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