Thursday, December 31, 2009

Uno Mas

I could write an entire Thanksgiving list for the imaginary people living on the internet. [Maybe one day.] Near the top of that list would be Matthew Baldwin, aka Defective Yeti. He writes stuff like this and makes it just seem so natural.

Haircut 2.0

When I go into a deli, why can I not just order a turkey sandwich and get a g.d. turkey sandwich, instead of having to approve or deny each and every member of kingdom Plantae? NO ONE WANTS BUTTERNUT SQUASH ON A TURKEY SANDWICH DONT EVEN ASK!! I appreciate that they are trying to “make it my way” or whatever, but after the third time I have unconditionally delegated any and all turkey-sandwich-making authority to the guy behind the counter, it’s time for the questions to end. Call me crazy, but I presume that someone who makes sandwiches eight hours a day has a mental model of “turkey sandwich” that is closer to the Platonic ideal of Turkey Sandwich than I could ever fathom, and should therefore be Team Captain for this particular enterprise.

[Read the whole thing.]

Bringing the Funny

Another great blogger is [redacted]. You will actually howl out loud while reading this one.

That Time I Was in Asia: So You're Interested in Seeing a Thai Sex Show

So while in Thailand, Brooke and I decided that we should visit the Red Light District. I mean, it's famous; and famous for sex, no less. We love sex. It seemed like a natural fit. And though we were well aware of the all-too-seedy underbelly, we were assured by more than a few people that the current version of Patpong (the district's name) was a watered down version of its nefarious predecessor. I mean, the New York Times recommended going there in their 36 Hours in Bangkok article. The last time the New York Times recommended something "gritty and dangerous" it was a Michael Moore film. We felt pretty secure.

[Read the whole thing.]

One More in the Melancholy Vein

I swear, they won't always be this way. I'm trying to get these all out to you before the end of the year, for some arbitrary reason.

One of the best -- possibly THE best -- new blog of the year was Letters of Note, "a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original missives." You should read it every day.

Bookmark this letter so you'll have it when you need it. It's a reply from Stephen Fry to a fan who wrote asking for advice while in the midst of a depression.

April 10, 2006

Dear Crystal,

I'm so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I'm not sure there's any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it's sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don't love yourself that much.

I've found that it's of some help to think of one's moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It's real.
You can't change it by wishing it away.
If it's dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can't alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.


It will be sunny one day.
It isn't under one's control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.


Another Kind of Favorite

This letter to the London Review of Books was another favorite from this past year. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. Because it's annoying to scroll down to it, I'm quoting the whole thing.

Keep me in!

The list of stories of unjust incarceration for insanity is long, as Susan Eilenberg suggests (LRB, 23 July). Does it still happen? Or have things gone in a completely different direction?

I have been in and out of NHS mental hospitals for more than forty years. The first, following a suicide attempt, was Bethlem Royal, the old Bedlam, by then moved to a huge semi-rural site near Beckenham. On arrival my first feeling was of immense relief; I was in a safe place and didn’t have to worry any more. One almost never saw a psychiatrist; ‘treatment’ consisted of tranquillisers that kept one calm and anti-depressants that did nothing at all; this was in the days before Prozac. But the nurses were friendly and spent all day with the patients, chatting, playing games (Scrabble with schizophrenics can be very entertaining), going for walks in the grounds, even cooking meals with us. The male wing had a full-size snooker table and the female a grand piano, though the eccentricities of women playing snooker and men the piano were tolerated. After the first week or two I could even go for unaccompanied walks in the grounds. It would have been a very nice place to stay if one weren’t mad.

The fact that discharge was never mentioned merely increased my feeling of safety; when after six months I felt ready to face the world again I had no idea how to arrange to be discharged and was a touch afraid that if I asked they might try to keep me in – ‘section’ me, as it’s called. So one day I just walked out. No one came after me.

Three or four years later I was in hospital again: this time at Broadgate, near Beverley in Yorkshire, a huge Victorian place with its own farm. Things were much the same as at Bethlem. Uniquely, I was privileged to see the chief consultant psychiatrist once a week, but that was because I played trumpet to his trombone at the Saturday dances. The nurses spent all day with the patients here too, the only difference – in retrospect an ominous one – being that they had to write brief daily reports on the patients. This duty was taken lightly; one report I saw said: ‘Patient rose at ten thirty and spent the rest of the day in a horizontal position.’ I came across a lot of people shuffling about the corridors who had been in the place many years: however they had come to be there, their only ‘madness’ now was that they were quite unfitted for life outside. Again, after six months I simply walked out.

