I wish my posts didn't have to have titles. It's hard enough to write.. and it's so hard to think of titles that aren't stupid. Maybe I will start using dates. Or days, like my mom. Her emails, unless they have a specific subject, are always titled "Hello (whatever day of the week it is)." Like: "Hello Friday." B finds this very amusing.
Above is a blurry Instax photo of a set of little succulents I bought last week from the Barton Springs nursery on Bee Caves. I pass by that place almost everyday on the way home from work. Bee Caves is 40/45 mph slow, but during rush hour, 360 south is even worse! It is one example of highway fail. Anyways, I was trying to be open to new hobbies, and I wanted to see if I could actually keep a plant alive. The mint egg I started last year at Kinney never even sprouted. JJ had all these varieties of succulents in a cutely assorted pots on the back porch that I loved. She got them from her boyfriend, who actually works at this nursery. I like the way succulents look, and I think they're very appropriate for the dry Texas weather.
At the nursery, I wandered around the leafy patio, unsure where to start. A nice old man stopped and asked if I needed any help, and after telling him I knew next to nothing about plants and plant maintenance, he gave me a little tour. He informed me that herbs are pretty easy to grow, but they need to be transferred to the ground eventually. That was not an option for me, as I live on the 2nd floor of a duplex. He kept wandering around and lovingly touching and smelling the plants, telling me some of their characteristics. I eventually settled for 4 small succulents, because they were $2.50 apiece, and because the old man admitted that they would probably do alright on a sunny ledge. I haven't really checked on them yet, because this weekend has been tumultuous because..
We got another cat! A kitten named Snorri. I kept talking about wanting my own cat, even though I loved Boyd. I just didn't feel like he was my own, and I definitely did not feel obligated to take care of him all the time. Cleaning the litterbox is a major source of household contention for B and me. On Saturday, we went to an Austin Pets Alive adoption event at the Petsmart off 183. After playing with a few kittens, I chose the one who snuggled up in my lap after I picked it up. He wasn't the prettiest one there, since he had a scab/scar on his nose and wasn't as arresting as the pretty gray tabby. But we got him, and he matches with Boyd, as they are both orange. I took him to the vet this week for his first checkup, which is a new experience for me. The nurses and doctor were very helpful and kind when I explained I was pretty much a first time pet owner. Along with Yelpers, I also highly recommend University Animal Clinic. I was made aware that pet expenses can be as much as human medical expenses- Crazy! I don't think we can afford pet insurance, so we hope that Snorri will continue to stay healthy. They said that indoor cats tend to live longer and contract fewer diseases, so we've got that on our side.
This has been a challenging experience for me, as I thought I could just get a kitten and have him love me and everything would be great. But what has really happened is that Snorri is a curious kitten who doesn't want to snuggle all the time, and he seems to like B more. Whenever I pick him up, he sorta squirms away. When B picks him up or pets him, he stays there. That really bummed me out initially. Apparently I am so sensitive that rejection from an animal hurts me. But Snorri actually likes sleeping on my pillow and at my side at night, so I guess that is a fair trade-off. He and Boyd did not get along the first few days, because Boyd was super jealous that there was another cat we were paying attention to. Boyd would hiss at Snorri and try to claw him when we weren't looking. Thankfully, Boyd has come to terms with this change and is now affectionate towards him.
Yesterday, I went to my first class of Drawing I. It's through UT Informal Classes. I signed up for it because the fee was much lower than other places, and because I have always wanted to learn how to draw. Attending the Loya Jirga art show at Space12 last Friday, where the Wilson brothers displayed their art, made B and I wish we were more creative. So I did something about it. We did a few exercises in class, like copying a drawing upside down to see an image as lines instead of "things" like arms and a head. I thought that I would be the most absolute beginner in the class, but I actually was not. The teacher even complimented me a few times. : ) After the night was over, I was pretty beat. Drawing is hard! For me, the quality is mostly determined by the amount of effort. It's really difficult to keep things in scale, and I hate erasing. One of the signs of a perfectionist, do you think? I want to get it right each time the first time. Also, I couldn't help feeling good because I was in the Art building in a classroom. I felt like I belonged there, and it was nice to have a teacher providing feedback. B is right that I like being a student, but that is not necessarily the best way I learn. It's so passive, and I know I need to become more active. I can't help but think I might end up like Buster in Arrested Development. He is a man-child who lives with his controlling mother, has never had a job, and is a "professional student." He's so funny because he's so pathetic. Taking heed!
