Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Finally I slept through the night – until the purring furnace jumped under the covers at 5am and started nuzzling my chin with his nose.

Finally I was able to sit and read without distraction – it helped that Texas Monthly arrived yesterday.

Finally I was able to relax in peace, instead of pacing the floor each evening.


Because I rode my bike. I attached a wicker basket to my handle bars, peddled down the street to the bike shop where I bought a lock, and then I started exploring. I rode all over the neighborhood. Twice. Then I rode to the store for milk, to a fancy pet store for the kids, and to a sushi shop a few miles away. It felt wonderful.

I still can’t run as far as our 60 year old president of the United States, but I’m getting there. And I’m having lots of fun while I’m at it. Tomorrow I think I’ll bicycle to the beach.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Confessions of a Pulp Fiction Reader

John brought one home from his last flight; said the guy in the next seat gave it to him. I found a couple more at the store and surreptitiously placed them in my basket. I can no longer deny it – I’m a Carl Hiaassen fan. His books are perfect for summer vacation – raucous, light-hearted adventures filled with mystery, good, evil, sometimes love and always hilarity.

Besides reading, I’m spending my days preparing for class, watching movies with my buddy Frank, and focusing on the homestretch of wedding season. Eight weeks to go. Quarter Pounders with cheese are but a distant memory; pass the salad please. Jogging, DDR, dancing, whatever it takes – I shall look smashing in that straight, sleek wedding dress that shows every single curve. (What was I thinking?!)

Despite all of this effort, I have friends that tempt me with the most amazing treats. This one was so good, I asked for the recipe. So, for all y’all out there who aren’t trying to squeeze into some insanely gorgeous white dress, eat some for me.

Chocolate Walnut Pralines

½ cup butter (one stick)

½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 pkg semi sweet baking chocolate (8 squares), coarsely chopped

1 cup walnuts, chopped

35 saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Play crackers in a single layer on a foil-lined baking pan.

Heat butter and sugar in saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Bring to a boil; boil 3 minutes without stirring. Pour over crackers.

Bake 7 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with copped chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate evenly over ingredients in pan; sprinkle with walnuts.

Cool. Break into pieces.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Best Conversation Overheard in Texas

I was at The University of Texas Co-op bookstore this weekend, and two men were in line at the register. The cashier nonchalantly said to the first one, “I think we could have a good year this year, if no more dumbasses get themselves thrown in jail.”
“Yeah, what a dumbass," agreed the first customer.
Then the second in line, “If that dumbass could have stayed out of trouble for just two more years he’d have himself a nice NFL contract.”
And then all three in unison, “Dumbass!”

Poor Texas Longhorn football fans and poor Romance Taylor.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Bride’s Maids Dress

Jen: We think we have found the perfect dress. But is it okay with you if it’s strapless?

KK: Of course. Why are you even asking?

Jen has the physique of a goddess – she’s absolutely stunning.

Jen: My new tattoo will show.

KK: What tattoo is that?

Jen: The one that almost made my husband divorce me.

KK: Ah, sounds interesting.

Jen: It’s the names of my two little girls and my husband and it’s on the back of my shoulder.

KK: Well now you have to wear the strapless dress.

I can just hear Billie Sue now…

Did you know that your friend has a TATTOO?!

Yeah. And see that black man over there? That’s her husband!

Jen: She might faint.

KK: No, she’ll be too excited by the scandal to miss any of it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Welcome to Texas

I landed in the Great State on Thursday. Today my mom and I toured the wedding site, visited the caterer, the florist, and the photographer. Nordstrom’s and the baker are planned for tomorrow.

Going anywhere in Austin means a lot of driving.

My mom is a nervous driver. The kind who speeds up just to put on her brakes. And then brakes several times at one stop because she’s not sure she braked hard enough the first time. If her passengers don’t have whiplash, then she hasn’t done her job properly. The kind who won’t switch lanes until there’s not another car anywhere in the vicinity of where she wants to be. In a busy town like Austin, that causes quite a bit of stress, cussing, starting, and of course more breaking.

At one point, I eagerly volunteered to take over the driving responsibility, explaining that my carsickness was on the verge of causing a very big mess in the front seat.

And that’s when I remembered that mom is a nervous driver even when she isn’t driving. On our way home we were heading down Slaughter Lane to eventually go south on interstate 35. She was very helpful about providing directions.

“KK, you need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway. “ (One mile from the highway.)

“You need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway.“ (10 blocks from the highway.)

“You need to get in the right hand lane before we reach the highway.” (3 blocks from the highway.)

“Take a right, right here, right here.” (At the highway.)