Looking back, those two places did me a lot of good, in spite of the absence of real treatment. Merely being in a sheltered environment, protected from self-destruction for as long as I needed, was therapy enough. For many years I managed to avoid going into hospital, except for a year at the excellent, intensive, highly successful and soon closed down Paddington Day Hospital.

But about nine years ago I was close to suicide again and found myself being taken into another hospital. Things had changed. Now we had the policy of ‘care in the community’. All notion of protection, of asylum, had gone: a patient (or was it ‘client’?) information leaflet explained that one’s stay would be as brief as possible. Nurses no longer spent much time with patients: they were closeted together in an office filling in ‘care plans’, and could get quite cross if one knocked on the door to point out that a patient was smashing up the furniture or another patient. Usually, in fact, knocks on the door were ignored. True, we saw psychiatrists as often as once a week, but their concern was to see whether we were ready to be discharged. We lived in dread of being called before the psychiatrist: many, including myself, tried to seem madder than we were in the hope of delaying discharge. I managed to stay a month – twice as long as the ‘target’ period – before being ejected despite my vigorous protests.

I was soon back. Returning to the same hospital I expected the nurses to be surprised and disappointed to see me again; they batted not an eyelid. Soon I noticed familiar faces among the other patients; people who had been discharged during my earlier stay and who were back again. Nine years later I have lost count of how many times the NHS has ‘cured’ me of severe depression. Clearly the new policy is statistically – and that’s what counts – very successful. It must have cost them far more than one long stay, but they’ve had half a dozen cures instead of one.

At present, two kinds of people are admitted to NHS mental hospitals: those bonkers enough to be a social inconvenience and those depressed enough to be ready to do away with themselves. If one’s desperate enough to want to get in, the magic word ‘suicide’ whispered in a suitably shamefaced sepulchral tone will do the trick. But mad or sad, one will be out again in two weeks. And back again in another two.

Simon Darragh
Walmer, Kent

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Year-End List is Better Than Everyone Else's

Maybe you're at work fucking away the rest of the year until everybody gets back to work in January. That's what I'm doing, anyway. To facilitate your fucking away, I thought I would point you to some of my favorite writing from the year.

First: delight in Bonnie's stories of "The Worst Things I Ever Wore."

Pants: Ugly, but Dry My mom was and is a big thrift-shopper, so these navy-blue bell-bottoms with colorful flowers embroidered on the bells were out of style by the time I wore them. Describing them now, they sound sort of cute, but here's the problem: another girl in my third grade class also had them. A girl known for wetting her pants. Those pants. [More here]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Tunes

Hey, I know you're a big fan of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You." Kinda goes without saying, right? Since you've heard it 5,723 times since Thanksgiving?

On the other hand ...

Hollister Hovey put up a 3-song EP she coordinated with some of her very talented friends. Holy cow, is it good. [Bonus for Cayce and Carl: a rousing version of "Nu skal vi ha glide."]

Also, Amazon has a bunch of free downloads.

In other news, I am still sick and it still blows.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays

Papi let me sleep in this morning. I woke to Becca's voice saying, "Cotton candy! And a stuffed unicorn!" The neighbor had been by with gifts.

Then we went on a little road trip. Four hours in the car with E&B squabbling endlessly. At one point they were obnoxious enough that I yelled, "if you say one more word I'm throwing your unicorn out the window!" [Never thought of that one, eh, Joan Crawford?]

Later I asked Papi how he stayed so calm on the trip. He said, "I imagined I was driving to an orphanage."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Really, Amazon?

After all these years we've been together, you're still recommending Michel Buble for me?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wrong on So Many Levels

Wrong on So Many Levels, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

Spotted at Toys 'R Us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

There is still time for Etsy!

Or, "I'll take Overdue Posts for $1,000, Alex."

Actually, my posting is way down since Thanksgiving because I've been pretty busy with my "one for you, one for me" Christmas shopping. I've been terribly naughty this year, so I can't really count on Santa.

The very best place for this kind of shopping is etsy. Since I'm always happy to hear about other people's etsy favorites, here are a few of mine:

I've blogged about Shop Clementine before. I have a pair of her earrings that I adore. If this necklace found its way into your stocking, you would be quite delighted, no?

