Monsters Ball.

I'm around a lot of conferences and trainings at my new job, which I still like by the way. If you are a frequenter of hotels or functions that are catered, you will know that there is a multitude of free cookies everywhere. Hotels shed cookies. Cookies and continental breakfasts.

It's a cheap way of telling someone, "Hey, we like your business. Have a cookie." And people fall for it like crazy. To the point where if a cookie is not presented, they feel betrayed, robbed even. So, it's become a thing that you must order in the catering world: a PM break. "PM break for 30 participants to consist of cookies." Seriously. Most of the time, if conference goers were just savvy enough, they could surely stumble upon free cookies at any hotel. But, in the grand laziness of American society, the cookies must now also be delivered. First, they must be provided, now they must be delivered.

When I started noticing this, I was a little disgusted. Maybe not as much as I should have been, as I am the type of person who will actively search out any sort of free food, including those blasted cookies, but there was just something about watching the PM breakers devourer those cookies. Maybe I see myself in it, the gross college kid, eating as much as humanly possible because you're really not quite certain where that next meal is coming from. But just the level of "it's free so I'm gonna take all of it" is a little disturbing. In my food scavenging, I'll just take something for me and call it a day. I've seen people stuff their purses full to the brim with cookies. And trust me lady, that one napkin you used to wrap them, it's not gonna hold up. You'll have cookie crumbs in your purse for a year, it's like going to a sandy beach. That's really the only thing that gives me comfort.

And the rage, OH the rage, if there's not enough cookies to go around. You wouldn't believe it! The anger. "WHERE is MAH cookie! I am a PARTICIPANT and I do not have a COOKIEH." I'm sorry ma'am, you might want to check your friend's purse. And because of the purse stuffers, the cost of this PM break is just ridiculous. Like, $8 a person. $8 for a cookie and some iced tea! Seriously guys, just walk down the hall discretely and the cookie selection is actually much better!

So, these PM breakers, these purse stuffers, these lazy Americans, I found it all very, very disturbing for a few months. The first months at my job, I was at hotels A LOT so I spent a lot of quality, one-on-one time with participants who either got no cookies or too many cookies. I was pretty done with the whole thing until I came down to earth, back to my office, and found myself, one stressful afternoon, seriously missing my afternoon cookie. My little token of appreciation, my scavenger hunt. At first, I was a bit disgusted with myself but then I got to thinking. Maybe these PM breakers are onto something. We adore our morning coffee breaks, smokers can't wait for that next cigarette. A cookie in the afternoon probably isn't that bad of an idea. A ten minute break, right when you feel like the day will never end, just to savor something, a token of gratitude, might just be enough for our high speed, high stress society to breathe for a few minutes. Just calm the fuck down, breathe, and enjoy a cookie. No wonder those people take as many as they can. It's a great feeling.

The point is, cookies are great. Enjoy them. Do what you can you have a few minutes to congratulate yourself on going to work everyday, contributing to the gross national product and taking all those giant steps towards full-blown adulthood. Or a few minutes to congratulate yourself for knowing your job isn't who you are, that you'll never stop listening to punk rock and you're stealing a few minutes of precious salaried time to do absolutely nothing that benefits that gross national product. Or just don't think at all. Just enjoy a cookie. Cookies, really, they're seriously fucking great.

But, for the love of Christ, leave some for everyone else.


Off my chest.

For 2011:
But you'll fight and you'll make it through.
You'll fake it if you have to.
And you'll show up for work with a smile.
You'll be better,
And You'll be smarter,
And More grown up and a better daughter or son
And a real good friend.
And you'll be awake.
You'll be alert.
You'll be positive though it hurts.
And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends.
And you'll be a real good listener,
You'll be honest,
You'll be brave,
You'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful.
You'll be happy.

I was walking home from work on Monday, across the meticulously groomed grounds of the University of Oklahoma, when it hit me like a brick. This is what I've been waiting for.

When I was at UNM, I walked to school almost every day. From the neighborhood bordering the Law School, through the med center, across Lomas and through their own campus. It was about a 20 minute walk, depending on where I needed to be. But I really enjoyed it. It gave me a few quiet minutes to listen to music, go through my daily checklist and sort of pace myself for everything I had coming up. There were some times where I fucking hated it. When it was 98 degrees outside, that first week back every semester, where I swore I would break down and buy a parking permit for South Lot. But nope. Never did it. I just kept on walking.

