Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mom's Birthday Yesterday...

Yesterday was my mother's 61st birthday. I treated her to whatever she wanted. It was decided we would first go for brunch at the Secret Garden Tea Room at the Montgomery Street Antique Mall, then take a long walk through the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. We finished the evening off with dinner at Mamma Mia's Italian Grill and dessert at our new favorite place, Emi G's Key West Cove. See the pictures and captions below for the whole story!

Fall has hit the Turtle Pond at the Botanic Gardens

One of my favorite flowers, Asian Poppies, in full bloom.

A wild female turkey has taken roost within the Gardens grounds. They don't know where she came from, but they love her (along with all of the feral cats hanging around).

Mom's birthday brunch at The Secret Garden.

The dessert after-party at Emi G's Key West Cove. Their specialty- Key Lime Pie, of course!
Brian, Kayla and the boys joined us for the dinner and dessert. We tried to go to all of the local places we could, and succeeded well. We must continue to go to Emi G's, though. It hardly ever has anyone there in the evenings (mom and I have been their only customer on many occasion). If you live in the area, take a dinner break and go. They have excellent sandwiches and a full bar to boot! OH, and don't forget the fabulous Key Lime pie!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jack Kerouac is not my favorite writer...

The 2ND Annual Lone Star International Film Festival was last weekend. As a member of the Film Society and an aspiring screenwriter, I love this festival as it is in my hometown of Fort Worth! I volunteered for the festival last year (see picture of me with Martin Sheen on this page!) and I did so again this year.
I was only able to see one film, One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur. I was a bit hesitant to see this film because, as the title of this post states, Jack Kerouac is not my favorite writer. He's not even on my top 100. I tried reading Kerouac in college, but only got to page 5 of On the Road, before I just had to stop and work on my Women's literature readings. I actually thought that I just didn't like Kerouac at all until I realized that it wasn't his writings which irritated me so much, it was his devotees. The Kerouac wannabes.
Ah, the Kerouac wannabes. They are an interesting group of guys (usually guys, because really, a girl could not pull it off. Most guys can't.). You can tell a Kerouac devotee from a mile away. They usually wear outsider clothes reminiscent of the 1950s (khaki Dickie's type pants, short sleeve button-ups in mute tones, undershirts, usually wife-beaters, all of which is possibly frayed at the ends). Also, their hair has that look about it that makes one think of the 50s without the oil slick you'd normally see. If they smoke, they will, of course, roll their own cigarettes. Then there is the attempt at intellectualism. Very few pull this off, but they try. Its the whole attitude that they know they are smart, but they don't care, they just want to write. Maybe poetry, maybe the next great novel.
It's kind of a strange thing to see, but I've witnessed it in person- in college and quite a bit in Austin. They just bug me. I don't really know why, except maybe it just bothers me that people try to cop an image of who they want to be like instead of just being who they are. It seems as if they want someone else's life. I don't think Kerouac's life is the one to want, especially since he really did have major mental and alcoholic issues, dying at the age of 47 because his body just could not take the abuse anymore.
Anyway, the movie was an eye-opener for me and made me admire Kerouac even more. I took my mom and she really enjoyed it. This is a woman who really does not like documentaries much, especially the literary ones, but she related to him so much. The idea that, when he dried out completely, he could not create, so he had to remain mostly drunk all of the time to do his business. I could only imagine what that must have been like. I know that my mom has a difficult time being creative when she takes her meds, but she has a hard time functioning as a normal person when she doesn't, so she takes them. The whole thing has inspired me to give Kerouac another try. I've ordered a copy of the Anniversary edition of On the Road. It is the scroll edition, meaning everything Kerouac wrote is in it, not just the edited version. I hope I get past page 5 this time... if I do, I may try others, including Big Sur...

The greenhouse, the fireplace, and hot chocolate...

Mom, emerging from the greenhouse.

All of the plants are in place.

An almost full waterbarrel

The inagural fire.

Spiked hot chocolate.
The coolness has started to fall over Fort Worth, and the rest of Texas in general. A week ago, mom and I moved all of our plants we were not able to fit into our houses into the greenhouse. I love my greenhouse. I bought it last year in hopes of saving the hibiscus I spent quite a bit of money on, knowing I would use it for other plants as well. Brian and Kayla put it together mostly, while I helped and entertained the boys. This year, we finally got all of the gravel put in! I keep it warm with the sun (and sometimes a little heater, depending on how long it stays cold), as well as a large bucket of water, which helps create moisture for the plants.
Also updated is my fireplace. I finally got around to having the firewall fixed and a damper and chimney cap put in. This is something that has needed to be done for a while, but I just never had enough money to do it. I really didn't this time, and couldn't have, if I didn't have my mom to help. We've been sitting around a couple of days drinking wine, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate in front of it. Very nice.
I'm on my Thanksgiving break right now. I always look forward to this time, but I may actually be able to enjoy it this year. I don't have to grade papers, even though I do have two write two while I'm off. Winter break will actually be better since my graduate school semester will be over and I will have no TAKS benchmark essays to grade. I'll miss the extra pay, but I'll love the time to read and do whatever I want with my time off. It is certainly a nice thing to experience not having to worry about work while I'm home. I may actually get a book or two read, or possibly even write something... who would have thought?!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Okay, now that was way too long for a New Post...

OK, so it has taken me, what, three months to do another post? Way too long, if you ask me. I guess that's what happens when you start a new job in a library, start graduate school classes again, and have your cancer-free mother at home while she recovers and has a second surgery (not that I'm complaining, just that it takes quite a bit of time!). Anyway, it hasn't stopped me from taking pictures of my doings for the past few months.

This was one of my watermelons I picked in August!

My lemon tree produced four large lemons. I picked them just a few days ago.

Mom and Ruby supervising the crushing of the cans for recycling by my little cousins.

Brian and Kayla doing the tree trimming (I helped!!!) so that I could have my chimney repaired.

Cody and Chase continuing the can crushing.
I am really going to try to keep this up. I love my blogging, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Just a few more weeks to go for my classes to be over, as well!