This year I decided that Becca can turn the dollhouse bookcase that Grandaddy built into her own dollhouse. [We'll make room for the books on a shelf in our room.] I got her some dollhouse furniture at Hobby Lobby, but I was excited to find these tiny wooden dolls on etsy. She'll get to decorate them to make her own little dollhouse family.

I want one of everything at WhiteEarth Studio. This piece would make a fine start. N.B. -- There's a gift with purchase through the end of the year. Just sayin'.

The Kitchen Madonna is back in the saddle. You could give someone this apron and a copy of the P-Dub cookbook.

If you know someone who appreciates the art of paper cutting, you should check out TamaraDesigns. This piece arrives framed; she also has several pieces available unframed that are quite affordable. [As in, $8 affordable.] The little framed letters would be great baby gifts, too.

Just FYI, these picks were in no way compensated. I've bought, with my own personal bottomless riches, items from all but the last seller, and I can recommend them without reservation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We are easily amused.

Papi: "Check this out: non-Newtonian fluid."
Me: "Huh?"
Papi: "Watch these dudes walk on water."

Me: "That's awesome." [Watch for a while until the dude sinks into the pool.]

Six other "Man-Made Substances That Laugh in the Face of Physics" here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What mamacita is ...

Kiddo edition:




Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Too Cool for School

Check out this gallery at the Smithsonian online of artists' homemade Christmas cards. Makes me wish I had returned Man Ray's calls back in the day.

via VSL

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Freak Like Me

Talking to my friend, Bonjour Madame, just made me realize: I am the Tracy Flick of the holidays. It seems that no one else keeps a spreadsheet of activities and gifts going back 8 years, as well as a database of Christmas card addresses. Any of my homies out there doing the same thing?

pic via

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ninety Years

On Sunday we had a party to celebrate my Grandmother's ninetieth birthday and her new house (an addition to my parents' house). Funny story: Grandmother is a twin, and she spent her actual birthday with her twin sister. Even at their ages, these ladies are CRAZY competitive. [You do NOT want to play a board game against them.] My mom called my great aunt and asked how her party was; when she asked how many people did she have, she told my mom, "About... 51." You know, roughly. So our goal was to beat that number. We had 76. Or so ;-).

Some photos...

This is a bad picture, but we were able to play some of her favorite records on an old Victrola my parents have. She likes Big Band.

From the florist.

I made cheese crackers, pecan tassies, and chicken salad finger sandwiches. We also put out cheese and crackers, fruit skewers, nuts, and of course a cake.

Sherbet punch -- now it's a party!

Winnie will kill me for posting this, but I thought her jacket was so cute.

More cuties

My family really knocked themselves out trying to get the house ready for the party. They are still rebuilding after Hurricane Ike did so much damage last year. This is the new downstairs bathroom, which Annie put together last week. Everyone loves the faucet.

Close-up of the creepy hand soap. Don't you love it? Available here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What mamacita is...

Papi and I couldn't get into this show at first, but enough people kept calling it their "favorite show" that we had to give it another try. For whatever reason, now I think it's absolutely hilarious. We've been watching the episodes on Hulu. This season has me in tears with laughter.

This was really and truly coincidental, but today's Amazon Gold Box deal is the box set of Seasons 1-4 at 60% off regular price (in case you're interested). If you order it, make sure to get the Christmas DVD at the same time, because you'll get another $10 off.*

*Disclosure: I bet I get a shiny nickel out of it if you order through that link. Which is obviously the only reason I blog -- for all the phat loot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday Score

On Sunday I went to the Urban Market, where I found these great carved horn birds at a booth run by the lovely and talented Carolina Saunders. She had so much great stuff; I wish I could have bought it all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Excitement of the Day

You know that calendar that Martha has in the front pages of her magazine? She has it on her website, too, only it's more detailed. You can display her calendars for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Homekeeping, and Gardening.

And! You can put her calendars on your own Google calendar (or Yahoo!, Outlook, or iCal calendars). Of course, you may not want to display them all at the same time, but they will be there in the sidebar when you're ready for them.

Ooooh, I'm so excited.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I finally figured out how to make the kids' costume pictures work. Updated post here.