I noticed a huge difference in myself when I stopped. I didn't notice it then but now that I look back, I can see it. I felt sluggish, not as put together, I started gaining weight. Now, I think that probably had a lot to do with the fact I had just graduated college and I had no idea where the fuck my life was going, but I think if I would have had a few minutes a day to just calm the fuck down, I would have made that transition much easier.

I've been thinking about that time period a lot lately, how scary it was. I was so scared of being an adult that I decided that driving to Canada was a far better option than a desk job. And it really was. I don't regret a single minute or a single mile of that trip and I cannot wait to be able to do it again. But that doesn't change the fact I was running, and from what I still cannot pin point, but I was running (Jenny!). I was terrified of it all; adulthood, credit reports, commitment, leases. There wasn't a single part of being 22 that I was excited about. When I got home, I thought I'd be able to make the transition into commerce with ease with the help of my dear friends at the El Rey. A week and a half later, the Golden West burned. That same day, I was offered a desk job that I feared most of all. And in that fear, I panicked and took it. What followed was nothing sort of emotional hell. I hated my job. I cried on the way to work almost weekly. My mind was so screwed up about the fire and a few weeks later, Annie my hound-dog was put to sleep. If I had the capability of feeling misery by that point, I was there.

And it all tied in. But I associated all that anxiety with my job, most of all. I know now that I should have made the best of it, but that office and that life left a very bitter taste in my mouth. It left the idea that all real jobs are evil and there's nothing to gain from them. And the ones you like just burn away. It was a horrible place to be. So horrible in fact that I became so desperate to make it stop, to make everything change, that I moved to Oklahoma. And it's all been uphill since.

Now, I'm a fairly rational person. I've come to terms that everything that I did, how I handled that job and everything associated with being a grown up would have all been vastly improved if I just would have been a bit more positive, taken some time to myself to figure out where I really was and what I really wanted. But I never gave myself that luxury. I got so caught up in the decadent drama and I had no idea how to make it all stop. About 4 months into my stay in Oklahoma, I think all that came crashing in. And while I couldn't verbalize a single word of it, I was blessed with a fantastic network, both back home, in Oklahoma and across the globe that reminded me that everything would be okay. And guess what, you guys. It really is. And it really always was.

So here we go with this again. I'm 26 years old and the month of January in this, the 2011th year of our Lord, has thrown a lot of changing on me. I was hired on permanent at my first Oklahoma job back in April but I learned fairly quickly that I wasn't meant for the work I was doing and it would be unfair to continue doing it. On a whim in December, I applied for about 12 jobs in one day. And hey, one of those jobs called me back. And what would you know, they hired me. And guys, it's a job I like. That's right. I like it. I don't dread going. I like going. I like what I'm doing. It may not be love, but I'm excited to get there every morning. Who would have thought. And, probably the best part, the job provides some insanely wonderful incentives for me to go back to school. I should be back in a classroom come August. I cannot fucking wait.

This new job's in Norman. For you New Mexicans, that's a haul of a commute from where I was living. But it came to be that a friend of mine needed a roommate. And where is his house? Why, it's a short walk away from my office. I get to walk to work. So, what would you know, I've got a new room, a new roommate and a new commute. I started my new job three weeks ago and officially moved in with Greg Johnson two weeks ago.

I kept telling my mom that all this change was positive but it was just so much change. I was heartbroken to move out of the condo that Chelsey Wilson built. After the bar burned, I didn't feel like I had a home until I got there. We should all be lucky to have friends as compassionate and practical as she. That house was a refuge for me, I didn't feel like anything could hurt me there. The day I moved out, Drunk-Chelsey so poetically told me that when I moved in, I was a caterpillar and now I was blossoming into a beautiful butterfly and she was happy to set me free.

So, it all may still be very new, and I'm still adjusting, but I'm doing just that, adjusting. Not running, not coping, I'm adjusting. Adjusting to this almost-adult Cat, with her car payment, her own office (with a freaking bathroom) and her line of credit. If 16 year old me could see now, I don't think she'd hate me. She wouldn't be my friend, but we'd get along. I think that's a feet that's been years in the making.