Tres sent me over a link of one of his family members (a second cousin?) who biked across America. The crazy thing is that he was 59 years old when he did it. Whoa! The website isn't super snazzy, but it's really inspirational, especially the journal section. I was just clicking on random days, and each entry is pretty awesome.
It's beautiful outside! And strangers are so kind..
Hm, that was a pretty bad last post. That feeling is a prison. I've reached the point in my life where I really need some hobbies. I've realized that so many of my old interests involved other people in a group setting. Now that I have no automatic group, and B loves doing solitary activities, I desperately need to find a way to entertain myself. As a kid, I was a jack of all trades. If something looked interesting, I'd do some research, pay the money and pick it up. Applied mostly to instruments: piano, viola, guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, djembe. Most things didn't stick, but my appetite was voracious. Then sometime later after college I screeched to a complete halt. It was due to the frustration from not being really good at anything after all those years, and also a heed to the call to de-clutter. Clutter is bad stuff, that's what all the self-help blogs say. But I've gone way beyond, where I hesitate to buy non-food items because I've come to see things as bad. And I shoot down budding desires to try anything new, because I'll probably just grow tired of it later. That balance is a mystery to me. Having varied interests may just be something I have to accept about myself.
This is exactly how I feel much of the time. And I don't know what to do about it. It's hard to do anything. But I don't have BPD. I can't ever decide what to do because everything seems like a waste of time, but then not doing anything is truly a waste of time. Which is what ends up happening. It's not that things aren't interesting, but they're ultimately not worth it. Existential boredom is the term coined in The Philosophy of Boredom. I even have to force myself to learn how to enjoy food again.
There's a new show in HBO called "Bored to Death" but I'm pretty sure it doesn't have much to do with the subject of boredom.
Here's an idea: if you can't afford a long and luxurious honeymoon (which is us), embark on a mini-moon every once in a while. We're definitely going to have to take this advice, as the extra money in our wedding and regular budgets have been blown on a series of unforeseen and unfortunate emergencies. Trying to let it go and accept that these things happen. Anyway, I'm going to make a list of destinations as a way to hold myself accountable to going to these places in the near future. In order of go-ability:
West Texas/Marfa/Balmorhea/Chinati Hot Springs - We almost went during Labor Day weekend, but decided to go camping instead because the 7-8 hour drive was the dealbreaker. I've been to Marfa only once, during Spring Break 2007, but there are so many other places to see in that area. It's a 2 hour drive from Marfa down a little road to Chinati Hot Springs, but from what I've heard it's so worth it. Very stripped down "resort" on the desolate border. I would also like to visit Big Bend and camp in an actual national park.
Chicago - Neither of us have been, but we keep hearing great things about it! It'll probably be more of a food odyssey for us than a museum/art/music vacation. I was slated to go there on a family vacation a few months ago, but then my grandmother fell ill and we went to Hong Kong instead.
Pacific NW/Portland/Seattle/Vancouver - OK so I've been to each of these cities on family vacations. B hasn't, and this area of the continent seems ripe for exploration. Everyone our age has to visit Portland to bike around and drink coffee, right? And might as well go to Seattle on the way. Don't forget a rain jacket. Vancouver has the best Chinese food. And it's always weird being in Canada, because it feels much like the US, except for a few things, which you can never really put your finger on. It's only faintly foreign, which can be nice.
Scandinavia/Norway/Sweden/Iceland - B and I both have fantasies of travelling and maybe living in this part of the world someday. The cuisine and extreme cold are holding me back from trying to move there right now, but it'd be great to go and check it off both our "places to go before we die" list. I also just want to experience being in a total well-designed environment. And grab some grandma-knitted nordic sweaters while there. Granted, this would not be a long weekend sort of vacation.