I’m glad she said something, I had no idea what that big sign with the markings I35-S and the arrow to the right meant. I might have accidentally rolled my eyes, because then she said,

“Okay smart-ass. And don’t you dare go writing this in your blog.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Semester is Over!

We could all use a little rest.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Burnt Orange Lunatic Fringe

John unpacked from his recent trip to Texas. We have a routine for things like this – I sit and wait and he brings me surprises one by one. The first surprise was a heavy plastic bag filled with chunks of concrete.

“Parts of the Daryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Football Stadium,” he says with wonder.

The second surprise was another bag of chunks of concrete stadium.

“I packed these in two separate suitcases in case the airline lost one.”

Then he went on to unveil a dozen new Longhorn t-shirts, a dvd set of the entire 2005 football season and separate dvd of the national championship game (which we promptly watched again.)

Part way through he tells me the story of sharing the stadium artifacts with his brother.

“What’s that? Pieces of the Berlin Wall?” his brother asked.

“No. Pieces of the Daryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.”

“Even better!”

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Living Up to My Name

The moniker HAD to go.


I got to school early - 9:30 - and whiled away time at my desk. I was eager to get the test started but why show up an hour early? At thirty minutes till test time, I just couldn't stand it - I went to the classroom. Everyone was waiting. Wow - I can't believe they got there so early. People started telling me that there was no test today, that the dean showed up and cancelled it.

The exam didn't start at 11. I wasn't 30 minutes early, I was 30 minutes late.


I woke from my recurring nightmare - the one where I forget to go to class. I don't just forget once, apparently I've been forgetting all semester. So I make my way through this maze of stairways with cobwebs and stray kitties and try to find the classroom. All the while I'm trying to figure out when I last saw them, how long its been since I last went to this class, how I'm going to tell Charlie the department chair, what I'm going to tell the dean.

Today, A.M.P. could stand for the Abashed and Morose Professor

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Invitations

I think they’re gorgeous. But then again, I designed them.

John says they look like funeral notices.

Our colors are black, white and pewter, so doesn’t it make sense that our invitations are too?

Billie Sue called as soon as hers arrived.

Billie Sue: You’re future brother-in-law doesn’t like them. But Jennifer says that they’re fitting. And … I think they’re just fine. They are one hundred percent okay.

John: Why doesn’t Glenn like them?

Billie Sue: Because of the black. I think he was hoping they’d be burnt orange.

John: With a Hook ’Em Horns on them?!

Billie Sue: Yeah.

Billie Sue: Hey KK, if John doesn’t pick out his tuxedo in time, the guys can just wear University of Texas shirts.

KK: No.

John: Oh come on.

KK: No. No burnt orange invitations, no UT shirts, and definitely no –

John: You still don’t want cheerleaders at the reception?


John and Billie Sue howl in laughter.

What am I getting myself into?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

No one thought John would marry

Not his brother, not his mother and certainly not any of his friends.

In fact back when I lived with Billie Sue she said, “KK, you need to dump him. John’s never going to marry you.”

But I had faith.

For a couple more years I waited patiently. Then one new year’s eve he wrapped me in his arms, looked into my eyes and told me how much he loves me. So I said, “Want to marry me?”

My question took both of by surprise, because even though I’d been thinking such thoughts, I’d never before let them cross my lips.

He accepted and now we’re engaged. I love being engaged - so much excitement, so much to look forward to. But the relatives, I learned, aren’t as keen on the engagement as I am. They actually want the marriage that it presages.

My plan of an infinite engagement or a quick wedding in Vegas were quashed and we started planning a large, formal wedding. Planning rolled along smoothly and quietly for a while. Too quietly, in fact. We reserved a site, hired a caterer, florist, musicians, and photographer, bought dresses, shoes and tuxedos, found a preacher, created a guest list, and ordered invitations. I was efficiently steering us toward a beautiful day.

And then Billie Sue went to a baby shower for a friend of ours in Texas. This friend is the sister of John’s best friend. Naturally our wedding came up in conversation. “We haven’t heard anything about the wedding, so we figured it’s off,” said the best friend to John’s mom.

Imagine the cataclysm this caused in Billie Sue’s heart. Next to the birth of her grandson, this is the biggest event in her life. She’s been shopping for a dress since the moment she heard we’re engaged.

Billie Sue called John’s brother, who was no help. Mom, I told you I wouldn’t believe they’re getting married until I see it with my very own eyes.”

Then she called us. John was out of the country and I was working in the garden, neither of us were near our cell phone.

With her tender heart beating she phoned my dad, “Jim, did you hear that the wedding’s off?” And he just about had a stroke.