2011 won't be any slower. It won't be any calmer. But I think I'm better equipped to handle it then ever. I've been telling everyone I was optimistic about this year. And I really am.

But that's all mush-mush. I'm available to talk about the Oklahoma City Thunder at any time.


St. Catherine and her Mazda dream.

In one of my 16mm classes at UNM, we started playing around with clear leader film, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's translucent film that filmmakers put on the front, the "leader" of an actual film to serve as a buffer for the actual film. It's got sprocket holes and it feeds into a projector just the same as regular film.

We talked a lot about this dude, named Stan Brakage, who used to paint and color on clear leader, on top of actually filming. He basically started using film as an actual canvas in the sense a painter uses one. (Note, he's at a bar.) Stan Brakage was also fiercely intelligent. He said my favorite quote I ever read in college:

"Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word'."

Npw, people have been painting and coloring film for years. This was done in 1896. The way the dress changes color is that one of the Lumière brothers (or one of their assistants, more than likely) went in and dyed the film with ink, frame by frame. And remember, there's 24 frames in one second of a movie. It's just as time consuming as it sounds.

Brakage took it one step farther and started taping things to clear leader as well, just to see the sort of images it would project. He's probably most famous in academic circles (how pretentious can I sound?) for a film called Mothlight, where he taped insect wings, seed pods, leaves and other translucent stuff found in nature onto clear leader. The actual leader looked like this:

With I find lovely enough on its own. And the actual projection is a bit hypnotizing:

Fun, right? It certainly is. I also learned in college that if you take a hot iron to white leader (leader that's colored and dyed white. Most filmmakers use it to write on, to mark titles, last times it was edited, etc. Most of the time, never projected.) it will peel off the color and make it look streaky.

Rewind a year or so. I don't talk a lot about the guy I dated then, by the name of Chad. Mostly because there's not a whole lot to say. I will tell you he's the first heart I ever broke, and he broke mine just as much. He wasn't a bad guy and he cared for me immensely, much more than I was ready for. Our breakup was really the destructive part, not the relationship. But our relationship was the sort of thing you just have to get rid of. I threw away things that meant a lot to me, something I very, rarely do, regardless of how much it hurts me to see them. I threw away a roll of film from the night pictured above, because I just couldn't look at it.

Fast forward a few years. I'm living in Maria's and cleaning out my mess of a desk. What do I find? The negatives from that roll of film. I start looking at them and decide that there's some art therapy in there. I cut them into pieces and tape them to clear leader.

An idea is born!

I haven't even tried to project them, or even splice the pieces together. But I like the weird sort of closure I got from it, making it, and that experience into something new and creative.

I also don't say a lot about my mom having Multiple Sclerosis, and neither does my mom, mostly because she is so much bigger than a disease. I will say that it is remarkable how little of an effect MS has had on my life, and on hers. Mom refuses to let it get the better of her. If you know mi madre, you know she really is an amazing person. Everyone says that about their mothers (actually, my new job has taught me that not everyone says that about their mothers) but I really, really lucked out. She's pure gold.

About a year ago, I told my mom about my film negative project. So, she gives me the film from a MRI she had done in 2001 (above) and tells me to make something pretty. I took out one film sheet and started cutting it up, taping it to the leader. I really wasn't pleased with how dark it was. It didn't have nearly the same effect as the film negative. So, I sat on it for a long time. Then, last week I was at Target buying laundry supplies when I remembered that when you put bleach on film, it lightens it. In some cases, it pulls the emulsion right off of it. I bought a jug of Clorox and almost ran back to the condo.

The process of it, throwing on different amounts of bleach became creepier than I ever could have expected:

Emulsion literally dripping off into my tub! But I loved the ending result:

So, now I've got a wall of bleached MRI film:

Some super creepy self portraits:

And a new art project!

Just in case you were wondering what my creative brain's been up to, there you go. I was in desperate need of a new creative project, as my job's stress level has been nearly unbearable. I'm losing sleep over it. I've just got to remember to take deep breaths, that I've got a wonderful network of people here and back home who would do just about anything to support me and OU football is almost upon us. I mean seriously, how can things be bad when the weather's finally starting to cool down and Landry Jones has a mustache? They simply can't. I've also been trying to eat better and eat more protein. I'm losing a bit of weight (!!!) slowly but surely and I already feel better physically. My car's also hanging in there like a champ, which has officially become something to celebrate.