Anybody want to trade Christmas cards? Leave a comment here; I'll email you with my address and you can send me yours.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Costumes

At the kids' school they have a "book character parade" for Halloween. Every kid is supposed to dress up as a character from a book. Emmet and Becca decided that they wanted to be their own characters that they made up. So they each wrote a book with those characters. I decided that would have to count.
Emmet is Emmet from the Emmet-Power Aquarium. His story involves rescuing seven crystals or something. You can't see his costume very well. We wrapped duct tape around an old t-shirt; the blue is a painter's tape bandolier. There are also some plastic "crystals" on there. The bottoms are sweatpants with crystal compass points on the left hip.

Becca is the Beccatron. She's wearing a bike helmet covered in foil and two foil roasting pans attached with duct tape. The buttons on the robot are condiment cups that she colored and I attached with hot glue. [There are also buttons on the top of the helmet.] Her outfit is complete with the famous shiny pants and silver glitter shoes. Oh, and she put crystal jewels on her costume, too, because, well, they were shiny. That's really all that matters.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Decorations

We had a Halloween party Saturday night. Becca and I worked together on the decorations; I liked the way they turned out.

papel picado banner (it was longer than this, obvs.)

eyeball ornaments

glitter skull arrangement on the windowsill in the bathroom

ghost luminarias

The ghost luminarias are made from milk jugs (I'm sure you totally couldn't tell). I used flameless tealights inside. I thought the tealights worked great, but if you buy them, be advised that there will be a lot of duds in every package. The first package had about 50% duds; subsequent packages had maybe 25% duds.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who's that Spartan in my Tee-pee? It's ME! It's me!

You wouldn't want to be on the bottom of that pyramid.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adding insult to the injury of my week: getting diet Coke in the drive-thru instead of the real Coke I requested. Seriously, universe: I AM ARMED. Don't tempt me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Eighties Time Capsule Post

What mamacita is...

When I was in junior high, my church youth group was invited to a lock-in at the Episcopal church in Port Arthur.

The thing I remember most about that night is how strange all the other kids looked. I remember at least one kid had a sidewinder haircut, which I'd never seen before. Other boys had long hair. Some kids had multiple piercings. There was a girl in Goth raiment (though I didn't know what to call it at the time). I remember calling my parents and saying, "There are some weird people here." It's not that I wanted to leave -- I just had to tell somebody about all the fascinating things that were happening.

For comparison's sake: in Bridge City, boys weren't allowed to wear their hair past their collars, and they definitely weren't allowed to have anything pierced. Girls weren't allowed to pierce anything besides their ears, once. [Things have changed now, and as far as I know, all of those rules have been set aside. Never thought I'd see that day!]

That night was the first time I heard R.E.M. It was the first time I ever saw people making out. It was a night out of a John Hughes movie -- all of one's teen experiences coming in the course of two hours.

In one of the rooms that night, they were showing The Hunger. [Who the hell was in charge of all this?] For someone who had never seen a boy with long hair, you can imagine that a vampire flick with David Bowie and a lesbian love triangle was something of a shock. In fact, I don't think I understood what was going on, but when I tried to leave the room I found that I was hemmed in by Jaimie Hancock sucking face with some dude.

So, to be honest with you, I don't remember much about this movie. That's why I'm watching again tonight.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.

Last-Minute Costumes, and SHINY

I thought you might like to know that there is a wealth of last-minute Halloween costume inspiration on the American Apparel website.

I know this because I had to buy the kids some clothes recently. The leggings I bought for Becca are off the chain. I really wanted to buy some for myself, except I think that encasing my cottage cheese into these awesome pants is probably illegal. Check it out:

Are those not the best pants EVER?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's the little things.

It's the little things., originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

I am totally JAZZED about the new buggies at Kroger.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Family Movie Night

It turned out to be scarier than we thought it would be, but the kids still liked it.

two front teeth

two front teeth, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

Somebody lost her two front teeth last night.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


haircut, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

I think the little spikes make him look like Tintin.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Let's Talk Halloween

I LOVE Halloween. I've been thinking about our Halloween party since school started. I've been talking about Halloween decorations to everyone I see. Just so you know my feelings on the subject.

Because this right here? It bugs the shit out of me. Every time I drive by this house, I think about this. [DON'T click that link, Letitia.]

Is it just me? Am I being too sensitive?

Dave Grohl is Your New Bicycle

Rainy day, and I'm listening "Everlong" over and over. Fuck yes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't Worry, There's Something in It for You

So I bought this comforter yesterday. Yes, it's a comforter in a bag from Target: sue me. I needed something easy. It's supposed to be chartreuse, but it looks a little more baby-shit brown in my bedroom. The trim is very dark brown.