Eastern Europe - It looks like the place to go. Beautiful, cheap, and relatively unknown. Check out this photo of somewhere in Croatia!! (By jukka_re)
Western Europe - I've never been, but was so jealous at the loads of fun my friends had in college while studying abroad there. Also one of those things to do before you die.
Ever since meeting B, I've been watching a lot more television shows. We recently got a flat screen TV for the living room to take advantage of our free cable, but we'd previously been watching lots of shows and films on our computers. Among many of the British shows B has introduced me to, Hustle is one we've been watching for the past few months. It's a top-notch series on BBC (and now on AMC) about a group of professional long-conners. Each episode is entertaining, creative, and full of surprise. I will admit that after watching a few seasons of it, you start to guess how the plot will unravel- usually it looks like all is lost for the group, but then you see that it was all originally planned this way, and then a happy ending. I've never been big into television, but I will say that BBC is a pretty great station. Top Gear, Doctor Who, Psychoville, you name it. Very fun stuff. The TV in Britain is different from ours here; they focus more on plot and substance and don't rely on distracting violence, sex, explosions, general gratuitousness to hook in their viewers. Which means shows that don't insult my intelligence and taste.
Not to say that all American television stinks. (I think most of it does though. I was flipping through the channels and landed on VH1, which I have not seen in a long while. They were showing an ad for a reality TV show, which I thought was a spoof on reality TV show ads because of the idiocy of the characters, but then it was a real ad. Nauseating.) We are also currently watching Hung and True Blood. I am more of a fan of the former, because it's a show with an interesting premise and quirky characters. It's sexually explicit because the main character is a divorced dad and high school basketball coach (aka big loser) turned amateur gigolo, but it never loses its humorous tone. True Blood seems more gimmicky to me, because about 20 things happen in each episode; there's a good deal of sexiness and drama sans logical plot. But it's still mildly interesting and the vampires are good-looking, so we keep watching. Image source: BBC
B and I went camping on Sunday at Guadalupe River State Park. Trying to visit more state parks, as Austin is surrounded by nearby parks. We drove through New Braunfels getting there and stopped by an old German restaurant called Friesenhaus for lunch. It's not really my cup of tea (the only thing I really enjoyed was the potato side), but B really loves European food. It was tough getting there, and we basically took the scenic route (and drove straight through Schlitterbahn) by missing a few important turns. Cute lazy neighborhoods on the outskirts complete with big porches and rocking chairs. Then we took 46 out of town. It started pouring like crazy about 5 miles before we reached the camp... but then it stopped after 5 minutes and the camp itself was bone dry. I had secured a "primitive site" at the park, and therefore bought a little packable table and my backpacking backpack. Much to our dismay, it was only a walk-in campsite complete with a picnic table. We felt so silly! It was the first time we tried out my new MSR stove; B made some burgers for dinner, and then bacon, eggs and hash browns for breakfast. We "swam" a bit in the river, but B had a pretty hard time getting around the slippery rocks on his bare feet without water shoes. This is the last time he will scoff at my Chacos.. And the water was up to our bellies in most places, so it wasn't good for swimming. "Toobs" next time, maybe.
The thing about camping is that you are quite inconvenienced if you don't bring all the items you need. Not bringing tongs made it significantly more difficult to cook in our little pots, not having a mallet and crappy tent stakes resulted in a half-staked tent, and not bringing pillows lead to a very poor night of sleep. I think one of the main reasons I am drawn towards camping is experiencing lack of modern amenities, and then returning home with a temporary sense of relief.
I am loving these short little blog posts by design bloggers about marriage wisdom. Love the Grace Bonney of d*s one. I've been reading this blog for a while, more now for wedding inspiration. For a fashion blogger, I actually like Joanna a lot, and even though she has more extravagant tastes than I do, she seems to have her head screwed on straight. B and I both are impressed that her and her fiancee have a honeymoon registry (instead of a gift registry). For us, that would be nice, but practical matters at hand are more pressing..