I did get a few days to go back to Albuquerque with Chelsey at the beginning of the month, which is by far the best medicine for stress I've ever found. That trip can be best summarized with this:


To meet the thirst of our children.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt are the ten calamities imposed upon Egypt by Yahweh as recounted in the Book of Exodus, Chapters 7–12, to convince Pharaoh to let the poorly treated Israelite slaves go. Pharaoh did not permit this until after the tenth plague. The plagues were applied in a way to portray clearly the reality of Israel’s God, and by contrast the impotence of Egypt’s gods. Some commentators have associated several of the plagues with judgment on specific gods associated with the Nile, fertility and natural phenomena.

Dudes, I think I upset Yahweh.

Let’s take a look at the list:

Plague #1: Nile Turned to Blood

Well, I’m not anywhere close to the Nile. But I can tell you that Oklahoma City streams and rivers grew exponentially a few weeks ago. And all that red dirt made things look a bit creepy. The metro got 8 inches of water in a few hours, which resulted in all of this:

Please note girl clinging to tree. (This photo CREEPS ME OUT. Like, almost to the point of nightmares. Not sure why... maybe because she looks like a raccoon. And I mean no disrespect. It's pretty awesome she's alive and well, that's a brave 17 year old. But this photo is creepy and raccoon-like, yes?) My mom saw this and flipped out. She called me crying, begging me to move home. I guess I can’t blame her.

I got stuck on I-44 that morning. I didn’t think anything of it when I left. Just rain, step over the puddles and you’re fine. I sat on the Interstate for about 2 hours before things started moving and when they did, I realized it was people were, quite literally, making a run for it, in a desperate attempt to not end up one of those crazy, shirtless people on the news clinging to the top of their SUV. Watching water rise all around your car, not fun. So I, panic attack building, make the decision to haul ass under the Broadway Extension/I-235 bridge, which at that point has about a foot of water under it for about 50 yards. Scariest 50 yards of my life. I screamed the whole time, visions of me, crazy and shirtless, clinging to the sunroof of my week-old car (more on that in a minute) playing over and over in front of my eyes. Well luckily, I made it out and to work in Midwest City. I stayed at my office long enough to calm down and let the rain calm down before making it to training in Norman, three hours late.

Fun doesn’t stop there. Remember this youtube video of the backyard flooding?

Funnies. It’s not so funny when it’s 8 inches of water, as opposed to just one. So, the carpet got flooded and stinky, in both the living room and my room. Gross. Hopefully FEMA comes through with some sweet, sweet federal cash for that.

Plague #7: Hail

Oh. Yeah. We got hail. See the previous entry. State Farm ended up totaling my car. Again. So I went car shopping. Again. This time, much less stressful. I knew exactly what I wanted, exactly how to deal with financing, all of that. I went test driving on Memorial Day and drove no fewer than 10 vehicles. I was on a mission, dudes. Bonus points to Greg Johnson for going with me on every, single test drive. On the top of my list was a Mazda 3 and by Jorge, I could afford it so that’s what I ended up with.

It’s pretty. It’s fast. It’s spacious. It’s classy. It’s new. I named her Estella Mankiller. Plague #7 didn’t end too badly. However, my monthly payments are higher, as is insurance, and financing on the car still isn’t straightened out. I am so sick of not having credit. You’d think something would show up by now. You’d be wrong.

Plagues #3, #4 and #8: Gnats, Flies and Locusts
Gertie got fleas about a month ago. And brought them into the house. Chelsey and me CLEANED. I mean, scrubbed the condo from top to bottom. It was a weekend project. Therapeutic, honestly. Last week, I thought I saw a big one on my bed, like a big momma pregnant flea. I killed it and hoped it was just a freak occurrence, a mutant flea with pregnant super powers, strong enough to withstand fogging. Upon closer inspection, this is no flea. This is no tick. This bug is nothing sponsored by Gertie. This is, in fact, a bed bug. Quite possibly the grossest shit I can possibly imagine. In my bed; probably my favorite place in the world. SHUT UP, UNIVERSE.

