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A Very Happy Sunday

One thing I really like about my dog is that she smiles when she’s happy. She was smiling this morning after her walk, and I was quite happy myself. It was a relaxed Sunday, yet one where I got quite a bit done, and enjoyed some quality time as well. I replaced the empty cartridges in my printer and cleaned the printer head, visited my friend at her beautiful light-filled new apartment, went to Central Market to buy some good food for tomorrow evening’s Sky Club Elite dinner, and in between did a lot of walking and listened to an audio book I really like. So yes, despite some rain, this was a very happy Sunday.

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Rainbow Vodka and Other Good Things

Today I decided to get serious about planning my upcoming Summer Solstice party, and since it’s scheduled for Pride Weekend I decided that I simply must have the iconic Absolut Rainbow vodka bottles, and craft some kind of celebratory cocktail with this LGBTQ-friendly beverage. This required a trip to the big SPEC’s store downtown, a trip I kind of dreaded because of traffic, but which ended up being quite magical. I felt a little disconnected lately from all the reasons why I love Houston so much, but today, with the Pride vodka bottles clinking in my trunk, I decided to brave Midtown at rush hour and get a Vietnamese sandwich, and that changed everything. My warm sandwich cost $3.50, came in a white paper bag, and consisted of fresh veggies, shredded chicken, and the crustiest baguette ever, and it occurred to me once more that despite heat and traffic and a few other inconveniences, this city is a very welcoming place, embracing diversity and offering so many different options and experiences. Apparently, a good sandwich can change my whole outlook on life. Also, the vodka bottles are so very pretty and I’m excited that we get to celebrate everyone being free to be themselves. And if that wasn’t enough to make a great day, in the evening I got to see Nancy.

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Sleeping Figure

I decided that I needed to paint another sleeping figure. Also, this is me every morning, not quite ready to get up, and literally hiding inside a self-made pillow fort. Still, slowly but surely I’m getting my life in order. Today I made some phone calls I’d been putting off, tried to be a little more serious about my workout (I’m adding interval training to my swimming so that I can actually burn more calories!), did some cleaning, and finally, in the evening went to a party at John’s. It had its usual happy energy, plus towards the end he brought out the dogs and I got to kiss Nancy. I’d say all in all it’s been a good day, though some sort of melancholy feeling still lingers. I suppose this is a time to create my own world, professionally and otherwise, and it all feels a bit daunting and a little lonely. Still, whenever I feel myself getting a little blue, I remind myself there’s a carousel downstairs, and that helps matters considerably.

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City of Girls

Let’s get the unpopular opinion out of the way first: I dislike Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, the Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love fame (a book I never finished because meditation bores me, as does the pursuit of “enlightenment.”). Sure, I agree that Gilbert is a skilled writer and an interesting world traveler, but something about her writing never fails to annoy and disappoint me. I think it’s the combination of naïveté and pessimism that does me in – either of those things alone can be a buzz kill, but combined they are intolerable. Somewhere in the subtext of Gilbert’s narrative thread (or in her advice to artists in Big Magic, the book that annoyed me most) is the idea that one must resign oneself with less – so much less! – than full-blast happiness, and I begrudge her this stinginess or acceptance or whatever it is. It irks me! Her characters, it seems, live long lives, but only a small portion of these lives is truly interesting. Meh! So yes, I’m setting out to rip apart the book I was praising just yesterday, City of Girls. But see, to reference some wisdom from the book itself, people set out reading a novel (or seeing a show) wishing to love it. The second act can most definitely change their minds. And City of Girls‘ second act disappoints big time. The book sets out to be about the theater world, the glitz and glamour of New York City, and about dresses, glorious dresses with all the complexities they entail: seams and fabric and fit and so much more! I was surprised Gilbert wanted to embrace topics of such levity, but I should have anticipated that she wouldn’t do it for long. The book starts out on a delightfully frivolous note – yet with brilliant insights into human nature – but it ends up being about war, honor, and trauma. Yikes! Not that those are not topics worthy of exploration, they just happen to not be among the subjects I enjoy reading about for pleasure.

Something else that bugged me, and I find it in a lot of historical fiction: The characters end up being visionaries of sorts, so ahead of their times in terms of their acceptance of themselves and of others. I’m not sure that’s realistic, plus it’s a bit preachy, creating a world dominated by the author’s values. Not sure it’s possible to stray away from this entirely, but it got me to thinking about the sort of book I wish to write. It even got me to open my laptop and do a little bit of writing. So, I suppose Gilbert’s novel was useful. It was even enjoyable until the second act. Still, I can only advise people to read it and form their own opinions. Perhaps they won’t find it as depressing as I do.

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Some days I’m too lazy to do anything and the simple act of feeding myself (and the dog) seems like enough of an accomplishment. I ate sushi from Whole Foods, among other things. The dog ate diet dog food, high in protein. She still has two eyes, one of which requires frequent application of ointment. But at least it now opens fully and is less red.

I swam in the pool too. I read quite a bit, still enjoying City of Girls. It’s one of those books I wish would never end, though at the same time I’m wishing to get through it quickly and see what happens next.

If I weren’t quite as lazy I suppose I’d have a bit of an existential crisis – but they require effort. Instead, I think I’ll make myself do a little socializing over the next few days, and see if my life starts feeling more substantial.

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A Good Day for a Big Dog

Finally, after 4 years in Houston, I’ve found a vet here for Holly, so I no longer have to drive to Galveston each time she needs care – though I will still continue to board her there. The reason for our vet visit today was a minor eye injury. We got some medicated ointment, and we’ll have a follow-up visit next week, but overall there’s nothing to worry about. Bostons are prone to eye injuries because of those bulging eyes. But the eyes are very cute (not to mention useful!) so I do want us to keep them both, and not become a one-eyed pirate.

Also, the new Mexican restaurant by my house finally opened today and my friend and I went and had the most delicious margarita! That was fun!

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Happy Summer Vibes

Today the air outside felt like the breath of an angry dragon – even at night when I walked the dog then took a dip in the pool. Perhaps it didn’t help that I drank a lot of bubbly, but it was the last of my first batch of Sky Club Elite meals (I have two more at a later date), it was with a very special friend, we hadn’t seen each other in forever, and our conversation was as sparkling as the champagne. Besides, it was a Sunday and I awoke slightly hungover and had cold s’mores for breakfast. Sometimes it’s what you do. It was quite a fabulous day indeed.

Side notes: I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls and enjoying it enormously.

Cold s’mores are great if you use very good dark chocolate. I used Tony’s Chocoloney, which I bought at Whole Foods because I’m way too lazy to go anywhere else. I haven’t left my neighborhood in over a week now, but sometimes I enjoy having everything nearby and not needing to go anywhere. Once John returns from Vietnam – any day now! – I will surely drive to the Heights.

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Yesterday I went swimming at night after my Sky Club Elite guests left, and on my way to the pool I saw a frog. I love seeing frogs, and in Houston in the summer it happens sometimes.

Also, isn’t this dog so cute? We had another visit today, a really fun dinner where at the end we made s’mores. Holly didn’t get any.