What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

30 May 2015

It's Getting Reel

Housewarming gift (garden warming?)
from a friend. I love it.
Since I completely abandoned theme days a couple months back, it's totally okay for me to blog about green living-ish things on a Saturday, yes? Of course it is.

So, we moved house (yes, again) at the end of April, and this time we're in a proper house. With a yard. I haven't lived in a proper house since I was 21, y'all. And while we could have paid someone else to continue maintaining our yard, I wasn't down with that and decided to do it myself, because...

I chased this guy around the tree
to get his picture! He was not impressed.
... I've dreamed for years of owning one of those reel push mowers. No gasoline, no motor, just my own calories being burned to cut the grass to reasonable levels. Unfortunately, between me finishing grad school, both Denise and me trying to unpack, and the relentless rain we've been having in Central Texas, we've only managed to cut the grass once since owning the mower. And that was Denise who mowed (Denise who has never dreamed about owning a push mower, but as with so many other things, has been swept along in this particular adventure whether she wanted to be or not. It's dangerous being my sister), because I was writing papers and stuff.

Any ideas what these are? Can I
put them on my cereal without any
ill effects?
This morning, after we managed to go about 24 hours without any new rain, I decided the grass was as dry as it was likely to get and hauled the mower out to make my yard look less like a tropical rainforest in the making. I gotta tell you, someone along the way has made some curious landscaping choices in this yard, including a line of rocks through the middle--whatever the rock line used to contain is long gone, so now I just have this weird set of rocks that make it really hard to mow the middle.

And there are sticks. Lots and lots of sticks. Reel mowers don't do well with sticks, as both Denise and I have discovered.

And there's a tree in front of the house that has dropped a few small branches into the flowerbed that lines the front, and I guess no one ever went in after them until today, when I dragged them out.

Does it look better? Probably not. I doubt anyone will be featuring this house on Curb Appeal any time soon.

Who else is doing yard work this weekend?

10 May 2015


Yesterday morning I had a work event to go to, so I rolled out of bed and strolled past my neglected homework on the way out the door. Because why wouldn't my work have two events during the final weekend of my semester when I'm trying to write two papers and pass this thing? (I'm not really blaming my boss. He had no say in the timing of either of these events. And I knew that this was exactly what I was signing up for when I decided to work for a nonprofit.)

The group on a mid-ride stop. Image 
grabbed from Senator Ellis' twitter feed 
(he's the gent in the middle
with the colourful jersey).
So the event was a 10-mile bike ride with some legislative interns, which is always fun, even for me who hates group rides. (It makes me nervous to bike alongside that many people, but I can deal.) After getting them all biked up and ridden around and our equipment put away, I had a couple of office-y things to do before I locked the doors and rolled off...

... to the Farmers Market. Yep, I had errands to run after the ride. All told, here's what I did:

  • Got stopped at an intersection because of a pro-legalisation march in the middle of town
  • Bought eggs at the Farmers Market
  • Picked up a book at the library
  • Rode through the Capitol grounds while the pro-legalisation group was demonstrating (they were not handing out samples, I'm afraid)
  • Stopped by the rummage sale at church
  • Figured out how to watch a video on UK's Channel 4 even though I'm in the US (with a lot of help from my friends) (and I still haven't had time to watch it, but it's on my to-do list)
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Finished one of my grad papers, even though I had to stay up to 4:30 AM to do it

Pic taken with my allegedly smart
phone. I got really lucky with the
dancing marijuana leaf.
I gotta tell y'all, I really underestimated the value of having someone in my house who was willing to do a lot of this stuff for me. It's been a while since I've had to do everything for myself. But! One paper to go, and I am DONE with this grad school thing. And there's nothing not to like about that. I'm looking forward to spending a Saturday soon just laying around with books and cups of tea and possibly some bon-bons.

09 May 2015

In More Ways Than One

This is the graphic I usually use when
I write about being a non-trad. I've
used it for so long I can't remember
where I got it.
Many, many times in the course of the last five years, I've talked about the fun involved in being a non-traditional student. That mostly went away when I started grad school, since going to grad school in your mid-30s is not that unusual, but it's not like I've forgotten that a good chunk of my friends and acquaintances in Austin are 12-15 years younger than I. (I've tried to forget. I don't actually like thinking about the differences between us. But the differences come up sometimes.)

So it's been on my mind the past couple of months that not only did I do college weird, but I also made it weird for others. I don't know why I didn't think about this before now. I probably should have figured it out, given the number of questions about long-term relationships that I used to field on a daily basis, or the time one of my classmates said during a TV-centered conversation, "You watch Friends? But that's our parents' show!" and I had to lie down.

But obviously Peak Weird (God, please let this be the peak!) for my college friends was reached a couple of months ago, when the post-college whirl of engagements and weddings was interrupted by the news that one of their classmates had lost a spouse. When so many of my young friends are still undecided about whether a long-term commitment to one person is even something they're interested in, this happens.

And I would be remiss if I didn't give my UT friends all the credit and kudos in the world, because the outpouring of support and kindness I've received from them is just as real and heartfelt and thoughtful and appreciated as it has been from every other group of friends I've managed to collect. Some of them came to the funeral. Some sent cards. One of them took the time to find just the right poem that she thought would lift my spirits (it did). All of them have sent text messages or Facebook messages or phone calls that have brightened my day and reminded me of just how blessed I have been in this chapter of my life, the chapter called "college," the one I'm finally leaving behind after this weekend.

But the point is, you're not supposed to be summoned to a classmate's spouse's funeral a couple years after graduating college. That's just not the way it's meant to be... and yet it happens. And while I would rather have not been non-traditional in this particular sense, had I been given the choice, I don't think I'd trade all the other senses of the word for anything.

01 May 2015

It's Bike Month!

Want one of these? Find it here. 
What does that mean for me? Not a freaking thing, because I'm surrounded by boxes and still have three papers due before we call this semester done.

But I'll at least ride my bike to work with a slightly bigger smile than usual, because MOVE OVER, EVERYBODY, THIS IS MY MONTH! Or something.

Also, it's Bike to Eat Week in Austin! And there's nothing not to like about that.