I found more when I pulled my bed apart, hiding under my boxspring and on the side of my mattress. Not gonna lie to you, knowing that parasites are crawling around in there, waiting for me to sleep so they can drink my blood is enough to make me never, ever sleep again.

And how does one get rid of bed bugs? Oh, it’s pretty easy. Call an exterminator and pay $300 a room. Good, because last week I got this fantastic money tree in the backyard and it grows dollar bills whenever Gertie pees on it. You should see what happens when she poops on it. Rare coins and Rolex’s. Anyway, it's next to impossible to get rid of them without professional help. And said money tree. You also have to take every piece of clothing you own to a laundry mat and let it tumble around in a high-heat dryer for a while. Super fun. Last week was great.

And how does one contract bed bugs? Luggage, mainly. It’s got nothing to do with cleanliness. And much to Chelsey’s mother’s dismay, it’s got nothing to do with Gertie. Poor baby-dog is probably so sick of shit biting her that she’s about to run away. Bed bugs normally load up into a bag and you bring them home. I, or Chelsey, could have gotten them from anywhere, really. I’m betting it happened in the last month, because I noticed nothing bed bug-related during the flea-superclean.

AND YES, I know bed bugs aren’t flies, gnats or locusts but they’re close enough and gross enough to occupy all categories. So, 5 out of 10 ain’t bad, biblically. I’ve got frogs, Plague on Cattle, boils, darkness and death of the firstborn left. So basically, I’ll probably get mad cow disease, on top of some kind of flesh eating bacteria and fall victim to constant rolling blackouts and power surges. Maybe if we’re lucky, Chelsey and me will get to re-wire the condo’s electricity. And then we’ll find frogs in our walls. Evil, venomous frogs that will kill Gertie, since she is our first-born. Point is it’s getting absolutely ridiculous. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point. It's sort of like the condo is magical, like living at Hogwarts.

Most of the time I feel like that one dude who always complains about everything. You know that dude, everyone knows that dude. The dude whose day is always worse than yours. Both of your parents could have died in a car accident but because that dude stubbed his toe, his day is magically worse. I’ve got some pretty legit complaints, though. I’d do whatever necessary to make this bad luck go away. I’m not proud of any of this, not badges of honor for me. I don’t care that this stuff makes me a tougher person. I’m tough enough.

And TRUST ME, I’m completely aware of how much worse it could be. I’ve got family that loves me, the greatest friends on the planet, a job, an adorable dog and a roof over my head (be it crumbling before the awesome power of Yahweh), among other things. I get really upset about life for about half an hour and then just start laughing. Because there’s nothing else I can possibly do. I’ve got a pretty great sense of humor, too.

All of these natural disasters has left little time for anything else. I was training for my job a ton in Norman but now I'm back in my office, already with more work than I can handle. I've gotten pretty good at leaving work-related drama at work, but it's creeping in again. I'm trying not to let it. I've been making an active attempt to spend time with friends after work and do more creative things.

I had a Tulsa-Day with previously mentioned Greg. We took in the aquarium, a bar fight, pub food and the Center of the Universe, which is this bizarre sculpture/”acoustic anomaly”. If you stand directly in the center of this unassuming concrete circle, you can hear your own echo, even though everything around you appears completely flat. Yeah, there’s an explanation for it but I wish I didn’t look it up. I liked it better when it was magical.

I also had a birthday in there. Hello, year 26. On which, I bought the new car. My dad was also in town for business and took me out for dinner. It was really great to see him, I’m quite happy it worked out. I don’t feel any older. I’ve been too busy to age. And blog. Lo siento. But at least I’m still funny. Here's a video of Gertie trying to eat the vacuum cleaner.


Settle in 'cause the road going west got drowned.

Angie sometimes talks about George Lucas and when she does, she says that he's like her abusive boyfriend. Even though the Star Wars prequels were absolutely terrible, she went to see them, knowing they would be terrible, waited in line and sat through them. She kept coming back for more.

I am starting to think this is like me with Oklahoma.

Giant-shit hail (there really aren't any other words to describe it) tore through Oklahoma City (and the back window of my car) on Sunday. I thought to myself, "Hey, no tornadoes with this storm. Just hail. Awesome!"


