Monday, May 19, 2008

My weekend soundtrack

The term 'backyard' is used rather loosely in the great state of California. What is called a back yard isn't really a back yard. For example, my yard is not quite as large as the public bathroom at my favorite bistro. There literally isn't room to accelerate into a jog. No I'm not kidding.

I'm sure in fancier, more 'upscale' neighborhoods in California, the yards are large enough to do a cartwheel in, but not in my 'low income' neighborhood in the quaint little metropolis of RP, CA. I never thought I would have yard envy, but I do.

But skimpy yardage aside, there's lots to be said about sketchy California neighborhoods. One of them is free live music, 24/7. How many people can say that they can enjoy live entertainment in the comfort of their very own pint-sized patio? Not many.

Within walking distance of my home, I can enjoy the following amenities: two, count them, two gas stations, each with the cheapest gas in town (4.09 per gallon), one liquor store, one Pueblo Market, and one community center. Truly, I think this community center might also be a church. But just when I think I've figured out what kind of church it is, it throws me a curve ball. Yesterday, the Mister and I were enjoying our usual Sunday barbecue in our "outdoor space" to the tune of...was it Arab jive classics? Jewish folks tunes? Not sure, but the Jerusalem Food Festival happening next door at the community center/place of worship was drawing quite a crowd and those folks know how to party. We didn't want to be left out (not that we could even if the wanted to). Nothing says 'suburbia' like two all-American white kids belly dancing in the back 'yard'.

Let me tell you, when it comes time for resale, this little feature will definitely be an asset. It's sure to offset the fact that you can't leave your car unlocked for even a heart beat without your ashtray being robbed of change. Play-pin sized yards notwithstanding, who knew that the other side of the tracks was so rad? Hats off to you Cali, always breaking the mould.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Taking the first step

I want to preface this 'spiel' by clarifying that I am not--repeat--NOT an addict. I don't' have a problem. I can quit when I want to. I do it because I enjoy it and for no other reason.

It's just the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. And I have to have it to feel normal both physically and emotionally. The smell, taste, and sheer possibility of it fill me with complete and utter contentment.

I'm talking about my first love in life, a hot little cup of bliss known as coffee. C-O-F-F-E-E. I know that I'm not the only one that feels this way. How do I know this? Oh, it might just be the adjacent Starbucks coffee houses that have infested every city in America. Nothing against Starbucks. I've been spotted there. And even though it's a little excessive, any coffee lover can appreciate two distinct Starbucks establishments in your immediate field of vision. Yes, without having to turn your head. If nothing else, it's a testiment to the true greatness of the drink. But even so, I know I'd be willing to cross a busy street for a cup of good coffee. Hell, I could make a shorter list of things that I wouldn't do for a cup of coffee.

Where does the fixation come from, you might ask? Well, coffee is a cultural phenomemon in the American South. Coffee is to Texas as tea is to China, whiskey is to Ireland. Texans bring a new meaning to the concept of 'drinking socially'.

Some of my favorite memories include sitting around my mom's kitchen table, everyone with a fresh, hot cup of coffee in hand, gabbing away about nonsense. Good times. True familial bonding. And all because of a relatively simple, inexpensive, hot beverage.

It's a morning, midmorning, afternoon and evening ritual.

Now that I live about 2500 miles away from my best pals--the fam--coffee has served as my very own security blanket. It's pretty pathetic actually. But a hot cup of coffee fresh out of the pot almost makes me feel like I'm home again. Except not. Only getting a caffeine fix. But soothing the separation anxiety nonetheless.

Yes, I know that coffee is innately toxic. That it takes your liver like a week to process one cup of coffee. That caffeine is more addictive than heroine. But it's not illegal so it must be okay, right? Hmm... Sometimes I have fits of moral dilemma as I ponder the possibility that coffee could one day be the demise of the American public. But it quickly passes. Probably because I drown it with another cup guess it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A new 'frontier'...

Lately, it would seem that my life is made up of 'firsts'. First job. First house. First home away from home. First husbands...ha! Just kidding darling. You might even say that my recent experience would be one of embarking on a new 'frontier'...or...'frontier-s' to be more exact.

My frontier life excites me. Mostly because the word--frontier--is one of my favorite words in the English language. It just sounds pretty...the word, I mean. Plus, who wouldn't like a word that means "an undeveloped field for discovery." Yes, sign me up.

It all started when I met this guy by a pool in San Diego. Tall. Blonde. Blue eyes. Scathingly handsome. And a trouble maker. So naturally, when he smoothly suggested that we tie the proverbial knot just three short weeks later, I enthusiastically agreed. However, it was a package deal. This charming young man came with a California zip code, which I inherited the day we got married. And so, I left my childhood home in Texas for what once was the Great Frontier...literally.

So just six months after my college commencement (a haunting word), I found myself 1) married and 2) living in Northern California. This is in no way a bad thing. However, in life, I have often professed that I would never, I mean never, do the following things:

1) get married (too compromising)
2) become a 'soccer mom' (too predictable)
3) move to California (too cliche)
4) get my belly button pierced (too skanky)
5) get fat (too much)

Considering that 'nevers' 1 and 3 have already been fulfilled, I'd say that this is not looking good.

One thing I knew I would do is to discover the world beyond my home state, to make a life somewhere else. Not to say there is anything wrong with good ole' Texas. It's quite fabulous, actually. It's not all about religious fanaticism and hate crimes. Parts of Texas have this funky coolness that is truly unforgetable. Mostly, Texas doesn't take itself too seriously. I kind of miss that, actually. Plus, I love being 'from' a place that is truly larger than life--both literally AND figuratively.

But since Texas will very likely never be my home again, I have come to enjoy the newness that has characterized my life. This 'frontier' business has been so fun that I've made it my little theme--every girl needs a theme. And so, I've decided to embark on another new frontier, for me anyway. Yes, I intend to get my blog-on.

I need to come clean and confess that I have never blogged before. I am a newbie, or to use a better term, virgin, blogger. Even in this overly-teched age, I have never ventured into the world of blog. And so, I take my first steps into this--for me--'undeveloped field for discovery' known as blogging. And with it, California, marriage, womanhood, and life, in general.