This is where it gets difficult: I seriously need some curtains. Right now my bedroom windows are covered with wrapping paper, which is pretty ghetto, even for me. So I need your help in finding curtains. I'm also open to whatever other suggestions you have about the room. Currently it is just a white box with berber carpet. The dresser and closets are built-ins (painted white) so I'm not looking for more furniture, although I am looking to make an upholstered headboard. I was also thinking about these Audubon prints (from a book) for the walls, but now I'm not so sure.

And this was the original inspiration, FWIW:

(more here)

And so to solicit as many replies as possible, I'll sweeten the pot. One commenter chosen at random will win ... let's see what I have in my purse ... a pen from my credit union! And ... a ponytail holder! Okay, and a $10 gift card to Starbucks. Because the least I could do is buy you a couple of pumpkin spice lattes.

Do I need to start all over? I'm not married to the comforter; in fact, I'm a notorious catch-and-release shopper.

So give me your best shot. If you only have ideas, that's cool, but if you can link to curtains/ paint colors/ artwork, etc., that's even better. I'll keep this going for a week and then I'll draw a name of the winner. Thanks everybody!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that your answers should not include paisley anything.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cthulu Was Here

Today I started doing the work of two people, still with my part-time hours and no pay increase, of course. It was coming in from all sides, so right now I'm hiding under my desk. Don't worry, I found some Cheez-Its under here; I should be fine for a while.

The best part of today was the "Wishing to Join" card that some kid left in a collection plate:

Date: 6-6-06
Name: vampire
Home: 1563 Lodge Center
Work: killing demons
Birthdate: 1891, April 1
Have you been baptized: No
Transferring from: waste management

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Post Just for Ben

A good Christian rock band? Now I really have seen everything. Naturally, they are nuttier than a box of Goo Goo Clusters.

I did wonder if they were a hoax, but the photos on their website suggest otherwise. And this may be their only good song -- those two songs about the heresy of the Trinity aren't very good.

via Flubby

Lady lawyers in Britain are getting some kind of lingerie allowance. I don't fully understand what working late has to do with needing new underwear, but I couldn't pass up the chance to make an "Are You Being Served?" reference.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Great Muppet Caper

Family movie for tonight. With Charles Grodin! And I forgot it was set in London -- that's especially exciting.

I tried to explain to Becca that when I was a girl I liked Miss Piggy just as much as she likes Hello Kitty.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Every damn time

Every damn time, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

I suppose I would lose my purpose in life if anyone else ever replaced it.

A Day in the Life

Mer is my favorite person now because she sent me this. NSFW


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Someone Needs to Buy This

Weekly Reader tote
from BackGarage's etsy shop. It would be the most perfect library tote ever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I kinda want to get Emmet this poster

The Rugh Family Workshop makes this and other cool Autism-awareness posters.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shake It

As discussed previously, Choire Sicha is truly one of my favorite homos. But he is so wrong about these new flavors at the Shake Shack! They sound pretty good to me. [With the possible exception of Balsamic Fig, but maybe nobody goes there on Thursdays anyway.]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Children Are Now Minions of the Red Army

My kids didn't get to watch the Commandant's President's speech this morning, because their teachers felt like they couldn't give up any valuable instruction worksheet-shuffling time. This made Papi pretty hot under the collar, so we sat the kids down this afternoon and made them drink the Kool-Aid watch the speech. It really was an excellent talk -- important socialist ideas communicated to children in an effective way. I think the President should brainwash address schoolchildren at the beginning of every year. Seems like a good way to pass on communist patriotic values.

But in case your children didn't catch it, here is the video of the speech.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What mamacita is ...

I've nursed a crush on P.J. O'Rourke for almost two decades now.


The next time I get a movie from Netflix and Letitia says, "Oh, Mike and I loved that movie!" I think I'm going to return it unopened.

He's a lovable slob! Who majored in philosophy! He likes Josie and the Pussycats! He's good with kids! He and his friends dress like 15 year-olds! They make up zen koans about sex!

No one in this movie can act his way out of a paper bag, and the combination of book-jacket philosophy and 1998 fashion is more than my senses can take. Furthermore, I have to disagree with Roger Ebert: every line in this movie was entirely predictable. There has never been a less-sexy movie. It made Flipper look like an erotic thriller. F minus.