It came down for about 10 minutes; me and Chelsey just watched in awe. Gertie was barking the entire time because she thought someone was knocking on the door and she really wanted us to let them in. By the time it was done with, it looked like it had snowed in the back yard. It was still raining, but Chelsey ventures out to explore our cars. And comes back delivering bad news. Not only did it get my back window,

It got my side mirror:

The top of my car:

The hood of my car:

Chelsey's back window:

And her windshield:

Our brand new vehicles, only months old, are basically scrap metal at this point. Every piece of my car suffered damage, with the exception of the front and rear bumpers, because they're made of plastic. Of the about 30 cars in our parking lot, I'd say 25 of them lost windows. All of the north-facing windows on our building were broken. Luckily, our condo's surrounded with walls.

Also impressive was the amount of leaves the hail took of the trees. No, that's not grass. Those are leaves. That's the court yard right outside my front door. If you haven't seen this video of hail slaying an Oklahoma City pool, I'd suggest you observe.

As I type this, I'm sitting in Norman, under yet another tornado watch.

All I have to say about that:


Sometimes I'm pretty funny.

And when I say that Oklahoma is my abusive boyfriend I keep coming back to, what I really mean is that living in Oklahoma has proved to be the most challenging year of my life thus far. But I'm smart enough to understand that these tough things were either A) something I brought upon myself and B) horrible, horribly, ridiculously bad absences of luck. So it's not Oklahoma's fault. It's no one's, really.

Which is why I keep coming back for more. (Look at me, making excuses for my abuser!)

Want to hear something about me that has nothing to do with me moving to Oklahoma or the weather? Okay. Listen to Banner Pilot.


Sea World.


I don't know if you dudes heard, but they gots some swirly clouds in Oklahomah. Them clouds, they just get all fussy and spinny and then they dog-gone decide to drop down on some of them trailer houses. Y'all don't even know. Most people around here talk about the tornado outbreak of 1999 as simply "May 3rd tornado". People tell their May 3rd stories, where they were, what they were doing, etc. It's a lot like "When the plane hit the second tower, I was..." stories. Except most of them go like, "I just like, walked outside and there was a tornado on my lawn. So I went back inside and turned on my TV to see which direction it was going. So I could, you know, call my friends about it." PEOPLE IN OKLAHOMA ARE COMPLETELY UNIMPRESSED WITH SWIRLY CLOUDS. Anyway, the point of all this is that I think there will now also be "May 10th tornado" stories.

Here's my May 10th story: I was driving from Norman back to Oklahoma City. I thought I wouldn't have any problem, the clouds were dissipating, the sun was out. At about 4:15, I get on the interstate and Chelsey calls, telling me to hurry up and get home, the storms moving fast. So, I start hauling. Chelsey's pretty calm about storms so when she tells me to hurry, I hurry. Sure enough, about five minutes later, the sky looks like there's some horsemen dragging an apocalypse behind them. Worst part, I have to drive through Moore to get home. Now, Moore is sort of the joke-city of Oklahoma. Not only did it produce Toby Keith AND write his name on a giant water tower, it has at least one tornado a year. Never fails. Moore has tornadoes. And I have to drive through this place. Well hey there panic, haven't seen you lately.

People were driving like maniacs, which did not help. Weaving in and out of lanes, going 80 on the shoulder. I'm shaking out my hands trying to calm my nerves; I swear to God sweat was dripping off of them. It's raining, it's windy and I look up just in time to see clouds SWIRLING over my head. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Luckily, I made it through Moore and back home just before the hail hits. I was lucky, friends. A lot of people weren't. I'll be spending a chunk of time on Saturday helping out a work-friend's family pick up trees and debris off their property. It's really pretty sad and pretty scary.

So, weather forecasts like this MAKE ME NERVOUS.

Tornadoes used to not bother me. I watched Twister in middle school. I thought it was pretty cool. One time, Albuquerque got a tornado warning. I remember being excited about it (but really, tornadoes in Albuquerque? Sure. With elephants in them). But here, it's a completely different deal. I knew when I moved here I'd be dealing with a considerable amount of weather. But there's really no way to actually prepare for that. I guess just get killer insurance and hope for the best. And maybe acquire a muscle relaxer or two.

I can tell you this: tornadoes have a smell. I told my parents it sort of smells like Newark; really humid and sort of metallic. I'd heard people talking about it before and thought it was pretty silly. But nope, it's a real thing. Also, the clouds look crazy for days after a storm like we had on the 10th. Like, it took the atmosphere so much effort to create what it did that it doesn't have the strength to reel it back in. If that makes any sense.

Before the tornadoes ravaged, Chelsey and I took a mini-break, first stopping for a night in Ardmore with her entire family. That was an absolute joy, as Chelsey's family has been dealt from pretty challenging medical cards this past year. The good news is that they were all there; brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Everyone was pretty pumped about it.

My favorite photography subject of the day was Caleb, Chelsey's nephew, as previously mentioned here. I'm proud to report I'm warming up a bit to kiddos in general (which is a great relief if you know what my current can't-blog-about-job), but it also appears I've made a genuine 4-year-old friend. He's a cool little dude.

After that, we took on Dallas for Ben Folds. And these are my few true feelings for it.

Okay dudes, I'm sure there's nice parts of Dallas. I've managed to have some fun there. Once. But me and Texas, we just don't get along. The worst part was definitely my visit to the Kennedy Memorial at the site of his assassination. I guess I got pampered in Oklahoma with its lovely National Memorial, but the memorial there is TERRIBLE. I'd call it disrespectful. A President died and the paint is pealing off the arc way on the grassy knoll. Not awesome, Texas. However, we had a great time, drank too many beers and ate too much Jack in the Box.

We stopped by the Hooters in the West End. Just for photos.

I love this girl.

I'm sure you all heard about the devastating loss the Thunder suffered a few weeks back. Bummed. I'm already waiting for next season, saving up money for season tickets. Until then, I've got Kevin Durant's twitter (I learned his favorite movie is Twister today) and new t-shirt designs from Tree and Leaf to tide me over.

But mostly, I've got hockey.

The Montreal Canadiens are having an amazing post-season. Tonight, I watched them knock out the defending Stanley Cup champions in a game 7. Earlier this month, the number 1 team in the NHL this season in a game 7. My boys are playing like champions. I'm enthralled. I can't even imagine what my family's humble homes in rural Quebec are up to.

Oh hey, by the way, I have one of those job things again. Same office, different work. AND IT'S PERMANENT. We all need national health care just to avoid the stress of choosing an HMO. Overall, I like it. I get to drive a lot. And of course, I can't blog about it.

I like that I can write 5 paragraphs about tornado fear and can only manage a sentence or two about my new 8 to 5. I guess I learned a long time ago that I wouldn't let a job define me. Wait, that's way too poetic. Oh. That's right. It's because I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO BLOG ABOUT A JOB I HAVE EVER AGAIN. With the exception of the El Rey. Thanks for letting me blog about your business, Kathy. You're a trooper.

I've decided I might only be capable of mega-blogs now.


Diamonds and gasoline.

This is my grandmother in her garden, in front of her blooming apple tree. As she ages, seems to look more and more like Betty White by the day. And trust me, she's just as sassy. Grandma's great at dropping knowledge on you, as Grandma's should be. She can be a tad aggressive about it sometimes, but as I told her this past weekend, she's earned her soapbox. And she loves her soapbox. Grandma tells me I need to lose weight and start going to church. She also hates health care reform. This is a pretty typical Grandma position.

So, I spent my first weekend of unemployment hanging out with her, learning all about conservative wisdom. And West Texas. By the time I roll up on day 2 of my typical stays in Pampa, Texas, I'm pretty ready to leave. I mean, come on. It's west Texas. It smells like poop and diesel. But I've come to learn that I actually quite enjoy the bleakness of it all. There's a lot of beauty in being reminded you're so small. I told Chelsey that it takes a tough person to fall in love with the Midwest. As much as I love New Mexico, I've come to realize and embrace that Texas, that godforsaken state to the right (and now, to my left), is in my blood. I might not be that tough, but I'm genetically inclined for it.


Also, I've got a major case of playoff fever.

And the only cure is more Broingtons.

An Oklahoma City team will be participating in its first professional playoff event next week and I'm quite excited. I'll be logging onto ticketmaster on Friday at 10:00 on the dot to try and get tickets, along with the rest of the state. No one seems to be giving the Thunder any kind of chance at winning against the Lakers, but I say don't count them out just yet. Oklahoma's never had a problem being an underdog.